Tag: Chris Hooley

Soooo… SEO huh? What’d I Miss?

I don’t know if y’all knew this but, I used to be pretty good at this SEO crap.  But after taking a few years off I an only assume I missed a lot of super important stuff.  I heard something about a panda bear, some scheme-a-ma-jig, so-cal votes and facebook smears…

Seems important.

Do uh, links, still work for SEO?  Anybody out there still spinning and winning?  From what I have read, every type of automation has been systematically weeded out and all sites using it have been banned right?  We need to “hand-job” everything in order to succeed?

One thing’s for sure, from the research I’ve done since I’ve been back, I can say this: there’s still just as much noise, fear mongering, ass licking, and bullshit being pushed from these so called “experts” as there was back in the day when I was ignoring them.

I call bullshit.

As much as some nuances have changed, the basics are still the same.  Get links.  The bigger the better.  Get authority.  And anchor text still works.  Search engineers always find ways to close holes in their algorithms that have been exposed time and time again, right?  But for some reason there still are holes so big you can still drive a Mack truck through them.  And some of the new stuff they’re introducing is even easier to game in it’s early stages.  *cough* *choke* *automated google +1 votes* *fart*

In all my years, I’ve played in and dominated very competitive verticals, and I have never had a single site banned.  Because common sense tells you don’t get too spammy, and don’t be too obvious, and don’t be evil.  Just because you can flare up some behind the proxy scraper / spinner / poster / pinger tools to harvest 30,00 links doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.  But competitive sense should tell you that just because a few big time SEO names or search engine employees at some expensive drunk fest glad-handing circle jerk (I mean conference, in case you didn’t catch the reference) tell you not to do something, IT DOESN’T MEAN THAT IT WILL NOT WORK.  You just have to get a feel for where the line is and don’t cross it… too often.  And if you do cross the line, do it by a tip toe, not by a mile.  Don’t be the Leeroyyyyyy Jenkins of link building.

There are safe ways to be aggressive.  Even now, when everybody tells you it’s impossible.  Don’t run around like an idiot blowing shit up with a hydrogen bomb where a single sniper should would do the trick.  And don’t listen to these fools trying to throw you off course.  Get links.  Good ones.  Lots of em.  And rank Up!


Pubcon is Coming!

Are you ready for this?  Pubcon 2009 in Sunny Las Vegas is almost here.  And for the first time ever, I’m taking the podium.  Runnin’ with the big dawgs.  It’s in a few weeks and I still have yet to complete my presentation.

I’m screwed.

But at least my session is the first one, on the first day, so the chances of me nursing a killer hangover and possibly missing my speaking gig will be reduced by AT LEAST 15% – give or take.

If you know me, you know I’ve been a pretty hardcore SEO for about a decade.  And if you know me well, you know that I’ve pretty much transitioned myself into full bore affiliate marketer recently.  I still have a couple cool clients, but it’s no longer my core focus.  At the time when I put in my request to speak at Pubcon,  I was still seeking clients aggressively.  And my strength to date has been corporate SEO.  And that’s what I’ll be speaking about.  How to build and in-house SEO team.

For my ex-competitors, you’ll get the sauce.  Might be worth a look eh?

The rest of the week, I’ll be chasing Lisa Barone around in hopes of getting a kiss on the cheek… or something.  I’ll hopefully be the proud winner of a personal assistant (brought to you by the same guys who inspired and caused DRINKBAIT) to help me build beer bongs and make people take shots.  And I will be buying shots for SURE for those people who supported my efforts in the Anthem Relay for Life.  Some awesome peeps like Jon Kelly, the bad asses saving the world through bioresins and what not over at ThomasNet, and one inspirational Raleigh SEO named Casey Yandle.

So get ready people.  This is gonna be the best year EVER  for PUBCON VEGAS!!


The Canadian SEO Prize Package!

Melanie Nathan (follow her on Twitter @MelanieNathan) recently had a kick ass little contest to get people to participate in her brand new blog, which worked like a charm.  Just check out all those comments.  She LITERALLY just launched Canadian SEO at the time of that post, which I guarantee will take over that frozen tundra like a Nor’ Easter.  No wait, like the British.

Well I didn’t win the contest.  BUT!  I found out that I was awarded a consolation prize just for being a funny guy!

AAAWWWEEESSSOOOMMMEEE!!!!!

So I interrupted the regularly scheduled program of getting my kiddo ready for bed to see what I got!

Here it is in all it’s glory.  A coffee mug, poker chips, card, hat, and keychain according to customs
Canadian Prize

Imagine my excitement when I got the package!
Canadian Prize

My daughter was excited too.  So excited, she tried to steal the package from me.
Canadian-Prize

She got it, which somehow magically made me warp backwards and rage
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We compromized and decided to open to together
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Kaylee was excited to find out it was chocolate.  I almost cried.
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So here goes nothing, let’s check out our chocolate…
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Hey this isn’t chocolate!!! It’s a CANADIAN GOLDMINE!
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canadian-prize-9

canadian-prize-99

So I put the kid ot bed and decided to play with some of my new awesome Canadian Toys!
canadian-prize-999

DRINKBAIT!
canadian-prize-9999

Wow, that shot was smooth.  And I spilled some on my shirt
canadian-prize-99999

Hey it worked!
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I heard my daughter come back down stairs, and thought I would give her a little Canadian surprise!  Canadian Rally sticks FTW!
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But she retaliated with a viscious combo attack
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And that was pretty much the where it ended.  I put her back to bed, and resumed pimping the web, only now with a pile of Canadian AWESOMENESS!

Thanks Canadian SEO!
canadian-prize-999999999


The Ultimate SEO Marriage – I’ll Do the Honors

Imagine a marriage between cShel and Daver.  High atop the Sears Tower, the place is packed with friends, family, and SEO Superstars.  They are broadcasting live on uStream and hundreds of people are watching online.  Lisa Barone is live blogging the event, with SugarRae smacking her in the back of the head for not using the <more> tag.

Dave’s looking sharper than ever; standing at the alter in his tux, plams sweating, so focused on whats about to happen that he’s not even checking his iPhone for Twitter updates.  Carolyn walks in the room, looking absolutely ravishing.  Heads turn, and twitpic lights up with mobile uploads of our SEO darling in the most beautiful wedding dress Adsense ever bought.

SEO Wedding Couple

All of the sudden, “Here Comes the Bride” is scratched to a halt and Europe’s “The Final Countdown” starts blasting over the speakers.  Strobe lights, fog, lights camera action.  Chris Hooley is elevated from a platform below the stage, pounding a beer bong like it’s spring break. “KISS THAT BRIDE MANG SO WE CAN GET THIS PARTY STARTEEEEEED!”

Chris Hooley the Dudeist Priest

Dave busts out a rock the size of a softball (paid for by his newly launched pyramid affiliate scheme), pops it on Carolyn’s dainty finger, and Hooley screams “I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU SEO MAN AND SEO WIFE (#2)”.

This Could Happen, Really.

I can legally perform a marriage for any of you SEO rockstars, and turn your special day into a virtual circus.  For a small fee, or some kick ass links to some of my most prized web properties, THE Chris Hooley can do YOUR honors.  Because I’m now an ordained priest.

I’m a Dudeist Priest.

If you’re interested in hiring me to get the deed done, I take PayPal, money orders, Google Checkout, or XLS sheets filled with hot link locations.  I also do birthdays, bar mitzvahs, and I’m a notary public.

If you wanna learn more about how to become a dudeist priest yourself, I’m selling an ebook with convoluted instructions so I can make it seem more complicated than it really is and charge a fee for it, even though it’s free at this site over here.  So give me money and let’s turn your wedding into a real party!


Style Over Substance – Your BS is Working

I’ve been noticing a disturbing phenomenon in client SEO land.  Now, I’m not going to call out any Phoenix SEO companies specifically, but if you’re reading this, you probably know who you are.

Some of the people in the industry that I pegged as pure BS artists are landing clients faster than those with the skills that SHOULD pay the bills.  And it is not by virtue of their ability to rank a site or run an advertising campaign, it’s their ability to BS clients that’s getting them the work.

Don’t get me wrong, I respect your hustle Mr. Snake Oil.  You make more calls, kiss more ass, go to more “networking” events, and hand out more business cards.  You work for yours.  But where are your clients’ sites when you’re done with them?

I’ve been on the frontlines recently.  Pushing out proposals like a madman, researching people’s sites, and checking out the work left behind by previous SEO firms.  What I see, quite frankly, embarasses me.  Mostly because I am getting lumped in with these guys.  Then I get the client’s sob story about their previous experience.  It usually sounds something like this:

They were great.  We had bi-weekly phone meetings, we used this neat little tool to track our progress, I got reports with graphs in them, and I even rank number one for “Arizona Mortgage Refinancing Specialist Ahwatukee AZ”.  But I just can’t afford the 8k a month retainer anymore“.

Or worse, this:

They were terrible.  I had a really bad experience with [insert well known company] who promised me rankings.  They charged my 8k a month, and even had the gall to send more invoices when I asked for even the smallest changes“.

My interpretation of both scenarios leads to the same conclusion.

Scenario 1 – You’re a  good bullshitter.  You made your client believe they were getting a value from your shoddy service, overcharged, and dried up the well.

Scenario 2 – You’re a good bullshitter. You made your client believe they were going to get a value for your shoddy service, overcharged, and scared a client from using a better company’s web marketing services down the road.

You’re Doing It Wrong

Either way, I am seeing shoddy work from previous firms and agencies. They’re leaving huge holes in their campaigns.  I’m proposing lower prices than companies were used to paying their old crappy vendors.  I’m seeing low hanging fruit and easy wins for my potential clients.  And I am still having to hustle way more than I ever thought I would have to, just to save a potential client back to the good side of the force.  The fish that normally would be jumping in the boat, are still on the edge.

In cases like these, where clients have been burned, it doesn’t matter that I have rankings and case studies to prove my ability.  It doesn’t matter that I have ringing endorsements from referrals.  It doesn’t matter that I have no problem contracting out clauses or adding performance clauses to mitigate cost risk.  People just have a harder time trusting SEO companies in general, because of the BS artists who left trash in their wake.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em?

Part of me wishes I had a better line of BS. Maybe I should have gone to more events to glad hand realtors, lawyers, and loan sharks.  Or maybe worked on my fake smiles a little more.  Tried to kiss more ass…

But that part of me IS BS.  I’m actually happy with the being a “no bullshit” kind of guy, even if I am not getting as many clients as more polished sales persons with less skill.  It’s just a shame that the pool of potential clients out there has been tarnished by slicksters who are all style, and little substance.


My Phoenix SEO Company Gets a Facelift

I’ve owned this Phoenix SEO company since 2001, but let it go stale because I spent years as a corporate SEO.  Well, I’m no longer somebody else’s executive.  I’m my own boss now.  So it makes sense that I knock the dust off of my old site and start taking clients again!

So far so good. Even with the old haggard design, I’ve been able to score a couple pretty cool clients.  But I could always use more!  No more flying solo and getting clients only by reputation.  I’m gonna work that old site and see what we can do!  It already ranks well, and it’s and older site, so a little link building will go a long way.

Truth be told, I’m looking forward to competing again with some awesome companies out here and getting back into the mix.

Until recently, I forgot how fun it is to help *other* people make money on the web.  As a self proclaimed “advanced web marketing” guy, it’s exciting when I first get my hands on a new site or marketing campaign.  There are always tweaks that are high impact and easy that make an immediate impact. Low hanging fruit all over the place.

So look out Arizona, I’ve flexed my muscles out in the big corporate world and I’m coming back to my roots.  My first successful business on the web.  MCP Media!

And BTW- it has a blog now. The Phoenix SEO Blog. So feel free to head over and give that mofo a little love eh?


Ask an SEO – Wasting Pagerank on Noindex Pages

Here’s a great question for the Ask an SEO series by Matt Inertia.  Matt writes:

Question

“Hi Chris,

I have a question for you which I’ve been trying to figure out for a few months.

If I disallow a page in robots.txt that I don’t want (or need) in the index (terms and conditions, privacy statements, logins etc) those pages are eventually removed from the Google index and their PageRank toolbar turns gray. This would indicate that those pages are not crawled or indexed and therefore do not build a PageRank.

But, is this really the case? If I am removing pages from the index using robots.txt am I inadvertently wasting PageRank by linking to those pages? Is the only way to effectively remove pages from the index and stop them building PageRank by adding nofollows to all the disallowed pages incoming links as well? I know that pages are given a gray tool bar when disallowed in robots.txt but is this a lie?!

This leads me on to the next question! Do nofollow attributes accurately cause the pages PageRank do be redistributed to the remaining followed links on that page?

Any thoughts would be appreciated!”

Answer

Thanks Matt,

The gray in your toolbar is not a lie.  Google will not serve those pages in search results if you properly noindex them in your robots.txt.  I’ve personally found Google to be quite obedient of the robots.txt files.  But other bots might not be as polite :-)

It is best practice to nofollow links to your privacy policy and other non-relevant pages to pass PageRank only to the more important pages.  The practice is known as PageRank Sculpting, or PageRank Siloing.  I would definitely add the nofollow attribute to the links to those pages if you are looking to silo your PageRank to the most important pages.  It does work.

Cover both bases to be safe, but don’t bother adding nofollow to the meta tags of those pages you are looking to keep out of the index.  If for some crazy reason they get an IBL (inbound link) from an external site, you still want to pass that pop on to the rest of your site.

Don’t forget guys and gals, if you need some FREE SEO ADVICE then drop me a line.  It’s FREEEEEEEEE!


Hip Hop Promotion

I’m sure you’re completely confused as to why my blog has a post titled “Hip Hop Promotion” but I assure you there is at least tangential relevancy.  An old friend of mine, Nick Norris, has plunged himself head first into the world of web design, SEO, and all that juicy stuff.  At first I thought “Ohh great, another new Phoenix SEO to compete for contracts.” Shizzle bizzle, I had no idea how much he was into it his new passion until I saw like 10 of his sites.  One of which, Hip Hop Village, he is targeting for the phrase “Hop Hop Promotion”.

In my cockiness, I may or may not have just blurted out to him that I will get his site to rank #1 in Google for Hip Hop Promotion.  This of course, was before I did any research.  But after doing a bit of research, turns out it will require at least some effort… which stinks because it aint like I’m getting paid for this. My “bigger than it should be” mouth just got me into a stupid predicament. I wrote a check that my ass is now required to cash…

So maybe you, my friends, could post a little linkie to his site with some nice rich anchor text to help a brother out?  If you do, me love you long time and me also owe you one.  And if you do, let me know if there is anything I can help you push as well, since I will owe you one!  In the meantime, I’ll see what I can do about that page title, redirect, and content. ;-)


Getting Links for Easy Keyphrases, Average Keyphrases, and Difficult Keyphrases- Ask an SEO

My first question posted in the “Ask an SEO” series here at ThinkBait comes from Joe Whyte.  Joe is a well known SEO, with plenty of friends in the industry.  His question was just a poll he was sending around to numerous SEO people on his IM list.  Since I spent about 20 minutes working up this response, I figured I would post it here to get at least a little value out of it.

Question:

Do you use SEOmoz’s Keyword Difficulty Tool? (not really) What different methods do you use to get links for Easy Keywords, Medium Keywords, and Difficult Keywords?

Answer:

I don’t really use that tool.  It’s not a bad tool, I just don’t use it much.

As for methods… As usual, it depends on many factors.  Some keyphrases are so easy, all it takes it writing a single blog post about it and you’ll rank at the top spot easily.  Some are still extremely easy, but need a little extra to push it over the top.  In a scenario like this, an exact match domain with a few blog posts on (so it isn’t too thin) should do the trick.  If the exact match domain is not available, one could easily post a blog then fortify it with a few clean anchor links.  If the phrase you’re trying to rank for is very easy, and also has very little inherent value, here is a cheap and easy way to get a page to rank.

  • Post a blog or publish a web page with the exact keyphrase you are trying to rank for as the title (in the tag like this: <title>Keyphrase</title> – if you’re trying to get an already established page to rank, skip this step)
  • Create a few simple free blogs on hosted blog sites with the title as the name of the blog.  WordPress.com, Blogger, Vox, etc.
  • Write a short simple blog on each hosted blog you create, with the keyphrase in the title.  Make sure within the content of that blog post the keyphrase is used at least once, and that the keyphrase is a clean anchor text link to the site or page you are trying to rank.  If you are using the visual editor when posting your blog, the link should look like this: keyphrase.  If you are using the code editor, it should look like this <a href=”http://www.SiteOrPageYouAreTryingToRank.com/”>keyphrase</a>.
  • Wait for Google to put your site to the top

If the keyphrase you are trying to rank for is very competitive, the course of action depends on you or your client’s risk tolerance versus the potential reward.  Everybody wants fast rankings, but some of the methods it takes to get those rankings may get your site banned or penalized.

It also depends on the potential profitability of those rankings.  If you are directly hooked into a highly monetizable engine, you earn a lot more from those rankings than you would if you were an affiliate for the same company. That means those rankings are far more valuable.  There is no middle man taking a cut. You can probably afford to spend more to achieve long term gains.  In this case, the first thing I would spend it on is TALENT.  Build an in house link building team for that engine, train them to be link ninjas, and work through them to grow your rankings.

If it is a highly profitable operation, then don’t stop at doing just enough to get that top spot on Google.  Build an impenetrable fortress of linkitude that no competitor could even touch.  Once you’re on top, you keep building those clean links.  Do everything in your power to insure that the shifts in link power on next Google update are already covered on your link portfolio to prevent any droppage.

If you are an affiliate marketer, or you are using indirect monetization methods, or your business model is not yielding high margin returns, your strategy probably switches to a more down and dirty approach.  You have less to lose than an already established and highly monetized operation.  Intelligent link purchases, content distribution, social media manipulation, and other aggressive tactics will probably gain you impressive tanking results.  But you increase your risk tremendously.

If your keyphrases are somewhere in the middle of the difficulty range, you will be spending a lot of time analyzing the link portfolios for your competitors that already rank for the keyphrase you are gunning for, and emulating those results.  Just try to do what they do PLUS ONE.  If  they have 100 links from similar quality sites with the same anchor text, get at least 101 of those AND make sure you also get that low hanging fruit on top of that.  Use the same risk / reward mentality, and make sure you know how much your average search engine referral is worth to your site so you know how much you can afford to spend on getting those rankings.

If you have an SEO question, and want some FREE SEO ADVICE, feel free to contact me with your question.  I can’t guarantee all SEO questions will be answered right away, but hey it’s FREE SEO advice!


It’s a PUPPY-OFF!

SnoopBloggyBlog is known for copying everything awesome that I do.  So when I went out and got a cute puppy, it’s no surprise Jon felt he had to follow suit.  But Jon is under the false impression that his puppy is CUTER than mine.  CUTER THAN MINE?!  Not possible.  You might be SEO Savvy, but you are not a very good judge of puppy cuteness, Jon Heinl.

Jon’s opinion remains unaltered by my domineering attempts to get him to admit my Bailey is cuter than his Tyson.  So I declared a PUPPY-OFF!!!

The rules are simple, I post the two pictures below, and YOU just comment on this thread that my puppy is cuter.  If you choose not to admit MY puppy is cuter, you are also a false prophet of puppy cuteness and you can join Jon among the ranks of people who have no idea how to judge the cuteness of a puppy.

So let’s do this thing…

Tyson

Here is Jon’s puppy.  He’s a 7 week old boxer who doesn’t sleep, whines a lot, and poops gigantically all over the house.  Cute?  Maybe.

Bailey

Now here is my little Bailey.  A sweet little 7 week old Malti-Poo who already is somewhat potty trained and can fit easily into my front pocket for maximum cuteness retention.

Now you be the judge, which puppy is cuter?  (say mine)


The Art of Stroking the SEO Ego

Social media, SEO, and the ego of a marketing / sales person.  All three of those things are gigantic, and all continue to grow out of control.  But even the juggernaut universe of the social web is dwarfed by the sheer size of some SEOs’ egos.

As marketers, we should be keen on spotting imbalances in markets.  Trained ninjas sizing up the competition, and spotting opportunity.  Low hanging fruit is what we live off of.   Well, the imbalance of the size of peoples’ egos versus perception creates the perfect formula for that low hanging fruit.

Ask yourself; why is it so many web marketers are such easy prey when it comes to ego stroking?  It’s simple.  The power of YOU.  “YOU” is the most powerful word in marketing.  “YOU” is the new “FREE.” “YOU” are susceptible, and even “YOU” can’t hide from the essential human need to be recognized.

Perception is reality, and if the person stroking “YOU” is somebody who has you believing they are larger than life, or at least larger than you, “YOU” will always notice if they notice “YOU.”

Lists of people you consider to be “aspirational” (somebody who’s position you are striving to be in) are an effective way to make them to notice “YOU.”  Everybody recognizes recognition.  Link to some of your favorite bloggers or industry experts, especially if their following is similar size or maybe just a little bigger.   With some ego stroking, they will notice.  Heck, they might even link back.  And you’re putting karma points on the board.  People like people who like them.

But if you want to make an even bigger dent, link to somebody who is HUNGRY.  Somebody on the front lines, right now, trying to get where “YOU” are at.  Somebody who finds “YOU” aspirational.  There’s a lot more bang for your buck in making a big impression on the next big thing, instead of getting in line to impress the current big thing.

So re-assess your next ego bait piece for a minute.  What’s going to get your more milleage, a lot of a little that is growing, or a little of a lot that is not?  Think about it. And take time to notice the new kid on the block.  That kid might just be the next big thing.

[edit - karma points on the board for Jason from ThinkBasis for the link hookup- Thanks man!]


The IRS Sucks. And so does TurboTax.

Holy crap check this out. I was penalized 6k in 2007 despite overpaying by 2k, because TurboTax did not transmit the money on the 14th of April, even though I got a successful transmission message after clicking the button. I was notified after the deadline, by the IRS, that they never got my payment. So I hired a tax lady, who wrote me a nice letter and attached some screen shots of my TurboTax account showing I paid on time and it was a software problem. So I thought I cleaned up last year’s problem. I was stoked!

I literally just licked the envelope to send off the correspondence to the IRS about the 2007 problem, and continued to tend to my bills. In the pile, there was another letter from the IRS. This one says I owe almost 18k for my 2006 taxes. Because apparently, TurboTax did the same thing that year. But the IRS waited almost 2 years so they could add an additional 6k in penalties and interest.

So now, out of the blue, I am 22k in the hole with the government. And I swear I paid that 12k, I remember it clear as day. In 2006 I found out the transmission did not go through and sent them a check. Bank of America said they cannot find the check, but I remember it plain as day.  Plus both years, I was paying my taxes the whole time.  But of course, the IRS can always figure out ways to squeeze a little extra out of a brotha.

I called the IRS, and they basically said I am S.O.L. and any problems I have had with software have nothing to do with the bottom line, which is, I owe them 22k right now. And as for Bank of America, it’s not like I backed up my transaction logs, so I depend on their system to pull data when needed.

I’m no conspiracy theorist, but how the heck did both B of A and the IRS lose record of that transaction? And how can The IRS justify waiting until 6k in interest and penalties is accrued to inform me about the 2006 problem?  And how can they justify penalizing me 6k for OVERPAYING my taxes by thousands of dollars just a few weeks late?  Especially considering I TRIED to pay on time and the software was to blame?

This is how.

The government totally sucks you motherfucker.


Working for “the Man?” I AM the Man Now.

Working for the man has it’s advantages. There’s usually more structure. You usually have health insurance, maybe a 401k or even your own little office. Sometimes you work with some really cool people- maybe at times mentally underdeveloped, but still rather pleasant people. It’s usually scheduled the same- day in and day out. You develop a routine. You become part of somebody else’s machine. You probably wake up, do your morning routine, grab your coffee, walk in and say hi to people, sit down and check your email, and start the grind.

But working for somebody else can also have a dark side. You are subject to the whims of whomever controls the company. In some situations, this can be downright dangerous- especially if “the Man” you work for is corrupt, immoral, unethical, unintelligent, moody, foolish, shady, dishonest, and any other host of adjectives that could be used to explain a bad leader. You will probably never be compensated what you are really worth. You’ll never truly know 100% what your future is, because you are not the one actually making those decisions. You are forfeiting your right to call your shots. And if you decide to do that, you had better trust the one who is calling the shots for you. Otherwise, you’ll never truly be happy. And somebody else’s lack of judgment will likely end up *your* problem to deal with in one way or another.

Since stepping out on my own, I have developed a deeper sense of self and a deeper sense of purpose. Being “the Man” has both a greater sense of responsibility, and greater sense of freedom. It’s make or break it, and nobody else can mess this up for me even if they try. And try they may. But iff it breaks, I have nobody else to blame. And if it works, I’m not feeding the fruits of my labor up to somebody else. I reap what I sow.

There’s no shame in working for somebody else, but I personally have found greater sense of pride now that I am back to running my Phoenix Web Design, SEO, and Web Marketing Company, MCP Media. Fortunately in my years of being corporate, I had enough successes under my belt that the moment I stepped out on my own, I had a ton of business just waiting for me. My transition has been easy because opportunity has been knocking the entire time. So easy in fact, that I’m not sure why my sense of loyalty prevented me from being my own man for so long. I guess you can chalk it up to experience.

That experience has proved invaluable. I’ve learned that once you accumulate a critical mass of knowledge on how business works, there are some things you just never do the same. And taking a “jobby-job” is probably one of those things. If you are critical to a business’ success and you are thinking of working for somebody else, get a work contract. Don’t just become an employee. Be very clear on the rules of engagement. You must trust the person or people you will be working for. If you don’t, it will not be worth the money in the long run. Profile your BOSS first. This person will be responsible for making decisions about your future. You might think YOU are responsible, but that’s not really the case when the buck stops somewhere else. And above all else, LOVE what you do. If you take a job just for the money, you’ll go home each day a little less happy than you would if you felt good about what you did all day.

As for my previous experience in corporate America. the jury is still out on how I feel about it. Most of it depends on how the company handles itself now that I am no longer an employee (i.e. honoring my severance, which has still not yet been paid) but I can say this, I am glad I did it and I am glad it’s done. Because now I can move forward and BE the MAN, instead of being subordinate to the “man”.

And as the man, I can tell you this. I take the responsibility seriously. If you have a boss you believe in, one that truly cares about who you are and tries to put you in a position to succeed, then it might be the perfect stepping stone into becoming “the Man” yourself. As I expand, I will be the man giving ten fingers to launch people toward their own goals. I will do what I can to make sure when people talk about their experience working for me, they say ” He’s the man! ” instead of ” He’s ‘the man’ “.


My Upcoming SEO Conference Speaking Gig!

SunCity SEOcon was traditionally an underground Arizona SEO meetup that happened in the heat of the summer, during the day, to enjoy splashing around with cold beers, some good ole BBQ, and to pick the brains of local search marketing experts.  Year after year we had a blast.  This year, we opened it up to the public.

We’re keeping the theme similar, a good mix of fun in the sun / SEO conference / networking event.  It’s nothing like any other conferences.

Here’s a long winded analogy to kind of give you an idea of the way this thing will feel, as compared to the other known conferences.  SES is like a band playing a sold out stadium. PubCon is like a local band who hit the big time and come back to their home city’s biggest club. SMX is like a rave. Elite Retreat is like an intimate club with a bad ass band… SunCity SEOcon is like Snoop Dogg playing at MTV Beach Party.

I gotta say, I’m pretty excited about the whole thing.  The speakers are the real deal on this thing.  I mean, check out this allstar line up!

It’s going to be crazy.  Register now before it’s sold out!


What Happens AFTER You Get Your Identity Stolen

Having your identity stolen is far more damaging than just losing money. I never realized how much of a tangled web finances and real life obligations where until I had to rebuild that web from scratch. When a thief cleared out my checking account from 5 different Bank of America branches using a fake ID, it basically turned my life upside down.

I learned the hard way. There are lots of things I could have, should have, and would have done better to avoid some of this mess. But I trusted the system and I did what I thought I was supposed to do. I had no idea that the system could fail me as hard as it did. Regardless, even the most paranoid person can be a victim. No amount of looking over your shoulder can guarantee that a really motivated criminal can’t screw up your life.

The Time Drain – You Pay for Other People’s Mistakes

The amount of work that you have to do to regain and protect your identity is a lot bigger than one might think. Get a new license. Close bank accounts. Open bank accounts. Contact all credit bureaus to freeze your credit and activate fraud alerts. Contact the FTC and report ID theft. Call here, email here, drive here, sign this, mail this, certified mail that, change all your accounts everywhere for everything. Update all your passwords and *remember* them. (for me, there are hundreds of those, I’m a web geek)

I found out the hard way just how bad customer service is in the US. When dealing Corporate America your work is basically tripled. Fixing this mess takes days, not minutes or hours.

Your Tangled Financial Web

Think about this for a minute. I have numerous mortgages, insurance policies, car payments, security systems, hosting, domains, financial products, water, electricity, phones, internet, cable, exterminator, HOA fees, etc etc. The list goes on. And almost every one of those bills has it’s own bill pay system. Initially I used my Bank of America Bill-Pay to consolidate all this mess, but after a few mishaps with the system causing late payments, I moved the automation to all the external systems. It’s a huge intertangled web. All of it was connected to my checking account in one way or another.

So when you shut down your bank account, the onus is on YOU to rebuild this web. Sometimes it’s hard to tell how big the web is until you step back an look at it. It’s probably bigger than a lot of people think. Add a new driver’s license to the mix, and things can get hairy. Some systems rely on old information to authenticate you, so updating your identity can also cause problems when moving accounts or changing your bank information.

Online Account Management- Managing to Waste Much More of Your Time Because it’s Free

Now let’s just look at the online portion of your new part time job. Common sense says, use a very esoteric password that would take a computer a zillion years to crack. Okay, that’s not hard. But some systems require at least one number and some don’t let you use numbers. Some require at least one special character and some don’t let you use special characters. Some force you to use exactly 8 digits. Some are 4 digit pins that can only be numeric. Some are email addresses (and I have like 50, including some old ones that are no longer active). Some require you to change them at intervals, and you can never repeat a previous password… So now you have a pile of user names and passwords. And there is no real secure way to have these stored except in your head.

Point is, just logging in to your online account management systems for various creditors and payees takes *HOURS* to accomplish. Then their systems that bury phone numbers and force you to use awkward FAQ sections that are never even close the what you are looking for. You’re spending an inordinate amount of time bouncing around a website, growing contempt for the company you’re trying to contact. You can tell they are trying to avoid you from picking up that phone and calling a CSR because those cost money.

The Phone System is a People Trap Manned by Robots and Degenerates

Now, if you’re lucky, you finally found a phone number on the website. Try calling that number to get to an actual person, and you wade through menu after menu of the same crap the website was trying to tell you. Recorded voices trying to prevent you from talking to a real person. Asking you to type in personal information, or God forbid your frikkin account number. Now, like a good identity theft victim should, you’re already shredding all your mail and trying to prevent any bills from ever hitting your mailbox anyways by going paperless. How the hell can I key in my account number if I can’t find it on the website and I shred all evidence that an account even exists? Some of them say “No account, no problem, just type in your Social security Number!” Uhm, yeah. I’m about to start typing my SSN now that I am completely paranoid about it.

Now, you finally figure out how to get to a person. (tip, always try hitting 0 when asked to key in stuff and you don’t want to) And you’re on hold. Forever.

Customer Service? More like Call Center Quota Service…

Usually after about 5-10 minutes of navigating through the phone system (provided it didn’t hang up on your or disconnect you by “mistake”) then maybe if you’re lucky you get to a real live person. Sometimes you get a really nice, pleasant, and somewhat sharp person who knows how to listen and is motivated to help, but that’s rare. Usually it’s a degenerate who wants to put you on hold to keep the phone call as long as possible so they hit their call center’s connect time quota. Or a degenerate who wants to push you off the phone as fast as possible to hit their call center’s call volume quota.

And in the worst case, you get a used care salesman who doesn’t care about your problem and is pushing you hard to buy something, to hit their call center’s sales quota.

There is No Such Thing as Privacy when You’re Just Another Number

In all, it has been an eye opener on many fronts. Corporations that handle your money for the most part don’t give a crap about you as an individual. Smaller companies tend to have people who are more in touch. A lot of people have access to the general public’s private personal information. A lot of people you don’t know have access to almost everything about you. There is no such thing as privacy. And customer service sucks across the board for the most part.

Now, I got a lot of feedback about missing work to take care of this stuff, but you know what? I have missed work already a couple of times because of it, and I am still not done cleaning up the mess. Identity theft is the gift that keeps on giving.

Who is at Fault?

As much as some people on Digg want to point out that I am at fault for some of this, it’s hard to hear that when information about you that is non-private is all a thief needs to walk into a bank and clean out your checking account. Now, I did lose my wallet… Or it was stolen. On that part I’m not sure. It’s not like the guy used my debit card. That was canceled immediately.

I did have a high balance in my checking account, but it was an interest bearing account which was just moved out of a CD for reasons I don’t feel I need to explain to the internet. I’m not irresponsible with my money or my identity. Sure, I could have taken more paranoid measures to try and lock it up, in retrospect I wish I did. But I don’t think I need to be any more paranoid than I already am, and if a theif can walk into a bank with a fake ID and take out 40k without any problems, then no amount of credit monitoring or home security would have helped. And I didn’t know you could put alerts on your accounts, I never thought I needed to. I trusted the bank’s system. I thought those kind of alerts were a given.

I have a home security system, and a home surveillance system. I own a gun, which comes with it’s own set of problems but still, it’s another type of home security. I don’t write my passwords down anywhere. I watch people closely. I’m not paranoid, but I am not mindlessly fumbling around in life waiting to become a victim. I thought I was doing what I was supposed do, but of course, now I’m much more vigilant about such things.

But the problem still remains. As long as the system is designed so that numerous people have easy access to your personal information and your money, you will *always* be relying on somebody else to protect them.

Also FYI- I was told from a person in the fraud department that I should be getting a call from Bank of America’s executive communications people. Stay tuned, I’ll post their response to the problems I encountered. I’ll also be posting the actions Bank of America has taken since the crime occured. Bank of America has already paid the claim, so I have my money back.


Way to Spot Suspicious Activity Bank of America

I used to think identity theft was just an over-hyped gimmick to get people to pay for credit reports and monitoring. That is, until my checking account was cleared out. Turns out, most major banks are not well equipped to handle ID theft, or even your money for that matter.

Late Thursday night, I got a call from the Phoenix Police Department. The officer said they had a subject in custody who had two forms of ID with my information on it.  Then the guy asked what I looked like. At first I thought it was a prank because people were joking around the office that I missed work on a Monday because I “lost my wallet”. As the officer began rattling off my personal information, I quickly realized this was no joke.

They said they caught this guy at BestBuy trying to use somebody else’s credit card to buy a whole bunch of computers. Apparently BestBuy’s register system pops up an alert code if there is somebody trying to use a card that has been reported lost or stolen, and they call the cops. Impressive. The police caught the guy red handed. With drugs. And paraphernalia. And a bunch of people’s personal information.

At the time, I thought they got the sucker before he could do any real damage. But just to be safe, I checked with Bank of America. I was shocked to see my account was overdrawn by almost $300. Last I checked, I had almost 40k in there.

A quick review turned up 5 suspicious transactions. Two were deposits, and three were withdrawals. All five transactions occurred *inside* five different Bank of America banking centers. What amazed me most is the final two transactions. A withdrawal of 26k. And later that day, another withdrawal of 12.5k. Way to spot suspicious activity Bank of America. They handed the guy almost 40k in cash in one day.

Turns out the first two transactions where not just deposits. They were checks written to me, Christopher Hooley. The first one was $6200. The guy kept $5k and left $1200 in my account. The next one was a day later at a different center for $7500. Again, the guy kept $5k. I saw the debit slip online, and this guy’s signature wasn’t even a remote attempt to copy mine. To make matters worse, it turns out he was forging checks from another valley business, who subsequently called the police on ME!

After seeing his writing, all of the sudden it felt personal. That was MY name, written as sloppily as I had ever seen it. Now I had to find out who this guy was.

A detective from the Phoenix PD was already assigned to my case. I never actually even spoke with him. I sent the detective an email with the list of fraudulent transactions on my bank account and that was pretty much all he needed. But I had his email address, so I shot him an email asking who the thief was.

The detective told me the suspect’s name was Christopher Cantrell. An identity thief heavily involved in drugs. That’s all I needed to know to find his case on MCSO.org. And right there in front of me was his mug shot and list of charges.  I dug further on Instant Checkmate and found even more garbage on this guy.  This guy, is a total low life.

Check this out:

Christopher Cantrell

Chris Cantrell

CANTRELL, CHRISTOPHER MCKAY #P438548

Booked: 07-09-2008

Sex: MALE
Race: WHITE
D.O.B: 10-11-1975
Height: 5’09
Weight: 200
Eye: BROWN
Hair: BLACK

In Custody For:
001 FELONY COUNT OF DANGEROUS DRUG-POSS FOR SALE
001 FELONY COUNT OF THEFT-CONTROL PROPERTY
001 FELONY COUNT OF ADMIT TKT-FRAUD CREATION/POSS
001 FELONY COUNT OF FORGERY-W/WRITTEN INSTRUMENT
005 FELONY COUNT OF FORGERY-POSS FORGED INSTRUMENT
001 FELONY COUNT OF FORGERY-POSS FORGED INSTRUMENT
001 FELONY COUNT OF FORGERY-POSS FORGED INSTRUMENT
001 FELONY COUNT OF FORGERY-OFFERS FORGED INSTRUM
001 FELONY COUNT OF TAKING IDENTITY OF ANOTHER
001 FELONY COUNT OF TAKING IDENTITY OF ANOTHER
001 FELONY COUNT OF TAKING IDENTITY OF ANOTHER
001 FELONY COUNT OF DANGEROUS DRUG-POSS/USE
001 FELONY COUNT OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA-POSSESS/USE

As you can see from the picture above the huge rap sheet, he’s pretty much a spitting image of me. So it’s understandable why 5 separate bank of America branches where confused, and allowed him to make huge cash withdrawals. He has trusting eyes.

But just for conjecture’s sake, here’s a picture of me.

Chris Hooley

The moral of this story is, if you want to steal somebody’s identity, you don’t need to mess with all that online stuff. Just get somebody’s info, make a fake license with your picture on it, and walk right into any Bank of America branch and just ask them to hand you the money in cash. It doesn’t matter if you look like a doper, or even if you’re on drugs at the time. Doesn’t even matter if you know your victim’s signature. All you need is their name and address and a fake ID, and you can clean out any Bank of America account!

In my next post. I’ll explain the aftermath and how Bank of America’s service is only second to their ability to protect your money from identity thieves. Stay tuned.


CALLING OUT PATRICK SEXTON!

Patrick Sexton, if that is your real name, I am in Phoenix. And it is possible to contact me through this site. I tried to comment on YOUR POST but as it turns out, comments are not allowed. What are you afraid of?  There is also no contact info on your site.  I call FOUL!  I CALL FAIL!!!

I am calling you out.

Call me, text me, IM me. I will put you under the table, and you will cry like a sissy girl.  And we’ll videotape it and post it to YouTube so the world knows who’s the moffuggin’ man, and who’s perpetraytin’ a fraud!


SEO Superlatives Winners for 2008

The time has come to announced the winners for the 2008 SEO Superlatives. But before the announcement, I’d like to thank everybody who contributed. The SEO Superlatives Committee was awesome. All you crazy guys and gals who where socializing this, kick ass. Thanks so much for making this contest so much fun!

And without any further, here are your winners!


SEO Most Likely to Succeed


Danny Sullivan

SEO Conference Clown


Chris Hooley
In the running: Neil Patel

Best SEO Couple


Carolyn Shelby and Dave Rohrer
In the running: Greg and Barbara Boser

Best Dressed SEO


Brett Tabke
In the running: Kid Disco

SEO Party Animal


Chris Hooley

SEO’s Best Hairdo


Chris Winfield

SEO’s Biggest Flirt


Kimber Cook
In the running: Lisa Barone, Becky Ryan

Smartest SEO


Stephan Spencer
In the running: Aaron Wall,Bill Slawski

Most Athletic SEO


Cameron Olthuis

Best SEO Blogger


Lisa Barone
In the running: Loren Baker

Best Smile


Jane Copland

Best SEO Conference


Search Marketing Expo
In the running: PubCon

Best SEO Conference Speaker


Matt McGee

Best SEO You’ve Never Heard Of


Jeff Dempsey
In the running: Jon Heinl, Karl Ribas

Most Creative SEO


Lyndon Antcliff

Most Likely To Be Banned


Quadzilla

Biggest SEO Nerd


Aaron Wall
In the running: Neil Patel, Barry Schwartz,Bill Slawski

Best SEO Nickname/Handle


SexySEO
In the running: Captain Thundercock, FeedtheBot, the MadHat

Cutt’s Pet


Rand Fishkin

Best Technical SEO


Stephan Spencer

Top Linkbaiter


Andy Hagans (RIP!)
In the running (CLOSE RACE!): Lyndon Antcliff , Matt Inman

Best Up and Coming SEO


Eric Lander
In the running: Gab Goldenberg, Rhea Drysdale, Melanie Nathan

SEO Social Media Addict


Tamar Weinberg
In the running: Chris Winfield, Brent Csutoras

Biggest Google Fanboy


Ann Smarty
In the running: Brent D. Payne

Least Likely to Date Hooley


Jill Whalen
In the running: Greg Boser

Biggest PageRank


Matt Cutts
In the running: Bruce Clay

Most Fiery SEO


Michael Gray
In the running: Rae Hoffman

SEO Most Likely to Become President


Barry Schwartz
In the running: Danny Sullivan

Most Likely To Get Kicked Out Of The Bar


Chris Hooley
In the running: Rae Hoffman, Greg Boser

Most Likely To Close The Bar


Chris Hooley
In the running: Rae Hoffman, Patrick Sexton

The SEO You’d Be Most Afraid To Bring Home to Mom


Rae Hoffman

Most Feared in SEO


Matt Cutts

Mr / Ms Congeniality


Rand Fishkin
In the running: Vanessa Fox

Most Likely to Start an Argument


Michael Martinez
In the running: Michael Gray, Doug Heil

Most Likely to Win an Argument (even if they’re wrong!)


Rae Hoffman

Best Tweeter


Chris Winfield
In the running: Todd Friesen

Noisiest SEO


Chris Hooley

Most Traveled SEO


Danny Sullivan

Snarkiest SEO


Rebecca Kelley

Best SEO Ranter


Michael Gray

Most Networked SEO


Matt McGee

SEO Hater Award


Jason Calacanis
In the running: Jason Gambert

SEO’s Biggest Douchebag


Jason Gambert (forgettable SEO Trademark guy)

The Results

The winners were chosen almost 100% from the unfiltered voting results, allowing SEOs to game the voting system to the best of their abilities. And game they did.

There were more polls that only voted for one single person than completed surveys. IN all, half the votes were spam. HALF. Numerous nominees, especially in the categories for unknown or up and coming SEOs had bots voting themselves up in an almost embarrasingly traceable way. Same IP from nominee’s city votes for self 100 times in an hour? yep. Lots of that. Rushes of voters from India, Russia, Malaysia, and Poland overnight? Some of that too.

Despite attempts at altering the vote, much like Google we also had manual review. And much like Google, the popular vote still overpowered the spam for the most part, so the committee’s job was pretty darn easy in that regard.

Below are the unfiltered results of the vote.

As you’ll see, the committe only chose one or two winners over the unfiltered voting results. And sorry Michael, but it’s hard to believe you’re more feared than Matt Cutts in the SEO world.

Report: SEO Superlatives Summary – Compiled 07/04/08


1. SEO Most Likely to Succeed

Nominee Count Percent %
Danny Sullivan 228 41.76%
Barry Schwartz 159 29.12%
Rand Fishkin 80 14.65%
Aaron Wall 54 9.89%
Todd Friesen 25 4.58%


2. SEO Conference Clown

Nominee Count Percent %
Chris Hooley 309 60.00%
Neil Patel 166 32.23%
Darren Slatten 23 4.47%
Gab Goldberg 14 2.72%
Gab Goldenberg 3 0.58%


3. Best SEO Couple

Nominee Count Percent %
Carolyn Shelby and Dave Rohrer 197 38.70%
Greg and Barbara Boser 161 31.63%
Chris Hooley and Anna Rule 94 18.47%
David & Irma Wallace 30 5.89%
Jeff Quipp & Jennifer Osborne 27 5.30%


4. Best Dressed SEO

Nominee Count Percent %
Brett Tabke 208 38.88%
Kid Disco 127 23.74%
Pamela Lund 87 16.26%
Mikkel deMib Svendsen 66 12.34%
Pimp McFly 47 8.79%


5. SEO Party Animal

Nominee Count Percent %
Chris Hooley 238 45.33%
Todd Friesen 76 14.48%
David Harry 54 10.29%
Rae Hoffman 51 9.71%
Kid Disco 32 6.10%
Frank Watson 31 5.90%
Greg Boser 18 3.43%
Jon Heinl 11 2.10%
Greg Hartnett 8 1.52%
Aaron Chronister 6 1.14%


6. SEO’s Best Hairdo

Nominee Count Percent %
Chris Winfield 361 69.16%
Dana Todd 61 11.69%
Greg Boser 44 8.43%
Krazy Korean 32 6.13%
David Harry 24 4.60%


7. SEO’s Biggest Flirt

Nominee Count Percent %
Kimber Cook 161 34.26%
Lisa Barone 131 27.87%
Becky Ryan 84 17.87%
Lora Lufark 50 10.64%
Patrick Sexton 44 9.36%


8. Smartest SEO

Nominee Count Percent %
Stephan Spencer 278 52.85%
Aaron Wall 113 21.48%
Bill Slawski 79 15.02%
Rand Fishkin 40 7.60%
Brent D. Payne 12 2.28%
Joe Sinkwytz 4 0.76%


9. Most Athletic SEO

Nominee Count Percent %
Cameron Olthuis 247 49.40%
Becky Ryan 102 20.40%
Barry Schwartz 96 19.20%
Kid Disco 55 11.00%


10. Best SEO Blogger

Nominee Count Percent %
Lisa Barone 230 42.28%
Loren Baker 109 20.04%
Rebecca Kelley 50 9.19%
Aaron Wall 46 8.46%
Barry Schwartz 41 7.54%
Jane Copland 35 6.43%
Ann Smarty 20 3.68%
Bill Slawski 13 2.39%


11. Best Smile

Nominee Count Percent %
Jane Copland 276 51.21%
Becky Ryan 104 19.29%
Chris Winfield 62 11.50%
Zak Nicola 52 9.65%
Danny Sullivan 22 4.08%
Lyndsay Walker 18 3.34%
Greg Boser 5 0.93%


12. Best SEO Conference

Nominee Count Percent %
SMX 392 75.24%
PubCon 96 18.43%
SES 33 6.33%


13. Best SEO Conference Speaker

Nominee Count Percent %
Matt McGee 227 45.77%
Stephan Spencer 83 16.73%
Rand Fishkin 71 14.31%
Todd Friesen 44 8.87%
Greg Boser 35 7.06%
Neil Patel 22 4.44%
Jeremy Schoemaker 14 2.82%


14. Best SEO You’ve Never Heard Of

Nominee Count Percent %
Jeff Dempsey 131 20.44%
Justin Boeckman (asked to be removed from the competition) 92 14.35%
Michael Streko 88 13.73%
Kay Dinsdale 82 12.79%
Jon Heinl 64 9.98%
Karl Ribas 64 9.98%
Clint Danks 28 4.37%
Lyndsay Walker 26 4.06%
Melanie Phung 26 4.06%
Leslie Rohde 21 3.28%
Adam Moro 19 2.96%


15. Most Creative SEO

Nominee Count Percent %
Lyndon Antcliff 223 42.88%
Michael Gray 187 35.96%
Aaron Wall 59 11.35%
Jeremy Schoemaker 46 8.85%
Michael Campbell 5 0.96%


16. Most Likely To Be Banned

Nominee Count Percent %
Quadzilla 280 54.26%
Dave Naylor 103 19.96%
Slightly Shady SEO 88 17.05%
Irish Wonder 27 5.23%
Earl Gray 18 3.49%


17. Biggest SEO Nerd

Nominee Count Percent %
Aaron Wall 151 27.61%
Neil Patel 137 25.05%
Barry Schwartz 113 20.66%
Bill Slawski 96 17.55%
Tim Nash 28 5.12%
Dan Thies 17 3.11%
Adam Moro 5 0.91%


18. Best SEO Nickname/Handle

Nominee Count Percent %
SexySEO 158 29.48%
Captain Thundercock 139 25.93%
FeedtheBot 96 17.91%
the MadHat 64 11.94%
Seocracy 30 5.60%
SearchBuzz 18 3.36%
SEO Idiot 18 3.36%
OldSchoolSEO 13 2.43%


19. Cutt’s Pet

Nominee Count Percent %
Rand Fishkin 235 44.34%
Shari Thurow; 136 25.66%
Danny Sullivan 104 19.62%
Melanie Nathan 25 4.72%
Audrey Sieberling 21 3.96%
Lyndsay Walker 9 1.70%


20. Best Technical SEO

Nominee Count Percent %
Stephan Spencer 265 51.36%
Aaron Wall 92 17.83%
Bill Slawski 52 10.08%
Hamlet Batista 47 9.11%
Dan Thies 30 5.81%
Joe Sinkwytz 30 5.81%


21. Top Linkbaiter

Nominee Count Percent %
Andy Hagans (RIP!) 134 25.52%
Lyndon Antcliff 130 24.76%
Matt Inman 125 23.81%
Todd Malicoat 43 8.19%
Rand Fishkin 39 7.43%
Neil Patel 35 6.67%
Debra Mastaler 19 3.62%


22. Best Up and Coming SEO

Nominee Count Percent %
Eric Lander 198 37.50%
Gab Goldenberg 74 14.02%
Rhea Drysdale 67 12.69%
Melanie Nathan 60 11.36%
Jon Heinl 47 8.90%
Darren Slatten 37 7.01%
Doug Heil 18 3.41%
Melanie Phung 15 2.84%
Jeffrey Smith (couldn’t find his blog / site) 12 2.27%


23. SEO Social Media Addict

Nominee Count Percent %
Tamar Weinberg 226 36.63%
Chris Winfield 187 30.31%
Brent Csutoras 65 10.53%
Zak Nicola 45 7.29%
Lee Odden 26 4.21%
Martin Bowling 25 4.05%
Barry Schwartz 24 3.89%
Brent Cstustoras (lol!) 16 2.59%
Tad Chef 3 0.49%


24. Biggest Google Fanboy

Nominee Count Percent %
Ann Smarty 238 49.90%
Brent D. Payne 194 40.67%
Alex Chitu 45 9.43%


25. Least Likely to Date Hooley

Nominee Count Percent %
Jill Whalen 222 44.49%
Greg Boser 110 22.04%
Matt Cutts 84 16.83%
Stoney DeGeytor 60 12.02%
Dave Naylor 23 4.61%


26. Biggest PageRank

Nominee Count Percent %
Matt Cutts 225 44.29%
Bruce Clay 192 37.80%
Aaron Wall 64 12.60%
Danny Sullivan 27 5.31%


27. Most Fiery SEO

Nominee Count Percent %
Michael Gray 262 50.48%
Rae Hoffman 169 32.56%
Aaron Chronister 54 10.40%
Michael Martinez 23 4.43%
David Harry 11 2.12%


28. SEO Most Likely to Become President

Nominee Count Percent %
Barry Schwartz 217 41.65%
Danny Sullivan 159 30.52%
Rand Fishkin 70 13.44%
Jason Calacanis 41 7.87%
Andy Beal 34 6.53%


29. Most Likely To Get Kicked Out Of The Bar

Nominee Count Percent %
Chris Hooley 189 36.99%
Rae Hoffman 150 29.35%
Greg Boser 67 13.11%
Aaron Chronister 52 10.18%
Dave Naylor 39 7.63%
David Harry 8 1.57%
Earl Gray 6 1.17%


30. Most Likely To Close The Bar

Nominee Count Percent %
Chris Hooley 205 42.01%
Rae Hoffman 122 25.00%
Patrick Sexton 84 17.21%
Kid Disco 30 6.15%
Melanie Nathan 27 5.53%
Aaron Chronister 13 2.66%
Jon Heinl 7 1.43%


31. The SEO You’d Be Most Afraid To Bring Home to Mom

Nominee Count Percent %
Rae Hoffman 234 48.55%
Dave Naylor 70 14.52%
Chris Hooley 64 13.28%
Michael Martinez 64 13.28%
Greg Boser 26 5.39%
Earl Gray 13 2.70%
David Harry 11 2.28%


32. Most Feared in SEO

Nominee Count Percent %
Michael Gray 202 38.62%
Matt Cutts 171 32.70%
Rae Hoffman 66 12.62%
Dave Naylor 38 7.27%
Greg Boser 24 4.59%
Lora Lufark 22 4.21%


33. Mr / Ms Congeniality

Nominee Count Percent %
Rand Fishkin 230 43.98%
Vanessa Fox 130 24.86%
Chris Sherman 74 14.15%
Dazzlin Donna 62 11.85%
Barry Schwartz 27 5.16%


34. Most Likely to Start an Argument

Nominee Count Percent %
Michael Martinez 140 26.57%
Michael Gray 105 19.92%
Doug Heil 98 18.60%
Jill Whalen 62 11.76%
Rae Hoffman 55 10.44%
Darren Slatten 49 9.30%
Dave Naylor 12 2.28%
Brian Turner (couldn’t find his site) 6 1.14%


35. Most Likely to Win an Argument (even if they’re wrong!)

Nominee Count Percent %
Rae Hoffman 208 40.08%
Rand Fishkin 150 28.90%
Li Evans 84 16.18%
Jill Whalen 44 8.48%
Dazzlin Donna 18 3.47%
Shari Thurow; 15 2.89%


36. Best Tweeter

Nominee Count Percent %
Chris Winfield 290 55.24%
Todd Friesen 141 26.86%
Lee Odden 49 9.33%
Melanie Nathan 45 8.57%


37. Noisiest SEO

Nominee Count Percent %
Chris Hooley 244 53.74%
Brent D. Payne 126 27.75%
Darren Slatten 84 18.50%


38. Most Traveled SEO

Nominee Count Percent %
Danny Sullivan 189 37.43%
Todd Friesen 155 30.69%
Mike Grehan 84 16.63%
David Temple 45 8.91%
Lee Odden 32 6.34%



39. Best SEO Ranter

Nominee Count Percent %
Michael Gray 281 52.52%
Lisa Barone 155 28.97%
Michael Martinez 46 8.60%
Michael VanDeMar 29 5.42%
David Harry 19 3.55%
Darren Slatten 5 0.93%


40. Most Networked SEO

Nominee Count Percent %
Matt McGee 230 40.49%
Danny Sullivan 158 27.82%
Tamar Weinberg 95 16.73%
Lee Odden 43 7.57%
Chris Winfield 42 7.39%


41. SEO Hater Award

Nominee Count Percent %
Jason Calacanis 275 52.38%
Jeremy Schoemaker 97 18.48%
Jason Gambert (forgettable SEO trademark guy) 83 15.81%
Dave Pasternack 38 7.24%
Michael Gray 32 6.10%


42. Biggest SEO DoucheBag

Nominee Count Percent %
Jason Gambert (forgettable SEO trademark guy) 530 100.00%

 

THANKS SO MUCH to all who participated! I owe a lotta people beers on this one. David made some AWESOME badges for all nominees and winners. Feel free to grab one, and proudly display it on your blog! Linking back is optional (srsly, I pinged Matt Cutts like 10x on this blog post) but if you do, you know I got nuttin but love for ya.

Next post up will be a more in depth analysis on how this whole thing went down. I thought some of the behind the scenes stuff was really interesting. I’ll also have a post for those who got shafted this time around. There were a bunch of people who would have been nominated that were not, and a bunch of categories that would have been fun. We’ll get them in next time. But for this year, we’ll call the next vote the "SEO Shafties!" – coming soon peeps :-)


SEO Superlatives Winners TBA on the 4th of July!

The SEO Superlatives Team has reviewed nearly ONE THOUSAND polls, and your winners have been determined.  But, our work is not done yet.  Compilation of the master post is currently underway. This blog post is just a teaser!  Results will not be leaked, no matter HOW MUCH you hound us!!

We plan on posting the results along with the rest of the fireworks.  In the meantime, thank you so much for your participation!


SEO Superlatives Poll is Officially OPEN!

OK folks, here’s your chance to cast your votes! The voting closes after the first 250 responses (or until the committee gets bored!) so choose your winners now! The SEO Superlatives Polls are officially open!

EDIT- we hit 250 responses in about an hour, so it’s opened up to 1000 responses. There’s STILL TIME to cast YOUR votes!

Please note- this page requires Firefox. Other browsers are really gonna hose this page.

SEO Most Likely to Succeed
SEO Conference Clown
Best SEO Couple
Best Dressed SEO
SEO Party Animal
SEO’s Best Hairdo
SEO’s Biggest Flirt
Smartest SEO
Most Athletic SEO
Best SEO Blogger
Best Smile
Most Creative SEO
Best SEO Conference
Best SEO Conference Speaker
Best SEO You’ve Never Heard Of
Most Likely To Be Banned
Biggest SEO Nerd
Best SEO Nickname/Handle
Cutt’s Pet
Best Technical SEO
Top Linkbaiter
Best Up and Coming SEO
SEO Social Media Addict
Biggest Google Fanboy
Least Likely to Date Hooley
Biggest PageRank
Most Fiery SEO
SEO Most Likely to Become President
Most Likely To Get Kicked Out Of The Bar
Most Likely To Close The Bar
The SEO You’d Be Most Afraid To Bring Home to Mom
Most Feared in SEO
Mr / Ms Congeniality
Most Likely to Start an Argument
Most Likely to Win an Argument (even if they’re wrong!)
Best Tweeter
Noisiest SEO
Snarkiest SEO
Most Traveled SEO
SEO Hater Award
Best SEO Ranter
Most Networked SEO
Biggest SEO DoucheBag



The SEO Superlatives Committee Announced! (kinda)

The SEO Superlatives committee has been established, and we’re already hard at work. Much thanks to those who’ve put their time and effort into helping me with this so far. For those who want to nominate your choice for any of the categories, you know who to bug now!

And without further ado (sp?), here’s your committee!

Chris Hooley – Wannabe Class President – AKA Captain T.C.
Lisa Barone – Secretary of Pure Awesome, from Bruce Clay’s Search Engine Optimization Blog
Melanie Nathan – Can’t think of a title, but she works at this Edmonton Design Firm
Michael VanDeMar - Secretary of SMACKDOWN
David Temple – Gentleman and SEM Scholar
Taylor Pratt – Mustache Advocate from Gonzo SEO, who’s obsessed with this for some reason
Zak Nicola - Content Writer (bwaaahahahaa!)
David Harry – Staff Hat Salesman

D

Still awaiting confirmation from a couple other peeps. I’ll add them as they confirm. But for the most part, we’re set… to judge you… in public! LOVIN’ IT!


SEO Superlatives – Your Yearbook Committee is In Session!

Looking in my old yearbook, I found it fascinating who was chosen “Most likely to succeed”, “Best Couple”, or “Class Clown” (BTW- that was me in Jr. High) . Seems a lot of it was pretty much right on. The only thing I didn’t like about it is that on clique had editorial control on these lists. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to be the guy who makes the list.

Well, I just decided today that I AM gonna be that guy.

In the next few days, I’ll be developing the SEO Superlatives list. Yearbook style, with a male and female winner in each non-couple, non-group category.

I’ll open up nominations a day or so after all the categories are chosen. I need *your* help to generate the categories *you* would find the most interesting / entertaining / stupid, whatever. I think this will be pretty fun!

So far I have the following categories earmarked:

  • SEO Most Likely to Succeed
  • SEO Conference Clown
  • SEO Couple
  • SEO Party Animal
  • SEO Flirt
  • Smartest SEO
  • Most Athletic SEO
  • SEO Social Media Addict
  • Best SEO Blogger
  • Best Smile
  • Best SEO Conference

Newly added superlatives! (from awesome commenters)

  • Best SEO Conference Speaker
  • Best SEO You’ve Never Heard Of
  • Most Creative SEO
  • Most Likely To Be Banned
  • V1@gr.A Salesman Of The Year
  • Cutt’s Pet
  • Biggest Google Fanboy
  • Least likely to date Hooley (ha haha)
  • Best technical SEO
  • Top Linkbaiter
  • SEO with the biggest PageRank
  • Best Dressed SEO
  • Best SEO Hair
  • Biggest SEO Nerd
  • Best SEO Nickname/Handle
  • Most fiery SEO
  • SEO most likely to become president
  • Most Likely To Get Kicked Out Of The Bar
  • Most Likely To Close The Bar
  • The SEO You’d Be Most Afraid To Bring Home to Mom
  • Best Up and Coming SEO
  • Most Feared SEO
  • Mr / Ms Congeniality?
  • Most Likely to Start an Argument
  • Most Likely to Win an Argument (even if they’re wrong!)
  • Best Fence Sitter
  • Best Tweeter
  • Nosiest SEO
  • Snarkiest SEO
  • Most Traveled SEO
  • Best Ranter SEO
  • Most Networked SEO
  • Best SEO Hater
  • Most Sharing/Giving SEO

Please add any other superlatives you would like to see on this list in a comment below so I can get this thing rocking! Nominees will obviously get those clean links and stuff, and winners get a lil mo’

Hook it up, add your ideas below!


Best.Video.Ever. Internet Viral Video MashUp from Weezer!

I must admit, I’m a bit nostalgic about the says when the internet was a little underground. I got joke emails and actually WANTED to receive them. Only a select few in my circle saw all the same viral stuff I did. It felt kind of exclusive.

But on the other hand, it is amazing to see this same creativity at the forefront of pop culture. Watching the web grow into what it has become was something only my generation witnessed. We watched history being made daily, and we still are watching. The web is still in it’s infancy, but it’s already now as mainstream as it gets.

Insert Weezer. Their new video is a compilation of viral video stars, which has literally changed my opinion of them as a band. I never disliked them, but I was never a big Weezer guy. Now, from one stinkin’ video, they have converted me into a huge fan. Those of you who are as web geeeky as I am will absolutely love this video. And without further ado, and a few weeks behind the curve, I present to you my new favorite video of all time. Weezer’s Pork and Beans. Enjoy!


Micro-Blogging; Come Follow Me on Twitter!

If you’re like me (a completely A.D.D. web geek) your attention span is probably really shor..

So short I couldn’t even finish writing that sentence…

So let’s get to the point then.  Come follow me on Twitter.  Micro-blogging.  Fast.   Click here and win fabulous prizes!


Corporate SEOs: Time to Give Yourself a Raise

Salaries for Corporate SEO Professionals vary drastically. So how do you know you’re getting paid what you deserve? Let’s explore a few ways to look at it, and at the end of this post, a one size fits all solution to bring to your higher ups for getting that raise!

First, let’s look at profitability. As a marketing guy, you probably have a pretty good idea how much is spent on promotions, and how much revenue your company generates from it. You might even be privy to information about fixed operating costs. In the best case scenario, your company even posts it profitability. If the company you work for is a cash cow, you can probably use profitability as a good selling point on getting an increased salary. ESPECIALLY if you can track it directly to your own individual efforts.

Let’s say your company nets 100 million annually, and you drive 30 million in profit while only spending a few million. There’s probably no good reason you should be making 50k yearly. If you work for a smaller company or a start up, chances are good you’re not producing hundreds or tens of millions in net revenue. In this case, check out the trends in your specific industry, and especially your company’s profit.

If there’s a big upside on the horizon, but little money going around at the moment, here’s your move: Sit tight at a lower salary for a while, but talk to your boss or CEO and plant the seed. Let them know you are OK with working at a lower salary temporarily, because you intend on helping to grow the company and to reap the benefits when that growth happens. From that point, track your performance (you should already be doing this anyways). If your company turns a corner and starts posting larger profits, and you have been doing more than your share, it’s probably a great time to remind your boss or CEO about your previous conversation and try to schedule a meeting.

Next, get a good idea about how much others who perform your specific job function earn, especially in your zip code. Salary.com is your friend. There are some awesome charts you can print out and keep on file. Use these on the big day when you approach your boss or CEO. I just performed a quick search on Web Promotion Specialist earnings in my zip code. Do the same for your exact title, or closest match.

As a rule of thumb, hiring managers are usually comfortable hiring new professionals in the 25% to 50% range according to Salary.com. If you want to demand more than that, you better know your stuff inside and out, have some concrete evidence or prior performance, and have a darn good sales pitch prepared. Oh, and people love pretty graphs and / or pie charts. Make some from your previous job(s) and keep them on file.

Another more risky technique of getting a raise is to feel out the market for YOU. Even in economically repressed times, there are always companies looking for web gurus. If your boss or CEO isn’t very receptive to chatting about your eventual raise, look for a job. Get an offer, and present it to your boss or CEO with the opportunity to match (provided you want to stay at your current job). If they cannot match, you can always jump ship to the next company willing to pay more.

But be careful, this is a higher risk technique. Both companies could look at your differently, possibly negatively, if you play hard ball. Do not use this technique if you think you can make headway in the politically correct way, or especially if you are somewhat easily replaced. Nobody want a high maintenance individualist on their team.

Even if there are valid reasons that you cannot have a pay increase, there’s always title. Getting a better title sometimes is easy if you pitch the company that you won’t cost any more. The better your title, the more likely your next job will pay better. Especially if the company you work for is not a start up. (side note: Titles at start ups, very small companies, or family businesses don’t usually carry the same weight from a hiring manager’s perspective. I can’t even count how many times I have interviewed CEOs from their own web design firm or music label who are looking for an entry level position.)

And finally, here is your one size fits all solution. 60% of the time, it works every time (thanks Anchor Man). But be forewarned, this magic formula will ONLY work if you can provide results. You MUST drive more volume than your current level. If you do, you have a raise. And without further ado, here is your formula.

Take your current salary, and cut it an half. Take your current performance metrics (hopefully sales volume or profitability) and devise a pay for performance monthly bonus structure, which sums up annually to half of your salary. Make sure you have a few versions of your bonus plan just in case your logic is disputed, make sure you have accurate reporting already in place. You want this plan to be bullet proof before you present it.

Here’s an example of the plan in action. Let’s just say you drove 100k in directly trackable profit for your company last year and you are currently paid 50k. Why not change your salary to 25k with a 25% profit share for volume you are pushing through your channels? This would show that your new plan would pay you exactly the same as last year.

Now here’s the kicker… If you drive 200k next year, your performance means you got an automatic raise to 75k. If you post a cool million, you just made yourself 275k. If that happens, and you used this method of negotiation, I’ll gladly accept checks for 10% of your earnings increase, made payable to Chris Hooley. No seriously, I’m OK with it. Email me. We’ll talk.

“I want my salary cut in half, and a fair bonus ONLY based on my performance” is not a hard pitch. For top level execs, it’s easy to swallow because you cut your fixed costs and only pay out if you are earning more. It’s a win-win situation.

Before you schedule your meeting, have those pretty graphs and charts printed out. Have your Salary.com info on hand. Look good, get plenty of rest, and put on your salesman hat (the one with the extra charm and wit). Be confident. Then go in and tell your boss you want a paycut, and that you only want to be paid if you provide results.


Perfect SEO – Rick Astley + Your Logo Doing Karaoke!

While perusing some of the premium content over at SEOmoz for some new nuggets, I found the answer. The magic bullet. The ONE thing I need on my blog to harness the sheer link power of the internet.

And this was the result:

Rick Astley Doing Karaoke with NextStudent

Now, I just sit back and wait for the ranks to ROLL right in! Thanks Mozzers!!


Corporate Web Design Project- SOOOO 2.0!

For y’all who didn’t know, NextStudent is having a web design contest worth $2,000 for the winner. I was thinking… (which hurt a little but I digress) this project is actually pretty web 2.0-ish. Think about it… Here’s some neat buzzwords and how the relate to NextStudent’s current web design project:

  • U.G.C. – User Generated Content: Dude, the DESIGN for our company’s new makeover will be generated by the PEOPLE! That’s soooo social!
  • Social Voting: The PUBLIC can VOTE on the design they want to see as the new face of NextStudent
  • Blog: The NextStudent Redesign Contest Website is actually “just another wordpress weblog!” (that’s a play on words for the default blog description in WP, in case ya didn’t know)
  • S.M.O. – Social Media Optimization: The winner of the contest with get a link on NextStudent.com, but more importantly all accepted design submissions can get a link on the design site itself and on my blog and a few other mentions. Blog links are sooo what S.M.O. is about!
  • Networking: Everybody who participates is AUTOMATICALLY my best friend. Unless you hate me in which case you don’t have to actually be my friend. Ok that aint much of a prize but who cares I wanted to put it in there.
  • Money: Ok not exactly 2.0, money is pretty old school but you can still make a bunch of it ($2,000) if you win the contest!
  • Awesome: Hell yeah it is. And you ah too.

So hey do me a favor eh, tell some people about this contest. Especially if you think they’ll participate OR talk about it (especailly if they talk about it on their blogs and stuff, that’s always awesome)

w0rd.


St. Patrick’s Day – S.E.S. New York Style!

The only thing that could possibly be more Irish for the SEM community is moving the SES to Boston… check that, I guess you could have it in IRELAND, but I digress…

NEW YORK FUCKIN’ CITY! S.E.S. Pub Crawl! St. Patrick’s Day!! I don’t know what YOUR plans are, but if you’re a REAL web marketer, you’re probably a party animal like the rest of us. If you’re a REAL party animal, you probably like pubs and pub crawls. If you REALLY like pubs or pub crawls, you’re probably Irish (and even if you aren’t you still pretend you are on St. Patty’s Day).

Here’s the deal, there is a prefect intersection of BAD ASS happening this Monday, in New York Fuckin’ City. I don’t know what YOUR plans are yet but drop them cuz the real bad asses in our industry will be doing ONE THING ONLY. And that’s whoopin’ it up, drinking green beer and Guinness (or Irish Whiskey if you’re extremely bad ass), and talking about how awesome Chris Hooley is during the S.E.S. Pub Crawl!

More details to come, but be ready mofos!



Don’t You Have Anything Better to Do?

It’s election year… time for smoke and mirrors!

I was hoping to catch some ESPN before heading to work, and instead of seeing “The Plays of the Week” I am watching a congressional hearing.  About baseball.  Not Iraq.  Not the recession.  Not about the so called “Economic Stimulus Package”.  About BASEBALL.

And two weeks ago, we had senators snooping around NFL Football.

And a few years ago we had all the media talking about a blow job.

Wanna know why they are talking about this stuff?  So the masses don’t look closer at what’s really going on… like the “War of Terror”.  The fact that the Democrats screwed up student loans so bad that kids won’t be able to get into school this upcoming fall.   The fact that Republicans screwed up consumer finance so bad that people can’t buy houses.  The fact that our dollar is doing so bad that vacation spots won’t even accept it any longer.

We’re going to hell in a handbasket here folks.  Hold on tight, times is gonna get real rough!

Maybe we should be doing one of our world famous “pre-emptive strikes” on a few select morons who are running this country into the ground…


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