Google Acquires Nest Labs for $3.2B

January 15th, 2014 · Google

Nest Labs Smoke Detector

Google has done it again, they’ve acquired yet another company, Nest Labs, which takes unloved products in the home and make simple, beautiful, thoughtful things.  Specifically, they’ve reinvented the home thermostats and smoke alarms.

This will push Google into the homes of millions and give them the opportunity to expand on smart home developments.  Internet connected homes are very much the wave of the future and Google is trying to lead the way.  Their Internet of things concept is to allow you to control lighting, heating, water, security, AC, etc. from anywhere using your smartphone or smart device.

Nest Labs was founded by Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers in 2010, after they both left Apple.  Google has acquired the company for an estimated $3.2 billion.  The founders and the team will stay on board with the company to run daily operations, with the financial backing of Google this business is expected to grow substantially.

Read more about the acquisition, here.

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Protect Yourself From SEO Profit-Sharing Partnership Scams

January 13th, 2014 · Business

As SEO professionals we get approached by many needing our help. In some cases a person will approach me with a profit-sharing offer. This is when I don’t get paid any money upfront, but instead I’ll get paid on the backend, when a profit is made, we share the profit. These are also commonly referred to as business partnerships.

Basically, I do all the work to get the website to the top of search engines and drive targeted traffic while my so-called “PARTNER” sits back, collects the checks and share the profits with me. Many times this is a face value trust relationship, because as the SEO partner I don’t have access to the personal PayPal/bank account of the business owner.

I’m sure you can see all the trouble in that. That’s why when I’m approached with these type of offers I first have to like the business idea and concept. Then if I decide to partner with someone there needs to be a way to confirm website sales, even if I don’t have account access or control. I just want to know how many sales were placed and how much money was made.

I also have another requirement that I deem important. The one main requirement for any website partnership is that I MUST have domain ownership. This is how I stay protected in cases like this and gain some control as a partner. If my partner every gets shady then I have the power in my hands to shut the business down by shutting down the domain or have the ability to sell the domain to recoup any loss monies.

If someone seems hesitant or unwilling to relinquish domain ownership to me, then it makes me question their motives about wanting someone to do SEO as a partner. If they truly are seeking a partner then domain ownership is the least thing they could do to show they are serious about having a true partnership.

I’m a business man first, so I would never abruptly shut a business down or kill a domain, unless there is an absolute good reason. If a partner trust you to market their website and build their online presence then there’s no reason not to trust them with domain ownership.

If you’re an SEO and find yourself in a situation like mine, then I suggest you too ask for domain ownership. Draw up a contractual agreement if you have to, just make sure you protect yourself. You don’t want to get caught with your pants down. You do all the hard work to grow a business then at the end you have nothing to show for it. You just wasted time and money, with no reward. Be careful, can’t trust everyone!!! Hopefully you have a partner who is on the up and up. Good luck!

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Matt Cutts Advises Use of The Canonical Tag for Duplicate Content Issues

January 8th, 2014 · Content

Matt Cutts discusses duplicate content and advises webmasters to use the rel=canonical tag to address issues with duplicate content on multiple URL’s.  This would aid in reducing spam signals which may get your pages flagged or banned.

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Google Instant is Instantly Cool With Me

September 18th, 2010 · Google

The instant pros of Google Instant is that you’ll likely gain more visitors to your website, that is if your website is already ranked high in the search results for popular keyword phrases. Google Instant provides the web user with suggestions according to volume data.

Last week, Google introduced Google Instant to the general public. It’s described as a new enhancement which shows results as you type. This new enhancement can bring dramatic change to the search game as we know it today. It is becoming even more important to be a top contender in the search engine space.

Let’s say for instance this month “George Steinbrenner” is the most searched person pertaining George’s. As soon as you begin typing “George” the results for “George Steinbrenner” is displayed and the term “George Steinbrenner” is your suggested phrase. Essentially this will bring more visitors to your website as it seems to the untrained eye that your website simply ranks high for “George”. Next month the most popular name containing “George” could be “George Bush” and any website which ranks #1 for “George Bush” would also rank #1 for “George” in the Google Instant results. It’s like getting two for the price of one.

Targeting popular keyword phrases always had the potential of yielding you more traffic, but now it can cause a viral effect and reach the masses beyond just the “targeted phrase”. Google Instant is definitely cool with me.

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Buffet Themed Websites Are Destined to Fail

July 26th, 2010 · Business, SEO

Buffet Style eCommerce WebsitesLast night, I went to a buffet restaurant which offers an assortment of cuisines including Chinese, Italian, Seafood, American, Greek, and Caribbean. This is a catch-all type buffet restaurant. The food was fair, but no where as good as somewhere which specialize and focus on only a particular cuisine.

Many web beginners make the mistake of trying to be a catch-all buffet website oppose to focusing on one main dish. Instead of being unique and niche targeted, they attempt to be a Wal-Mart or Amazon, thinking this is their competition and offering or selling everything under the sun. By spreading yourself thin and being a generalist, it lessens the value of a website.

It’s difficult to compete as a generalist against Wal-Mart, Amazon, and the alikes. Unless you have an unlimited amount of resources it is nearly impossible to outrank and compete with these big businesses. However, being niche based can pay off big.

Taking the buffet restaurant example think about your own experiences. Eating at a buffet is fast, cheap, and convenient, but the food quality is not the same as eating at a restaurant which specialize in a specific cuisine. Most specialized restaurants take a certain sense of pride in each dish they prepare, while buffets are most concerned about mass, large quantities, and fast preparations while keeping food warm under heated lamps.

Buffets may get a herd of customers, but specialized restaurants get loyal customers which builds a following with name recognition. When was the last time you’ve heard of a buffet getting major buzz, beyond its local area? Think about that the next time you build a website, would you rather be a buffet or target a specific market?

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The Yahoo! and Microsoft adCenter Transition What to Expect?

May 11th, 2010 · Microsoft, Yahoo

Yahoo! has updated it’s blog to reflect the Yahoo! and Microsoft adCenter search alliance a.k.a. partnership. Basically, for the next 10 years Bing will be the host for Yahoo! search results. Yahoo! will continue to appear the same on the front-end, but on the back-end it will be powered by Microsoft.

The benefit Microsoft gains is apparent. They become a larger search provider (and the second largest in the same breathe), plus they receive a commission on ad serves for Yahoo! I wonder what the trends are going to look like in coming months, will Microsoft be on top? But let’s be honest, a lot of Yahoo! visits come from non-search, but so does Microsoft.

Yahoo! and Microsoft Rankings on Google Trends

It might seem Yahoo! is a clear loser in the deal, because their search technology will ultimately be outsourced making them nothing more than a second-tier search engine, but truthfully Yahoo! has managed to stay in the game without needing to cover overhead and therefore add more dollars to research. Imagine if for the next 10 years Yahoo! focus on research and building the best engine on the planet, they’ve freed up the money to do just that! It easily cost millions (if not billions) a year to own and operate multiple data centers. Since, Yahoo! will not be the operation host for their search engine servers and hardware they can have much less data centers saving plenty of dough! I think Yahoo! was smart in this deal and may be a company to watch in the future.

Other than organic search, paid search will be affected and therefore all paid marketing accounts will need to be ported over to Microsoft adCenter. Yahoo! claims to make this process smooth since they developed tools to assist. The three main takeaways from this transitional update are:

  • It’s time to port your Yahoo! Search Marketing campaigns to Microsoft adCenter. I wouldn’t suggest creating new ad campaigns at Yahoo!
  • Transition overhaul will be attempted before 2010 holiday season
  • The process is stated to be smooth. Tools have been developed to automate the transition

For additional information visit the Yahoo! Transition Center which will guide you through the transition process.

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Breakfast in Hillside, NJ

May 10th, 2010 · General

Hillside New Jersey breakfast story

Yesterday, (Mother’s Day) I decided to give my wife breakfast in bed, but since she’s not a fan of my cooking style I thought it’ll be best to go get take out. Shortly, I realized how difficult it is to find good breakfast take out, short of the chains like iHop or typical diners. But, I wanted something special and more homely-like.

I knew two restaurants which were soul food places, great food — but much further than I wanted to travel. I was looking for something nearby. I even tried the navigation system with no luck!

I live in Hillside, NJ a small town of 21,000 people but is the gateway for major cities in New Jersey. Hillside touches Union, Elizabeth, Irvington, and Newark, its almost like a hub for these big cities. You would expect to find some good breakfast spots easily. I’m sure there is some breakfast places around the area, but I didn’t venture out much, I stayed local in Hillside, but I couldn’t find a good place to get omelets, pancakes, grits, and beef/turkey bacon or sausages.

As I was about to give up on my search, a beam of hope swept in to rescue me. I stopped at what seemed like a simple convenience store to get a bottle of water. When I entered I saw a full grill with stacks of empty egg cartons. I was in awe! Outside there wasn’t a sign on the door or anything indicating that this place was anything more than a one-stop grocer.

As I made my order I asked the guy at the register how long this place been in business, to my surprise he said “nearly 20 years!” I’ve lived in Hillside NJ for over 25 years, minus the 8 years I moved to North Carolina. I never in my life stopped at this place because I never thought it was anything more than a small moms/pops grocery store. I never had the need to go to this side of town for a general store.

To top things off the food is delicious! This is a diamond in the rough. It shocked me that they lacked the promotional side of their business. If they tended to promotions they could pickup sales. The shabbiness of the place on the outside would make most people keep driving right pass it, but once inside it is quite homely and have a excellent menu.

It seems the nature of this place is deep rooted with the community on that side of town. Those who live near that area frequent the spot and know how delicious it is, but the rest of the world doesn’t even know it exist.

Many website owners operate in the same manner. They get stuck on the idea of a small website or local community site, that they neglect to put full effort into a true marketing plan.

Even a local community place like this food mart can expand by expanding its promotion reach. Every city which touch this small Hillside New Jersey food mart should be included in it’s target geographical areas. No stone left unturn, make sure everyone knows about their luncheonette. Could you imagine how much profit such a place could take in each year? I’ll bet if they promoted their business with at least 40% of their current earnings they’ll see a 100% return on their investment in no time. It’s literally almost guaranteed — that’s how fabulous this place is.

The same promotion woes occur online and if some webmasters truly considered promoting their websites outside its current markets then they can expand their reach and help others learn about their website. Does your website potential reach go as far as it could or are you leaving some markets untapped?

In case you are in Hillside or just wondering about the location of the Quick Food Mart its @ 60 Hillside Avenue, Hillside, NJ 07205. Really great food, don’t let the shabby look scare you away!

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Optimizing User Generated Content for Better Search Rankings

May 7th, 2010 · Content

In case you never heard of user generated content a.k.a. UGC then you should know it is simply content which is created by visitors of your website such as product reviews, blog comments, social profiles, etc. This user content may seem small and unimportant in the spectrum of SEO, but on the contrary it could be a beneficial element of search engine optimization for your website. Essentially, visitors to your website can be treated as content providers or contributors, thus like having your own team of copywriters.

Taking it further if properly optimized this content can be used to increase rankings for your pages. You can take lead of optimizing user created content on your website. I don’t recommend taking control of users private accounts, modifying blog comments, or reviews without explicit consent or notification to the members of your website. However, with permission and consent then it’s all game. I would recommend adding a simple checkbox or radio button to your registration pages for users to opt-into your website’s content optimization program, allowing you (the webmaster) the right to change or modify content as seen fit for the purpose of better search rankings. This type of control over your website will be very beneficial.

You don’t want to change the context of your visitors content. Don;t change what they say, but instead you want to change the way they say it — change the words they choose. A website which lacks user generated content could potentially be missing out on tremendous opportunities for more traffic. A website which integrates user generated content is more likely to do well within the search engines, because it creates fresh and unique content which feeds search engines. It’s even beneficial to allow user generated media or user generated videos.

Tom C. over at SEOMoz discusses ways to use user generated content for SEO, he does a great job at explaining ways you can use UGC to effectively drive up in the ranks. Visitors to your website are like SEO consultants or content producers, if you have a way for them to register for an account which includes a profile page then you know have a new page created for your website. Furthermore, requiring users to fill out complete profiles including a description will create fresh content for each profile page created. It’s a brilliant way to put your website on SEO auto-pilot.

If you have an informational website or website with no user generated content then you should think of ways you can integrate user created content. It can be as simple as adding product reviews to your ecommerce website or allowing comments on your article pages. However, I suggest using full profile pages if it fits your website as this is the greatest benefit.

Share your comments, how do you use user generated content for SEO on your website or what fresh ideas do you have?

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SEO Is Not Rocket Science, But It’s Grunt Work

March 2nd, 2010 · SEO

We all hate grunt work, it’s the work no one wants to do, but if neglected can be a devastating blow to your company. Most of SEO is grunt work, it’s low level task which usually can’t be automated, at least not with efficiency, and its labor intense, but for a website to succeed, there must be some level of grunt work.

SEO consist of optimization, analysis, reporting, research, data mining, link building, content writing, social marketing, etc. All which is grunt work. Regardless if you enjoy it or not it is still grunt work.

How much are you willing to pay someone to handle your grunt work? Would you pay more for efficiency or better reporting?

SEO isn’t going to get you into space or solve a quantum physics equation, but it bridges the gap between success and failure when it comes to online marketing. How important is SEO to your business? Does more visitors to your website affect your bottomline?

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Google Search Launches Twitter Real-Time Search Results

December 10th, 2009 · Google, Twitter

Google embeds twitter real-time search results into their search result pages (5th rank down).

This new search tier has got to be a welcomed source of income for Twitter. I am sure there is a deal between the two which will fatten Twitter pockets. This new type of search will make it even more important to keep a social presence especially in Twitter, because the more you tweet then the more likely you’ll get in their real time search results.

Not all searches will produce real-time search results, at this time it seems to be selective but as time progresses I am sure it will open up more. The real-time search results are auto-updated in its own frame, you have the option of pausing the auto-updates.

Twitter and Google Launches Real Time Search Results in Google Search

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Google Maps Introduces Real Estate Search

November 21st, 2009 · Google

Google Maps Real Estate Search Engine

Google Maps has a new real estate feature, it can now perform full real estate searches. If you are currently in the market for a new home, then Google’s real estate search may be able to help.

To get real estate queries, simply enter the address of the home for sale or enter the local city + homes for sale, it will bring back a search form you can use to find a home.

The listings are not from Google, they are linked to external websites which are not owned by Google. I can’t tell if the listings are actual scrapes or if they are optimized for inclusion. I am not sure if Google has a method for getting listed or if they just find you. However, I speculate they are scrapes, if not scrapes then it may be private relationships with select websites to show their listings.

I would say the easiest way to get listed would be to perform a search in your local area then find out which websites Google are pulling from and then list your home for sale on those websites.

I remember when Google base handled these type searches, but since Base has been retired in the sense of what it was known for, I guess Google decided to utilize Google maps for its categorized local searches. I would suspect autos are next.

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Robbery Suspect Released from Jail Due to a Facebook Alibi

November 16th, 2009 · Facebook, Social Media, Video

Social media is bringing new methods to crime scene investigations. In a stunning story, Robert Bradford, an ex-suspect in a robbery case was released from jail because his Facebook status provided him an alibi during the time of the robbery.

Robert was updating his Facebook status during the time a robbery occurred 13 miles away. Without his Facebook profile Robert would still be in jail, because he was picked out of a lineup by the victim.

It’s amazing the waves social media is making on everyday society. If for anything else, updating social statuses can provide you with the alibi needed to keep you out of prison. LOL

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When Seasoned SEO’s Target for the Season…

November 14th, 2009 · Business, General, Keyword Research, SEO

They usually do so off season!

The other day I got a call from one of my clients who wanted to shift focus of the SEO strategy to organically rank for holiday season related terms. Sure, I am confident in my abilities to get a website ranked on the first page from now 11/14 for Thanksgiving related keywords, but for competitive short tails which drive the most traffic — it would be almost impossible to organically rank a website high in days time using pure white hat techniques.

Let’s say you are targeting the keyword “Christmas Ornaments”, which is highly competitive (receives 1M searches a month) then the best time to start an SEO promotion campaign for this keyword is to start your targeting during off-season, around the Easter holiday.

If you want to rank #1 for Easter season related keywords then you should start your SEO campaign now (Thanksgiving/Christmas season) to target those keywords. It takes time to organically rank and if you want to ensure you reach your rankings goal then you’ll need to give yourself the time to achieve.

However, just because organic keywords are time consuming doesn’t mean you will miss out on first page ranking, there are plenty of other opportunities for first page rankings, including paid placement. There are also other ways to drive traffic to a website in a short time, such as

  • article marketing
  • press release distribution
  • social media marketing
  • link baiting
  • viral marketing, etc.

In some cases SEO start a campaign for seasonal traffic years in advance, depending how competitive the keyword set being used and how important it is to the company bottomline to rank high for those target keywords. Determine if your website relates to any holiday or seasonal keywords and start increasing your rankings around those keywords.

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Strict Website Ban Policies are Bad for Business

November 10th, 2009 · Business, General

I’ve been banned and blocked from enough websites to know it’s bad business to have strict ban policies. I’ve been banned for a number of reasons, some unknown. However, I maintain my innocence! *wink*

When you start a website with a strict ban policy you essentially are telling your users screw you. It is understood that you are trying to keep a clean presence and friendly user network but in essence all you are doing is discriminating against others by hiding behind ban policies, because in many cases the ban policy has little to do with SPAM but more to do with personal ethics.

Let’s take for instance, a while back I was banned from SEOChat forums because my first post on the forum board was a reply to a someone who was looking for SEO services. Here’s what the forum member posted to the board:

Hi,

I am basically looking for someone who can do the SEO For my site URL.

The keyword I have in mind is competing against 11,600,000 on Google. The site is already indexed and appears to be listed on page 2 of ‘Wholesaler Forums’.

Any contact would be great, I’m looking for someone to start right away.

Here is my response to their post — this is what got me banned!

Hi,

I can assist you with your SEO needs. Please PM me your website URL and I will respond with a FREE MARKETING PLAN REPORT. I look forward to hearing from you.

That’s it! My account was banned. Matter fact here is the thread of the post that got me banned, http://forums.seochat.com/seo-professionals-57/seo-professional-wanted-138458.html

I know I was a little cheesy! LOL! But, who cares — I was on topic, relevant, and responsive to a member post. And what’s worse forum moderators had the audacity to flame my post and question my authority because I said FREE MARKETING PLAN and I was not an active member on their forum.

Website Banning Policies

FREE MARKETING PLAN is a part of my everyday quote — it just shows the details of the project scope. Maybe I shouldn’t have used the term, but its use shouldn’t of gotten me banned — I didn’t say or do anything out of line, a moderator just did not personally accept me or agree with my post and therefore I was banned.

I did a web search for “seo wanted” and at the time that post was on the first page of Google search results. I simply clicked-through read the post and left a comment, doing that got me banned! I said FREE MARKETING PLAN which is a free quote, I didn’t say FREE MARKETING.

Anyway, since that day I haven’t returned to SEOChat, haven’t recommended them to anyone, and whenever I hear someone mention them I turn my nose up. The forum moderator could have simply just removed my post (which they did) if they didn’t agree with the post or send a friendly email explaining policy — if I broke any.

I also was banned from DigitalPoint in the past for multiple user accounts, but I was already an active member of DP for years before being banned, so I wanted back in. There are legitimate reasons for having multiple accounts. For me I have different online personalities which each serve different purposes.

Another place I was banned which rubbed me the wrong way was at MailChimp, being accused of spamming — I had only 7 subscribers at the time and they were all opt-in so I never understood their complaint. I always felt this was more personal, because the content of my emails weren’t well liked by the general public so its possible they put an end to my account due to personal reasons. When I emailed them for an explaination or some proof of spamming — I of course didn’t hear a response. What’s worse than banning someone from your website is being a coward banner.

I’ve even seen

Website ban policies can leave a bad taste in someone mouth who is a legitimate and influential individual. Making someone feel alienated because you want to steer the direction of your website to serve your own beliefs is discriminatory and I wouldn’t be surprise if a case pops up sooner or later where someone is banned from a website then they file a lawsuit for discrimination.

Many websites ban members who monetize or attempt monetization from their profiles. I don’t understand this practice, because I think every opportunity on the web can be leveraged if done right.

Webmasters have tunnel vision and don’t allow room for growth by having strict ban policies. I think banning should be done when someone is posting irrelevant content, but if it answers someone question then allow it, even if someone tries to monetize, as long as its in moderation.

Take a closer look at your ban policy and make sure you are not alienating any particular group or person. You want your website to bring people together not discourage participation or make someone feel ill about your website.

Being banned is a part of life in the webmaster/affiliate world because you manage so many different accounts online it’s almost impossible not to get banned and with affiliate marketing you have to be extra careful. But regardless when or how you get banned it always make you feel a certain way inside

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Google Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Sesame Street November 2009

November 9th, 2009 · Google

Google celebrates anniversary of Sesame Street November 2009 with homepage logos starting from November 4th 2009. Check ‘em out,

Nov 09, 2009

Sesame Street: Count von Count – (Selected
Countries)

Sesame Street: Count von Count

Nov 08, 2009

Sesame Street: Elmo – (Selected Countries)

Sesame Street: Elmo

Nov 07, 2009

Sesame Street: Oscar – (Selected Countries)

Sesame Street: Oscar

Nov 06, 2009

Sesame Street: Bert and Ernie – (Selected Countries)

Sesame Street: Bert and Ernie

Nov 05, 2009

Sesame Street: Cookie Monster

Nov 04, 2009

Sesame Street: Abigail – (Israel)

Sesame Street: Abigail

Nov 04, 2009

Sesame Street: Big Bird – (Selected Countries)

Sesame Street: Big Bird

Nov 04, 2009

Sesame Street: Boombah and Chamki – (India)

Sesame Street: Boombah and Chamki

Nov 04, 2009

Sesame Street: Ieniemienie – (Netherlands, Belgium)

Sesame Street: Ieniemienie

Nov 04, 2009

Sesame Street: Kami – (South Africa)

Sesame Street: Kami

Nov 04, 2009

Sesame Street: Abelardo Montoya – (Mexico)

Sesame Street: Abelardo Montoya

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