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Sunday, February 27th, 2011

7 Tips To Get Your Site On The Front Page of Google When People Search Your (Common) Name

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A few months ago I was launching my own personal Web site and I had the simple goal of getting it on Google’s front page when people searched my fairly common name: Rob Kelly.

Well, a search of “Rob Kelly” now places me first on Google’s front page.

I enjoy sharing learnings from such projects so I decided to deposit some of the knowls that helped get my personal website on Google’s front page right here in this article.

Warning/Alert: If you’re looking for SEO trickery to figure out how to game Google’s search engine, you’ve come to the wrong place! In fact, if that’s you, please leave right now…I don’t want your kind here!

The tips I’m sharing are logical/legitimate approaches to improving your Google website ranking in hopes of getting on the front page of Google in an honest fashion.

Ok, for the rest of you honest folk, let’s do it!

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Sunday, October 10th, 2010

Tips On How Local Businesses Use Social Media

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  • When I attended the Social Currency CrunchUp, there was a panel of businesses (all local except one (Levi’s)) whose members mentioned some tid-bits on how social media was working for them.

Here are my notes from the panel:

Curtis Kimball, The Creme Brulee Man

  • Sells Creme Brulle, primarily in San Francisco and changes his location (a cart) regularly
  • His customer Acquisition focuses on Twitter
    • Has 14,100 followers) because it’s so easy…a majority of my customers come from Twitter or from friends who are on Twitter.
    • Doesn’t have a fixed address because he doesn’t have a permit (“Permitting situation in San Francisco is a nightmare.”)

    the creme brulee man

Dr. Robert Vaksman, Dentist

  • “Nineteen percent of our traffic comes from Facebook Page (>100 fans)…and some of them are coming in to the office.”
  • Uses Twitter and YouTube too

Dan Yoo, Stone Korean Kitchen (Restaurant owner with 50+ seats)

  • Groupon has filled his restaurant more than 50 times ($35 worth of food for $15)
  • Had to pay Groupon 50% ($7.50) of what customer paid
  • One thing he’d like to know is how many of his Groupon customers came from the 94110 zip code (so that he can remarket them).

Oren Jacob, Ready, Set, Bag! (Movie maker)

  • Used Groupon to sell tickets to his documentary…for free he has the market reach that a large movie maker has — “It levels the playing field.”
  • Groupon helped him do 2 things:
  1. Drum up publicity (because people saw the film promoted on Groupon)
  2. Sold tickets to the actual movie

Note: He’d like to see more demographic information on these customers that Groupon generated for hm

Megan O’Connor, Levi’s

  • Focuses on Facebook — 520,000 Fans who can “like” Levis and particular promotions
  • Tracking: “We can track some sales (from offers) (on Facebook).”

Note: The panel was moderated by Erick Schonfeld and David Hornik.

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Monday, June 28th, 2010

5 Search Marketing Tips From SMX

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My Search Marketing Expert friend Dan Rosenbaum was kind enough to let me share a summary of the SMX conference he attended recently.

Here are 5 Search Marketing Tips he learned from the conference:


1. Don’t bother creating separate site to appeal to Bing and Google.

Back in the Bad Old Days, it was considered a good idea to code your website in such a way that it would appeal to the half-dozen or so search engines — each of which wanted to see something different.

Now that Google gets the majority of searches, people don’t do that so much anymore. But with the rise of Bing, there was some concern that Bing might be focusing on different signals than Google.

Rand Fishkin, of SEOMoz, showed some experimental data that implies that although Bing and Google are probably weighting their results somewhat differently, the differences are not enough to warrant any particular effort to change the way you’re producing your site.

2. Post a Video Sitemap. Really.

If you have much video on your site, Google was very clear on this point: create, post and maintain an XML video sitemap in addition to your standard XML sitemap. This is, frankly, in Google’s own self interest, as the launch of Google TV nears.

But if Google is telling you that it will be indexing video sitemaps aggressively, why wouldn’t you make the minimal effort to post one?

3. Relevant content is more important than ever.

In late April, Google made some significant changes to its algorithm in what it’s calling its “May Day” update. Perhaps the major change is a greater emphasis on content relevance, especially in the “long tail.”

Put simply: if you want to rank for “frigidare bar drawer refrigerator”, it will not be enough to use some overly SEO-ed boilerplate or even a manufacturer-supplied product description.

Relevant, helpful, original content will rise to the top faster than before.

Or so they say.

4. Content farms and paid links are in great peril.

As part of May Day, Google reps went our of their way to say that links from mass content generators like Demand Media — or any form of paid links — will have their relevance reduced to near zero. (I’ve heard anecdotal evidence about paid links.).

If you’re relying on either one as a source of backlinks or content, expect your rankings to drop severely, if they haven’t already.

5. Expect more “real-time” results in SERP pages.

You may have heard about Google’s “caffeine” update. Caffeine is more an change in the speed that the index is updated than it is a change in the way relevance is calculated.

Where 10 years ago, Google updated its index every few months (yes, really!), the Caffeine update now puts changes into the index as soon as the crawlers detect them — which can be quite fast indeed.

The change has been being rolled out over the past year; it is now active in all data centers in all regions globally. It’s one way that Google can now include tweets in its SERPs.

There was more, of course: a ton of information presented about interesting social media tools, advanced techniques in SEO-friendly site architecture (of special interest to e-commerce sites), real-time search (and the importance of fresh content), and link-building.

If you’d like to discuss any of this, or any other search or content issues you may be facing, please don’t hesitate to work the keyboard or your phone.

If you’d like to find out more about Search Marketing Expert Dan, go check out Danrosenbaum.com.

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Sunday, June 27th, 2010

How To Select The Best Domain Name To Attract Search Engines

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Did you know that one domain name could easily get you 5-times as much search engine traffic as another similar-sounding domain name!?

Picking the best domain name for your business is an important decision…especially given that search engines will examine your domain name to determine how much traffic to send it.

To pick the best domain name for a search engine, you’re gonna have to consider:

  • What words or phrases are your prospective customers typing into search engines?
  • Should a search engine know about your location?
  • How many domain names should you own to maximize your traffic from a search engine?
  • What’s the importance of “Micro-Sites” or “Campaign-Sites”?
  • And more!
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Friday, May 21st, 2010

How One Biz Used A Free Coke To Get 25,000 Facebook Leads (Real Leads with Physical/Email Address!)

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If you want to generate free leads on Facebook, Scott Crider is someone you should listen to.

He’s been preaching the benefits of creating value through social media for a few years now.

Scott_Crider_bio_photo.jpg

Back in 2007 Scott built the Dogs Against Romney blog after hearing Presidential hopeful Romney tell a reporter about how he had once strapped a dog cage to the roof of his car (with his dog in it!) on family vacation, traveling 80MPH…scaring the dog so badly that it shit all down the side of the car.

Dogs Against Romney was an overnight viral success picked up by major media outlets — it generated at least 500,000 visits in less than a month.

Scott also helped his friend and Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee get hundreds of thousands of free Web site visitors during his campaign.

If Elvis Presley were still alive, he’d probably be asking Scott for help monetizing Facebook (Scott’s firm, Aristotle Interactive, handles email marketing for Elvis Presley Enterprises).

Scott and the Aristotle team had a recent win helping a business generate leads through Facebook.

I asked him a few questions about lead gen win and general subject of making money through Facebook — enjoy!

Q: Would you explain how a business begins to think about making money through Facebook?

The real power in Facebook is in turning people into advocates for your brand, and you do that by giving them something of value, in a cool way, and making it easy for them to share.

Q: What is your definition of a Facebook app?

My definition of a Facebook app is one that requires the user to grant permission for it to access their personal information, and everything has to function within the Facebook API (the user never leaves Facebook).

Q: Tell me about Murphy USA — how did you help them acquire Facebook leads?

Murphy USA is a Fortune 100 gas station-convenience store chain, and a great client that lets us do great work.

They tasked us (Aristotle Interactive) to come up with a way of helping them grow their fans from their then-level of 5,100 (many of whom were associates of the company) to a much higher number of customers, and to activate those customers to visit their stores.

Q: So what was your approach?

We created a custom app for them that offered both existing and new fans a free Coca-Cola product of their choice, to be picked up at any Murphy USA location, and the app also allowed everyone to who got a free Coke to share one with their friends, as well.

Murphy_app_screen_cap

The app collected both email and physical addresses, as well as age info (a Facebook requirement) from the customers, and delivered the free Coke in the form of a secure, printable coupon to their email address.

Q: Can you walk us through the steps that a user would experience in this app you built?

  1. Well, first off, existing fans of the Murphy USA Facebook page (about 5,100 people) were the first to see the new custom tab on Facebook that said “Help Murphy USA share 100,000 Cokes!”
  2. After launching the app and getting their own coupon, fans were then presented the message “Your free Coke is on its way. Now share one with your friends!” The app, still running within the Murphy USA Facebook page, then presented the customer with his or her complete friends list, and they could select up to 12 people to share the promotion with (a Facebook restriction).
  3. Each of the 12 people the promotion was shared with then got a message in their Facebook inbox from their friend that said “You have a Murphy USA coupon invitation.”
  4. The message linked the person directly to the Murphy USA page where the default tab was set to the promotion.
  5. The fan was asked to “Show us you like us!” (click the “Like” button on Facebook, launching the app) and the process started all over again.

Q: Were there other ways the app you built encouraged Facebook fans to spread the word?

Yes, in addition to choosing 12 friends to share the promotion with, the app also offered each person the opportunity to post a message to their news feed that said “I got a free Coke from Murphy USA!” which could be seen by everyone.

Q: On average, how many friends did each Murphy USA fan share the app with?

I’d estimate that most of them shared it with all 12 friends they were allowed to share it with, and posted the message to their news feeds as well.

Q: So, that would mean that perhaps two thousand of Murphy USA’s fans shared the app (the free coke coupon) with 20,000 of their friends?

It’s hard to say. It went viral extremely quickly. Literally within minutes. The first two days the app was live they grew by 7,000 new fans each day.

It was so much traffic that our outbound coupon email volume to AOL caused them to temporarily block us and we had to put some bottlenecks in to slow it down. It was something like 800 AOL emails in an hour that triggered it. I didn’t even know 800 people still used AOL!

So far, the app has taken them to over 32,000 fans in 3 weeks since it launched, and virtually 100% of them have stayed as fans.

How much does an application like this cost to build?

I probably shouldn’t reveal any figures on that, because the client is in a very competitive business and they’re pretty tight-lipped about things that give them an advantage. Let’s just say that it cost less than you might think. It easily fit within their normal quarterly promotions budget.

How does Murphy USA use the email address they now have for their 30,000 + new fans for marketing follow-up?

Murphy USA really respects people’s privacy, so they chose to send one follow up email message to them to offer them the opportunity to opt into Murphy’s monthly e-Offers (an opt-in email database that offers promotions on all the different things they sell).

Of course, nearly all 30,000+ of them are still fans of Murphy’s Facebook page, too, and can be communicated with there anytime.

How would you describe Murphy’s ROI on this?

I’d say the return on their investment has to be pushing 1,000+%, probably more, considering the lifetime value of these new relationships.

Will Murphy USA do more of these free coupons?

I’m sure they will. Re-skinning the app and replacing the coupon is fairly easy, plus it’s a win/win for Murphy USA and their product partners.

Q: What did Aristotle do to ensure security for all this (i.e. make sure there’s not an unlimited # of free coupons that people use)?

That was another level of complication in the app creation, but a necessary one to protect both the client and Coca-Cola.

We built a system that generated a custom coupon for each recipient. They received an email with a one-time link to the coupon, and each coupon had the recipient’s email address screened across the entire face of it. So they could only access it once, and they were discouraged from making copies.

Q: Can you give me another example of a business that could do really well with a free giveaway on Facebook?

Imagine Victoria’s Secret — if they launched something like this as a “share a free panty with your friends” on Facebook, it would go stratospheric. Are you listening Victoria? Call me (ha!).

Q: So, if you had to sum up the keys to making one of these Facebook marketing apps work, what would it be?

Three things:

  1. Share something of value – a coupon, good content, a fun digital experience
  2. Do it in a cool way and make sharing easy
  3. Let the customers who share it look good to their friends

Q: That’s a fascinating use-case, Scott — If someone were to want to get in touch with you or Aristotle Interactive, what’s the best way for them to do so?

They can call me at Aristotle Interactive at 501-374-4638, or hook up with me on Twitter @CScottCrider or here on Linked In.


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Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

How To Get Followers On Twitter (Ones that Buy Things!)

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I recently met a neat guy named Mitchell Cogert who gave me some good Twitter tips.

He’s the president of ad agency Johnson Cogert & Strauss and has worked with Proctor & Gamble, Hewlett-Packard, Intuit and other leading businesses on marketing strategy.

For himself, he has used Twitter to build a profitable little business selling poker books.

Mitchell was kind enough to answer questions on such topics of Twitter as:

  • How do you get free Twitter followers?
  • Is it a good idea to buy Twitter followers?
  • How do use auto-follow and unfollow to get more Twitter followers?
  • How fast should you get Twitter followers?

Mitchell Cogert

Here’s the Q&A on:

How To Get Followers on Twitter

Q: Hi Mitchell, let’s start off simple. How do you get followers on Twitter — what are the top few tips?

Here are three easy and free ways to get followers on Twitter:

  1. Add a “Follow-me on Twitter” icon and link on your website
  2. Add your Twitter account name on your email address
  3. Announce to your mailing list that you are on Twitter

Q: Would you discuss how to use Twitter’s auto-follow feature to get followers?

Twitter does not have an auto-follow feature to get followers.

Q: I see that you blog — did you get more followers on Twitter as a result of your blog?

Yes. Your blog or website provides the valuable content that you tweet about and is linked to your blog.

An example from one of my poker tweets:

New Blog Post: The 3 most popular Poker Strategies you must Avoid

Q: Do you recommend that businesses buy Twitter followers or should they focus on acquiring free Twitter followers?

I recommend that businesses do both. However, when it comes to buying Twitter followers you need to be careful since there are too many scams about getting followers..

I recommend my clients use twollow. It is inexpensive to use (as little as $80 per year) and it only auto-follows those users based on the keywords you select.

Q: Business folks often ask me “How do I get Twitter followers fast!?” — What’s your advice to them?

You don’t want to get Twitter followers fast. You want to get prospects, not followers.

I mean, do you want to get one million followers who have no interest in what you offer, or 10,000 followers who are prospects; those Twitter users who have an interest in what you are selling?

Twitter is not a get rich quick platform. To be successful on Twitter is a process. If you understand the process, you will get followers that are prospects, and turn them into sales.

Q: What business has the most Twitter followers…and do you know how they did it?

The businesses that have the most followers are usually those that have a well-know brand names and use Twitter effectively.

Examples are:

  • @DellOutlet: Posts tweets about discounts on products (15-30% off) and even exclusive deals via Twitter.
  • @ComcastCares: Post tweets to engage Comcast customers to improve customer care
  • @Zappos CEO: To build a bond with potential customers and provide insight into their unique culture.

Q: If someone wanted to get in touch with you about Twitter (I know you do some consulting) or find out more about you and your books, how would they do so?

For consulting, just send me an email at mcogert@gmail.com. To learn more about my poker books go to APokerExpert. And, of course, if you want to win money playing poker, follow me on Twitter at @Mitchell1969.

Q: Thanks, Mitchell!

You are welcome!

If you want to learn more about getting followers on Twitter, check out Two Tips to Get Followers on Twitter– and if you want to review some beginner Twitter tips, here’s a good primer called Twitter Tips for Beginners.

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Sunday, January 31st, 2010

How To Have X-Ray Vision About Your Competition

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Imagine if you had x-ray vision about your competitors…and even your partners and clients!?

Well, lately, I feel like I do.

I’ve been using a free tool for a month now and it allows me to instantly see the following things about almost any Web site:

  • How relevant Google thinks they are in their space
  • How Many Web Pages They Have Built
  • How Many Other Web Sites Link To Them
  • How Much Traffic They Receive
  • Their Ranking by Traffic
  • How many of the social networking sites (such as Twitter, StumbleUpon, etc.) link to them
  • What organic position they appear (on Google) when people search certain keywords

Screen shot 2010-01-31 at 1.43.28 PM

It’s called the SEO Toolbar (instructions on downloading it are below); it provides you a toolbar on your Firefox Browser that you can turn on or off while you’re using the Web.

Let me explain a few of the top ways I’m using this SEO Toolbar (using eBay as an example)

In the first screenshot, I hit the blue info button in the upper left-hand corner to get the pop-up yellow screen of information about eBay).

Doing so tells me the following about eBay (I’m going to pick highlights):

  • In the first column (of the yellow pop-up in the screenshot above):
    • Page PR and Site PR (both of which are 8) — This represents a 1 to 10 Page Rank score that Google is providing on eBay (Google’s Page Rank represents how relevant Google thinks the Web page and Web site you’re on is (the higher the score (out of 1 to 10) the better).
    • Site Age — This is when the Web site was first launched (e.g. useful to know if this is a veteran Web site or the new kid on the block (eBay’s been around since June of 1997).
    • G Pages indexed — This is the number of eBay Web pages that Google indexes (I tend to use this to measure how serious a Web site is about producing content)
  • In the second column (of the yellow pop-up in the screenshot above):
    • Compete.com Uniques — This represents an estimate by Compete.com of how many unique visitors visit this Web site per month (e.g. 89 Million in eBay’s case)
    • Alexa — This is the ranking of eBay by traffic (e.g. it’s the 23 largest Web site in the world)
  • In the third column (of the yellow pop-up in the screenshot above):
    • del.icio.us — This is the number of bookmarks that members of the Delicious Web Site have made of eBay’s Web site (Delicious is a site that allows members to bookmark their favorite sites and Web pages and share them with friends). So, in this case, Delicious members bookmarked eBay 16,000 times.
    • Diggs — Digg is a Web site that allows its members to “Digg” articles or Web pages they enjoy; and then the most Dugg Web pages are shown on Digg’s popular home page (so, 826 of eBay’s pages have been “Dugg”).
    • Twitter — This is the number of times that members of Twitter have linked to a Web site (e.g. 100 times in eBay’s case).

In the next screenshot, I’m showing the Rank Checker feature which allows us to type in any keyword (search term that people type into Google) and see where any given Web site ranks on the search results for that keyword.

Screen shot 2010-01-31 at 2.15.28 PM

So, as you can see in the screenshot, ebay would rank in the following position on Google (on the left-hand “organic results” if you searched those terms):

  • 1st for the term “eBay” (this makes sense (though if the name of your business does not rank first when someone searches it, please comment below so that we can help you out!)
  • 2nd for the term “Auctions” (eBay is the dominant auction provider on the Web (the company that ranks 1st is a Live Auction proider called Auction Zip).
  • No Ranking for “Make Money From Home” — This means that eBay probably didn’t crack the top 200 positions on the Google search results
  • 50th for “Businesses for Sale”
  • 39th for “Pez Dispensers” (I thought I’d give this a try since Pez Dispensers is supposedly the first item ever sold on eBay)
  • 46th for “Michael Jackson Memorabilla”
  • 44th for “Bernie Madoff Memorabilla”

Rank Checker allows many keywords (at least 100 at a time) to be ranked.

Now, I highly recommend you couple this Rank Checker tool with Google’s Keyword Tool (which tells you how much any keyword is searched on Google) which SEO Toolbar also includes.

So now you can tell how well a Web site is doing in terms of its relevancy on the most popular keywords in your business!

If you use Google Analytics on your own Web site, you can simply copy and paste your top keywords from your Analytics account into Rank Checker and see where you’re ranking on Google.

The Rank Checker also shows you where a Web site ranks on Yahoo and Microsoft Bing — I just didn’t have room in the screenshot to show it!

There’s a lot more to the SEO Toolbar than this, but those are some highlights for me.

Here’s how you get SEO Toolbar:

Go to SEO Book Tools and download all three of the tools:

  1. Keyword Tool
  2. SEO for Firefox (if you don’t use the Firefox Browser, it’s worth it just to have the SEO Toolbar’s functionality)
  3. Rank Checker

And if you have questions on any of this, feel free to post comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them.

If you like this article, you may want to check out my Got Googlejuice? posting.

Best of luck!

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Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Discover How To Network Like This Top Web Site CEO

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I chatted with DocStoc Founder & CEO Jason Nazar the other day.

You should know abut Jason and DocStoc because Jason is an amazing networker (among other things) and DocStoc has been one of the fastest growing Web sites in the last few years (ranked 407th by Quantcast with 15 million unique visitors per month, according to DocStoc).

Jason and I had a little chat in which I asked him a few questions. He agreed to let me share it with you.

Q: Hi Jason, you really value business networking — tell me your philosophies.

I personally enjoy networking. I like meeting smart, interesting successful people.

From a professional standpoint, I believe the principal of it’s “who you know not what you know” is very true.

One thing about the Internet is that we spend a lot of time behind our computers…you’ve got to get out there and meet people.

Typically the larger the network you have, the more opportunities you have.

We spend a lot of time behind our computers…but business still gets done in person.

People want to work with other people they like, trust and respect.

And you don’t do that by just sending emails and sending IMs…you have to get out and meet people.

And if you want to have opportunities such as getting hired, raising money, building your company, and hiring the right people…you need to have a large network.

Typically, the larger your network is the more opportunities you have.

The business we’re building is a consumer-facing Internet company – we’re trying to get pretty much everyone in the world to use DocStoc.

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