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Tag: Bing

 

I haven’t written about blogging for a while. Since I follow quite a few blogs every day, not to mention, monitor the activity of my own blogs, it’s interesting to see what works and what doesn’t work – sometimes it’s just plain obvious, other times I had to learn certain lessons the hard way. Here are six suggestions that may be useful to anyone who’s blogging.

 

  1. Avoid ads (at first, at least): when you just start a blog and even when it’s quite a bit more established, it’s best to avoid putting ads. First, you’re not going to make any serious amount of money: if you place AdSense code, you may get the occasional click which would probably amount to ~10 cents. However, you will cause – and this is particularly important at the beginning – your potential audience to reconsider visiting your blog.

     
    Here is a personal example: I have a niche site which provies book and movie reviews. When it first launched I got quite a few people very involved because it’s dealing with a specific topic that apparently many people find interesting. About a month after I launched it I added ads: this drove my two most loyal readers away – they never came back! I even wrote one emails and she never responded. After two months during which I made a whopping $4 I took the ads off. I think these people’s response was extreme but some people are turned off by ads or anything that can be viewed as trying to make money (if you’ve been on Twitter for a while, you know that people on Twitter – tweeps – are very hostile to ads). Note that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with placing ads – you spend time and effort, get a domain, a hosting account – why not get compensated, at least a bit, for your efforts?

     
    Another consideration is that a blog is a personal thing and ads take away from that intimacy. I think when you have an established audience, most (if not all) will understand it if you put ads, but at first it will turn people off.

     
    If and when you do place ads, it’s a good idea to put them in a place that doesn’t ruin the “visitor experience”. Some blogs are so crammed with ads it’s just a turn off even for me.

     

  2. Give your posts proper titles – the search engine perspective: Try to incorporate phrases that people search for in your titles. It’s not really hard to do, a quick visit to the Google keyword tool will show that. For example: Six Blogging Tips and Tricks (the title of this post).

     

  3. Give your posts proper titles – aim to go viral. If you can come up with a good catchy title it will certainly draw attention. And if it’s a good post, people will want to share it, retweet it and send it to their friends. My recent blog post “Gaining A Million Followers In Less Than 30 Days” – got the fastest numbers of visitors from the moment I tweeted a link to it from all of my other blog posts.

     

  4. Use video properly: using video is a great idea which is highly recommended. Search engines love it and people respond better to videos than to text – after all, it’s easier to listen than to read. However, videos can’t replace your blog post completely.

     
    There are blogs that only rely on a video to convey their message. No description of the content nor a meaningful title. Not only this is bad from an SEO perspective since there is no way for the search engines to figure what the post is all about, and so, index it properly, but this is also true for people too. Often I can’t turn on my speakers from various reasons and consequently, can’t listen to the video – so there are some blog posts I literally have no clue what they are about as much as I’d like to know.

     

  5. Use a correct permalink structure: meaning, the path to the post should not use Wordpress’ default structure (which looks something like this: www.domain.com/?p=1234. Instead, use /%category%/%postname%. This is good for three reasons.

     
    First, it helps with search engine optimization, as the path has a definite impact on SEO.

     
    Second, it helps humans know what the post is about if they just see the link. For example, even without reading this blog post, by looking at the link (which is: http://www.industryreview.org/search-engines/six-blogging-tips-and-tricks), people can get a pretty good idea what the post is about.

     
    Finally, it helps you when you check for rankings. One of my oldest sites – coincidentally, the one I mentioned in #1 – has multiple pages that rank well in Google (and Bing and Yahoo) for various phrases. However, I made the mistake of using the default permalink structure – so unless I manually check, I have no idea which pages rank! All I see is a www.domain.com/?p=1237.

     

  6. Beware of spammer comments: Although I’ve written a post about this before, some comments are really quite devious in the sense you may be tricked into approving them.

     
    Not only they may have hidden links – and this has happened to me – a space between two words had a link to some nasty site, and I couldn’t see it until I actually viewed the code. But additionally, even if they are harmless, and you approve them, they make your site look amateurish to anyone who has seen these comments a million times before.

     
    In other words: avoid any comment that sounds generic – like they could fit any post – particularly if they sound flattering, i.e. “Thank you for the great post”, “Can I use parts of your post in my own blog?”, “Darn, I left a comment but it didn’t work.. do you see it?”, “Your design is fantastic – can I ask where you got that theme from?” and that sort of thing. All these are similar to comments I get every single day.

 
That’s it for now. I hope this has been useful.

 

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Buying shoes

I keep planning to do two big posts and yet things always keep interrupting me and I end up writing about something else. I suppose this is the good thing about having a blog: you can always talk about what you find interesting at the moment. And I still intend to write the other posts.

 
Some time ago I created a new site promoting a piece of clothing (I won’t say which one). Using several tools, I estimated it would have a decent amount of traffic, even if on the low side, and little competition. Furthermore, I did a quick search: monetization should be easy: both in terms of ad revenue and in terms of affiliate offers (easily found some, and good ones too). I built the site, and within 2 weeks ranked #1 on Yahoo, Bing and Google. Piece of cake.

 
To my surprise, I got traffic, but very little of it. Really disappointing; although I was not expecting a lot of traffic, clearly the tools I used to estimate what I’d get were wrong since I never got more than 5 visitors a day – and I was #1 on all three search engines!

 
Therefore, I started using it as a test site: I did experiments with it such as removing a large number of backlinks at the same time to see what would happen: they slowly vanished from the my site (meaning, the backlink count slowly started going down every day), and eventually I lost my #1 position on Bing – but that’s it, still #1 on both Google and Yahoo.

 
I removed the ads and started testing other forms of monetization, not because I thought I’ll get anything from it (clearly I would not with so little traffic), but because I wanted to see how it would look/affect the rankings/whatever. Some things have peculiar effects on SERPs and I was curious whether I’d stumble on anything interesting.

 
Following a conversation with a friend I had on Friday, I decided I’ll just flip (sell) the site. I’ll rebuild the backlinks, restore the ads, and quickly regain my #1 Bing position. I would advertise it exactly as it is: #1 rankings on all search engines, all original content, small niche, but very little revenue. Hey, even if I get a $150 it’s worth it – it may be useful for someone else, but from my perspective the site is a total loss.

 
As I started rebuilding links I noticed something .. interesting. Something which completely made me feel like an idiot. Apparently all this time I was checking the site rankings for the wrong keyword phrase. Clearly I was #1 for a phrase but it was not the phrase I was aiming for originally. And all this time I just assumed I somehow got a niche that sounded good in theory, but in fact isn’t. After checking my rankings for the right keyword phrase I saw I’m around 40 something. This clearly explains the low amount of traffic I get… and still not so bad considering I eliminated a large portion of its backlinks in an antagonizing way to the search engines.

 
So no total loss. Back to building backlinks, I restored all the ads, added multiple affiliate offers (more than I had before) and starting tracking the right statistics now.

 
This emphasizes the importance of doing things meticulously. Although I usually pride myself on being very thorough, I’m only human too. I’m at least glad to see that it means this site is not a total loss and may yet prove to be quite a good one!

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me


In case you are not familiar with it, the Google Keyword tool is an excellent free keyword research tool. You type in a keyword or a phrase, and it shows you the search volume, cost for advertising, competition as well as associated words and phrases. A necessary tool for all affiliate marketers.

 
Some time ago, out of curiosity, I used it with my own name as the seed keyword. The result quite disturbed me. But that’s in the past. In fact, it made me reflect on my life and ponder who I am. Moreover, since today is Yom Kippur (the Jewish day of atonement) I figure it’s most appropriate that I post this now. Google was right and I was wrong. But let me explain what the search tool found:

 
First, apparently my name is associated with:
“Ten stupid things women do”
“Ten stupid things women do to mess up their lives”
“Care and feeding of husbands”

 
Huh. So accurate it’s uncanny. I’ve really underestimated Google. I didn’t realize the burden my wife carries. I hope she doesn’t read this!

 
Second, the tool even further speculates about my life and ties my name with:
“Bad childhood good life”

 
Like I said, at first I didn’t agree with this claim, but after going through all my repressed memories, I realized Google is in fact right. My childhood wasn’t as good as I remember it to be. It even rained the day I went to Disneyland, how unfair is that?? My childhood just sucked, and thanks to Google I see that now.

 
Perhaps they should rename it from “Google Keyword Tool” to “Google Psychic Tool”. Because it is! Google just reaches into an interdimensional database of facts and pulls out the nitty gritty stuff you won’t find elsewhere, in places such as Bing or Yahoo. And I won’t even mention Ask, not even as a joke. That’s why Google is #1. Because of this stuff.

 
Final conclusion: if an advertiser wants to bid on my name, he should consider the headline “Ten Stupid Things Women Do”. This is scientifically proven to work.

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How Accurate is Alexa?

Alexa is an internet service that by using a toolbar that is installed on a large number of people’s browsers, is able to collect a lot of information on internet sites. Since the claim is this statistical sample is large enough to make statistically significant statements, Alexa theoretically can be used to accurately measure traffic of most (if not all) internet websites.

 
The lower the traffic rank score, the more popular the site is and the more traffic it gets. For example, I just checked Google’s traffic rank and it is 1. I tend to believe this is accurate and Google is the most popular website in the world. Bing is ranked at 19. Of course, it can’t be 100% accurate since not all internet users in the world have Alexa installed, but the claim is that it’s accurate. And with a large enough base of users that accurately represent the collective behaviors of internet users (this is pretty important!) it should be true (this is the same problem faced by people who conduct polls – to get a sample that represents that the population demographics).

 
I noticed that with some of my sites, Alexa seems to estimate traffic pretty accurately However, with others, it is completely and utterly wrong. For example, my most popular site – quite a niche site admittedly – yet one that has been able to get a very decent daily number of visitors and two page 1 Google rankings, is assigned an extremely bad traffic rank of ~5,000,000! This is far from accurate. The mentioned site gets at least 3-5 times as much traffic as this blog, yet has a far, far worse rank. And this blog is barely a month and a half old.

 
The answer to this question is simple: the ‘average’ user does not visit my mentioned website as much. However, isn’t the claim that Alexa’s user base is large enough to be able to give a good indicator? And if that is not the case, how can we trust its rankings for anything except for the most popular/mainstream websites, really?

 
My goal in this post has not been to analyze the pros and cons of Alexa, but more to pose an open question to readers: How has been your experience with Alexa rankings? And if it’s been accurate (in your opinion), is your site big/small, on a popular subjects/niche topics, targeted to a specific demographic/worldwide? I am just curious in trying to get a better understanding for this.

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SEO for Bing, Yahoo and Google

With all that’s going on these days in the search engine arena, I believe it’s particularly important to try to optimize sites not just for Google but for other search engines as well (which are, of course, Bing and Yahoo). The good thing is that SEO for all these search engines is rather similar. However, there are some factors that make a difference.

 
I have conducted a search online to find analysis of SEO for the various search engines. I found several excellent documents. Here’s what I found:

 
SeoWizz.net has done a conclusive analysis between Bing and Google SEO optimization. My summary is this:

  1. Google greatly values incoming links, particularly diversity, more than Bing does.
  2. Bing favors older domains.
  3. Bing favors links from pages that include your keywords in their title.

 
Inchoo.net adds that:

  1. Bing assigns more importance to the title tag than Google does.
  2. Bing favors older domains (similar conclusion to SeoWizz).
  3. Bing likes more incoming links than Google (which in fact, contradicts SeoWizz). It is possible to resolve this contradiction by not just looking at the number of backlinks but also factoring link diversity – an element Inchoo did not take into consideration (I believe).

 
SeoWizz also analyzed the difference between Yahoo and Google.

  1. Google takes into consideration meta tags whereas Yahoo does not.
  2. Google places more weight on incoming links than Yahoo does.
  3. Google assigns more importance to domain age than Yahoo (an interesting observation, considering Bing is even more extreme in that respect).
  4. SeoWizz’s conclusion is that Google is better at treating a site as a whole (i.e. a collection of pages) than Yahoo, which treats every page individually.

 

keyword rankings

This image shows rankings for several of my websites using various key phrases, for both Google (G), Yahoo (Y) and Bing (B) with a broad search. This was generated using Market Samurai, an excellent keyword research tool that can be used for a huge range of tasks, including keyword research, ranking, monetization, publishing content. Definitely the best tool in its category. It examines the top 200 results, and is sorted according to Google’s results.

 
When I look into my own site statistics, it becomes obvious the majority of my websites/phrases rank better on Google than either Bing or Yahoo. So the results are generally consistent with the reported above observations. That being said, my own experience – which was not mentioned by either of the above websites – is that Google assigns a lot of value to the site URL, much more than both Yahoo and Bing.

 
Therefore, I believe the rankings of my websites for the various search engines are currently the way they are because:

 
First, most of my sites are new to relatively new – thus, they would not be favored by Bing but would be liked by Google.

 
Second, I believe most of my sites have a rather diverse link portfolio and quite a lot of links. Again, liked by Google.

 
Third, most of my highly ranked websites are using a domain name that is heavily searched (found using keyword research tools) whereas the sites that are not well ranked are not.

 
Even this domain, Industry Review, is ranked #5 for Google for the broad key phrase ‘industry review’! And I have not done any backlinking or SEO. I think this heavily supports my conclusion.

 
That being said, there are the occasional anomalies. I can only explain those by certain Google slaps. These are actually sites that did very well at first, but suddenly drifted into the 200+ position (and have slowly improved over time).

 
It is going to be interesting to see what the new Binghoo engine is going to bring us, and how the various differences are going to be resolved. Personally, I am quite excited, as I see more opportunities than perils.

 
For additional reading:

 
http://www.seowizz.net/2009/06/bing-seo-how-does-it-differ-to-google.html

 
http://inchoo.net/online-marketing/seo-for-bing/

 
http://www.seowizz.net/2009/05/difference-between-google-seo-and-yahoo.html

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udi-industry-review

Since this is the first post on this brand new blog, I’m basically going to repeat what I wrote in my ‘About Me’ page.

 
This is my first attempt of having a blog on ’serious’ matters. In the past I’ve had several personal blogs, and not only really enjoyed it, but was quite successful as well (one of them was the #1 blog for a small website for a period of several months).

 
Who am I? My name is Udi Schlessinger. I’m currently trying my luck as an entrepreneur. After working for several years as a software developer and a team lead, I realized that pure programming isn’t for me. So I went ahead, moved to London, and did a Ph.D. in Computer Science (specifically, biologically inspired computing: I created agents that have neural networks as brains and get smarter through evolution. You know, very sci-fi stuff, matrix-like evil-AI thingies).

 
Unfortunately, I graduated exactly when this recession started (Oct’ 2007 – which is a bit funny considering I finished my M.Sc. in May 2000 – when the previous recession started. In fact, I’ve never worked in a period that was not a recession!). So not only I was ‘fresh’ out of school in terms of my academic background, NY isn’t particularly a good place for people who want to work in areas that relate to my Ph.D. That is, unless you’re willing to work for a financial place that likes this sort of thing. Fortunately for me, I actually like finance (that was my focus at college). So I found myself working for a huge investment bank, which was a new experience for me, and yet unfortunately, one I did not like.

 
Therefore, in April I decided that I’m going to pursue my own thing. I set a 5-stage multi-year plan, and started. I won’t elaborate much on this, but I will say the first stage consists of getting enough passive income using affiliate marketing & website creation to survive on, and the second stage consists of creating tools for affiliate marketing (a market I think is far from mature). I’m still at stage 1 but hopefully will move past that soon.

 
After doing this for several months I realized I need to voice my opinions. I learned so so much. I met numerous interesting people in the NY affiliate meetups. I learned what to do and what not to (still remember my first Google slap). Since there’s only so much one can write in Facebook status lines or say to friends, I decided to create this blog!

 
My goal is to discuss various issues: affiliate marketing, SEO, Google vs Yahoo vs Bing, the market, Artificial Intelligence in affiliate marketing (and elsewhere) and basically everything I can think of. I hope you’ll find this interesting!

 
If you feel like sending me a note, please, by all means go ahead. My email is Udi at IndustryReview.org. Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/uschles

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