An End To Google Page Rank

OK, better minds than mine have grappled with the whole Google slap issue. It is fascinating to see how a company as savvy as Google can imagine that they can get away with clearly monopolistic actions disguised as “for the good of the users”.

Kenneth over at investorblogger.com and Denise in her internetmarektingreview.org post have both taken a shot at this. Both of them make good points. Kenneth’s article in particular deserves a careful read as he seems to have hit it on the head with some of his observations.

For those who do not understand what this is all about, read Denise’s post first as it gives a broad stroke treatment of this issue.

[tags]google, pagerank, blogging[/tags]

Blog Marketing As a Strategy…

Most people would love to find a method of marketing that is effective, fun and free. Well, blog marketing certainly fits the bill.

Unfortunately, not many people understand that “effectiveness” is not the same as having a lot of pages in the blog, nor is it getting listed in as many directories as possible. Actually, effectiveness of a blog marketing strategy really depends on the objectives. Any marketer will know that a marketing strategy is nothing more than a powerful sum of its parts. Hence, a blog marketing strategy cannot stand alone, that is a given. So, we will not talk about that. For a blog marketing to be deemed effective, there are usually three measurements: traffic, response, and action.

Denise has an interesting post on how to build blog traffic. Any new blog will face the challenge of generating traffic. The key is not the volume of traffic, but the relevance of it.

Response is one of the best indicators of whether your traffic is targetted or not. Interested parties will respond to your blog posts (unless they are so poorly written…) and they will respond through comments, feedback forms and even emails.

Arguably, action is the holy grail. A blog that has plenty of traffic and an active, responsive readership, but cannot prompt readers into action to become buyers, subscribers or whatever it is you are marketing, can hardly be deemed to be effective.

I am sure there are many other marketing metrics that can be used. But blow aside all the fluff and illusions of success, the above are, I believe, the 1-2-3 of a successful blog marketing program.

Blogger You Helping Google Shoot Yourself?

For the past few months, I am sure many of you have been reading about how Google have been going around “downgrading” the Page Rank of bloggers who do paid blogging, in particular, PayPerPost.

Well, I guess that is life. Things happen and other things happen. But the irony that I see here, is the fact that PayPerPost actually uses the Google Page Rank as a way for their advertisers to select and pay for bloggers. Talk about a vicious cycle! Advertisers pay more for a blog with a higher page rank. Google looks at these high page ranks, discover that they have PayPerPost, downgrades them, so PayPerPost loses revenue. Now, the question is, WHY would PayPerPost want to use Google Page Rank at all? Is there no other way?

I guess for most Internet Marketers, the discussion is pretty much a circular one. Google is NOT a public-service company. It is a commercial concern and it is very concerned about making money. The fact is that it’s doing a darned good job as a search engine. That is why everyone uses it. Now, think about this for a moment. That Google has so much power is because everyone is using it. Yet, there ARE other search engines around. Now, if Google’s new policies negatively affect the reliability and perceived neutrality of their search results, people will start using alternatives. But if the users feel it is still OK, then in reality, it will be “ok”. Just because a Blog has “paid posts” does it mean it is not a good blog?

In the end, bloggers blog because they have things to say. If they get paid because some people value their opinion, then they are like the many other writers who write for various publications offline. If Google feels that this somehow challenges the value of their search results, this is their prerogative. If users continue to feel that Google gives them the best search results, then all power to them. Others can use alternatives. That is the way of the free market.

Unless you are paying Google or you own Google, don’t expect a huge company like that to harken to the small still voice of a few bloggers. After all, you are just “content”, while they are the “engine”. There have been many arguments extended about how paid bloggers who blog intelligently and add value will not negatively affect search engine results. But I guess in the end, it is just a case of the Big Guy begrudging the crumbs, or it’s just me being sore about dropping a rank. I actually like what Rob wrote in his “no paid ads” post…

[tags]google, page rank, paid blogging[/tags]

What does SEO and clicking links got in common?

I just read a very interesting post over at Phil’s blog where he wrote about “Click Here – It’s Not About SEO!“.

In the early days of the Internet, everywhere you went, you saw “click here“. The idea then was that since everything was so new, people did not really know what to do, so you had to tell them – authoritatively. I guess that was what Brian was referring to in his opening paragraph of “Does Telling Someone to “Click Here” Actually Matter?“. Over time, many things have changed, but you still see “click here” everywhere. Why?

In a world where SEO matters, contextual links increases rankings and jaded surfers rule, does “click here” still work? Sometimes, we analyse too much. If you are not reading a page, seeing “click here” will not entice you to click. But if you were reading, does not “click here” make sense in context? Or if you were just lazily surfing around, and you see “click here” then you shrug and say, “Why not?”.

Too many people today surf the web with “intentions”. They are either Internet Marketers trying out new stuff, or Internet Gurus over-seeing their domains (pun intended), or wannabe get-rich-now people like me! Seems like the days of surfing for the sheer pleasure of discovering new things just don’t cut it anymore. There are way too many sites now. Heck, even random surfing has been institutionalized by Stumble Upon! Aaarrggghhh! Can you say “regulated window shopping”?

For anyone not initiated into the world of split testing, SEO, link relevancy and such, does “click here” work better or “visit me now” make a significant difference? Do they care?

They don’t. But you do. You the marketer. You the wanna-get-rich-online-now kindred soul of mine. We care.

For me, I have an opinion (don’t we all…) and that opinion is that people will click on a link if:

  • they know it’s a link
  • they want to know about whatever it is they were reading

Sure, with great keyword relevant links or psychologically primed colored links or any other mechanisms, you can increase the clicks. But right at the bottom of it all, are your readers pulled in by what you write. If not, they would be long gone before they can get to “click here“.

[tags]SEO, contextual links, user interface[/tags]

Bad Product? Learn from Yahoo!

Hey, everyone! We got good news! Yahoo! just bought MyBlogLog! Yay! More power to them. I have been waiting to see what comes out of this. Finally, they are moving.

Hey, everyone! We got some well, not so good news… your profile pics might not appear in the MyBlogLog widgets in future when you visit your favorite sites! There are two reasons this happens…

Let us all learn how large corporates with a team of highly intelligent people can work together to destroy a fundamental part of a product and destroy its core value, while trumpeting the fact that it is a “new” feature. (Disclaimer: this is MY opinion and does not represent the ideas, opinions or technological truism of any cult, sect or any other gurus)

First, let us stop and think about why MyBlogLog is so preferred by bloggers compared to the many other widgets. SpicyPage comes to mind, as do BlogCatalog, BumpZee and several others that offer very similar looking widgets. Here is how it works:

  • Login to MyBlogLog
  • Close window without logging out
  • Visit any site that has the MyBlogLog widget and your photo appears

Now, why would anyone want that? Well, because this is a fundamentally good idea. If others see you visiting a site that they visit, then you have a shared common interest. They click on your picture, go to your MyBlogLog profile, see which communities you join, visit YOUR site and so on. It starts a flow, a chain of event that not only generates traffic for you, but also creates a buzz around common likes/dislikes.

new mybloglog loginNew Login “Expires”

I am not against Yahoo! forcing everyone to use their login id for MyBlogLog. In fact, it was expected and in a way, it does offer some integration benefits with their other services. No, my main quarrel is with the “Keep me signed in… ” part of the equation. You see, I only surf from one computer at home. I remain “logged in” all the time. When I visit my friends’ blogs, they all know I just came by because they see me appear in their widget. Now, I have to check every time to see if I do appear, because after 2 weeks, I will be logged out of MyBlogLog.

We are just having fun. I don’t need those James Bond, high security stuff. It’s just a blog to share ideas and thoughts and laugh at and with each other.

no gif acceptedGIF no longer accepted

Now, here is another interesting thing that they have done which I think is really silly – they now no longer accept GIF files for images. How do I know? After going through the hoops to get linked up, I found that my pics disappeared. Then, when I tried to upload them again, then I realised, no GIF. JPG and PNG only. Yet again, another excellent user experience. I mean, what is so bad about GIFs? I checked. Comparing JPG, PNG and GIF formats, the differences were a few KBs. Sure, that might seem a lot if you had a 56K dial up modem. But if like Yahoo! was claiming “Fancy new image uploader for userpics (5MB image? No prob!)“, then I wonder why the phobia of GIF images? I mean, my 15KB JPEG image is certainly smaller than the original 32KB GIF. But I think that is about 0.3% of 5MB vs 0.6% of 5MB, hardly anything to cry over. And if the open sourced ImageMagick can handle all the various graphics format, I am seriously wondering what is the concern here.

This is just my ranting. But I have seen enough products designed by brilliant engineers, who wants to have the latest features, the best technology and the highest quality; but miss out on some of the other essentials. Sometimes, as fundamental as – does the user really need or want this “feature”?

With all due respects, I am sure Yahoo! is trying to give us all a better experience by integrating MyBlogLog and Yahoo’s services. I would say “trying” is a key word here. Sometimes, when you try too hard, and change some seemingly “small” things, the impact could be bigger than you anticipated.

[tags]MyBlogLog, Yahoo!, new login, security, blogging[/tags]

Communications Is The Key…

The world is getting smaller today. We all know that. Businesses are so international that it is almost a given that most businesses will have some kind of dealings with overseas clients. Well, since Spanish is one of the most spoken language in the world, after Mandarin and English, don’t be surprised if you find yourself looking for an Executive Spanish language training course.

You might regret not paying attention in school, but now that you are in the real world, there is no way you can get away with “I don’t know” anymore. Here is your chance to get it all back again. When you are in sales or business development, knowing a second language is a huge plus in your favor. These guys claim to be able to customize the learning to your learning style, sounds good to me.

(sponsored)

[tags]foreign language, learn language, foreign accent, spanish, english[/tags]

Is this Good Marketing?

Here is something that you can think about. Many times, when we are in marketing, we promote stuff. We use hyperboles and we cajole and flatter. We paint pictures with words and convey meanings with pictures. We communicate. Sometimes, we do smoke and mirrors. Sometimes, we distract. Sometimes, we mislead…?

Take a look at this post by Charlene about “Crocs and Escalator Dangers” and you tell me whether you think that what the Crocs company is doing is a load of crock or clever marketing.

[poll=5]

[tags]crocs, crocs shoes, crocs accidents, marketing[/tags]