Sunday, January 15, 2012

JustUnFollow and Friend or Follow are good sites for Twitter users

When using Twitter, you shouldn't go crazy following others in the hope that they will follow you back. But even if you're only following, say, five people a day on average, then you'll end up hitting the two thousand limit in around a year. If you don't have at least the same number of people following you back, then you can't follow any more. Then you have to start unfollowing people from time to time if you wish to follow those who are already following you.

There are several tools you can use to do this. I've been using both Friend or Follow and JustUnFollow. I think the latter is better for choosing who to unfollow simply because of the way it's laid out. (With the former all the tweeps you're following are shown in a grid and you have to mouse over their photos to see their details, after which you can decide what to do. But with JustUnfollow all that information is laid out in front of you already and you just place ticks in boxes.)

If you are going to use one or both of these sites (or others like them) then you should be careful not to overdo it. Regularly unfollowing lots of people can result in account suspension.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The site is based here in Perth, Western Australia

When you look at a commercial website, particularly if it has a sleek design and lots of good content, you generally have little idea of exactly where the company behind it is located (unless it is geo-specific in nature, of course). For some reason many people still tend to think that big authority sites with "dot com" and "dot net" domain names must be American ventures. But that doesn't necessarily follow. Nowadays they could be run from just about anywhere in the world.

The first big surprise I got regarding this misapprehension was a few years ago when I first learned about the world's top "problogger" Darren Rowse. I found his site, and had a look through it, assuming that he was from the USA. But I was stunned to learn that he actually lived in Melbourne. That really opened my eyes.

I still haven't completely gotten over that misapprehension, however. I'm a member of Commission Junction and I was looking through their list of merchants to promote. I found one that looked really good called It seems to be the top site in that category, ranking number one in Aussie Google searches for the keyword. (I suspect that's the same for Google's main international site also.)

Learning more about the site I was surprised to discover that it is not a USA-based company, but is actually run from right here in little old Perth. So, there's another example of the global nature of the internet (not that there's a lack of them of course), and still more proof that it really is a great equalizer in so many ways.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Using Squidoo and Wikinut for SEO purposes

Most readers will be aware of sites like Squidoo. Their characteristics vary, but they are usually like a combination of blogging platform and article directory, and they allow users to make some money through various revenue sharing arrangements. Because they have so much content up there and are updated so often they rank highly in the search engines and are great places to build backlinks to other sites.

With these factors in mind I recently submitted a couple of lenses to Squidoo to get a bit of a feel for it. While they haven't been up there long enough to discern any noticeable SEO benefit to the sites I linked to (with the big arrow!), I do know that both have been indexed by Google.

Surprisingly, it does take a little while for the indexation to occur, even if you bookmark your lens here and there. And the process often seems to be twofold. Firstly, you have to wait a few days before you see the lens listed. When you do see it there, it often appears quite high in the results. Then it disappears for a few days more while Google does a bit more "thinking" about how it should rank. You can find it again at this stage, but it's often much further down the list of results. (This exact process occurred with one of my lenses, and I've read it described repeatedly on blogs.)

The reason I mention this is because many people submit lenses and freak out when they can't find them by Googling, even after a week or more. So, don't worry. It will happen.

That idiosyncracy aside, there's something very appealing about the whole lens building process. It's quite different to submitting articles to directories. With these, you just put your article into the form provided. But Squidoo uses a module based structure, and you can add text or link lists or other things. Just the fact that these options are available is conducive to creativity. While you're playing around with them, new ideas seem to suggest themselves.

The modules also make you think carefully about what you'll include, and pare the content down to the bare essentials. This means that lenses tend to be more jam packed with information, giving more value to the reader. 

Another site that is a lot like Squidoo is Wikinut. You can make some money from it. However the general perception from people using it for this purpose seems to be that the financial fruits are very small indeed. Still, it has a nice design, a PR of 3 and it allows you to put dofollow backlinks in your articles. So it's worth contributing to for the SEO benefits alone.

Like Squidoo, Wikinut has a module based structure (although with not as many different options). So, that's another positive aspect. Also, it gets indexed very quickly. I've submitted two pages there so far and they both appeared within hours of being published, maybe sooner. So, it actually beats Squidoo in this regard.