Signal

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!


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!


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!]


Is the Affiliate Marketplace Counter-Cyclical?

As more and more Americans lose their jobs, many will turn to the web to try and generate income. Using the web as a revenue stream to many of us may seem like a mature marketplace, and maybe in some ways it is, but the fact remains that the web as a whole is still pretty new. We just don’t have that much trend data mapping online commerce to financial cycles. So with this post, I’m shooting from the hip. I’m going to use mostly logic, guestimates, and assumptions. Hopefully my logic is challenged and my point of view is broadened.  So please participate if you can open me up a little. :-)

Unemployment rates in America are steadily increasing.  Over 6.5% of America is unemployed.  Logic dictates that as people lose their jobs, job marketplace websites should see increased interest.  But what I am seeing, is a decline in interest for job marketplace websites.  Seasonality aside (the Holiday season is a down market for most sectors outside of retail) the decline in traffic seen for Career Builder and Monster.com looks pretty dramatic.

Part of this could be because ad budgets are slowing down.  Many of those sites were fueled by advertising revenue from financial products like credit cards, mortgages, insurance, and student loans.  And we all know what happened to American finance.  Finance tanked.  (I know this first hand, because I specialized in marketing financial products for the past 6 years… and the once stable company I worked for is now all-but-out-of-business.)  But even if the advertising engines for the job marketplace sites are slowing, both Monster and CareerBuilder have reached critical mass. Most people already know where to go when searching for jobs online.  And people are not searching for jobs as much.

So what are Americans doing to feed their families?  Searches on affiliate marketing are getting hotter. The amount of people looking to make money online has skyrocketed in the last quarter of this year.  A friend from CJ says their publisher side is booming and the advertiser side is slowing to a crawl.

Money being spent by advertisers online is decreasing.  Online advertising is following the expected path, and is currently off cycle.  But the amount of people looking to get a piece of that pie is increasing fast.  So the moral of the story is, there is less money being spent by advertisers during the recession, and we’re looking at a potential flood of new affiliates who will further dilute the potential profitability for this type of marketing.

So hold on folks.  2009 might be even harder at the bread line as the “new recruits” of recently unemployed affiliate marketers flood the web.

For those more opportunistics types, it might be a good time to launch another affiliate marketplace if you have the money to squat on it for a while.  There will certainly be a lot of CJ rejects looking for a channel.  Growing your publisher base will probably be easier than normal during this time.  But don’t expect the advertisers to bite right away.  If you have the patience to wait through this down cycle in our economy, having a big publisher base ready for the next financial cycle will be key.


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.


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!


Plurk is Twitter on METH *

* Phrase stolen from Snoop Bloggy Blog‘s Plurk Page.

Ok, I know I was just posting some BS about Twitter, and how you all need to follow me there.  But today the flavor of the day is PLURK.   It’s another micro-blogging social media platform, like Twitter and Pownce.  But this one is SIIICK.  So far no slow down (we’ll see how long that lasts) and the features are cool.  Super crazy ajaxy coolness.

Everybody, I changed my mind.  Follow me on PLURK instead.   Or at least until I change my mind again.  Or at least try it out for a bit to see if you like it, since there’s too much to explain about it and my attention span is shortening by the sec…


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!


Enough with the SEO Fundamentalism!

According to my last check on Wikipedia, fundamentalism is a “deep and totalistic commitment” to a belief… usually of religious or moral nature. But what I have seen in the SEO community far too often is a “holier than thou” thumping of the general SEO population, that is by nature, narrow.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have morals. I stick to my personal set of ethics, both in my personal and professional life. They might not be the same as your values, but that doesn’t mean they are wrong.

Last week I stumbled (social) on a very entertaining story (bait). So entertaining in fact, I thought I would share it with some friends (viral) not realizing it was written by an well known SEO (bad ass). The story was about a 13 year old who stole a credit card to play halo with hookers. Who doesn’t want to read about that? It’s HILARIOUS! So hilarious in fact, it ended up getting mainstream media coverage from the likes of Fox News and such.

The story did not claim it was actual news, or even true for that matter. It was an entertaining anecdote, and people ate it up. Except for a whole bunch of SEOs who reacted harshly to it. Reading the sphinn comments on the story really started to test my patience. It felt like I was hanging out with my neighbors who always try to save me and take me to their church… which I am not a fan of BTW if you are reading this Eric.

Sentiments like “Social Media is ruined forever” and “SEO sunk to a new low” are preachy, at best. Jill Whalen, you and me go way back from my days at HighRankings, and the last thing I want is for you to feel offended here… but I don’t want to go to the SEO Church of Link Morality or subscribe to somebody else’s code of ethics. Establish your own, that’s fine and respectable. Just don’t thump us with them. We can all decide own how we choose to operate.

There is no black and white. Everything is shades of gray. We all must way the risks and rewards for our own actions, and think laterally. Sure, there are times I do wish others would up their own set of personal or professional ethics, but I’m not going to be the one preaching it to them. I’ll do what I do, you do what you do. Just don’t tell me what to do and we’ll be cool. Cool?


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.


Relevence is KEY, Even Off-Page!

You know the importance of themes, relevant content, and relevant website links. But do you understand the value of staying relevant offline, or even what that means?

Ask yourself this question: Are YOU really relevant?

Does your website properly reflect who YOU are, who your company IS? If the answer is no, you might be trying to rank for the wrong phrase. You might not be transparent. You might be faking it, and it’s only a matter of time before everybody, including Google, figures that out.

Google knows who I am. Lately, I haven’t been the crazy guy at conferences that many of you have come to know me as, because now I am a corporate SEO. I was relevant to conference junkie SEO types, with loud stunts and what not. Now I don’t even make the list, where less than a year ago I was a shoe in.

Why do YOU think that is? Is it because I don’t blog like I used to? Is it because I am no longer whoring all the blogs and forums? Is it because I am underground, or maybe even the exact opposite of that? Sold out?

The answer is simple. Lately my focus has been on my business, my corporate SEO gig, and my family. This is where I am relevant now. I rank for phrases that ARE relevant for me, and for my business. I’m not going to rank for SEO Blogger, SEO Blog, Captain Thundercock (yet) because I am currently more focused, thus relevant, in different areas.

The new key is transparency. 5 years ago links could be programmed or harvested rather easily, today you have to be who and what you are talking about. It’s easier that way anyways.

Don’t chase a false dream. You don’t wanna be that guy. Be the guy who IS what you SAY you are, even off-page, and the rest will be easier.


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.


NextStudent’s Web Marketing Team

Web Marketing at NextStudent. For those who don’t already know, I am Chris Hooley, Corporate SEO, and the guy who runs the NextStudent Web Marketing Department. Just thought I’d get that part out of the way so this post didn’t seem so random…

It’s been a crazy year in Student Loan Land, with the big banks and federal government putting the shake down on student lenders (at the expense of students, and much to the chagrin of financial aid officers). Kids are going to have a tough time finding money to pay for school this upcoming semester because of the perfect storm of bad legislation, tough credit markets, and a virtually lifeless capital market. Big banks are looking at this as a boon, a perfect opportunity to swallow up market share. So they are spending MORE despite the fact that the loans are losing them lots of money right now. I’m even watching them trying to work their SEO, and (cough! choke) get social.

Imagine that, fighting off the big banks with deep pockets every day… Feels like Rocky vs. the steroid guy from Russia.

Well fortunately for NextStudent (and all borrowers who find out how great we are!) the Web Marketing Team is holding it down. We’re the big guys around here on the interwebs! We’ve been training like Sly Stallone and we’ll never give up! Get off my Google B of A. Keep up the Chase, Wells F. The web is My Citi!

Ok enough of the bad plays on words. It’s Saturday Night, I should save the bad jokes for my attempt at getting social (aka going to Santisi Bros. with some buddies).

The deal is, the webmarketing team at NextStudent is a powerhouse. We’re more than strong at all of our core competencies, we’re a collective ROCKY. You might be able to get some licks in, but we never give up and we are always on the top. The people I work with are some of the slickest, smartest, and most motivated people I’ve ever met. All aspects of our web marketing repertoire are handled by the best and the brightest. We’re corporate, we’re out there, and we’re helping define the edge that bigger guys can hardly even fathom. Good luck monetary monoliths. BRING IT ON!!!

Rocky – OUT!


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…


Frikkin Yahoo! I Just Want My flickr and MyBlogLog Accounts Back!

Yahoo! – “chasing Google and frustrating users since 1998″ (TM)

I bought a premier flickr account and I haven’t been able to log in for MONTHS. Why? Because they switched log in systems, and nobody inside flickr is responding to my desperate pleas for help. I paid good money for my premier account, and I can’t even manage MY OWN PHOTOS. Photos that rank well in search engines for MY OWN NAME. I am helpless to remove some personal pictures that I no longer really want up there… photos that I paid to manage on their site.

You might ask “Chris, why did you take so long to blog about this? The most recent pictures are like 6 months old!” – You’re right. I forgot all about how mad I was about flickr until I decided to log into MyBlogLog account, which again prompted me to use a new log in that I don’t even have. Now I can’t get in there either.

Now I’m frustrated as hell trying to create a new Yahoo! ID, but my name is already taken (likely by some spam bot since there are only a handful of Chris Hooleys in the world). And once I settle on a user name that I don’t even want, I have no idea how to get those linked to my flickr and MyBlogLog accounts. It’s just stupid. And typical.

Hopefully somebody from Yahoo! reads this post and can get me some kind of help… but I doubt it.

In the meantime, my iGoogle, GMail, Adwords, Adsense, Optimizer, and bazillion other Google gadgets I am using are still working flawlessly. An I have Googlers calling me pretty frequently (even got a Googler visit coming soon) to make sure everything is still working. Just thought I’d throw that out there…


Affiliate Summit and Elite Retreat

I’ve never actually been to Affiliate Summit.  I’ve had a few people offer discounts to get into the event (I can’t for the life of me recall who was offering me passes, if you still exist HIT ME UP!)  I’m still teetering on the edge here.  Should I go?  Should I bring my affiliate peeps?

As for the Elite Retreat, people already know I am a HUGE advocate of this event.   If you are thinking of going and you need some info about it, feel free to contact me directly.  I’ll gladly explain why I am such a huge fan and what it has done for me personally.   If you are defintely going and you haven’t bought your tickets yet, hook a brother up and buy it through my affiliate link so I can make a few bucks!


The FASTEST Way to Lose Momentum on Your Blog

Tired of all those pesky readers on your blog?  Sick of all that annoying traffic?  Had enough of building a community, getting links, or comments on your blog posts?  Well I have a revolutionary solution!  It’s simple, easy, and FAST!  It’s a secret I’ve utilized on several occasions; EVERY time it resulted in a drop in traffic, subscribers, readers and all those other problems that come with owning a popular blog.

The secret?  *looks both ways* sshhhhhh…. (it’s easy, just stop writing for a while).  60% of the time it works EVERY time!



Are you WITH Me or AGAINST Me? The Terrel Owens Factor

I like to think of Corporate America like it’s professional sports. Marketing, Sales, Operations, Finance, and IT superstars are no different than professional athletes with year round free agency. Some demand a high salary, some are lunch pale hard workers who roll up their sleeves, some are loud and brash and can make or break any company depending on their mood.

Like Terrel Owens.

T.O. is one of the best receivers ever in the history of the NFL, but his constant demand for the spotlight and bad attitude when he’s losing was like a cancer to prior teams. He moves to another team that allows him to be himself and enables him to work the way he wants, and next thing you know he’s the role model in the locker room and he’s doing everything he can to help his team win. He’s a player that needs an organization to bend a little to make room for his ego, and rewards that organization if they do.

On the other hand you have an organization with strong and strict leadership that does not bend; the New England Patriots. They would NEVER hire T.O. because HE won’t bend to their will. But their system can make known malcontents (Randy Moss, Cory Dillon) successful and happy players who conform and become part of the team. And they win. Big time.

Corporate America is no different. Some organizations have such strong leadership, and such great vision, that employees work twice as hard to keep up the winning tradition. The scary thing is however, that some employees are so good at what they do that they can single handedly change a corporation and it’s future. And sometimes, there are employees who are cancer. It’s scary when you have a sueprstar like Terrel Owens who can propel your team to the highest highs, or crumble the foundation of the organization.

The question is how to handle something like that? Do you pamper him like Dallas (seems to be working, right?) or do you fire him and look for people who can conform? And think, do you want to face that guy on the field if you do let him go?

There’s some thinkbait for you execs and CEOs who have stars in your corporation. Is your team strong enough to do without your star? Can you afford to pamper your execs who deliver on a consistent basis? Is it even worth it? Do the rules change when somebody is that important? Is ANYBODY that important?


Bulldozer with Ballerina Shoes

Today’s advice for you corporate climbers is short and sweet. Be a bulldozer with ballerina shoes. If you KNOW you are right, you KNOW your decision is best for your company (and yourself) then you can’t accept a “no” right? Problem is that egos, agendas, and personalities can sometimes cloud a company’s decision making ability. And as a good get-along-guy or get-along-girl (which is what you need to be to get anything done in executive management) you must understand how important it is to keep people happy… or better yet how to NOT piss people off. Sometimes you need to dance.

Sometimes it’s tough when your decisions face opposition. But when your decision is right, you need to push forward. There IS no “no”. Become a bulldozer with ballerina shoes. Dance around what you can, roll over if you have to, but push forward no matter what stands in your way.


How to Launch Dozens of Blogs

There has to be a better way.  I have dozens domains that I want to create sites out of.  Free templates that I can edit myself.  Access to tons of awesome writers.  But creating the sites takes hours!  Set up hosting, configure, upload files, configure, install database, configure, etc etc etc.  It’s a pain in the arse.  Then once the sites are up, they crash from too much traffic (third host in 6 months, all the same problem)

These sites don’t have enough income potential to spend big dollars hosting them, but if I launch them all and keep my writers pounding out awesome stuff and driving traffic eventually these sites will be worth the effort.  But for now, no upsidedown-ski on hosting costs.

Anybody know a better, more efficient way to pound out lots of real wordpress blogs?  I am not looking for splog software, I just want to build out my sites so I don’t have all my chickens in one basket so to speak.


Playing to Your Strengths

“You know Tiger… you’re pretty good at Golf, but you suck at swimming. You need to practice swimming. You’re already good at golf anyways.”

-stupid person talking to Tiger Woods.

In SEO, business, and life in general, there are two ways of thinking about strengths versus weaknesses. One train of thought says to work on your weak points, the other is to work on the strengths. Both have valid logic behind them, but this chicken / egg controversy can have crippling effects on your plans if you aren’t careful.

I’m saying today, right here right now, that there is ONLY one way to look at this. Play to your strengths.

Let’s apply this to the world of SEO as an example.

On one hand we have a programmer; keen at logic and finding loopholes. You should be the person writing the bots, developing the dynamic content systems, analyzing the metrics, etc. You shouldn’t be writing that linkbait article or trying to force yourself to be to social butterfly online.

On the other hand; we have a writer or communicator. You should be the one creating social pieces, making buddies and networking, and using your programmer’s scripts to publish and push this content. You shouldn’t need to develop the scripts yourself.

Just think if famous football coach Bill Belicheck thought to manage his team by playing to his weaknesses. “I know Tom Brady can throw, but he sucks at tackling. He will be practicing at noseguard this week. Vince sucks at throwing, so he will be working with the quarterback coach.”

Ridonkulous.

So what’s different about business? The answer is nothing. You are wasting your time if you are trying to spend all day trying to make everybody understand all aspects of your business. That’s your job when you are the boss. Your management team might need to work on their weaknesses, since they are working with your future superstars, but don’t distract your superstars from shining in THEIR jobs by giving them the same distractions! FOCUS!

Point black you play to your strengths and hire for your weaknesses. Let the strongest people work their magic. Let positions build themselves out of your people’s talent. Don’t waste everybody’s time by distracting those who are strong in certain areas.


Work is Hard

Running a web marketing department in Corporate America is hard work! I’ve been here for about 15 minutes so far and I’ve already had to sign 4 documents! FOUR! I even have to READ these things before I sign them. I get paid to LEAD not to READ! Now granted, today is a light meeting day (only 3 scheduled) but seriously they better have bagels and / or donuts ready because all that listening and talking is gonna be SO HARD!

Decisions don’t just make themselves!

And now that I’m on the subject, let’s talk about these darn parties conferences, dinner parties off-site meetings, and vacations business trips. Getting paid to have a drink and laugh discuss business with friends business partners and coworkers is really difficult. Really.

…uhm I hope you’re picking up the tongue in cheek tone of this message…

[transition]

Honestly, the differences between upper management and professional services amazes me to this day. The more I climb up the ladder… the more I explain, communicate, decide, and delegate, and the less I actually do. It amazes me that I actually do less of the doing, but I become more important. Such a weird mind shift.

When I first started in web marketing, my job was to do EVERYTHING. I ran my own web design and marketing company, MCP Media. I had to learn it all, and get it all done myself. Nobody to delegate to. This was great training, because now I know at least a little of pretty much every aspect of web marketing, I even know a real lot about some key aspects.

As my career matures, I have become a mentor, a decision maker, a trainer, a coach, a motivator, and the guy who takes responsibility for others’ actions. But I do less actual work work… it’s so weird. At first I felt guilty about it. It was such an odd transition from being the only one I trusted to do any task to having everybody else do things I need done. I’d go home at the end of the day and I felt like I didn’t have my hands right in there for the entire day. It didn’t feel like work. But I still had no time to breath because I was busy pushing others to succeed and keeping things running.

Has anybody else felt this type of guilty feeling when learning to delegate instead of doing it all? Have you had difficulties in trusting others to get things done right? Have you been in that same quandary, you do less but you’re needed more and paid better? Do you spend all day meeting with people instead of designing, developing, number crunching, and things of that nature? Do you sign things all day?

I wanna hear from people who have experienced the same weird feelings I have about moving up the corporate ladder so I can assure myself that this type of feeling is more normal than I think.


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