We’re Back, to Wish You All a Happy Christmas

We’re Back, to Wish You All a Happy Christmas

We’re embarrassed, because undoubtedly, many of you thought we’d disappeared forever. But you’re not getting rid of us that easily! We’ve been lax… even negligent… but we’re back, determined that 2015 will be the year that The Meld takes off, as a marketing-centric publication for all our UYK friends.

We have plans for the coming year and you’re in them. So keep an eye on this space… we’ll be bringing you value very shortly.

Meanwhile, accept our wishes for a very Happy Christmas to you all. We hope you’ll be spending the holiday with family and friends, reliving fond remembrances and building new memories.

Christmas tree in plaza

it's me or there's a smell of fish?

Google Plus Declared Dead, What Happens After is AMAZING!

UPDATE 18-may-2014: I don’t think i have this kind of influence, but according to Jade Wang, there are new features for google maps for Business, including

  • Bulk Edit of locations
  • Data Conflict interface
  • Adding and removing managers

See the whole thread on the product forum of Google.!

(and now… the original post)

It happened so fast: Vic Gundotra announced that he was leaving Google+ and suddenly, all  hell broke loose! The ground cracked open, flames erupted and the sky become dark… And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

Riding the Google+ (Wave?)

Most press has decided to ride the wave in order to get more exposure. I’m talking about you, Techcrunch, especially if your editors have not been on Google+ for… well… ages.

Screenshot 2014-04-26 18.10.33

Screenshot 2014-04-26 18.12.50

…but i digress.

The departure of Vic could probably forestall some important changes, but i doubt that Google+ will disappear. According to similar web estimates, the G+ URL is visited by 1.2 BILLION people. Come on guys, it’s not Google Wave.

Screenshot 2014-04-26 17.50.29

 The Killing Streak Continues!

It seems that declaring the premature death of social networks is the hot trend between serial gossipers journalists.

it's me or there's a smell of fish?

is it just me or there’s a smell of fish?

This time it’s the Atlantic, which on the 30th of April, declared Twitter… dead. Or at least suffering a slow and painful demise. (Check the article, but you deserve a nofollow dear Atlantic, the html5 standard states that we should nofollow untrustworthy sites).

Fortunately, there’s a counter-article written by the Slate, detailing why Twitter is staying and what is the difference between a service platform (Twitter) and a social network (Facebook).

The Problem with the Press is…

Even when they have no conflict of interest (cough-cough, shares, cough-cough), in most cases, articles are written by people with no technical competence.

I’m not saying that articles should be written by engineers… heaven forbid! But journalists (and bloggers) should try to check their sources before declaring the death of something that’s beyond their grasp.

One Last Word Dedicated to the Google+ Dev Team

Please, release your grip from Google maps for business.

Or assign a serious team of developers and evolve it into a serious platform for real companies. At the moment, it’s perfect… for small(ish) businesses.

lemonade_stand

hi, i’m a local business: Google hates me

But jumping around managing several Google maps stores is a nightmare and it’s neither scalable nor automatable. And I assure you that when you’re publishing updated product lists for retail outlets, it’s a proper and useful feature that should be automated (like the product feed for Adwords, so to speak).

Two years ago, i had a client with NINETY-FOUR (94) retail outlets. A proper business would be happy to pay a price (do i have your attention, sales team?) to have a dashboard in order to simplify the management of the Map properties.

Oh right, i almost forgot to ask for proper customer support with ticketsYou have no idea how many months it took to get the bulk list to be approved… but i do: four frigging months!

So Google plus dev team, pretty please – request the resources to fix those issues or get rid of Maps and make it a stand-alone product.

authority2

Anonymity, Notoriety, Credibility and Authority

The Beginning

Elias carefully tucked his spiral notebook into his backpack, ensured he had a handful of extra pens and pencils and dutifully wrapped his Android tablet, first in its padded sleeve, then a sweater. Even though he still hadn’t gotten accustomed to using it, he certainly didn’t want anything to happen to it. After his girlfriend had saved for 6 months to buy it for him, he’d sooner die than have that happen.

The truth was, though, that he didn’t really care to be drug into the digital age. He’d heard enough horror stories about people whose identity had been stolen or their account hacked that he had no desire to change the way he’d always done things. Every time he typed his password when logging into that Facebook thing, he felt like he’d walked into a crowded room butt-naked.

Ever since his birthday, Ana had been badgering him about starting a blog and putting his marketing degree to good use. What in the world made her think he’d be willing to share what basically amounted to a diary with anyone that felt like reading it? What made her think he wanted to share his thoughts with anyone? For that matter, what made her think he had anything to say?

Hell, he’d be willing to bet that if he ever gave in and did start a blog, even Ana wouldn’t read it.

We didn’t all grow up with the Internet all around us. For the younger generation, being online is just a part of the world around them… right up there with electricity and indoor plumbing. If you don’t have Internet access… well, you might as well not exist!

Those of us that remember the days before DVDs, CDs, VHS and even cassettes (33-1/3 rpm LP records are just about the same age as me) might have struggled a little more the idea of getting online. I had to use computers in my work before the Internet existed, and I still was hesitant to connect my PC to the world.

Year One – Anonymity

anonymityElias had finally decided that the only way he’d ever get Ana off his back was to start a blog, so a year ago, he’d kicked off Elias’ Lies. It hadn’t taken him long to find out that typing anything more than Hi or I’m on my way on a tablet was about as frustrating as trying to separate egg yolks – there’s always a better way.

His better way ended up being a second-hand PC he picked up at a swap meet for $75. The monitor was huge and heavy and the computer itself was slow as molasses. But the keyboard! After a month fighting with that infernal tablet, this keyboard was like heaven!

To be fair, the blog didn’t take a lot of his time. He spent more time browsing around for interesting ideas than he did writing. Unfortunately, he often had more eggs in the fridge than his blog saw visitors in a month.

Elias was actually proud of himself. A year ago, he preferred jotting his notes in a notebook with a pencil, while watching re-runs on TV. Now he used his tablet for watching movies or checking his Facebook and Twitter accounts. He couldn’t even remember the last time he’d turned on his TV set.

Still, while he had come to enjoy posting to his blog each week, it was obviously just a pastime. Even his friends had dropped in to see his site only at the beginning. He could count the comments he’d gotten since that first week on one hand. Nope! There were no crowds blazing a path to Elias’ Lies.

Once a person makes the leap and spends that first hour surfing the ‘net, addiction can follow shortly thereafter. The amount of information that’s available, the relative ease of finding virtually anything is staggering, especially for someone that grew up having to spend hours in a stuffy library, and even then might not find what they were looking for.

For those that decide to get into blogging, the hoped-for flood of readers, eager to engage in conversations about your most recent post, usually doesn’t materialise. If it does, it takes considerable time and effort to generate the visibility and interest to support it. Discouraged and frustrated, most bloggers neglect or abandon their blogs within months.

Year Three – Notoriety

notorietyIt was hard to believe that just two years ago, he’d been thinking of just calling Elias’ Lies a bad idea and letting the domain expire. If his buddy, Mark, hadn’t taken him under his wing and taught him how to use social media to promote his blog posts, he’d still be spinning his wheels with no audience to speak of.

Winning second place in that blogging contest hadn’t hurt either. In fact, just participating in the contest, he’d gotten to know a lot of other bloggers that hadn’t been at it much longer than he had. Quick to offer advice, they’d given him some great ideas for making his blog more interesting. Admittedly, some of the advice wasn’t so great. He’d gotten penalised for spammy link practices by Google last year, thanks to WeSellLinksCheap. How he’d ever thought that guy on Fiverr was anything but trouble…

He was active on a couple of forums now, and learning the basics of how to promote his site properly. He’d had no idea how complicated it could be, especially if a person decided to tempt fate and bend the rules. But he’d learned that lesson the hard way… no more gaming the search engines for him!

After he’d bought a brand new computer right before he and Ana got married, he’d started contributing some articles to a couple of online magazines. One of his articles had even won an award (okay, he’d never heard of the award before, but apparently, others had). He started accumulating friends and followers that he recognized from his online wandering.

For those that stay the course and learn how to provide the sort of content that will hold their readers’ interest and find the ways to gain visibility, there may be hope. If they do everything right, they have a chance of building enough traffic to actually generate some income. They may decide to pursue paid ads, get into some affiliate programs or market their own products or services. If their luck holds and the skills grow, their monetising may turn into a career, even developing into a new skill that they can offer as a service to others.

Year Six – Credibility

CredibilityWOOT! Elias nearly tumbled his 3 year old daughter off his lap when he got the email that he’d been accepted as a speaker at PubCon next year. Vickie giggled and scolded him, while trying to peek at his iPhone to see what had Daddy so interested. Elias hardly noticed – his mind was elsewhere.

Three times, he’d talked himself out of pitching a presentation at PubCon, before he’d finally decided that he may as well try. After all, he did know something about running successful PPC campaigns – he’d been doing it for his clients for a couple of years now. But he honestly hadn’t expected to be given a shot. He could only assume that the great reviews his e-book had gotten had something to do with it.

His weekly hangouts on Google+ probably helped, too. They often had a hundred-plus live viewers and he was often surprised at some of the names that appeared. He’d resisted that when Mark first suggested it, only because he felt it would take too much of the little time he seemed to have these days. But he had no problem admitting now that it was one of the best moves he’d made for his consulting business.

Wow! PubCon! Elias grabbed his laptop – no sense in waiting until the last minute to start building his deck.

After a person has been around long enough to be considered to have “paid his dues” and has earned the respect of some subset of his industry, it’s possible to start building credibility. That means being knowledgeable, knowing how to say ‘I don’t know’ and being able to admit being mistaken. It also involves being accurate with one’s statements and being clear on what is stated as fact and what is just opinion or conjecture.

After establishing a reputation for clarity, accuracy and objectivity, a person gains credibility with his peers, gaining more visibility. In the long term, this can help in the transition to becoming an authority on a particular topic.

Year Nine – Authority

AuthorityElias leaned back in his chair, relaxing for a minute before the panel began its discussion. Seated between two people that he had long considered to be Internet icons, he wondered how he’d come to be here. Who was he, anyway? Less than 10 years ago, he’d been arguing with his fiancée, adamantly refusing to venture online. When she’d given him a tablet as a birthday gift, he’d very nearly told her to take it back, he wasn’t interested.

Now he had a successful consulting agency with several employees, a bevy of clients that would make most of his competitors green with envy and at the end of the day, a very respectable income. With a dozen e-books and nearly as many hard-copy books to his credit, as well as an average of 3 or 4 interview or speaking requests per month, Elias still felt a bit overwhelmed by his success.

That writer from the NY Times had called him an “authority” in the search engine marketing industry. Was he? He wasn’t sure. He’d certainly never thought of himself as an authority. He did, however, feel very competent in his field. He also felt very fortunate. By design or by accident, he’d made some good decisions – often with some significant nudging from others.

Elias had never dreamed of becoming an “authority” on anything. As he slowly embraced the idea of putting himself out there, online, he’d just naturally transitioned from hobbyist to dabbler to professional. Any credibility he’d established along the way wasn’t the result of a conscious branding effort… it was simply a reflection of the way he approached business and life in general.

Elias’ Story in Review

Some aspects of this fictional tale probably fit many people that work online. In reality, the concepts are no different than those encountered in “real-life” circumstances… but the exposure and velocity of the online world accelerate the process tremendously. Successes and missteps are amplified across a wider audience, as are their consequences.

It shouldn’t be considered to be a road map for anyone that wants to become an authority in their field – it’s more of a guideline. Whether working in an office with 4 or 5 colleagues or online with thousands, the same basic guidelines will apply. But each person might have a different path, depending upon a variety of circumstances.

The timeline is obviously fictional, as well. The process may last 2 or 3 years for one individual and 15 years for another. You may never win an award or be referenced by a NYT columnist. You may never have your pitch accepted for a major conference. You may even never arrive at that “authority” level.

But credibility is certainly attainable by anyone that’s willing to put forth the effort. And that’s worth a lot, isn’t it?

Oxpecker feeding on rhino

Have you Defined your Relationships with Google?

Most business relationships involve some level of parasitism, wherein one party derives benefit from the resources of the other. Ideally, there is benefit to both sides, which would be described as symbiosis. Sometimes, however, one side is simply providing support to the other, getting nothing in return. The relationship that we have with Google can sometimes become a classic example of such a parasitic relationship.

Most of us recognise the potential for mutual benefit from our relationship with Google, but some feel that Google gives very little in exchange for what it takes. From a high altitude viewpoint, I think Google offers quite a lot… but not on a silver platter.

Furthermore, I think that site owners, users and marketers that look realistically at their interactions with Google will acknowledge that there are really several different relationships at play. Each of those relationships should be evaluated independently, even though they usually overlap.

Benefits Google Offers to Us

Visibility

This can be somewhat vague, as it involves many factors. A site’s ranking for a specific search term can vary dramatically, due to relevance, personalisation, location, temporal issues and more. But all else being equal, Google offers the opportunity to have a page displayed in the SERPs. This is a very complex process and Google’s resources enable them to do for us what none of us could accomplish for ourselves on such a scale – open the door to targeted users.

Data

Google offers us a great deal of data about how they see our pages and how users interact with our sites, ostensibly to help us improve the quality of our sites and increase visibility. There are other ways for us to acquire some of that data, but most are less reliable and most aren’t free. Many of them also simply take the data that Google accumulates and feed it to us as their own.

Connections

Through our Google accounts, we’re able to connect our account with our various websites, profiles and online intellectual properties.  This enables us to increase our visibility and authority, claiming credit for our work through such features as authorship, along with interconnection of various profiles.

Technology

While the many technological advancements that Google can lay claim to may seem to be outside of our relationships with them, they still permeate our online experience, as well as those of our clients and customers. Smart glasses and self-driving cars, email, satellite imagery, fibre-optic and balloon-supported internet access, streaming video, tonnes of cloud storage, Android, Chromecast and more have all changed the landscape of our lives. Use of an increasing number of those benefits require us to be on Google’s grid.

Benefits We Offer to Google

Relevant Information

A search engine isn’t of much use to anyone if it doesn’t have fresh, relevant content with which to respond to search queries. Billions of websites fuel the index that Google uses to respond to search queries from all over the world. The content that publishers populate to their websites provides the meat on the bone for that index, but if Google doesn’t deem that content worthy of consideration, it will either appear deep in the SERPs or not at all.

Product

It’s been said that users are really no more than Google’s product offering. In terms of ad sales, which constitutes the vast majority of the company’s income, users are, indeed, the product that they offer to advertisers. Google’s ability to efficiently put specific ads in front of targeted viewers enables them to continue to grow their ad revenues.

Data

Google is heavily invested in capturing and indexing virtually all types of data. This includes knowing who users are, where they’re located, what they’re interested in and who they’re connected to. As an increasing number of users move about the web, logged into any one of many Google properties, the scope of this data base increases dramatically. This data (and the interconnection of it with other data) feeds Google’s ability to serve highly targeted ads, arguably the strongest driving force behind its very successful ads services.

The Evolution of the Relationship(s)

Initially, at least to most users and publishers, Google seemed to be providing a great deal of benefit and to be fair, that was true. Suddenly, there were effective methods of building our sites up in the search engine’s eyes, to have our pages displayed to users that were most likely to be receptive to whatever our site was offering. And for searchers, it was simply amazing!

Of course, with so much money to be made online, it was inevitable that abusive tactics would surface. That led to Google having to take on an additional role – one of policing the Internet. As many still like to point out, Google doesn’t own the Internet. One can argue that they do own their search results, however, and the appearance of a page in the SERPs is simply Google controlling the quality of those results.

Since SERP quality is what keeps the company at the top of the search heap, Google can provide access to the largest single pool of (ad) viewers. Logically, they’d want to protect their share of search, as it’s at the heart of their ad sales. Ironically, it is this necessity that gave birth to their burgeoning PR crisis.

Becoming a publicly-traded company has almost certainly made some top-level decisions more complicated for Google. And naturally enough, as Google takes more actions against those that abuse certain techniques in an effort to manipulate their rankings, there’s no shortage of accusations against the company. Some claim it’s all done in an effort to force more site owners to purchase ads, while others say that Google doesn’t care about the businesses it destroys. A few even seem to be convinced that Google intends to take over the world.

The problem that seems to be simmering is that at first, Google was only breeding discontent among SEOs and digital marketers. Now, though, that has spread to site owners, as well. As more and more penalties are levied, the number of Google-haters seems to grow. If it spreads to the search user base at large, Google’s days as a leader in search and advertising may be numbered.

Most offenders that find themselves fallen from grace probably know, deep down, that they deserved it. That often doesn’t keep them from raging against Google, though. But what seems to be causing the greatest PR issue for Google is the growing number of innocent parties whose sites are penalized, often causing significant financial hardship.

Military leaders have long used the term “acceptable losses” in connection with the casualties of battle. If the battle is won and sufficient troops remain to do further battle, then those that were lost are seen as a cost, but acceptable.

The question is, does Google view as acceptable losses, the businesses that are wrongly swept up in a flurry of penalties, without having deliberately done anything wrong? Probably, because is it even realistic to expect an algorithm to accurately detect intent? Surely not.

Knowing that there will be innocent casualties, does the company take any measures to prevent the catastrophic impact to a business of losing 60 to 90 percent of organic traffic for a month. Apparently not.

The ScenarioOxpecker feeding on rhino

At the end of the day, it seems that we are just Google’s product. Even those of us in the digital marketing sector (including the many businesses that manage their own marketing) are such a minute slice of Google’s base that the outrage we might express at their calculated disregard is nothing more than a minor ripple, if that. In short, we don’t matter.

Remoras attached to sharkKnowing that, each of us needs to consider what Google gives us and what it takes from us, and decide if it’s worth the cost. And that’s not a one-time evaluation, either… we need to re-evaluate with every change, in order to attempt to control whether we’re figuratively hosting an oxpecker or a remora.

As always, diversifying your sources of traffic is key in minimising your dependency on any single channel. If any source is providing your business (or a client’s) a large enough percentage of the total that its loss would be difficult to recover from, it’s time to adjust your focus and redistribute the risk.

Our Inaugural Meld Hangout with Rand Fishkin and Steve Gerencser

We’re doing our first Meld Hangout On Air tomorrow, April 9th, at 10:30AM, Pacific time. We’ll be discussing some of the recently highlighted issues with Google, specifically around linking practices and what is and isn’t recommended.

Come watch our first Hangout

Joining us will be Rand Fishkin of http://MOZ.com and Steve Gerencser of http://SteamDrivenMedia.com. Unfortunately, this HOA won’t be open attendance, but you will be able to listen in live and offer questions and comments. Afterward, it will be available here for viewing, if you can’t make it.

We hope to see you there! https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/cdlv7im795dmlrbs5j79s4ahu7g

Note: You can view this HOA video here.

Stick a fork in it – Interviews are done!

“This is why SEOs can’t have anything nice”

 

I thought I was dreaming and then I realised I was awake and it was a nightmare – it was the link apocalypse.

Matt Cutts' tweethttps://twitter.com/mattcutts/status/452101448734474240

You are seeing this correctly, a tweet from Matt himself to an interview.

Wow, just click on it and have a look, I stopped counting around 53 commercial anchor text links and affiliate links and not a single link on the page has nofollow on it. (no robots.txt, either ;) )

I am pretty sure Matt has been caught with his pants down here. He has “outreached”, completed the interview in good faith and then been spammed. It’s a little ironic. to say the least, but, Matt really should have checked the post before he tweeted, don’t ya think?

The problem is, Matt is the great white hope, and, he is open to criticism from every quarter. Hell, I don’t think I could do his job for love nor money and I have to admit the majority of the time I feel for the guy, but this is just ridiculous.

You also know what the SEO community is like, so they’ll be all over it. There are already private and public discussions, slamming him from every angle.

What’s next?

Interviews!

You guessed it, we’ve seen it over the last 24 months as a growing way for people to bait and garner links. SEOs suggesting it to clients as a “good move”. Well, here we go! Next on the Google chopping blog – interviews – all interview links must be nofollowed as they have been “paid for”…

So boys and girls, stick a fork in it (again) Interviews are done – not sure what’s left in your arsenal ;)

Happy Anniversary

HESITATION SEO: THREE YEARS AS SEO.

New Nine Inch Nails album – new post. In 2012 I wrote a post in Don Rhoades blog called “How NIN makes me a better SEO” based on “The Downward Spiral” album. I just celebrated my third SEO birthday, and I want to share some stuff about SEO, clients and general observations. This is for you, SEO. This is for you, client. This is for me as well. Thanks for reading.

The eater of dreams

Thinking is good. Over-thinking, not always. We proclaim new techniques, the “ultime guide to <insert topic>” and “X number of things you need to do for <insert topic>”. But the reality is that there is no one-fits-all solution for SEO problems of our clients. But one thing I don’t see around too much is to dream of something more for our clients. Dream of something beautiful and then try to realize it. We can be wrong for sure, but SEO does not necessarily mean “boring” or “geek”. Create some magic.

I am just a copy of a copy of a copy.

No, you can’t copy. It’s not me telling you as SEO. We all know that duplicate content is not good for your website. But your readers / customers are asking you to present something new, something different. How? Just look around you. Ask your friend. Ask your audience. Read something not related to your business. Push yourself harder.

Everywhere now reminding me I am not who I used to be; I’m afraid this has just begun consequences for what I’ve done.

Three years in SEO, and I’m still learning. I’m still learning that shit you create as an SEO will come around to haunt you. So, let’s be honest and say “no, I’m not going to do that” when clients ask for impossible things. Educate the client. One of the things I love about my job is being able to sit down and explain how SEO works and why your website is not working. I’m not 100% geek, I’m not an Excel maestro, I’m not a guru (or other stupid titles). I’m just a guy who knows something about SEO and can help with that.

I know a lot more now, compared to three years ago and still I have a lot more to learn. But I’m honest with myself and with people asking me to work with them. I can’t be otherwise. I can’t spam like hell, just to make the client happy. I can’t, really. I did it, yes. I paid for it (link removal requests…ding-dong). I want to create something useful for the people that trust me. It doesn’t matter what tricks work to show up first in the SERPs.

I’m just trying to find my way.

You should too. I read posts about SEO every day. I follow some great SEOs around the world. But I’m trying to always think for myself – apply what I learn to my everyday SEO tasks. Just because everyone is saying something doesn’t mean you need to follow it blindly. Don’t be afraid of going against the current.

This paranoia turns to fear just who was whispering in your ear? Pretending, but I know you hear (just how’d we fucking end up here?)

Paranoia is a big part of the SEO community. You know, for every Google update, Google change, Google superpower against our websites. Paranoia turns to fear and we run and scream, removing links, changing links to no-follow. Many times, we need to this because we created bad stuff in the first place. But too much paranoia is not healthy. Too much fear is blocking you from seeing things clearly.

You, SEO, need to take actions to resolve bad situations, but don’t whine for every G-announcement. Please, it creates confusion and you know already you’ll forget about it after 2 days away from Twitter.

You, client, need to understand SEO is evolving, things change (that’s the best part of every project… it keeps it alive) so you need to listen to your consultants, trust them, ask them because you want to know more. Don’t point your finger, especially when you don’t know anything about it.

Can I ask you something? What did you expect? So disappointed with what you get.

Be transparent and straight to the point in the relationship with your client. You expect the first result for “best Italian pizza” in 15 days? Not going to happen. Tell them right away. Cut the bullshit, because the best thing is to find clients who think clearly and they’re on the same page as you. Clients are always going to be disappointed (traffic is down, drop of one ranking position, not enough links, too many links), but it’s our job to talk to them and help them understand how SEO works. But with clients who don’t know magic, it’s hard for me to get along.

I survived everything. I have tried everything.

Do you? Because I certainly didn’t. So, my dear SEO gurus and experts, as much as I appreciate your knowledge (and thanks for all the things you taught me and you’re still teaching me), don’t lose your humility, because the world is evolving – so you don’t know everything. You can’t. Simple as that.

I’m part of you. I’m inside your head.

Maybe a bit strong here, but the message is there: let’s talk. Let’s be on the same page. I’m your SEO consultant. I care about your website. I really do. Don’t treat me as an external force who can screw you anytime. Because I won’t. Consider mef as part of your team, even if I’m not sitting in your office every day. SEO (consultants, agencies…) and clients should collaborate more, first from a human point of view. Many relationships go bad because there’s no trust. I’m here to help. I’m going to win your trust. You need to trust me.

I’ve got to let it go. I’ve got to get straight. Why’d you have to make it so hard? Let me get away.

The importance of a “no”. If you can’t help, if you don’t care, go away. Find something you love. Something that excites you. Don’t come to a meeting if you don’t care. Don’t come to a meeting if you don’t have anything to say. Let go. Trust others. Be honest with yourself.

Knowing when it’s the time to say “oh, I can’t help with that, because there are others better than me on this” is one of the most liberating situations whether a relationship is starting or is getting harder.

I’m running out of places I can hide from this.

I stopped hiding. I’m simply honest about it. A few days ago someone asked me my opinion on his website. I knew that website already. It’s utter shit. Everything is wrong. IA, UI, SEO, call to actions, goals. I went to the meeting. Extra work. No money involved, I just wanted to help. I started with: “your site is bad, real bad. Let me show you why”. Honest, direct. I’m like that.

I thought it would have been a 2 minute meeting, with the guy screaming “how dare you?” while I was hurrying out of there. Well, it was a 2 hour meeting, and he decided to change the website completely. I’m not going to work with them (I know it would be hell) but I’m happy. I didn’t hide. I just value the fact you asked my opinion because you know I know more than you. And here you have it. Do not hide, show up.

What a pathetic string of words.

…that you say when you want to save your ass. You really think it’s better to make stuff up rather than say “I fucked up, I’m going to solve this for free”? Let alone for a minute the business point of view. As human being, are you happy to be so pathetic? Disclaimer: I’m going to fuck stuff up many times again in my life. Thanks to this, I travelled around the world, meeting amazing people, consolidating my friendships with a lot of people. That’s why I’m saying it’s important to find people to work with who are on the same page as you. It helps, not being pathetic.

Take what you want, what you deserve. Yes. Yes of course. This is going to hurt.

I wanted something. I knew I deserved something. And it did hurt, at least in the beginning. Some of my clients didn’t understand me. Some of them even cursed my transparency. In the long run, though, you.re stronger and you’ll understand that it was the right choice. Relationships aren’t easy. But being honest is always the way to go.

I don’t mind. I’m okay. Nothing ever stays the same.

I love my job. I really hope to keep doing it for a long, long time. I’m okay, I’m helping a lot of websites with what I know. I know some amazing SEOs who are helping and they are geniuses at what they do. I worked in Berlin and now in New Zealand as an SEO. I have people who trust me and what I can do for them. Things keep changing and I’ll change with them. I’ll love putting my knowledge at the service of something really cool in the future as much as I’m doing right now. I’m okay because I love to help. That’s it. How can I help you?

Black noise.

WOW. What a stream of consciousness. Hope you enjoyed it. Now you know a bit more about me. If I wasted your time, I’m sorry. If you ever come to Auckland, I’ll offer you a beer, a kiwi beer (keep it local). If I left you with something, I’m honoured. Thanks for celebrating my third SEO anniversary with me.

dictionary

SEO, ORM, PPC – What???

Some of us grew up with IBM, some of us grew up with ABC, NBC and CBS.

If you are reading this, maybe you work in SEO, SEM, PPC or ORM, maybe on a PC.

Maybe you get slang.. maybe you don’t.. from A to Z.. here are some things you should be thinking about.. read between the lines.. and letters.

When we use capital letters to shorten our verbal or written description of something to a word, it is a form of language known as an acronym. If not pronounced like a word, they’re initialisms.

Here are some you may or may not know, directly related to Digital Advertising from A to Z.

ABT – Always Be Testing – (see #whitecoatseo).

A.S.A.P – As Soon As Possible – this doesn’t mean go build links, it means perform the due diligence needed to allow the client’s content to rise in search queries.

#BHat – Black Hat SEO – it might be unethical, it might be illegal, if you show it to Matt Cutts, it should get you removed from Google.

Bing – you know, Microsoft’s search engine? It’s at least usually 20% more traffic alone JUST by adding your client’s website to Bing Webmaster Tools, why haven’t you done it yet?

CPC – Cost Per Click – If it takes one person one hour at a billable rate to update some code on your website, if that hourly rate is $100 and you gets 10,000 visits on your website from that SEO coding, your cost per click is one cent. This is also used in budgeting for paid media, PPC, BT or RT.

CMS – Content Management System – your client has one, it doesn’t matter which, or does it? Learn them, learn your client’s – there are lots of opportunities.

DDOS – Distributed Denial Of Service – This is when your website is bombarded with some type of electronic transmission that causes it crash or reboot. Used for removing a website from Google in Negative SEO.

EOD – End of Day – Entirely dependent on Time Zone of Central Office or usually 5P.M. or Midnight. Tomorrow morning at 8PM is not EOD.

#Fail – You charged your client to add NoFollow links to their website, You got them penalized, now YOU charge them to update website and remove links.. Shame on YOU. #Fail.

FT – Full-Time – SEOs dream about SEO, we drive and think about SEO, we play xbox and think about SEO, and then we go to work and we do SEO.

FTW – For The Win or what it used to be.. which wouldn’t pass Google Safe Search so it is omitted from this blog.

Google – Google is supposedly EVIL, yet we owe our lives, our lifestyle and our careers as SEOs to Google. It could have been Yahoo!, WebCrawler, AltaVista or Infoseek, but it wasn’t, it was Google who dominated search. As such they have all the gold and make all the rules… called Google Webmaster Guidelines. If they were clear about how the search engine ranks everything, then people would exploit it. My job is to exploit Google, within the limits it has defined. So by following ALL of the rules, not just some, we give Google what it wants, based on its Knowledge Graph view of the client’s digital assets.

By understanding Google and giving “it” what, “it” wants, your client is prominently displayed among Google properties. How is that so hard to understand? Abide by the GWT rules.. the rest will follow.

GTG – ok Steve.. please stop talking.. we finally get it.. thanks for pounding it into our heads.. sorry we didn’t listen.

HTML – Coding.. learn it.. love it.. live it.. or go work for client services and project management.. so you can help the people who can code meet deadlines and do those client-facing things.

HYPE – Don’t believe it. Don’t put nofollow on every link on your blog and let Google spider it.. you just told them you are a link farm (see #fail).

I – it’s not I, it’s we, unless you are an island. We SEOs, (would include people who I work with and converse with online.. you know who you are..), understand what to do. We usually don’t blog about it.. but now we have to.. or at least I think we should, because (see HYPE), it’s getting out of hand, clients are agreeing to things that get them removed from Google results and not telling the people they hired to do SEO.. so again I know, WE SEOs need to communicate better. I will do my part.. here is a blog. =)

Just Do It –  (See ™) a marketing phrase by Nike.  Should be accompanied by a ™, since it is a trademark. Which reminds you. A. Don’t use it without permission and B. Always use the correct notation and intellectual property when using. If you make a mistake, it can show up in Google in minutes and take weeks to change. No, Nike isn’t a client but if they were, that’s how you treat them.

K – When the internet started it was Kbps – not MB or GB/sec.. now we have mobile… sometimes your pages should be coded for K not M or G. =)

KPI – Key Performance Indicator – used to be keywords.. and with “not provided”, it’s still about keywords.. but based on what users’ needs state, not Google Analytics.

Local – Do customers visit your location? If yes, then start here – how do they contact you, what do they ask for? (Take notes.. do your customers call you and ask for what they want?)

LLC – limited liability corporation… think about it.

M – Matt Cutts – Google Spam Lord. – He is a Good guy, a benevolent King.. yet he also has to think about all the other Google subjects every time he opens his mouth.. so he can’t exactly be transparent, or the evil spam queen will turn the kingdom to blackness and most of us will not have jobs..  read between the lines… go buy GOOG stock.. then see if he makes more sense. (lightbulb?)

MSA – Managed Services Agreement – A managed services agreement is the contract that binds you and the client on what is expected by whom and when, this is where you and client “record” the common understanding, the keyword is “record” did you say you guarantee #1 in 2 weeks? Or what? Did you record it? Is it in writing?

N – NoFollow – see “Hype” above.

NSA – they aren’t reading this… unless you share it.

O – Overreaching – this is when things are TBD.. or you just don’t know.. so DON’T DO THEM.. you are overreaching.. your understanding… i.e. Lots of people with SEO blogs.

OOO – out of the office.. if you WFH, when you leave home.. you are OOO.. I am OOO FT. because I WFH on SEO.

P – Paisley – a place in Scotland.. also an alias.. disclosure/disclaimer me.

Q – QDF – Query Deserves Freshness. You search for something, what comes up is something from 5 years ago.. create new better stuff to fill the needs of the user.. not junk.. make BETTER content.. that also happens to be newer and therefore, possibly more relevant?

R – Relevant – is it? Is it obvious? Does it have a CLEAR association involved with the person/place/thing/entity?

RSA – an encryption standard the NSA may have put a back door in?

S – Semantics –  From Google.. There are a number of branches and sub branches of semantics, including formal semantics, which studies the logical aspects of meaning, such as sense, reference, implication, and logical form, lexical semantics, which studies word meanings and word relations, and conceptual semantics, which studies the cognitive structure of meaning.

So I ask again.. Is it Relevant? That is Semantics…

SSL – Secure Sockets Layer – why we have not provided.. encryption. If you decrypt the search, then it kind of isn’t encrypted anymore.. but with tablets, mobile.. going from secure to insecure means you now are infected and have a virus.. so it was keywords or safety… I pick safety… make it all SSL

T – ™ or Trademark or &trade; if you are coding HTML within a CMS. Like Copyrighted materials or Registered Trademarks, there are HTML codes to correctly display them.. and you think this has nothing to do with search? Brand + Relevancy = OFFICIAL REGISTRATION – hello? Learning something yet?

TMI – There is no such thing as Too Honest.. there is just TMI.. Too Much Information.

U – Underestimate – It happens a lot.. every day, actually.. you get used to it… you don’t have to be happy about it.. but you can’t be a jerk all the time either.

U – UDP Packets (see DDOS above).

USP – Unique Selling Proposition – What can you do for me that nobody else can?

V- Value – Are you providing it for the searcher? Do your mobile pages have directions links, phone number links, hours and other location based info like GPS/Zip/Address/GEO in their Meta?

VSP – Value Selling Proposition – What can you do for me?

W – #WhiteCoatSEO – Test.. all day everyday… test publicly and transparently. DON’T break ANY Google Webmaster Guidelines.. DO Spam Reports.. Daily.. Google is our friend.. let’s ALL help fight spam.

WFH – Work From Home – I get up at 4am and work until 4pm everyday.. it’s work.. no I don’t do laundry and work.. I am working.. I need a maid.. I’m home.. but I’m at work.. can’t someone else clean this place?

Whine – You ask Matt Cutts a question about Bio links on your website instead of using the Google preferred solution, Google+ and Authorship.

X – X Marks the Spot – GEO meta, GPS meta, Local, Mobile, if you have locations.. your point on the map needs to be correct.. yesterday.. and um.. it isn’t.. go look.. all 1000 locations.

Y – Yahoo! – Yahoo! Directory was the only place you could legally BUY a link… umm.. Ms. Mayer.. it doesn’t work anymore.

Z – ZZZZZZ – sleep.. which is for mortals.. and not people that do SEO, ORM 24/7 that have ADHD and have other varied MPD.

Hammer of Justice

Are These Anti-Google Refrains True?

Recent penalties have had folks up in arms (again) over Google’s methods to control what it labels as “spammy”. Having fueled a bit of the ranting myself, I thought I’d try offering some observations that might help keep things in perspective.

To be fair, there are a lot of spammy practices in play, and most of them end up putting a lot of trash in the SERPs. And as a major frustration to a lot of site owners, those practices sometimes allow a spammy site to outrank a site that complies fully with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

So here are some of my observations on some of the often repeated statements that are floating around:

Anti-Google Complaint #1: Google Doesn’t Own the Internet

Google doesn’t pretend to own the Internet. They DO, however, own their search results. If you’re like me, with zero dependency on organic search, you can do whatever you please, without fear of it affecting your business.

But if you’re like the majority of my clients, dependent upon your visibility in search for a significant portion of your income, you don’t have that luxury. You need to play in the SERPs game, so you need to play by their rules. Fail to do so at your own peril.

Anti-Google Complaint #2: Google is Out to Get SEOs

Google is out to make money, and to do that successfully, they have to deliver quality search results and well-targeted ads. With spammy techniques filling the SERPs with garbage, it’s not difficult to understand why they’d be intent on going after spammy sites and people that employ spammy tactics.

Unfortunately, most of the spammy tactics are employed by people that do so in the name of website optimisation. And it’s important to note that some of those tactics are only spammy when used excessively. So Google isn’t out to get SEOs… they’re out to get abusers.

Anti-Google Complaint #3: Google Lies

I get really tired of seeing people call Matt Cutts or John Mueller liars. I’ve seen John say some things that seemed questionable, in terms of accuracy (at least when compared to other Google statements), but I’ve never seen him lie, and I tend to doubt that he would.

As for Matt, I’ve watched every video, read every post and 95% of his tweets, dissecting each one to find the nuggets. I’ve seen him tell only part of the truth on many occasions, but I have to ever catch him in anything resembling a lie.

Some things may have changed since he made a statement, but they were true when he said them. Calling a person a liar because you don’t like the message they’re delivering is low and reflects poorly on those that do it. If you think you have evidence of a lie, then by all means, share it. Otherwise, stop making an ass out of yourself.

Anti-Google Complaint #4: Google is Just Out to Make Money

Well, DUH! Google is a business – that’s what businesses do. On top of that, it’s a publicly traded business, so its officers and directors can be sent to prison for not taking actions that would make the shareholders more money.

Guess what folks… the phone directory, your insurance company, the petrol station and your local hospital are all businesses, too. Virtually every interaction you have, outside of friends and family, involves a business. Are you shocked and disgusted that they make decisions based upon potential earnings, too?

Anti-Google Complaint #5: Google is Trying to Force Everyone to Buy Ads

This one is a bit tricky, because I imagine that potential ad sales enter into nearly every operational decision made at Google. Certainly, any plan of action that might have a significant negative impact on ad sales would deserve a second evaluation. So it’s logical to assume that if a potential change is seen as likely bringing increased ad sales, that would be considered a vote for the change.

However, I seriously doubt that Google would be willing to accept the inherent risk of making changes just to force more ad sales. The company is already under intense scrutiny in the EU and US and such actions could bring them the sort of problems no company wants, particularly one that’s publicly traded.

Anti-Google Complaint #6: Google is Just Another Scraper Site

This is rapidly becoming a tough one to argue against. In the earlier days, when there were just ten blue links with a title and description, I had no problem with them displaying it – that’s why I put it there in the first place. When I did my job right, it gained me a listing there, hopefully near the top.

But now, with Google focusing more and more on being an answer engine, showing the answer right in the SERPs will definitely be detrimental to the site that provides that answer. No click-through = no traffic = no conversions. Where will the incentive to create new content come from, when it won’t even win traffic to your site?

Anti-Google Complaint #7: Google Wants to Rule the World

Mankind tends to have a natural fear and distrust of any entity that has a tremendous amount of power. One could attempt to argue that Google effectively holds a monopoly on search and search ads in the western world. But monopoly power, as defined by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is the “power to control price or exclude competition”. And legally, that’s not even correct… holding a monopoly is not illegal… until such power is utilized toward that end.

I don’t think any valid argument could be mounted to demonstrate that Google has wielded such power, if they even possess it. The fact of the matter is, Google holds the lion’s share of those markets on the merits of their offering.

Besides, when it comes right down to it, Google couldn’t possibly want to rule the world. To do that, they’d have to become a government. And governments don’t make money, they waste it!

Let’s Be Realistic

Like a lot of people, I have some problems with the way Google does some things. But I’m a firm believer in limiting accusations and reclamations to those that are justified. Making unfounded claims just destroys the claimant’s credibility, and if the target is really so awful, finding justifiable things to complain about shouldn’t be too difficult.

If you find yourself in the position of needing Google’s organic search results, but you’re bridling under their sometimes obscure guidance, I strongly suggest these 2 processes to limit your risk:

  1. Learn their Webmaster Guidelines and stay abreast of changes, so you can avoid a penalty;
  2. Diversify your marketing strategy so that the loss of no single channel can devastate your business.

Matt Cutts' Guest Blog on the Secrets to Ranking in Google

There has been a lot of discussion over the last few weeks about penalties and what you should do to rank in Google. I thought the best way for me to address these issues was for me to just write a guest post.

Guest Blogging

When I wrote this – The Decay and Fall of Guest Blogging for SEO

I didn’t mean it! Guest blogging is alive and well and I have tweeted as much, to prove this is indeed the case


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I am also hoping that this apology from me to Ann Smarty will go some way to easing the pain of Ann and the other fantastic SEO’s who have been hurt a little recently.


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Shady Practices

I know that the majority of SEO’s out there do a fantastic job, ok, there are a few which are a little unscrupulous and do things that they shouldn’t and those guys need to know that I am always watching.


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For the rest of you people out there, especially people like;

 

 

Then let me help you!

Buy links

That’s right, go on out there and hoover up as many links as you can, in fact, not just as many but make sure they are home page links, blog roll is fine and make sure you get the right anchor text. If you want to rank for Pay Day Loan, make sure you link on Pay Day Loan and nothing else.


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Link Exchanges, link farms, link wheels, link pyramids


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Doesn’t matter what you call it, but, get in there, get involved. These are really quick easy wins to build tiered links and get some great juice flowing through your page rank. The more page rank they pass the better! The quicker you will rank and the higher you will rank!

Key word density

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We were trying to be clever when we spoke about LSI and query intent matching and ok, the truth is out, Hummingbird was just a big joke it, we wanted to see how people would react when we said there was an update and we got the response we thought. All these influencers had seen changes in the results and knew how to rank in a post Hummingbird world, well the truth is, and it’s no different. Hummingbird never happened, it’s our very own little Roswell – our Area 51.

So the truth is just under 9%, that’s the magic number you need and use that key word exactly, so we know what your content is about.

Social Signals

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It’s true, we crawl them, we index them, and we use them. It’s where people talk these days, few people actually blog anymore, so we know that links are becoming less “natural” but we haven’t been able to build an algorithm which relies completely on social yet, but that’s next year and the update will be called “Puffin Phiser Pie”.

Hidden text and links

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we love white text on a white background, it rocks, I use it on my blog, I know it works, I have tested it, so you should too.

Listen folks, you know I’m busy, so, this is a quick post to help you rank better and I hope that it does just that for you. But, if you have any queries on any of this. you can catch me on Twitter.

I made sure to add my author bio below, with a link to my Google+ and two exact match links in my bio, there’s another gold dust tip for you, oh and make sure you consistently use the same bio, it’s the only way we can build author rank.

Enjoy!