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A Blogger’s Paradise

FACT: People are still writing blogs. Despite suggestions that blogs are passé, it seems that more and more people are still writing blog content now more than ever. Blogging remains as an important avenue for consumer expression.

blog pic

Consumer generated blogs have been showing significant growth since 2006 when NM Incite began tracking them according to a published U.S. Digital Consumer Report State of the Media(Q3-Q4 2011) report.

At the end of 2011, NM Incite, a Nielsen/McKinsey company, tracked over 181 million blogs around the world. This was way up from the sparse 36 million reported only five years earlier in 2006.

In a report from NM Incite, the big three blogging platforms are Blogger (from Google), WordPress and Tumbler (in that order). These three sites received 80.5 unique visitors in October of 2011. The report did not separate readers from writers.

It is estimated that the number of blog readers in the USA would reach approximately 122.6 million viewers accounting for about 53.5% of all internet users.

blog pic

It’s difficult to compare eMarketer’s audience of 122.6 million U.S. readers to Nielsen’s 181 million global blogs, but one can reasonably ask whether there are almost as many writers as readers.
Jason Mudd, president of Axia Public Relations, thinks blogs are too difficult to keep up with.

"People can swallow small bites of information from Twitter and Facebook much easier without having to read several paragraphs," says Mudd, whose clients include Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Verizon and Synovus.
Mudd does follow some bloggers, but he does it through Twitter or Facebook, scanning the headlines they post and only occasionally clicking through to the actual blog.

Though individual blogs do not have a large audience per se, they effectively add a combined reach for marketing campaigns. Women bloggers make for a large portion of the targeted audience for advertisers (especially CPG companies – Consumer packaged goods).

  • 70% are college educated (with a majority earning a degree)
  • 1 in 3 are mothers.
  • 52% of bloggers are parents with kids under 18 in the household.

One only has to look to the emergence of Pinterest which had over 4.5 million unique visitors in October 2011, which was up 37 times higher than from the beginning of the year.

Data from Google Ad Planner and Ignite Social Media, 60-second Marketer found that these users fell between the age groups of 25-34, 45-54 & 55-64, with 80% being female!

The data collected also found that:

  • 92% of Pinterest’s audience also visited mass-merchandiser sites as well.
  • 36% of women are also more likely to trust ads on social media over the 26% of men.

So what can you take away from this post? Keep blogging and try gearing your blogs and link building efforts knowing that women bloggers and Pinterest account for a huge portion of your target audience. Pinterest may just be the latest Internet fad but it is one that should not be ignored. Remember that Facebook was also considered a "fad" when starting out.

SEO news blog post by @ 12:41 pm on March 14, 2012


Focus on the profit

In the first minute of the offical ‘hard hitting’ video called ‘Focus on the user’ they stab at the heart of the Google+ social search issue:
They do a search for ‘cooking
Then they click on the ‘most relevant cooking result within Google+
Afterwards they compare that with a search for ‘Jamie Oliver‘ and complain:

cooking‘ isn’t very relevant to the latest info from ‘Jamie Oliver

Twitter and Facebook wimper about Google+ social search

Don’t believe me that they did this? Go watch it again, they actually want us to feel outrage that ‘cooking’ doesn’t link us to the most relevant info for ‘Jamie Oliver’.

The authors of the plugin fully admit that they are getting the results info from Google itself, and just don’t want to say the words “Google is simple showcasing it’s services” instead they want to make it out to be a matter of ‘evil’ and ‘holding back’. If they didn’t at multiple times in the video slip up and show how you can still get the top results without using their plugin I’d say they had a case.

As much as there is to roll my eyes at, from an SEO standpoint, everything about is brilliant. The back-links must be pouring in, and I saw a very clever ‘click here to get your results to show’ link in the video that could be a real profit mill for them (their marklet’s broken right now or I’d investigate).

Don’t get me wrong, I know this scripting project was backed by Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace (it’s still going), so it already had some deep pockets, but in my opinion, it looks like the devs had some deeper ‘evil’ ideas?

While we are still on the ‘Google+ Social is Evil’ topic, the changes to support nicknames, pseudonyms, and maiden names is apparently done and now you can socialize however you wish on Google+. A more ‘evil’ company would have stuck to the original, and far more profitable design which requires valid names and serious privacy commitment.

To read more about the new Google+ naming policy put out on Monday just hop on over to Bradley Horowitz’s Google+ page.

I know this is the part where I slap up a picture of Chia Bart’s amazing growth and progress.. but someone decided to help him out and drain his water tray so he’s really wilted right now and I’m trying to get some life back into him. Perhaps I’ll do an update after lunch if he perks up? :)

Bart sprang back a fair bit, had to zoom to see the wilt!

SEO news blog post by @ 11:23 am on January 24, 2012


SEO Effects of Social Search

Yesterday we covered the hot topic of Google’s social search from a very ‘news’ perspective. If you haven’t watched the tour video take a minute and hit play on the video below.

The truth is that Google is rolling this new search functionality piecemeal just in the same way as most of the recent features. So if I try to explore the option from my work account I get no offers and I’d have to cheat to go play with it right now.

However, on my personal account the option comes right up and my personal account has a smaller social circle than my work account so it seems to me that it’s just a work-in-progress at the moment.

A visit to the Google Inside Search site gives us a bit more confirmation:

If you aren’t seeing the features of Search plus Your World, don’t worry, we’re rolling them out over the next few days.

.. so if you’re not getting the option to try it out, it should come along soon!

Here’s a ‘hands on’ example of ‘Search plus Your World’ for a phrase I personally talk about a lot, ‘minecraft’:

Demonstration of Search plus Your World using the phrase 'minecraft'.

The first thing that occurs to me is that Danny talks about Minecraft WAY more than anyone else, but the second thing that gets my interest is that there’s nothing in the results that I wouldn’t have read or couldn’t get from poking my head into Google+.

Going back to that video from Google that we linked earlier, I have to admit this looks like a very over-hyped feature where 90% of the interesting parts of the video aren’t things we can do with the new search feature. This almost feels like a Microsoft product that was invented by marketers as something to market with zero user interest?

Well that’s my opinion dealt with, but what about SEO factors of this new feature?

A ton of questions come to mind that need to be answered, here’s a few :

  • Who stands to gain from these types of searches?
  • What sites will be negatively impacted?
  • What should websites be doing to take advantage of this new feature?

The first one’s easy, Google, and particularly, Google+ will gain the most from this new search behaviour. Google has always wanted you to find what you want within their domain/services, and limiting your search to a Google owned property, selling it as a great feature, works so well for Google’s overall goals. If you don’t believe that Google wants to keep you inside their services, as you use Google products challenge yourself to consider ‘What more could Google do to keep me inside their networks?’ and I think you’ll start seeing all the efforts they are making to give you what you want instantly vs. leaving Google to visit an external site.

Social media sites that were getting a lot of commercial traffic/advertising will be the hardest hit by this move. If a client came to me and said “We’re on all the big sites, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Squidoo, etc.. but we haven’t bothered with Google+.” I would be forced to assume they were Australian with such an opposite approach. The same thing would follow with campaign strategies where a company looking at time spent vs. returns would be silly to start a social media campaign anywhere but on Google+ first.

If you have a website that isn’t already following the guidelines for linking between Google+ and your site, you need to start there and then work on building up followers. Ideally you want people talking about your products/services more than your competition so I’d strongly urge someone within your company to engage in Google+ social media efforts on a weekly basis if not more. While it’s pointless to have infinite reach and zero relevance, you also want to be very ‘friendly’ doing whatever it takes to get people to take enough interest in your company pages to follow, +1, add to circles, etc..

In fact the last bit of advice will be a recurring theme for early 2012 where we will be looking at super organic ways to get your product/services out to relevant sections of the internet.

A good example would be a product that is easy to find on-line, but very technical/tricky to work with. Selling the product puts you in the same group as everyone else selling that product, but offering expertise on that product will raise your profile quickly while generating interest/informing potential clients. If you can get links from grateful recipients the effort will pay for itself, and the people you come in contact with are very likely to draw in more clients due to the way that social media is sharing business leads via friend connections.

Typical of Spring, the sooner you plant this ‘social seed’ the sooner it will grow into something that can support your on-line efforts.

Speaking of growing, Chia Bart is getting a little leafy already!

Chia Bart is sprouting nicely.Bart’s beans are sprouting!

SEO news blog post by @ 3:17 pm on January 11, 2012


Webcology Year In Review

For those interested in what some of the top minds of SEO, SEM, Mobile Marketing and Social Media have to say about 2011 and maybe more importantly – what they see coming in 2012 then Thursday’s Webcology is a must listen.  Hosted on, Jim Hedger and I will be hosting 2 separate round-tables with 5 guests each over 2 hours covering everything from Panda to personalization; mobile growth to patent applications.  It’s going to be a fast-paced show with something for everyone.

The show will be airing live from 2PM EST until 4PM EST on Thursday December 22nd.  If you catch it live you’ll have a chance to join the chat room and ask questions of your own but if you miss it you still have an opportunity to download the podcast a couple days later.  I don’t often focus this blog on promoting the radio show I co-host but with the lineup we have including SEOmoz’s Rand Fishkin, Search Engine Watch’s Jonathan Allen and Mike Grehan, search engine patent guru Bill Slawski and many more talented and entertaining Internet Marketing experts it’s definitely worth letting our valued blog visitors know about it. And if you’re worried it might just be a quiet discussion, Terry Van Horne is joining us to insure that doesn’t happen.  Perhaps I’ll ask him a question or two about his feelings about (if you listen to the show … you’ll quickly get why this is funny). :)

So tune in tomorrow at 2PM EST at, be sure to join the chat room to let us know your thoughts and enjoy.

SEO news blog post by @ 3:32 pm on December 21, 2011


Panda’s take on Popular vs. Productive

I’ve seen a few SEO blog posts recently on post-panda content concerns that unsurprisingly contradict each other.

The “popular” camp seem to feel the following is true:

- Don’t post anything off topic
- Don’t post anything that won’t be a hit
- If you post something that fails, pull it
- If you can’t pull a post, fake the popularity

So what that means is pulling your punches until you have a post that’s really going to draw attention to your blog.
The SEO logic is that while regular content creates a positive metric, anyone can produce regular content and in fact loads of unpopular content could become a negative ranking factor.

The “productive” camp follow these golden rules:

- Don’t post content that isn’t unique
- Don’t spin content to create unique content
- Keep keyword densities high
- Keep a low ratio of links in proportion to images/text

This group spend all their time creating content and don’t spend time worried about how popular every post will be.

The SEO logic with “producers” is that the Panda update wants to see regular fresh content publications without duplication of existing content, only ‘really bad’ content can harm this ranking factor.

Well I hate to be a pacifist, but both sides are correct! A great strategy would be to listen to BOTH sides.

  • If every post on your blog gets 300+ links on the day it’s posted, that’s not going to look organic
  • If your blog gets one post, every single day, and nobody links to them, that’s not organic either

So post regularly, but don’t sweat it if you miss one day. If you are having a slow day for topics, you should try to go find some discussions where you can generate interest/back-links to your existing posts. At worst you’ll find some topics that are far more interesting that what you’ve been blogging about and you’ll get something fresh to discuss.

A post in draft, waiting for perfection, won’t do you much good if it never gets published. :)

Those of you shocked to see us on SEO blog topics right now can rest assured we’re struggling to stay on topic.

Oh the SOPA debate is frightful,
But MAFIAAFire is so delightful,
And since we’ve no position to SEO,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

It doesn’t show signs of shoop’ing,
I’ve got a report showing keywords are ranking,
And the competition’s phrases are way down low,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

When we finally reach page one,
How I’ll hate going on the phone!
But if you’ll order via email,
It will make it to your home without fail.

The lyric is slowly ending,
And, my dear, we’re badly rhym-ing,
But as long as you let me SEO,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

SEO news blog post by @ 12:05 pm on December 20, 2011


Sale at BOTW

One of my big favorites among the directories is Best Of The Web and for today they’re running a sale at 50% off. This is the largest single discount I’ve ever seen them offer and so today is a good day to submit your site or blog to their directory.

One of the many things I like about BOTW is that you can get lifetime listings and at 50% off that listing costs less than a Yahoo! annual fee. Not to say Yahoo! isn’t worth it … just that (dare I say) it isn’t AS worth it from a dollar-in-dollar-out ROI perspective.

They don’t extend their deals and I doubt as though we’ll see 50% off anytime soon so my recommendation has to be to do it today. You’ll have to use the promo code STUFFED50 during your submissions process. You can do so at Needless to say, I’ve already submitted a number of sites. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 2:02 pm on November 28, 2011



10 new changes to Google algorithms

New features from GoogleYesterday, over on the Google Inside Search blog, Matt Cutts shared 10 recent changes to the Google search algorithms from the last few weeks.

As always these posts can get a bit technical, and anyone subscribed to the feed can just get it from the horses’ mouth. The goal of this post is to put the changes into clearer terms from a SEO perspective:

Translated search titles:
When searching with languages where limited web content is available, Google can translate the English-only results and display the translated titles directly below the English titles in the search results. This also translates the result automatically, thereby increasing the available web content for non-English searchers. If you were selling products that appealed to a global market, but hadn’t yet invested in translations/global site structure, this could drive fresh traffic to your sites/products.

Better Snippets:
Google’s mantra is always ‘content, content, + more content’, and now the snippet code is focusing on the page content vs. header/menu areas. Because of the way sites use keywords in the headers/menus, coding the snippets to seek out body content will result in more relevant text in search snippets.

Improved Google generated page titles:
When a page is lacking a title, Google has code in place to assign a title to the page using various signals. A key signal used is back-link anchor text pointing to the page. If a site has a ton of duplicate anchor text in the back-links, Google has found that putting less emphasis on those links creates a far more relevant title than previously. In this way the titles in the search results should be much less misleading.

Improved Russian auto-complete:
Languages are a constant headache for search engines, and new features like auto-complete can take a very long time to mature in languages outside of English. Recently the prediction system for auto-completed queries was improved to avoid overly long comparisons to the partial query to make auto-complete function much better in Russian, and closer to how well it works for English queries.

More information in application snippets:
Last week Google announced a new method of improved snippets for applications. The feature’s pretty technical and looks like an entire blog post is coming on just this topic. Here’s an example image that hopefully gives you a gist of how the snippets are giving details, like prices, ratings, and user reviews.

Example of application snippet from Google search results.

The feature has been very popular and Google recently added even more options that will elicit a full blog post soon here.

Less document relevance in Image searches:
If you look up search engine optimization in Wikipedia and look at the entry for Image search optimization you will note that there’s really nothing to say about SEO tactics towards images. This hasn’t been true, there are signals that Google has to look for when deciding what image to show for a particular keyword.
Previously, an image referenced in PDF or other searchable documents multiple times would get higher placement in the results. Google has done away with this signal as it wasn’t giving improved results and could easily be abused. *Innocent whistling*

Higher ranking signals on fresh content:
Consider if you will, how Google would look if they never gave new sites/fresh content a shot at the top, or a moment in the limelight? By default most ratings systems will show you the ‘best of the most recent’ by default just to avoid older content dominating the results. As a person on the phones taking SEO leads I can tell you there’s always been a ’10 mins of fame’ situation on Google where the explainable happens in the search results with fresh sites/content, only to return to normal later on when the dust settles. Google claims the recent change impacts roughly 35% of total search traffic which could be a significant boost for sites that take the time to publish fresh content, or for new sites looking for a chance to be seen.

Improved official page detection:
We’ve blogged recently about the importance of the rel=author attributes, tying your content to a G+ profile, and completing the circle with a back-link from the profile to your site. Google’s added even more methods to establish ‘offical’ pages and is continuing to give ‘official’ pages higher rankings on searches where authority is important. If you missed our article on this topic from last week, here’s the link.

Better date specific results:
The date a page is discovered may not always be the date the information is published. Google has the difficult task of sorting out the ‘date’ relevance for search results, and they keep improving on this where possible. A good example would be using duplicate matches to avoid showing you a 3 year old article that was posted two days ago if you specify that you only want results from say ‘last week’.

Enhanced prediction for non-Latin characters:
You’d think it’s hard enough to get a predictive query straight when the character set is limited to Latin, and you’d be right. When it takes several keystrokes to complete a single character in non-Latin, a service like Google’s auto-complete would be hard pressed to know when to start guessing. Previous to this update predictions in Russian, Arabic, and Hebrew were giving gibberish results as the user was forming characters.

These are 10 changes out of 500+ made so far this year. We try to document the most important changes for you but there’s lots of times where Google can’t release info because of exploits/cheating. When that happens you’ll see us chime in with experiments and our personal experience when we can. So while I’d normally suggest folks interested in this topic subscribe to the inside search blog, we know that you’ll only be getting part of the story by doing so. ;)

SEO news blog post by @ 1:16 pm on November 15, 2011


Why Great Content Is Seldom Seen

milk carton

The post-panda Internet has left many website owners desperate to regain former rankings. The main directive of the new algorithm was to force websites to produce higher quality, relevant content on their websites if they hoped to remain competitive and to keep or increase their SERP rankings.

With the advent of social media en masse, Google (and the web in general) began using the public sharing of a website’s content across social networks as a predominant search engine ranking factor.

While this was a wonderful idea from a user perspective as it forced sites to produce better quality content for their visitors, many content developers found that their rankings were still suffering due to an apparent inability to generate interest in the wonderful content they were developing.

"Content marketing is an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation or sharing of content for the purpose of engaging current and potential consumer bases."

Often we produce what we feel is great content only to find our efforts falling upon deaf ears. In most cases it is not the content that fails but is more often the result of what we do (or do not do) once the content has been created. Great ideas do not simply propagate themselves into the collective consciousness of the public. Viral web content is the reward of a well devised promotion and a carefully planned implementation strategy. The deployment of your content marketing strategy is crucial to its success.

Most of us rate how "great" content is by the number of page visits, tweets, or likes that the post receives; but what makes good content and more importantly, what can you do to ensure that it is distributed by as many visitors as possible?


The best content comes from writing about topics that you know about. Those subjects that you have intimate knowledge about or are derived from your own experiences will always make for more credible content and will be considered higher quality content from a reader’s perspective.

Good content takes time and effort to develop. Great works (in any media) rarely come on a whim or spontaneous inspiration. If you have taken the time to prepare your piece by researching the subject and can offer something that is new, fresh or can communicate it in an especially novel or exciting fashion, it is much more likely to be shared by your readers. If you are particularly passionate or verbose in your delivery, your content becomes an effective vehicle for instilling confidence in the readers mind and generates credibility thereby allowing you to be considered a "specialist" in your area of expertise.


Effective content should illicit an emotional response, or create a call to action for the reader. Try to make your content actionable. Leave your readers with the sense they have gained wisdom from your piece and give them something they can take away from it. Content will be shared more readily if it speaks to your readers directly in a more actionable way. A particularity well written piece of content will almost share itself. If you can be proud of the content you have developed and are excited to share it with others, chances are that your readers will want to share it as well.


Once you have taken the time to do your research and have composed a wonderful piece of content, how do you get others to read it and share it? While great content is more likely to be shared virally, it is utterly useless without the uses of proper exploitation and a comprehensive marketing strategy.

The first distribution base for your content can be to the friends, coworkers and acquaintances in your email contacts. Remember that it is probably okay to ask your close contacts if they would mind redistributing your content as well. Customer newsletters are still a viable option to use if you have one in place.

"Content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering high-quality, relevant and valuable information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action. Content marketing has benefits in terms of retaining reader attention and improving brand loyalty."

Effective syndication relies on your company having a strong social media presence. Reach out to your online community, through your social media profiles that you have setup. While there are a myriad of social networks you can share your content with, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the most popular and are the best places to start syndicating your content. Don’t neglect other niche market social networks that may be closely geared towards your industry as well.


Timing is everything. You will need to ensure that your content is not being syndicated at ineffective times. Plan to release your content on a Monday morning rather than on a Friday afternoon or on the weekend. Statistics show that most people check their social accounts at the beginning of the work day and after lunch. A 9-5 Monday through Thursday deployment strategy will typically be more effective, with Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays being the most effective days. Remember that it is okay to tweet your content in the morning and again in the afternoon. However, over-using this tactic can quickly annoy your followers.

Plan your content publishing as you would plan a product launch. If it is a particularly large story or news item, you can pre-announce its coming as well. This is an effective way to build consumer anticipation. Consider using a press release with a noteworthy online content syndication service such as PRWeb for your press releases.


Perhaps one of the biggest reasons marketing content fails to attract views is due to the lack of follow-through and ongoing promotion of the piece. You need to continue with the promotion of your content long after it has been initially syndicated. Develop a promotion plan that includes reminding people of your content via your social networks and actively work to build links to your content on relevant sites through press releases, your website, guest blogging, online advertising or online radio shows. Any medium where you can gain exposure to your content will be beneficial in securing views.

Any online content takes time to develop traction and get noticed. The Internet has caused most of us to believe success happens overnight. Careful planning and implementation over the course of a well planned promotion, will always yield better returns.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:48 am on November 9, 2011


Get your own Google+ Page

Today Google announced they are ready to let users claim pages on the G+ domain. It’s a bit busy over here: Create a Google + Page

Stampede to get Google+ pages.The servers over at Google+ must feel a bit like this?

… but you may want to bother with the line however because this is where you claim your name, brand, trademark, for Google+ pages.

Since I’m waiting in said line-up, I can’t demo the experience and relay first hand info, but I can share what I do know:

- Pages are ‘private’ right now.
- Only the creator has access, so for a company, use the company account
- Access on company pages for other users is coming
- Expect page invites to be a bit excessive on larger profiles to start with

Oh joy my page is waiting for me to setup! Are you folks still reading this? Go!

SEO news blog post by @ 11:55 am on November 8, 2011


Free Press Release Distribution

It’s nice to do good things for good people and who could possibly be better than our valued blog readers? :)

Today is the last day of October and we have a surplus of pre-paid press releases via PR Web to use up and it has to be today.  This places me in the wonderful situation of giving away press releases to you … and I’m not even going to do a “so we can give it to you at a discounted rate” kinda thing.  Nope, I’m giving them away free.  What’s the hitch?  There is none other than the fact that come 5PM today I’m going to read through any submissions I get and pick the ones I like best to go out.

Because it’s free I’m not going to be able to followup with stats, etc. but better to use them than to not and hopefully karma will play it’s part and if not … well, I get to have that warm fuzzy feeling of knowing that our visitors get another benefit from reading our daily blog.

If you have a pre-written release (has to be new and yes we’ll be checking) just send it to  You’re welcome to include details as to why we should pick yours but the main thing will be the quality of the release itself.  And as per our general “rules” don’t bother sending them over if they’re in the areas of casinos, adult or if you’re another SEO firm.  This isn’t any type of judgement, we just don’t work in these areas and don’t work for our competition. :)

And to all a very happy and safe Halloween.

SEO news blog post by @ 10:54 am on October 31, 2011

Categories:press releases


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