Written on September 9th, 2005 at 10:09 am by city of Stanton David Shawver

Understanding Google Updates

Search Engine Optimization 5 comments

Matt Cutts (from Google) has an enlightening post on his blog titled - What’s an update? which quite simply lays out information on the topic of their updating system. I’m sure it’s more complicated than he’s outlined here but the information resonates with my experience of Google’s updating system as a publisher.

‘What is an update? Google updates its index data, including backlinks and PageRank, continually and continuously. We only export new backlinks, PageRank, or directory data every three months or so though. (We started doing that last year when too many SEOs were suffering from “B.O.”, short for backlink obsession.) When new backlinks/PageRank appear, we’ve already factored that into our rankings quite a while ago. So new backlinks/PageRank are fun to see, but it’s not an update; it’s just already-factored-in data being exported visibly for the first time in a while.’

This is why when I post here that there are changes in backlinks and page rank I often get emails and comments from readers saying that they noticed the changes in these numbers - but that it had no impact upon their actual traffic levels or SERPS (how high you rank for any given search on Google).

In a sense the backlink and page rank updates are only really useful because they give an indication of how a site has been traveling.

What we really should be interested is when Google updates it algorithm - or how they value and score pages. These are the updates that have impact upon the actual SERPS. These changes happen less often than backlink and page rank updates and can have quite significant impact upon a site. I still shudder when I think of the algorithm change that happened mid December last year when my traffic levels dropped to a third of what they were - ouch. Luckily it only lasted 6 or so weeks when things returned to normal.

Written on September 9th, 2005 at 07:09 am by city of Stanton David Shawver

Preview Call Available for Download

enternetusers Site News 8 comments

Andy and I did the preview call yesterday for the six figure blogging course and it was really fun. It was great to hear some of the voices of some regular readers of enternetusers.net during the Question and Answer time. Thanks for those who called in - especially those who did so from outside the US and therefor actually paid long distance rates for the call.

An audio recording from the call is now up on the web for your listening pleasure. All we ask is that you register by submitting your email at the Six Figure Blogging page. You’ll gain immediate access to the call and hear my Aussie accent and as a special bonus you’ll hear one of our listeners flush their toilet during the call - I’m too afraid to ask who it was and why they were engaging in such activities while they were listening to Andy and I. It was definitely ‘a moment’ to be remembered and provided quite the hilarious moment toward the end of the call.

I hope you enjoy the call.

Written on September 8th, 2005 at 11:09 pm by city of Stanton David Shawver

Travelator Blogging

Blog News, Miscellaneous Blog Tips 7 comments

TravelatorWarning - Tangent Ahead

The Travelator is a wonderful invention. There is nothing better than rushing for a flight at an airport and seeing that the long walk to the departure gate is going to be cut down by jumping upon one of these moving sidewalks.

On a recent trip overseas we were lucky enough to find ourselves with the use of a Travelator on our way to passport control at Singapore’s airport - as I used it I realized that different people used it in a variety of ways. There were basically three types of approaches that I observed:

Self Powered - The first group completely ignored the Travelator. For whatever reason - they decided that they wanted to get where they were going under their own steam. Perhaps they wanted the exercise, perhaps their destination was halfway along the travelator or perhaps they were too proud or even scared to use it.

Free Loaders - The second group saw the Travelator as a chance to take a break from walking. They rested their luggage on the ground, stopped walking and let the travelator do all the work. While I didn’t join them - I could understand why they did it - after hours on a plane the last thing you want to do is go for a long walk while weighed down by luggage.

Power Walkers - The last group of people was the group I belonged to, we got on the Travelator and walked as fast as we could. The travelator was simply a tool to double our speed and get where we were going faster than would be possible under our own power. This group not only use the power of the travelator but they utilized their own ability to propel themselves forward.

Ok - so what do travelators have to do with blogging for money?

As I’ve worked with a variety of bloggers over the years I realize that many of them fall into these same three categories. This analogy is still forming in my mind so be gentle with me - but let me explain:

Self Powered - These bloggers are probably not as common these days as they were a year or so ago - but I still from time to time come across bloggers who do virtually all the work themselves. I chatted to one blogger a few weeks ago who answered my question of ‘which blogging platform do you use?’ by saying that he codes his blog completely by hand. There is virtually no automation to his system. While some of these blogs provide great quality content - the effort to get them running can be significant.

Free Loaders - There are an ever growing array of blogging tools and services at the finger tips of bloggers wanting to automate their blogs and improve the efficiency of what they do. These tools range from blogging platforms, to offline blog editors, to RSS aggregation etc. The temptation with many of these tools is to set them up and let them do all the hard work. This is the concept behind some of the site scraping software that is going around at the moment - in essence it lifts content from other bloggers and puts it on your own blog. While I’ve got nothing against quoting other bloggers and collating the information of others with due credit - many of these tools are being used by free loaders. I’m yet to see many successful examples of freeloaders making it too big.

In addition to the automated Scraper Blogs in this category are those who see ‘blogging’ as having all the answers. I meet these bloggers all the time - they think that all they need is a blog and all their problems will be answered. They set up their blog and realize that while they have a great tool they could be going forward a lot faster if they’re willing to do a little work themselves.

Power Walkers - The third group of bloggers are those who have their fingers on the pulse of and use some of the blogging tools available to them - but who also work their blogging butts off. They work on providing original, quality content and presenting it in effective and useful ways to their readers. They are no content to just sit back and let some automated system do all the work because they realize readers want originality, expertise and useful information. They use and are even willing to pay for the best tools and advice possible to make their blogging system efficient but are also willing to put in the hard yards to propel their blogs above the clutter being created by the free loaders.

Most of you know where I try and position myself with my blogging. While I do use blogging tools to increase the efficiency of my blogging I’m a big believer of putting in the hours and effort to take it to the next level.

Written on September 8th, 2005 at 09:09 pm by city of Stanton David Shawver

Advertising on Blogs - Tips

Advertising 10 comments

Duncan has just posted one of the most useful posts I’ve read anywhere for quite a while in his post Conclusions from tracking ads where he writes 7 great reflections on advertising on blogs which come after 4 weeks of tracking his ads using a couple of ad tracking systems. Here are his headings (each one is expanded at Duncan’s full post):

1. New ads work
2. Regular readers tend to be ad blind
3. Old posts = revenue
4. Niche topics deliver better ad results
5. Network bars don’t work
6. Top banners are marginally better
7. Text Links work

Quality post Duncan!

Written on September 8th, 2005 at 09:09 pm by city of Stanton David Shawver

Adsense Stats Will Be Down for Maintenance

Adsense 4 comments

The official Adsense blog is advising Adsense publishers that Adsense stats will be down for six hours later tonight (Aussie time). This is the first time (in my memory) that I’ve ever seen Adsense give official warning of such maintenance - usually they just do it and discussion forums go crazy with people worrying and complaining about the lack of updates.

Don’t worry if you’re a publisher - while you won’t be able to see your stats during this six hour period - your earnings will still be counted and should be as normal at the end of the maintenance period.

Well done Adsense team - using your blog in this way is what I was hoping you’d do!

Written on September 8th, 2005 at 11:09 am by city of Stanton David Shawver

Technorati Introduces ‘Blog Finder’

Blogging Tools and Services 6 comments

Technorati has launched a new service - Blog Finder - a way of not only finding blog posts on particular topics but also blogs themselves. In effect this is a step towards the Niche Top Blog Lists that I mentioned a week or so back. Of course it won’t be a top blog list of every blog in the wider blogging community as blogs need to register themselves for categories or have their blogs set up in a way that automates it - but its a step closer to more topical top blog lists.

I’d recommend that bloggers take a few minutes to register their blogs and add themselves to their relevant categories.

Written on September 8th, 2005 at 09:09 am by city of Stanton David Shawver

Six Figure Blogging - Standing Room Only

enternetusers Site News 7 comments

Just a quick note to those logging into the Six Figure Blogging Preview call in 15 minutes.

In the past 24 hours we’ve had an inundation of people signing up for this call - it’s been very popular. There is a small chance that we’ll not be able to fit everyone in on the live call - it’s already standing room only. So if you can’t get into it please accept our apologies and know that we’ll have a download of the call up for you as soon as possible.

We’ve also extended the early bird discount until Friday at midnight (US time) for this reason to give everyone a chance to have a listen before signing up.

Wow - this is going to be fun.

Written on September 8th, 2005 at 08:09 am by city of Stanton David Shawver

More AdSense and Yahoo! Publisher Network (YPN) comparisons

Yahoo Publishing Network, Adsense 1 comment

Here’s another comparison (found at WMW) of Yahoo’s Publishing Network (YPN) and Adsense by someone rotating both on their site (ie every second impression would be getting one or the other ads):

‘I run Adsense and YPN on the homepage of my main site interchangeably to test which is better (equal pageviews at the end of the day, same weights). Both ad networks are both on target, although Adsense ads show more “less sophisticated” adverts (no brand name, mostly mom and pop operations); while YPN shows brand names. Google’s Adsense gives me double digit CTR, while YPN only gives me 1/10 of Adsense’s CTR. At the end of the day, even if YPN gives me higher earnings per click, Google gives me better revenues. It seems that G’s targeting is designed to show what ads fit the page AND what ads are most likely to get click (probably due to some historical data of my target audience or whatnot). On the other hand, YPN only shows what ads can possibly be targeted to the content, but not really designed to generate high click thrus.’

I’ve seen this type of comparison numerous times now - its always the same. Google gets higher CTR, YPN gets high click values. The difference between comparisons though is that for some the lower CTR and higher values of YPN actually turn out to put publishers in a better off position than Adsense. I guess it depends on a number of factors - including the topic of the blog, the positioning of ads etc.

Found via SE Round Table

Written on September 8th, 2005 at 08:09 am by city of Stanton David Shawver

Selling Ads Directly to Advertisers

Advertising 5 comments

Chrispian at Web Dev Source has a good, simple tip on how to find private advertisers for your blog. Here’s the crux of it:

‘The bottom line is that people are out there advertising already, find them and get them to spend some of their advertising dollars with you! ‘

It’s a good tip and one that I’ve used from time to time. The key is to find advertisers advertising on websites, magazines, newspapers etc that are similar to the niche you’re blogging about and to develop a relationship with them. This often takes time and energy - I know that some of the bigger campaigns that I’ve negotiated directly with Advertisers or their Ad Agencies have take a lot of work and negotiation.

Also keep in mind that in many cases advertisers set budgets well in advance of their actual campaigns - you may have to wait a while before it pays off - but its definitely worth making enquiries with such potential advertisers.

Read more of Chrispian’s tip at Making money beyond adsense by selling ads directly

Written on September 8th, 2005 at 02:09 am by city of Stanton David Shawver

Tell me a Story

Writing Content 7 comments

Dave Taylor has written an interesting piece today on story telling and blogs that has resonated with me. It’s at “Don’t sell me a product, tell me a story!”:

‘What stuck in my head, however, was that his background gave him a unique ability to tell an interesting story. After all, isn’t the best marketing and, yes, even public relations, fundamentally all a throwback to our days around the campfire trying to influence and sway people based on our ability to communicate in a more interesting and engaging manner than the next person?’

Dave heads in a slightly different direction with his post than the thought process that I then went of on but it’s worth the read none the less.

What it made me think about was that one of the things that I think has grown enternetusers.net the most has been this idea of ’story’.

I am getting daily emails from people around the world who have been drawn into the community here not just because of the tips and information that I write - but because there is something about average people sharing their experiences with other average people that rings true and draws people in.

I may not be the most proficient writer in the world (I know this because of the numbers of proof reading type emails that I get) but I purposely write in a way that attempts to weave together my journey as a blogger with the theory and tips that I’m presenting. I’m telling my story.

The other thing that I’ve been attempting to do here is to create spaces where others can tell their stories. This has happened through the occasional interview but increasingly happens in the comment sections of posts.

I guess what I circling around here is that one way (and it won’t work on every blog) to build a more engaging and interActive blog is to consider not only selling something to your reader but to find ways to engage with them in more of a narrative form.

What do you think?



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