Posts made in January, 2011

This is a post from an Egyptian-American psychologist friend in Cairo who sent this to Rita Zawaideh for sharing. Cairo, Egypt Sunday: 9:30pm Today, the fourth day of what must now be called an Egyptian revolution, 100,000 people showed up in Tahrir Square, the political center of the people’s protest against President Hosni Mubarak and his government and for democracy and government respect of the people. Not a bare spot was to be found. The size of the gathering was unaffected by the government’s shutdown of the internet and cell phone services. Nor the fact that it shut down Al Jazeera in Arabic, the county’s main source of news. That fact is, that in spite of the tremendously rapid growth in internet and cell phone use in Egypt, the major pathways for news are mosques—whose messages sound throughout the city each day and which provide public gathering places for the people, and word of mouth. Neighborhood are extremely tight-knit; people help each other—lending money, bartering for services, adjudicating quarrels, offering aid and spreading news. Since very few move house, the ties are long, complex and meaningful.  Neighborhoods tie the country together.  Word travels efficiently. Mohamed al-Baradei At some point, Mohamed al-Baradei, former Nobel Peace Prize winner and spokesman for authentic democracy in Egypt, announced that he would be willing to form an interim unity government. The people’s opinion of al-Baradie is mixed. He’s been out of the country for decades, most recently as head of the IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and many see him as an interloper and there are others with long established reputations for leadership and opposition to the government. Still, in my opinion, it’s important now that a titular leader emerge. The people will get tired; they need people to replace those who were in positions of power and who are leaving the country in droves. Among many others, President Mubarak’s son, Gamal, often mentioned as a likely successor to his father—much to the peoples’ disgust—is said to be in London with his brother and their respective wives. Meanwhile, the police have returned to the streets and  protesters keep the pressure on one of main sites of oppression, like the Ministry of Interior (known locally as the Ministry of Torture). Today shots were heard from inside the building and there are rumors that the Minister abandoned the country. F-16s over Cairo Early this evening, my apartment rattled violently. Two F-16 fighter jet coming in low to buzz Tahrir Square. The people shout louder. In a phrase which rhymes in Arabic, they yell “You fly; we stay.” Army tanks rolls toward square while rumors spread...

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1 Little, 2 Little, 3 Little Keywords

Posted By on Jan 24, 2011

I’ve never understood the idea of SEO consultants offering packages that are priced by how many keywords they research. What sense does that make? My process in analysis is not to target a certain number of keywords but to find the keywords that will get my client on to page one. Because the goal of getting you on page two or three, regardless of the fact that some people do click through that far, is inadequate to me. The number of people who will find your link if it’s not above the fold on page one of Google rapidly diminishes. I’m much more interested in who your competitors on page one are and how they got there. I can analyze your page and their pages and come up with a pretty good idea of why they are there. That informs my strategy for going after placement. But in the process, I’m going to analyze many more than just 50 or 150 keywords. When I optimized JOEY’s Tacoma Hair Stylist website, I put her competitors through Rank Tracker, the Google Keyword Tool, SEO Spyglass, and other tools. By the time I was finished, I could see every keyword and backlink, knew how many pages they had, and how many pages were optimized for the target keywords. Then I set about optimizing JOEY’s site to compete. She’s on page one for several keyword phrases now. But the idea that you can just get 15 or 100 keywords from a client and look at the global monthly searches to determine which ones to use mystifies me. If you do that, you’re going to leave business on the table. So here’s one methodology: 1. Use the GKT to pull keywords out of competitor sites. 2. Eliminate the duplicates. 3. Find out how the client site and the competitors rank for keywords. 4. Choose the top-ranking keywords with the most volume. This is incredibly simplified but it’s along the lines of one process I use. You have to tailor things to specific websites but this will...

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Who’s on First

Posted By on Jan 2, 2011

I love data. I really like to find logical, methodologically sound ways of approaching a problem to find a solution. SEO provides this kind of challenge because we essentially have to reverse engineer what the search engines are doing. We can’t ever reverse engineer it all so it’s logical that it comes down to a sensibly-sized set of questions. To approach any new project today, my overriding question is, “Who is on the first page of Google?” Yes, Google. They’re still the 800 lb gorilla and if your goal is to drive traffic to a site, you want Google paying attention. You can ask a client who they think is their competition but they often think in terms of the real world, not the web. Whoever is getting the business in the real world, on the web your competition consists of the sites that rank ahead of you. If I get a list of competitors, I can extract keywords from all of those sites and compile them to get an idea of the common important keywords and who is ranking for them. Then by analyzing page counts, backlinks, and several other factors, I get a sense of who is the competitor to watch and beat. Sometimes they can’t be beat. Clients often want to rank on page one for a keyword that is very broad. I can’t tell you how many times a client wants me to get them on page one for a keyword that returns a SERP that is full of Wikipedia articles and online directories. There is no way to get ranked ahead of Wikipedia unless you’re Amazon or something similar. For JOEY | Hair Salon Tacoma, I started with a number of phrases that were all optimized for local search. Now that I’ve got her site ranking for some of them, I’m broadening the search and getting backlinks to the site. I believe that within about 90 days, she’ll be on page one for most of the important terms that a Tacoma hair stylist would want to rank for. She just got her first booking through her website. And that’s...

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