Sphinn, the Digg-like internet marketing news and discussion forum, is one site that everyone even remotely interested in online marketing should acquaint themselves with. You don’t need to be an SEO expert to benefit from Sphinn, in fact I have found the site to be full of great articles that can help anyone who wants to maximize their impact online — sort of like an online tutorial where you can glean vital information from many of the articles featured.
Sphinn, Search Engine People, Danny Sullivan, and Third Door Media
For those of you who aren’t familiar with how Sphinn came about, there are two names you’ll want to remember: Danny Sullivan, who is the content manager for Third Door Media, and Search Engine Land, which is probably the most well known of the Third Door Media brands. The company registered Sphinn.com in April 2007 and launched it soon thereafter. Almost overnight, Sphinn has become the site where nearly all of the movers and shakers in the SEO/SEM world congregate — which is the purpose of Sphinn fulfilled.
Unlike Digg, Sphinn has a much more community feel to it, a level of professionalism not apparent on Digg. Certainly, there are those who post articles simply to benefit themselves, but then we’re talking about marketing and that shouldn’t be a surprise, nor is that wrong.
A Level Of Professionalism Not Found On Digg
What really separates Sphinn from the pack is that the participants are careful to only select (Sphinn It!) articles that meet their approval. Though there aren’t official gatekeepers to Sphinn, you aren’t likely to find 20 people who would be willing to click on your poorly written article for no reason — the all-important threshold to push your article into “hot” territory and linked under Sphinn’s “Hot Topic” tab (Hot Topic is the default home page for Sphinn too).
How To Use Sphinn As Your SEO Tutorial
Now for the main reason for this article: Sphinn can teach you many things about online marketing thanks to the high quality of contributions made to the site. Specifically, if you want to learn more about how three major search engines work — Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft — and how to maximize search, search marketing, social media, and online marketing, then Sphinn has that information neatly categorized for you.
Of course, given Sphinn’s democratic nature it is still possible to read an article that isn’t entirely accurate or contains some information that is absolutely incorrect. Thanks to a commenting system provided with each article excerpt, you can read what others have to say about the article and usually find those challenges prominently listed. One way to avoid uncertainty about content quality is to restrict your research to the site’s “Greatest Hits” tabs to find those articles which have received the most approvals. Of course, there are a handful of articles (including the all time most “sphunn” article) that are just for the fun of it, but the instructional (tutorial) articles seem to rise to the top as well.
Among the top reads on Sphinn are:
Sphinn – The Social News Site Every Search Marketer Should Be Using: Written by Seomoz CEO and cofounder, Rand Fishkin, the article lists ten reasons why you should use Sphinn, especially if you are an internet marketer.
How to SEO Your Site in Less Than 60 Minutes — Matt McGee wrote this article, but Tamar Weinberg “sphinned” it. No matter, both people are reliable and trusted authorities in the SEO community. This article makes for a good primer on how to make your site SEO-friendly, offering tips any webmaster should follow.
Yes, Virginia, Google Will Hurt Your Site For Selling Links — Danny Sullivan himself was one of the first to spot the crackdown Google made when it began punishing link sellers in 2007. Lest you be tempted to take up this practice in 2008, you may want to read what Sullivan has to say about it. The penalties Google is dispensing are still far reaching, including complete loss of PageRank.
The Internet Marketing List: 59 Things You Should Be Doing But Probably Aren’t — It is easy to overlook the little things, especially when it comes to promoting your site. We often think of that wonderful backlink we got when our article was mentioned by an internet guru like Jeff Quipp or from Marty Weintraub, excellent sources in their own right, but not having an XML Sitemap in place, skipping press releases, and not taking advantage of MySpace and Facebook, are some of the smaller tasks which when added together can have an even greater (and adverse) impact on your site.
No, Advanced SEO Does Not Mean Spamming — Again, Danny Sullivan weighs in on an important issue — advanced SEO. Sullivan discusses the highlights from this year’s SMX Advanced conference and comes to the conclusion that there is a lot of misinformation about which advanced SEO techniques are legitimate while covering those Blackhat methods that can land the site owner in trouble.
Link Building Secrets Revealed — Dazzlin’ Donna found Stoney G. DeGeyter’s article about link building and sphinned it for all of the SEO world to read. What Stoney did was to interview some of the top minds in the SEO world asking them to share one of their top link building secrets. Contributors included Hamlet Batista, Peter da Vanzo, Jim Boykin, Deborah Mastaler, and Bob Gladstein. 11 highly respected people sharing valuable tips you’ll want to study!
Regular Sphinn Visits, Recommended
To get the most out of Sphinn, I recommend the following:
Visit the site on a regular basis. Even if you don’t have anything relevant to contribute article wise, you’ll want to get a feel for how the community operates.
Read, review, and bookmark. Sometimes the information on Sphinn can get overwhelming. Other times it seems that everyone is talking about the same topic. While discussing link building practices can be beneficial, I like to look for something original and I don’t always depend on the most notable names to provide that information for me. If you like an article, make sure you Sphinn It! — you have to register in order to do that. Lastly, bookmark your favorite reads and why not reward the author by stumbling or digging the page too?
Snag a Feed — If you don’t have time to visit Sphinn regularly, why not add one or more feeds to your feed reader? I subscribe to their “Hot Topics” and “New Topics” feeds and there is also a comment feed you can choose. Additional feeds are in the works including a nifty All In One Super Feedmaker which might be worth using when it becomes available.
That’s it! My primer on Sphinn and why you should use it. Spend a few hours a week gleaning information from the articles submitted and you’ll be the wiser for it. I’ve cross paths with many wonderful folks on Sphinn, professionals in every sense of the word, people who willingly impart their knowledge and can point you in the right direction.