Thursday, August 18, 2011

Top 20 Dry Spices for Your Kitchen

Yes, well I seemed to have started something with these top 20 kitchen lists. So here we go...

My Top 20 Dry Spices for Your Kitchen:

  1. Cumin
  2. Basil
  3. Parsley
  4. Cayenne Pepper
  5. Sage
  6. Rosemary
  7. Thyme
  8. Red Pepper Flakes
  9. Oregano
  10. Rubbed Sage
  11. Mustard
  12. Terragon
  13. Cinnamon
  14. Ginger
  15. Cloves
  16. Paprika
  17. Dill
  18. Celery Seed
  19. Turmeric
  20. Allspice

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How to Use to Improve Your Organic SEO – 12 Easy Steps [Video]

SEMRush is one of the few paid SEO tools that I think is worth the money.  I am including both a Video and Step by Step Instructions.

To show you how to use this tool I picked a random company: Brannen Brothers Flute Makers             Step 1. Enter the URL of your company into the search bar
            Step 2. Click on “Full Report”             Step 3. Click the column header to sort the list in order of Keyword ranking
               Step 4. Click the “Export” tab that’s best for you – I use Export for Excel             Step 5. You will have a list that looks something like this:
            Step 6. Insert a new Column between Columns A and B
                Step 7. Title the New Column “Categories”
               Step 8. Separate the Keywords into Categories Enter a category name beside each keyword. The category is up to you and your business. Use categories that make sense. If your company is big enough to have Product Line Managers, ask them for help if you get stuck categorizing. In this example, it’s a very small company and I happen to know this business extremely well. These are the categories I came up with:
  • Branded
  • Components
  • Dealers
  • Geographic
  • Makers
  • Material
  • Price
            Step 9. Click the upper right-hand corner to highlight the entire spreadsheet
            Step 10. Click the “Data” tab and then click “Sort”             Step 11. Select to sort by Column B or “Category” – ascending and Click “OK”
            Step 12. You will now have a spreadsheet alphabetically sorted by Keyword Category
For a company as small as this one, one person could easily look over this list and make some key observations:
  • What keywords do you think are missing? – Make a list
  • What keywords are here that surprise you? – Why? Make a list
  • What keywords rank lower than you would like? Make a list
If your company has a strong brand, like Brannen Brothers, finding a lot of branded terms in the top 20 organic rankings should be expected. Your observations, and the keyword lists that you make from answering the 3 questions above will help guide what to do next. For example, Brannen Brothers manufactures flutes. However, the number of keywords for flute components that they have organically ranked in the top 20 seems low. Of those words, many of them are still on the second page of search results. It would probably be very beneficial to optimize some pages of their site for the terms “lafin headjoints,” “flute lip plate,” “headjoints,” and “flute trills.” It would probably also be beneficial to brainstorm and add some additional “Component” keywords to a wish list of terms they would like to be ranked well for by doing some keyword research surrounding these terms. To give you real-life evidence of how well this works, here’s a screenshot of a company,, where I initiated this SEMRush method in January of 2010. When the project began, they had 424 top 20 organic keywords. When the project ended they had 3,498!
This Screenshot shows's move upwards compared to several competitors.
Need help? I’d be happy to do an SEMRush audit of your Website and make recommendations for a reasonable fee based on the size of your site.  Please contact me directly at

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Top 20 Kitchen Cookware items I Couldn't Live Without

Well, I really am writing another SEO post...and it's going to be excellent of course. But while I'm sitting here putting that together it dawned on me that I need to follow up my Top 20 Pantry Ingredients You Must Have in Your Kitchen with a post concerning utensils, implements...yes, cooking parephernalia.

Paraphernalia - now there's a word. I had a Dickens of a time spelling it. Once I'd finally got it right I was very curious as to its original meaning. Here it is, straight from the Meriam-Webster online Dictionary:
the separate real or personal poperty of a married woman that she can dispose of by will and sometimes according to common law during her life
I say, that describes every item in my kitchen absolutely perfectly...

So here it is:

My Top 20 Kitchen Items I can't Live without (unless of course disposed of by will or common law):
  1. Cast iron Dutch Oven
  2. Wooden spoon
  3. One large sharp butcher's knife
  4. One large sharp paring knife
  5. Set of stainless steel measuring spoons (keep your knickers on, they count as one because they are all hooked together with a little metal ring!)
  6. Cheese Grater
  7. Cast iron skilllet
  8. One cookie sheet
  9. One bread pan
  10. One Stainless steel Stock pot
  11. One Stainless steel large saute pan
  12. One electric hand mixer
  13. One small hand blender
  14. One stainless steal spatula
  15. One rubber heat-resistant spatula
  16. One stainless steel 1-2 qt. sauce pan with lid
  17. Crock pot
  18. Mandolin (no silly a slicer, not the guitar kind!)
  19. Large oven-safe mixing bowl
  20. Large oven-save serving platter

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Top 20 Must Have Kitchen Pantry Ingredients

Today I'm taking a little break from SEO and indulging in my other passion, cooking. One thing that can help you survive hard financial times is knowing how to cook. Along with that, you have to know how to shop for ingredients that give you a lot of bang for your buck.

Cook Poor and Eat Rich with My Top 20 Kitchen Pantry Ingredients:

  1. Eggs
  2. Butter
  3. Lemons
  4. Flour
  5. Sugar
  6. Rice
  7. Salt
  8. Pepper
  9. Onions
  10. Potatoes
  11. Milk
  12. Garlic
  13. Tomatoes (Canned Sauce, canned dice or 4-6 fresh tomatoes)
  14. Fresh Greens (could be Chard, Romaine, Spinach, Collard or Spinach)
  15. Peanut Butter
  16. Celery
  17. Apples
  18. Cheese
  19. Pinto Beans
  20. One large (5-25 lbs) protein item (could be whole chicken, turkey, venison, fish, pork shoulder, pork belly, ham or beef chuck roast)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

SEO Saturdays - Pagerank Demystified

First - a Little Pagerank History

Pagerank is one of those words that gets stuck in your spellchecker….

Pagerank was an algorithm originally created by Larry Page, one of Google’s founders. “Page” is a reference to his name, not your website “pages.” The algorithm looked at how many people (including you) were linking to a certain page of your site and then gave it a score on a scale of 0 to 10 with zero being of no relevance and 10 being most relevant.

Pagerank was important to search algorithms in 1998. While still a part of the equation, it’s such a small element that it’s really not worth monitoring, mentioning or tracking. This is advice straight from the Google Webmaster blog.

13 years later there are still people obsessed with Pagerank, Link Juice, and Link Spamming

A big part of the Pagerank equation is from how many sites link to a specific page of your site. Consequently, every page of your site has its own Pagerank. There are still lots of “checkers” out there. Here’s a link to a decent Pagerank checker.   

Just keep in mind, whatever number is there…isn’t real. You can’t get your real time Pagerank, from anyone. So really, you’re going to take this mystery number and actually use it to determine your actions? Are you nuts?

Sure, you can track your site’s Pagerank over time – But you’ll never see what it is right now because Google won’t tell you!

Today in SEO there is only one part of your website that should be manipulated based on Pagerank. That is to create internal links [link to yesterday’s article] on your site that link pages with a high Pagerank, to pages with a low Pagerank.  There’s an important caveat in that equation. You can’t just go round linking irrelevant pages. If you send a bunch of links from a high-ranked page with a smoked ribs recipe to a low Pagerank page for vegetarian tofu chili, uhhh, that’s not going to be very relevant.

If you are going to link a page with higher Pagerank to a page with lower Pagerank, for God’s sake make sure there’s a logical reason.

Relevance is a much larger part of Google’s algorithm, which contains over 200 variables and is updated at a rate of nearly 9 changes per week. Why people have been dwelling on Pagerank for the last 13 years I don’t know. At a rate of 9 changes per week over the last 13 years, that means Google has changed it’s algorithm 9 (13x52) times in the last 13 years. Folks, that’s 6,084 times.

So do me a favor. Instead of obsessing over link juice, go squeeze some lime juice and make a great Marguerita. Join me next week for Saturday SEO!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Content Might be King but Inbound Links are Queen - Sit Down Kids - This is a Lesson in Linkology

Outbound Links, Inbound Links, Back Links, Hyper Links, and Internal Links – Links Explained for SEO

Lesson 1 – What is a Hyper Link?

I’ll spare you the techno-babble. A hyper link is anything on a Web page that is “clickable” and navigates you to another Web page. What’s the difference between a “link” and a “hyper link” online? Nothing. They are the same thing. Ok, onword ho!
plastic sausage links
These are not Hyper Links

Lesson 2 – What is an Inbound Link?

Inbound links are the single most important thing that will affect your site’s SEO

Inbound links, also called “Back links,” are links on other websites that link back to pages of your site. If Content is King, inbound links are Queen. Maybe someday this will change, but my guess is it won’t be for a very, very, VERY long time. Think about it this way: You apply for a job and submit your references to an interviewer. She contacts all of your references. They say amazing things about you. Some other guy wants the same job too and has all the same qualifications. However, he only has two references while you had five and his don’t say amazing things. All other things being equal, who get’s hired? Right! You do!

In SEO the site with the strongest inbound links wins!

You could have a crappy site, with misspellings and bad grammar. If you have more better inbound links than the other guy, your site will come out ahead of his in the SERPs. [Now don’t get all excited, my bad grammar was intentional!]. What other people say about you holds more weight with Search Engines than beautiful design and immaculate editing. Search Engine spiders are like the interviewer I just mentioned. They are ranking your site based on your references from other people, more than anything else. Everything else in SEO is important, but less important.

So does that mean that outbound links are bad?

Lesson 3: What is an Outbound Link?
Gypsy man with crystal ball

Outbound links are links from your site out to other sites. There was a time when some SEO professionals were obsessed with something called Pagerank. I will address Pagerank in tomorrow’s post, so don’t worry if you don’t know what it is. These SEO’s believed that any outbound link on a page reduced the importance of that page to a search engine spider. This led to people trying to manipulate the importance of their own pages and a mystical activity called “Pagerank sculpting.” Believe me, it had nothing to do with art.

SEO’s who say they have a magical bag of tricks that can “fool” the search engines are most likely attempting to manipulate Page Rank with bogus inbound and unhelpful outbound links. Stay away from people who say they have “secret methods.” They are charlatans. 

Outbound links can often be crucial to the success of your pages. 

Saguaro Cactus
For example, what if your site was all about travel to Sedona, Arizona. Your content discussed places to see, guided tours, hotels, restaurants and even had reviews from other people who had visited. But on the site, there were no links to any of this, no hotels, not the chamber of commerce, no local attractions, no transportation companies, nothing.

This would give your visitors a terrible experience. Here you are telling them all these fun things they can do in Sedona, but you’re not giving them any way to even begin making reservations or planning their trip. In this case, not only would outbound links help your visitor, they would establish your credibility as a travel expert.

Outbound links that are relevant to your content and enhance visitor experience are always a good thing for your SEO

Lesson 4 – What are Internal Links?

Internal Links are links from one page of your site to another page of your site. Your Navigation menu on your home page is a good example. You might also reference things from one page to another. For example, if you are selling microphones and you want to suggest a mic stand to your customer, you could include a link to that accessory to make it easier for your customer to find. That would be an internal link.
hansel and Gretel following breadcrumb trail
Just in case you can't wait, click the link
for an excellent Web design article on breadcrumbs

Think of internal links as a breadcrumb trail for your visitors. Actually using breadcrumbs in your Web design is a great idea, but a different topic, so I will save that for a future post. These breadcrumb trails need to be a logical progression. If you start sending your visitors or spiders around in circles, or worse, dead ends, they just get frustrated and leave, or worse, possibly at a cabin in the Austrian woods where an old lady in a tall pointy hat invites them in for dinner. Neither are good scenarios.

Your trail should not be a digital rendition of Escher’s Mummies on Stairs [okay, it’s not called Mummies on Stairs, it’s really called “Relativity” – a 1953 lithograph]. Ooohh, that was an outbound link!

Stay tuned for a future post on easy ways to get high quality inbound links to your site. Yes, when that post is written there will be an inbound link that will take you right to the article. In the meantime, read something from the Dana Tan SEO Blog Archives [ooohhh, now that was a real inbound link!]

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

If You Don't Defragment Your Hard Drive a 3-Year Old Will Take Over Your Computer!

I promised to give instructions on how to do this nasty housekeeping task on your computer in my blog post called What to Do When Your Web site, Computer, Browser or the Stock Market Crashes?

Ok folks, if you have a Mac, feel free to sit back and be smug. I have both Macs and PCs so I have to defragment and be smug at the same time. If you own a Mac the only thing you’ll ever have to defragment is whatever animal you just shot for dinner.

Why You Need to Defragment Your Hard Drive Regularly

Why? Because, PCs (i.e. Microsoft computers) are stupid. Even a three-year old child can be taught how to put their backpack into the right cubby at pre-school. But, not your PC! Let’s imagine that each computer file is a backpack. PC’s upload and place files (backpacks) on your computer in a completely indiscriminate way. They see an opening, they stuff their backpack into it. Then when you decide to uninstall a program (backpack) and install a new program that’s smaller, there’s this gap in the cubby hole. Empty space.

Now imagine a huge room with 1000 cubby holes that all have these gaps of empty space.  If you calculated all that empty space you might have room for 500 backpacks – but your PC, like a small child can’t see a way to fit everything. It tells you it’s full, sits down on the floor and cries.

Here we go – How to Defragment Your Frickin’ Hard Drive

(yes, by the time you realize you need to do this you will be cussing).

                        1.  Go to your “Start” Menu in the lower right
                        2.  Click “Control Panel”
                        3.  Click “System Maintenance”
                        4.  Scroll down to (but Don’t Click On It!!!!) – “Administrative Tools”
                        5.  Click on Defragment Your Hard Drive
                        6.  Select a schedule – Make sure your computer will be on at that time
                        7.  Click “Defragment Now”

If this is the first time you have ever defragged your hard drive. Go to bed. It could take anywhere from 1 to 12 hours to finish the task. If your computer poops out in the middle, rinse and repeat the steps above until you get a green light for go. It kinda looks like this:

You'll probably have to try over and over, a maddening number of times to get to this point -  welcome to the world of PCs and Microsoft! Next time, buy a Mac - your time is more valuable.

Are You Online a Lot? Why You Should Toss Your Cookies Regularly, Especially if You’re an SEO Pro!

I am posting this because I am constantly surprised how many people spend their entire day in front of a computer but don’t know how to do these 3 critical things. I also promised this as a follow up to my post What to do when your computer, website, browser or the stock market crashes!

Why You Should Toss Your Cookies on a Regular Basis

Cookies on your computer can be good things. They help your favorite sites load faster. When you’re shopping online, they can help you fill out forms or even help you find accessory products because they can help serve up suggestionns for items you are looking at. However, let them build up over time and pretty soon there are so many clogging up your computer that it’s like someone just dumped a truckload of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies in your kitchen and now you can’t get to the fridge to get the milk!

Depending on your Internet use I would recommend following these steps at least once a week. If you’re online a lot and don’t want to worry about it, you can set your computer to do it every time you exit your browser, shut down or restart. I’ll show you how to do that too.

If you want to be good at SEO – you need to know how to take care of your computer!

            1.  Click “Start” in the lower left of your screen
            2.  Click Control Panel 
            3.  Click on Network and Internet
            4.  Click on Internet Options
            5.  In the “General Tab” find “Browsing History” and click “Delete”

You have now opened a page called “Delete Browsing History”

6.  Click all 3 checkboxes next to “Cookies” & “Temporary Internet Files” & “History”

Check all three checkboxes inside the red circle
            7.  Click “Delete” and wait while your system deletes the files - be patient!
            8.  Click “OK” at the bottom of the box

I recommend restarting your system after this.

Ahhhh, so much better!

If you would prefer not to do this manually, or don’t want to remember to do it, you can set your system to do this every time you shut down. Here’s how:

1.  Click “Start” in the lower left of your screen
            2.  Click Control Panel
3.  Click on Network and Internet
            4.  Click Internet Options
5.  Check the bos under Browsing History that says “Delete browsing history on exit”
6.  Click “Settings”

You are now on a page that’s called “Temporary Internet Files and History Settings
7.  Under “History” – Select the number of days you want IE to keep in your browsing history. If you are online a lot I suggest 7 or less.
8.  Click “OK”
9.  Click “OK” in the screen after that too.

You’re done! Now all you’ll need to do on a regular basis is defragment your hard drive. That’s only if you have a Windows OS [Operating System] PC.  I’ll show you how to do that tomorrow. Cheers! Now go have a real cookie.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Microsoft - You Are Dead to Me!

As if the ripoff of Windows Vista wasn't enough, I was stupid enough to take my Vista desktop into a local shop to be fixed. Of course the hard-drive was trashed. Oh, there's a big surprise. It cost me $250 to get it back up and running. That was 66% what I paid for the computer, new.

Following my own advice from my post called What to do When Your Computer, Website, Browser or the Stock Market Crashes - I am updating a Windows Vista computer that hasn't been turned on in almost 2 months....I will never ever ever ever ever buy another Windows product or a PC!!! Ever, never!  - I have never had to spend three days updating my MacBook Pro! - I've never had to spend more than 10 minutes updating my Mac and that was because I updated my OS for $30!....PC's and Microsoft - I hate your products - they do exactly the opposite of what computers are supposed to do. They cost you time and money instead of saving you time and money.

Why on earth do so many people keep signing up for that? 

I'm done. Microsoft....You are dead to me!

What to Do When Your Web site, Computer, Browser or the Stock Market Crashes?

Today I spent several hours trying to get an old Lexmark printer to work. It had been in my crawl space for over a year. It was dusty, and there were probably still crayons stuck in it from when my youngest thought sticking “colors” in the paper feed made for some fun printouts.

Lexmark X1185 Printer
My dead Lexmark X1185 printer - R.I.P.
After two hours of trying to download new drivers with zero success and probably risking infection by malware (and definitely some malwords!), I decided it was just time for a new one. After all, my time is worth money! Now, I don’t do this every time I have a technical problem. In fact, I am probably tenacious to a fault when it comes to trouble-shooting computer problems. Here are my rules:

Number One Rule – Don’t Freak Out

This applies to Web site’s crashing, computer’s crashing, browser’s crashing and stock markets crashing. The very best steps you can take when these things happen are the following;
  1. Don’t Freak Out

  2. Take some deep breaths

  3. Walk away for a while, maybe a good 30-minute walk

  4. Don’t pick at it! Don’t change anything until you have done steps 1-3

Why not change anything?

Because 9 times out of 10 the problem is a result of weird stuff that you can’t control. If you change stuff based on that, you most likely are going to mess something up that wasn’t broken, ending up worse off than you were when everything crashed .

It’s like a scab – Don’t pick at it!

Do you know that if you follow this rule you can save yourself 90 percent of your costs in maintaining your Web sites, computers, browsers AND investments? Companies make their livelihood off of your panic. They count on you to give up and cash in. That’s how they make money.

Before buying a new computer, new printer, getting a new browser, or selling all of your stock follow these steps:
  1. Make sure you’ve done steps 1-4 above
  2. When you come back from your walk, shut everything down
  3. Disconnect any USB cables and take discs out of drives
  4. Wait 5 minutes
  5. Restart your system and make sure everything, especially your OS (Operating System) is up to date
  6. Run any needed updates
  7. Shut down again
  8. Wait 5 minutes
  9. Reboot, and reconnect any necessary cables to chargers, printers, external drives, etc.
  10. Housekeeping (no not in your house silly, on the computer! Unless your house needs it, in which case by all means do that too) – Go through your files & programs & decide what you need, get rid of the rest
  11. Clear your cache [look for upcoming post on how to do this]
  12. Clear your browsing history and temporary Internet files [“How to” coming soon in a follow up post]

A lot of problems, computer or otherwise, can be solved with some patience, maintenance & organization. Unfortunately, as human beings, patience is hard and panicking comes way easier. As a result, computer repair shops, software companies, and stockbrokers make a lot of money off of us.

Tonight, when I was trying to get my new HP Deskjet 2050 Printer to work with both a PC and a MAC, I was tempted to pay for help. But instead, I:

  1. Didn’t freak out

  2. Took any discs in the drives out

  3. Shut everything down

  4. Unplugged everything

  5. Walked away for 20 minutes

  6. Reconnected the cables

  7. Rebooted

  8. Deleted some unnecessary programs

  9. Ran updates

  10. Emptied my trash

  11. Shut everything down

  12. Restarted everything again


And Voila! The printer worked great with both computers. I didn’t have to do any crazy stuff with advanced security settings, or set up a network, or do a system restore, or mess with javascript or Active X settings. None of that.

My New HP 2050 printer
I wonder. How many people give up before getting that far? How many people freak out and start making a whole bunch of changes to a system that [at least until they started messing around] was probably just in need of some updates & housekeeping?

Once they’ve sufficiently mucked everything up, how many people then have to pay someone else to fix it for them? 

Sometimes, like the Kenny Rogers song The Gambler says, “You gotta know when to fold.” Are all these steps and the time it takes to do them worthwhile if your computer is 10 years old and about ready to blow? No way. This is what you need to be thinking about during your 30-minute walk.

My old printer was 7 years old and only cost me $38.  One black ink cartridge to fill it would have been $28. I could buy a whole new printer for $39, including two ink cartridges, without having to mess around for hours trying to find a driver that would work. Even if I had gotten it to work, there was still the issue of the crayons in the paper feed….

Yep, it was time to fold.

Still, connecting the new one was no picnic. But I did it, and it only cost me $39 and some time, patience and intelligent work.

Next time your computer crashes – or the stock market crashes – Don’t freak out. Take some deep breaths. Take a long walk and assess the situation and for heaven’s sake don’t pick at it! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Did Randi Zuckerberg leave Facebook to start a Social Network that appeals to Women better than Google+?

It's been almost 3 weeks since I posted an original article on the disparity of women to men when comparing Google+ and Facebook.  To date, Google+ has done nothing to address or acknowledge the fact that their membership is 9:1 males to females. Google+'s page view count is reported to dwarf Facebook in its early days. However the 9 to 1 male to female ratio is holding. 

I had to chuckle when I read an article today at the Huffington Post previewing a new Indie film called ‘Without Men.’ The basic premise of the film, it seems,  is that all the men in town have been forcibly recruited by a “bunch of guerilla revolutionaries.” Really? I thought? Google+ got them too???

Statistics directly from Google+
According to Google’s statistics - 9 out of 10 Google+ members are male. In stark contrast, on Facebook American women outnumber American men almost 6 to 4. Since Google+’s startling statistic was widely reported on July 14, the Twittersphere has been ablaze with sausage jokes and people trying to answer the question: Why?
Facebook Demographics Revisited - 2011 Statistics
by Ken Burbarry

Why have so few women have jumped on the Google+ bandwagon?

Let’s examine a possible parallel situation because it might give us some clues. In June the New York Times cited a Forrester Research study showing that women prefer ereaders like the Nook while men prefer the iPad. Unfortunately, the article didn’t provide a link to the actual research study. If any of you readers can provide it in comments below that would be great. Nonetheless, we’ll proceed on the cautious assumption that the reporter at the NY Times checked his sources.

Why is it that women prefer e-readers to tablets?

I suggest that the answer to both of the questions above is the same. The writer of the NY Times article cited that “publishers’ [he wisely didn’t say which ones] believe these are the primary reasons:

·      Women prefer simpler devices
·      Women think that programs like Rock Band, and Hi-Res cameras are “guy stuff”
·      Marketing of e-readers is more focused on women, tablet marketing is more focused on men

Okay ladies, can I just say what a load of hooey! “Simpler devices”…really? Perhaps that explains why so many women prefer men? Hi-Res cameras are “guy stuff?” Hogswollop! I happen to be typing this blog post on a MacBook Pro that has Garage Band which I will use to add music to my fireworks videos from the 4th of July, that, by the way, I shot with my Hi-res camera on my iPhone!

Okay, so that leaves one thing left….Marketing

Who do major retailers, corporations, pundits and politicians view as primary decision makers? Men. Who do these same organizations pay more than women? Men. Consequently, who do same said organizations view as the group with more disposable income? Men. If these statements are true, and even in this day and age we know they are, and you had something new that you wanted to mass market, who would you target first? Right, men.

So you see, the reason men outnumber women on Google+ is all about marketing. Do you think that the first new organization that Google announced Google+ to was O Magazine? Did Google+ come out with selling points like “You’ll be able to upload and share recipes, pictures of your grandchildren with faster and easier scrap-booking features on Google+ !” No. It was rolled out to Web geeks who, and I’m speaking from experience, are about 90 percent male. Google+ was touted as being better, stronger faster and just plain slicker than the social media sites that went before. Yes! It is the “Bionic Man” of social media sites! It's like Facebook on Viagra! It goes to 11.

So does this mean that soon Facebook will be like the town in the movie ‘Without Men?’ If so, will Oprah buy Mark Zuckerberg out and call it “O-Facebook?” Or, perhaps Randi, Mark's Emmy-nominated sister and former Facebook marketing director is going to take a crack at creating a social network that appeals to women the way Google+ appeals to men? That might be interesting. In the meantime, look out boys, because this girl can handle both a Facebook account AND a Google+ account at the same time, while shooting a video cast with my iPhone’s Hi-Res camera as I edit my 4th of July fireworks videos in Garage Band.

I am very curious to know if Randi Zuckerberg has left to start a women's social network to counter the men's social network over at Google+. If so, I think she's go something!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Organic SEO – Buy Fresh, Buy Local!

My homegrown Basil
Tonight I made roasted chicken with basil, parsley, lemon and olive oil marinade for dinner. It was accompanied with roasted potatoes, fresh organic tomato from the local farmer’s market and a fennel, green apple slaw with orange dressing topped with riccota salata.

Here’s the thing. I can’t afford to buy 100% organic food all the time. Even if I could, I probably would have to drive 50 miles or more to find an organic lemon!

I recently read an article about what organic foods give you more bang for your buck and others where the organic part doesn’t matter so much. Did you know that regular broccoli has very low levels of pesticides because broccoli is somewhat naturally resistant and, if over-dosed with pesticide it just up and dies on you? It’s true.

What types of organic SEO can give you the most bang for your buck?

No one is going to understand, or have a stake in your success like local search engine marketing professionals. These people live their lives online. They know that their reputation is at stake with every transaction, every client. Do you really want to hire someone from overseas to write articles for you? Are they really capable of speaking in the voice that appeals to your customers? No. They aren’t.

Some outsourcing is necessary, especially in my semi-organic SEO kitchen!

Okay, you’re business, like my kitchen, might have a small budget. Spending it wisely is key. Is spending money on organic SEO worth it? Do you have time to search for the right ingredients? Or in the long run is it going to be faster and maybe even cheaper just to take what’s on the shelf? (Google Adwords anyone?). Sometimes, just like buying lemons, it’s not a bad option. But what about the other ingredients: meta tags, image optimization, optimized copy, usability testing, great headlines, anchor text? The answer is the same as learning how to buy organic food. Educate yourself about the mix of things you want to put together. Mix local SEO expert advice, outsourcing and paid search , and you’ll get more bang for your buck.

It’s possible that paying for organic SEO could save you money in the long run

Just like eating foods with pesticides can cause cancer, not taking care of your organic SEO may end up costing you in the long run. Will the expenses of paying for all that easily accessible stuff [Google Adwords] end up costing you tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands more than it would have cost to pay to have your site positioned well in natural search?

Know the source of your SEO

Fennel and tomato from the Mansfield Farmer's Market
USA grown Apples and Oranges  from Walmart
When you go to Walmart, you look at where your fruits and vegetables come from don’t you? For example, I used Perdue chicken from the Mid-west (funny, Perdue means “lost” in French – so maybe it was lost in the Mid-west). The basil and fennel were home grown, parsley from USA, lemons from Florida, garlic from USA. You get my point.

Prioritize your Internet marketing spend like you prioritize what organic foods to buy – Get the most bang for your buck.

When you are in the checkout line at the SEO market, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you paying money for Paid Search campaigns that take visitors to un-optimized landing pages?

  • Will your SEO Professional include usability testing?

  • Are you having a programmer or Web designer write meta tags for you? (No!!! – unless they are a copy writer too, which is pretty rare, this better be a big “No!”)

  • Do you have a contract so that you know what to expect from your SEO professional?

  • Did you pay for a Web design based only on how it looked without testing it? (Would you do that with a canteloupe?)

  • Has someone led you to believe that updating your Web design will solve all of your SEO problems?

Seven great truths about hiring local for your SEO help:

  1. No one knows you better than people closest to you

  2. No one is going to listen to you about your budget better than someone local

  3. No one has more reputation at stake if they do a bad job than someone local

  4. Language barriers can lead to very expensive misunderstandings

  5. A local SEO professional is going to be more honest about what they can and can’t do

  6. Hire local - Local SEO’s are going to be in your time zone – making communication easier

  7. Local SEO’s have to follow the same laws you do. If you have to dispute a contract, you’ll have a lot better chances of resolving the issue if they are at least in your country

Businesses in this country are paying millions of dollars on SEO-SEM and not getting their money’s worth. Insist on a contract with full disclosure including specific tasks, goals, deadlines and full disclosure of any work being outsourced. Stick to this and your SEO should produce some tasty results!

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