25 Sep 2009

If you weren’t at ThinkTank, you missed out

No Comments search engine marketing conferences

A few dozen of the top internet marketers got together for 3 days at this exclusive event in Del Mar, just north of San Diego. Great food, plenty of drinks, and even better sharing of Internet marketing secrets.  Invite only, since it’s not a conference, but a place where already successful people get together to network and share. The other thing is that we all had to sign NDA’s, so I’m not able to spell out exactly what I learned here.

But what I will tell you is that the $3k entry fee is a fraction of the value of what I received in terms of knowledge and relationships. It’s the best learning that I’ve had in the last 3 years, with no disrespect to Shawn Collins, Danny Sullivan, or Barry Smyth– largely because of the close networking

I also got to wrestle with Robert Drysdale, 6 time world champion in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Yes, he kicked my ass– see pictures below as proof.  Looking forward to spending more time with Robert and Sean at their Las Vegas Jiu Jitsu facility at PubCon in a couple months.

Wrestling4Wrestling5Wrestling7Wrestling1

22 Sep 2009

Shawn Collins sings about Dennis Yu! Listen to this…

No Comments affiliate marketing

Shawn Collins of Affiliate Summit sings a tribute to BlitzLocal.  What do you think?  Go to 9:30 in the clip to go straight to the original song!

bizcollins

20 Sep 2009

Shoemoney has no shoes. Don’t let this happen to you!

4 Comments search engine marketing conferences, social media

barefeetThis past weekend, ThinkTank attendees stayed at a beachfront hotel– a beautiful resort on the coast, north of San Diego.  A perfect stay, except for the scene created by a rude hotel employee.  In his defense, he’s got a stressful job– working 80-90 hours a week, primarily wandering about the bar and being social with drunk guests.  This is a story of a guy who made a bad thing worse, deciding to take his anger out on professional Internet marketers.

Jeremy Shoemoney was sitting in the hotel lobby, wearing no shoes at this beach resort.  This punk employee yells at him to put his shoes, on in front of a dozen friends.  Treated like an idiot in front of his wife and friends, he refuses– and the punk goes nuclear instantly.  He calls over multiple security guards and attempts to throw out Jeremy.  By now, everyone else is interested in the disturbance– it’s become an ego battle.

A "Super Hero" with an S on his chest vs. A guy who can't control his temper. Hmmm...

Shoemoney Vs. The Incredible Hulk

Fortunately, George Avery steps in help, getting in the middle of two yelling men, in the process being threatened to be thrown out, too.  The hotel employee threatened to throw me out, too, which was irritating, but I kept calm.  Certainly, this fellow was quite important, as he kept asserting his right to throw out anyone in the hotel.

Now there’s a blog at ChristopherPuffer.com– it ranks #1 for “christopher puffer” on Google, by the way, since so many people are linking to the site.  And the hotel management continues to deny that Puffer was in the least bit out of line or slightly aggressive.  Even Puffer continues to say dumb things.  I’m surprised the hotel management hasn’t swooped in to silence him, issue an apology and have the situation go away.

Remember the video on United breaks Taylor guitars?  Or perhaps the untied.com site?  Those customers were so pissed off thGossipat they took the effort to write songs and build websites, which in turn, were picked up by the press.  All the while, the company sat on the sideline, continuing to deny any wrongdoing.

Can you think of examples where you had a bad experience and wanted to tell others?  Amazon has a book on how satisfied customers tell 3 friends, while unhappy customers tell 3,000.

I’m surprised that more companies aren’t including social media training for employees.  But an ounce of courtesy would prevent such situations from flaring up in the first place.

If you find this interesting, put a link to this story on your blog– or just link to ChristopherPuffer.com. I’ll keep you updated with what I hear from the hotel staff and their PR agency.  The PR agency’s site is a 404, by the way.  And next time you see Shoemoney, tell him to keep his shoes on!

Update:

Have you seen the parody site about whether Glenn Beck murdered a young girl in 1990?  Obviously, he didn’t.  The site’s author put up the site because Glenn Beck used rhetoric to pin Representative Keith Ellison, a Muslim, to offer proof that he wasn’t working with the enemy.  Outrageous claim, of course.  So this guy gives Beck a taste of his own medicine with this satirical blog.

14 Sep 2009

Friends don’t let friends make paper airplanes

72 Comments search engine optimization

n36905751_17If you’ve got 6 minutes and 31 seconds, give this a shot from my friend Alex, who has the most popular paper airplanes site on the web.  If you’re one of those folks who likes to watch cooking shows, but doesn’t actually get around to following along– don’t worry, you can do this no sweat.  The plane is called the Cobra– and it took me only one sheet of paper (proof below) to do it, although I had to pause and rewind a couple times.  Flies perfectly as claimed– like a dart.

DSC00802Check out Alex’s personal blog, as well as his cocktail making site.  If you’re really brave, try making the sweaty bollock recipe, which has 3 shots of absinthe.  If you don’t know what bollock are– look it up.  Perhaps making cocktails and paper airplanes don’t mix!

Alex Schultz  APIs

Alex's Cocktail Recipes - )1600 Cocktails

Some pages on his site, such as the types of paper airplanes, don’t have page titles  (SEO ooops!)– but all is forgiven for the man who is in charge of Facebook’s own SEO and online marketing. You can learn a lot from this man– not just about paper airplanes and cocktails.

09 Sep 2009

Check your landing pages for this

1 Comment internet marketing training

AlertSignRecently seen and heard again, starting anything with the words: “Do you need” or “Do you want” are big spam flags.  It’s mostly applicable to email, but also on web pages.  This will affect you in organic search and possibly paid search Quality Scores.

A lot of the rules that trigger spam flags in email will work for web, too.  Think about it.

09 Sep 2009

Need some high performance headphones? Check these out!

1 Comment Guest Posts, social media

Bruce Forbes of Equation Audio sent us 3 sets of his awesome headphones for review.  In his words….

rp22x

The RP-22X’s were developed after we had perfected the RP-21’s as far as that design topology and material integration would allow.  The thing that is selling these headphones is they compete extremely well with many competitive models that are more expensive, yet considered inferior in performance.  Subjective?  Yes!  But the total numbers chosen at blind shoot-outs held around the country don’t lie.  RP’s win over 80% when compared to headphones at or above their published MSRP.  And well over 50% when compared too competitive models costing as much as 40% more.  Granted, there will always be subjective opinions that vary per headphone and even dependent on the sound source, type of music, etc.  But there is often a pleasant surprise to hear such great reproduction in general from a new brand, because there have been no serious alternatives to the major brands, only an increasing number of confusing models designed for arbitrarily designated applications.

The majority are purchased by musicians for tracking during sessions, same for engineers and they are very popular when the tracks go through the final mix and mastering process, particularly on the growing home studio front, where many DIY artists and engineers master their own CD’s.  Our number one application for the RP’s is tracking, with growing use in the HiFi market.  The RP-21 is smooth throughout the frequency bandwidth (about 20Hz-22kHz). Although they respond below and above that, the roll-off considerations make listing them useless for most practical applications.  We make fun of the ‘hype’ in the industry by listing a fantasy or some other comical response specification, because many companies list response frequencies below 10Hz, even 5Hz (more a feeling) and above 22kHz, in ranges bats and porpoises have yet to verify.

The public response for us taking the ‘let’s get real’ position has been overwhelmingly positive. Overall, the RP-21’s produce low aural and physical fatigue, generating pleasing, relatively accurate reproduction of most sources.  There’s very little ‘hype’ though some have remarked they felt the bass was augmented a bit.  We would agree except during in-house tests with similarly priced and type competitive headphones, the 21’s tend to get high marks for bass response sounding closer to a good pair of soffet mounted or larger near-field speakers in a well treated room.

logoHowever, the RP-21’s didn’t seem to deliver sufficient ‘ballistic’ response such as those associated with percussions and bass instruments requested by many extreme users, especially drummers and bass players, so we decided to create a product with those applications in mind.  We started with the RP-21 ear cups and added a higher mass diaphragm, coiled to accept more power and added a dual element ear pad that has a port or ear opening designed to compliment the acoustics and deliver more low frequency punch.  This enhanced low frequency response along with the added power handling capability provides an increase in percussive ballistics and bass signals of all types, without adding the typical sack of mud that some other competitive models reportedly add to the mix.  Bear in mind this added bass and percussive response does not compliment mixing multi-track recordings or listening to a well recorded orchestra.

RP-22X’s are not as flat or smooth as the RP-21’s, though you can boost the drum (ballistic mixes and bass instrument mixes) and rock on, The X is for extreme.  Remember to carefully elevate the volume to prevent accidental dangerous SPL- you rarely recover from nerve damage, never return to ‘good-as-new’ when you damage the tympanic membrane (ear drum), so I harp on the be responsible theme, even on the packaging.  Be kind to your ears and your future – use headphones responsibly!

The only time I prefer the 22x’s is when I want more kick and then I EQ or add the highs and mids I want to compensate for, producing quite an energetic and pleasing mix, though this is for limited use, due to prolonged higher SPL applications.

All things considered, the RP-21 and 22X headphones sell at a street price that literally blows away same priced headphones and seriously challenges many headphones that are priced higher.  That’s our mission and with these two products, and we have well achieved our goal.

——————-

Dennis’ comment: If you want us to review your stuff, send it to our office address at:

BlitzLocal LLC
1490 W 121st Ave, Suite 101
Westminster, CO 80234

We don’t guarantee that it will be a positive review, but you will get at least a PR5 link.

07 Sep 2009

Are you a FAT ASS?

No Comments people management

burro-704091In Flagstaff, Arizona, there is a problem of obese donkeys being fed by tourists.  And in Spanish, “burrito” means little donkey.

Makes you want to go get some Chipotle now, doesn’t it?

Then sit down to watch Super Size Me.

And wash it all down with some Acai Berry tea– or join a weight loss site.

07 Sep 2009

Are you a Chief Executive Officer?

No Comments people management

20090127gtdDo you run your own company?  Doesn’t matter if it’s just you.  Some people like to say that everyone is an “executive”, since being one has nothing to do with title or how many people are “under” you.  After all, if you are the Chief EXECUTIVE Officer, your job is to execute– to get things done better than anyone. And anyone can execute.

Thus, even if you’re a peon in big company, you can still be an executive.  It’s not about fancy suits, big offices, and private jets– it’s about getting things done with massive efficiency.

03 Sep 2009

Want to be a well-known affiliate blogger? My interview with Murray Newlands

9 Comments affiliate marketing, Guest Posts, promoting yourself

murrayheadI was able to catch up Murray Newlands, a famous blogger. We were able to have nice about his work in affiliate marketing, and the secret behind site, Murraynewlands.com, an affiliate blog that came from nowhere and is now everywhere in Google and twitter. Not only has he some great content on his blog, but is getting picked up and noted all over the blogosphere. Google Famous Blogger and you will see his name, I even hear he is working on Celebrity Blogger!

Murray, what ideas are interesting to you at the moment?

Chris Brogan’s writing on Trust Agents hit a chord with me. I have been very successful as a blogger since launching my blog earlier this year. My SEO is great, and a large reason for this is the links that people give me. I put this down to the content which people do like, yes, but there is more to it than that. I get lots of links from some great people I know in the industry become they want to help me. I always try to help other and I have found that truly what goes around in the blogosphere comes around. You want to connect with people who will engage with you and you soon learn who can fulfill that need with you and who will not. Once you get a reputation being engaging and helping others, you are soon introduced to more people who will also interact with you. It is a virtues circle of people who help each other, and these people swim in schools.

Who are some bloggers I should be trying to connect with?

Greg Rollett http://www.rockstarlifestyledesign.com

Drew Benskpark.com

Heather Smith boatinginbeautifulbritishcolumbia.com

Joetech Joetech.com

Steve Hall Adrants.com

Shawn Collins blog.affiliatetip.com

Connie brainfoggles.com

Chris Brogan ChrisBrogan.com

Eric Schechter www.ericschechter.com

Missy Ward www.missyward.com

Rax www.raxraxrax.com

How does blogging fit in with your affiliate marketing work?

Well, I blog about my work, and writing is a great way to explore ideas and concepts as well as share industry news. It is also a good means of making new contacts within the industry many of whom I now do business with.

What fears do you have with blogging?

When I first started I was worried about what people would say about my blog, my writing, MY SPELLING. Now I am not so worried about that, what I do worry about is the people who I forget to say thank you too and the missed opportunities. There is so much going on and so little time. I also have other projects which are getting more demanding and taking me away from my blog. I am not giving up.

Footnote: Murray knows how to draw positive attention. He ranks on Dennis Yu via just one interview with me.

02 Sep 2009

Print headline sells the news, optimized web headline tells the news

49 Comments Guest Posts, internet marketing training

This is a guest blog post by Ahteram Uddin, who runs online marketing for the Times of India, the largest newspaper in the world. Yes– bigger than New York Times.

If you are into News aggregating business or your website has an industry specific News section you stand a chance to drive additional traffic from the Google News Search, which is very powerful yet simple tool to make it work for you.

I am going to tell you how to invite Google News Bot and rank your news in the Google News Search. I will try to talk about all ranking factors, best practices for the News optimization and answers to some frequently asked questions.

SEO for News

All right, so where do you find your News listed – On Google.com (or .co.in) like the one below

bls1

And on the Google News

bls2

I am sure you must have wondered at some point of time – how do these articles appear on Google and how does this work?

Well in one line I can say “Google crawls it, groups it and then rank it here” but this isn’t fair if I don’t tell you what exactly helps your News qualify for the listing and get that Free traffic and audience base. I am going to make an attempt to cover each factor in as much depth as possible.

How does Google discover my News articles?

CRAWLING- Much like Search bot, Google has these News Bots who are gonna go out to the news sites to look for the news articles. There are two ways Google retrieves these articles

  1. Discovery crawl – Google sees new URLs and makes a crawl and indexes it.
  2. News SiteMaps – This is a unique method of telling a News bot about your new content by including all your new URLs

If there are some articles or content that you don’t want Google to index and crawl you can always use a robots.txt file to ask them not to do so. Google respects the protocol, alternatively you can also use header tags for the same.

bls3

GROUPING- Once the articles are crawled they are brought back to the Google’s database for the grouping phase. Google has its own content classification idea, if you look at the below articles from TimesofIndia.com

bls4

In case of the above news Google looks at “Business, Sensex, BSE and Nifty” words and determines that this article belongs to business section and similarly looking at “India, Mumbai and Bombay” it makes out that this is geographically targeted to India. That’s how Google populates different editions like US, UK and India. The sections in Google News like entertainment, politics and health are also populated in the same fashion.

NEWS CLUSTER RANKING- The story ranking algorithm decides which story to place higher and then on the subsequent ranks. Once the Google is ready with the news clusters (group) it ranks them basis “Aggregated Editorial Interest”.

What (t.f.) do you mean by Aggregated Editorial Interest?

bls5

In the upper diagram what you see is small news that makes an impact on the smaller region or group of people. For example an N.G.O. is distributing free umbrellas to the poor people in New Delhi. This is a great human interest story this might be covered in a few local newspapers and a few news agencies might pick up.  This is still a small story and not showing much aggregated editorial interest as compared to the announcement of Congress (I) forming government in the center, this will not only be covered in the local newspapers, will be covered by many news agencies globally, picked up by op-ed and there will be loads of follow up articles.

Therefore due to the larger aggregated editorial interest this news cluster will be picked up the Google to be placed above the news about NGO distributing umbrellas in Delhi.

ARTICLE RANKING- Article ranking helps Google post a cluster of news articles, so let’s say if there are around 300 articles about “new government in Delhi” Google has a way to determine which one to rank first and which one to second and so within the cluster. There are several factors for an article ranking but I am going to talk about the few most critical ones-

  • Fresh and new – It’s essential for the article to be recent, substantial, and original and focused to the topic. Op-ed, satire, press releases and subscription are not eligible to lead the cluster.
  • Duplication and novelty detection – Google always tries to give credit to the original and the novel content. Let’s say there was an article originally done by the economictimes.com and later another article on the same topic gets published by financialtimes.com with a reference to economictimes.com original article saying this story was broken by ET and mention it as their source of information.  So now this article from ET might start ranking higher now because other people are sending reference to it quoting it as the original story.
  • Local and personal relevancy – It is given weightage by section and story and more credit is given to the local sources which are likely more relevant to the news article. For example the news about NGO distributing umbrellas Google would prefer to choose Delhitimes.com rather than expressIndia.com which has all India reports.
  • Trusted source – Google uses its historic data to decide what type of source works best for which section or geography. So if there are 5 stories published in a particular section and most of the people clicked the 4th one then Google records it in its database as the most relevant source for that type of news.  Therefore over a period Google starts building a database of what type of news from what publication work best for which geography. This must be kept in mind that the trust weightage is allocated at the section level at not for the entire news source. For example economictimes.com may be more reliable source for Google news when it comes to the breaking business news but moneycontrol.com may be its favorite for the stock related searches. Similarly, WSJ could be a reliable source for the finance related news in the USA but not in India.

Q. What about News SiteMaps? What the advantage of submitting one?

Well, Google says they are not only useful to News Bot but to the webmasters as well for the following reasons:

  • Provides greater control over which of your articles get publish over Google news that’s because as I mentioned above also they compliment discovery search. It tells Google exactly which articles are new and the ones to crawl.
  • It helps you give Meta information about your each individual article. You can provide things like:

1. Publication date
2. Keywords – which help target your article both geographically and section-wise

This is very beneficial to large News publishers.

Q. Can Google bots visit our News URLs more than once?

The answer is YES!

Google Bot comes back to the article to find any updates, there are different crawl rates allocated to different websites depending upon their reliability, audience size, genre and geography. Google has confirmed this that they come back to find any update to the article within 12 Hrs of the first discovery.

Q. I have News content which is not just the text. I have videos and images too. How do I optimize them to appear in the News section?

Optimizing multimedia content:

Video content – You can create a Youtube video channel. Google says that they are in the process of supporting other platform like Metacafe etc. but it may take a while. Youtube is a trusted source therefore if you get visitors your videos would rank on top of the Google news as well.  Remember to include rich textual description and transcripts every time you submit a video to Google as it helps them identify the category and geography of the video.

Images – There are five tips Google gave for the image optimization to get them included in the News Search

1. Use a large size image with good aspect ratio
2. Descriptive captions and alt text
3. Keep the image as close as possible to the title
4. Keep it Inline, don’t make it a clickable one
5. Google prefers JPEG

Q. Does it help to achieve better ranking in news searches if I have higher PageRank?

Google says PR plays a very small role in deciding the rank for a news article as compared to what it does for the regular web search. There is a simple reason for this – it really doesn’t make sense to compare the linking structure an article which was published minutes ago with the one which has been floating for years. PageRank has been used in determining a news rank but very delicately. These are those other factors we spoke about earlier like timeliness, freshness and relevancy to a category etc.

BEST PRACTICES – Here are couple of best practices indicated by the Google

1. Keep unique permanent URLs with at least 3 digits
2. Do not break up the article body, keep the entire news on a single page
3. Put date between the article and body
4. Titles matter, always keep an extremely indicative title of the story
5. Separate News articles from the press release by using a directory structure
6. Publish unique and informative content, if you get news from an agency try re-writing in your own words