Archive for category Internet

Happy New Year, Internet!

2010 has been an interesting year for the Internet.  Google’s made several bids at major expansions – more than one of which have already proven to be complete flubs.  Facebook has faced scandal over failures in its famous privacy policy (you know that’s why it beat out MySpace).  China has all but declared war on most of the top websites.  Yahoo! has staggered along amid mockery and diminishing popularity.

SEO has changed, too.  You still need to keep track of things like meta-tags and link building, but social media marketing and even video SEO have taken up a lot of the focus that used to go into how much you could get away with without being marked as spam.  Just 12 months ago, social media was the Next Big Thing that everyone was trying to figure out how to use effectively, and now its becoming a proven method of courting return visits from people and even first time stops from their friends.

There have been virus scares on a lot of important websites.  Someone even used one to attack Iran and a number of other countries en masse!  It’s safe to say (pun intended) that the Internet has revealed that it’s every bit as dangerous as the concrete jungle.

But things aren’t all bleak.  As I just said, social media is stabilizing as a way to market your company.  Smart phones are evolving to use satellite technology in addition to cell towers.  A guy made a real fortune selling virtual real estate.  Most of the times a major site has been caught in an embarrassing situation, it’s managed to take care of things and save face.  And the Internet has really proven how it’s become the front line in freely expressing yourself.

I don’t know whether the Internet’s come a long way or whether this has all been just a small step in the grand scheme of things, but it’s been quite a year.  I’m sure that you’re looking forward to seeing what the new year will bring to the online world as much as I am.

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Is Christmas Online December 27th?

You know, I find myself wondering lately, how much business is done online in the days after Christmas.  Everyone knows that there are a lot of returns made on gifts that just aren’t right or don’t actually fit.  What happens with all that exchange money?  Certainly a lot of it is used in-store at the time of the exchange, but that can’t be all of it.

And what about all the Christmas cash and gift cards?  Do people make a bee-line exactly where they know something they want is?  Or do they just look around for a while to find the best deal they can on anything that interests them?  On occasion, search engines have used seasonally specific searching features, so is it possible that they’re going to need something that helps people find the best sale associated with your chosen keywords?

I’m afraid that I don’t have any worthwhile answers to this, but it’s certainly worth thinking about.  We all know that the Internet is used a lot for conducting business, so why shouldn’t it be part of the big After Christmas sales?  I know that, if I get some Christmas cash, I’m probably going to spend it in online purchases.

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Taking Care Of Your Site’s Needs: Back To Basics

Even if you’re not going to try handling your SEO needs on your own, that doesn’t mean that you have to leave your site completely invisible to search engine crawlers.  For one thing, Google has recently increased the amount of information you have available as a webmaster.  That means that you can keep better track of how you’re ranking and what you need to do in order to succeed.

Beyond that, though, there are lots of little things you can do to help your site out.  Just focusing on the basics a bit more can go a long way toward making any website more functional as a page that can be indexed.  More importantly, all of those fundamental website practices will help make it easier for people to do business with you, which is why you’ve taken your company online in the first place.

Of course, once you’re ready to have a skilled SEO team help your site, you can let them handle all of that as well.  They’ll be able to take all those efforts and go far more in-depth than someone who’s just getting started can.  In the meantime, it’s still a good idea to take some basic steps in order to make sure that your company can grow into everything you want it to be.

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Know The Best Ways To Promote Your Site

There are more and more ways you can go about letting everyone know that your site is great.  It used to be that everything was spread through word of mouth, back before the search engines came along.  Nowadays, there’s link building, web ads, and email messages sent because a company heard about you rather than the other way around.  It’s even starting to be where you need to make on-site videos in order to help your search engine ranking.

That shouldn’t be surprising, when you think about it:  the most important part of SEO services has always been and will always be the work that’s done to your website itself.  People have known for a while that videos can help them because of how communicative they are, so it isn’t a very big step from that to also using them to help the site show up on search listings.  You just have to be sure that, in keeping with the expectations of quality content, your videos are worth the attention of your client base.

Keeping up with things is always tricky if you don’t want to find yourself on the trailing edge – meaning if you’re actually keeping up.  When that’s what you’re doing, it’s far too easy to try to get a little ahead but take a proverbial wrong turn and find yourself left behind by everyone else.  Continual learning is the only way to deal with this, the same as it is with everything else.

So, you need to take enough time to carefully consider your options when you’re looking at getting anything done to improve your website.  You need to make sure that you at least keep up with everyone else, but you don’t want to wind up fully committed to a dead end method if you get too far ahead.  Only hiring the best services can keep you safely on the right path.

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Even The Changing Internet Still Needs Quality Content On Every Page

Ok, so everyone knows that the Internet is changing about as much as it’s staying the same.  Online stores don’t change as much, except in style, as other things – although there are some parts of social media that are starting to look like serious online stores, and there are some stores that have developed their own social media.  For all of that, how many times has Facebook made major changes since you signed up on it?

Well, it doesn’t matter what your website does, you need it to be as high quality as possible.  Dead and broken links are an obvious thing to avoid, but have you ever thought about how easy it is for people to read what your pages have to say?  I’m not talking about the general idea of “We offer this, we also do that”, I’m talking about what you have online to convince people that they should do business with you.

That has a bearing on everything, because it’s the whole reason you’re online in the first place.  What’s your return on investment going to be if you only invest in a lousy presentation for your goods and services?  Even the people that do a poor job are going to charge you real money (as opposed to fake money) for what they do.  So, you need to make sure that what you’re spending money on is going to be good enough to actually do what you want it to.

For another example, I could keep writing on this post forever talking about the importance of doing a good job in content, but that wouldn’t do anything extra to convince you to use techndu.com for your SEO services.  So, just babbling along would be poor-quality content.  And you’d probably just close the browser window.

So what’s the point?  The point is that, no matter who you get for help online – or even whether you get help at all – you have to make sure that everything from your homepage to the page that has the specific thing someone’s looking for has nothing more or less than the level of content that’s going to help people to make a good decision.  You shouldn’t badger them, you shouldn’t bore them, and above all you shouldn’t distract them with extra things that have nothing to do with the decision at hand:  If you bring up something tangential that you do, they may stop and think “Hey, that’s cool, but I know this site over here that does it best” and leave your site without doing anything.

You need to make sure that every page is carefully crafted from the bit up to help you achieve your company’s goals.  This takes attention, persistence, and patience but it’s the only way to make your site a success no matter whether it’s a store or an SM page for interfacing with your client base.

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Is It A Google World?

Google is very useful for a lot of things.  It’s earned its place as the leading search engine.  I personally use YouTube a lot to enjoy cool video clips.  But it’s worrisome to see Google trying to take over everything they can get their hands on.  Some months back, Eric Schmidt said that his company was trying to toe up to the “creepy line” with how much it does for you.  Well, it looks like they’re at it again, and as usual people don’t like it.

Google’s trying to break into TV, running it through the Internet.  In itself, that’s not necessarily all that bad – or even particularly original.  In the long term, it’s actually probably a good idea because of how streamline the technology is inevitably going to make life.  The problem is that, once again, Google’s trying to do everything.

The company’s gotten very good at making people nervous that it’s going to take over every aspect of their lives, even taking a bath!  Everybody’s heard about the Street Level program effectively spying on people even in their most private moments.  So, it’s perfectly understandable that we shouldn’t want the same company having a foothold in every part of our lives.

But now we’re supposed to be happy that they’re offering us our television programming online?  Something they need to consider is that, with all the things they’re trying to get a foothold in, it sure looks like Google is trying to build up some kind of a monopoly – something that’s proven to paint a bull’s-eye on any company for a long time now.

I’ve said many times that I like Google as a general rule.  But I really don’t like it that they’re trying to muscle in on so many parts of our lives.  It’s like they’re trying to achieve something out of a bad sci-fi story.  Is there a limit to where they’re going to spread, or is it a Google world after all?

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Brave New Online World

Well, we’ve said all along that the Internet is changing.  Now the Gartner Symposium has proven it:  they’ve pointed out how even email is changing in light of social media.  You’ve probably noticed that to some extent.  Updates on what some of the contacts in your address book are doing, perhaps?

Well, this isn’t the only way in which the Internet’s changing things.  A while back, Sococo released what’s essentially a social media program for the office.  The idea is that you use it rather than chase all over the place to find someone, and a thousand other things that it can simplify for you.

So, it’s not surprising that the standard email providers are getting on the bandwagon as well, or that SM has been trying to facilitate that blending.  The easier it is for people to communicate with each other, the more the Internet does the job it’s actually intended for.

There’s always been some level of talk that one day computers are going to be like you see in the old Jetsons cartoons, where you press a button and it’s a calculator or you press another and it’s a live video conference with your boss.  Well, it’s almost here.  The software is developing, and the hardware is so good that you can almost feel Mr. Spacely reaching out from the screen and grabbing you by the collar.  It’s just a matter of time now before everyone’s wondering why we don’t have flying cars too.

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You Know You’re An Internet Geek When…

Sooner or later, everyone has to ask themselves: “How far is too far?”  Obviously, the Internet is a very useful thing that can help both business and private life.  However, shouldn’t it be put aside when someone’s life is in danger?

Apparently, a lot of people don’t think so.  Last night, Bill Nye, the famous Science Guy, collapsed while starting a lecture.  Offhand, it looks like he might have had some sort of a stroke.  Did everybody rush up to help him?  No, they tweeted the whole thing.  If you happen to be following the right tweets, you already got a thorough walk through of the whole thing.

Some people have been defending the students in attendance with the argument that they thought it was part of Professor Nye’s act.  Maybe they did and maybe they didn’t.  Either way, it doesn’t seem like one’s first response should be to send out a tweet.

And the death of YouTuber Messy Mya?  I’m looking and I can’t find anything about all the people who found out almost as soon as it happened getting word to the police before they could spread the word online.

Getting word to fans about problems their heroes are facing isn’t without merit.  I understand that.  But when that becomes more important that helping those same people in their moment of need, we need to take a long look at ourselves and ask if our priorities are straight.  Isn’t it possible that we’ve passed the point where we value our digital connections too much?

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Cash In Point

A month and a half ago, I told you about some companies making money by selling you products that only exist in games on your computer.  Well, here’s the proof that it’s a lucrative set up, if you need anything more:

A game’s player just made a fortune by selling off his in-game real estate.  That’s $635 thousand in real money, before taxes.  This guy wasn’t one of the people who made and ran the game, either, he’s just someone who plays it.

Oh, brave new world, that has such financial opportunities in it.  The Internet has definitely changed everything, so who knows what we’ll be in ten years because of it?

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Everyone Should Hate Spam

Anyone who maintains a blog has seen comments come in that look like they might not actually have anything to do with what you’re talking about.  “Hey, you should try this thing I found on http://www.website.com” ring a bell for anyone?  I realize I haven’t talked about this in a while, but it’s on my mind today and I thought I’d share a few things on the matter.

For starters, anyone who actually wants their clients to do well should avoid spamming whenever possible – if a search engine tumbles to the fact that spam is being used, they’ll penalize the site that’s benefiting from it in any number of ways including removing them from a search listing entirely (the searching equivalent of capital punishment, for those who don’t think spam’s a serious matter).

It gets even trickier with the rise of social media in the online community.  People are actually using Facebook and the online games connected with it than Google and all of its subsidiary sites.  That must seem like a ripe field for black hat operators ready to do just about anything to promote their clients.  Even for the rest of us it presents a very treacherous path to walk that can easily see you sliding off into the abyss.  Learning what to look for in your own efforts is the first and possibly most important step in cleaning out the spam from your own content.

Sadly, there isn’t a whole lot you can do beyond that and just clearing your spam filter every so often so that it isn’t stacked up.  I wonder, does a link that’s stored in a spam folder still count towards the ranking of the site to which it sends you?  That would be one for the various search engines to answer, I suppose, but I still don’t want to have them just sitting there in my account.

The interesting thing, though, is that you can now get spam on your smart phone, so that there’s no waking moment when you aren’t at risk of a polluted Internet.  As soon as you open it to your homepage, you’re going to find yourself faced with a lot of links that have nothing to do with what you’re after and some that may even offend your values.  All in the name of helping some company do better online.

As search engine optimizers, it’s perfectly natural that we should want to help our clients be more visible online.  It’s even right, because that’s what they’re paying us for.  But it should never be done at the expense of the people we’re trying to get to go to our client’s with their business.  If you’ll forgive me a Star Wars analogy, black hat techniques are “quicker, easier, more seductive” but in the end will leave your clients looking all rotten and gross, cackling “good, good” whenever someone launches another spam campaign on their behalf.

That doesn’t ultimately do anyone any good.

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