Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Busy Brain Twitter Debacle

Did you get a bunch of followers on the 20th? Wonder where your new twitter followers came from? Thank The Busy Brain.

The story begins for me when I posted my Twitter Grade. Then last Sunday (Oct 19th, 12:45AM), I get the following email in my twitter filter in Gmail, TheBusyBrain is now following you on Twitter! I check him out, profile looks good, friends are pretty even, I think nothing of it. I follow him back.

The next day(Oct 20th) it hits the fan. I get around 40 new follow requests on twitter in one day. Most of them are very spammy accounts and all mostly fresh meat looking noobs. I was wondering what the hell was going on and I caught a tweet linking to my new Pal, The Busy Brain's Blog and I quickly figured out where the twitter noobs were coming from.

The Busy Brain spent some time and figured out how to game the twitter system a bit. He found some Tweople that some might be considered "Twitterati", people that are active on twitter, that read their email alerts and have a high chance of following back. So he did do some homework on his little Social Media Optimization Experiment.

The Busy Brain failed in at least two ways with his Social Media Optimization Experiment. First he didn't let the victims know what they were in for. If you are going to have a Social Media Love in, it is only fair that everyone knows they are going to be participating in the Social Media Love in. Secondly the space monkeys he got were all random people in addition to being noobs on twitter and a few of them were down right spammy. The idea behind Social Media Marketing (SMM) is to NOT be spammy, your goal should be to engage people that want to hear about your brand, your products or your ideas. The goal should be to get people to follow you for your content or insight.

The Busy Brain ended up seeing the error of his ways in less than a day and apologized. Next time you get followed on twitter, maybe you should sleep on it instead of following back right away. Now I have some extra pruning to do on my twitter list this week.

The Busy Brain Twitter Debacle

Sunday, September 28, 2008

SEO Advice - The Horse Pill

The other night I had a lady ask me how to solve a tricky SEO problem she was having with a competitor and she asked me because a friend of mine told her I am an SEO Consultant.

She told me her SEO problems and I gave her a solution that was a bit outside of the box and she didn't understand that it was the solution to her SEO problem. She kept on saying here is the problem, here it is and I told her just to remove it. Sometimes you have to let go. But above all, sometimes you have to listen, then you understand.

When you know your competitor is your superior at SEO or worse yet is a SEO Consultant with far superior SEO knowledge, SEO Experience and link energy than you possess. It is time for you to get your own SEO Consultant and then LISTEN to him. Sometimes the answer is going to be a horse pill you aren't willing to swallow, but like a rip tide, if you fight it the wrong way you are always going to lose. So if your way clearly isn't working and you have wasted two years doing it your way. Listen to good SEO advice when you ask for it and try it another way for six months. What do you have to lose when you have already lost? Nothing, right?

SEO Advice – The Horse Pill

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Legend of the SEO Champion

Last Thursday I was at the August Presentation Style South Florida SEO Social Meetup and I got to hear about the SEO Champion at SES, basically a crazy guy that showed up at SES, crashed a private Microsoft event and caused all sorts of mayhem.

The SEO Champion's legend (infamy?) is spreading like wild fire around the blogosphere and some people even think the SEO Champion is legit.

I have some tips for The SEO Champion's next event:

  1. Don't go drunk
  2. If you are on meds, take them
  3. Don't start any fights
  4. Don't wear a chicken suit
  5. Don't try to sell SEO Services at SES to legitimate SEO Consultants. (that is just like selling snow, ice and a refrigerator to an Eskimo)
Anyways this guy is sort of smart because he is being linked and talked about quite a bit. Maybe all the crazy clients will find him.

Legend of the SEO Champion

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

User Experience Design and SEO

What does user experience design (UX) have to do with SEO? EVERYTHING!!

Usability and user experience design can help improve your conversion rates, but this takes time and effort. Bad design can lead to a poor user experience. Tweaking your website's UX can have big time payoffs for your SEO efforts, leading to more conversions and an increase in your bottom line.

A good UX design incorporating business and marketing goals while catering to your end user's Experience isn't easy and it doesn't happen over night. The template and graphic tweaks can take a week to do and roll out. Then you have to wait a month to see test the results of your new UX design tweaking. One of three things will most likely happen: nothing will improve; your stats and conversions will remain steady (+/-3% on your conversions); you will have a modest gain in conversions (maybe 3-9% more conversions, which is a pretty good gain in conversions) or you will have a substantial gain in conversions (over 10%, up to 30% increase in conversions)

The key is patience and being able to afford tweaks and changes on your website. Who does User Experience Design and SEO tweaks on their website(s)? How about Google for starters. I recently listened to one of their podcasts and they had a 30% gain on conversions for one of their products, Picasa. Want to know why Google does so damned good? They spend time and money on good UX. And if Google doesn't get the UX tweaks right the first time, they do UX tweaks again until they get the bump that they need.

Don't just think you are going to make a website and get the user experience design right the first time. This is never the case. Every website is always in Beta, it just might not say it on the logo. If you care about keeping a healthy defensible competitive edge on your competition keep user experience design in your mind and your budget. Defending and improving your Defensible competitive edge like this can be dangerously awesome for your bottom line.

User Experience Design and SEO

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Cost of Winning A Macbook Air - The Whuffie Factor

I was talking to a designer friend of mine at Superstarch yesterday and Marcus asked me, "How much effort did you put into winning the Macbook Air?" I thought that was a really good question, so it needs a really good answer. How much is a $1800 Macbook Air worth? How much was the Whuffie Factor?

The answer to his question is simple, yet very complex. First I took a look at what the contest was and decided to throw my hat over the wall, join the site and invited some friends. Very quickly I put myself in the a position to get in the running for it by having the most referrals on the site, having the Most Followers, and being the Most Commented. I also had a ton of content from the services that Second|Brain supported.

Once Second|Brain choose me as one of the Six it was all downhill from there.

I took a look at the other competitors none of them had the network or Social Media empire that I have. I was very thankful that someone like Scoble wasn't in on the Contest and later when they turned it into a vote I knew the Macbook Air was mine, unless all the people on Second|Brain voted against me, I just had more Social Capital then everyone else.

What is social capital? My 474 friends on Myspace, my 320 friends on Multiply, my 309 followers on Twitter, my 146 Followers Plurk, my 538 friends Iconbuffet and my 234 friends Facebook. This is the Whuffie Factor I had in my favor. 1547 or so people (some are dupes), that is about a dollar a person. All my years of social spelunking paid off in the form of Whuffie.

The cost of time was about five extra hours a day between my misc tasks over the course of six days. One of the days I even took off and helped a friend fix up his new house. The real cost was social momentum; one year on Iconbuffet, four years on Myspace, four years on Multiply, one year on Twitter, one month on Plurk and two years on Facebook. All that time spent on these social networks was what won me the contest. I just had more social capital then anyone else in the running. Who knew having a giant SEO Social Media network could pay off so well?

The Whuffie Factor = $1,749.95
The mere fact that I won the Macbook Air in the Second|Brain Contest - Priceless.

Cost of Winning A Macbook Air – The Whuffie Factor

Monday, June 30, 2008

Second Brain - Vote for Me!

I am in the running for a Macbook Air on Second Brain, join up, follow me and vote Dude FTW! Contest Ends on the Third!
Contest ends on the 3rd

Friday, February 29, 2008

Joomla Growing Pains

Wow what a month for Joomla! Joomla is going through some Growing Pains. The long awaited Joomla 1.5 was release last month, along with three other updates (Joomla 1.5.1, Joomla 1.14, Joomla 1.15) all in one months time! These updates address security vulnerabilities and a few bugs fixes.

The last two updates were six months apart. Joomla! 1.0.13 hit July 07 and Joomla! 1.0.12 was Dec 06. So its a bit refreshing to see all these updates and fixes all in one month.

Joomla 1.5 (which has been in beta since Oct 06) seemed like it was never going to come out! I am glad its out of beta. I am going to start using more of the beta software in test domains to stay ahead of the curve from now on.

Joomla Growing Pains

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Google update - Jan 08

Google just updated last week. For most web sites nothing special happened but for others Google took away some of their precious page rank on their web site or blogs. I am not talking about one or two point page rank reductions, this Google Update took (and the last one as well) took away 3 points or more. And in some cases a few sites lost all their Page Rank.

Some of the harder hit web sites were Renkoo, and Ma.gnolia where I saw some users that are in my network loose all their Pageranks. Renkoo lost two points on its main page (dropping from a PR7 to a PR5) and most of the users I know lost at least one point on their blogs. The worst was on where a CEO's linking blog went from a page rank five to zero, this reduction also happened to a few other people on other networks as well. The best for me was one of my local competitors lost out as well, dropping from a PR 7 to a PR 4, on his main web page.

What happened? Google made things tougher in most cases (except Renkoo who did it to themselves). Having a web site or a social network without a strong sense of what SEO is all about is like saying I want to have zero defensible competitive edge. Having an Strong sense of SEO could have preserved Renkoo's former Page Rank at seven or improved it upwards. For a few bloggers the reductions came because they (like Renkoo) were asleep at the wheel.

Maintaining a strong position in Google (and thus your defensible competitive edge) requires constant work, vigilance, and a keen eye for detail. Think of working on your web page like just like doing work on a race car, sometimes you have to go into the pit for either gas or tires. A lot of people's web sites just ran out of gas while on the track. So just like racing, make sure you stay on track, don't fall asleep at the wheel and keep a good SEO guy on your team.

Google update – Jan 08

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