Tag Archives: google

How To Rank on Front Page of Google

It’s really easy these days.

No, really it is.

OK so in the past it was hard (cough) to rank on the front page of Google if you were new to the business, in any sector. Lots of things were (actually still are for non real-time) taken into account in order for your site to rank well for a given term. Lots of weight is given to credibility, i.e. other sites (humans) thinking your site IS credible, by the way of incoming links. If we all link to a site it must be good content right? This model has been Google’s backbone product for years, forever actually.

Then came Twitter and the mob

This experiment has been conducted numerous times in other places, and you may have come across it already, but because I think Google is shooting itself in the foot it warrants a mention.

So Google has started including “real-time” results in its index, in particular from Twitter, the micro-blogging service. This basically means it is open season for you and me to actively use this service as a tactic to appear on the front page of Google for any given search phrase.

Down to business

So considering Tiger Woods is hot news at the moment I figured this would be a good test target for ranking. Before the inclusion of real-time the chances of appearing on the front page of Google for “Tiger Woods” were slim pickings for mere mortals. Typically, of course, it would usually have only been credible news sources, or perhaps other content that was mass approved through incoming links (us all linking to it). That is still the model Google has in place with the exception of a little iframe half way down the page, the real-time zone.

So I sent out a tweet as follows

OK, so a tweet that clearly contains Tiger Woods and some other attention grabbing nonsense and an all important link that someone may click on (in this case an intelligence test, just for the irony of it).

So a few moments later, literally within a minute or so I searched Google for “Tiger Woods” and sure enough found my tweet.

You can clearly see my ridiculous tweet, and my url.

Why is this bad?

Well think about it for a moment, this is now open season for real-time spam… hell I might even employ someone in a developing country, pay them peanuts, to sit down and tweet nonsense all day, with affiliate links included in the tweets, and target very competitive key phrases. < oh that happens already?

What do you say? – you could say hey Chris this is fabulous, people are all wonderful people and good through to their core, and we’d never ever game the system, our tweets are credible and we only speak the truth. Well folks, I have news for you, that is not the case with the masses, and once the search dudes and dudettes catch on to this (done), you can be sure to see utter nonsense in that real-time zone.

Google, you have gone nuts.

Google’s Social Graph: Client Disclosure

Google’s Social Graph is one method which would provide a very easy way to inform robots who is your client and who isn’t.

Adding the rel=”client” to your client related links would in fact mean that any future buzz monitor policing application would be able to easily distinguish you have offered full-disclosure.

Of course, this would not be very obvious to the reader of your text, and that’s the important person in the policing. So perhaps our publishing platforms could also translate our use of rel=”client” in order to offer a visual for the reader too.

Thinking about social graphs today.

Social Media Traffic

social media traffic

Forget that title already, it’s something which will just confuse you and lead you up the garden path of a low traffic site (well unless you are selling to the social media niche, as in people wanting to be a part of the scene – yuck please hand me the “in-flight social media sick bag”).

No, the word social is clearly a very undefined entity to the point of simply causing confusion, just take a look at these definitions of the word social.

Um what? … you mean “human media”, no really, human beings interacting with media that is digitised, oh goodness me that’s one complicated cookie to get our head around isn’t it.

Hmmm … and people are also trying to measure social media influence ? – How can one possibly measure something that is even outside of a definition itself?

Let me let you into a secret, you can’t.

What you can do is analyse qualitative data as a means of capturing intention, and then segment as much as possible and dish up delicious customised experiences (more of that later, if you watch closely).

Right, now that that is out of the way, let’s just consider the term media and fuck the “social” bit, OK, that’s MEDIA, as in stuff we can interact with, comment on, share, immerse into, and generally be a geekoid with.

Find below a list of things that will bring you traffic, it is a list that has worked for me, and continues to, it is not exhaustive by any means but a good start:

  1. Content – it may sound obviously obvious but search engines absolutely adore fresh original content, it is their job to go out and hunt and gather new content. If you regularly add fresh content you will be continuously feeding the search engine spiders looking for food.
  2. Minimal design – you need to forget about making the site too pretty with flash and other nonsense that search engines cannot read. Here there is often a trade-off between that flashy agency design and what will actually help the site get noticed in search. Take my advice and do not use Flash, use a clean VERY quick loading template, simpler the better (look at Google itself)
  3. Forums – visit all the major forums in your niche, create an account, edit your profile and become busy reading and reading and reading and then start to engage in the community there and offer help and advice on a balanced level. Visit them daily and become prominent in your niche, you are aiming to be associated with being an authority on your subject. I’m including Facebook groups in here, you know large number ones.
  4. Trends – monitor your niche by using google alerts and trends, and really keep an eye out for what is hot, then write content about it when it is a buzz topic. The aim here is to get the news about products before they are launched, so you are right up there with your date stamp.
  5. Logs – site access logs are like mines of gold, you know where you can hunt and see how people are finding your site, how are they reaching you, and from where and with what keyword combinations? This is essential reading, very geeky but I kid you not, you will find gold in your web logs. If your host doesn’t provide them change your host, you cannot do any serious business without reading your web access logs. You will be amazed at how people are finding your site, you should then provide more content for them (see this ties in with capturing intention above).
  6. Page load – I’m a widget hater, not because they do funny things and connect you up with third party content, but their strength is also your weakness. Widgets will slow your site down to a crawl if not careful. This is bad for search engine spiders and bad for customer experience on your site, it is a major sucky experience. You can use this tool to check your site(s). I started using widgets back in 2000 where I was displaying content on one site pulled from others, believe me I learnt my lessons early on that reliance on third party feeds and content is not a good idea. Proceed there with caution, ensure the feeds you choose are VERY resilient and fast as hell. Page load speed is EVERYTHING for customer experience.
  7. Stickiness – you know when you pop along to the pub and the conversation is so cool you can’t leave? Or the bartender has the twinkle in her/his eyes that just keeps you there? That’s stickiness, you need that equivalent on your site to keep people there and more importantly coming back for more.
  8. In Bounds – in bounds links or IBLs are the golden currency of Google, the more links you have pointing to your site for a specific keyword the higher in the rankings you will potentially appear, it is almost that simple, to a point. The higher the page-rank of the site linking to you, the higher the quality of IBL, therefore the more ranking potential. You must make gaining IBLs a fundamental target of your traffic building campaign. There is not easy way to do this other than creating compelling content that people will link to, or popping along and actually asking for links. N.B. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Some So.Me “experts” might say just blog away and people will link if it’s good. That’s basically completely inefficient, you need to target sites, people and links, you want traffic don’t you? Don’t gamble in the hope people will magically link to you.
  9. Directories – make sure you your site is appearing in all the major directories, the biggest is probably DMOZ, are you in it? Oh by the way did I mention this has been community edited since the late 90s, yes way before the ridiculous term Web2.0 raised it’s ugly head. Get in all the major directories for your niche.
  10. Ebay – you what Chris? Yes ebay, I would put up a digital package for sale, you know a virtual thing, information for sale, and set it for bidding, including links back to my sites in the descriptions (plus branding potential) – huge amount of eyeballs on your product and brand there.
  11. Craig’s List – similar in approach to the above, don’t make it obviously advertorial but you will find huge amounts of eyeballs there for your site/brand.
  12. Free Downloads – Package up a free download and get it hosted on a variety of download sites, the big one being download.com. Befriend a coder who can build a simple download for you around your site/product. I personally like ones which bring the user back to your site for a whole host of reasons including updates, interaction, support etc etc. Again, huge numbers to tap into here. Think iPhone apps or whatever is the latest thing.
  13. Google Analytics – don’t piss about with second rate measuring, get yourself deep into the jedi analytics of traffic, seriously study what is taking place on your site, it is all there to be read and disseminated. Here you need to create regular reporting systems so that you can make evolutionary changes based on the reports, small site changes can make a significant difference to traffic.
  14. SEO – search engine optimisation, actually much of what I have said already and what follows falls under this heading, so let’s leave it at that, but also just to mention study the basic SEO concepts on page construction. If you do not know basic HTML and the implications for search you should start immediately.
  15. Press Releases – ignore what the “social douches” say about press releases, believe me they will bring you significant traffic and ranking providing you target them with keywords. There are hundreds and hundreds of press releases submission sites around (full-disclosure that’s mine), you should aim to pump your release into about 20 or more of the significant ones.
  16. Out Bounds – aim to place some out-bound links to sites of authority in your keyword target, you will be amazed what associating with authority can bring.
  17. Blog Comments – hmm well maybe to a point, yet in the eyes of search you can forget about getting ranked for them, well your own site anyway, as most site owners use the nofollow tag. OK maybe some PEOPLE will follow through onto your site after reading a comment, but seriously, the numbers are not that significant at all to the above.
  18. Guest Blogging – for sure this is a good thing to do, you have the ability to create links on other sites to destinations of your choice with the keywords of your choice, this is gold. The trick is becoming someone who will be asked to guest post.
  19. Free Articles – write articles with a disclaimer in them that they can be re-published providing the links are left in place. There are thousands of people out there looking for content to post all the time, so go ahead and let them, you’ll gain if the links remain.
  20. Newsletters – you can love them or hate them but I’m telling you they work very well at building a community and brining people back time and time again. Just ensure you segment your data well and send relevant information to people, that they want (again we are seeing intent feature here). Segment heavily.
  21. Infinite responders – you can set up a series of emails that are sent at a pre-defined intervals all pre-written, serving up helpful information lightly sprinkled with data tags you have collected to ensure appropriate segmentation. This aid in building credibility for your wares, and run on auto-pilot, they are heavy traffic pullers and this is one of my favourites.
  22. Stumble Upon – worth putting all your pages into the pie here and while at it crank them into other similar style initiatives, and certainly many of the smaller search engines that allow submit.
  23. Email Lists – sign-up to very busy email lists and gently become familiar with the etiquette and before long you will be able to post to the list helping people out and also show-casing your wares.

That’s all I have time for now but should be a good start, I may even come back and add some more once I remember them. Certainly each item on the list could warrent a post by itself.

The main thing to extract here is that “social” is a red herring, traffic is about following the numbers, and then segmenting it once you have it, but I’d welcome your thoughts on it too. What do you say?

F*ck Google Ask Me

But stop and think for a second, is this the mentality that Social Media is promoting?

Do not get me wrong, having advice from your friends is useful, but how much objectivity do your friends bring, do you have friends whom are brutally honest with you?

Just curious..

Then again, how much objectivity does Google provide you?

Twitter Without Images Google Feast

This is what Twitter looks like when their image server don’t work. Their images are stored on amazon big boys I believe, here: http://s3.amazonaws.com/twitter_production/profile_images/ (that won’t work by the way).

It’s interesting to note that this is one of the reasons why your Twitter profile ranks so well in Google, oh you never checked? You should.

What you see here is what Google would see, instead of images they would see the text profile names, just as you see here, typically used as an “alt tag” AND “title tag”.

There you go.

Some people I know have protected their updates due to their Twitter page out-ranking their blog or whatever domain they wish page.

You had that issue?

Google Releases Social Graph API

I’m excited about the possibilities of the Google Social Graph API as this will really open the potential for us all to use our connections much more openly than any current system in use. And more to the point we won’t have our hands tied with “walled gardens” like Facebook, we’ll be able to build our own using our social graphs.

The API already has a demo available which you can try out, I popped along to their demo and entered my twitter url and was impressed by the outcome which I have listed below.

Are you on my list?

Contacts you link to

People who link to you as a contact

Debt Settlement Ads

Facebook advertisements are not so bad, in fact I find they are generally really subtle and unimposing, they just become part of the daily stream of my social graph updates.

I’ve experimented myself with a few ads recently for a project, and I found the demographic data Facebook provides pretty comprehensive for targeting just the kind of people you desire.

As an example I am currently targeting “liberal, moderate, and conservative men between 18 and 65 years old who are single, in a relationship, engaged, or married in the United States who like music production.” I’m not sure why I chose conservative men, as I look at it, in fact I should change that to cover perhaps more liberal minded folk and definitely include women too, however you get the point, the demographic is pretty neat, and my experiment is done.

I like the ads because I can pay for them on a per click basis and of course they are targeting people INTERESTED in what I’m selling.

I’ve used google adwords for literally years, since they were released actually in 2003, and as that system is also targeting contextually it makes for good conversions. However, I would say that google adwords probably would have more redundancy due to not all traffic landing on an ad placement zones to be totally pre-qualified.

I’m working with a new client now also to help them understand how they can use some of these technologies, the client works in the texas debt settlement and I spotted a competitor’s ad in my stream today, see below.

Pretty unobtrusive yet handy info if you are interested eh?

How do YOU feel about the ads in your Facebook Social Graph?

Changing Communications

Yesterday I mentioned to my partner I intend to use Google Calendar on my mobile phone. I also stated she’d be able to track any updates in my schedule fairly easily. For example, suppose I made an appointment during the day, and input that into Google, she would be in a position to quickly cross-check my schedule should something come on the horizon that she needed to book herself.

I thought this was pretty neat, hmm but I was wrong. Apparently it would be a little redundant due to the amount of tweeting I do concerning my plans etc. She said “I only need to see what your are tweeting and I’d know”.

This made me think hard about what I actually do indeed tweet, and this has got me wondering about my tweet use.

Fact: I am using far less text messages a month than I have in the passed to send updates to friends. I recall in the late 90s I used to get through hundreds and hundreds a month, now I get through maybe 10 a week tops.

Fact: I do indeed tweet rather openly about my whereabouts and “some” of my plans.

Fact: I seem to be actively in communication with my social graph between the hours of 8am and 8pm GMT.

Fact: Not everyone in my social graph follows me on Twitter. However, most of the others use Facebook (my tweets get shown in my FB status). The ones whom are not in either system get an email, or lastly a text message, or private IM.

Oh and of course I just call people a lot more these days too.

There we go, my communication methods have change considerably, and become almost free.

What about yours?

Gmail Tip Username + Whatever

Gmail Tip

You might not be aware of this (I wasn’t until recently).

You can use your gmail username with a + after it with absolutely anything and you’ll still get the email.

You what?

Yep, for example my username is “chambly”, so I could let’s say use chambly+disposable@gmail.com and I’d still get the email.

Or chambly+yahoosignup@gmail.com and I’d get the email still.

Why is this so cool?

Well you can use different combinations for different contacts you may meet, say +business, +friends, or say +spam if you want to sign up to a site but fear spam. You can then set up filters in gmail to filter your mail based on the +whatever, keeping you very organised and your precious username lean.

I love that tip, think it’s handy yourself?

Web2.0 Halloween with Google Inclusion

Ok so I have had to “buy in” to Halloween this year, of course I did, I have a 14 month old daughter and a qualified school teacher for a partner, these type of activities are essential!

So we bought a pumpkin from the local Pumpkin Grotto (lovely sideline a local farm is laying on this year, rammed with the orange orbs and various other spooky delights), and whilst there I grabbed a set of pumpkin carving tools to go with it (great idea).

The carving kit came with a bunch of template which I strapped onto the said fruit ready for daddy to carve! As you can see the tools are comprehensive.

Carving was a piece of cake, well fruit actually, and surprising to me didn’t take that long at all. The conversation between me and Jo then went on to what to use for the candle, she wasn’t keen on a candle as there will be a group of babies, and a gaggle of mums, so she wanted it to be safe!

If you read my blog a fair amount you’ll probably know I like risk to an extent, I enjoy unpredictability and in this case I fancied a flickering candle inside the lovingly carved fruity.

However, pressure won over and cleverly Jo thought that my Google Light/Radio would be a great idea to use inside Peter Pumpkin.

Now this Google Light/Radio is actually my first gift from Google way back in the first year of entering their Adsense program, (yep they supply gifts if you earn well), and well, anyway I’ve always cherished my Google Clock Light Radio device which pulsates changing pastel shades.

In fact it’s so neat it turns on off off depending on how you orient it through 90 degrees.

So there we have it, it turns out that we have a Peter Pumpkin of the Google Web2.0 variety, well the party will be social anyway, and of course have the web connection.

Made me chuckle so thought you might too.