Search Marketing Wisdom SEO industry Thoughts and Rants Mon, 11 Jun 2012 17:17:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 And in the Blink of an Eye, The World is Different Mon, 11 Jun 2012 17:17:51 +0000

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Where does someone begin, when it comes to sharing the chronicles of life’s changes? I’ve written about my life’s changes a number of times before, yet each time a transition happens, the emotion of it can be intense…

The past few days have been a near non-stop flow of new, and different, and miracles and hopes and fear and faith and not-knowing and knowing…

A 12 Month Adventure

I moved exactly one year ago, from my safe and comfortable life as a consultant in the SEO arena, to take on the role of Director of Search Services at Click2Rank consulting.  That move came as a result of having met Christine Gibbs during the #EpicDinner I put on for SMX Advanced and instantly knowing, that night, that she was to become my next life’s mentor.

A Connection Meant to Be

The fact that I so effortlessly and totally became devoted as a core mission in my life to be of service to Christine, is itself an amazing notion.  That I was then able to have the privilege and honor and gift of working closely with her and learning from her at the highest levels of business leadership, philanthropy, and life, and in the process was brought closer to God than I’ve ever been was nothing short of a miracle.

Personal Growth

Over the course of this past year, I have discovered that my wildest hearts desire to grow and evolve in business, relationships, and service to others were not even close to what the outcome reality would become as far as getting to a next level of presence, caring, passion, loyalty, integrity and humility.

And because of this, and so much more, I am and will forever be, in Christine’s debt.

The Path Takes A New Turn

As the bible verse says, to everything there is a season.

And my season at Christine’s side, in the form that unfolded on this latest leg of my life’s journey has now come to an end.

I will deeply and dearly miss being bathed in God’s light as it shines through Christine in the physical world.  Oh how the tears have poured many times these past few days over that fact alone.

We have built a true and sincere friendship I get to cherish for life.  And we’ve already briefly talked about future opportunities to work together in some capacity.

And then I told her that if/when that day comes, to give me a call, and if circumstances allow, I’d return to serve at her side in business, in a heartbeat.  She’s also going to continue as my mentor.  Which itself means the world to me.  Because a true life mentor is rare to find indeed.

For now though, it’s time to move to my own next level. My own next steps in this blessed journey of a life.

Pride in Our Accomplishments

I also need to speak about how proud I am of the work my team produced this past year.  We achieved so many great things in a best practices process across the board.  And too, most of all, Josh Titsworth proved to be an asset beyond any I could have hoped for in a project manager.

Without Josh, I would have stabbed myself in the eye. Repeatedly. Many times.  Without Josh actually coordinating the efforts of the rest of our team, I would not have been able to focus on the bigger picture nearly as much as I needed to.

And without Josh, I would have not had a team member to mentor – his willingness, passion and ability to always want to learn more consistently led to his own critical thinking come to light and every time that light-bulb went off in his brain, it brought me great joy.

But most of all, with Josh, I will miss a great friend as well.  Though it took him a couple months to figure out my unique quirks, and the unique signals to look for in discerning when Alan was just frustrated at life, or Alan was on the warpath over something or another, he did eventually figure it out.

And when he did, he took it on his own initiative to begin the practice of coming to me and asking if I needed to go for a cigarette (his way of helping me to get out of the office and out of my own head). So every time he asked me that, I instantly knew to pause, and walk outside with him, just so I could vent to someone who had my back in life and in our work.

It was a priceless and invaluable part of how our team evolved into greatness. And saved a lot of medical expenses related to self-inflicted eye injuries.

Outpouring of Support

When I began reaching out to my closest industry friends a few days ago with news that I was moving on, news spread like wildfire and the volume of support, well wishes, and offers of willingness for people to do anything they can to help was epic.

Already in just a few days, I’ve had a few tentative job offers, a couple “let’s start an agency” offers, and several agencies wanting to know if I’m back to offering site audits.  I’ve even already signed contract to perform a direct client audit, and other proposals have also already gone out to people who jumped on the chance to avail me of these services.

Audits Here.  Get your SEO Audits! 

While it’s all coming at light-speed, there’s still so much to be revealed, to be clarified, to be determined.  Yet I do know this.

I am now once again offering world class audits, as well as related consulting services directly to clients and also as a white-label service to agencies.  (Ping me for details!)

I am also still considering and having dialogue with several industry people about jobs and partnerships.

The Call of The Palm Trees

As has been the case many times over the course of the past 19 years (since the first time I visited California), my heart has once again called me back to the golden State I have always (since that first visit) called home.

I need the palm trees.  The more than five months of consecutive pure sunshine every year with not a day’s rain in that stretch.  The warmth cascading down on my face.  The beauty of the California Pacific Ocean shores.

I have no idea of the “exact” timing, other than to say it’s going to happen very soon.

And while I finally believe I will land in Santa Monica, a place my heart has been calling me to for several years, I don’t know whether I will go directly there, (and where my dearest life friend/Scrabble nemesis also now lives); or perhaps make a short pit-stop of a couple months back in the bay area, where several of my friends, my sister and my Godson live.

Appreciation for this Industry

I’ve said it countless times.  It needs to be said once again.  We work in a truly amazing industry.  Not just for the opportunities that abound.  More for the community that has grown from within.

To know that wherever I take my feet, I’ve got the overwhelming support of so many people, the shared understanding of life from our industry’s unique perspective, and the common ground desire to continually seek out new and greater experiences means more than I can put to words.

So I look forward to my future, brighter than ever before.  And I thank each and every one of you who have been there for me and continue to be there for me.  Because without you, I would be nothing.




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Industry Consensus – Why I Encourage you To Take the SEOMoz Survey Mon, 26 Mar 2012 15:54:58 +0000 Every two years something special happens in our industry.  Thousands upon thousands of people voluntarily take upwards of 20 minutes or more of their day to pause from what they’re doing to offer their opinion, their experience, and their beliefs about the state of search marketing and how they go about their work.  The resulting data is then gathered, churned and presented back to us, for all who care to study.

I’m talking about the SEOMoz Industry Survey.

What The Survey is Not

This survey is not to be confused with the even more important SEOmoz Ranking Factors survey (which I had the honor of contributing to last year) that digs deep into the “how and where” of how search engines might work.

No matter how accurately participants answer the dozens of questions, no matter how carefully and considerately the Moz team convert that data into pie charts and bar charts and pretty infographs, it really isn’t ever going to be more than a platform for consensus on a narrow aspect of who we are, how we’re doing and how we go about our work.

Why The Survey Is Vital

There’s enough tidbits of value in this survey if you pay attention.  Both from a pulse of the industry perspective as well as a “how we might be able to do our jobs better” perspective.

Even with the limitations such a platform has, this biennial crowd-sourced knowledge dump is by far, the single most valuable tool we in the industry have to help gauge the general state of where we as an industry are, and where opportunities might exist for efficiency and productivity, and insights and answers that we may have not given enough weight to on our own.

As long as we recognize its limitations, just as we have a responsibility to do when analyzing ANY data in our industry, regardless of source, this one resource has the capacity to bring crowd-sourced based clarity to what is likely a laundry list of questions that many if not most of us have regarding at least some aspect of the work we do.

Over Dramatization Or Spot on Opinion

In 2012, Click2Rank is growing dramatically. We’re in a multi-phase hiring frenzy.  And we’ve increased our budget for outsourced vendor support services from a mere $30,000 a year to a quarter of a million dollars for the coming 12 month cycle. And that’s JUST for outsourced support services!

For some of you, the work you do may not involve millions of dollars of potential revenue increases for your employer or clients.  Maybe it’s only thousands.  Yet even then, wouldn’t you rather go to sleep at night knowing the way you do your work, and the things you focus on are the best possible?  Is it not enough that  you’ve made a commitment to your employer or client to provide the best possible service?

Its because of that perspective that as far as I’m concerned, since I give 110% of my passion for excellence, even the narrow focus of this survey is going to help me move ever closer toward that excellence in my work.

How We Do Our Jobs

One of the things I love about this survey is it opens my mind when I go about my work of deciding what tools, resources and solutions might help my team become more efficient, more productive and more focused.  A few years back, I was adamantly opposed to tools for automating my audit work, for example.  It was my belief that tools are imperfect, and no tool can pick up on the often subtle patterns that my  trained eye can see when looking at raw data.

When I got enough input from enough people in the industry that they were using various tools, with great success, I opened my mind.  And now, I can’t even begin to comprehend how I was able to be truly efficient without the tools I rely upon every day of my working life.

That I also now have an entire team relying on my guidance, my direction, and my recommendations, having a crowdsourced data point is even more helpful in my decision making process.

Perfect In Its Imperfection

Even though many people who take the survey are quite likely to be beginner or intermediate marketers, even though many who are seasoned will, themselves, be off-base in their own way of doing things,  the shear volume of data collected is itself at least a partial buffer from too much “questionable” or “shaky” data from causing survey results to invalidate the data’s usefulness.

How can I make such a claim?  How can I not take the position that if too many people provide inaccurate, half-valid responses, the survey is then useless, or at worst, harmful to our work?

We’re an industry of professionals.  We’re not, generally speaking, a bunch clueless hacks stumbling in the dark.  Enough people within our industry get enough results in the “positive” column, that collectively, we must be doing something right.

The Testing FailSafe

Just like any other input we choose to take in our research and learning of our collective craft, if you truly are professional, if you truly do implement best practices in your work as a rule, you’ll take what you think the survey is telling you, and you’ll test it on your own.  You’ll be responsible in your testing, and you’ll do so cautiously and consciously. Just like you do with more direct ranking and conversion based method choices.

Testing Begins With Assumption

It’s dangerous to make assumptions.  No. Actually it’s not.  Instead, it’s dangerous to make assumptions, then blindly make decisions that directly have the potential to negatively impact people’s lives.  In this case, it’s mostly related to efficiency and methodology.  Yet those alone can cause an agency or department to totally go sideways or off the rails.  So testing even in this scenario, is vital to the health of the work you do.

Assumptions Require Input

In order to make assumptions, we need input.  Either from our own past experience, or that of others.  The more input we get, is not necessarily better.  Too much input from too many people can, in fact, cause our senses to be overwhelmed.  So how then, is the Moz survey a good thing?

Consensus Based Input

The golden key to making use of mass volumes of data in our assumption making process is where that mass volume can be consolidated into digestible chunks.  In a form we can understand and make sense of without feeling overwhelmed.  And last I checked, no other organization in our industry goes to the lengths gone to by the Moz team, to both gather this data and then in turn, present it in such digestible chunks, let alone on such a massive scale.

Help Make Our Industry Better

If you totally think I am high as a kite in my logic here, that’s great.  Continue going about your work however you choose that you believe works for you.  If, on the other hand, you agree with my thinking, I highly encourage you, if you haven’t already, to take the time to participate in the Survey.  Those of us who rely on it to help formulate our assumptions (as one of many data points, thank you very much), will thank you for it…


One Line Wisdom from the Best Little Show in Social Mon, 06 Feb 2012 19:43:01 +0000 Recently I made the trek to the Great White North to attend and share my thoughts at MediaBistro’s Socialize Conference in Toronto, Ontario.  If you have ever wanted to soak up some serious social media wisdom from the best minds in the business but find the huge conferences a little off-putting, then Socialize may be just the conference for you.  The conference draws the same top shelf speakers you would find at, say PubCon, but presents them in a smaller, intimate venue that makes such thought leaders easily accessible.

Just as the snowflakes began to swirl through the streets of Toronto, savvy marketers gathered at the St. Andrews Club to take their social media game up a notch.  Following is a sampling of some of the best moments in 140 characters or less.

Opening Keynote: Past, Present, and Future: Measuring Social Media’s Impact by Alan K’necht

  • Social Media: Informal Social gathering / a Medium of cultivation; agency of doing something
  •  It’s always been about the words, the tools have changed.
  • Social marketing is still about the relationships
  • Social marketing is a FIRE: it draws people together
  • Users measure impact on a very personal level. What are you doing to impact people on a personal level?
  • Gutenberg’s Printing Press was a catalyst to French Revolution; Same as Arab Spring on Twitter
  • Printing press spurred literacy, social engagement, and revolution
  • Measure, but measure the RIGHT things. It’s not just about the biggest fire
  • How do you measure the success of your Social Media Fire? 3 things required Fuel, Oxygen, Heat
  • Fuel: Followers, fans, Contacts, Headcount <– meaningless numbers — must be tied to success metrics
  • Oxygen: Your content; does it motivate people? does it generate heat?
  • Add oxygen to the fire with quality content. Test and measure that too
  • Heat: Content in Action; measure: likes/shares, comments, RTs, G+, etc…
  • Heat it up by tracking the engagement with your community
  • Balance: right mix of fuel, oxygen and heat. w/o balance Explosion, Forrest fire…
  • All of this tracking of heads, content, engagement will lead you to the optimum mix for Social Media Impact

Establishing a Corporate Social Infrastructure by Sam Fiorella

  • Social media goals are not aligned to PROFIT and therefore cannot be measured adequately
  • need to look at the lifecycle of the relationship within social media
  • Goals must be aligned internally between Departmental Goals, Corporate Goals all focused on PROFIT
  • So many companies are in utter chaos when it comes to social goals
  • Metrics are not the same as Goals. Do not confuse the two.
  • First Corporate problem is identifying Goals that are Directly PROFIT related, Metrics tied to profit
  • Can you model the life cycle of a customer interaction? That’s the key to getting to ROI
  • Meaningful Business Metrics: Life Cycle = Awareness to Nurturing to Desire; then Conversion then Retention!
  • Take Away: Tie all Metrics to PROFIT; measure over Life Cycles

Creatively Social: Breaking Out of the Ordinary by Ric Dragon

  • Not all social marketing projects are created equal
  • Brand Maintenance; Reputations & Crisis; Community Building; and Influence are examples of projects
  • Common elements of the Successful Creative campaign is: 1) have Fun 2) Unexpectedness 3) Participatory; 4) Cross-Media or Trans-Media
  • Shift is from One way storytelling to Dynamic storytelling
  • Brainstorming was a Marketing Invention; use it to unstick your team, do role playing, open it up!

Facebook Advertising for Results and ROI – Panel Discussion

  • With FB ads, there’s a valuable opportunity to target by demographics – take advantage instead of blasting out ads.
  • If you do not know who your customer is DO NOT do Facebook Ads
  • Not using Social Media to engage consumers is a mistake, even for businesses afraid of negative feedback!
  • Facebook is just one channel, use a variety of Tactics, different landing Pages, TRACK IT ALL for ROI
  • Do not do Facebook or other Social IF you’re not going to be “Social” / forget broadcasting….
  • Does Facebook work for B2B? Short Answer NO, use Linkedin instead

New Insights on Using Google+ to Rank Better – Panel Discussion

  • Google Plus is NOT just a social network, it’s a Social Layer. It’s the potential behind it.
  • G+ is google’s equalizer for content quality in search
  • Brands: get on google+ early to get more content indexed
  • G+ Has the potential to develop a different class in the social media arena
  • Google+ is not just another social network It’s going to be a way to socially serve up content from other google products
  • Google+ is like a baby. It hasn’t even started speaking let alone established it’s own identity.
  • Search integration of G+ has the potential to affect the need for huge critical mass. Changes the rules for gaining Internet momentum

The Power of Twitter Chats – Panel Discussion

  • The Directory of Twitter Chats – 589 strong
  • Most businesses don’t realize the impact & business value of twitter chats
  • all panelists have been guests on #SocialChat Want the ROI of Chats – you’re looking at it.
  • Use it to learn how Twitter works; get your own thought leadership out there
  • to be successful with a Twitter Chat you have to engage with passion
  • Find a topic that matters enough to your audience that they will want to spend an hour with you.
  • Success breeds success; they can now “cold tweet” bloggers who see stream and want in
SEO Tool Review: SEM Rush Wed, 16 Nov 2011 16:00:00 +0000 The following is a review of SEM Rush. SEM Rush did give us a three month pro membership in exchange for this review, however, both parties agreed the review would be unbiased and would contain just the facts. If you feel this review was biased in any way please leave us your remarks in the comments or shoot me an email. I should also go ahead and admit I’ve been a member of SEM Rush for a while now:

Memeber Since 2009

I first signed up for their service when I was working for a non-profit in Kansas City. It was a free service to look at some data and compare ourselves against some others in the area. Since our site wasn’t any bigger than twenty pages there wasn’t a huge pull to go for the pro services. So now I’ve had a chance to see what I was missing, on to the review!

What is SEM Rush?

SEM Rush is a part of the SEO Quake team, whom all SEOs know make a killer addon to FireFox. SEM Rush is a tool that analyzes site(s) ranking, traffic, keywords, adwords, trends and much more. These guys also partner with some well-known SEO/SEM groups and resources such as The SEO Dojo, Raven Tools and SEO

What They Provide:


The free version isn’t all that bad, because well, it’s free. It allows you to run 10 reports a day and gather some pretty decent intel, which is good if you’re a small business doing it yourself or have someone else on staff. One thing I really like is when it shows the cut off:

SEM Rush Review Screenshot 1(free version)

Why you ask? Because the numbers shown are the same numbers you’ll see when you go pro. You get to see the keywords and pages that are ranking. It’s a little taste of what you’ll get when you upgrade your account. This is really nice when trying to get your boss/client to spring for the pro account. Instead of seeing a typical “must upgrade to view stats”, they’ll see partial numbers and data that will spark their interest. And when the upgrade happens, the rest of the data is visible (and you get to run 3,000 reports):

SEM Rush Review Screenshot 2(pro version)

                The SERPs

If you notice the little notepad image to the right of the results you’ll get to see a little snap shot of the current search results for that keyphrase. It’s nice to see a quick shot of what the SERPs look like for a keyterm your site is being found by without having to go run individual queries. It should be noted though that these “snap shots” are the current Google cache for that search and it may not reflect what you’re looking at. This function to view the SERPs is also available when you’re checking out the Ad Words competition.

SEM Rush Review Screenshot 4SEM Rush Review Screenshot 3

                PPC Spying

You want to check out the ads your competition is using? SEM Rush’s nifty Ad Words integration not only allows you to see how much the competition is spending on ads, including the cost per click, but also lets you see what ads they are using. I don’t spend a great deal of my time in PPC, but if I did I could see myself really using this function a lot.

SEM Rush Screenshot 5

                Traffic/Trend Comparison

The traffic/trend comparison is a great visual tool to not only compare how sites stack up side by side but also allows you to see what kind of hit the competition takes when Google rolls out algorithm changes. You’re able to sort the data by search engine traffic, search engine traffic price, number of ads, ad traffic and ad traffic price. That’s really good insight to see where the competition is focusing their time and money at.

SEM Rush Review Screenshot 6

<shinyobject>when you drag your mouse along the graph the pie chart will automatically reflect the data to match the current position of the mouse</shinyobject>

                Keyword Research

The keyword research is similar to the Google Adwords Keyword tool in that it will show you the word you searched for and relates results but will add some more info. You’ll also see the top twenty organic competitors ranking for that term as well as the top twenty ad buyers for that term. It’ll also show you the trending traffic created from those phrases in addition to the estimated cost of clicks for them as well. And like with all of the data that can be generated in SEM Rush, it can be exported.

                Exporting/Embedding The Reports

Anytime I can export data to look at it further offline, I’m all for it. Sure, SEM Rush gives you the ability to view the data in charts and graphs online but what if you want to customize your own in Excel? In addition to being able to export the results, SEM Rush will provide you with an embed code. I can’t imagine using this to put on a client site, but for some reason if you wanted to show off the traffic your clients were getting they have a way to let you do that.


My Final Thoughts

The biggest difference between the free and pro account is the amount of information seen and the number of reports one can run a day. If you’re a small business that can get by on 10 reports a day then a free account may be all you need, but realize the amount of data you get is limited. If you’re a freelancer or agency with multiple clients in competitive niches then the pro account may be the way to go for you.

The Cons

So at this point you may be thinking okay Josh, what faults are there with it? The biggest thing I’m not a huge fan of is that it won’t show any data unless your site is ranking in the top twenty for the phrase you’re targeting. Which only means you have to keeping working at it to get in the top twenty, but you can compare the data of those already there. For instance, a client has just started in the travel niche (very competitive). When I run a report in SEM Rush I see all of the brand terms they are ranking for and a few long tail results, but no results for the bigger more competitive terms they are targeting.

I also found a few instances of the report generator showing more and less reports that I had run. Since I never used all 3,000 of the reports I could run I wasn’t able to figure out if the report counter was accurate. This leads me to my next point.

The jump from 10 reports a day and to 3,000 is a HUGE leap. Yeah you get more data, but what if you’re a small business that doesn’t need to run 3,000 reports a day much less 3,000 reports a month? When I worked for that non-profit in Kansas City I and used SEM Rush to collect data it would have been nice to have the pro account, had there been a smaller package available it would’ve been an easier sell (my budget was $0). It would be nice if they had a package focused at small businesses not to mention if their data allowed for more than just the top twenty results.

I don’t have a problem with the data they are providing. After all Raven Tools uses SEM Rush’s API for their own services. So if those guys trust the data provided, why wouldn’t you? You can read this review again or even read the tutorials SEM Rush has on their site, but you won’t know what you think unless you try it yourself. SEM Rush is providing a *free two week trial of the pro account (reports only up to 500 a day), so at the very least check out SEM Rush and leave your thoughts in the comments below.

*This is an affiliate link; if you wish to proceed without the affiliate referral just remove the affiliate snippet (/?ref=553995584) at the end of the link.

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Slide Deck & Notes from My SMX Advanced Google Survivor Preso Mon, 20 Jun 2011 15:54:41 +0000 I had the privilege to participate as a panelist on the Google Survivor Tips panel during SMX Advanced in Seattle this year.  The presentation was centered around how to address the fact that your site is vulnerable to the Google roller coaster – most recently of course, as seen in the Panda Updates.

I also spoke on how to not only inoculate yourself from the major updates at Google, but to go beyond that. To generate significant organic search traffic through other means.

Rather than embedding my deck over on SlideShare or DocStoc, I prefer to keep all my content local.  No disrespect to those fine services. Just that my content is my content, ya know?  And here I can present it to you without ads, or without having to pay them a fee to have no ads.

But I get to do even more.  I get to provide you not only the slides I used, but the notes I spoke from.  That’s a significant bonus to you because a slide deck by itself is pretty boring right? And I can even skip the intro slides and the “why I’m so great, you should respect what I’m saying” slide 🙂

So here, for your viewing pleasure, I present my Google Survivor tips presentation.

  • Topic: Google Survivor Tips
  • Slides: 24
  • Presentation Length: 18 Minutes


When I was gathering this data, I reviewed sites that I’d coordinated the SEO on and sites that came to me after, so it’s a pretty good sampling of data.  Most interesting is the fact that while these sites had over 7 million pages indexed at Google, the sites NOT inoculated only had a tiny fraction of their pages indexed at Bing – I’ll touch on reasons for that in this presentation.

There are 2 kinds of SEO

And I’m not talking about “the hat which shall remain nameless”

I’m talking about Myopic SEO and Sustainable SEO.

SEO that’s got tunnel vision, and SEO that sees the bigger picture.



Here’s an example of a few sites that came to me after Panda.

Note how in two of these visitor trending snapshots, the sites took a significant hit from Google’s May Day update, and were subsequently hammered during the Panda cycle.

Personally, when I studied the May Day update and Caffeine, I saw the writing on the wall – and in fact, I spent several months inoculating my own client sites against what I knew was coming this year.  (Note – my client sites were NOT negatively impacted, however all indications from that update were that Google was turning up the heat in a big enough way that it meant bigger changes were coming.

Here’s trending charts from three of my pre-Panda clients.

The first launched shortly before last year’s May Day update and has been consistently performing ever since.

The middle one is for a seasonal site, with ups and downs reflecting those trends.

All three are great examples of sites properly optimized with Sustainable SEO.

So Lets Look at Myopic SEO

Several common factors  come up every time I see a site that was given the “Myopic” SEO treatment.  Either by a consultant or agency, or a site owner who “thinks” they know what SEO is.

Sometimes a site  has only a couple of these problems.  Most of the time, they’ve got nearly all of them.

What is Sustainable SEO?

Tight Topical Focus.  Clearly Seeded on and off site

And it considers User Experience.    Not YOU – You’re not the user.

And Diversity in what you do.  Or you create False Patterns

Patterns are everything.   Pandas  LOVE False Patterns

Here’s a great example of Myopic SEO

This is a case of Internal Link Poisoning.

Look at all them links.  Everywhere.  About Everything.

No Topical Focus on this page. The “main content area” is a tiny box of text surrounded by a sea of confusion.

And Link Poisoning causes Algorithms to Vomit.

Here’s a main category page from that same site.

The page was sliced in half for this presentation because it’s too long for one slide.

Note the “main content area” in that tiny box on the left (upper) portion of the page.

Again, it’s lost in a sea of links going everywhere imaginable on the site.

They’re confusing to users.

They overwhelm the senses.  Of Users And Search Algorithms.

Here’s another site that’s a great example of Myopic SEO.  Again, this is one page, split in two.

There’s just too much going on here that has nothing to do with the topical focus of this specific page.

And no effort went into getting comments, user generated content, on this one (or the majority of content on the site).

All the other unrelated stuff causes user and search confusion.

Here’s that same page cleaned up.

Much more main content.

Heavily Promoted User Generated Content.

Fewer Ads.

Which bring MORE clicks now.

Now it’s a Happy Page.

This is a page on a professional services site.  Note how there are NO Ads.

If you have a professional services site, there is no legitimate reason to have ads.

Best practices Structure all around

Section Specific Sub-Navigation is really important

Breadcrumbs confirm topical relationships

Lots of High Quality Content

Myopic SEO Inbound Links have ugly patterns

Here’s one where it’s mostly BRAND related anchors.

And the keyword anchors are really weak choices.

Which means you’re missing a lot of people who don’t know your brand

And this profile doesn’t match Google on-site understanding of what you’re site’s about.

It’s a disconnect.  Myopic.

This link profile is no better.

Look at those Ratios of Links to Root Domains.

High Link to Root Ratios are  BAD SEO.

Too many links coming from individual domains

If there’s a lot of them, it’s an indication you may be buying links.

Sustainable SEO requires better link profiles.

More diversity of brand, keyword and generic anchor text.

And much tighter Link to Root Ratios.

You can have SOME high ratios – for example – I blog.  A lot.  So I’ve got a lot of links from Search Engine Journal for example.

Every bio in every one of those articles, plus some in-content links – those are natural, so it’s valid to have a high ratio there.

Except it shouldn’t be the majority of your inbound link profile.

Because that’s not natural.


Sustainable SEO is so important to understand.

Get it and you’ll  not only ride the Google  Roller Coaster

You’ll get more visits.

Better Visits.

And more visits from other places

And more sales.


So Remember- only MYOPIC SEO is stuck in the Google Mud.

SUSTAINABLE SEO sees a bigger world out there.

With lots of opportunity from places appropriate to your market.

Maybe there’s location specific opportunities.

Or industry specific.  They’re out there.

Are you an adventurer, or are you a marketing wallflower?

Here’s some stats on sites I audited, comparing the quality of their SEO.

ODD, Isn’t ?

Myopic SEO caused sites to have  between 10% & 16% traffic from other search.

Oh Look.

Sustainable SEO brings between 20% and 49% of its traffic from other places

And that’s not cannibalized from Google.


If you’ve been stuck in the mud with Myopic SEO, you’d be surprised to know that Bing has a preference for inbound links that come from other sites Bing thinks are authoritative.  Which means that it’s good to take a look so that at least some of your inbound links come from sites that are actually ranking in Bing, not just Google.

Remember that the sites I studied had only 10% of their pages indexed in Bing.  – Actually some sites have MORE pages indexed in Bing than Google.  So don’t assume.

And Bing has a more difficult time discovering content without your help.

So take the time to submit those sitemap.xml files to Bing.  You’ll be glad you did.

And when you have strong site architecture, Bing is better able to index more pages as well.

Bing’s not just looking for “Likes” in social .  They want to see engagement.

Engagement = authority.


Let’s Talk About the importance of a variety of Anchor Phrases.

Look how easy it is to get many more pages indexed in Bing .

Again, this is just MY experience, and what I’ve found in my own audits.

It’s pretty consistent though.

So be sure to get more diversity in your anchor text.

And point it to the right content on your site.

Laser focus where those inbound links point to for topical relevance when you can.

And spread the anchor text love!

With Sustainable SEO, you need to be forward thinking.

It’s critical.  Because the search engines are only going to continue to care more about how they determine searcher intent AND Site owner intent.

People who are stuck in the mud see one thing or hear about one technique

And think

OMG  This Is The Answer To My Prayers….

Or they encourage bad business decisions.

Like too many ads on a page.


Sustainable SEO Requires Thinking Outside The Box

And planting a listening device in Matt’s Office.

And hires psychics to figure what Google and Bing will do next.

Seriously though – it’s like how I was able to realize that May Day and Caffeine were warning signs that Panda was coming.

Through the rest of this year and beyond, Google and bing are going to work to get these signals even more highly tuned.

So pay attention to these considerations when you’re doing SEO or auditing a site’s current optimization.


Sitting on the myopic couch has got to  end.

Your aunt Sally’s getting worried.

Because  search engines suck at evaluating content   And relationships

But changes the paradigm.

Search engines are finally admitting in a HUGE way, they need our help.

So don’t wait til 2012

Get with the Schema Program this year.

And you’ll be  a winner in 2012.



I created this last slide the day I learned about Schema.  A week before the presentation.  I tweeted about Schema, referring to it as a paradigm shift. And I drilled it as a factor during that night’s #SEOChat.

And before flying up to Seattle, I wrote an SEJ article focused specifically on my prediction that markup would be a ranking factor in 2012, and that article went live on the first day of the conference.

The next morning, before my presentation, Stefan Weitz, Head of Search at Microsoft, talked about Schema.  And how it’s going to help them understand site owner intent more.

Which means they’ll be able to better match user intent to site content intent.

And that means it WILL be a ranking factor.

At the end of his keynote, I went up to him and we talked about it.

And we were in complete agreement that it’s amazing there are so many people who don’t yet accept Schema is both here to stay AND that it’s going to be a ranking factor.

Maybe it won’t be.  Maybe it will fail to get wide implementation.  Maybe lightening will strike the same place six times.

You never know.

Me, I’m going with it.

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Google Announces New Features – Live Tweeting Recap Tue, 14 Jun 2011 18:06:32 +0000 Earlier today, Google held a live stream webcast where they announced several innovations that will help users experience a more enjoyable search process.

I watched the event live, and tweeted snippets from the event, so I figured I’d post them here for those of you who weren’t able to watch, or weren’t aware of the event…

I’m showing them here in sequence, rather than in the typical reverse sequence that comes from live-tweeting…


Ok here we go – Google’s about to announce this RFID chips for web sites thing…

Cool: submit questions about the RFID Chips for web sites to

Amit is saying “even with Schema, we need more help understanding sites. RFID for web sites will help”

“With RFID for web sites, Google will understand a site’s intent instantly…”

“We agreed to with Microsoft and Yahoo, knowing we had the upper hand with RFID for web sites.”

“Think of as the first child, RFID for web sites as the second child of search” #Quote #AmitSinghal #InsideSearch

“Its important that you get that first organic result right. RFID for web sites will help us do that.” #Quote #AmitSinghal #InsideSearch

“At Google speed is the 3rd pillar of quality search. RFID for web sites will resolve that.” #Quote #AmitSinghal #InsideSearch

“With RFID for web sites, you’ll have a great user experience on mobile” #Quote #InsideSearch

Cool. RFID for web sites – instantly translates a site for you based on your native language! #InsideSearch

“Mobile speech has grown by a factor of six in a year. RFID for web sites lets you interface faster.” #InsideSearch

“The new Speach.Interface aspect of RFID for web sites will ensure mobile search is more accurate” #InsideSearch

“230 billion words worth of data from queries. RFID for web sites processes that instantly. ” #InsideSearch

“Mobile has opened a world of possibilities. RFID for web sites will let you explore that world.” #InsideSearch

“With RFID for Web Sites, we can predict what you will want, even better” #Quote #Google #InsideSearch

“RFID for web sites – you won’t have to decide which SERP to choose – we’ll do it for you” #QUote #AmitSinghal #Google

“Google Instant Pages – RFID for web sites lets you see 500 pages at once” #InsideSearch

“Get to the next page before you click your mouse, thanks to RFID for web sites” #Quote #AmitSinghal #InsideSearch

“With RFID for web sites, you’ll be able to learn Spanish in a day” #InsideSearch

Lots of cheering in the live feed audience as they’re describing how RFID for Web sites helps students cheat on tests..

“RFID for web sites combines Dragon Naturally Speaking with lazy ass people’s mind models” #InsideSearch

“RFID for web sites – the next gen Google Goggles. ” they’re calling it “Google Gurgles” #InsideSearch

“RFID for web sites will let you take a grainy stolen logo and get a crisp version” #InsideSearch

Search by voice, search by image, Google Gurgles – all thanks to RFID for web sites… #InsideSearch

Google Instant + RFID for web sites – “Faster than instant” #Quote #AmitSinghal #Google #InsideSearch

“RFID for web sites – flip web pages faster than changing channels on your TV” #Quote #AmitSinghal #InsideSearch

“Sure, there will be antitrust lawsuits because of RFID for web sites. We’ve got the money to fight it” #InsideSearch

“We understand RFID for web sites will kill Adobe’s business model. Too bad.” #Quote #Google #InsideSearch

“At Google, we don’t want to alienate SEOs with this, so only SEOs will have RFID for web sites licenses” #InsideSearch

“RFID for web sites will initially be priced at $35,000 per site.” #Google #InsideSearch


Okay, there you have it.  A complete recap of the most important things Google communicate at today’s event.



*disclaimer – if you actually believe they said any of this stuff, you may want to lighten up a bit.  Because RFID for web sites is really something only I could come up with… really.





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The Bogus Call to Arms Against Sat, 11 Jun 2011 16:06:09 +0000 Update (3 hours after initial post)

Manu Sporny, W3C’s Chair of the RDFa group, read this article and provides a great response in the comment thread, to which I responded. So be sure to read the comments after reading the article. 🙂


In an ideal world of “everything is free”, crowd-sourcing, and W3C standards, all major decisions that affect the masses should only be decided by consensus of the masses.  That’s a concept that, in regard to the evolution of the web, needs to be seen for what it is.  Fantasy. It’s not reality by any stretch of the imagination. was long overdue, because there were too many competing choices and the search engines desperately need help in the process of identifying quality content.  And by collaborating on the Schema model, the big three unilaterally set the stage for a major step toward that cleansing, in a way that traditional “open” standards could never do.

Tonal Disclaimer

This is one of my harshest articles in a while.  Some of you may get really upset at Alan going so dark on you.  Well, let’s just say that this is an article I believe would not have as much of an impact if I sugar coated it.  It’s an opportunity for some of you to pause and open your eyes.  And if you do, I also believe you’re going to thank me for it afterward.

Giddy With Laughter

When Schema was first going viral on Twitter, I jumped over there to see what the big 3 came up with.  And within a few minutes, it was crystal clear to me that we’re seeing a paradigm shift in the search industry unfold before our eyes.  As imperfect as this first iteration is, it solves so many problems that I was giddy with laughter.

I immediately sent a directive to my agency client’s dev teams – – read it, learn it, implement it.  No arguments. No delay.

I then tweeted the urgency and the opportunity before the search community that night, during #SEOChat.  And then wrote an article for Search Engine Journal entitled “Anticipating SEO in 2012 – Competitive Advantage“.

In that article, which went live while I was up at SMX Advanced,  I communicated how I saw a situation where people who get with the Schema program are going to have a competitive advantage.  Because, in my opinion (at the time it was JUST an opinion – today I KNOW it will be), Schema is going to be a ranking factor for organic search.

Searcher Intent, By Itself, Is Half A Pie

Up at SMX Advanced this past week, I was on the Google Survivor Tips Panel.  And as part of my prep for that panel, I’d read Eric Enge’s interview of Stefan Weitz, Director of search at Microsoft.  In that article, Stefan described how they’re moving from reading words on pages as if they’re nouns, to a time in the not-distant future where they’re going to start reading them and interpreting them as though they’re verbs.

What that’s about is the need to better understand the intent of the site owner in what they’re communicating their product or service offerings are about.  Which, if successful, will allow the engines to better match that data with searcher intent.

And from that interview, it was clear to me already that people are going to have to do a better job at being crystal clear on the intent of their site’s message. Which I already knew. Because most of the sites I audit turn out to do a TERRIBLE job of communicating their highly refined intent.

Because it’s usually not very refined at all.  And with a plethora of coding methods out there, and no agreement on standardized solutions, sites struggle to communicate this.

Along Comes – The Other Half Of The Intent Pie

During that initial review I did of Schema, Stefan’s words came back to me in the blink of an eye – here, in this newly launched system, was a very powerful way for sites to better communicate their intent! All the way down to the granular level, if you execute properly.  And not just in headers and off-page stuff.  We’re talking the beef of any web site – the core content.

Confirmation – It’s Going To Be A Ranking Factor

On the last day of SMX, the morning keynote (just before my session), featured Stefan Weitz.  He talked about, and how it’s going to help the search engines understand intent so much more.  And when it came time for taking questions from the audience, I asked if my seeing the connection between his interview and Schema had been accurate, he said yes – absolutely.

And when asked if Schema was a ranking factor, he said not initially.  But it will.

After the keynote, I went up and spoke to Stefan briefly – and we shared a laugh about how obvious it should be that it’s going to be a factor and that some people just don’t get it.  Which was a bonus for me, because, as you can see from the image above, it was the very last slide in my presentation deck.  And having that slide perfectly matched by the morning keynote speaker just rocked my world 🙂

Angry Birds Flapping Their Wings Frantically – Fighting The Prevailing Winds

While some people got it, as I did, right away – like Aaron Bradley over at SEO Skeptic, many in our community just found another reason to rant. With the general tone this time being “wait and see” or “we already have microformats, RDFa, etc. – why do we need search engines dictating to us?” – and that’s the kicker.  It’s a typical reaction to change that’s so significant, so massive, that it’s unsettling.

And of course, since it’s something that the big 3 came out with, it’s another reason to hate on the big 3.  Evildoers, that they are. “What about the little guy, who’s going to be at an even bigger disadvantage?” “Oh why can’t we just do what we want?” “Why should I have to change?” “The only reason they’re doing it is to scrape our content”…

Birds of a Feather…

And as soon as this whole thing started really spreading, developers far and wide started screaming.  Not all – some saw the blessing that this really is. Yet many cried foul.  Insulted.  Put off.  Angry that they’re not going to be allowed to continue doing whatever the heck they please anymore.

Myopic Thinking Rears Its Ugly Head

In my presentation at SMX Advanced, I spent the majority of my time (a very generous 18 minutes, thank you very much Danny Sullivan!), I showed comparisons of two types of SEO.

And I wasn’t referring to “the hat that shall remain nameless”.

I was talking about Myopic SEO and Sustainable SEO.

To me, Myopic SEO is stuck in the mud.  It’s limited in its vision.  It’s a major hindrance to sites gaining maximum recognition for their content. Which means it falls way short when seen through the eyes of the search algorithms.

You remember those.  The processes by which search engines determine whether your content is the most relevant for a specific search.

Well, anyhow- some people are all up in arms, railing against, wanting to “take back our web“.  Yes, that’s right. Manu Sporny, the Chair of the W3C group that created RDFa, wants to FIGHT BACK. Read his article.  Then come back.  But first, be sure to put down your coffee before reading his article,  else you spit coffee all over the place laughing.

Manu Sporny, I Feel Your Pain.

Look, I really understand why someone who spent years of his life championing one of several alternative markup solutions would be so upset.

RDFa was first proposed in 2004.  It took three years just to get to the first public working draft.

Another year to reach recommendation status.

That’s four years just to reach recommendation status!

As the Chair of the group, Manu probably has had more sleepless nights than many people experience in a lifetime.  What with all the bickering, and hemming and hawing, that’s inherent to the 20th Century methods required by W3C protocol, and of course, due to the fact that many people who participate in “open” standards have a hidden agenda, which gums up the process.

Then there’s archetypal reality in play – get ten code monkeys in a room, and you’ll get 14 “solutions” for a single problem. Throw a few Project Managers into the mix, a couple UX people, and some corporate spies forced to participate at the directive of their suit-and-tie employer, on the premise that “we have to have a say in this”…  Yeah – it becomes a long, slow, and completely bogged down process.

Except there’s a problem with RDFa.

it’s  just one of a variety of methodologies to come along over the years from the web community at large. And that is the bigger problem. Competing solutions, none of which reached, to this point, the status of “the only solution from a best practices perspective”.

“It’s Not My Problem” Syndrome

Over the years, as search has become exponentially more complex, from time to time, I’d hear someone say “it’s not my job – that’s Google’s responsibility.”  As if Google has the magical power to figure everything out, without our help.  Which is complete bullshit. For all the times we’ve heard “let google figure it out” (Even by Matt Cutts over and over), we all know search quality sucks for many topics. And it IS partially our responsibility.

Don’t believe me?

Why do you think Google invented the Canonical tag?  Or  Why do you think they started encouraging the use of Breadcrumbs as a signal?  Or Microformats/microdata/RDFa in general?

Because they need our help.  #DUH

Sustainable SEO

In my presentation up in Seattle, I mentioned that Sustainable SEO is vital. It’s forward thinking.

Sustainable SEO anticipates, evolves.

And those of us who take the time to think like business owners, will have no problem understanding the importance of or that it’s already here to stay.   It’s not one of those “wait and see” situations at all.

Welcome To The Business World

SO okay – they need our help.  Sue them.

While you’re suing them, I’ll be helping my clients push your site results even further down in the SERPs.  Because I understand that is an answer to the search industry’s prayers.  And it’s an answer to site owners prayers.  Yeah – the people who pay all you developers and SEOs your salary, your hourly wage, your consulting fee.

That’s Right – is a brilliant Godsend for business owners.  People without whom, you wouldn’t have a thriving and ubiquitous web, that now permeates every cell of your being 24x7x365.

It’s a Godsend because what amounts to a cumulative millions of hours of wasted search effort on the part of searchers is that much closer to being repurposed.  It’s a Godsend because more site owners are going to be able to rise to the top of search results.  Which will mean they’ll make more money.  And that money will partly go to pay their employees.  Who have families to feed.

It’s a Godsend to millions of Project Managers around the word, who won’t have to deal with bickering code monkeys when it comes to “which method do we choose”.

It’s a Godsend to me, because I’m going to work on a way to help developers automate as much of the implementation of filling in the data into Schema elements.  And that’s going to help me in the overall SEO consulting process because programmers who get it will love me for that.

And for ALL of these reasons, within the business realm, the big 3 took action that was long overdue.  And would still be years out if not for their unilateral decision.

But Open Standards Are Just Around The Corner

Yeah – that’s right Just recently, the W3C finally moved one step closer to reaching another standard.  Which, however, would not have stopped countless engineers from doing things their way anyhow.  Either by NOT implementing any micro-method at all, or by going with something other than the W3C standard.

How do I know this?  Look at the web today.  It’s a mess.  HTML 4 – yeah that competed against XHTML.  And still does.  Even as HTML 5 is rolling down the tracks.  And code validation in any of them still sucks for the vast majority of sites on the web.

So if, after sixteen years in this business, I have YET to see a single “standard” that’s come from the web dev community be handled properly, let alone reached critical mass as the single, consistent method of d0ing things, how the heck do you think you’re going to convince me that you can get it right this time?

Be Patient, You Say

Ha!  Be patient.  While the world moves forward, driven by the needs of the business world, you go ahead.  Keep that pipe dream alive.  In the mean time, the closer the big 3 can get to improving search quality, the sooner I can get back to playing some Madden NFL.

Sometimes Children Need To Be Told What To Do

When a business owner needs to get every competitive advantage they can in order to succeed, it’s that need that drives business decisions. And since many of us are already fully on board with the importance of and how it solves so many problems (as imperfect as it is), you’re going to be very upset when you are fired by your boss/client when they hear you failed to get them higher up in search results because of your stubborn belief system.

But Its Too Complex

Some are saying it’s too complex.  To understand.  Or to implement.

That’s okay – you can start with the basics.  For now, they’ll only be using schema for display purposes – things like events, and recipe’s and business addresses and such.  And you can get an intro primer over at Authority Labs – where Dawn Wentzell did a great job in her “Implementing Microdata” article.

And keep an eye open as more info comes out on rolling out microdata.  Because believe me, it’s coming.

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How I get 80% of my income Through Social Media Tue, 17 May 2011 20:49:25 +0000 So you’re an independent consultant – or you’re thinking about becoming one.  Maybe you’ve known all along that it’s your path.  Or maybe the economy has taken its toll and you’re either tired of working for someone else for far less than you need to live on, or you lost your job at some point in the past couple years and thought – maybe I can work for myself and not have to rely on an employer to survive…

Whatever your unique scenario is, one reality holds true for anyone in the consulting business.  The need to market your services.  A couple of the biggest challenges to marketing are where to market, and how much is it going to cost.  Having been at this for as long as I have, I’ve found the answer to both of these questions for my unique situation, and would like to share them here with you.


Works For Me, Maybe Not You

Of course, these methods may not work for you – I can only share what works for me.  So well in fact, that last year, this is how I generated about 60% of my income.  And since November of last year through today, it’s now where I get 80% of my income.  The total of which has, not insignificantly, increased as well.

You’ll need to see if what I recommend fits your unique persona, situation and market.  Maybe it will, maybe it won’t.  Yet if it does, you’ll be amazed at how well it works.


Find Your Ideal Community

A lot has been said over the years, and more is discussed all the time these days, about the need to find where your ideal market – the people who make up your customer or client base are spending their time online.  I can’t emphasize enough how important this is, regardless of what the services are that you’re offering.  Because it’s wherever they are that you need to get yourself engaged.

For me, it turns out that just a few of the places my prospective clients spend there time include:

  • LinkedIn
  • Search Engine Journal
  • Twitter
  • This Blog
  • My Own Site
  • SEOmoz Pro Q&A



While I hardly spend any serious time on LinkedIn these days, when I first dove into social media as a possible source of leads, Iwent to LinkedIn.  I set up a well crafted profile. I then explored the various services they offer to see where people were connecting and how they were possibly getting value out of that participation. Personally I didn’t care for groups, or blasting questions out to everyone in my circle.  Instead, I found the LinkedIn Q&A were best for my needs.

Not only was I able to ask questions from time to time, I was able to find questions others had posted where I felt I could offer real value and insight.   And within a matter of just a few months, I garnered a total of fifty “best answers” awarded to answers I provided.  Eventually I dropped off the LinkedIn system for extensive periods of time, mostly because life took me in other directions.

Yet I still go back occasionally, and when I do, I pop into the Q&A area.  And even that casual effort has since gotten me a handful of additional “best answers”.


Search Engine Journal

SEJ is a miracle to me.  Ann Smarty reached out to me and asked if I’d guest post there.  That first guest article was so well received that Ann asked if I’d like to write again.  And that led to being invited to being a regular contributor.  As of this week I’ve now written forty nine articles at SEJ.  Some have been monumental in how well they engage dialogue.  Others, not so much.

My best success however, from the perspective of what generates the most client business from SEJ has got to be my four part “Anatomy of an SEO Audit” series.  That series of articles has brought me no less than a dozen clients.  More recently, my article on the Farmer/Panda update, which I posted at the beginning of March, has itself brought me four clients.



Many of you know all about my adventures on Twitter. I’m now infamous for my rants there.  Something you’d think was NOT conducive to generating business.  Yet that’s why it’s critical to understand the environment, and how you can bring your unique style to bear in making it work for you.

It turns out that the majority of my business that comes through Twitter comes from the fact that the people I engage with the most there are within my industry peer community.  And while some people find my tweet style to be quite caustic at times, there are enough agency owners, and small business consultants who follow my Twitter stream and also happen to enjoy my rants.

They say it’s because they appreciate how brutally honest I am in my tweeting.  How refreshing it is.  And how dead-on accurate my perspective is in much of what I rant about related to this industry.

And of course, I also happen to go the extra mile to retweet quality content from others that’s appropriate to my little corner of the Twitterverse.

The extra beauty of getting client work this way?  When one agency becomes a client, they inevitably lead to several projects.  Repeat business.  And what I really like even more?  They do the heavy lifting – they get the end clients, handle the sale pitch, the contract work, the project management.  I just bang out high quality audits, and offer guidance as requested.


This Blog has been a wild journey.  Started out in 2007 as a way for me to offer additional free Internet Marketing info to existing clients. And over the past couple years, SMW has gone through the roller coaster of my persona changes.  Some good, some not so good.  Yet always, this blog has been one of the best ways I’ve been able to show prospective clients who might come to me from other paths, specific articles and knowledge that supports the concept of how I can help them.

And of course, there’s enough “extended rant” material here to support and back-up what comes across on my tweets.  Again – that’s not always a good thing.  Because I can be very cutting and go over the top in those rants.  Which is something I’ve been re-evaluating as of late.

It has, nevertheless, been as much a “deal closer” as anything for me.


My Own Site

When I began the transition earlier this year with, I realized it was time to finally take the plunge with a site solely around building my identity as a brand – that I, myself, am the brand.  That’s how was born. And let me be quite honest here – it was one of the smartest moves I’ve ever made.  Nowadays, when I get a contact from a prospective client, it’s almost always through that site’s contact form.

Sure, the majority of people find me on Twitter, or here, or SEJ, or LinkedIn, or lately even SEOmoz, yet the vast majority end up at my personal site and most of them end up reading three or four pages there before contacting me for an audit. And because I have ballpark pricing info right on my audit services page, anyone who’s gone there already knows I don’t give away my services for free.  So all the “can you do an audit for $50 type inquiries have gone away.


SEOmoz Pro Q&A

Over the past few years I’ve read a number of articles in YOUmoz, and reading Rand’s correlation articles is always entertaining, and even enlightening in many ways.  Yet until recently, I never really spent a whole lot of time there.  There’s just so much time in a given day.  And countless other great sites and communities that continually attempt to lure me away.

That’s when I came across Pro Q&A.

And let me tell you here, and now, I simply LOVE it.  It’s like if you could extract the Search Marketing section out of LinkedIn’s Q&A section, then get a much higher level of reasonable relevant questions into the system, weed out nearly all of the bullshit that pollutes the LinkedIn system, and wrap it up in a neat little bows, that’s how I feel about the Moz Pro Q&A system.

Why am I so enamored with it?

Because I love being of help to others.  And from my experience with the LinkedIn Q&A system, I learned how to use it to be of the most service possible.  So I don’t just try to answer every single question.  I only offer answers either when I know for a fact that I’m going above and beyond what others are providing, or when what I offer adds real value to the discussion, or occasionally, if a question goes unanswered for several hours or a day or two, and if I can offer at least some insight.

Bonus Value.

In these couple months I’ve been there, I’ve already gotten fifty five “good answer” flags.  And three of my answers were recognized by Moz staff as being truly worthy enough to be Moz endorsed.

Not Just Ego.

Now while you may think that’s ALL about ego, it really isn’t.  It’s also about third party confirmation of value offered.  It’s about “how do I know I’m really being helpful beyond my own mind’s belief”…  And that’s what matters most to me.

Oh – and did I mention that already this week, I’ve picked up two new clients, both of whom found my answers in the Pro Q&A system of such high quality that they reached out to me to help them on their sites and both have now hired me…


Some Final Tips

Be Outstanding

Whatever the places are you identify, find ways to get involved.  Be sure the way you get involved is appropriate to that unique environment.  And just as appropriate to your unique style within that environment.

When you participate in any community that fits your market focus, and you truly provide value, you may get a lot of people thanking you, yet ultimately you may not see direct results the way I do.  For me however, what happens, every time I get involved at a high quality level, is people ultimately to contact me.  They read what I contribute there, and that leads them to reaching out for my services.

Go the Extra Mile

Don’t just write articles, or tweet or answer questions or participate like everyone else.  Be truly helpful.  If someone else has already said it, it’s okay to once in a while say “I totally agree with what X said”.  Yet if that’s all you’re doing, you’re not really adding much value beyond confirmation that someone else is providing the real value.  And sure, it’s okay to occasionally or even regularly write vapid hot-air type articles if that’s your style.  But to be truly outstanding, you need to go that extra mile.

Like when I wrote the Microformat Reference Guide for SEO & Programmers. To this day, that’s one of my most successful, visited and linked articles. 

Be Consistent

Consistency is one of the biggest challenges I face in my daily routine.  I love to have something different going on every day of my life.  It’s the whole “shiny object” syndrome.  Sure, I float from one platform to the next over the years.  Because that’s reality – your path will always take you where it will take you.  Yet when I do recognize that there’s something of true value somewhere, I do my best to be consistent in participation, to whatever degree my life allows.

And everywhere it’s different.  On SEJ I do my best to write twice a month.  On Twitter, at least several days a week.  Here, I’ve recently lagged a bit, yet for the most part it’s at least once if not twice a month.  Over at the SEOmoz Pro Q&A system, it’s almost every day.  Because I made that page my browser’s default landing page.


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Come Hear Me Speak on the Google Survival Tips Panel @ SMX Advanced Tue, 26 Apr 2011 21:00:46 +0000 I am speaking at SMX Advanced If your site was negatively impacted by the Google Panda/Farmer update, or if you’re concerned that your site will be next as Google works to clean up their index, or if you just want to know how you can just focus on your business and not even care if Google goes down in flames, you’ll want to come hear me speak on the Google Survival Tips panel at SMX Advanced in June.

This advanced SEO panel, at what many people consider the single most important search conference in the U.S., will include Micah Fisher-Kirshner, SEO Manager, Become, Inc, myself and Mark Munroe, Director Search Audience, MerchantCircle.  And it’ll be moderated by Danny Sullivan himself, so I’m not only going to have to have a killer presentation, I’m even going to have to be on my best behavior – no tweet-rants allowed!

Topics I’ll Cover

During my presentation, using real world examples, topics I’ll cover that ensure success at Google, Bing and other key referrer sources include:

  • Proper Information Architecture
  • Content Organization
  • Topical Separation
  • Off-Site UGC (User Generated Content)
  • Optimizing for Other Search Sources

Real World Data, Principles & Concepts

I’ll show real world data of what works, what doesn’t and why.  And I’ll help you understand why all of this boils down to the critical need to understand your user’s mind model.

When I’m done, you’ll have a much better grasp of the best way to not only optimize your current site, but how to anticipate where Google is moving down the road, so you can take proactive action BEFORE the next May Day / Vince  / Panda update on the horizon…

So if you’re attending SMX Advanced, be sure to attend this invaluable panel.  And if you’re not, be sure to tell @SusanEsparza she has to live-blog it for you!

Let’s Network!

And if you are attending, and we haven’t met yet, be sure to come by and introduce yourself, or better yet, contact me ASAP and let me know you want to join us for #EpicDinner – June 7th, at the four star Waterfront Seafood Grill at Pier 70, a stone’s throw from the conference!


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Great Internet Marketing Giveaway of 2011 Winners List Mon, 25 Apr 2011 21:51:03 +0000 Here they are – the list of winners of the Great Internet Marketing Giveaway of 2011!


Name Prize
Amanda Gordon The Last Original Idea
Heather B. Mobile Marketing: Finding Your customers No Matter Where They Are
Kelly Sheppard Mobile Marketing: Finding Your customers No Matter Where They Are
Jarid Lukin Marketing in the Age of Google
Joshua Titsworth The Last Original Idea
Tina Feigal Marketing in the Age of Google
Jill Whalen Mobile Marketing: Finding Your customers No Matter Where They Are
Ron Goodwin Marketing in the Age of Google
Tina Louise Victory Marketing in the Age of Google
Recky Nunez Mobile Marketing: Finding Your customers No Matter Where They Are
Tom Bianco Kindle DX
Akvile H Marketing in the Age of Google
Chanelle Lincoln iPad
Michael Majid The Last Original Idea
Billy Munyon The Last Original Idea
Sandra Goble Burchett Mobile Marketing: Finding Your customers No Matter Where They Are
Becky Horn The Last Original Idea

We’ll attempt to contact all winners this week. When we do, you’ll need to provide us with a mailing address where we can send your prize.  For the winner of the iPad, the prize was originally a first generation iPad 3G 32GB with WiFi – but since the iPad 2 has now come out, we’re offering you the opportunity to instead choose an iPad 2, 3G 32GB with WiFi instead!

Congratulations to all our winners and thanks to everyone who participated!

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