August 17, 2010

The beginner’s checklist for learning SEO

Google Webmaster Tools is a phenomenal free resource.

Guest post by Danny Dover
SEO moz

For as long as I can remember, the best way for me to learn has been to do. I have gone through countless checklists while trying to understand search engine optimization. The following is a compilation of the most useful checklists I have completed in order to learn SEO. My intent is that this list can be used by people who are inexperienced in SEO but want to learn more.

Learn how to build a basic website

Before diving into SEO techniques, it’s important to know the basics of web development. The following tasks will develop the necessary web development skills needed to become successful at SEO:

Learn how to code a basic website without using a WYSIWYG editor – Don’t fear the word code, writing HTML is much easier than you think. If you can make a sandwich with two pieces of bread and put something in the middle, you can write HTML. For help, check out this excellent tutorial. Remember, don’t worry about SEO techniques at this point. Focus on learning how to build a website first.

Code a website that contains the following:

  • All styles with CSS. No tables!
  • Homepage has 3 unique paragraphs about you
  • 3 pages total; homepage, contact and portfolio

Pick your keywords – Pick keywords that are uncompetitive. This is very important as the words you choose will become the center of your SEO efforts. I recommend using your name. Go to Google and search for yourself. If a small amount of low quality websites show up, use your name as your keywords. If your name is competitive to rank for, find a variation of your name that is easier. Example: Danny Ben Dover.

Register a domain name and find hosting – This is not nearly as difficult as it sounds. I recommend SiteGround as good option. However, there are literally thousands of choices. Use your best judgment, but remember you shouldn’t be paying more than $7 a month and the domain name should be included for free. Your only requirement is that your host can’t have immovable ads. These could be crawled by the search engines and ruin your rankings. For your domain name, use your keywords from above. Eg., or If your keywords are not available as a domain name, choose different keywords. (Note: In this exercise, the keywords you are optimizing for and your domain name should be the same. Although this is not always the case in the real world, having similar keywords to your domain name makes SEO much easier.) Continue reading

August 16, 2010

On KQED talking Google, Verizon & Net Neutrality

It’s amazing how upset people can get from a letter

David SparkOn Friday night I appeared on KQED’s “This Week in Northern California” discussing the open letter Google and Verizon cowrote to the FCC proposing new broadband requirements for mobile and some type of second Internet. The letter bent everyone out of shape and caused a flurry of response from traditional journalists and bloggers. While the protest at Google on Friday was a dud, anger in the blogosphere remained very high, with most everyone trying to extrapolate what Google and Verizon meant with their rather vague proposal. Google and Verizon responded to these various theories trying to clear up some myths that had developed over the week. But in the end it appeared the two elements that most upset everyone, mobile and this “second Internet” being exempt from the FCC’s net neutrality regulation, were still very much on the table according to the two powerhouses.

If you haven’t been paying attention, or need an overview, watch my five minute segment from the KQED show with Belva Davis.

August 13, 2010

How to optimize your LinkedIn profile

Linkedin Centipedes at 2010 Bay to Breakers
Image by smi23le on Flickr.

Guest post by Anthony Piwarun

Like most in the SEO (search engine optimization) community, I’m always looking for ways to improve content for my clients. Whether it’s a website, blog or a press release, there is always a way to make it rank better. Recently I began optimizing profiles on LinkedIn, the social networking site for business professionals. Using my own LinkedIn profile as a test, I’ve discovered that the same principles we use in the SEO field.

For two months, I altered various fields of my profile and logged the effect on the number of searches that it appeared in according to LinkedIn analytics. While I’m not one to rely heavily on a single method of measurement, LinkedIn doesn’t offer an option for analytics so my primary method of measurement was the in-house tracking system. The results I found were conclusive: It is possible to optimize your LinkedIn profile to rank better in search.

Before diving into the results of my study, I’d like to point out a few areas that I believe are key to achieving an optimized LinkedIn profile and also give a brief “how-to” on optimization techniques.

How to handle the profile headline

The first and most important field to optimize on your LinkedIn profile is the headline. The headline field can be most equated to a meta description in SEO terminology. It’s a way to explain what you do and how you do it (in as few words as possible) to the world without having to use one of those awful labels known as a “job title.”

For my headline, I opted to go with three keywords and my contact information. For those that aren’t too familiar with LinkedIn, contacting a non-connection isn’t easy unless you’re in the same group or you have a mutual friend, so adding contact information is helpful for new business development. Like its SEO counterpart the meta description, it’s the first thing a searcher sees when searching on LinkedIn.


Profile summary

A LinkedIn summary is a chance to describe who you are, what you want to accomplish, and what you aspire to be. In SEO terms, I like to think of it as the first 100 words of the page. This is a great opportunity to add a ton of keywords, related terms, and longer, more descriptive strings. While it’s important to use your targeted phrase a few times throughout your summary, keep in mind this is a professional profile and if you sound like a robot you most likely won’t win the bid, get hired, or be able to go more than 4 consecutive hours without your coworkers calling you R2D2. Just like any effective website, a LinkedIn profile optimized with user experience in mind will get the sale long before a keyword-stuffed can of Spam.

summary Continue reading

August 12, 2010

Easily turn your blog into an ebook

anthologizeChris AbrahamMy friend Effie Kapsalis helped make something very, very cool. Something brilliant, actually. Something you need to check out: Anthologize.

A brilliant idea is defined by how hard you slap yourself in the forehead, saying, “gee, that’s awesome — but so obvious, why didn’t I think of that?” Anthologize is that simple, elegant, “it never occurred to me” idea that I have been waiting for forever: a WYSIWYG way of drag-and-dropping together a linear narrative out of what is often an amalgam of reverse-chronological, jumbled-together, blog posts. Export it into an online, web-accessible “book” or even a proper ebook in the PDF, ePUB or TEI formats that can be exported and popped into your favorite ebook reader like the Amazon Kindle or Sony eReader.

Continue reading

August 12, 2010

Social media’s return on investment

Image from Bite Daily.

Ayelet NoffHow do you measure the ROI of social media? This is a question that we are often asked by companies that want to enter the social media realm but are afraid or unsure of how to prove its success to their superiors. Want to show your bosses that social media works? Below is a great video from Erik Qualman (@equalman) at Socialnomics that showcases several social media ROI success stories.

Here are the top 10 facts you should remember from this video:

1) Gary Vaynerchuk grew his family business from $4 million to $50 million using social media.

2) Wetpaint/Altimeter found companies that widely engage in social media surpass their peers in both revenue and profit. (See Ranking the Top 100 Global Brands — PDF.)

3) Lenovo has experienced a 20% reduction in activity to their call center since they launched their community website for customers.

4) Burger King invested  less than $50,000 in their Whopper Sacrifice Facebook application and received an estimated return of over $400,000 in press/media value. They received 32 million impressions as a result of this campaign.

Ford-Fiesta-RS5) Blendtec quintupled sales with its “Will it Blend” series on YouTube.

6) Dell has already made $3 million in sales via twitter (I’ve heard this number has already increased to $6.5 million).

7) Only 18% of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive ROI.

8 ) 37% of generation Y heard about the Ford Fiesta via social media before its launch in the US. 25% of Ford’s marketing budget is spent on digital/social media. They are the only US auto company that didn’t take a government loan. Continue reading

August 4, 2010

Forex Trading & social media: A case study of easy-forex

From easy-forex’s fantasy team campaign

Ayelet NoffWe began working with easy-forex to combine their forex trading and social media activity back in February 2010. We knew right away that teaming easy-forex’s expertise, vibrancy, and fresh approach to FX with our knowledge of the nuts and bolts of social media would invariably produce a winning combination.

When we first took stock of easy-forex’s social media efforts, it was clear they had already recognized the value of social profiles and had already laid the groundwork for us on Twitter and YouTube. We knew too, though, that easy-forex’s full potential was only beginning to be actualized, and so we set out to create a home for their traders, a place where they could come and chat with one another regarding their trading habits, methods, tips and strategies — basically, anything and everything related to forex. Continue reading