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The folly of logo design SEO

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A quick Google search for “logo design” pulls this top 10:

  1. logoyes.com
  2. logoworks.com
  3. logodesign.com
  4. logodesignguru.com
  5. thelogocompany.net
  6. logomaker.com
  7. logoblog.org
  8. logomyway.com
  9. e-logodesign.com
  10. logodesignworks.com or logoinn.com (interchangeable)

The majority have been running for many years, and have generated a huge amount of backlinks (SEO equity).

#2 on the list, Hewlett Packard’s logoworks.com (embroiled in the incredible Logoworks saga from a few years back), also owns #3, logodesign.com, and #6, the DIY logomaker.com.

#4, Logo Design Guru (LDG), has it’s own DIY logo maker, logosnap.com, which hovers around #15 in Google’s results. LDG also owns “Graphic Design Blog” (graphicdesignblog.org) which you might’ve seen — a site known for the practice of logo raiding (where logos are featured without crediting the designer, purely to boost visits and SEO). The main banner on graphicdesignblog.org points to the LDG-owned design contest site, mycroburst.com (I’ve already talked about the problem with online design contests).

LDG has its own WordPress blog (logodesignguru.wordpress.com) that does a nice job of logo raiding.

Logo Design Guru blog screenshot

Is that my hand on the LDG blog? Yep.

But I think LDG’s WordPress-hosted effort (screen-grabbed above) is a lesser link-generation project than its main blog — and #7 on the list — logoblog.org. That one showcases what’s labelled as a client-determined list of the top 10 logo design companies — can it be a coincidence that the owner is ranked at #1, with sister-site Mycroburst at #2.

Logoblog

LDG has yet another design blog (blog.logodesignguru.com) where I found this useful quote:

“Don’t be a thief. Blogs are meant to share genuine thoughts and opinions and although content writing can be difficult at times, it’s better to have the satisfaction of knowing that ideas you share actually belong to you and are completely original.”

Good advice. So it’d be nice to see logoblog.org and graphicdesignblog.org practice what they preach by giving credit to the oblivious designers whose work is being regurgitated for the ubiquitous posts such as “20 great (insert animal name here) logos.” No link. No credit.

Paid links with specific anchor text

One of the more effective ways of getting strong search engine rankings is through links that point from other sites to yours (the strength, or trust, of the site linking to you makes a huge difference) which is why #8 on the list — the design contest site logomyway.com — is continuously buying “paid reviews” on high-traffic blogs such as John Chow, SpeckyBoy, 1stWebdesigner, WebAppers, and many more.

I got a Google penalty for selling links without using the “nofollow” tag (Google urges webmasters to use this tag on paid links so they don’t game the system), but nowadays it seems like Google has become less strict, because all of the above reviewers (with the exception of John Chow — who knows more than most about the consequences) have sold Google juice to logomyway.com (i.e., they don’t use the “nofollow” tag), therefore helping elevate the contest site up the search engine rankings.

The paid reviews listed above use specific anchor text in the links pointing to logomyway.com (and I’ll bet the words were specifically requested when the review was purchased). “Logo design” or “logo designer” for instance. The reason? Linking to logomyway.com using the text “logo design” will help the site rank higher for that specific search term.

Last year SEOmoz listed keyword-focused anchor text from external links as the most important ranking factor.

The value of strong, “trustworthy” incoming links is demonstrated by #1 on the list, logoyes.com. It’s part of the high-traffic Web.com Group, and a vast amount of Google juice is passed between the various Web.com brands, making logoyes.com an incredibly difficult site to topple.

Don’t compete. Stand out.

I don’t compete with companies who offer a logo and nothing more (or 99 logos, for that matter). In the words of Michael Bierut, “logos are not that hard to do.” In fact, it’s practices like those I’ve described that frequently have me second-guessing my decision to name this blog Logo Design Love.

My advice for the aspiring designers amongst you is to not concern yourself with these companies or the search results they occupy. Instead, offer your clients more than just a logo. Offer a visual identity system that incorporates a complete range of promotional items (stationery, signage, usage guidelines, web presence, etc.).

If a client needs something you can’t provide (or something you prefer not to specialise in) why not partner with other graphic designers? You may find you can attract a much higher calibre of client, too.

By focusing less on logos, and more on brand identity systems, you will remove the need to compete with the lowest common denominator.

That’s how to strengthen your position in the market.

Logo SEO posts elsewhere:

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