Tag Archives: search engines

SEO Is A “Practice” Like Medicine, Not A Science

Every Wednesday on Twitter there’s something that goes on that originated here in the Syracuse area. It’s called Community Manager Chat, and it’s actually geared towards people who handle the social media processes at their particular companies, or for someone else. I get to be a part of it because social media is my thing, or at least a big part of my thing. If you ever decide to participate it’s at 2PM Eastern time, and you use the hashtag #cmgrchat to follow along.


Searching by Josh Heilaman

Last Wednesday the topic of discussion was blogging, which y’all know I thrive on. It was actually the second week on the topic because it seemed like it was very popular and there were so many questions being asked. I answered a bunch of questions, and on that day and the day after I got a bunch of new followers; I could see that a lot of people were interested in what I had to share.

Anyway, what happens is that one of the moderators throws out a question every 15 minutes or so, then the responses fly out. One of the questions asked what people did for SEO on their blogs. I stated that my SEO strategies are to write as much content as I can and to, for the most part, write about certain types of topics more often than going off the grid. I actually do that if you check my centennial stat posts from time to time.

As normal, there were a few people who went into the direction of having to not only write niche blogs, but to make sure to stuff your posts with keywords and keyword phrases so they could be found easier on the search engines. I read that stuff all the time and for the most part I think it’s garbage. After all, if I write 100 posts on roses and suddenly decide to stuff a post with the phrase “brown picture frames”, it’s not really going to mean anything to anyone, including the search engines. Those 100 posts on roses are going to fare way better.

After seeing some of those posts, I wrote the line that this post is based on: SEO is a “practice” like medicine, not a science. It got retweeted a bunch of times; I think people liked that phrase a lot.

And of course I believe it’s true. There are a lot of great SEO practices, which I’ve even talked about on this blog, but the truth is that not every website is going to end up on the first page of Google or any other search engine just because one’s site is optimized well. If you decided today that your goal was to be in the top 10 for the term “shoes” you probably won’t have a chance unless you can produce close to 900 pages of blog posts in a year or so. That’s because there are so many people already writing on that same topic that have beaten you to the punch. You can get creative to find your little niche in that group and that might put you on the first page; otherwise, you just need to be the best you can be and hope to compete in another way.

SEO is like medicine because it’s really a guessing game after a certain point. Doctors guess all the time as to what’s wrong with us. I bet every person who reads this post knows someone who had a doctor tell them “I don’t know what’s wrong with you,” or something to that effect. I’ve heard it myself. And these people go to school for 8 years, then do 2 or 4 years of clinical before they’re allowed to be out on their own; I don’t know anyone who’s truly been doing SEO for more than 7 years or so.

Does this mean one shouldn’t try to be as effective as possible in trying to get their blogs to perform well on the search engines? Absolutely not. What it does mean is that one shouldn’t kill themselves trying to write the perfectly optimized post every time out. To me, based on history, one gets way more juice by trying to put out as much good content as they can. That’s always my goal when I decide to write a post, no matter what the topic is on.

Trust me, there’s really nothing wrong with practicing; you might not end up being a concert pianist like Andre Watts, but you could be Liberace, and he made a lot of money in his lifetime.

Delicately Carved Wooden Handle Magnifying Glass and Letter Opener Set 10″


Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell

Recovering Old Blog Posts

Back in 2005, I started my first blog, which was my business blog. It was going along okay until March of 2006, when things started looking a little shaky with the hosting company. My friend Kelvin had learned that the hosting company was having issues, while at the same time trying to get someone to buy them out.


Google Logo by Keso

Lo and behold, in April everything just up and crashed. By crashed, I mean all their servers went at once, including the servers that they used to back things up. In an instant, all was gone, and it looked like it was gone for good.

Luckily, I had all the pages for my website on my computer, and was able to get that back up quickly once we moved to a different host. However, the blog was totally gone. I had to make a decision; start all over or give up the ghost and move on with my life.

On a fluke I realized that I could actually recover all of my posts via Google. It seems they had cached every post I’d written; whew! However, now was the long part. I had to look up each post individually, copy it to my computer, then paste it into my blog space. I decided I wanted them in date order as much as possible, but I know I didn’t get them all in there properly. At a certain point I didn’t care. I had recovered about 125 posts, and decided to leave some that really didn’t say much alone. It literally took me about 12 to 14 hours to do it all, but I got it done. That was one of the ugliest days I’d ever put in, but I felt it was necessary to get it all in.

Of course, most folks would say just to backup your blog and it will all be just fine. Actually, that’s not totally true. Depending on your host, it’s possible that your backup file will be much too big to just move over. That’s the problem I ran into when I was trying to upgrade my blog to PHP5. The size of the file I backed up was around 4.3 MB, which isn’t super huge to me, but the largest file one could import to my server was only 2.5MB. Luckily I was able to convince them to help me out, as they said it wasn’t something they normally did for their customers. And I was glad I didn’t have to do it for my other blogs, which were already on PHP5 but weren’t showing it until I did what was required of me in that post above.

I mention this because there’s a possibility that I might be doing a recovery project for someone that’s going to involve this, as well as image searches for the posts. It can be a long and detailed project, but it’s nice to know that the search engines cache that stuff and gives you an opportunity to recover whatever you need for at least a short period of time.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell

Businesses Without Websites

Many of you know that I write blogs for others. One of the sites I write for is a massive real estate blog. It concentrates on home communities and home builders, though I also get to write some commentary here and there.


World Wide Web
by Anthony Mattox

What surprises me is just how many home builders and contractors there are that still don’t have a website. Sure, they’re listed in some fashion via Yahoo maps and Google maps and Manta and other phone number tracking sites, but beyond that there’s no further information on these companies.

It’s frustrating for me because I try to find out more information about either a community or a home builder, and there’s nothing there. In many areas around the country they don’t have home communities, just neighborhoods, and sometimes it’s hard trying to figure out who built those homes. And when you can find them, there’s nothing about them, just a phone number. You don’t know if they build single family, multiple family, condominiums, townhomes… nothing.

Of course it’s not just home builders, but many brick and mortar businesses in general. My wife and I were trying to research snow removal companies that were in our area, but there were only two online, and neither one specifically near our home. Sure, there are plenty of numbers on the search engine, but it would be nice to know which specific neighborhoods these snow removal people like to work in because my wife leaves the house by 5:30 in the morning and it doesn’t do us much good if the builder is on the other side of our town most of the time.

I wrote an article on my SEO website titled Should You Have A Website, and of course I come out on the side that says “yes”. However, I also mentioned some reasons why a business might want a website, and though I could see why someone might, my bet is that most of these companies that don’t have websites do so because they just never thought about it.

In this day and age, when so many more people are internet savvy and would rather look information up on the search engines as opposed to grabbing the Yellow Pages and looking at an ad, it would behoove any legitimate agency to have a website, put up some examples of what they do, and let their online marketing serve their business in ways they’ve never imagined before. It’s the wave of the future; heck, it’s the wave now!
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell

Chitika

After months of my friend Sire beating me up about it, I’ve finally decided to sign up with Chitika. Chitika is another PPC (pay-per-click) advertising company along the lines of Adsense and Widget Bucks, but there’s a difference, which I’ll get to in a couple of minutes.

Signing up is fairly easy to do. You put in all of your demographic information, along with a preferred username and password, and make the determination of how you want to get paid. Then you hit the button, and you’ll get an email where you click the link to activate your account.

The next step is to pick the type of ad you want to display, and select the colors. Oddly enough, you’ll have two options, which I thought was odd until I read it a little bit better. I’ll start with option two, which gives you the opportunity to select an alternate link or product to advertise instead of their offering. They do that because of option one, which states that if you select it, the only people who will see the ad are people who come to your site via a search engine. Yup, that means if you’re a regular reader and therefore visit the site any other way, you’ll never see the regular Chitika ads, but anyone who might find you via a search engine will. The idea is that people who come to you via a search engine represents targeted traffic, and their advertisers will pay a higher rate for targeted traffic. At the same time, your normal visitors won’t have to be subjected to the ads. One other odd thing is that, as long as I’m considered as logged into my account, I’ll never see any of those ads either; weird, right?

Of course, that doesn’t mean one can’t represent them with affiliate tags, which I’ve done over there to the left. I didn’t read how much I could get if anyone signs up after clicking on the button; truthfully, I haven’t really paid much attention to any of the affiliate ads as far as how much I could get paid, which I now have to admit is a little strange for someone who’s usually as anal as I can be about these types of things. I guess I figure if any of them make money, I’ve done fairly wel.

So, we’ll see how it goes on the blog. Sire states that Chitika brings in more money on his blog than Adsense; I guess another test will tell the tale, but, since this blog brings in almost no Adsense money, it might not be a fair fight.