Monday, June 21, 2010

Keyrow is a great free keyword tool

Anyone who is into article marketing is of course interested in keyword research. Some marketers spend a huge amount of time doing this. They painstakingly isolate previously undiscovered niche keywords, and work out ways to corner that particular market. The actual article writing is like a mere formality.

I don't like this approach. Frankly I think it's a much better policy to just write about subjects you know and love, while being mindful of the SEO aspects like keyword selection and density. If you do that the process remains enjoyable as well as effective.

That said, I am starting to see just how fascinating - and potentially addictive! - the whole subject of keywords is. And I've found some great free tools related to it recently. One particularly good one is Keyrow.

It's great because it gives you some really valuable information about where your website or blog is heading keyword-wise. For instance, you can type in your URL and it will list the most popular search terms your site is ranking for, and your position in the SERPs.

This is very useful because you might not have received any actual traffic from these searches yet because you are on page 3, say. So you wouldn't have known about this if not for the tool.

But once you've found out this info, you can then focus on those particular keywords, writing lots of relevant content on your site or blog as well as in articles that you place elsewhere, and thereby slowly climb up to the first page for these search terms and increase you traffic considerably.

And that's just one of the ways you can use it. Smartbloggerz has a more informative post on the tool.

The importance of head shots in marketing

The more I get into online marketing, the more I appreciate the importance of branding and recognition. The vast majority of businesses have a website and/or blog nowadays - and if they don't they should have! Then there is the huge boom in marketing via social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. All these promotional methods work a lot better with the addition of photos. So you might as well get good ones done.

(This is quite an interesting development actually. In the past, only actors and musicians and the like would need quality photographs of themselves to improve their careers, but now it's almost everyone!)

With this in mind I got some done some months ago when I was still in Sydney. I went to the Head Shot Studio.

Years ago, when I was getting acting work in Melbourne, I had similar work done from time to time by various photographers. None of them were anywhere near as professional as the Head Shot Studio.

I even went back and got some more photographs taken of a comic character that I perform live, and have a website for. I would have had more work done (for other characters that I have) but was preparing to move back to Perth, where I now live, so I couldn't find the time.

Needless to say I was really pleased with the work they did, and recommend them to anyone in Sydney needing a good head shot.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Online scammers getting more inventive

Quite often when I hear about how people are duped by online scammers from overseas I can hardly believe that they let it happen. I mean, surely everyone in the entire world with an internet connection has received at least a dozen dodgy e-mails from Nigeria by now! How could anyone possibly not be wise to their tactics?

Still, people believe what they want to believe, I suppose...

And the scammers do seem to be changing their tactics. Rather than promising untold wealth, some are now using fear of the law and guilt about sex to dupe people into emptying their pockets.

The technique involves targeting people who have sold electronic goods overseas, then telling them that porn was found on these items. A fine must be paid for the seller to clear his name and stop legal action being taken.

It's a truly rotten thing to do, but undeniably clever. And I can see how many well-meaning and intelligent people who would not be fooled by the usual Nigerian e-mail tactic could be tricked by this technique. No wonder Australians have lost $70 million this way so far.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Free classifieds do work. Gumtree is a good example

One of the big developments on the internet over recent years has been the massive rise in the number of online free classified sites. There does seem to be a strong perception that the market is saturated, and they just don't work.

While I think the first point is true, the second isn't. You just have to find the right ones. (Or just place your ads on so many of them that you eventually hit the bullseye by accident!)

I have used them in the past to sell stuff and had some success. And recently I got a very good illustration of their effectiveness.

Having just moved back from Sydney to Perth, I was looking for a place to live. I scoured the newspapers of course, and also the big Real Estate site and found some places to look at. I also looked at the Perth Gumtree site. I saw an ad that looked good and called the contact number listed and arranged to see the place.

When I showed up there were at least 3 other people there. I had a look and saw it wasn't to my liking so I left pretty quickly. But there could well have been other people showing up subsequently.

Maybe the ad was also placed in the newspaper but I don't think so. I'd looked very thoroughly through the latest issue and I'm pretty sure it wasn't there. I also can't recall seeing it on the Real Estate site - and anyway it was a private listing, and all or most of the ads there are placed through agents.

So I suspect that Gumtree was possibly the only place it was listed. And if it was placed somewhere else, it was probably another online classified site.

So there is no doubt in my mind that this method of advertising works. As well as Gumtree, Cracker also has a good reputation. And of course there's Craigslist, the king of online classifieds.

If you placed an ad at some or all of these sites you'd be sure to have some success. Then of course there are all those other lesser known ones as well. Some are bound to be very effective.

Monday, June 14, 2010

YouBundle has a good concept behind it

One thing I've noticed lately is this increase in the number of sites that offer how to information and guides. They are like article directories in a way, but a bit more specific.

I just found another site that's kind of in that category. It's called YouBundle. The concept is very clear. You bundle together some of your knowledge and expertise.

The very concept immediately suggests ideas. For instance I could bundle together my favourite blogs ... or the funniest comedians in Australia ... or the best cafes in Perth, etc.

It definitely seems to be worth joining and contributing to.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Indexing of Tumblr blogs

I started a little blog on Tumblr a while ago now. This was mainly to try it out, and also to keep a record of unusual, interesting articles that I found on the web.

While it is an elegant tool, and very user friendly, it certainly takes a long while to get indexed. I thought it might happen automatically, since this does seem to happen with other platforms. (That is, when someone creates a site, there often seems to be some sort of automatic listing of it on the main site, and that qualifies as a backlink.) But this process (or something like it) seems not to have happened here.

In any case I did create a backlink weeks ago on one of my blogs. It still hasn't kicked in. So, this does seem to be a bit of an issue.

And this experience does seem to concur with other assessments of Tumblr. I have read repeatedly that it is not easily and quickly indexed by search engines. Here's an example.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ways to tell if links are nofollow or dofollow

You can certainly go overboard looking for forums and blogs that can give you dofollow links back to your site. Still, it is useful to know this information.

This used to be very easy a while ago if you had Mozilla Firefox, since you could just mouse over a link on a page, scroll down to "Properties" and it would tell you. This particular facility seems to be gone from the more recent versions of that browser. Or at least it's not so easy to access.

That said, you can still download a nifty add-on called NoDoFollow which highlights the different kinds of links with different colours.

Also, there are various free detector tools that will tell you what kind of links a page has when you type in the URL. Here's an example.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Thoughts on Qondio

Just a few quick thoughts on Qondio: There are a couple of things that make it stand out from other sites in its niche.

Firstly, you have to pay a five dollar lifetime joining fee. Obviously this would be off-putting to a lot of people. But I suspect that the reason they require this (aside from making a few bob!) is to weed out people who are not serious or who are just going to spam the site with duplicate or shoddy content.

And the site is definitely rigorous about members only submitting original content. The terms and conditions make it very clear that if you do submit stuff you've placed elsewhere they'll just ban you from the site.

So, they're clearly focusing on this particular aspect of SEO. They know that if they only have original stuff there then the whole site will rank a lot better a lot quicker. And those SEO benefits will subsequently trickle down to every member who writes for it.

Also, they know that those submitting their work are doing it primarily for SEO purposes and they definitely want to attract more members on that understanding. The Qondio front page makes a point of saying that it's a great place to build backlinks, which is not something you see on other sites like it.

So, taking these factors into account, does it deliver? Well, I've only submitted one bit of "intel" so far. I just did a backlink check for the site I was linking back to from it and found that that particular bit of content already ranked high on the list. So it does seem that the search engines do regard Qondio quite highly. And their zero tolerance for dupe content policy does seem to be paying off.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pedestrian sues Google for accident

This is a bizarre and intriguing story: A woman was following directions on her Blackberry using Google Maps. She ended up on a busy street and was subsequently run over by a car. So she is now suing Google for damages, since the program said it was safe to walk on that road.

Sounds like a very long bow to draw, even for American lawyers. Maybe they think they've got a better chance of winning since it's probably the first claim of its kind? And Google certainly has very deep pockets ...

Whatever the reason, I doubt it will be the last claim of its kind!