August 18, 2010

Top 5 tips on how to use Foursquare

foursquare
Photo by tantek on Flickr

Ayelet NoffSince I have become addicted to Foursquare, the location check-in service, I set out to find the best tips to get to the top of Foursquare’s leaderboard while playing fair.

Here are the top 5 tips I discovered:

foursquare1If you want to become mayor, check in to places that you know that you’ll be able to check in to frequently, as many times as possible. Didn’t find your place on Foursquare already? Add it. Don’t forget and don’t neglect — someone else may steal your mayorship from you.

2Foursquare resets its leaderboard on Sunday nights. To maximize your weekly tallies, make sure you start early in the week.

3Check in to new places — every time you do so, these grant you 5 extra points, and these can add up quickly.

4Get familiar with how to unlock your special badges and work on unlocking them. Here are two great badges lists: TonyFelice.WordPress.com and TheKruser.com. Continue reading

August 17, 2010

The beginner’s checklist for learning SEO

Google-webmaster-tools
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., dannydover.com or dannybendover.com. 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
SEOmoz

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.

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