Review of Rich Dad Poor Dad

Aug 18th

In Rich Dad Poor Dad Robert T Kiyosaki talks about the differences between those who are wealthy and those who are not, stating that society is sorely lacking in financial intelligence.

Many people in the middle class get stuck in debt because they buy liabilities which prevent them from saving for assets. Expensive mortgages from a bigger house, higher car costs from larger and more expensive cars, having kids, and other similar incremental expenses that come with age perpetually keep people fighting just to get by, even as they receive pay raise after pay raise. If people slow consumption to pay off debt and allow their income to help build assets compounding interest can help them.

Robert also talks about paying yourself first, a concept where you make yourself save money and stash it away before you pay off all your bills. The need to pay the bills can be a force to help you create additional income, although sometimes I think the added stress may not be a good thing for some.

Robert also suggests that money spent on learning / investing in your brain is the single best investment you can possibly make.

As a warning, some of his specific investing examples may require strapping on the wading boots, as noted by John T. Reed. Some statements, such as lose big when you lose, might not be too well in tune with reality for good investment advice for most people. Also Robert T Kiyosaki was not well known until he got together with a group of multi level marketers, which makes some people question whether or not he only got wealthy by / after telling others how to do so.

If you focus completely on the money some of his advice is exceptionally shallow, but some of the general ideas are good stuff.

Review of Jose Canseco's Juiced

Aug 5th

Not really a SEO related book, but I used to watch a ton of baseball and sold baseball cards in high school, so I was interested in reading Jose Canseco's Juiced.
Steroids:
Jose said he had arthritis, scoliosis, and degenerative disc disease, and believes he would have never been able to play at the major league level without steroids.

Juiced presents steroids as the way forward for professional sports - and life for many people in general - saying that used properly they make for better athletes and a better life.

I do not know as much about the subject as he does, but I am not so confident he can predict the side effect of steroid use after many generations. Does it eventually cause higher occurances of cancer, increased violoence, or other diseases?

He also talks about how mentally stable he is and talked about how he had a mental breakdown when he was in jail. Some drugs or health supplements don't really screw with you really bad until you stop taking them, which sometimes is forced to happen due to economic reasons, manufacturer profitability, or personal / social reasons.

Jose also slightly bashes other drug usage, which makes his approval of steroids sound a bit hypocritical.

Inferiority Complex:
He goes into his background about being somewhat shy and reserved and not having a high self image, particularly because no matter what he did his father was hard on him (citing how his dad asked him what happened in his other at bats when he called his dad to tell him he hit 3 home runs in a June 1994 baseball game with the Texas Rangers). He stated that many media members took his shyness as arrogence.

Racism:
Jose felt he was getting picked on frequently because he was a minority (especially in the minors as a latin baseball player in the 1980's) and he didn't know how to handle the media well. Even mentioning that he got pulled over going 202 miles an hour and got no ticket, it seems he generally forgot many of the breaks he did get.

Corruption:
He also talks about some of the general coruption that surrounds baseball, stating things like:

  • some players cheating on their wives and naming many players who also used steroids

  • "And, given how quiet he was about the subject at the time, I was pretty surprised years later when Bush actually raised the issue of steroids in his January 2004 State of the Union address. By then, it seemed to me that a lot of people, Bush included, were trying to turn this into a witch hunt - even though they themselves had played a role in helping move the steroid revolution forward, by giving a berth to me and other steroid-using players during my heyday, and benefiting from our enhanced performance." (p. 134)
  • "Believe me, if as an athlete, you don't do charity events for umpires, they start opening up the strike zone on you as a hitter." (p 162)
  • "The funny part is, there might have been a few players who didn't even know what was in the shots they were getting. I never pulled any of them aside and asked, "Did you know he's injecting you with steroids?" I just assumed they all knew, but looking back I am not so sure. There may have been a few who were so out of it that they weren't even aware of what was going on." (p. 211)

Good Old Boys Club:
He talked about the good old boys club and how guys like Cal Ripken, Mark McGwire, and Alex Rodriguez got a free pass while guys like Albert Belle and him were left in the cold.

Passing the Buck:
When Jose got into baseball many people used speed (baseball drug usage goes way back), but over time much of that drug usage shifted to steroids.

After the 1994 strike baseball was in the hurt locker, so Jose believed the owners did not care about the spreading use of steroids because they were helping to revive the game. Eventually baseball grew more popular but player salaries started to get out of hand and then the owners flipped their position to market steroids as a huge problem. Jose said he was one of the first people to be blackballed from baseball for steroids.

Stuck in the Past:
He also seems to focus a bit much effort on what might have been, talking about being 37 homers shy of the 500 club, getting traded away from the league leading A's, and about he got robbed by the 1994 strike in what would have been a career year, stating that he would have liked to see what the Rangers could do in the off season. Sure they were leading the AL West, but they were an embarrassing 10 games under 500.

On the last page of the book he says "Do I think about the disappointments I've had in life? Not much." which is something you would not get by reading the rest of it.

Why I felt Mentioning this Book is Relevant to this site:
With the one off controvercy associated with writing the book many people will blow off Jose as writing it as a plublicity stunt or revenge tactic, perhaps even saying that he was just whining.

If he fully believed in what he is saying, imagine how many links it would build if he had a related website and perhaps a regularly updated journal about the topics covered in the book.

Ratting out others does little to build credibility and tell the story...it just makes him look like a whiner.

The more controvercial a story is the easier it is to spread. Sure a book can help tell a story, but if you really want to change public perception you have to give them a reason to keep coming back to you to keep hearing more of your story.

Now I am not saying he should say "I just injected a load of powerdose deca and blah blah blah..." but certainly there is something he can mention other than what seemed to be a bit self centered and self serving of a book.

Rafael Palmerio, who Canseco cited as a juicer, recently failed a steroid test. Lots of ditto head sports writers are writing contentless rehash opinion articles. Imagine how much traffic Canseco's site would be getting if he gave his take on the story.

The regular news media is a goldmine for SEO, especially when they are driving such targeted traffic.

Also, as far as the good old boys club goes, that happens in any job or social network. In the Navy I was absolutely not part of the good old boys club. At my second job, as a middle level manager, I quicly was, but that was perhaps out of dire need and the fact that my boss was not willing to show people respect I usually was. When I first got on the web I absolutely was not in any sort of a club. Now though some of the people who in the past took time out of their day to send me hate mail link into my sites. Whenever you start off in a new network it takes a while to earn your trust level, and you have to put up with a ton of crap off the start.

Not too long ago I asked Dan Thies "What were the biggest surprises that came out of writing books about SEO?" and he replied:

The biggest surprise was how much hostility came out of the SEO people. They didn't like my sales letter, and figured me for just another marketer. I had to do some things to make my point, like pushing my sales site up into the rankings for "search engine optimization," which was pretty easy to do, but the "optimized" copy didn't sell as well.

When you jump into a new field you can think everyone is evil or recognize hard times and overwork / underpaid as a passing phase and part of breaking into any field. After a while things change if you work hard and want them to, but if you think everyone is out to get you then you can make life much harder on yourself, as Jose gracefully did.

Books Worth Reading

Jul 30th

WebmasterWorld has a [subscription required] thread titled What books have impacted your life the most?.

Many people recommended Rich Dad Poor Dad, however it was also mentioned that it's author might have a somewhat sketchy story. I find that critique to be amazingly in depth and link worthy.

If you can get people to buy what you are selling it does not matter that it could be based on pure garbage, illusionary success marketed hard enough becomes self reinforcing.

As people get more successful their departure from reality grows larger. The truth is that some people enjoy being lied to, and so people embelish more and more:

In his book The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America, historian Daniel J. Boorstin said, “[P.T.] Barnum’s great discovery was not how easy it is to deceive the public, but rather how much the public enjoyed being deceived.”

While some people love being lied to, others love debunking. If the market for a person, place, company, or idea grows large enough there is a huge market in discounting it. At the same time, as people write more they leave a longer trail of facts that can be cross compared.

As their popularity (and link popularity) grow so will the link popularity of their biggest debunkers (so long as their research and debunking is done well).

I am heavily weighting the idea of creating physical books and whether or not to sell them on other sites. John T. Reed, the above mentioned debunker, has wrote a book called How to Write, Publish, and Sell Your Own How-To Book.

His site looks like rubbish, and his sales copy says:

The Internet changes everything. Previously, selling your own book without the help of distributors and book stores was difficult. But with the Internet, you just put up a Web site and the orders flow in continuously. Typically, you will sell your first copy within hours of your Web site being known to the search engines.

If the content is full of B/S then it is sure to be a link popularity hit creating a review page debunking the debunker :)

From personal experience I certainly did not sell my first copy within hours, and that sounds like a load of crap (unless hours means hundreds or thousands of hours, you already have a strong brand, or know how to do pay per click marketing well), but the book might have some useful content in it.

I have actually wrote a couple ebooks, and have deleted the other one because I did not want it to interfere with the branding of this site. I did sell a few of the other ebook, but not too many. Understanding a bit about current search algorithms I can tell you that most websites will not sell their first ebook in the first hour. I didn't sell many until I built trust and brand value.

Some other sites selling search related ebooks claim hundreds of sales a week, (recently updating sales volumes from 10,000 to 30,000) but few sites are as heavily trafficed as ThreadWatch and SearchEngineWatch. In the last two days I got mentions on both of those and Danny Sullivan even mentioned my ebook in a podcast and my volume is still nowhere remotely close to that 200 per week rate.

I probably should write and distribute a few more articles, and do some more pay per click marketing. I have also been seeing a number of dictionary type sites used to drive traffic. Maybe I will also learn a few good sales tips from John T. Reed.

I have been hoping to create a few SEO tools and am doing many interviews to help gather SEO war stories from some of the best minds in search. That will help broaden the collective voice of my ebook. Later today I will post an interview of Jim Boykin from WeBuildPages, and I still want to interview a couple dozen more people. Eventually the interviews will get formatted into a bonus download with the ebook.

With the recent mentions my sales have went way up, but that certainly does not make my book any better than it was last week. I still can make it much better. My end goal is to continue to learn more about search and writing to where my book could hopefully end up on some of the books that have impacted your life most type threads. A lofty goal no doubt, but I still am having a lot of fun and learning a bunch :)

SEO Book Review, Evolution of Search Engine Watch, Ask Jeeves PPC, & Widgets

Much of this post was stolen from NickW ;)

SEO Book Review:
NickW reviews SEO Book. That is about the most thoughtful review I have seen of any book or software or anything like that in a long time. Thanks for the killer review and suggestions Nick!

Danny Sullivan:
Now has a show on Webmaster Radio and posts daily archives on Search Engine Watch.

Fairly interesting to see that in the last year and a half Search Engine Watch changed from a site that was primarily driven by articles and email newsletters to a site that also has a forum, a blog, and a daily podcast.

It is easy to get stuck with a format because it is easy to do what worked in the past, but the fact that Danny's publishing mechanisms evolve so much should be a reminder to those in strong market positions afraid of changing formats. GrayWolf suggested that I make ebook updates available via RSS and others have asked why I have not made a printed version yet.

Ask Jeeves PPC:
Ask Jeeves to sell their top 3 ad positions internally, if they will make more cash from them than selling Google AdWords ads (factoring in both CPC and clickthrough rate). They will also syndicate these ads onto other sites including Dogpile, Search.com, and Search123.

Surely some of the quicker selling ads will be travel related ones, since IAC has a ton of potential selling ad space across it's various properties including Expedia, Hotels.com, and the like.

Widgets:
Yahoo! owns the market.

With search being so profitable you can bet that niche companies which create products that make it easy to access data or may drive traffic are going to be bought up quickly and have their products given away.

Office Space & Everything Bad is Good for You

Jul 12th

Normally I look at weekends as a chance to catch up & get ahead, but that is a recipe for burnout. This weekend I spent a good amount of time watching shows like Office Space, and appreciating taking time out to do nothing. I also bought a killer grill which my roommate has already cooked on twice. :)

I just got done reading Steven Berlin Johnson's Everything Bad is Good for You, which is a book built around the thesis that modern culture is making us smarter. He covers video games, TV, & the internet as mediums which are helping us stretch the limits of our cognitive facilities.

Video Games:

  • Most people do not read the manual to learn how to play games. They usually grab a controller, probe, learn, analyze, and reprobe. While not being as in depth as the scientific process Johnson states he believes video game play can help people learn the scientific process.

  • Video games can help teach pattern recognition.
  • Some simulation games, such as the Sims, also can help children learn about some social and economic issues.
  • Learning to work your way through video games can help boost your confidence levels.

For a long time I had given up on new video games, viewing anything beyond the original MarioKart as a distraction, but I recently have started playing a few of the 3D platform games and my roommate said I was picking it up rather quickly.

Television:

  • Television has grown increasingly complex over the past 30 years.

  • Most of the most successful shows are those which mentally challenge the viewers the most. Some shows are multithreaded and intentionally leave information out, or require prior knowledge from episodes gone by.
  • Reality television can help people understand social graphs and read people. Few faces show more emotion than the face of a person who has just wasted 6 months in an artifical environment to be told they are not good enough.

I still do not watch TV, but apparently I missed out on over 40 home runs yesterday.

Internet:

  • it force to use new interfaces

  • it provides new feedback channels on a platform to participate
  • helps give feedback on other media types to allow them to be more complex. Some people even layer other media types.
    Examples:

    • the NYT recently published an article about a website providing free extensions to Grand Theft Auto

    • Amazon.com reviews for Everything Bad... including this somewhat random one "I wanted to buy this book, and I saw it had a 4 star average, so I decided to read all 10 reviews. Only one problem--add the stars from the 10 reviews and you get 26 stars. That's an average of 2.6 stars, far from the stated 4 star average review."
    • this blog post & most of this site in general

I am a big fan of the internet, as it is my livelihood. My roommate thinks I am crazy sometimes when I laugh at the screen, but sometimes I really am LOL. hehehe

Overall Impression of Book:
I felt that the first 140 pages of the book were not that exciting & captivating, but found the last 60 pages where he justifies society getting smarter exceptionally interesting.

Classroom Learning:
There are countless studies and complaints about school budgets getting spread thin and classroom learning falling off. I have not studied the topic in depth, but from first hand experience I did not jive well with the classroom environment because I found it understimulating or uncomprehendible.

Understimulating Examples:

  • In second grade my teacher would rip up my math homework because I would do it in class before she taught me how to do it.

  • In 4TH grade we played around the world, where whoever said the answer to an arithmetic question fastest got to keep playing and go against the next person. I won so many times in a row that I was actually getting bood and almost everyone in the class cheered when another kid beat me.
  • After 5TH grade they had me take the college level entry exam because I was good at math. For some reason in 8TH grade they started me out in slow learners math. I never slept more in another class ever. As they advanced me through math classes that year I slept less.
  • In high school I would usually do my math homework before I was taught how to. One time another kid named Aaron was a year ahead of me in math. He had a test the same day as I did and both of us were sick the day of our exams. The next day our teacher was sick and the substitute teacher gave me the wrong exam. By cross referencing the test problems and typing random keys into my calculator I derived the algorithms needed to solve problem types I had never seen in my life.

Math was a subject I excelled in, and yet somehow I went from taking the college entry exam because of math to being in slow learners class in only a few years. Even though I was decent at math the high school example was a better example of applying video game learning techniques to the classroom than of learning from the classroom.

Uncomprehendible Examples:

  • I have always been a horrific speller. I probably read or write over 10,000 words a day and still am bad at it. I never dreamed I would read and write as much as I do today, but it did not do much for my self esteem when I was younger to tear me up on the subject. I probably could have honestly used slow learners classes for that subject.

  • I had bad vision growing up and did not know it until half way through high school. One of my 7TH grade teachers chewed me out and called me a liar when I said I could not see the questions on her dusty chalk board from the back row.

If you understimulate a child or ask them to do things far beyond their ability they are going to get little to nothing out of it. Our current education system does not even attempt to cater to students skills, desires, and shortfalls.

My roommate, currently in college, enjoys his elective classes most and hates many of the required classes he is forced to take (many of which are off topic, uninteresting, and / or understimulating). Steve Jobs said he didn't get to start dropping in on the classes he wanted to take until after he dropped out of the courses he was required to take.

As other avenues and technologies advance at faster and faster rates and there becomes a wider variety of forces pulling at our attention the classroom will continue to become more irrelevant until the format can shift to accomidate a wider spectrum of students.

Race to the Bottom? or Top?
Although IQ tests have inherent cultural biases you can wipe those out by looking at the population as a whole. While people complain about schools it appears that some non school related learning activities caused the Flynn Effect, which shows IQ rates raising in many countries at about 3 points per decade. Those aspects of learning not directly related to school are growing quickly throughout the general populous in developed countries.

Steven believes much of the Flynn Effect is due to what he calls the Sleeper Curve, which points to how media is changing toward an ever increasingly complex landscape which requires more of it's viewers to watch or participate in.

The Business of Syndication:
Johnson seems to cover a good bit of marketing & business model information for writing books that seem like they are about other topics. For example, with television and movies there has been a dynamic shift in financial viablility of a show based on it's replayability.

Cable syndication and DVD sales means that businesses have the potential to make far more money by creating products that people would want to watch over and over again. To pull that off the movie or show needs to challenge the viewers mind. By including many subtle plotlines and leaving out information shows like The Simpsons can become even funnier after viewing it a second or third time.

Flawed Logic?
One area I disagree with Steven on is in the idea that a competitive marketplace requires vendors to create more interactive media that requires more from it's audience. All you need to profit is a targetable marketplace. As Fox News has proved, you can do that by creating overtly biased channels.

I am starting to go a bit off topic of a book review, but am sorta trying to tie it into the web stuff a bit more.

The Value of Fan Sites:
Not all consumers are created equal. Those who are the most opinionated are also those who are most likely to express themselves and ensure others see their opinions.

Brains like to be challenged. By creating something that is so complex that people feel there should be a guide for it you are more likely to create a product that will have many fan sites.

Finding a variety of opinions is easy. Just Google it [please do not punch me for using that word as a verb]. The key to doing well is to get the right kind of people to find you. If you can create a challenge for the brain and get people to notice it someone will build a business model out of it.

Extension of Attention Markets:
What happens when the bulk of people view things by making micropayments to Google?

In the same way videos, TV shows, and video games need to be rewatchable or replayable to be successful websites need to be rewatchable or replayable to be linkable. SearchEngineWatch, the most trusted brand in the search marketing space, added forums and a blog to their site in the last year or so to help extend out their brand and keep their site relevant in the ever changing attention space of the web medium.

Business and Feelings:

"feelings" and business don't really seem to go hand in hand.

- Jeff Molander, affiliate marketing guru

I disagree. Good businesses know how to make people feel good about doing what the businesses want them to do. Bad businesses ignore feelings.

People are highly predictible and the web makes activity easy to track as well, but if you treat them as more than statistics over time that will snowball. If people feel good about buying your stuff then they are more likely to link and tell their friends about you.

Review of Seth Godin's All Marketers are Liars - and He Better Comment on this Post if He is Tracking How His Stories Spread

Jun 3rd

All Marketers are Liars in Seth Godin's latest marketing book based around story telling. On to the review All Marketers are Liars is a book which is marketed as marketers being liars, but immediately switches to the fact that consumers
tell themselves lies to justify their actions. Marketers who can find the bias and lies people tell themselves and create a story around fitting that worldview can make large sums of profit.

After sleeping on junk beds for about a decade I recently bought an expensive bed. I paid more than I had to because I wanted the story. I was buying more than a bed.

It is sexy to make worldview changing products and stories, but it is
usually easier to extract profits by making your story fit a known
worldview. People tend to ignore things that do not fit their
worldview and more frequently remember things that do. The quality of
a product or service is frequently determined before the purchase.

To quote Seth, the curve goes like:

Here's what Tom did. He

  • found a shared worldview;

  • framed a story around that view;
  • made it easy for the story to spread;
  • created a new market, which he owns.

My Site - a Case Study:
If you look at the marketing message and framing of this site:

  • found a shared worldview: SEO Books are ALWAYS outdated and a complete waste of time

  • framed a story around that view: "A new chapter every day." & "The only current SEO Book on the planet." These stress that the consumer is right, SEO Books are outdated. They also say this one is not.
    • Eventually I may publish a hard copy version of my ebook, but it is not something I want to rush to do and will have to consider carefully because I do not want to mess up that story.

    • The home page logo says a new chapter every day, which is subtle.
    • When people go to the sales letter they get a less subtle version
      of the same story.
  • made it easy for the story to spread: I did not create a one page sales letter site. Instead...
  • created a new market, which he owns: the Overture search volume for "SEO Book" was 0 when I started my blog about a year and a half ago. On average there are around 50 searches each day for that same phrase.
    • The only way I will not rank well for that term is if I have an unnatural linkage profile or if search engines ban my site. For a brief period this site did not rank for its own name and sales were still right near their historical averages. It would likely cause brand erosion if that lasted for too long though.

    • By not charging subscription fees and sending out somewhat regular useful updates I remind people that they should recommend my ebook.
    • I may eventually charge recurring subscription charges, but am in no rush to do so as I want to make it easy for my story to
      spread.

The domain name seobook.com had virtually no value until the above
story was created. Doing some of the above things also helps me to keep my story authentic. For example, it is hard to be active in the forums and write blog posts nearly every day without learning.

Seth is great at writing books that market themselves. I always laugh
when I read them though, because I frequently use many of the same
examples and ideas that are in his books. Not that long ago I emailed
him about General Mills placing A Whole Grain Food on Coco Puffs
as a market lie to match the health concience mother. Of course, I just read that example in the book as well. His Free Prize Inside book ended with an example from one of his conferences which I emailed him about.

It was a pretty good book. The executive summary (hi Patrick) would read like create authentic stories about something people care about and make bank.

The two areas where I think All Marketers are Liars is lacking are:

  • while he uses the concept of permission asset he does not also talk about social currency. I don't think the ideas exactly overlap.

  • he does not break the book down into how you can tell many different similar stories at the same time.

Example of stories & social currency:

  • I sell many ebooks. That story works great.

  • I get many unrequested links. That story works great.
  • I get many unrequested recommendations. That story works great.
  • I do not get many links from most official type sites. Part of that is sector branding (ie: many people think SEO = scum), and another part of that is my style (unedited & being a bit random on occassion).
  • While I have great social currency with many independant webmasters I lack strong social currency from most offial type resources. There are perhaps some ways I could encourage more official type sites to want to link at my sites by creating another story which they would find appealing. Perhaps this is not the correct site for that story, but I certainly could create another brand or whatever to tell a story that fits their needs or desires.

His books are usually not too technical and use large print. They also tell stories which make them easy to read. Instead of focusing on numbers they are more ideas oriented. Buy the Book or Check out the All Marketers are Liars website.

Books & Review of Pay Per Click Search Engine Marketing Handbook by Boris Morokovich

May 25th

I am a Book Junkie:
My cost of living is generally dirt cheap other than an odd obsession with books. I have book cases full of books (only had about 10 - 20 a year or so ago) and buy them way faster than I read them. Recently I have been trying to read many books to reverse that trend.

Competitive Analysis:
I have been reading a good number about SEO and related topics to see how everyone else writes them, if there are certain graphics I should add, etc.

When I initially wrote my ebook I used no graphics at all because I did not want to create a fluffy image book. As time has passed I have been adding some grahics, as they can be useful and help explain some things better than words.

I keep reading lots of books on marketing and web related stuff because you only need to learn a few things for a book to pay for itself.

Marketing a Book:
A while ago Boris Morokovich offered me a free copy of his Pay Per Click Marketing Search Engine Handbook and I have yet had a chance to read it. He just emailed me again to mention his book, so I glanced through it and am writing my thoughts.

At a glance it looks like it is well written and has some good information about the various engines, history of ppc marketing, ppc & branding, contextual advertising, click fraud, roi tracking, ppc tools and the like.

Again, I have only glanced at it for a few minutes, but a few things I did not like:

  • The general overall view looks solid. Covers lots of stuff.

  • Uses affiliate links. Fine to do that on your site, but I don't like the idea of doing that in a book that is for sale. I used to do that, and did not let it effect my reviews of products, but as I increased the price of my book and it got broader distribution I realized it was not going to be a wise idea to have some people think the book is there to get upsells.
  • Along the lines with using those affiliate links, I thought the book could of - and should have - given far more coverage to Google and Overture, instead of giving similar review sizes to Google AdWords and PageSeeker, which were both part of the top 10 search engines. To me, Google AdWords and Overture are their own group, and then second tier starts after that. PageSeeker might be like 3rd or 4th tier IMHO.
  • I would have also liked lots of information about creating useful profitable campaigns on Google and Overture before even thinking of trying any of the smaller engines.
  • The reviews are short (about 1 page) and list pros and cons and. The cons many times did not state what some of the more important cons were. Examples:
    • If an engine has little to no traffic, then that is a con that should be stated. Don't give an Alexa ranking and expect me to know their level and quality of traffic from that. I mean, I launched a 6 page site about a month ago (spending under $1,000 building it and its tools, and $0 on marketing) which has a better Alexa ranking than some of the reviewed PPC search engines.

    • Why isn't there a mention of poor traffic quality in the LookSmart review? To leave that type of information out and place an affiliate link next to the reviews put the authenticity of the reviews in question.
  • Opinionated reviews are usually worth far more than factual sounding reviews that do not give in depth information about personal experience. Quality customer service does not matter if they get no traffic and have garbage traffic quality. Good or bad ROI and net profits, as personally experienced, should be listed in most of the reviews.

RustyBrick reviewed this book a while ago. Peter who appears to be blogging regularly again yeah! recently did a short review too.

The Stock Market & Liquidity Theory

May 22nd

Not entirely SEO related, but the stock market is another information system which is often manipulated.

Not that I have much money, but recently I read a book called Trim Tabs Investing by Charles Biderman. On a macroeconomic level it looks at the stock market in terms of volume of shares, their overall price, and the money chasing those shares. Rather than stating that forward earnings drive the stock market they believe the short term stock price can best be described using supply and demand.

It breaks down the money chasing the shares into the following groups:

  • insider and corporate trading (smart money)

  • general investor trading (dumb money)
  • foreign investor trading (dumb money)
  • margin debt (dumb money)

In the short term the money from the typical investor can power the direction of the stock market, but the stock market inevitably goes in the direction of the insider and corporate trading. Peaks in the stock market (tops and bottoms) are often associated with rapid changes in margin debt.

People are emotionally attached to their investments, and tend to believe the future actions of the stock market will follow the recent past. People take out loans to be fully exposed to the market near tops. People also lose hope and cash out at a loss near bottoms. Foreign investment is also another lagging contrary indicator.

Insiders have access to better data, and their actions are thus inclined to be more representative of actual market conditions. Their ability to control the float (number of shares on the market) gives them an unfair advantage. Also sometimes they will forcast a lack of guidance while the stock market is doing bad so they can actively rebuy their own shares for prices below their actual value.

I thought it was a pretty cool book. For small investors he still recommends just dollar cost averaging or using buy and hold, but for those who are rich (some of the early SEO gods are probably sitting out mounds and mounds of cash right now, as early Google workers likely are too - hi Matt) and seek larger gains, liquidity theory may help them do well in both good and bad market periods.

Review of Lucky or Smart by Bo Peabody

May 16th

Bo Peabody is the guy who created Tripod, who only accidentally had their everpopular site builder added to that site because his workers created something other than what he wanted. Lucky or Smart is a super quick book (58 pages) which explains some of the tips which helped Bo and Tripod along.

A few tips from his book:

  1. "Lucky things happen to entrepenuers who start fundamentally innovative, morally compelling, and philosophically possitive companies."

  2. entrepenuers usually are satisfied with well enough, whereas managers try to make things to perfect and thus move too slowly in starting new companies
  3. startups generally attract many sociopaths
  4. no is the most common word, but is an open door
  5. being gracious is key
  6. always spin your company / story / self to sell #1
  7. press is sensationalistic. never believe in it.
  8. news is past tense. doing is more important than reading the news.
  9. know that you do not always know the answers and when to say you don't know

Lucky or Smart: Secrets to an Entrepeneurial Life is a book that is quick to read, and reads in a conversational tone, which will make it easy to read in a single sitting.

Review of Successful Search Engine Copywriting by Heather Lloyd-Martin

May 13th

Heather Lloyd Martin is a well known SEO copywriter. I have been meaning to read her Successful Search Engine Copywriting ebook for a while and finally did. On to the review... Things I liked about Successful Search Engine Copywriting:

  • Focuses on writing for humans instead of writing exclusively for bots.

  • Focuses on importance of keyword phrases over words, citing resources which show that most search queries are longer and more specific, and going through examples showing why those types of queries convert better.
  • Quotes Greg Boser a good number of times on competitive analysis. As always his answers are insightful & suscinct.
  • States importance of building credibility with content.
  • Covers the page title tag and meta description in depth.
  • Offers good tips on helping marketing, IT, & legal departments play well together. Answers many common what if conflict problems you can have working with a company.
  • Gives many tips on hiring and working with an SEO copywriter.
  • Covers XML data feeds in depth, including who they are best for and when to use them.
  • Quick and easy to read. Uses many analogies which parallel many off the web concepts.
  • The interviews at the back of the ebook add a good amount of value and cover many other search related topics.

Things I Thought Could be Improved:

  • Talks about how to get Google to craft a good description display, but does not mention that sometimes they match up with your page description if the exact search query exists in the meta description tag.

  • States tricking engines is unethical & expensive. In some cases this is true, but in others it is fast and cheap. It is all about determining your risk profile and goals. There is no universal right or wrong way to do SEO.
  • Does not discuss term weight, latent semantic indexing, or how search systems normalize page copy length. All of which are interesting issues related to SEO copywriting. Perhaps the lack of mentioning these was due to trying to keep the guide fairly non technical and easy to read.
  • At one point the guide said "Optimizing for one keyphrase is considered spam, and search engines don't like it." While I have not been involved with SEO as long as she is I disagree with that. Being focused is important, but if you write naturally many modifiers and semantically related terms will end up in the copy. I think it is impossible to write naturally and not cover many related keyword phrases.
  • There are a couple contridictions. In her example meta tag she stated that it weighs in at 191 characters and the meta description tag should be around 200 characters, but not exceed 300. Later she offered information from Jeremy Sanches, which states that meta description tags should not exceed 170 characters.
  • I am very anti paid inclusion (XML feeds). That does not make either of us right or wrong on the topic, but since it went cost per click generally I consider paid inclusion a last resort.
  • Does not talk much about social aspects of the web, and how content can be link inspiring or how people can create content based around important social ideas or linking opportunities.

Overall I thought the ebook was pretty good for those looking to learn about SEO copywriting. If you have to work with large companies and learn a few tips about how to get various departments to work together then that info covers the cost of the book. I also thought some of the interviews added good information as well.

Successful Search Engine Copywriting does not cover all SEO topics, but covers SEO copywriting fairly in depth, and costs $97.

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