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(April 3, 1998) If you want to get a handle on the links that drive your traffic, use the "link" command in AltaVista or HotBot. A query to determine the inbound links to CareerMosaic's home page would be written as:
link:http://www.careermosaic.comSince your traffic comes from these links, you would be prudent to run a similar search on AltaVista in the form:
link:http://www.yourcompany'sURLYou can use the same technique to determine your competition's traffic sources and thereby see their strategy.
When you change your site's structure, you invalidate these links. So, as we said yesterday, be sure that you include your traffic sources as a component of any redesign strategy.
(April 2, 1998) If you're a regular, long term reader, you'll recognize the dead horse we're about to kick. Traffic to your website comes from links that point to your pages (inbound links). We generally estimate that one inbound link is worth about 10 visitors per week on average. Your ultimate success is dependent on traffic generated by inbound links.
Because our site contains a plethora of links, we're on the receiving end of a lot of grumpy email from people who visit the site and find links that no longer work. We get almost as much mail from people who have changed their URLs and want our site to reflect the changes. While we understand the confusion about responsibility on the part of our visitors, we are constantly amazed by the pseudo-sophisticates who pose as web marketers.
How do links change?
Generally, some genius (a new manager or webmaster) inherits a website designed by his or her predecessor. In other cases, it's a detached boss who has just had a brainstorm. However the culprit is positioned in the organization, the result is predictable. In order to "make a mark", the website is overhauled without regard to the traffic that already visits and bookmarks the site. Clever new addresses are established; groovy new images are added, the look and feel is modified and the content changes. Unfortunately, most supposed marketers and designers don't understand that links create traffic infrastructure. So, the old URLs (and all of the customers and friends who have bookmarked or pointed to the site) are abandoned.
Throwing away customers and alliances is not a good idea in any medium. That is, however, just what happens when links are changed without regard to the inbound links that create traffic.
Fixing the problem at the source is quite simple. At the easiest, a simple tag called a redirect can be added to the old URL. The potential visitor will be whisked right off to the new page. More sophisticated solutions (server redirects) will take a potential prospect to a designated destination.
Instead, unsophisticated web developers try a different tactic. They send email to the people who had links pointing to the old URL and ask them to fix it. Instead of taking responsibility and making a twenty minute fix, they ask their (often hundreds) of allies to do individual work. The term "bonehead" often comes to mind. They multiply the work involved by asking everyone else to do it. It does have the nice side effect of creating more billable hours for them.
We don't make those changes on our site. It's not our job. We don't have the time or resources to do work just because someone else (a non-paying customer) had a brainstorm. The search engines don't, Yahoo doesn't. While inexperienced users get a little frustrated, we know that the embarrassment really accrues at the site that the link points out. Savvy surfers will quickly understand that site X isn't sophisticated enough to care about their customers.
The moral of this rant? Before you go changing your website, find out where the inbound links to the site are. Consider them in your design and marketing. If you're going to destroy traffic from a particular site to yours, do it consciously.
(April 1, 1998) We've fawned over EmergIT in a previous article. EmergIT is a combination print/online magazine produced by Bassett - Laudi (a Canadian IT search firm). Their clear objective is to reach out to IT candidates and Recruiters with a a constant stream of value. Building long term relationships with candidates and recruiters requires a consistent presence over time.
Our initial look at their strategy focused exclusively on the website itself. We were extremely surprised by the quality of the hard copy magazine. Bassett Laudi shows their real commitment to this process by delivering a useful and attractive periodical.
The second issue of EmergIT has gone to press. The material is available on their website. (Of course, we think that the most important article is an interview with John Sumser called Recruiting Eyeballs.) But take a look at these key articles:
The strategy itself is not complex and can (and should) be executed by anyone wishing to retain their recruiting effectiveness over the next five years. Complexity and commitment enter the equation at the point that you begin to execute the strategy. Watch Bassett - Laudi. They're setting the model for 21st Century Recruiting.
(March 31, 1998) Press releases often have an incredibly self-serving feel. If you're willing to wade through the hyperbole, we've put yet another gem in our archives. This one announces a wallet bending compensation study for the IT universe. It may help you solidify and gain approval for some of the offers you'll be making in the midst of the general hype-storm. It includes some interesting conclusions like:
Bookmark the Alexander Hamilton Institute's Employment Law Resource Center. We particularly enjoyed this bit on "Office Politics" from the Problem Solvers Section.
Here are some tips for dealing with the office grapevine.Each "problem solver" is accompanied by an ad for one of their publications. It's a reasonable price to pay for solid advice.
(March 30, 1998) We continue to applaud the efforts of services who put their customers first. As we've always said, what you buy when you use a job posting service is eyeballs. The best service gets you the most "right" eyeballs for your dollar.
Westech Career Expo (Virtual Job Fair), an outgrowth of Silicon Valley's wildly successful Hi-Tech Careers Magazine and Career Fairs, joins the rest of the substantial players in beginning to publish their blow by blow statistics.
The service has matured substantially since we last visited them. They've added dramatic search capabilities and a partnership with Junglee. (Junglee is the service that allows a site like VJF to have ads lifted directly from your site and posted on theirs. It's sometimes called "do-nothing recruiting") Their once heavy graphics have been toned down. The site's emphasis has been squarely focused on minimizing the distance between an opportunity and a candidate. They appear to understand that, from a candidate's perspective, the best site is the one that gets you off the web the fastest.
As for their statistics, VJF claims:
We received this interesting resume for a web savvy recruiter in the Boston area.
(March 16, 1997): Our educational series has been expanded. We will be delivering seminars in 12 cities this Spring. We will be offering both of our successful courses, updated to reflect the changing web environment.
Seminar I: Management, Strategies and Tactics
Schedule For Seminar I
Seminar II: Advanced Searching and Sourcing
Schedule For Seminar II
Enroll today, seats are still available. There is a discount available for early registrations. The seminars have a retail price of $995. If your payment is received by April 15, there is a $150 discount. For Payments received by May 1, the savings is $100. We offer an additional discount of $100 for each member in a group of 2 or more.
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