Monthly Archives: June 2007

Mybloglog messaging system and why I think it sucks

I just noticed the mybloglog mass message system thing. I don’t like it, it reminds me of that annoying myspace and orkut mass message thing. It is a recipe for spam spam spam and time wasting silly messages just filling up my inbox.

If every member of every community I’m in uses it just once a week, I’m in for a hell of a lot of reading and emailing/deleting.

Anyhow,  of course I had to try the thing out I so I mass messaged my 108 community members to see what they thought about it, I even told them that it was a one time message and apologised in advance too.

Here’s the kicker, I got a few responses, most agreeing with me. So I try and reply to their private messages and get this!

Message:* Now just slow down there, rock star! It appears you’ve become a bit overzealous with your messaging, or at least that’s what our new algorithm thinks. But we’re still fine tuning it, so if you think this is a mistake, just hit customerservice@mybloglog.com with an email and we’ll get you sorted.

Um…no, I don’t think so. If I get a message froma community member responding to something I sent them, I SHOULD be able to reply!

Come on guys, you’ve made some nice changes over there but this one is just asking for trouble.

Free advice time.

Drop the thing, or at least allow people to choose whether or not they can get these things. auto opt everyone out of it, and let them opt in to it.

Stick little checkboxes next to community members so we can selectively message certain people en masse.

If you go with an opt out system, then only show me members who have opted in on any mass message page.

One other thing, ever heard of letting people know about such things before you implement them?

I like MBL, I visit it daily, but things like this just give me negative chuckles .

Update:

Ive read a number of posts from people in the  mbl community who are annoyed about this. Ive had PMs on my mybloglog message page, but due to the way it works I get that silly message as outlined above, so have been unable to respond. Seems my one time mass message has put me into instant spammer terrority, or maybe it was because I once labelled myself a ‘schmoe’.

Anyhow

Avi puts it into a historical context of bloopers and avoidable slip ups

Andy makes his usual spot on observations

Meg too, tells it like it is.

John at disassociated explores a few of the issues experienced 1st hand and makes a few suggestion of his own too.

MBL have found themselves twisting in the wind and…well, just go and read it yourself.

Changes will no doubt be made in response to the criticisms out there. Why they have to wait a week to implement a few minor sensible changes, is quite frankly very puzzling. But hey, maybe they feel they have enough community capital to ride this one through too.

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SEO Advice – Subscription Based SEO and Web Marketing Advice Forum

SEO and Web Marketing Advice Service

There is a lot of free SEO advice out there on the Internet about marketing your website. Much of it is very good, but a lot can be noisy or too public even.

For those people who might like to ask questions about their websites privately and gain expert independant frank advice, I’ve decided to offer a subscription based advice service that will enable you to ask questions about your website in a private relaxed setting accessible only to subscribers.
It costs just $50 to subscribe for a one month period, all new subscribers will receive 50 credits to their accounts, users can ask questions in the forum or via private email.

Private email answers from me or an expert moderator will cost users 50 credits, whereas forum posted answers from me or an expert moderator will cost just 25 credits.

Subscribers can also benefit from reading the answers to subscriber submitted questions. Subscribers will also be able to select who they’d like to answer their questions, by viewing moderator profiles. All experts must answer questions to your satisfaction, or as adjudged by myself and the other experts.

Additional credits will be available for purchase at the following scale, this will enable you to ask additional questions.

Subscriptions and additional credit purchases are non refundable.

Subscriptions last for one month

To subscribe to this SEO Advice Service, simply visit the paypal link here. Once Ive added you as a subscriber you will be able to access the seo advice forum and post your questions.

Paid Moderation Opportunities

If you are interested in becoming a moderator at this resource then you can apply by sending me an email to watts underscore rob at hotmail dot com. Please show me references to your experience including forum nicks you may have posted under.

This will enable me to read some of your posts and decide on your suitability.

Qualifying mods will be expected to post a profile in the forum allowing subscribers to select them on the basis of their experience and suitability.

Moderators accounts will be credited on the following scale

  • 1 – 5 questions answered 15 credits per answer
  • 6-10 questions answered 20 credits per answer
  • 11 + questions answered 25 credits per answer

Credits will be converted to dollars at a rate of 0.60.

To illustrate further, if you answered 15 questions in a one month period the conversation would equate to $225-00. You will need a paypal account to participate and must be over 18 years of age.

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Why every blogger should have subscribe to comments checked by default

Ok, so this might come across as a bit of a rant, but i gotta say it.

I said it here, but I want to elaborate a little, so please indulge me for a minute ot two.

Subscribe To Comments

Allows readers to recieve notifications of new comments that are posted after their own. By Jennifer – Scriptygoddess.

This plugin is very useful. If your readers drop comments on your blog, then its a good thing to give them an option to respond. By using this plugin they can be notified when someone follows up a comment of theirs. I’ve changed the default to auto subscribe people to comments they’ve made, they can always deselect the subscribe me box should they so wish, most don’t which stands to reason. I figure that if people engage in a conversation then it follows that they’d like to be kept informed. You should too.

If you are a blogger and are inviting people to comment on your posts then the  first thing you should do is install a subscribe to comments option type plugin thing.

Once you’ve done that then you should change the default checkbox setting to checked.

IOW, if people commenting on your blog and DO NOT wish to subscribe to your comments and receive emails to their comments then they can uncheck the box! Let them action it, let them make the positive choice to unsubscribe from a thread that they felt motivated to respond to, my guess is most will not.

If you are thinking hang on a feckin minute I don’t want to get a stream of poxy emails every two seconds to some random comment I made on some random blog somewhere then I have to ask you, why?

WTF are you even bothering to engage in the 1st place? What is the point in commenting on a thread that a person or group of people are engaged in and talking about? Are you some kind of rude, I know I’ll just butt in say what I like then feck off out of it kinda dude? Don’t you want to respond to what people might say subsequently? Wouldn’t you like to be assisted in remembering?

Or do you remember every little blog post and place you commented on?

 I doubt it too, hell, I cant recall what blogs I’ve commented on 20 minutes ago! In fact if I see a blog that has the subscribe to comments checkbox checked I kinda smile internally, cos I know that I won’t have to worry about remembering where I commented. I just say my piece and forget about it, knowing that if someone should comment, I’ll get a little mail response with a piece of text showing me what they said. If I don’t like it, or get bored with it all, I can unsubscribe instantly takes me just two seconds. I don’t care if  I get 30 emails to a comment, it takes me  seconds to delete them or ignore them even. If I’m really bothered I can log in to my email account once a day and deal with them en masse even.

Do yourself and your commenters a favour, add the subscribe to comments plug in and edit the default checkbox setting.

End of sermon.

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Speedlink Post with a Lazy Twist

All time list of Blog Commenters

I’d like to say thanks to these 102 names below who have commented on this blog at some point or other, thank you all.

MarkH We use Google’s reader to keep…2007-01-02 18:41:38

sarahtowny Well at least I got to be super…2007-01-03 21:32:29

Barbara (Xerraire) welcome to blogging, been doing…2007-01-04 16:25:05

robwatts Thanks for stopping by and commenting…2007-01-04 16:33:01

cctech Super post Rob. You really…2007-01-05 21:25:28

Paula Neal Mooney I know, right? What’s the big…2007-01-07 20:00:33

Lyndoman I know what you mean about Ugly…2007-01-13 00:10:06

Joe Whyte Hey Rob,

This is a realy well…2007-01-13 02:08:27

Sarah Aww thanks for the mention!…2007-01-15 18:39:19

Hawaii SEO That’s how I found you and Lyndoman….2007-01-16 09:10:37

Matt Keegan Some people simply waste their…2007-01-22 21:06:39

Robyn McMaster Hi, you share a lot of interesting…2007-01-23 14:54:39

Brad Shorr Hi Rob,
Glad I helped inspire…2007-01-24 13:06:38

Jane Yet I am new to Mybloglog, but…2007-01-26 15:01:06

Andy Beard Isn’t MyBlogLog wonderful at…2007-01-27 12:11:13

Adam Klimowski Thanks for comment, I’ll be…2007-01-28 14:28:04

Shantanu Utterly fascinating! …I am…2007-01-31 12:44:16

David Sakol I just had the door slammed…2007-02-19 14:32:12

Dane Morgan To Robyn; There are, I believe…2007-02-26 03:39:18

Jeff Herz Thanks for the call out, though…2007-02-28 14:42:37

Carsten Cumbrowski Bait and switch is a classic…2007-03-01 11:17:36

Becky My faith in humanity will remain…2007-03-03 03:51:52

Mark from Bloglyne.com Great article – lots of additional…2007-03-03 05:05:20

Tim Nash I guess its what your trying…2007-03-04 13:15:03

Kevin Henney I think the potential for this…2007-03-05 05:29:10

Scott Rafer Hi, To the extent we know, we’re…2007-03-05 14:12:09

AgentSully Excellent post. As a new blogger…2007-03-15 04:13:24

Leftblank Very nice post, I’ve had tons…2007-03-25 15:43:41

Ashley Top Blog, Finally subjects worth…2007-03-28 10:25:13

Franck Silvestre I really don’t know. I think…2007-04-01 19:42:52

Marc Chase I just looked at that tool and…2007-04-07 10:59:41

Bri I think that 2 might actually…2007-04-10 13:29:17

Randa Clay Want to tell everyone that you’ve…2007-04-11 19:32:39

Shawn Collins The math plugin was great for…2007-04-19 18:37:43

Steve WordPressguy Nice plugin, I’ll be trying…2007-04-20 13:32:41

santaram hi thanks for adding my blog…2007-04-21 06:59:37

Mike Wow, what an awesome reply :D

The…2007-04-21 09:14:09

RK Thanks Rob! Sure looks exciting…2007-04-22 14:51:24

lyndonmaxewell hmm.. Believe it or not, I bookmark…2007-04-22 18:24:32

kuku man Wonder if my blog is a crappy…2007-04-23 12:21:10

Jules Oh I like the sounds of this!…2007-04-24 02:00:58

Robyn I’m with you Rob. A great book…2007-04-25 15:28:51

herzeleid_knits Dear god, who knew that blogging…2007-04-26 07:45:25

Keiron I love it! Clearly I am failing…2007-04-26 14:23:23

Antony Berkman Thanks for Broadening the Discussion…2007-04-27 21:20:50

Deborah Hi there,

Wow, thanks for…2007-04-30 04:11:07

Seo Blog wow… that’s an interesting…2007-05-02 20:51:29

Church of Integrity That was a great post. I have…2007-05-05 19:43:10

Laura Really sweet idea. I have a…2007-05-06 13:43:42

Jeff You obviously missed my response…2007-05-06 14:20:26

Tara I thought I would report back…2007-05-06 14:35:18

Waken Wow, this is comprehensive….2007-05-06 16:31:40

steve nice plugin, just installed…2007-05-07 13:31:38

HOBO SEO So that’s what that does! I…2007-05-08 23:14:34

TJantunen You asked a review of bidvertiser…2007-05-09 10:09:19

lisi so .. this is not out of TOC?
if…2007-05-09 11:20:55

Lyndon Antcliff Finally I got round to installing…2007-05-09 11:41:52

Derrich Amen to what Matt said. And…2007-05-09 14:55:27

Shane “I learnt I needed glasses by…2007-05-11 23:25:10

Culture Shiok! Anything for Blogger?…2007-05-12 02:12:51

Robin Bal Hey Rob,

Thanks for responding…2007-05-12 07:19:38

Angela I agree with Robin, even with…2007-05-12 20:41:34

Maria I guess I’m not the only one…2007-05-12 22:28:39

Chris Nice plugin Rob, just one thing…2007-05-13 08:44:11

David Airey :: Creative Design :: My first visit to your blog,…2007-05-14 11:53:57

Court I wish there was a better way…2007-05-15 16:38:04

Lee I tried out Bidvertiser when…2007-05-16 08:55:44

Anuj Seth Kontera works very well. I’ve…2007-05-16 18:49:18

Matt Ellsworth this is great! I can’t believe…2007-05-18 00:53:45

Moose It is a grey area, because could…2007-05-21 02:47:32

Rod I just wanted to write and congratulate…2007-05-21 12:13:57

Koordinasyon Oyun Thats just awesome, never knew…2007-05-21 15:22:37

Cindy Nice article and well done!…2007-05-22 06:14:15

Graphic Design Edinburgh Hi Rob,

Thanks for visiting…2007-05-26 16:00:30

Thomas Hansen Nice informative blog about…2007-05-26 18:57:21

Jonathan-C. Phillips Hi Rob, i tried the plugin,…2007-05-27 05:17:02

Jeff Q Thanks for the acknowledgement…2007-05-27 13:51:13

David Airey Very wise words, Rob.

Thanks…2007-05-27 15:50:58

Kickass Linkbaiter I’m obsessed by page rank and…2007-05-28 15:41:37

Shaun Anderson Matt that is quite a big photo…2007-05-29 12:38:31

Mark Barrera I think that your advice is…2007-05-30 19:48:04

Cornwall SEO If we send in cash do you promise…2007-05-30 19:55:10

Frédéric Panek Very nice information!
One…2007-05-31 05:08:43

Manila Mom I usually link using the blog…2007-06-03 17:32:04

Dexter There are lots of blogger beginning…2007-06-04 18:30:23

Turk Hit Box Hey check out this new plugin…2007-06-04 20:58:00

Shaun Google Adsense all the way!…2007-06-08 00:29:58

ace trader For some reason, I just think…2007-06-08 03:49:59

Dharm I am a big fan of Google.So…2007-06-08 10:06:12

Medicine Man The right answer is, text link…2007-06-08 13:32:22

Phishie Diaz You’ve really hit the nail on…2007-06-09 17:39:58

David Great Post. I keep coming across…2007-06-09 19:58:09

shaz google should really stop tryng…2007-06-09 22:46:31

Linkbait Cowboy For ages I have been looking…2007-06-10 06:16:02

MorganLighter Well, I might be the odd man…2007-06-12 04:55:23

Steven Interesting thoughts. It’s…2007-06-16 01:27:50

David Bradley Great idea to add the email…2007-06-18 18:48:17

Adam W Great post Rob, more people…2007-06-18 20:40:41

Everett I’ve used most of these with…2007-06-25 04:19:40

Absinthe Fever Thanks for the detailed post…2007-06-25 19:53:19

Jason I’m interested in trying out…2007-06-26 03:10:08

Andy Blimey, you get alot of comments!…2007-06-27 16:47:57

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SEM an ever evolving changeling – why you need to read about stuff like this

[poll=3]

The  post that follows is a little anoraky and gets in to some of that miniscule stuff that people like me like to muse about on occasions and disappear up our own back passages but hey, do feel free to read it, you might even learn something.

Todays poll asks you to evaluate your own understanding of SEO. I’ve given 5 possible responses. I thought it would be fun to look at SEO or SEM or whatever label you wanted to apply, and look at the topic in general getting people to think about their own skillsets and understandings.

 Some of us think our understanding is good, real good. Nothing wrong with a bit of self belief and I already see that there is one person who believes that their understanding is “Fantastic, I’m the man”.

I put myself in the ‘Very good, I know a lot’ category. I only say this because I’ve been around a while at done this daily for years, I’ve got sites ranked on some very competitive terms. I understand what is required to do well with a site in the search engines. I’ve had sites banned too, it’s called pushing the envelop. Sometimes in order to go forward you need to take a step back or two.

I could have said ‘Fantastic I’m the man’ too, yet in reality in my opinion the only persons who can really say this and are worthy are the people who write the algoes themselves or someone who for some mad unbeknown reason that they’d keep very close to their chests, could get ranked for Viagra or Mortgage or any other high cost PPC keyword within a week and stay there for the duration – Yeah that’s not many people.

Chasing the magic bullets

I’ve said before too that SEO isn’t brain surgery, it’s pretty simple stuff, once you’ve grasped the basics.  The problems begin when you get into the minutae and try to look for magic bullets like ideal keyword densities, or page layouts or kw to inward link ratios and other unknowable intangibles. I say unknowable because they are exactly that. The only people who really know are those who have written the algoes and…well, most of those guys aren’t exactly going to begin telling the world what they are or when they are changed.

In other words, search algortihms are constantly moving targets. What is widely accepted as a good bet today won’t necessarily be a good bet tommorrow. It evolves constantly. The only way to begin to keep up is to look at the trends. See who is ranking and why. If you look at enough serps, then you will eventually get a feel for what does and what does not work.

Evolution baby

The days of flooding a site with zillions of links or keyword stuffing are for most of the good algoes out there long gone. It doesn’t take a genius to look at a genuinely popular site and see how it grows. Toolbars, Click through data, stats packages, Unique IP’s, user agents, link data, entrance data, bounce rates, page content are just some of the things that contribute to determining what is and what isn’t rankworthy.

It’s all about the users…

Yep, that old all about the user chestnut but it really is! If you wan’t your website to rank in the search engines and make a serious effort at doing well with it then, yeah whilst it may be easy to buy a line of “just make a kick arse site and forget about ranking and leave it to the engines” the reality is however that it doesn’t hurt to think like a search engine and try and understand where they might be coming from and why. At the very least you might avoid making some huge mistake advised by some nincompoop somewhere.

It might help to look at some of those factors and explore a few of the issues attached to each.

Toolbars and Stats packages

Toolbars are a fantastic way of measuring user behaviour. A toolbar could in theory, measure and record every little thing you do, every click, every interaction, every minute spent, every IP address used, every button clicked could be recorded and measured for every site you visit. Privacy paranoia issues aside, such data could be seriously useful for measuring a sites worthiness or value. Google, Yahoo and MSN or Live as they so ridiculously call themselves all have toolbars. I’ve no idea of their uptake none of them publish any figures, but its safe to say that their users are in the millions. That’s quite a substantial set of metrics that are very difficult to manipulate externally.

Catching a cloaker

The toolbar could also be used to compare data stored about a particular url. If the content seen by the toolbar was radically different to that seen by the search engine spider for example, then this could be an indication of cloaked or alternative content which on the whole is considered a huge no no by the search engines. No amount of IP or useragent cloaking is going to be able to interfere with a user installed browser embedded toolbar.

Stats packages like Google’s Analytics are used by webmasters to glean info about their sites.

Google for example provides a comperhensive free stats package that is of very good quaility, giving them massive insights into the behaviours and traffic make up of a huge number of websites. The value to the site owners are huge, but the value to the data hoarders like Google is even bigger still.

Some people like to say how cool Google is for letting them use such a cool package for free. I’d argue the opposite and say they should pay site owners to install the damn thing, but hey – I use it here, its a neat little tool for someone who isn’t too bothered with a data monster having access to everything they do, skynet anyone? ;)

Anyhow I digress, the point is that similar to the toolbar example above, such stats packages above give priceless insights to user behaviours and site metrics. Comparisons can be made and scaled and applied to known winners and applied accordingly. If a site or page has a high bounce rate then it could mean that the page isn’t as relevant for a query, or is lacking in quality, some other thing to look at. It could act as a flag for some kind of manual review even, at least on known competitive or popular search queries.

Entrance page data (the page that a user lands on)  could be another signal of quaility or high interest. Lets assume that a site has a high % of non referal data. Whereby people have just typed in the url into their browser address bar. This could be due to say a TV advertising or paper media campaign or word of mouth thing where people had seen or heard of this great new website. Such a website might not have a reliable link profile or authority score, yet still be of intrinsic social worth. Such a site might generate an off the scale link profile that might resemble something similar to a paid link algo manipulation. Entrance page data, in these scenarios would be invaluable in terms of deciding whether the site in particular deserved to be ranked or boosted for any associated queries.

Clickthrough data

Most SERPs these days are tracked by the engines. Each link to website x y or z will be wrapped inside a little script that will check the position of the url within the serp. One would suspect that they would then look to take other factors into consideration and analyse that data too.

They could for example look at page titles and compare them against user queries and look for relationships that up such click  frequencies. Such data could be used to develop all manner of new products and services. Similar to how supermarkets stock their shelves, or manufacturers present their products or write their advertising copy. Certain combinations work where others don’t. Non static ever changing constantly evolving massively complex but…measurable and noteworthy nonetheless.

They could  look for users who had clicked a url only to hit the back button shortly afterwards. A high incidence of such occurences measured against  sufficient data could well indicate a signal of low quality. This could then be folded in on any susbsequent data refresh.

In closing…

Just a few things to think about there, there are lots of others relative to authority and how that’s arrived at, domain names and the factors applicable, content and distribution thereof, social media and how that can help or hinder - the point is, that these and the things mentioned above are aspects of the mix that you can’t really ignore. If you are serious about your business, then you just have to keep your eye on the ball and if you can’t then at the very least you’d better think about employing an SEO who can.

As much I’d like to think that the world is this super nice fluffy place full of people wishing to help me do really well and succeed and stuff, I’m also long enough in the tooth to know that there are also a bunch of people quite happy to kick my arse and trample all over me at the 1st opportunity. It’s by and large how business works, to the victor goes the spoils and all that stuff.

I don’t know who said it, but its one of lifes truisms. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer still. For me that’s as relevant to SEO as it is to war or any other scenario where you could end up getting squashed. If you know the reasons why you might get squashed either heavily or lightly even then you might just be able to do a thing or two to prevent it. Trust me I know what its like to get squashed it’s damn painful.

Search engines are our frenemies.

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