Posted by Michael D Jensen on February 12th, 2009
We’ve developed a new iPhone app that I think you and all SEOs with iPhones will love. The new Analytics App for the iPhone and iPod Touch gives you anywhere access to your Google Analytics data. I had a lunch meeting the other day with a buddy of mine that I’m helping do some PPC and SEO for his site, and using Analytics App we could talk over lunch about keywords, PPC campaigns, and other sources of traffic. I think you’ll find it handy in many ways too!
With more than 29 reports available, as well as unlimited custom reports, all your analytics data is just a button away. Change the date to see any date range, and there’s an easy Today report that any Analytics addict will love. Why Google doesn’t have a button for that is beyond me…
You can download Analytics App for $5.99 from the iTunes AppStore.
For any subscribers to the SoloSEO.com tools with an iPhone or iPod Touch, email us with your username (info at soloseo dot com) and we’ll give you a free promo code for Analytics App!
Visited 3907 times
February 12th, 2009
Michael D Jensen
How To Tell iPhone Visitors in Google AnalyticsWhat do the Presidential Candidates use for Analytics?Google ups Analytics: Now Track 50 Domains6 Signs Your Website Has Been SEO’dTracking Twitter Traffic Trick
Posted by Michael D Jensen on February 5th, 2009
If you haven’t immersed yourself in a bunch of SEO reading but really want to push yourself to get into SEO, I’d highly recommend attending an SEO conference. There are many to choose from, and next week there is SMX West in Santa Clara, CA. It’s a great location, and the agenda covers everything you could hope for in getting started with SEO.
Attending an SEO conference is a great way to get a jumpstart on learning SEO because you force yourself to learn because you made the effort (and spent the money) to attend. It’s not too late to register for SMX West (aff) and catch a last minute flight.
SMX West is not only great for beginners too, they have a lot of intermediate and even advanced sessions, I always learn something new every time I go.
Unfortunately Aaron and I are going to be missing SMX West this time, but maybe you can go and take some notes for us? Actually that’s another cool thing, if you don’t mind reading a bunch, is all the livebloggers that cover these conferences give you free access to the content of the sessions. You’re better off attending if you really want to get the full picture and absorb it all, but its an alternative if you can’t make the trip out there.
If you can’t make it to SMX West, I’d recommend PubCon Las Vegas in the late Fall, it is the first SEO conference I went to and I’ve enjoyed every conference since.
I’ll be speaking at SMX Analytics on March 31-April 1 in Toronto (yep, Canada), so if you’re headed that way we’d love to meet you!
Visited 3520 times
February 5th, 2009
Michael D Jensen
Meet your Local SEOsWhat’s New with Yahoo! and GoogleBest PubCon 2007 SwagNewsletter Sign-UpSEO for the Rest of Us – The SoloSEO.com Newsletter
Posted by Michael D Jensen on February 2nd, 2009
I’m a huge Dilbert fan. The artist, Scott Adams has a way of just nailing real life business things right on the head.
For any company seriously deciding to leverage employees or a 3rd party vendor to write fake customer reviews (hi Belkin), I would rethink your decision. There’s really no substitute for real, authentic customer reviews.
Visited 4850 times
February 2nd, 2009
Michael D Jensen
If You Want Customers, Don’t Scare Them AwayContent is ForeverIf you don’t have a Company Blog, Get OneAnnouncing LeaveFeedback.org, Free Service for Local BusinessesWhat the Customer Actually Wanted
Posted by Michael D Jensen on January 30th, 2009
For anyone starting out in SEO, or looking to sharpen their skills, it can be overwhelming the number of resources to digest. Thanks to Matt McGee and the SEMMYS, it’s fairly easy to find the best of the best on all the varying topics underneath the Search Marketing umbrella. I had the opportunity to be a judge this year in the SEMMYS, in the category of Social Media. It was fun to dig in and read several articles and posts that I had quite frankly missed, and find some new blogs to subscribe to.
Even the SoloSEO blog had some nominations, four in fact! Here are the four that were nominated:
Learn SEO Basics: Long Tail Keywords
7 Steps to Get Your New Site Indexed in 24 hours
LOL Funny Category:
LinkedIn Wants Me to Accept or Deny Jesus?
What the Customer Actually Wanted
Even though we didn’t make it as finalists, we’re glad to be recognized as providing a source of great SEO material, and some laughs as well!
Now that the SEMMYS nominations have been reduced to 3-6 per category by a set of judges, it’s a great time to absorb that material and maybe find some new blogs to start reading as well.
Visited 4786 times
January 30th, 2009
Michael D Jensen
Showcase of the Best Search Engine Marketing PostsSearchMe.com Breaks the Search Engine MoldWhat’s New with Yahoo! and GoogleTop 5 Top Blog Posts in SEOInternational SEO in 1 minute
Posted by Aaron R Stewart on January 23rd, 2009
I have to be completely honest going into this, I am not a big fan of Facebook for personal use. I had a personal Facebook page for a while, my school kind of did this blitz to all alumni and encouraged us to set up a Facebook profile, within the school group. It was ok for a while, my wife would send me those flair things, which was nice. I actually had a friend from Japan, who I had lost touch with, find me again through Facebook, which was amazing. But over time Facebook began to be a royal pain. People you hadn’t seen in years, and some of them by choice, were showing up requesting to be friends. I even had old girlfriends find me, and then attempt to contact me, seriously? I’m sorry, old boyfriends and girlfriends contacting each other, chatting online, being friends, just seems pathetic to me. Get on with your lives, there is a lot more out here in the present world that is new and exciting. I am glad to be out of high school, I have no desire to go back to those times. Just as a note, I have also removed all the rearview mirrors from my cars too, I just don’t like to look behind me.
Anyway, so Facebook became a major distraction, a major pain, and basically sucked. Every Facebook email that came in, all the requests, it was a joke, so I shut it down. I have been very happy about it since. I now listen to others talk about their Facebook page, and what’s going on there, and I say to myself “losers.” (My wife and her sisters aren’t going to be happy about that comment, but it had to be said) Spending time on a personal Facebook profile, is just flushing good time down the crapper. I don’t want to be that personal online with many people, if anybody. I don’t have time for it, and it does me more harm than good.
All that being said, I think using Facebook to set up a business profile is a pretty great way to go. While I don’t like talking about myself personally online, talking about our business, our products, our services, and providing another opportunity for potential clients to find us makes perfect sense. Facebook gives companies another opportunity to get their brand out there, to interact with current and potential clients. Companies facing online reputation management challenges can use Facebook to potentially take one of the spots on the SERPS, because Facebook pages and profiles are now indexed. Anytime you can take a spot on the first page of the SERPS with any keywords about your business, it is worth the effort and leaves one less place where a naysayer can take a negative shot at your firm.
I would suggest keeping the business Facebook page very clean, stay away from joining all those ridiculous groups, don’t align your company with anything controversial, or questionable, don’t even join The Office group. We actually have a client that hates the show, so you never know. I would not add flair or any of that other clutter, just keep it simple and professional as possible. Too much noise, which is frequent on Facebook pages, can distract from the true purpose of conveying the company vision and message. Also, there are many Facebook addicts that will love the fact they can find you where they spend much of their time, and if they are impressed with what they see, this will drive new traffic to your actual site.
So in short, Facebook for personal use is a colossal waste of time in my personal, yet humble opinion. Facebook for business, an excellent way to go, if it is done professionally and the focus of the profile remains squarely on your business.
Visited 10333 times
January 23rd, 2009
Aaron R Stewart
LinkedIn Wants Me to Accept or Deny Jesus?Can Twitter Help Small Business?Winning with OriginalityTwitter & SEO Keyword Research ToolsWhen the First Result Is Not the Best Result
Posted by Aaron R Stewart on November 26th, 2008
Due to the rough economic times we face together, the leaders here at SoloSEO have decided we are going to start taking out loans in the names of our people, and confiscating retirement funds for company use. We have learned recently that some of our vendors are really struggling, so we will be using these funds to help them through these difficult times.
As an example, the good folks who provide our bandwidth have lost quite a bit of money lately. It is mostly due to some Internet based companies going under. Many of these site owners were provided Internet bandwidth at almost no cost for the first few years, because they couldn’t afford the monthly fees normally charged up front. However, there was an agreement in place to raise the monthly fees over time, when hopefully the site owners could afford it. Unfortunately it didn’t really work out, and many, if not most of these clients never could pay the rising fees, and they just abandoned their sites and moved on. These site owners are now pretty upset at our vendors, and feel like they got tricked into having a site in the first place. Now I ask, how could our vendor know these individuals, who couldn’t afford to pay to start, would not be able to pay later? It is impossible to predict, and it would have been unfair if these economically challenged citizens didn’t have the same opportunities others who could afford the services were enjoying. Just as a note, I must say I love this vendor’s facilities, they are simply gorgeous. All decked out with the finest leather and fixtures. It is really an amazing place. You should see the entrance, breathtaking. And wow, they take care of their management team, every one of them has a BMW leased for them by the company. What a great idea. It would be a pretty sweet life to work there. All that being said, SoloSEO doesn’t want them to fail. Too many other companies might have to find services elsewhere, and that would be a bit difficult. Or worse yet, what if some other competitor heard of our vendor’s financial troubles, and just came along and offered to buy this vendor’s assets and accounts for pennies on the dollar? That would be a shame. Anyway, we must not let this happen.
Another one of our struggling vendors provides our servers for us, and they build them right here in the good USA. Now while the quality of their servers isn’t the best, and their features are a little behind the times, and their servers are a little more expensive than ones made by foreign owned firms, it really isn’t their fault they are bankrupt. We have learned that the contract our vendor has in place with the union factory workers is almost 100% higher than the agreements the same unions have with foreign owned, US-based server manufactures. How can we expect our vendor to compete fairly in such a hostile marketplace? It isn’t fair, they need more money to make another go of it, and be hopefully be profitable this time. Now we aren’t dumb, we are requiring this company come up with a plan to repay us. We hope it works, and we hope we will get your money back eventually. One the other hand, the bandwidth guys are free to use the money for us anyway they want, they just need to promise they will pay us back eventually. They were essentially forced to give away bandwidth to these failed clients in the first place by some of our managers, so we have to cut them some slack. And, just so our vendors know, if more funding is needed in the future, we will be able to take our more loans our people’s names, and also the rest of their retirement funds to help you, we are sure they will understand.
Now, unfortunately our employees have no choice as to how much or when we take their cash, and it doesn’t matter if they disagree with us, we are a team. And as a team of managers, we have decided we are going to do this, and believe us, it is in all your best interest in the long term.
Oh, oh, oh, I almost forgot… Some great news, we did work something pretty cool out with our failing, borrowing vendors. If any of our employees need a little financial help from time to time, they will be able to borrow some money from our vendors!!! For this service, they will need to pay some interest on the money they borrow to the vendor. Then the vendor will have more revenue to help them pay us off. Don’t worry about it. Just think of it this way, the loans we are taking out in your names to fund all this, you won’t even have to pay all the way off. No these loans are so large, that they will need to be passed on from generation to generation. So your kids and grandkids will be paying the bulk of all this money, not you!! Brilliant huh?
Now I know there will be some of our smarter people who will think this is a terrible plan. They will ask why they should be forced to pay for another firm’s mistakes. Then they will be angered when they figure out they are now going to pay interest on money forcibly taken from them and given to the vendor in the first place. But come on, can’t everyone in the room see the wisdom in the plan?
I hope anyone reading this knows that is a moronic plan, and this is essentially going on right now to all of us, just substitute Congress for SoloSEO management, Citigroup and AIG for the bandwidth suppliers, GMC, Ford and Chrysler for the server manufacturer, and all of the American tax payers as SoloSEO people. We are getting screwed.
I love this country, I just hope the guys in Washington (especially the new guys coming up) start thinking their decisions all the way through. I am terrified for small businesses in this country right now, and I hope the future proves to be brighter than it is today. I hope we all face this financial storm and pass through safely to the other side, but forgive me if I don’t give Washington any credit for any sort of turn around, they will have had nothing to do with it, it will be hard working, inspired small business owners who make it happen.
I guess that is why it doesn’t say “In Government We Trust” on our currency, because the governments create the problems, and someone else has to clean them up.
Visited 3054 times
November 26th, 2008
Aaron R Stewart
Finding Motivation When You’re “Not Feeling It”Newsletter Sign-UpSEO for the Rest of Us – The SoloSEO.com NewsletterPubCon’s Top Ten lessons every SEO should knowDon’t be a Victim of Online Fraud
Posted by Aaron R Stewart on November 24th, 2008
When we create a site, we want to communicate a clear, informative message about our company, and about our services/products. We want our message to be seen by as many people as possible, and we hope this exposure will eventually, if not instantly, increase sales. In SEO we talk a lot about keywords, content, links, and reports and we discuss strategies to get us up in the search results pages as quickly as possible to increase traffic. Then once we get the traffic and exposure we are hopefully diligent enough to keep our sites there with smart and consistent SEO efforts.
However, sometimes in this constant pressure to promote, I think many of us get too wrapped up in our brands and image. We use our brand as a keyword too much, we focus our content around the brand, we make sure our internal link structure uses our brand as anchor text over and over and over. It may make us feel like we are really making headway, but in reality, in search marketing unless those searching know what we are about, and what we do, pushing our brand isn’t going to do much for us in most cases. Let’s take kitchen faucets as an example. I have a kitchen faucet, I know there are brands of kitchens faucets, but I couldn’t tell you which one is best, and frankly, I really could care less. So if you are trying to get me to your site based on my awareness of faucet brand, it isn’t going to happen. If I were in the market for a new kitchen faucet, (I do hate ours, but I don’t know the brand, so no brand bashing today), I would go to a search engine, and would search for something like “best quality kitchen faucet.” Well, the results for this particular search stunk. There was only one organic result, and 11 paid ads.
As I refuse to click on Ads (Sorry Google), I would need to expand my search. The point being, because I don’t know faucet brand, I have to be educated about faucets first, then I can decide on a brand, and search from there. So if you aren’t talking about quality faucets, or best priced faucets, or something more generic, you are missing out on clients that may buy from you, if you educate them a bit.
Just as a note, due to the poor showing in the SERPs using faucets as a keyword, I just might get into the business. In fact this post might just start ranking well for kitchen faucets in about a week.
Now there are some sites that can push popular brands without a problem, but usually the original manufacturer of this brand, has spent millions of dollars to educate the public, and create amazing brand awareness, so reselling these branded goods is made simpler. So while there are situations where just going with the brand in your SEO strategies may work, widening the breadth of a site’s coverage in an industry will never hurt, and for those attempting to build their own brand, it can help tremendously.
As small business owners online, especially those of us who were originally offline, we may need to adjust our mindset a bit. Online we need to get back to communicating the basics of what we do in our business. If we sell stuff, lets talk about that stuff online in very basic terms, making it easy for the search engines to know what we are attempting to present. By widening our approach, and taking it down to the lowest common denominator, we improve our chance of being noticed initially. Once we have our base set, then we can become more focused on the specifics of our business, eventually building brand awareness for our company, which will tie our brand back into our general business description.
There are too many instances where friends and associates of mine have launched sites that are so specialized, it is hard to imagine anyone is going to find them. In fact, in some cases, if a potential client doesn’t know the exact domain, or isn’t searching for the specific brand, with some specific localized terms, the site is essentially invisible, probably forever if they don’t change. I have suggested to some of these friends they might want to consider being a bit more generic on their site, discuss more basic stuff, to which some have replied their brand (of Snowboards) is so superior, they will be just fine. Good luck. They have decided to take the word of mouth marketing or die stance, and between us pals, they are going to die, ignominiously. Their product seems to be pretty good, but snowboarding sucks, ski or nothing.
So if you aren’t getting the traffic you had hoped for, you might want to take some time to look your site over, and make sure it speaks to the those that have absolutely no clue about your business or products.
Here are some steps to widen the net of your site.
1. Have pages that discuss the history of the industry, use words as if you were introducing the company to your child’s elementary school class. I have learned that when I speak to a classroom of kids, I can easily get away from work jargon, and I use words and phrases I know they will understand, while still communicating clearly.
2. Have pages on your education of the industry, and your knowledge, and how you felt when you learned certain points you found interesting. How you got involved, why you were attracted to it, and how you feel about the industry it now, maybe where you think the industry is going in the future. This is a great way to generate content, and to pull in keywords associated with your industry.
3. Discuss the history of your business specifically, what made you decide finally launch and grow. Many don’t like to discuss how tough starting a new business can be, but so many people like to hear these stories you will be amazed. I think there are some out there, who want to start new businesses, but just can’t seem to make themselves make the leap. Your stories will be valuable to them, and might bet you a loyal client.
4. Feel free to post questions others have asked about your business, and then take time to answer them. Chances are, if you have heard the question once in your business, there are hundreds more with the same question. Many searching out there are online to just get answers to questions, if you answer enough of them, you will position your site as authoritative, and that is priceless in the world of search.
Getting back to basics is something I used to hear a bunch growing up. It was a reminder to all of us to simplify things, re-prioritize, and make sure we are taking care of the fundamentals. Getting back to basics online just means we need to make sure we are casting a wide net on the net. Communicating clearly who we are to the search engines, and to the most novice of clients. There isn’t a site out there that couldn’t benefit from doing a little of this time to time.
Visited 3357 times
November 24th, 2008
Aaron R Stewart
Best PubCon 2007 SwagDoing Good, with Good Content, is Great BrandingIf You Want Customers, Don’t Scare Them AwaySEO and the Presidential Candidates, Part 2Finding the Perfect Domain Name
Posted by Michael D Jensen on November 19th, 2008
I’ve been attending these conferences for several years now, just thought I would give some free advice to help the conference organizers of PubCon, SMX, and SES to get more registrations, and more people coming back every year.
1) Big Bucket of Bacon
I know this sounds a bit odd, but bacon has magical powers. Not only does it make your nose tell your brain to follow that smell, but your brain remembers that smell and will do anything to pursue it (even pay $995 to go to a conference). What would a bucket full of bacon cost to add to all those danishes and bagels? A few hundred bucks? I bet you’d get at least 2% more people registering just for the bacon.
2) Wi-Fi that works
I can count on half of one hand how many times the wireless has been (a) working and (b) faster than dial-up at these SEO conferences. Wi-Fi should be sponsored by a company and actually work (even when everyone in the conference is using it!). I feel bad for a company that sponsors the wi-fi and it doesn’t work, how does that fare for their reputation (and the conference itself)? For this reason, I have a Sprint card that I plug my laptop in that is actually reliable and gives me fast Internet. I just can’t ever depend on the Wi-Fi at any of these conferences, which is quite disappointing.
3) Speed Sessions
You know how they do that “speed dating”? How about you try out new speakers and give them 3 minutes to share what they can on a subject. Gives them an opportunity to speak, gives us a chance to hear from new speakers and get valuable content. Everyone wins! Then the speakers that everyone likes the most get invited next year for a full presentation.
What is some of your advice for SEO conference organizers?
Visited 3815 times
November 19th, 2008
Michael D Jensen
Introduce Yourself at PubCon and Get Some SwagBest PubCon 2007 SwagHow to Get Free Tickets to Cirque SoleilHow to Hire an SEO Firm (Advice from Google)SMX West Next Week, Great for Beginner SEOs
Posted by Michael D Jensen on November 12th, 2008
I really am going to tell you how you *could* get free tickets to Cirque Soleil, but the actual point of this post deals with Social Media and companies that reach out to their customers, like Cirque Soleil.
I’m at PubCon 2008, in the Online Reputation Management session (recap here) where Jessica Berlin, a Social Media Manager for Cirque du Soleil, just discussed how her company monitors, prevents, and resolves reputation issues.
They go to great lengths to find out who is talking about their company. They even rate their influencers by their reach or influence (backlinks as main indicator I think). Then they reach out to those people (big or small) and I’m guessing they offer them a second chance to have a good experience with another show. This is where that free ticket comes in, whether you’ve seen the show or not, you can probably expect to get contacted by Cirque Soleil even if you say something bad about the show with ever seeing it.
If Cirque Soleil tried to determine authenticity, like asking for a ticket stub, they shoot themselves in the foot even more by even “questioning” your authenticity. Will they pursue anyone with a bad experience? Or just influencers?
I seriously doubt that there is a significant percentage of people who blog/twitter/etc about Cirque Soleil who aren’t authentic in their opinion just to get free tickets. But I do think it is interesting that you can understand a companies internal strategies because of their openness like Cirque Soleil, that you know if you did say something you can expect some contact and some type of resolution.
Cirque Soleil is not the only ones out there doing this. Add to the list: Jet Blue, Comcast, Zappos, and probably many others!
Your thoughts? I’ll update this blog post when Cirque Soleil contacts me.
Visited 4465 times
November 12th, 2008
Michael D Jensen
Doing Good as Link BaitFree Links from MyBlogLog!$200 of Free MSN ads, WOM gets expensiveFree Backlink from Apple.comFree SEO Tool: XML Sitemap Ping Tool
Posted by Michael D Jensen on October 30th, 2008
Launching “Link Bait” is a new and popular strategy for gaining traffic and links (and hopefully conversions), but one of the problems is that one visit isn’t enough! I’d like to discuss 5 ways to help keep your visitors coming back every day, besides just posting more often and having good content! Before I get to those steps, let’s look at some numbers. “>ComScore has some interesting statistics about what type of content gives “Stickiness” to your site (note, from 2006):
1) Portals (28.7 average usage days per month)
2) Entertainment (15.2)
3) Community (14.3)
4) News/Information (14.0)
5) Search/Navigation (13.6)
6) Email (13.2)
7) Directories/Resources (11.8 )
8 ) ISP (11.6)
Portals (think Yahoo!, iGoogle, anything people might make their homepage) brought in the most days per month visited, most likely due to a default home page being visited every time a browser is opened. The next two, Entertainment and Community, seem to me to go hand in hand with what we call Social Media now. Surprisingly, search is #5, which I thought would be at the top (at least for my usage, I search multiple times every day).
5 Ways to Improve Visitor Retention
So now that we have some idea, at least relatively, of what keeps people coming back, here are some actionable things (and real examples) you can do for your site to get visitors coming back every day:
1) Integrate Dynamic, Interesting Content – Recently Loren Baker, Dave Snyder, Jordan Kasteler, and Lief Nissen launched IMBroadcast.com, a niche site geared towards SEOs that brings together videos and other media content all in one place. The content is always changing, there is an RSS feed, and its not just fluff or dumb videos, but actually useful content. This fits under the categories of Entertainment and Community.
2) Create a Community – Just like IMBroadcast created its own community, you can create your own community where people in your industry are interested in participating, discussing, and contributing. This could be as simple as a forum or a discussion board, or you could create your own social network even (you’ll have to consider the audience size, and potential interest in something like this).
3) Run a Contest – ShoeMoney’s comment contest is a prime example of a great way to bring back visitors every day. Even if you don’t run a contest like his, the idea is that a contest can be used to keep visitors checking back often, or to subscribe to your RSS feed. Andy Beal of Marketing Pilgrim runs contests every now and then (this one I actually won!), and one of his neat ideas was to put in a message that you could only see if you subscribed to the RSS feed, so you had to be subscribed to participate. Running contests isn’t for everyone, but if you have at least a couple hundred readers/visitors it can make it worth it. Be clever!
4) Email Subscription to your Blog – There are several WordPress Plugins that make it easy to create an email subscription for your blog. Once you post, an email goes out to anyone signed up, which is a great alternative to non-RSS readers.
5) Post in a series – Although probably not practical to do all month long, posting a “series” that has an ongoing theme that all fit together can be a great way to bring readers back to your site. Announce the series and make sure everyone knows it will go on for 3 days, 5 days, etc. Then when you write and post the series, make sure to link to the first page that announced the series, and possibly the previous article in the series. As an example, Sugarrae recently did this with a series on Reasons you Fail at Affiliate Marketing.
What are some other ways you use to keep your visitors coming back to your site every day?
Visited 4631 times
October 30th, 2008
Michael D Jensen
Treat your Visitors from Search Ads and Contextual Ads Differently24 Hour Site Indexing Works AgainSearch Engine Marketing’s Best Posts in 2008Deliver on your Page and Ad Titles7 Steps to Get Your New Site Indexed in 24 hours