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Beanstalk's Internet Marketing Blog

At Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization we know that knowledge is power. That's the reason we started this Internet marketing blog back in 2005. We know that the better informed our visitors are, the better the decisions they will make for their websites and their online businesses. We hope you enjoy your stay and find the news, tips and ideas contained within this blog useful.


September 22, 2008

Give A Little – Get A Little

Alright, I’ve noticed that my friends in the SEO community are being overshadowed in their donations to our efforts to raise money for breast cancer research by our clients, friends and even (didn’t see this one coming) to the people who walk by our house, read our sign and drop a donation into our mailbox. Alright people – that is kind of sad BUT it’s a huge plus for our blog readers, clients and others. We’ve now crossed $1000 earned and that doesn’t even include the $500 Beanstalk will be adding to the total.

And so I’m going to try something a little different – I’ll try giving a little and in return, I’m hoping that breast cancer research will get a little something back.

Giving A Little:

I’ve been giving quite a bit of thought to what tid-bit of info to give so I’m going to leave that up to you to decide. We’re the #1 ranking site for “seo services” so ask away. Let me know what you want to know with the sole exception of “How did you get to be #1?” which would require a book of info but we’ll answer any one question. Send them in between now and the end of the week and the question with the highest number will get answered on our blog, even if it’s “a secret”. :)

Get A Little:

The goal of this trade will be to inspire our blog readers (AND SEO’s) to give back in the way of a donation to breast cancer research. The donation is tax deductable, gets you a listing forever on our Run For The Cure page and some other cool incentives.

So:

So, send us your questions by this Friday we’ll answer the question that we received the most of. And then donate – or donate first, it’s good for the soul.

SEO news blog post by @ 4:43 pm

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

September 12, 2008

Some Peoples’ Children

As many of you may be aware, Mary Davies (Beanstalk’s President), Kathryn Robinson (One of our best link builders), and myself (Beanstalk’s CEO) along with some friends and family have formed Beanstalk’s Team Heather and on October 5th we’ll be participating in the CIBC Run For The Cure – an annual fund raising effort to help fund breast cancer research.

We’re doing MANY things to raise money for the effort as it’s an issue that’s close to our hearts since Mary’s cousin Heather (and thus the name Team Heather) was diagnosed with breast cancer.

One of those efforts was putting up a page on our site with some cool incentives for people to sponsor our team and help raise money for this worthwhile cause (note: it’s tax deductable as well).

Another effort, as we live right by the water in beautiful Victoria, BC, Canada was to put out a table with donation forms and information on our team and the charity. Those who made a donation or even just signed our guestbook with good wishes got to take a pink ribbon and tie it to our fence where it would stay until after the race.

Someone stole our table.

That’s right, they took the guestbook and ribbons off (thanks at least for that) and they actually stole the table of people using the table to raise money for charity.

Now fortunately we have extras and once again this morning the table is out where it’ll remain all day but seriously – who raises someone who steals tables that are there to raise money for charity? I wasn’t sure whether to be ticked off or just laugh. I chose to laugh and rant a bit on the blog. I seem to be doing that lately. :)

So, my thought is that there’s always some good with the bad. We had our misfortune last night – my hope is that this blog post will inspire our valued blog readers to visit our Breast Cancer Run page or our charity page and make a donation. And we’re not just asking for a free handout. We’re willing to give a little back. How much depends on the donation. Be sure to visit our Team Heather page for more info. You’ll be glad you did.

SEO news blog post by @ 2:22 pm

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

September 11, 2008

We Are Not Rock Stars !!!

For some time now I’ve bitten my tongue on an issue that’s driven me nuts for some time – the ego involved in the SEO industry. I have WAY too often heard some of the more noted SEO’s referred to as “rock stars”. And who makes the reference? Other SEO’s.

Let’s face facts shall we … If I ask my neighbor, my dad or my banker who even Matt Cutts is I’m going to get a blank stare. Even the most recognized person in our industry is, to those outside the industry and related industries, an unknown. Rock star? I think not.

Now this isn’t to say that Matt isn’t a good guy and important in the grand scheme of search. He’s a great spokesperson for Google and obviously a brilliant engineer but a rock star?

If we want to take a peek at brilliance in engineering perhaps I could ask a simple question, “The Large Hadron Collider successfully completed it’s first test today – who was the chief architect?” A development in technology that could well affect the way we view our universe and our understanding about how the building blocks of matter and existence function. But they’re not rock stars – no no, to be a rock star you have to optimize web pages and attend conferences.

How about Norman Borlaug? Norman who? That’s alright, he’s not a rock star – he’s only credited with saving over a billion people and won the Congressional Gold Medal, the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. You can read more about him on my blog post from July 25, 2007 if you’re interested but remember – he’s not a rock star. He didn’t get a site onto the first page of Google to flog a new acne medication.

As I’m sure you’ve all gathered – the term rock star itself is a bit of a point of contention to me. Let’s take for example Mick Jagger. Now, I’m not a big Rolling Stones fan but I know who Mick Jagger is. I’ll bet you do too. My dad does, my neighbor does and I’ll bet my banker does too. Why? Because he’s a rock star.

So what exactly got my blood boiling on this one (I could deal with the term rock star but …). San Jose. Now don’t get me wrong – SES San Jose was an awesome event, Kevin Ryan did an excellent job, and it was great to see Danny Sullivan there but one night after one of the many parties (if memory serves me correctly it was after Search Bash) a group of intoxicated SEO’s were heard staggering down the street shouting, “We control the Internet!”

* Sigh *

Alright, now it’s time for another lesson on how all those “tubes” work. We don’t control the Internet. The Internet is controlled by the guys that got picked on in high school. The Internet is controlled by engineers, caffeine and is held together with duct tape. True, we do have some influence over which specific websites appear in the results and thus do influence some decisions and consumer experiences HOWEVER do we control the Internet? Not a chance.

And so my friends it’s time for some of us (not all – there are some very normal down-to-Earth SEO/SEM’s out there) to find a hat big enough for their heads, a truck big enough to pack their egos in and come to terms with the fact that we play a role in Internet commerce and information exchange but we are NOT rock stars and we are not the end-all-be-all of the Internet.

But That’s Not To Say …

Now I can already predict that someone somewhere is going to twist this post into some smack on SEO/SEM (remember now – I’m an SEO), some rant about not being included in the rock star lists (I’ve made a couple) or some wish that I controlled the Internet (OK – you’d catch me on this one, it would be pretty sweet to actually control the Internet). The truth is, SEO is a solid job among many, it has some great rewards, and some excellent people but we’re not better than others and we’re not more notable than others. We don’t need the egos – we’ve got a good enough thing going as it is. SEO/SEM is a valuable service – let’s just be realistic about our roll in the world shall we?

And that’s my rant for the day.

SEO news blog post by @ 1:56 am

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

September 10, 2008

The Large Hadron Collider

For those of you who have popped by Google today (read: for all of you on our blog) you’ll may have noticed that their logo has a large ring around it. This isn’t a halo, it’s a celebration of the success of the first test of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) the worlds most powerful particle accelerator.

Now I’ve got to admit that my explanation of what it does would probably raise more questions than answers – I’ll provide links at the bottom of this post for those of you who want to read more.

In short however, the purpose of this collider is to find new particles and answer fundamental questions about how matter works, where antimatter is, and in fact – answer many questions about the very nature of the universe.

Based on some of the stuff Google’s been doing lately – I’m surprised there isn’t a bi colorful G on the side of it. :)

The test launches us into a new era of discovery and exploration. Hopefully we will get some new answers to age-old questions. The problem though is that every time we do, we seem to end up with twice as many new questions. How long until we need an XLHC? ;)

For more information check out:

Or for those of you too busy to read (and you know who you are) – here’s a surprisingly well done rap video:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j50ZssEojtM]

SEO news blog post by @ 5:20 pm

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

Google: The Good With The Bad

I wanted to have time to write this blog post yesterday but wouldn’t you know it – work and clients had to come first. :)

Two interesting events occurred recently over at chez Google. The first, the good news – Google rockets into space. The second, the bad news – Google is involved with investors in United Air losing millions of dollars. As I said, the good with the bad.

Google Rockets Into Space

Google has exclusive access to the highest resolutions images of the Earth thanks to a deal that gives them exclusive access to the commercial used of images from the GeoEye-1 satellite launched last Saturday.

The satellite takes images at 5.5 feet resolution in color and 16 inches resolution in black and white. That said, due to government regulations only 1.64 feet resolution images can be made available to the general public.

I have to say, I’m honestly impressed. I’ve personally never used Google maps and thought, “darn – I just with I had 5.5 foot resolution,” but having your name on a satellite is just cool.

Add to this recent event the following:

And I (biased to be sure by my love of science fiction) am sure that Google not only wants to control all the information on Earth but will likely be setting up a base soon on the moon as they have previously indicated interest in.

A huge congratulations to Google on the successful launch.

And Now The Bad

But all was not rosy for Google on Monday though the bad news isn’t really their fault – they just happened to get caught in the middle.

An article on the 2002 Chapter 11 filing by United Air got picked up and published in the Florida Sun Sentinel. How the article got picked up when everything about it pretty clearly indicated that it was from 2002 is beyond me. That said, how investors could react as they did to a story that they should have read (and if they had – could have saved themselves millions of dollars).

At any rate, where it wen horribly wrong was when a reporter looking for information to post on Bloomberg Googled “bankruptcy 2008″ and found the Sentinel article as the #1 result. He took it for what it said and posted a link to it on Bloomberg. That was at 10:55am. At 10:56am the stock was trading at $11.51 and then plunged over a couple minutes down to $3/share before trading was halted. Trading resumed at 11:01am and had virtually recovered by 12:29pm when the stock sat at $11.30/share.

So Google was not at fault, but certainly involved and this incident if nothing else shows us the fragile nature of our information sources. We trust what we see based on a habit of finding reliable information on Google but unfortunately, when the wrong information ranks highly – we still trust it. In this case, millions of dollar were lost (though on the other side – millions of dollars were made).

SEO news blog post by @ 12:51 am

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

September 4, 2008

Life Without Google

Alright, maybe not life entirely without Google but let’s face facts (and I’m sure even the folks over at Google would agree) there are lots of great minds out there and not all of them work at the Googleplex (shocking I know). I’ve recently been giving quite a bit of thought to all the different ways I search for things and decided to finally cover a couple of my favorite “Google Alternatives” in a blog post. The purpose is not to get you to stop using Google which would be:

a. pointless, and
b. hypocritical. I use Google as my primary engine but there is a time and a place for other choices.

So let’s get to it and hopefully you’ll end this article with a few new ways to search for information and perhaps even pass back a few of your own tips. :)

Genie Knows

When I first heard about the launch of GenieKnows soon-to-be-announced map embedding for webmasters back at SES San Jose it flooded back to me how great innovations are occurring among many of the lesser-known engines and unfortunately a lot of these great features are lost to all but those “in the know” (read: immersed enough in the Internet community to even hear about alternative and vertical search engines). Jim Hedger wrote a great piece on the new product launch by Genie Knows over on the Metamend blog so I won’t cover that here. What I will cover is the usefulness and innovation of this engine.

I suppose I should note, it’s their map functionality that completely won me over. If you haven’t checked it out yet I highly recommend doing so. Here’s an example of how I’ve used a non-Google function from another engines to make my life dramatically easier:

I go to a lot of conferences. The fact of the matter is, I spend VERY little time at the hotel and thus, can rarely justify the cost of staying at a hotel like the Hilton. Now I’m not a cheap person but seriously – If I can save $100/night that’s an extra $100 I have to either leave in the company or spend while I’m at the conference on more entertaining or useful endeavors. So the predicament becomes, how do I find a hotel that’s less expensive and yet still within an easy walking distance of the conference?

Once upon a time I would use Google maps and Expedia. I’d look up the various hotels on Expedia and map them out with directions on Google maps and one-by-one enter them in and see what I could get and for how much. And then I discovered GenieKnows. The joy of this engine is I enter a phrase such as “seattle hotel” and it shows me a map with a grid. In the middle of each cell is a number – that is the number of hotels in that area so all I have to do is find the conference area on the map and click that square and now I know the location of all the nearest hotels and can much more easily look them up without having to lookup hotels only to find out they’re 15 miles from where I need to be. A huge time saver every time I travel and it’s not restricted to hotels, it works for restaurants, etc. I can’t recommend enough testing it out next time you’re traveling or looking for something when location is an issue (and when isn’t it?) If you’ll take my advice you can head over to GenieKnows.com. You won’t regret it.

Yahoo! Answers

I know I know – from one major engine to another. The point of listing Yahoo! Answers though isn’t specifically to tout this feature of Yahoo! though it is a good one. Rather, it’s to point out that within the major engines there are specific search capabilities and sources of information that you likely don’t know about.

I’m sure many of you, the readers here, have used Yahoo! Answers at some time or another or at the very least, a similar service – but most people haven’t. I have found answers in the search results on Google and I’ve even taken the time to answer a few questions but it was when I saw my 10-year-old boy looking up game clues and tips for Pokemon version 18-billion Red (in case you don’t know – this isn’t an actual game of Pokemon but with the number coming out, it probably will be soon) that it really hit home how useful this was for the average searcher. He got frustrated looking for information on Google and found that he could ask questions or often find others who had and get the answers quickly on Yahoo! Answers. The message was clear, when your query is really a question that requires an expert answer (even if that expert is just some kid who plays too many video games) then Google may well not be the first place to go for a fast and accurate answer.

As another plus (and this is as a parent) – if you’ve ever seen the ads on the gaming sites you too will be happy to find your son on Yahoo! Answers.

Take this as advice to check out the specific offerings of your favorite engine(s). Blog search, news search, advanced search options and MUCH MUCH more await and once you explore them you’ll find searching a far faster, more accurate and enjoyable experience. Even if it is on Google but you’ll have to forget I wrote that or the title loses some of it’s life. ;)

Cuil

Alright, I had to show that I do have a sense of humor. I’m not even going to make this one a link as it’s not worth it. Cuil had a lot of promise with ex-Googlers on the dev team and money behind it but it didn’t live up to even half of what it attempted to be. Google-killer? Heck, it’s not even a Dogpile killer.

And A Few Good Lists

In the end what I’m hoping you’ll take from this is a solid belief that there is more out there than just Google or whatever your favorite engine is. Each job has the right tool and different engines offer different opportunities.

I can’t possibly list off all the great engines out there and what they do but here are a few useful lists of some of the better alternative engines out there so you don’t have to weed through the horrible ones to get to the good:

    • Spock.com – Top Vertical Search Engines (page no longer exists – link removed)

 

 

 

  • Vertical Search – A search engine of vertical search sites. A good place to go if you don’t know where you’re going (link removed – resource no longer exists.)

 

In Short

In short and I think I’ve made it pretty clear, while about 95% of all my searching is done on Google – there’s a place and a time for alternatives. Knowing those alternatives can make your online experience infinitely more enjoyable. Explore, investigate and enjoy. There’s probably a lot more out there than you think, or at least – easier ways to find it.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:42 am

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

September 3, 2008

Beanstalk Wins

Well it’s always nice to be recognized and so winning two awards in the same month for different categories of SEO is a pretty good feeling. The TopSEO.com awards came out and we get two of them, one of the top SEO training companies and one of the top organic optimization companies. Since we don’t do PPC – we’re pretty happy with those results. :)

View The Results:

Best in Organic Optimization
Beanstalk ranked #7 in Canada for best organic optimization. I have a hunch that the fact that we don’t list off our clients (never have, never will) played against us there but it’s nice to be recognized without having to. Perhaps it’s our own rankings that tipped us over the top. ;)

Best In SEO Training
In the SEO training category we ranked #5. Not too shabby for our first pop onto the radar in the awards.

All-in-all we’d like to extend a big thanks to TopSEOs.com for appreciating the effort we put into our campaigns and our training. Of course, we won’t let it go to our heads – we still need to produce the results to insure we get higher in the award results and of course, to insure we don’t ahve to pay back our guaranteed clients. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 4:16 pm

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

August 29, 2008

Net Neutrality article

Today on Webcology (a show hosted by Jim Hedger and myself on WebmasterRadio.fm every Thursday at 2PM EST) Jim and I discussed the issue of net neutrality legislation with SaveTheInternet’s Timothy Carr.

Jim and I had the pleasure of having Timothy on our show previously and it was great to have him on again. When we first had hom on the show both Jim and I were solidly in the net neutrality camp. When I was invited to speak at SES San Jose last week Jim and I took opposing sides in what turned into a debate on the issue. After doing a ton of research into it I found my leaning towards the anti-net neutrality side and so it was a great show with some tough questions and some enlightening info from Tim.

Of course, a lot of you reading this are wondering what a ton of people at the conference were wondering … What In The World Is Net Neutrality ?!!?

To answer this questions I spent a few days and wrote an article answering just that.

The article, titled “What In The World Is Net Neutrality?” is (in my opinion at least) a good read to understand the core of the issue but I would highly recommend to educate yourself further. There are links in the article to some great resources and of course, you can listen to the Webmaster Radio podcast here.

SEO news blog post by @ 12:46 am

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

August 15, 2008

SEO Survey

I got an email a few days ago from Salman over at Lancaster University asking if I’d be interested in doing a survey on SEO and SEO tactics. There was nothing in it that crossed the line over into confidential information and thus, I was happy to do it. In return he’ll be providing me with the generic results the survey gathers.

When I emailed him to let him know that I’d completed the survey he emailed me back noting that not many of the people he’d contacted had completed it. Sad sad sad.

So my call out here is for all you SEO’s reading this – do a student a favor and spend a whopping 5 minutes answering some questions so his project can be a success. It’ll be good for all of us as we’ll all get a better sampling of the info. :)

You can fill out the survey here.

SEO news blog post by @ 10:57 am

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

August 13, 2008

Ryanair’s Howard Millar on How To Not Succeed Online

Where it comes to succeeding on the web SEO is only part of the picture, and not always the most important thing depending on your industry. Running a successful online business requires good client relations, good vendor relations, and possibly finding as many income funnels as possible. Unless your Ryanair, or your CEOs name is Howard Millar.

Recently Ryanairs website started to suffer some performance issues because aggregation websites (ie airline fare comparison sites) were hammering their website scraping (aggregating) their content to generate their own websites with cheap flight comparisons. Now 99 out of 100 business owners would be pleased that these websites helped them increase their internet branding, corporate presence, and increasing their sales (100 websites offering the same product will generate more business then just a corporate website).

However Howard Millar is that one in a hundred who thinks not, so he started out with a lawsuit against one such aggregator, and then he came up with a brilliant idea (well it must have been brilliant to Howard Millar just not to the rest of the world) to cancel every Ryanair ticket that had been booked through one of these websites. Now although this may have seemed wise to Howard Millar, it does not with me. Can you imagine having booked a family trip through one of these websites, received your confirmation, only to have to cancel your trip as your ticket you thought you had purchased won’t be honored.

Essentially what Howard has done is 1) Generate bad press for Ryanair 2) Pissed off a lot of potential clients 3) Lost a lot of potential revenue 4) Loss of recurring revenue from clients that may have flown with Ryanair through these websites then came back for repeat business (it is not like Airlines are declaring bankruptcy on a daily basis and require frequently fliers…) and 5) Increased the revenue of their competitors that do allow the aggregators to pillage their websites.

Now what would have been a better approach to dealing with this without losing revenue? The first would have been to put together RSS flight feed information to help aggregators build their sites without having to download as much information thus bogging down the server less (or even having a seperate server to host these RSS feeds to reduce load even more). The second is definitely less technical and that would be to upgrade their web servers, hardware is relatively cheap if you’re generating additional revenue from it (let alone from 100s of websites).

Then with all the additional revenue Howard Millar could have invested it in SEO to pull visitors away from these sites by targeting the terms there ranking well for :)

SEO news blog post by @ 4:41 pm

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

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