Muschamp Rd

SEO: Linking

This article is a little dated and lot off topic, I strongly suggest you read my more recent posts in the SEO archive of my blog.

As already discussed in my first article nominally on search engine optimization, linking is one of the keys to doing well in search engines especially Google. In fact the original paper which Google is based on had the insight that linking is the key to evaluating the relevancy of websites. The PageRank system however has led to things like link farms and comment spam among other side effects. That said many including at least one of the guest speakers we had at Sauder while I was doing my MBA went so far to say any link, even from your uncle's pet website would help you. And it will, though the various hypothesis behind theming and clustering imply that it doesn't help very much. Also the concept of a bad neighbourhood and being linked to and from such place has negative consequences in at least some of the search engines.

Another source of relatively easy incoming links are blogs and forums. By participating in sites such as these you can acquire some potentially valuable incoming links. However the people that make the blog and forum software have also been abused by Spamers so some links do not count for PageRank purposes. Even if the link itself isn't directly helpful you gain exposure and often a spike in traffic from participating. Other places where a lot of people are concentrated online include: UseNet, Yahoo Groups, and mailing lists. I'm not advocating random spamming, but if a mailing list or a yahoo group exists on the same topic as your website you may want to consider participating or at least making them aware your site exists.

So any friends, acquaintances, cousins you know out there should be hit up for a link, especially if you have a new site. The first few links are crucial to having the bots find your site. You can submit your site to the major engines but it is generally suspected that is preferable if your site if found naturally in the wild. Too many people have abused the site submitting features.


This brings me to a topic that has been weighing heavily on my mind among others. What does it mean to be 'friends'? Seriously I have been burned before and apparently I didn't learn anything or at least not enough in the last ten years. I became very hesitant to use the word and to expect too much from people. People bandy about words like 'love' and 'friend' casually, but words have power. Some people forget that or don't realize how powerful words can be.

As a result of this I've become less outgoing and more standoffish. I don't open up and I use humour to protect myself. However I tried hard during my MBA to be more outgoing and make friends. In my address book I have several groups including:

Although it wasn't a conscious decision at the time, none of my classmates are in either of my 'friends' groups.

During my MBA I did become close to some people. This group consisted mostly of people I worked with. In the Core you do not get to pick your teammates but you have some control over your reading group. At the end of the Core my reading group consisted of:

Because of the intensity of the Core and particularly the final we came to rely on each other heavily. As a result of the Core and early Post Core I became pretty close to the members in my reading group. For instance I am LinkedIn to all of them, often at their insistence because as mentioned above I am cautious having been burnt in the past. I became particularly close with Steve and Marlene and Gary Lau.

After the Core the four of us were all in BAFI 500 and BAPA 500 which are non-trivial quantitative courses. There was talk of pooling our talents again and helping each other to do well on the exams but it never materialized. Marlene in particular was very worried and though I'm far from an expert in either Finance or Economics I did what I could to help out, which mostly consisted of passing on my study materials. I gave Marlene and Marlene alone all my managerial economics notes which were voluminous indeed.

During the Core it was forbidden to share reading group material outside our group and other groups likely had a similar policy yet much information and materials flowed around the class by email and the accursed MSN. For example, prior to the Core Final there was some controversy surrounding accounting issues for the final case. Although I had no prior experience in accounting I got the highest grade on the accounting final in our group. So although it wasn't my responsibility and the controversy stemmed from comparing Steve's interpretation to that of another group which we acquired. I got up early and completely redid accounting, I then told Gary and my group not to worry and passed on my notes to Gabi and Nik to review. Gabi and Nik did even better than I in accounting, they were both busy but agreed it looked like I was on the right track. Nik even provided his group's stuff and I went out for coffee.

Before I got back and despite my warning to not worry about it, Gary excitedly forwarded on to our group, the answer to all our accounting problems. This answer was from Darlene and supposedly was Gabi's take on accounting. Gabi's take turns out to be the file I sent to Gabi which I was going to give to my reading group, once I tidied it up. I was more than a little upset by this whole episode and I still have never brought this up with Gabi, but Dave Llewellyn confirmed that he and likely many others benefited from my labour all the while assuming it was Gabi's notes.

So after our reading group was disbanded and having already had my hard labour used without my permission and receiving no thanks, did I cease helping people? No, I went out of my way to help my classmates, especially those I was closest to. Even after my personal problems became overwhelming and despite my doctor saying it was part of my problems I continued to go out of my way to help people.

In Period One I only passed on some of my study materials to the remains of my reading group and in some cases just Marlene as she was so stressed out and I wanted to lessen her stress what little I could. In Period Two despite everything, I took helping people to a whole 'nother level. I secured numerous guest speakers, helped build the brand by volunteering, I also was the person who initiated having a Sauder Alumni Group in LinkedIn, and I provided my own personal study material unasked to entire classes. Jeremy Castro who was in all four of my classes went so far to propose marriage he was so grateful, but not everyone thanked me...

In Period 3, I had only one class with a true final. So despite my personal problems and despite some people probably not deserving it, I again provided study material including all the carefully typed notes I had taken during the period for BAIM 580 to the entire class. At most one or two people thanked me. The teacher in this class allowed an eight page cheat sheet which I dutifully prepared and I believe everyone used all without a word of thanks. They just assumed I would provide them all the materials they needed because I said I would. They trusted me, they had faith in me, they knew my materials would be done when I said they would and would be of a high enough standard to allow them not to worry about BAIM 580 and instead concentrate on something else.

Although I've once again become a believer "that no good deed goes unpunished" and have subsequently put it on my quotations page, there is further irony. BAIM 580 had lectures on morals and ethics. You would think people who've studied Buddhist and Confucian values would read things like:

...and would pause for reflection on their own actions, thoughts, morals, and what not, but sadly no.
Our MBA program was sadly inhabited by a few too many people who made questionable decisions. I regret some of my own words and actions. I tried to explain, apologize, demonstrate my sincerity, but some people choose not to believe me.

One of the first phrases my classmate Danna Zhu taught me in Chinese was:


This means I never lie. This wasn't a coincidence either. Some people know how important honesty and integrity is, especially to me. Others prefer rumours or a nice comforting lie over the truth. I even told Gary in an email the other day that my epitaph should read "pathetically honest". Some might even remember all the way back to the MBAS election. They might recall my election platform or my speech. Others must not because I doubt they bothered to listen to or read either back then, so how could they remember them now? Some people have very short and very selective memories, I on the other hand as they say in Chinese: 我不会忘记。

So I'd like to think that when I say something or write something in an email or in WebCT people would believe it. Especially people I thought knew me. Sadly this did not prove to be the case.

Some of my classmates don't seem to comprehend the vital importance of maintaining a good reputation. It's important for companies and individuals to manage their reputation online, because you never know who may be Googling for your name. Then there is the importance of networking, not burning bridges, being careful who you step on your way up because you might meet them on the way down. 关系 is important whether you are in Beijing or Prince George.

No matter where you are, there are certain expectations of a friend. Exactly what, is hard to quantify and varies from person to person but there are definitely expectations and understandings among friends. The old adage about knowing who your true friends are, is not without merit. So how do you know who is your friend? You can wait around for disaster to strike and see who sticks with you, if anyone. Or you can make a few assumptions based on the length of time you've known a person, the time you've spent together, the conversations you've had, the trust you've developed. Plus there is always the English language, when someone says "I appreciate you as a friend and "I want to be friends" especially when both people make similar statements, surely you're safe to assume you are actually friends, right?

But people can change their mind. There is no law against changing your mind. What do you call people you know but they are not friends? I tend to go with acquaintance or something factual like classmate or co-worker. So if someone you've known for months, someone you've gone out of your way to help in the past, who has repeatedly claimed to want to be friends, starts treating you poorly, say by not wanting to talk with you or even sit with you in public, going so far to state they prefer to sit alone rather than with you.
What do you call such a person?

What about a person who you go out of your way to help, say to find a job, what if they start treating you strangely? You're trying to help them, but they keep treating you worse and worse. They treat you so badly, worse than you could even imagine, causing you to completely break down. You start to wonder why bad things keep happening? Why do I even try? Why do I even go on living?
What do you call such a person?

What about people who just stand back and watch you suffer? People who know everything, but do nothing, people who publicly say one thing while privately saying another, all the while watching you fall apart, watching you die a day at a time with a smile on their face and a party to go to.
What do you call those people?

I have to call them classmates or at least former classmates. Sarah Mclaughlin sang "we are born innocent" but sadly it is all downhill from there. I doubt anyone can get through an MBA program with their innocence intact.

Pictures of MBA Classmates

Maria, Jun, and Heidi at the MBA Halloween Party

Speaking of MBA classmates, it has become a tradition to include a picture of them in my articles supposedly on search engine optimization. The classmates pictured to the right are: Maria "my full name is too difficult for non Spanish speakers to even type", the bodacious but married Jun Xie, and Heidi Tran whose ethnic background is not easily guessed but who is none-the-less from Campbell River. This picture was taken at our MBA Halloween Party which I actually attended.

The classmates pictured are not necessarily implicated in the sordid affair described above or any of the other questionable actions that took place while I was a Sauder MBA student. But, they are not necessarily innocent either. I'll continue to take my pills and try to hang on until graduation despite being on exchange in China. I'll wait for this to be indexed in Google. I know what I said, I know what I did, I know why I did it. I provided all the evidence I could voluntarily, I pleaded for an investigation and a more equitable solution, I voluntarily made considerable sacrifices but the powers that be didn't care, bureaucratic efficiency is everything. My fellow classmates who could have intervened, chose not too or were prevented from doing so. I ask myself everyday, why? Why did this happen? Why was I made to suffer? Why can't things be better? Why was this all necessary?

Why do I bother editing my words for clarity and the benefit of others? Some people always knew what was happening, they knew more than me. They never wanted things to be better, did they ever want to be my friend? Why so much duplicity? Why hurt someone who said they wished you no ill will? Why keep apologizing, insisting you told the truth, were only trying to help and continually stating you want things to be better?

Because I am sorry for the grief I caused, because I did always tell the truth, because I was only trying to help a friend, and I probably will always wish things could be better.

Words and Images © Andrew "Muskie" McKay.
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