I Always Wanted to Sell T Shirts

I have made a few, which have not sold many, & still might not be good at it yet ;) but I will eventually pick up graphics a bit better and am a huge fan of irony.

Recently WordPress got caught content spamming by using a hidden div. Their motto is "Code is Poetry," and that it is.

Anywho, here is the image from my first SEO related T Shirt, which you can buy from SEO Shop (with what the price is set at I do not think that I profit from sales, but if I do that would go to charity.)

I have done more stupid things than most people who are still alive, so I am not going to pretend that I am better than anyone. Admitidly this whole incident is a bad deal for WordPress, but I am amazed - and perhaps even perplexed - at the lengths some people will go to in order to describe their actions or the actions of their friends as legitimate.

From J Luster's blog

Spam involves other, involuntary, carriers. No comment boxes were contaminated, no mailboxes, no Usenet forums, and certainly no one spent a single byte of extra bandwidth (with the exception of the links from Wordpress.Org) on it. It’s not spam.

The interesting thing there is he is trying to describe spam as it relates to email or social software. WHICH IS THE SAME MARKETING SPIN SEARCH ENGINES USE TO DESCRIBE THEIR FAULTS WITH THEIR ALGORITHMS.

It is fine to say there is no such thing as search engine spam. The truth is search algorithms are not - and will never be - perfect.

Many a webmaster has been told that he is a hunk of crap for doing far less than what WordPress did. If what they did was not search engine spam then perhaps WordPress does not believe in search engine spam. If that were the case, then why did they sign up / support NoFollow?

Again the hidden story that nobody is giving any coverage to is that up until yesterday Google was the company who was funding that lousy content, and it is their own business model and complete lack of quality control that caused that search engine spam.

To say AdSense was on the whole funding quality content would be Orwellian.

Why isn't anyone giving Google crap about this? What we saw with WordPress was just the tip of the iceberg.

Google Launches Clothing Line

Apr 1st
posted in

Google Temporal Analysis Patent, Google 2004 Financials, Yahoo! to Disclose API Future?

Google:
Patent dealing with temparal ranking effects - Greg Boser called this "The most important SEO related document in the last 5 years."
2004 annual financials report

Yahoo!:
to give a clear API Answer? maybe

Search Awards:
Danny Sullivan's SearchEngineWatch announced the 5 annual search awards. Yahoo! wins the outstanding search service award.

Blog & SEO Business Models: Hosting Content Spam

SEOs Are Scum:
For a long time many bloggers have stated that SEOs are scum, as said best by Anil Dash.

I've always had a pretty low opinion of the Search Engine Optimization industry. Though there are of course legitimate experts in the field, it seems chock full of people who are barely above spammers, and they taint the image of the whole group.

Content Spam:
Blog comment spam is one common type that bloggers know all too well, but creating tons of rubbish content is another type of spam.

HotNacho hires writers to write low quality articles for $3 each. The articles, being of low quality, have little value by themselves. However, if you can get an authoritative site to host the articles you can make a ton of money from advertising.

Affordable Quality Hosting:
WordPress - an open sourced blog software make which is part of the anti spam brigade - hosted over 100,000 HotNacho spam pages, linking to them from the home page using a negative div.

Hmm... manipulating search results for personal gain by posting complete crap to a hidden section on your site.

What makes that action more ethical / better than actions of the average SEO?

Is this the type of openness we should expect from open source software? Where is the transparency? hehehe.

Google Funds Web Pollution, Again:
Google is funding that web pollution with their AdSense program.

If the stuff is bad enough that it needs kicked out of Google's index then how were they displaying ads on over 100,000 pages on that site without noticing the problem. Why are the ads still there?

I think this is the real story that everyone is missing. Google's AdSense quality control is a complete joke.

Advertisers and content publishers should be disappointed in Google's lousy policing of their AdSense program. Much web pollution would not exist if Google did not lucratively fund it.

The WordPress moto has never been more true:
Code is poetry!!!

The Death of Keyword Density Tools

Mar 30th

Keyword Density Analysis:
is complete rubbish - according to Dr Garcia.

this overall ratio [keyword density] tells us nothing about:

  1. the relative distance between keywords in documents (proximity)

  2. where in a document the terms occur (distribution)
  3. the co-citation frequency between terms (co-occurrence)
  4. the main theme, topic, and sub-topics (on-topic issues) of the documents

Thus, KD is divorced from content quality, semantics and relevancy.

Go Network to Use Overture, Black Hat PPC Techniques, Creating Bulk Content

The Go Network:
is to Go from Google to Overture

Black Hat:
PPC Techniques. First time I have seen an article about Black Hat PPC. Good stuff Mikkel.

I do understand the reasons as they want to know what pages they send users to but why on earth does Google have to reset my hard earned high CTR if all I change is an added tracking parameter? In any case, I am not going to pay for it!

The simple solution is to set-up some kind of layer between you and them so the URL you use is actually not the one that shows the content.

Content, Content, Content:
A couple newerish (is that a word) products aim to help people grab or create loads of content. I have yet to use any of these.

  • Article Equalizer - pulls articles from various content sources. I think he also created traffic equalizer, rss equalizer, and many other equalizer products. Wonder if he will eventually release the ultimate equalier suite. ;)

  • AdSense Gold - evidently comes with thousands of articles
  • ArticleBot - rewrites articles using grammar rules, allows you to dynamically reorganize SERPs, can mix up content and create many readable articles from a given seed set
  • Yahoo! Creative Commons search - seach for content that can be freely used
  • some people translate and then untranslate content.
  • how not to steal content 101

LinkExplore:
reviewed

Goog Adds Stock Charts to Search Results

Mar 30th

Google Finance:
Search relates stocks:
Msft
Goog
Ebay
Yhoo
Amzn
Iaci
Askj
Fwht
Mchx
Look

Still need some work on the world markets though ;)
Fast.ol

Since some of the top ranking search results are owned by competitors (such as Yahoo! Finance) it probably does not hurt Google to keep the visitors at Google by providing a bit more data in the search results.

Arts:
Also, Google changed their logo for Vincent Van Gogh today. You gotta wonder if the person advertising for that term is going to see a huge traffic spike and lowered ROI on the day.

If I were an aspiring artist who had a few bucks and was trying to promote myself today might be a good day to get some exposure. One of my friends is an artist and a while ago he got to meet Pablo Picasso.

Yahoo! 360

Mar 29th
posted in

Yahoo! have launched their social network / blog program Yahoo! 360.

NickW gave me an invite and my blog is here. Yippie. If you want an invite PM Nick on ThreadWatch or shoot me an email.

Audio Recordings Killed the Blog Star

Mar 29th

I am not really a star per say (as I do not use the word blogosphere enough to be one), but I will be on the phone tomorrow at noon Central. The topic is SEO and local search. You can listen in too if you like.

This will be like the third audio recording thingie I have done in the last year. I think I am probably getting a bit better at them, though I do have a tendancy to talk a bit quick.

It is free to listen to if you want to.

Google to Acquire Urchin

Mar 29th

Content, Content, Content:
Mark Cuban on content & technology

Urchin:
being acquired by Google. Wonder if they will include THAT in their free stats package. (found from SEG)

WebTrends:
Bought by Francisco Partners.

Find Profit:
recently had about a 15 page interview with Andrew Goodman talking about where search is headed. It comes free with a free trial or subscription to their site.

If You Snooze:
you lose. hehehe

FyberSearch:
Updated

Google Funds Information Pollution

Yesterday I was using that Hub Finder tool I had made.

In not so competitive industries it can help find some good resource pages & potential links, but in some competitive industries I was amazed at how many scraper websites were running AdSense. I knew it was going to be a ton, but sometimes you just have to see it to appreciate it. When I called out their AdSense product manager at the SXSW conference he used the whole concept of people and technology to say that is how they are dealing with bogus AdSense sites.

I think a friend of mine recently described the AdSense quality control process a bit better:

and they dont even kick out that scum when its reported!

I would guess there are probably hundreds of thousands of sites which are nothing more than AdSense on top of a search engine results page.

Google says you should control who you are linking to and then adds autolink to your site & Google News displays Nazi news. hmm...

They also are funding a ton of useless clutter. In some cases I am seeing both Yahoo! and Google cache live Google search results through caching the AdSense for search program.

Some Google search technologies are a bit more advanced than some of their competitors, and perhaps that gives them a bit more of a competitive edge to be profiting from sites that undermine competitors relevancy algorithms? And maybe they want to clutter the web up with junk so it is hard to sort through it?

Any way you slice it, it is hypocritical for a company which has the mission statement:

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Not so long ago GoogleGuy spoke on the coop ad network leaving this comment:

Seems like a very ill-advised program to me, because it's quite likely that as spam creeps into this link network, it will greatly affect the reputation of the people that link to the spam. Just my hunch though.

replace the word link or link to with ad and advertise on and you get:

Seems like a very ill-advised program to me, because it's quite likely that as spam creeps into this ad network, it will greatly affect the reputation of the people that advertise on the spam. Just my hunch though.

Google does not let advertisers opt out from being seen on individual sites and generally ignores the concept of publisher quality control. This

  • limits how much good publishers get since companies will be more inclined to opt out.

  • could hurt the advertisers brands.
  • may lead to quicker text ad blindness.
  • tarnishes the Google brand.

What am I missing? I thought the whole point of AdSense was to help fund the creation of quality content?

Then again, Google did give me a black hat and maybe I am seeing things wrong ;)

AdWords Professional Hat.

Free C Class Backlink Analyzer Tool

Mar 28th

Jim Boykin creates another free SEO tool. The reports take about 3 minutes to make. It tells unique linking domains, unique linking IP address, and unique linking C blocks (as well as how many links from each unique linking domain).

Since links from sites on the same C blocks are more likely to be owned by the same person some search relevancy algorithms may lower the weight given by links hosted on the same C block.

Try the WeBuildPages C Class Backlink Analyzer Tool

here is another cool C class IP address tools I mentioned in the past:
IP Report

Happy Easter, Ads, & Gluttony

Happy Easter all.

I just got back from eating way too much food :(

While digesting it...

I thought about looking up how to spell gluttony and noticed that Google only shows two ads for the proper spelling and no ads for glutony.

Overture only appears to have one ad.

Does this term have any value to various dieting products or services? Maybe. Maybe not.

Kinda weird to see the fact that almost nobody is currently testing the market though, eh?

The No S Diet is advertising on Google AdWords and looks cool.

Its kinda funny that the site does not have much of a business model since thier advice is free and

Google policy does not permit the advertisement of websites that contain "the solicitation of funds and do not display tax-exempt status".

Google Using Rotating Algorithms?

Mar 25th

Google Video:
Jeff Dean talks about how Google works. Although he mentions nothing about rotating algorithms.

Google Rotating Relevancy Algorithms:
being discussed at SEW forums in this thread.

[update: NickW pointed to this post, which states that currently there are 3 main Google relevancy algorithms and that they use Agent Web Ranking to check their positioning.
McDar & WM Community also have tools that search multiple data centers at the same time.

in the SEW thread PhilC also points to a list of current active datacenter IP addresses.]

Various Wonderful Links

Mar 25th

NYC SES Pictures:
Stephen Turcotte took some pics. There is a pic of me wearing a FireFox T shirt standing next to AussieWebmaster, and there are lots of other pics.
link looted from PeterD's blog.

Buying the Best:
CGI Holdings snags Mike Grehan. It is unbelievable how many companies they have acquired recently.

Ad Spend:
UK online ad spend increased ~ 50% in 2004. Europe SEM spend is expected to increase 65% in 2005.

MarketingExperiments.com:
Has dropped their subscription fees. Good stuff.

Why VCs Suck:
A Unified Theory of VC Suckage - its how they get paid.

Tension on the Web:
Adam Bosworth riffs about privacy and sloppy folksonomies. He also states breaks make everything more clear when you come back to work.

Seth Interviews:
Hugh email interviews Seth & Clikz does too

Seth also has another seminar coming up soon. If you work at a small company it only costs $400. If you are a charity you might be able to go free.

Our Media:
our media launches. free media storage. cool.

ChrisTools:
new SEO tool site from Chris Ridings. his first tool creates a topical OPML file

You Gotta Love:
how blunt Rob Frankel is

The widespread ignorance of branding is a scourge on the economy

Google News Has a Few Problems

Mar 25th

Google News:
has been in the news...

Deceptive Advertising in Search Results

Mar 25th

Deceptive?
deceptive advertising in search results.

  • Who profits the most from others believe in their divine word?

  • Are threads and articles about ethics just an underhanded form of marketing?
  • Ever wonder if search engines employ SEOs to do the ethics spin B/S?

NFFC has always had a silver tounge

Spy vs Spy:
SEO Counterintelligence
competitor link spying tool (with free happy music)

Yahoo! Getting It?

Mar 25th
posted in

Yahoo! Creative Commons Search. A while ago I would have expected Google to be first to market with an idea like that.

Apparenlty at SEW forums a Yahoo! employee denied their alleged contempt for tracking companies.

Yahoo! also purchased Flickr recently so who knows, maybe they will Google a run for their money.

Digital Point Keyword Tracker

Mar 24th

Just logged into the Digital Point Keyword Tracker. In the past it only worked for Google, but I just saw that they added Yahoo! and MSN as options.

It may not be a good idea to make it too easy for search engines to cross connect too many of your sites, but if you like the whole keyword tracking concept this is probably the best free web based one on the market.

Yahoo! and MSN limit the number of API queries from a given IP address each day. You need to place a script on your server to interface with tracking Yahoo! backlinks and Yahoo! or MSN rankings.

The tool can also track the number of Google backlinks and PageRank, although generally the data given by Google is rather useless.

Yahoo! Meet LookSmart?

Frank Watson has a scathing post about some of the dumb ideas which have been floating about over at Yahoo!.

"We do not see Google and MSN as our competition," Tom HockSteatter said today, "we look at offline media as our competitors."

...

Right now no new SEM/Analytics companies are being allowed in, or the "not no, not now" response. Though he did not confirm it, more pointedly he did not deny that the existing SEM/Analytics/Tracking partners would soon be pushed out as well. "I won't say if existing agreements will continue."

I hope Kevin over at Did-It, the guys at Atlas and KeywordMax et al are ready for this.

...

"We have a strategic position for the web going forward", Tom HockSteatter said.

So did LookSmart and when MSN left that engine it rapidly feel to the side. I hope the Yahoo stock does not fall as heavily as that of LookSmart come announcement day.

With newspapers trying to buy their way into the web why is Yahoo! trying to move backwards?

Their clunky Overture interface, sporatic outages, contempt for analytics, and impending loss of MSN sure could make for a rather sticky situation.

Newspapers Invest into Topix.net, BlowSearch, Google Bomb for Sale, Blog Spammer Letter, SEO Chat SEO Conference?

In the News:
Knight Ridder, Tribune and Gannett take a stake in Topix.net. With NYT recently purchasing About.com it is clear that newspapers are starting to wake up to the online world.

BlowSearch:
May have launched a new product that "blows"?

You have to respect how quickly they commented on it though. I wonder why more of the small PPC search engines are not actively monitoring their brands and replying to what people say about them.

I'm Feeling Lucky:
Google Bomb for sale. so many creative ideas come to mind.
found on SE Roundtable.

Dear Diary:
Letter from a blog spammer. As long as the algorithms require it people will do it.

SEO Conferences to become the new SEO forum?
SEO Chat is thinking about holding an SEO conference. I can't see the conference medium becoming as saturated as the forum medium with all the associated costs and constraints, but there surely are a good number of conferences.

Buying Forum Sig Links, Become.com

Mar 22nd

Google Groups:
Froogle Merchants Group
also if you do not yet subscribe to SEM 2.0 it is a good list.

Buy Forum Sigs:
not sure how much value there is to it, but Sig Trader buys and sells forum post sig links. Amazing how many different ways there are to build links.

For Search Geeks:
in a forum post Xan recently mentioned
IBM Research Natural Language Processing
The retrieval of information from historical perspective

Become.com:

Hub Finder Link Analysis Tool

Mar 21st

What is Hub Finder?

Hub Finder is a free link analysis tool which finds pages which link to related websites.

You enter in two or more related sites. If they have common backlinks in the Yahoo! Search database those pages will be returned in the results.

Try Hub Finder

When using it don't forget to use the full URLs including the http:// part. Why is Hub Finder Useful / Important?

  • Pages and sites which link to common related resources often exist in the same topical community.

  • Well themed pages have a tendency to rank well in search results since they use many similar variations to describe simarly related sites, products, and services.
  • Pages which rank well and are topically related may drive direct traffic which converts well.
  • As search advances more search technologies will likely place greater weight on links which come from pages and / or sites of the same theme.
  • One of the fundamental flaws with PageRank is that it looks at the web on the whole. Looking for thematically related links makes it harder for a person to manipulate relevancy with links from entirely unrelated powerful sites. By looking for thematically related links it forces websites to be well cited within their community of experts to achieve top rankings.

What does Hub Finder Cost?
Hub Finder is free.

Not only is Hub Finder free to use, but you can download the source code and place it on your site.

By default the tool has a link to this page and this site on it, but you can remove that if you like.

This software is released under a GNU General Public License. You can modify the source code and make the tool better.

Requirements:
Hub Finder was created in PHP. Your host must support PHP and DOM XML for the tool to work properly.

Problems with Hub Finder:
Some scraper sites tend to scrape thematically similar resources. Some of these may show in the search results. Along with those many of the actual hub pages will be returned.

Hub Finder usually works best if you look for cross referencing backlinks in well developed fields or check backlinks across a good number of sites.

Hub Finder works with the Yahoo! API, which I believe only allows you to query their database up to 5,000 times per day. This is part of the reason why the tool was made to be distributed, so that anyone can host it and so one central host site was not hosting a tool that frequently exceeded its limit.

Additionally other upgrade ideas are listed below.

Suggested Upgrades for Programmers:

  • Fetch top ranking sites: Currently the tool allows you to enter URLs one at a time, up to a limit of 10 URLs. This tool could be improved by also allowing the option of entering a search term and fetching the backlinks of top ranked sites.

  • Disclude: Option would be to disclude results from any specified URL. (This could be used to prevent you from sifting through backlinks on sites you already know well. Or sites which clog up the results with hundreds or thousands of rubbish scraper pages).
  • Paired with: Option would allow webmasters to look at pages which link to topical resources AND link to a specific page or site. An example use of this tool could be informing webmasters that they have a broken or outdated link when one of your competitors moves their site.
  • Find pages OR sites: On top of searching for common backlink pages the tool could also have another option or section of its results which looked for common root URLs between backlinks.
  • Grab more details: Tool could grab IP ranges, number of links on the page, and link text.
  • Multi Engine: the tool could allow people to grab backlinks from multiple engines. MSN seems to be more realistic than Google is in their policy toward SEO tools.
  • Sort: Tool could allow people to sort the search results by any of the topics it grabbed.

More Tools?
A cool friend made this tool. I have a few other tool ideas. Production depends on:

  • how quickly I can learn PHP

  • or how quickly I can find programmers who would like to make a few tools
  • or how quickly my friend is available to make more tools.

Try Hub Finder:
My friend Andy Hagans was one of the first people to host Hub Finder on his site, although his host seems to not support the tool sometimes. I created another mirror of that tool on the Link Hounds website.

If you would like to host Hub Finder or tinker with the source code you can find a copy of the original source code here. Change the file name to index.php and it should work if your host supports it. When using it don't forget to use the full URLs including the http:// part.

Upgrades & Mirrors:
If you upgrade or mirror the tool feel free to leave a comment below.

InterActiveCorp to Acquire Ask Jeeves?

Mar 21st

InterActiveCorp, the Internet company headed by Barry Diller, is close to an agreement to acquire Ask Jeeves Inc., the nation's fourth-largest search engine company, for about $1.9 billion, according to an executive involved in the negotiations.

An announcement could be made as early as today. - NYT

IAC own CitySearch, Expedia, HSN, and a ton of other web properties.

Blog Transparency, Ethics, & Advertising

Mar 21st
posted in

Making Money from Blogging:
While I was at SXSW some of the speakers asked "Who here has a blog?"
Most everyone in the audience raised their hands.

The next question was "Who here makes a living blogging?"
I think I was one of about 2-3 people who raised their hands. Affiliate Links in the Archives:
Until you can create a product or business model which is self sustaining there is nothing wrong with building multiple passive income streams to help get you by.

Some of my past posts have affiliate links in them. My free PPC guide has affiliate links in it. For a while even my original ebook had some affiliate links (those were later removed because they were unnecissary and some consumers did not like them).

Ads vs Reviews:
Within free content what is the difference between having affiliate links to useful stuff and allowing people to advertise products? Some of the most powerful sites on the web allow people to market complete bunk (libel laws prevent specific examples).

At this point my financial solvency no longer depends on affiliate links, but to new bloggers or website publishers I ask why not make a living doing what you like and promote good stuff along the way?

If you are learning how to build a business model from scratch some of the people reading your site might be interested in some of the tools or resources that you found useful.

If slightly additional profit allows you to work full time on things you can enjoy - and thus deliver a better end product - why not? If you are focused on helping your consumer do well then there is good value in product and service reviews - so long as they are honest.

Other People Imposing Ethical Guidelines = Bogus:
Instead of having sponsored posts or product reviews is it any more ethical to make a living running clearly marked ads that sell rubbish? If so, why?

There is nothing wrong with mentioning things that you think are useful, even if you make a profit by mentioning them. If you give crap positive reviews then eventually that will come back to hurt you. If you introduce obscene amounts of noise into your chanel then readers will leave.

More people should be able to make a living by talking about whatever interests them. Even the loudest advocates of transparency still do not fully get the topic.

Some people enjoy first to market advantage, or success in prior markets which carries over nicely to their situation. They can afford arbitrary luxuries or arbitrary bogus ethical guidance.

People new to the market may not be able to, and thus should not allow others to control their thought patterns or business models.

Success can breed blinders, and some people may also give bad advice so others do not create businesses or business models which may eventually trump theirs.

Intent is perhaps more transparent than some would like.

Various Resources

Urchin:
Is apparently good stuff.

AutoLink:
48 minute IT Conversation w cory Doctorow, Robert Scoble & Marty Schwimmer

VC:
Venture Capital When You Need It When You Don’t
ResearchBuzz posted that GigaBlast was looking for some funding. the VC page looks like it is no longer up though.

Books:
list of MBA resources.
Design thinking books
(both found on Seth's Blog)

FireFox Extensions:
the ones that DaveN uses

Getting Exposure:
how to get media coverage: create your own channels.

Another Blog about Google:
from News.com (found on Blogoscoped)

Flickr:
Jeremy Zawodny says Yahoo! bought them. Looks like Jeremy is getting into marketing too?

This is SEO:
Greg Boser, known for talking straight about SEO, gets a mention in Wired.
Xan states that he views the article as short sighted. I was going to post on his blog, but I did not feel like signing into my .net passport to do so.

LEGOs Rock:
and now, so does Batman.

TV B Gone:
brilliant

Website Dating:
My Density shows first and second degree relationships between websites.

The interface could be a bit cooler and smoother (perhaps if they used a bit of AJAX and ensured the text was easier to read on scroll overs if they are showing a ton of data in a small area), but it looks like a cool idea. more info about My Density and even more info here.

A9 OpenSearch:
I saw this mentioned a while ago, but I think I forgot to link to it. Essentially it allows search results to be reformatted & reappear elsewhere. Robin Good has more about why he feels it is important.

Amazon Ads:
Amazon textual ads hack. cool.

Google News Getting Sued, MSN Shopping Beta, Google AdSense Conference

This Just In:
Google News being sued by Agence France Presse for displaying subscriber only images

MSN Shopping:
Beta

Google AdSense:
Publisher Conference, reviewed. They highlighted a few sites and I think I know some of the people who may do some of the ads for some of them.

When my friend initially set up his personals page on AOL a long time ago (before he knew what a landing page was) he got so many leads that he was sending girls to his friends. Unfortunatly, I was not a friend of his at the time :(

Alex Steffen & Bruce Sterling Keynote Conversation: SXSW 2005

Mar 19th

Alex Steffen & Bruce Sterling held the final keynote speech at SXSW. Most of their speech was about ecology and creating a sustainable world.

I was about to write this review and noticed there is a good one on WorldChanging already.

The core of the speech is that we are depleting resources at a faster rate than the world can provide them. Things will need to change. Options going forward:

  • fold dumps into the production cycle

  • create long term stuff
  • label everything

They stated that the biggest problems in the world are closely releated to infistructure, not necissarily social, political, or religious ideolology.

Fabricators, computers, and other small fast production technologies will shorten pruduct creation time and thus enhance the efficiency of micropublishing or small scale creation of various items. Actual will become the new virtual.

To show how fast things change Bruce Sterling asked us to imagine describing our jobs to a time traveler from 30 years ago. Many of us who were in the room at the time worked on web related or industrial design type projects. Our jobs would have been a bit hard to explain.

He said the future will be somewhere between unmanagable or unthinkable. We should strive to make it as best as we can.

After his speech I bought an autographed copy of Bruce Sterling's Tomorrow Now, which looks at how the world may change over the next 50 years. On page 65 he explains the exact reason many people are doing well with SEO:

You're likely to thrive if you learn plenty about subjects where the tests and grading papers have yet to be invented. And if you find yourself learning about something unusual and there's no sense of drudgery to it - on the contrary, you find yourself spending long, smiling hours just painlessly soaking it up - take my advice and look for a job there. If there don't seem to be any jobs there, find a way to make one up.

[added: here are some of the videos from SXSW, including Alex Steffen & Bruce Sterling]

How to Leverage Decentralized Social Networks : SXSW 2005

Mar 19th

Panel by Tantek Celik, Jonas Luster, Joyce Park, Ernie Hsiung , & Danah Boyd.

Social relationships only require single directional relationships. Social networks place more emphasis on relationships than personal information. Many of the things which are currently being touted as social networks are community based sites which place greater emphasis on individuals than on relationships.

Danah stated some of the more common problems with social networks are

  • social akwardness

  • articulation problems
  • problems with being public

Joyce also stated another recurring problem is that many networks are created by men and do not take women into account. Another common problem is that some social networks fail to adapt to their audience.

A couple interesting facts:

  • Orkut took off in Brasil for two main reasons

    1. Brasil had two large cities which for a long time did not mix much but recently started mixing more frequently on a larger scale.

    2. Orkut originally had many flags on it. This reminded many people in Brasil of the World Cup. Some people joined because they wanted to beat out the other countries. Now the innovation at Orkut is driven by the Brasil community.

  • For this next statement you will have to pardon any cultural ignorance I display, but I think this is what they were trying to say :) Friendster is popular in some Muslim areas because with certain segments of that cultural background you have to show how and when you met someone, you can't just meet someone and instantly marry them.

They also talked a bit about XFN and recommended a few books. Jonas recommended John Scott's Social Network Analysis. Danah recommended Robin Dunbar's Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language

Google Code, Pricing a Website & 302 Hijack Removal

Mar 18th

Code:
Google Code. kinda funny to see them plugging Mark Pilgrim, who recently authored Butler.
found from SEW

State of the Media:
2005 version

Big Things:
How to Make Big Things Happen with Small Teams PDF - quick slides from SXSW presentation.

How Expensive is a Website?
tips to price a website.

LowJack:
How to deindex a 302 redirect hijack

ABC of SEO:
Brad Talmir reviews The ABC of SEO. I too bought it and have read a chunk of it so far. Thusfar I have similar thoughts as Brad. Good for learning what the jargon means, but I did not like the occassional accusatory overuse of the term black hat SEOers.

For Frequent Flyers, French Courts Hate Google

Words of Wisdom from somewhere in Kentucky:
The more layovers you have the greater your chance of getting screwed.

Grr, I hate Delta!!!

Well at least I got to hang out with Patrick Gavin for a bit tonight. He is always fun to talk with :)

French Court Says Google Ads Smell Bad:
Perhaps those were not the words they used, but Google lost the appeal and they want Google to pay up for trademark related ads.

Yahoo! to Blog, MSN to Sell Ads, World to Get More Exciting

Yahoo! to join blogging fray

MSN adCenter is apparently being tested in France and Singapore first. they will be giving people more demographics and search details than the other engines do. more at
Cnet Asia
Investor's Business Daily

A Few More SXSW Panels

Mar 16th

How to Make Money with Online Ads: SXSW 2005

Mar 16th

Online panel with Philip Kaplan, Jason Calacanis, Gokul Rajaram, Henry Copeland, & Bill Flitter. To get an overview of the size and compare the various blog advertising networks (and Google AdSense)

# of salesmen:

  • Google has a ton of salesmen.

  • BlogAds has 2 salesmen
  • Pheedo has 3 salesmen
  • AdBrite has 6 salesmen. 3 for inqueries and 3 for calling advertisers. AdBright also recently accepted $4 million dollars in VC funding.

service & fees:

  • Google AdSense places contextually relevant ads on your site. While they have the largest distributed ad network they do not state the profit share percentage. Google introduced Smart Pricing a while back, which works to automatically discount the value of a click if they believe the site has low quality traffic. He stated that the publishers were not given a smaller share of the cost per click in these situations, but that the overall cost per click is lowered.

  • BlogAds allows you to sell flat rate ads. They keep 20% of the ad spend.
  • Pheedo allows you to track your RSS feeds and also places contextually relevant cost per click ads in your RSS feed. They keep 35% of the ad spend.
  • AdBrite allows you to sell flat rate targeted ads. They also allow you to sell bulk untargeted ads if you chose to. They provide a great overview of stats including repurchase rate. They keep 25% of the ad spend.

Business models for blog networks:

Jason stated that he expects many publishers to stack the various advertising networks on their sites to achieve maximum profitablility. He stated that when he started his network he wanted to pay bloggers 50% and that did not work. He later said that he gave the bloggers the first $500 and then 50% and then that did not work. Now he stated that he pays bloggers a flat monthly fee. He stated Gawker media pays $2,500 per month. One of the major benefits of blogging is that the time spent editing normal media is not usually required for bloggers.

He stated that at this point the bloggers still usually need to do something else to get to self sustaining but he thought that the business model would allow bloggers to just blog for his network sometime next year.

Jason also stated that for the people who run multi channel blogs that the more profitable channels are used to pay for the less profitable channels. The channels which lose money can still be ran to offer a wider selection or offering to people who like the network. His goal was to run 700 channels. Recently I believe they launched their 75TH channel.

Criticsms for this panel:

  1. For this panel being about making mone with online ads it was a bit excessively focused on blogs. If it was to be exclusively about blogs it should have said that on the schedule.

  2. I can not fathom how there was a panel about making money with online ads and there was exceptionally little coverage given to the concepts of:
    • selling ads directly

    • partnering up with a merchant or creating your own product
    • affiliate programs
    • selling links
    • sponsored posts
  3. I asked about low quality screen scraper sites participating in AdSense and got a fairly canned response from Google AdSense's product manager. He stated that they use technology and people to review sites and disapprove low quality ones. If they do that then they are doing a lousy job.

    Discounting the click prices a bit and still leaving sites in the program still encourages people to cloud up the web with crap sites. Granted a long time ago I made a few crap sites myself, but Google could at least be honest about not caring about that issue.

  4. On that same question Jason Calcanis stated that click fraud is a non issue. He stated that people were just looking to make up ways to find problems with the business model. He then pointed at Google's AdSense product manager and stated click fraud is not a problem, and he of course agreed.

    Funny that this is the complete opposite answer to what George Reyes, the CFO of Google, gave a while back.

    "I think something has to be done about this really, really quickly, because I think, potentially, it threatens our business model."

  5. As a person who has probably bought and sold around $100,000 worth of various ads in the last year I know that fluctuations in bid prices or click volumes can have significant effects on ROI and ad spend.

    Even if the fraud averages out over time it still:

    • tears apart consumer trust

    • increases account management time. If it takes me more time to manage an account then it costs more money for me to manage it, and that means less money is going to Google.
    • causes more inefficiencies in the market
  6. This panel should also give tips on how to increase site exposure and ad click through rate, since those concepts directly relate to ad revenue.

Bonus Rant:
Jason Calcanis used his speaking gig to rip on Gawker media no less than three times.

  • talking about finding Michael Jackson news on Gawker

  • talking about finding a Lindsay Lohan nipple slip on Gawker
  • saying "I read it on Defamer. It must be true."
  • words and tone matter. apparently I was not the only person who noticed Jason using the microphone for the wrong purposes

    post: Sometimes panelists need to be reminded that they are there to talk about the topic at hand, not to trash people they don’t like and then admit they never heard of the topic of the session till they were asked to be in it. Could have been a really interesting session, though.

    comment: i agree. i think two audience questioners put it best when they basically said you ALWAYS have to consider the authenticity, knowledge and motivation of ANY source. After sitting through this session, I question all three for panelist Jason Calacanis.

For a person strong on the blog ethics concpet you would think he could give a speech without doing that crap.


Ana Marie Cox & Al Franken Interviews

Mar 16th

Ana Marie Cox, who writes for Wonkette, was the keynote speech at SXSW interactive on Monday.

She stated that she has been in reporting for 10 years. She is working on a political book about August in DC prior to a presidential election. As far as good political books goes she recommended The Gay Place: Being Three Related Novels and I think she also recommended something by a name similar to Minor Fall Major Lift.

She stated her past work at sites like Suck.com (I think) helped to:

  • make her not care what people thought

  • make her willing to offend all parties
  • make her more edgy and funny

She was asked many questions on the blog vs journalism theme (which appeared strongly this year at SXSW).

She stated that as some bloggers became scalpers they started to turn into the media they critisized...and thus others will replace them.

She also stated that while blogs make some subjects more notable they also make other topics toxic, which prevents them from getting proper coverage in the national media.

She thought that blogs could be a supplement within the media diet, but should not entirely replace media.

A somewhat complete transcript of her keynote interview exists here. Please note that some of the text may be seen as slightly offensive to some.

Al Franken was the next speaker after Ana Marie Cox. He is an author and hosts a left wing radio show on Air America.

For blogs he recommended Daily Kos and Talking Points Memo. He also recommended people read the 9-11 Commission Report.

Al Franken stated that George Lakeoff, author of Don't think of an Elephant, was good at indentifying framing errors but was not strong at comming up with the best solutions to them. He stated that he thought Frank Luntz was amazing at framing debates.

I tried not to get too deep into the political opinions of the people who were interviewed as I doubt it serves much purpose on this particular blog.

How to Inform Design: How to Set Your Pants on Fire

Mar 16th

Panel by Nick Finck, Jeffrey Veen, & Kit Seeborg.

Jeffry Veen shows Haynet as an example of good usability.

He believes that to perform well it is best if he imerses himself in the topic of the clients site. He jots down lots of notes on yellow stickies and covers the wall with the various ideas.

During project definition and research many possible solutions can be quickly eliminated, thereby lowering the overall cost of a project.

To find some of the core ideas behind the sales point of the website Veen collects market research data from people in the real world, often while failing to mention websites, as he feels that the needs overlap. The research ends up averaging out to about $200 per person and most smaller tests usually test about 6 to 8 people.

Veen also feels that analyzing data from server logs also tends to fall off track. Since you are only tracking where people are going wrong with the current system it may not bring about the most effective solution.

I totally agree with this concept. Often people have self fulfilling prophecies about their sites. The first day I talked to a marketer for a major cable and high speed internet provider. He stated that since most of their referals to their website came from direct type in traffic or bookmarks that he did not feel they needed to do SEO. If you don't know what traffic you are missing out on then it is kinda hard to see the need to go after it. This is why only analyzing your referal logs can give you bad or incompelete market data.

Seelong states that it is a good idea to follow the money trail before you get too deep into a project to ensure you will be OK to do whatever you desire. She also likes using survey services such as Survey Monkey.

Review of Daniel H Pink's A Whole New Mind 2005 SXSW Speech

A Whole New Mind
Daniel H Pink, who spent 10 years as a political speech writer, stated that the keys to a good Monday morning speech were brevity, levity, and repitition. He then went on to explain some of the concepts in his upcomming book by the name of A Whole New Mind.

In the past he stated that left brain dominant people have had an advantage. Well paying jobs existed for those who exceled at linear, logical, rational, and analytical types of thinking.

He then went on to state that due to automation, abundance, and Asia that people who exceled in right brain dominant thinking will do well going forward. Those who are empathetic, wholistic, artistic, intuitive, and big picture thinkers will receive more than a fair share of the upcoming windfall of profits.

Abundance:

  • 2 in 3 US own their own home

  • more than 1 car per registered driver in the US
  • self storage is a $17 billion dollar per year industry. (which is more than the motion picture industry

Asia:

  • overhyped short term

  • underhyped long term
  • 1 in 10 US IT jobs will go to India in the next 2 years.
  • 1 in 4 IT jobs will be outsources by 2010.
  • 2010 more people from India will speak English than the number of people doing so in the United States.
  • they work for 1 / 6 of the wages
  • cost of phone connections has moreless reached zero
  • routine jobs (such as scripts and specification sheets will be the first to go)

Automation:

  • "Software is a forklift for the mind." - Tom Peters

  • John Henry beat the machine and died.
  • Kasparov retires from chess.
  • TurboTax
  • YourDiagnosis.com
  • legal fees:
    • uncontested divorice ~ $3,000

    • Complete Case.com $249
    • US Legal Forms.com $14.95

Affluence, technology & globalization
agriculture -> Industry -> Information -> Conceptual (creators and empathizers)

Women have a much larger corpus callosum and are thus better at multitasking.

questions to see if you are in the wrong business

  1. Can someone overseas do it cheaper.

  2. Can a computer do it faster.
  3. Will there be demand for it in an age of abundance.

He adds the buzz words high concept and high touch to explain products and services he believes will do well.

Design, story, sympathy, play, meaning, and empathy are fundamental human attributes which will help people succeed.

He then gave examples of how design could be easy and why it is important.

  • "I see us as being in the art business. Art, entertainment, and mobile sculpture, which, coincidentally, also happens to provide transportation." — Robert Lutz, chairman of General Motors North America

  • Daniel also showed how quickly one can learn to draw by taking a five day course, showing his before and after self portraits.
  • US Army using video games to recruit.
  • Daniel also points to the hokey 2000 Florida state ballot which had many old Jewish ladies voting for Pat Buchanan

Google AdSense Ad Links, Google Local Business Center, The Butler, The Sandbox, New SEO Blogs

Ad Links by Google:
Peter D shows new AdSense change

Google Local Business Center:
wonder if the Yellow pages are feeling yellow? Andrew Goodman has the details. for now US only.

Wonder What Google thinks?
of a free product that strips out their published ads for the user

their response to autolink thusfur has been nothing short of pathetic. nice job Mark.

Ask Jeeves also recently created a FireFox toolbar.

Google Sandbox:
Does the sandbox only affect phrases containing popular words?
found on ThreadWatch

I have recently seen a site under a month old rank for some rather short query sets.

New SEO / SEM Blogs:
maybe not new, but at least new to me.
Got Ads? - seems to be more focused on the ad / ppc side of the search game. have not read it a ton yet but have seen John contribute many good posts on Andrew Goodman's SEM 2.0
Wolf Howl - should have mentioned and found this one a while ago as multiple friends have recommended it to me. his most recent post references Flatland, so it must be a cool blog :)

the conference I am at:
ended today. I could blog about a bunch of stuff but now find myself headed toward the closing party, which I suspect may give me more stuff to blog about.

Resource Rate Meta Blog / Forum

Mar 15th

Resource Rate is the brainchild of Chris Ridings from SearchGuild. Essentially it aims to tap an Alexa type data from those of us willing to add a bookmarklet to FireFox to rate threads we view on various SEO forums.

Currently the system is heavily biased toward the newer / smaller / more hip forums ;)

If a few people join from some of the other forums it could help create a rather comprehensive resource. Editors get a share in the AdSense revenues from the site and it requires little effort beyond automatically sending back your feedback.

More info about Resource Rate on Brad Talmir's blog and ThreadWatch.

Blogs

Mar 15th
posted in

Blog spam is on a sharp rise. These systems will only get more and more sophisticated as time passes. May as well give an interview and celebrate!

So today was the fifth annual Bloggies. Boing Boing won blog of the year for the second year in a row. Gawker media won a bunch of Bloggies too. The guy grabbing the awards for Gawker decided to rotate someone else in after a while.

Blog seems to be the single most used word at SXSW. Blogger just updated their API service and they are throwing a blog party right now - which I am either too tired or too lazy to attend.

This message was posted on a blog ;)

The other word I have heard in a ubiquitous fashion is the word ubiquitous.

MSN Search Ads Beta Release

MSN to start beta testing their own ppc ad network Wednesday, March 16 2005.

Andy Beal thinks it will be better than AdWords and Gary Price states that the official word will come out tomorrow, but that the system may not be fully integrated for 6 to 12 months.

I would just like to say that the MSN ad sales person I spoke to yesterday who told me Overture sometime in 2006 may have not been giving me the best info he could have ;)

Bogus Disclaimers & Self Promotional Postings

Mar 15th

With respect to companies and their home pages showing up as the number one result I would like to point out that large companies who are SEO savvy do not necessarily want to have their home page show up first. Let's take Hewlett-Packard (disclaimer - I work with these guys)

Just found that on a discussion list.

Is it me, or does that lack tact?

At what point do we jump in head first? :)

2005 SXSW Interactive Conference

Mar 14th

Review of the first couple days of the South by SouthWest conference. It does not much relate to search, but if you like other web, design, and interactive media stuff it might be worth glancing at. Friday, March 11

Ducking Bullets and Blowing Up Barriers
Thomas Fulp talked about independant game design. He runs the flash website Newsgrounds and recently launched Alien Hominid. His game looks cool enough that I am debating buying a Playstation 2.

He talked a good amount abut how being independant helped the creative process. I think I am a good bit more creative and efficient without structure and barriers real jobs and employers provide.

Saturday, March 12

The Imagination Challenge: Points of Departure for Design in the Knowledge Age

Alexander Manu talked about how the industrial revolution split work and play. He stated that play is where most of the creative ideas come from. Being a grown up child makes it far easier to expand the limits of technology & creativity.

Yet another presentation that makes me want to go out and buy some more video games. ;)

Ramblings from the Ranch
Chipp Walters and Michael McGar, a couple well known vets from the Austin tech scene talked about some of the trends they have seen in industrial design.

As time passes artificial intelligence and genetic algorithms will become more and more intertwined into the design process. They also stated that one thing that really helped Austin take off in the tech scene is that many of Austin's early industrial design firms openly shared their work and products with one another.

Zeldman gave the Opening Remarks Saturday keynote. His The Daily Report site is rather popular and he also works on A List Apart and The Web Standards Project.

He was a funny speaker who ended his speech with a which one of these things is not like the other game. He emphasized the importance of having fun, meeting people, and social interaction at SXSW. He also brought up Matthew Mullenweg to explain how South by SouthWest helped Matthew create WordPress.

How to Hot-Wire the Creative Process
Curt Cloninger gave what I thought was generally a kick ass presentation. He pointed out some of the ideas he uses and encourages his students to do to think up creative ideas.

a few of the concepts he stressed were

  • people should use processes but they are not universal or one size fits all

  • as designers we are editors. nobody really starts from "scratch"
  • we should all have test sites to practice and learn on. if you do not want to make a formal connection you can annonymously publish it.

a few of the cool resources he pointed out were

He also posted his presentation online.

Blogging Without Borders: Bridging the Digital Content Divide
Panel talked about the effects of weblogs in emerging countries and how they affect social and political conditions.

They talked about raising money after the recent tsunami and how some people crossed large plots of land to bring their ideas to portions of the country which still had web access.

In the Q&A section Hossein Derakhshan, a popular blogger who covers Iran, was asked what was the biggest worries with Iran country going forward. The response was the worry of war destroying the recent buildup in the country. He also stated that the country has some semi democratic processes and the corporate controlled government in the US may not compare all that favorably to it.

He also stated that most of the youth in Iran is not politically active. He said what would really help the country move forward is if they could get a journal of a 50 yr old Iranian who was politically active when he was young and upload those entries to the web each day.

Sunday, March 13

Malcolm Gladwell gave the keynote speech. He primarily discussed some of the rapid cognition and inherant natural predjudice concepts in his book Blink. He has rather strong carisma and is a great public speaker.

Later he was signing books and I got a signed copy of The Tipping Point - a key pickup as it is one of my two favorite books.

We The Media
After Gladwell's keynote Dan Gillmore was the next speaker I watched. He covered concepts which were in his We The Media book and talked about various points in the history of online media where he felt that he noticed a shifting in media.

He pointed to

  • an email a random guy in Florida sent him during a conference - which allowed near real time feedback

  • September 11 coverage - where many pictures came from the web first and vivid accounts such as now I know what a burning city smells like.
  • feedback he found on the Interesting People newsletter
  • coverage of the Challenger space shuttle entry
  • coverage of the tsunami
  • coverage of the 2000 election - and how he was getting great coverage by mixing and matching to roll his own news

He stresses that if you are a journalist no matter what you know your audience will know more than you and that presents a huge opportunity for journalism.

After his speech I think I was the first person to get a signed copy of Dan's book and I think I also overheard him say that his speech will be on IT Conversations.

How to Build Your Brand with Blogs
Panel hosted by Jason Fried, DL Byron, Molly Holzschlag, Jim Coudal, and Robert Scoble.

They stated that blogs are not for everyone and that if you don't have something interesting to say there is no reason to expect people to read it.

One of the most important things for writing is to be authentic.

Scoble ever so slightly talked about SEO (primarily saying that people should use descriptive title tags). He also stated that he uses PubSub to track various post topics for MicroSoft.

In the Q&A section someone asked about clients who may not like you for comments you may make on your blog. Jason said that you should not want clients who would be upset by you writing your opinions. He said he is well known for dropping the f-bomb and the s-bomb and that he you should not change who you are for clients.

Being fake kinda undermines the whole point of the web. With the Long Tail there is a market for just about anything so long as it appears honest and thoughtful.

I got a pre signed version of Jason's book. I wanted to wait and get one signed in person and have him put F-bomb in the autograph.

That is probably a good link building idea for whoever does it first, create a logo for people who support gratuitous amount of F-bombs in their content.

The Web Awards occured after the conference on Sunday. I sat next to a MicroSoft employee and chatted search a small amount. I was stoked to see TheMeatrix amongst the prize winners at the show. Moophius came on the stage and claimed the prize.

After going to NYC and seeing how many people are covering search coming here and seeing that the Interactive portion of this conference probably only has about 1,000 people seems amazing.

With the breadth of the topics covered here and the quality of the speakers and visitors you would expect many more people to be here, but I guess it just goes to show how new the web is. From what I have seen there are few marketers here and I have not seen much discussion about search or broad based marketing, but then again there still are a couple days left in the conference and there is a panel called how to make money with online ads Monday.

Various Web Links

Mar 11th

I still need to shower and pack and be on a plane in less than two hours...I am going to South by Southwest. I just browsed through the old feed reader and posted links to all the stuff that was cool.

If I can get on the web in Texas I will, and if not I will be back Wednesdayish.

I heard they have really big broadband down there. :) Google News:
Customize your Google News. Jeremy Z remains eternally unimpressed by the lack of a login feature.

MSN RSS Aggregator:
Beta Prototype

An aggregator that learns with you:
ChameleonReader. it probably does not seem like that big of a deal right up until you find yourself subscribing to about 150 - 200 blogs.

eBaysList:
eBay launches international Craigslist competitor by the name of Kijiji

Google Cloaking:

We inadvertently showed additional information on product support pages to both Google's site search crawler and Google's main web crawler - Google spokesman Barry Schnitt

So do you think your workers are incompetent or your search algorithms suck? How do you accidentally keyword stuff those titles and not notice it?

More Bill Gates on PR:
British Workers: liars. You got to wonder if he makes the "free culture = communist" and "British worker = liar" type statements just to watch the reactions.

Starting a Company?
How to Start a Startup. Mitch Ratcliff is running a diary about his new company. Ross Mayfield talks about relationships over transactions. 5 years ago the stock market crashed. It seems as I get older the years are going by way faster.

Colorization:
neato found on Blogoscoped

Audio:
Search is a Platform
Negotiating Trust

Why Blogging is Good for You... Blogosphere, Blogosphere, Blogosphere hehehe

Mar 11th
posted in

Quote a friend sent me

The logic of worldly success rests on a fallacy: the strange error that our perfection depends on the thoughts and opinions and applause of other men! A weird life it is, indeed, to be living always in somebody else's imagination, as if that were the only place in which one could at last become real!
- Thomas Merton

Having a frequently updated website makes it easier to live that fallacy.

and here are some great tips for Creating Great Online Content (OJR Wiki found from NickW)

Vic Johnson

Mar 10th

It is sometimes hard rewriting a post when your view of a topic entirely changes.

Vic Johnson and I had a misunderstanding which was quickly resolved. From our conversation he seemed like a swell chap who was willing to do what he could to work things out.

We all make mistakes, and I could have perhaps pursued the issue from a better angle. Thanks to everyone who linked to this post and thanks to Vic for being swift and courteous. If you want to learn more about Vic Johnson click the link to visit his site.

Random Non Search Stuff...

Mar 10th

Pre Sell Pages - a Better Way to Rent Sitewide Links

Mar 10th

Not a new concept to SEO or marketing here, but it is not talked about that often as compared to other linking techniques.

Instead of buying sitewide links it may be better to buy an advertising pages hosted on other sites. Link to that page from many pages on that same site (which in a sense is like pointing a sitewide link on that site at that advertising page). Link popularity flows more naturally within a domain than it does across domains.

Write the pre sell page using appropriate page title, header, and subheaders. From the pre sell page deep link to various locations on your site with descriptive anchor text.

If you make the pre sell page well and the site you are advertising on is strong enough it gives you another opportunity to rank well. In fact, if your market is exceptionally competitive the authority of the site you are advertising on may allow that page to rank even if your site is not strong enough to rank.

By placing pre sell pages you do not need to worry about getting dinged for having too many (or too high of a percentage) of sitewide links with similar anchor text.

Some people also link off to other authoritative sites on their pre sell pages to help cluster their site in with other related resources.

It is common in affiliate marketing for affiliates to host pages on their sites which warm up prospective clients prior to selling supplies on another site. If done correctly pre sell pages can have a positive effect on both conversion and SEO.

Buying Links to Ban, Discount Directory Submission, Competition Equalizer

Buying Links to Ban a Competing Site:
Rumour has it that with the latest Google update a few people have started in on this practice...buying sitewide keyword rich links to help their competitors get blacklisted...surely SEO is going to get a bit more ugly here soon ;)

Directory Submission:
150 directories for $99. Not that long ago the price was $30 so there must be decent demand.

I tried the 50 blog for $10 package for a few sites a while ago, but something about that price makes me feel like the service quality has to be limited.

Price points also help people associate a value with the service, so even if the service is decent the person doing it should charge more to make people think they are getting something of value, which generally appears not to be the case right now.

I do a good bit of directory submissions from time to time. I usually submit to about the same number of directories as that package except I do both free and paid directories. I do not mind paying for links because it means that the directory is more likely to have a functional business model and the links will not go away as quick.

Directory registration is exceptionally effective in MSN and Yahoo! right now.

Competition Equalizer:
other than having a different name what the hell does this software do that AdWords Analyzer does not? Wouldn't it have been better to release any additional AdWords related features as an upgrade to the AdWords Analyzer program?

Google Caught Cloaking, More NYC SES Review

Mar 7th

You say Potato, I say Cloaktato:
Google caught cloaking?

More SES Coverage:
from the man with yellow shoes.

Tim Mayer at the Indexing Summit

Tim then brings up a remarkable new tagging system that Yahoo! is proposing and would like to see the other engines support. It’s a method to specify the separate content blocks of a page, so the search engines don’t need to conduct block-level analysis in their algorithms. The tags look like this:

  • <div class=”content-public”>…</div> - indicating the content is publicly created and not monitored by the site owner
  • <div class=”content-nav”>…</div> - indicating that this is internal navigation content for the site
  • <div class=”content-default”>…</div> - indicating that this is the primary content area of the page
  • Tim notes that these tags can also be applied to link attributes.
  • Link Building

    Matt Cutts say that just because a link is shown in the link command doesn’t mean it carries any weight at all

    Greg Boser on Advanced Link Building

    Greg calls the sandbox, the “litter box” and suggests that websites that stick out as being over-optimized will generally fall into the trap. He says that in order to bypass it, he simply builds a subdomain on an existing and well-ranking site, then 301 re-directs to the new URL. He warns against getting too granular for subdomains and says to try to use a general domain rather than a specifically themed site.

    ROI Testing is a new bid management / ROI tracker tool in beta test created by MakeMeTop.

    Conferences & Consuming Media: Too Much?

    Mar 7th

    So right now I am up at 8 am on a Monday from the night before. I came back from SES NYC Thursday night and just got done catching up with my 100 or so blogs and half dozen or so forums I track.

    While looking through blogs I noticed that I just missed the Online Social Networks conference.

    Last night I just bought my ticket and Friday I will be flying out to Austin, TX for the South by Southwest interactive festival. While surfing further I noticed an overlap with O'reilly Emerging Technology conference.

    From April 11-12 there is the Search Engine Meeting

    From April 25-27 there is Ad Tech

    From May 27th - 29th there is ThreadWatch. While there you may want to stay by for SES London on June 1st & 2nd.

    From June 21th-24th there is WebmasteWorld

    From June 23-25 there is Gnomedex

    From August 2nd-5th there is SES San Jose

    I was joking with a friend and we figured that there were about 30 conferences you should go to each year, and it seems like soon that will be the reality.

    I think some people have traded in their regular jobs to be traveling salesmen / lead generation / speakers at various conferences. I can't see myself ever trying to be too much of a salesman (or a public speaker), but the conferences sure are fun and there are a ton of them.

    Someone should write an ebook about working (or optimizing the output from) the conference scene ;)

    What conferences do you like?

    PPC Price Bubble, New Link Exchange Network, More SEO Tools

    There is no PPC pricing bubble

    New link exchange network. seems like a hybrid between the Digital Point's COOP link exchange network and some other link exchange sites.
    What link exchange software or programs do you find useful?

    More free webmaster tools. Google Dance tool and others.

    ACCOONA Search Engine Review

    Mar 7th

    ACCOONA gave away a car at the NYC SES show and since then I have seen multiple forum owners complain about them spamming their forums.

    Even if they were not the ones doing it, the complete lack of participation in those conversations is a bad thing for their search engine.

    Not to mention that the ads are in the left rail and when I clicked an organic search result link in the right rail it went through Overture. At least I had a good laugh when I saw clicking on a link to my other site sent me to this one and cost me 50 cents.

    Whether or not you actively participate in communities if you are above radar people will find a way to create hate threads about you. People tend to look much more credible when they show up than when they ignore them.

    You gotta wonder if the $30,000 they spent on the car and booth would have been better spent actively participating in their marketplace. Tim Mayer and Matt Cutts do.

    Yahoo! Updates

    Mar 7th
    posted in

    Google Updates

    Mar 7th

    Sleazy Lying Long Nosed Marketing Scum (and other observations)

    Mar 7th

    Social Networking, Copyright, & Economics

    Mar 7th

    Lawrence Lessig - The Comedy of the Commons (1.61 hr audio)

    Mitch Ratcliff is to launch a social network mapping product.

    Online Social Networks conference 2005 - not sure how I missed it but it looked cool.
    New Media Ecosystem Flowchart
    Deception Detection Techniques for Journalism

    Secrets of Journalism Success. Jon Stewart style (mov file)

    Berkshire Hathaway 2004 Annual Report (PDF) - not related to search, but probably some good investing and economic tips.

    Adding Links to Other Sites is Scuzzy

    Mar 7th

    A Few New Interesting SEO Tools...

    Mar 6th

    The Best SEO Tip is to Do Nothing? or maybe not...

    Mar 6th

    The Best SEO Tactic is to do Nothing at all?

    Not true. Google may be slow to rank a site. They may even temporarily or permanently dump websites for aggressive promotion.

    While many people are still stuck on the mindset that Google is search, there are many other sources of traffic. Some sites get banned by Google and lose less than 10% of their traffic.

    MSN and Yahoo! are fairly easy to manipulate right now, and Google can only throw out a limited amount of baby with the bathwater before their search results become irrelevant - causing them to lose market share.

    When Google talks about how PageRank uses the uniquely democratic web blah blah blah... they fail to mention how they sometimes are willing to dump a million websites to plug a hole. There is nothing democratic about that.

    Many of the people who are going after algorithmic exploits are focused on conversion. If a site has a 30-40% conversion rate there is no legitimate way a search engine can state that they filtered it out to provide a good user experience.

    Yahoo! and MSN seem to understand that. Google seems a bit behind the curve on that concept though.

    Google got ahead because they placed user experience ahead of profit. As they twist about figuring out how to extract profits from the value they created - they should recognize why and how they built that wealth - and realize it is just as easy to lose it.

    Free Market Research Data

    Mar 4th

    The first person who responded to my free Google AdWords coupon post stated that they are currently ranking well but if their rankings ever drop then they can use the $100 AdWords coupon.

    Why would anyone want to wait to collect free market research data? If you don't participate then you don't know if you are missing out on profits.

    The longer you wait the more competitive the marketplace gets. The sooner you test the quicker you may be able to create another profit stream.

    [added: they replied that they were near full capacity. when that problem occurs it is sometimes a sign to start charging more :) ]

    More market research data from SES:

    • Keyword Discovery - has a free trial and paid subscription service.

    • New SERP EyeTracking Study. I believe Gord Hotchkiss also stated that in most engines 70% of traffic goes to organic listings and 30% goes to paid listings. In Google he said the split is closer to 85 / 15.
    • Shop.org research showed an average online retail conversion rate of 1.8%
    • Eric Ward offers link strategy consultations
    • Performics 2004 PPC Click Through Rate data:
      • #1 ~ 3.5%

      • #2 to #4 ~ 1.5%
      • #5 on down ~ 0.75%
    • HitWise "bath tub" searches
      • Google 48%

      • Yahoo! 34%
      • MSN 11%
    • HitWise userbase skew
      • Google - male, higher income

      • Yahoo! - younger, lower income
      • MSN - female, older
    • HitWise share of US search market
      • Google 55.5% (grew 24% in 2004)

      • Yahoo! 31%
      • MSN 7% (grew 10% in last year. grew 13% in last 4 months)
      • Ask Jeeves 4%
    • Nielson Netratings January 05 share of search market stats (excluding searches which lead to internal pages)
      • Google 47%

      • Yahoo! 21%
      • MSN 13%
      • AOL 5%
      • other 14%
      • Google has 29.7 million searchers which only use Google
      • Yahoo! has 13.7 million searchers which only use Yahoo!
      • MSN has 12.2 million searchers which only use MSN
      • G + Y overlap 18.3 million
      • G + M overlap 13.2 million
      • Y + M overlap 5.1 million
      • 9.7 million use all three
      • 3% of searches are local, though Google says more people use local search than Froogle
    • JupiterResearch
      • domestic average CPC to go from 36 cents in 2004 to 40 cents in 2005 up to 47 cents by 2009

      • domestic paid search expected to grow about 600 million a year from now to the end of the decade (from 3.2 billion this year to 5.5 billion in 2009)
      • local search is expected to grow slower than other forms of search marketing

    How do I Become an SEO?

    Mar 4th

    This year was my third SES conference. I think while eating lunch 2 of the 4 days people described my ebook and site to me without knowing I was me, which must mean I am getting a good bit of market saturation. :)

    Many of the people who talked to me at past SES events either were SEOs or wanted to know how to hire one. Recently my inbox and at SES a much higher percent of my inqueries were people asking "how do I become an SEO?"

    I have been a bit of a branding whore so it would seem that over time I would get more questions like that, but I think a ton of people have recently been entering the SEO market. The Google IPO and the like brought many new faces to the field.

    Some companies are still out to lunch though. The last day of the conference I met a person who read my ebook and wanted to chat. He was the single employee webmaster / programmer / backend database / web marketer for a few nationwide stores which were doing over $5,000,000 a year in sales from one of the websites.

    It would make sense that a person working on salary doing all that work may want to go it alone. If I were him I would.

    The general things I think that can help people who want to jump into doing SEO are:

    • Start a site about something that interests you. Get involved in that community.

    • Your first site may totally suck. Mine did. and the second and third did too... the beauty of the web is that nothing is permanent and you rapidly learn from your mistakes.
    • Do not be afraid to be wrong or make a mistake.
    • Go after a niche. A large part of the reasons my first site sucked was because I was a bad writer and bad designer. An equally large reason my early sites sucked was because they were too broad in scope.
    • If you are unsure of how to niche out your idea look for feedback from blogs and forums and Google Groups. If you do create a large site you will be able to break out many of the ideas into their own smaller sites.
    • Build content on that site using a regular human voice. Try to build an audience by participating in other communities.

    • Within any channel or site limit the number of choices you give people to make it easy for them to do what you want them to. If you have another product idea or target audience you may want to set up another website to sell it.
    • Read a ton of literature about topics that interest you. If you know a ton about a topic it is far easier to crank out a ton of content about it.
    • Subscribe to RSS feeds of topical blogs.
    • Don't worry about keyword density. Write pages that are focused on usability and conversion. Use headings, subheadings, and the like to work the appropriate words into the content.
    • Use descriptive anchor text. Use many variations.
    • If you sell SEO services most people who want to buy SEO services want services which can not be done at the prices they are willing to pay unless you do things that will damage their brand. Stay away from bad customers. If you can create passive income streams they will pay you just as much as bad customers do while requiring far less work.
    • It is better to have a few strong partnerships than to spread yourself too thin working for a ton of customers. A good way to find some customers might be to talk to local merchants you know and trust and do profit share partnerships with them.
    • Price points target your audience. If you are the cheapest on the market you will find the people who can't afford good products or are not interested in fully committing. About 5 months ago I doubled the price of my ebook and get less refund requests and customers who are more serious and more friendly.

    Once you understand how to do well within one social network on the web you can parallel that to other fields that may interest you.

    Yahoo! Netrospective, Lycos Powered by Ask Jeeves, Political Linking

    Mar 4th

    1 decade down:
    Yahoo! Netrospective: 10 years, 100 moments of the Web

    Switch:
    Lycos now powered by Ask Jeeves

    the $35,000 link:
    Bradley Smith says that the freewheeling days of political blogging and online punditry are over. I will likely be moving or going to jail before I pay taxes for linking to other sites.

    $100 Google AdWords Coupons

    Mar 3rd

    Update: The AdWords coupons are all gone, but I still got some coupon codes for Microsoft adCenter / Bing Ads.

    When I first started going to SES conferences Google gave out $300 vouchers, but some vulchers would loot them.

    Google has since

    • lowered the coupon amount to $100
    • stated that the coupons are only good for new accounts
    • watched the coupons more closely

    I still like trying to grab the coupons for the game of it. Its the same reason people who already read my ebook try to win the free ones I give away in my newsletters.

    A friend of mine tried grabbing a few and got caught. He went back later when that girl had her back turned and another girl caught him and remembered him as being the same guy. I went back 4 times and never got caught or questioned.

    If you are new to AdWords and would like to give it a try be one of the first two people to email me with "Free $100" as the subject line. I will also give away some coupons in my next newsletter.

    Here are some more current AdWords coupons for $75 to $100 in free ad clicks. You can get a free $75 AdWords coupon here (or here or here or here) ... many options linked, as some of their coupon offers expire over time & we update this page periodically. The Google Partners Program also offers coupons to consultants managing AdWords accounts.

    SES Parties

    Mar 3rd

    At the SES conference there are many parties. Yahoo! and Google both held parties which were rather open. I think some of my friends who did not even attend the conference were at the Yahoo! party and I guess Jason Briggs or someone like that was at the Google party.

    Ask Jeeves held an invite only party.

    MSN held a party where many people thought you only needed to have a conference badge to get in. You drive across town in a cab for 20 minutes to get turned away at the door.

    With all the money MSN is spending on marketing it is rather stupid for them to turn people away. I am not ranting stating that I deserve a free party just that its bad marketing to turn people away like they did.

    The parties are often as good as the conferences because on top of being able to do social networking you can learn a ton about how various people market their products and services.

    This conference was awesome for meeting people. I can't even name all the people who I got to hang out with, but thanks to everyone for all the fun.

    Yahoo! at NYC SES

    Mar 2nd
    posted in

    So I am getting ready to go to the Yahoo! party tonight. Yahoo! has been busy.






      Email Address
      Pick a Username
      Yes, please send me "7 Days to SEO Success" mini-course (a $57 value) for free.

      Learn More

      We value your privacy. We will not rent or sell your email address.