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Sunday, January 31st, 2010

How To Have X-Ray Vision About Your Competition


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):
    • Uniques — This represents an estimate by 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):
    • — 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 30th, 2010

3 Easy Ways For Building Teamwork


Here’s the 3 best ways of building teamwork my friend James learned  from watching his coach…

They include some teamwork exercises that can easily be applied to business.

3 Easy Ways For Building Teamwork

1) Sparring, Then Sharing

In training after two athletes have competed against each other (sparring) it is very important to him that they both sit down and share what they learned with each other.

He facilitates the conversation and asks both what is one thing your opponent did well and one thing that you think they could do better?

**Important distinction he gets the athletes to speak to each other NOT him…

After they are done sharing with each other he will tie it all together, praise each of them and reinforce that if they keep working together and talking to each other they will both get better faster.

Having had many of these conversations I find there is something different when I get feedback directly from an opponent or a teammate than from my coach.

Applying to business: We have started doing this on our team through daily huddle calls. Sharing with each other what’s working, what’s not, etc. Very effective and creates great bonding opportunities.

2) Make Success = EVERYBODY Hitting A Team Goal

Let me give you an example:

Typical boxing coach would have each individual athlete do separate drills on a heavy bag. Since it’s an individual sport the athlete will be focused on what they doing and not really have an interest in anybody else. In that situation some will work harder than others with no real consequence.

Coach Grant will sometimes set an environment where each individual participating in the drill is apart of the whole and he judges the result as a “team effort”. Therefore if somebody on the team isn’t trying their hardest or “fades” (gives up at the end or slows down)

EVERYBODY does the round again even if individually they were working as hard as they could.

What makes this really interesting is he typically saves a situation like this for the END of a work out when everybody is physically exhausted and just wants the work out to end!!! He doesn’t take any pity or make it easy. Instead he gives a challenging drill.

He does this intentionally because it’s how he gets us to develop the habit of “finishing strong” and develop superior mental toughness because at this point in the work out its ALL mental.

VERY Vince Lombardi like.

As you can imagine this creates an environment where EVERYBODY works together because if one of us doesn’t do our best everybody suffers the consequence. Trust me at this stage of the work out nobody wants to do another round.

So you can see how this plays out. Instead of just focusing on yourself everybody is now encouraging each other to do their best! Coach Grant will monitor and prompt us when somebody is performing below his standards…

“Looks like Johnny is fading on me… If he doesn’t pick it up everybody is going to be doing this round again”

EVERYBODY then starts encouraging and coaching Johnny…

“You can do it Johnny, Let’s go… only 30 seconds left, don’t give up… keep going…”

Incredible seeing this happen.

When the drill is complete the team naturally bonds because we ALL just helped each other push ourselves beyond what we thought possible.

If you are into football I read Coach Belichick once used a similar strategy. It was Friday the team was exhausted and wanted to get off early. He said everybody can get off early if one of of the offensive linemen could catch a punt successfully….

Only once chance and if he doesn’t catch it everybody has to do laps.

Offensive linemen never catch footballs so it was a huge challenge.

What happened is all the wide receivers were coaching him, the punter was coaching him. Everybody was working together and bonded. He caught it and the team got off early because they all worked together.

3) Let Others Lead Teamwork Exercises

Despite being the clear leader of the gym and head instructor during training Coach Grant frequently let’s OTHER coaches or students lead drills or give feedback.

Example: Bridget is going to lead the warm up today…


After doing some technical drills he won’t give feedback he’ll get another coach to share.


Sometimes during sparring he’ll get another student to “work the corner” and coach.

During competition or critical times of course he leads the whole time..

It’s very impressive how in a subtle way once again he gets EVERYBODY involved and does 3 things in the process: creates an incredible team atmosphere, helps others develop leadership skills and creates multiple feedback channels.

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Saturday, January 30th, 2010

5 Tips On How To Be A Better Leader (From The Protege!)

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I was speaking to colleague James the other day and he was praising his VP of Sales as an amazing leader.

I asked James to outline what leadership skills he appreciated about his boss, and he shared the five tips below.

These leadership tips apply to any team situation you’re in:

Top Five Tips For Leadership

Leadership Tip #1:  Shout Praise & Whisper Criticism

This is #1 by far: he REALLY gets how to shout praise and whisper criticism.

On a daily basis he ALWAYS tells us “great job”, “good work”, “I like what you did there”.

Praise has such an impact!!!

What’s very interesting is even when I don’t get the desired outcome (In my case a sale) he STILL finds a way to praise me for what I did do great.

He’s so good I let him know and asked him about it. He mentioned his mindset is: “I’m always looking for when people are winning”

Leadership Tip #2:  Lead By Example

He’s out there selling just like I am…

Even if that isn’t the case in the future as things expand, I know he’s capable of it and he is speaking form a place of experience.

Leadership Tip #3:  Check Your Ego at the Door

He is genuinely interested in hearing ideas or thoughts from our team that might help him or others get better.

This = our opinions are valued.

Leadership Tip #4:  Encourage Teamwork

This item is so in-depth that we’re dedicating a 3 Easy Ways For Building Teamwork posting to it.

Leadership Tip #5:  Be Transparent

He keeps us informed what he is working on and what is coming up. Example:

“Hey guys the marketing pieces I’m working on are coming along great we’ll probably send those out next week to get us some leads.”

This = Makes me feel involved, helps me see the vision and be apart of it.

Note: If you enjoy the subject of leadership skills, check out these articles on leadership tips that I and others have written for you.

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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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Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Caution: Posterous May Be The Fastest Way to Blog or Publish


I first heard of Posterous when I saw that Steve Rubel, an influential writer & publicist about trends in the digital space (and my former colleague at CMP Media), had moved from WordPress to Posterous to publish his content.

I’ve tested Posterous — which allows you to email content to the Web — myself and see its potential: indeed, it may be the fastest way to publish pictures, audio and video to the open Web (as opposed to through a more closed environment such as Facebook).

Posterous CEO Sachin Agarwal

Note: Mashable does a good review of Posterous versus Tumblr (a somewhat similar tool) here: Posterous Versus Tumblr).

I decided to ask Posterous CEO Sachin Agarwal some questions about his business. Enjoy.

Q: Hey Sachin. Congrats on Posterous’s fast growth. How do you describe the market that Posterous is in?

Posterous can be used for many different kinds of sites. It can be used as a micro blog or blog.

But it can also be used as a groups product, an email list, a photo stream, a video channel, and much more. Posterous doesn’t limit what you can post or how you can use it.

So the market is pretty large. You might be new to technology, but you can use Posterous via email.

Or you might be a pro blogger. It doesn’t matter. Posterous can be used by anyone

Q: What’s the difference between Posterous and blogging?

We don’t like the word “blogging.” Historically, people have set up blogs…and then done nothing there.

It’s about photos to share with friends and family or business. We don’t want to be known as middle blogging or micro-blogging.

Posterous has no limitations. What can you not do on Posterous that you can do on WordPress?

It’s more of a LifeStream (Steve Rubel is the first person who used this as it has to do with Posterous) — I’m out and about and this is what’s happening to me, live.

Twitter doesn’t allow this because it’s confined to 140 characters. And almost none of my real friends are on Twitter.

Facebook doesn’t provide it because it’s completely closed (I can’t export my data (and the only people who can see it are Facebook users (and that’s not most of my family). And much of my family is not on Facebook

Q: Who do you consider your competitors (besides Tumblr)?

WordPress, Blogger, Google Groups, Flickr, YouTube. But we can do all of what those can do right within Posterous.

Q: I noticed Michael Arrington’s Posterous and it was just a flow of photos with a headline (describing the photos). Do you see emailing photos and videos as a popular application of Posterous?

Defintely. One of the big reasons we created Posterous:

1) We wanted rich media support (video and email out of the box) and

2) Wanted to make sure you can post via mobile.

It’s the simplest way to use Posterous. It acts as the on-boarding for Posterous. Our goal is not to be a micro-blog.

Q: Who are you proudest of that’s moved to Posterous from some other platform?

Ted Fellows Posterous — It’s really great to see this incredibly smart group of people use Posterous to share and stay in touch.
Their site has all the Ted fellows added as contributors, and they can all post to the site via email. Posts are sent out to all the members instantly, and they can reply to those to add comments.

Q: How are you measuring success:

Number of accounts, number of posts, number of page views.

Q: What metric can you share with me?

We’re at eight million unique visitors and eighteen million page views per month.

Bigger Than Twitter and Facebook?

Q: How Large can Posterous get in terms of unique visitors compared to Facebook or Twitter?

Posterous will be bigger than Twitter and Facebook. This is because of the following reasons:
  1. No limits to what you can post. 140 characters isn’t enough. People want to share photos and video
  2. It’s fully customizable. Make it yours. Use your domain and your theme
  3. Posterous has an extensive API. Use it to post, or to export. We don’t lock you in
  4. It’s easier to use than these other services since all you need is email and no account

Q: How are you doing financially?

Right now we don’t have any revenue. Raised an angel round in 2008…and using it to expand.

Q: What do you think the most likely business models for Posterous will be?

We’re planning to charge pro bloggers and commercial users in the future for our Pro version. This will allow javascript, ad sense, and more advanced features. But we’ll always stay free for consumers.

Q: How are businesses using Posterous?

Small businesses are starting to use it as company blogs. And large companies, such as PR companies, are setting up Posterous accounts…such as Chevrolet Posterous and Microsoft Posterous.

Chevrolet's Promotes Audio and Video Clips Directly From Events

Chevrolet's Promotes Audio and Video Clips Directly From Events

Q: What’s your biggest opportunity or challenge these days?

Hiring — hard to find good people. It’s such a big risk to bring the wrong new person into the company.

Q: You were with Apple for more than five years — How accessible was Steve Jobs during that time and what were the most important lessons you learned from him or Apple?

I met Steve Jobs a couple of time while I was at Apple, but I didn’t work with him directly. However, it was very clear to me the impact that he had on the product that I was working on.

Our managers and VPs would let us know how their meetings with Steve went and what feedback he had. It was clear that even for Final Cut Pro, he had an impact.

Thanks, Sachin.

Thanks, Rob.

17 comments so far (is that a lot?) | Continue Reading »

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

How To Get Published in Magazines In Just 90 Days


Would you like to be published in print and online magazines…in just 90 days?

That’s what happened to my new friend Brooke, who generously agreed to answer some questions about how she got published so quickly.

Blogger Brooke Miller

Blogger Brooke Miller

Here’s our Q&A:

Q: Hi Brooke. I get asked by aspiring writers all the time: “How do I get published?” — Can you talk about how you went from a blog to getting a articles published in commercial magazines?

Absolutely. I can sum up how that happened, as well as the advice I would give to others around that topic in four words: Stop typing, start talking.

Being the extrovert I am it was natural for me to focus on my skills that had little to do with writing, but rather direct communication and relationship building.

What I write about is a topic deeply close to my heart and I do spend a lot of time at my computer, but getting it out there takes more than a great column.

Connect with your friends and tell them about your blog. Pick up the phone!! Reach out to your old boss, your yoga teacher, your co-workers.

Create a focus group either in your living room or via email- ask your friends specific questions about your blog, your writing, and what they want to see more of.

Literally start talking (over email definitely counts), socializing, and connecting.

In my case, the specific social vehicle that supported my blog being picked up in print the first time was…wait for it…Facebook.

I shamelessly and proudly told Facebook friends about my blog, checked out what old friends were up to, re-connected with them around our passion for writing and expression, and thought of creative ways to work together.

And when I wrote about a topic I thought a friend would like or be interested in, I linked it to their pages with a short message.

For example: When I partnered with Primer Magazine for a new men’s advice column, I put the link on my ex-boyfriends page (who I’m friends with) and wrote, “For all those times you thought I was wrong…” and believe me, that got comments and attention.

For one of the publications, my blog was linked to my mom’s Facebook page (yes, really) and seen by the publisher of a commercial magazine. I got a call, and so it began…

Q: What are some top tips you can provide on how to be a writer?

I think if you’re a writer you just know…not because you’re great, but because you love it. Love. Love. Love it.

I’ve never taken a writing class, nor received an award for a high school essay or short story, but I love to write. When I write something I’m proud of, I have energy in my heart and bones for days (cheesy, yes. but also true).

If you want to be a writer, write. Make time to write. Make space to write. Don’t only write the things you hope to publish on your blog or elsewhere.

Write in a journal, write letters and cards to friends, write morning pages (from the book, The Artists Way).

Build your voice. Try new things. Write. Read. Talk. Get inspired.

One of my closest friends Gabi Moskowitz, of the fabulous blog Brokeass Gourmet said to me one day when writers block was consuming me…

“Instead of working so hard to write, start working hard on being inspired.”

That pretty much sums it up.


Q: What are some tips for writing your first blog posting?

Just write it. Really, just write it. Be careful about hinging on the fantasy that your first post will be published and make you famous and and and…that’s a flavor of pressure that you just don’t need to taste.

Just remember…it’s called your first post for a reason.

The best advice I’ve ever gotten when it comes to starting something is “The only difference between those with an idea and those with a successful idea is doing something with it.”

Your blog will never be successful if you don’t start it!

Find a friend who knows about blogging and ask them to help you set it up and give you a little 101 about how to post, edit, and manage your new blog.

Take them to dinner as a thank you…and then take a breath, and go for it…

Q: I know you’ve also got a book in you — would you talk about the approach you’re considering to go from blog to book?

I definitely have a book in me. Right now though, I’m practicing what I preach and not attaching myself to any particular route, or destination for that matter.

There are different options for writing a book including writing a proposal in print, writing the entire book and sending it in to an agent, self publishing, or writing an e-book and self-promoting.

I’m in the stage right now where I’m working on the foundation and intention of my book, meeting new people in the writing world, proudly accepting new opportunities to build my audience and my writing voice…and trying to breathe along the way.

But don’t let that grounded energy be confused with passiveness… My book will be out there one day soon.

Q: Thanks, Brooke. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, what’s the best way for them to do that?

You’re welcome!

The best way to reach me is through my blog Soapbox Therapy or email me at [email protected].

My psychotherapy office, where I see individuals, couples, and families in San Francisco can be reached at 415.294.4044



6 comments so far (is that a lot?) | Continue Reading »

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

A Networking Pro Explains How to Master LinkedIn in 8 Easy Steps


My friend Drew Sanders is one of the best networkers I know. He recently presented his Action Plan for using the networking tool LinkedIn to insurance giant Chubb…and was kind enough to let me share it with you.

If you want to know why you should be linked in, check out my You Must Be LinkedIn article.

Here’s the 8-step plan for setting up and managing LinkedIn:

Step 1: Complete your Linked in Profile (1 Hour)

  • Have a coherent narrative of your history from college graduation
  • Print out several examples that you like and model yours after theirs
  • Brevity is appreciated by all
  • Be factual, but humility is a good tack

Step 2: Email accumulation (1 Hour)

  • Export your outlook contacts to a (CSV file)
  • Do the same for your hotmail, yahoo, or Gmail accounts
  • Extra Credit
    • if you have emailing lists from when people have accidentally not bcc’d people and you saw some cool email contacts and saved the emails.
    • Export those as well.
  • Any email from anyone you have ever met now has more value than just a way to get a hold of that person.

Step 3: Contact Invitation Process (1 to 3 hours depending on number of emails)

  • Load all the emails into the LinkedIn Platform
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Monday, January 11th, 2010

For Tiger Woods & His Insiders Only: A 6-Step Leadership Action Plan


Let me start off by saying that I am NOT disappointed in Tiger Woods for reportedly cheating on his wife.

I imagine life as a famous person, on the road the majority of the time with people throwing themselves at you, would tempt even the most pious of people.

I AM disappointed in the way he seems to be dealing with his affairs.

A leader is measured by how they handle a crisis.

Barak Obama & Tiger Woods

What Would Obama Do In Tiger's Shoes?

The 6-Step Tiger Woods Leadership Action Plan

If I Were Tiger Woods right now, I would:

1) Hold a press conference with my top endorsers and me in a room (this would be one of the most watched events of the year!).

2) Admit to my wife, the rest of my family, my close friends, my fans and my endorsers that I made a big mistake.

3) Take the equivalent of all the endorsement money I’ve made in the last year — $50 to $100 million sounds like a good round number — and donate it all to a charity whose values support the improvement of family.

4) Announce that the next golf tournament I play at will be called the “Family Open” or “Family Invitational” and that all tickets will be free (with an emphasis on families);  and that all players will bring along a family member as a teammate or caddy and will forgoe their prize money.

5) Ask the Press to be as hard on me as they’d like, but to be gentle with my wife and family.

6) Admit that all the above isn’t enough…but that it’s a start.

Tiger has an opportunity that all leaders have: to turn a negative situation into a positive one.

He may also benefit from reading It’s Not About The Bike by Lance Armstrong, who faced a low point with some sponsors and fans when he had cancer — talk about turning a negative into a postive!

While Lance faced a different situation, he wouldn’t be a bad guy to listen to during these times.

Tiger has showed leadership on the golf course. Let’s see what he can do off the course.

I know you can do it, Tiger!

Click Leadership Articles to see more of what I’ve written on the subject.

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