SEO – Stay N Alive

SEO Link Farmers/Scammers are a Fraud – Don’t Take Their Money

This is the response I get when questioning an “SEO Expert” wanting me to get paid $50 per link for posting links on my Google+ profile. Seriously, who, of any klout takes these guys’ money? These guys are the scum of the earth – don’t take their business:

I’ll give him some SEO…

Here’s how you get traffic for your business – build a social profile on Google+, build a genuine audience, and play a part in the conversation. Purchasing links will give you no long-time ranking, reduces your credibility, and kills your authenticity.

Be real people – don’t be fake, and your search engine ranking will go up naturally, and long-term. The fact that this guy is trying to sell to me (instead of using the network he has built up on his own) shows that I at least know something about this.

Don’t fall for it.

Facebook and the New SEO

With the advent of Facebook’s new Open Graph Protocol announced at their developers conference last week, there has been no shortage of criticism as to what’s private, what’s open, and if this makes Facebook even more open and more closed.  While I’ve certainly made my opinion known, there is really little that needs to be said from a brand perspective.  It’s quite obvious that Facebook is now a force to be reckoned with, and businesses, brand managers, and so-called “social media experts” should start paying attention.  Perhaps the group that should be paying most attention though are those that currently pay attention to SEO for their company, or the brands they represent.  With Facebook’s entry into the search space last week, Facebook should now be part of every company’s SEO plan.

Just last week, Mark Zuckerberg was quite clear when he said, announcing Facebook’s new Open Graph Protocol, that Facebook was working to make “people index the web”.  No longer are the days of complex algorithms, PhDs focusing on the fastest and most relevant search results through code.  What better way to provide relevant content and experience for what people are looking for, and often even when they don’t even know they need it, than through their friends’ activity on Social Networks.  Search is now all about relevancy.

I find it ironic that before Google, Sergei Brin’s focus at Stanford was actually a relevancy engine surrounding movies your friends watched.  His project centered around looking at how your friends rated movies and then provided suggestions based on the movies your friends like.  He quickly scrapped that when the idea behind Google came along.  Now, as the tides turn, Mark Zuckerberg took that entire focus of friends’ activity and suggestions, and is building the entire web around it, and just now he’s coming back to focus search around it.

What does Open Graph Protocol have to do with all this?  Facebook’s Open Graph Protocol is just a series of meta tags that enables Facebook, when specific Social Plugins are installed on a site (or the site is registered through Facebook Insights), to begin tracking that website.  Each website can provide very specific information about itself, and how it relates to the Facebook (or other) networks.  If you view the source of this blog you’ll notice I even get so specific as to identifying what my phone number is and what e-mail address you can contact me with.  All this information gets registered with Facebook.

Now, when you search in Facebook for “Stay”, this blog should show up in those search results, taking you right back to this blog, and providing you relevant results based on the usage and likes of yourself and your friends, something much more powerful than just an anonymous link network.  Each and every website on the internet has this opportunity to now appear in the Facebook search results, and with little effort, intercept itself between the friends of its viewers so they can easily share it with others.  That’s a very powerful concept, and so far in just the last week, over 50,000 websites are already taking advantage of this!

SEO is something that is now a standard part of any businesses web budget.  It’s simple – you build common strategies for formulating your content to appear properly in Google and others’ search results.  You try to guess the keywords you want your website to appear high under, and adapt the content of your site to make finding it in search engine results much easier.  Now, you’re going to need to do the same with Facebook.  Each SEO manager within a company should seriously be considering adding the proper Open Graph Protocol meta tags in their site, and, by doing so, they will now appear in Facebook’s search results as well.

Facebook has made it clear that this is a search game.  The release of Open Graph Protocol makes this clearer, and you should be paying attention.  Through your likes, Facebook now has the potential to provide near exact matches of advertising towards exactly what you’re looking for, without you even knowing you needed it.  That, my friends, is the holy grail of advertising.

Now, take those ads and spread them across the web, just like adwords/adsense.  Give website owners a cut for sharing them on their site.  You now have near perfect contextual advertising across every website on the web, Facebook becomes even bigger as they make more money from those ads, and the web becomes a better place by providing an experience you, the user, actually want to receive.  The brands advertising make more money, as does Facebook, because ads aren’t being wasted on people that do not want to receive them.

Facebook just did something huge last week.  It is now in the interest of every single company out there to be getting their brand visible in the Facebook search so this can happen.  This is a search game more than it is social.  Facebook just made it a whole heck of a lot more valuable for you to be investing in SEO, but this time it’s on Facebook’s terms, not Google’s, and in the end everyone wins.  Well, except maybe Google.  If Facebook isn’t currently a part of your company’s SEO strategy it’s time to start re-thinking what SEO means to you and your company.  Like it or not, Facebook is the new SEO.

The Facebook Vanity Gold Rush Preempted by Facebook Employees?

Gold RushWe’re just hours away from the launch of Facebook vanity URLs. Many have complained at the preferential treatment given to some influentials and bloggers to get the names they want. After asking, I was offered my first and last name, but Facebook refused to give me and other bloggers the names we would have preferred. I turned them down – I’m pretty sure my full name will be available (and if not there are legal ramifications if the person does not have my name).  In my case I was hoping for “Jesse” since I’m currently using that on Twitter. After all, Loic got his first name.

It would appear there may be reason for that. I’m noticing in just the past few hours Facebook employees seem to be coming out from the woodwork and snagging up the remaining first names available as fast as they can.  It would appear others are noticing, too. For instance, “Jesse”, just in the past 2 hours or so is now occupied by Facebook employee, Jesse Dwyer. What’s odd is that in the last few hours there was even an account called “God” on Facebook. While it seemed to break the 5 character rule, it would appear Facebook has corrected and removed the account. I wish I had a screenshot (although I do have witness of at least one other Twitter user that saw it).

With Facebook employees being given preferential treatment, will there even be reason to try and get the names we want? It would appear that, to get the “official” names we want we have to work for Facebook. In the meantime I’ll be using my SocialToo Vanity URL – at least I get analytics from that. (really, check it out – we just launched it today!)

I’ll be on live tonight to cover it at We’ll see if we can get others to join in with us. Oblivious to SEO

I’ve been searching for a good mobile solution for my iPhone for close to a year now to no avail, and now that I’ve got the new phone I thought I’d do another search. For my old iPod, I own a Monster Cable iCruze, which integrates with your car stereo to attach directly to your iPod and you can then control the playlists on your iPod via your car stereo’s controls. Currently, it is serving as a great car charger for my iPhone, and that’s about it.

So I decided to do a search for an iPhone compatible version of the iCruze today, and was surprised to find that the king of all cables, Monster Cables itself’s, own website is completely inaccessible from Google, or any Firefox 3 user because of supposed “malware”. Currently, if you do a search for “Monster Cable” via Google, you’re presented with a link like below, warning you that the site “may harm your computer”.

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Click on that link, and you’ll go to a page like this, completely preventing access to Monster Cable’s website without explicitly copying and pasting Monster cable’s URL in your browser:

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Explicitly entering the URL, if you are in Firefox 3, takes you to the following page, which gives you the option to continue, but throughout the site this page appears again and again, making it extremely difficult to navigate. Firefox 3 seems to rely on Google’s own malware reporting, which is the reason for Firefox’s error.

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The Google “Safe Browsing Diagnostic Page” for seems to indicate that the error is most likely being generated by third party scripts that are “hosted on 9 domain(s), including,,”. Google seems to indicate that this has been happening over the past 90 days.

It goes without wonder why such a large profile cable company as Monster Cable could not notice such a decrease in traffic from pretty much all of Google, and why if they have noticed, they have not taken action. We clearly know that no one at Monster Cable seems to be a Firefox 3 user, and if they do, they definitely don’t visit their own site, because you think that it would be fixed by now.

Can anyone figure out what the scripts are that Google claims to be malicious?

Facebook Makes Their URLs Search-Engine Friendly

I just noticed, while browsing the I’m On Facebook — Now What??? Facebook Page that Facebook has now made their URLs search engine friendly. So now, instead of:

It is now:—Now-What/6816644117

This appears to apply only to public-facing Facebook Pages, and not User Profiles or Application About Pages (which are also supposed to be public). Thinking back on this, I don’t know why it took them so long – this is a very easy server configuration that makes a very large difference in search engine ranking. Will they do the same with other public facing pages in Facebook?

How I use Google Reader

I’ve been on the Google Reader band wagon for a long time now. I currently subscribe to about 150 feeds, and I read or skim over probably near 1,000 or more feed items a day. Reading my feeds is how I stay up on the latest and greatest, and how I am able to give the best advice to my clients. Instead of me going to news, now the news comes to me, which, despite the amount of news I read in a day, has made me actually more productive.

Google Reader has recently added a friends feature. Now, all those on your GMail or Google Talk contact lists that use Google Reader will appear in a Friends list to the left of Google Reader. You can choose to turn your friends’ feeds on or off in the settings (upper-right of Reader), and even invite more friends to begin using Google Reader. As your friends “share” the feed items that they like, you also get to see what they are sharing. This feature in effect has actually started bringing me even more news. It will be interesting to see the SEO effects of this as people no longer subscribe to blogs, but rather rely on their friends sharing their favorite blogs with you. Personally, I think it will improve the odds, as now more people will see your blog due to the viral nature of this system, and more people in result will be persuaded to subscribe to your blog – this time through Google, improving the SEO chances of you appearing in Google personalized results for that individual.

Here’s how I use Google Reader. Bloggers may want to take note, as this could provide some tips as to how to further improve your posts to fit with the power Feed readers out there.:

  • Skim, Skim, Skim! – There’s no way I would get through all 1,000+ of my feed items if I read every single one of them. I skim over the headlines, and sometimes the content, then move onto the next item. Only if the article is important to me do I read the article in detail.
  • Learn the Shortcuts – There are 3 or 4 shortcut keys that are essential for me. I use the ‘j’ key to open the next item and mark it as read. I use the ‘k’ key to move back to the previous item. I use the ‘shift-s’ key combination to share the item I’m reading if I think those that are friends with me might be interested. I use the ‘s’ key to start items I want to “bookmark” for later – this is Google Reader’s equivalent to I then use the ‘r’ key to refresh the list I’m on – I like to click on the link “x new items” and read through those. Then, when I hit ‘r’ to refresh, it only shows me the new items I haven’t read yet.
  • Add as many friends as you can – The more friends you have, the more information you receive. If a friend isn’t providing productive feeds, then perhaps you can take them off, but besides that, information is good!
  • Stay on top of your feeds – if you don’t check them several times throughout the day, they will build up, and you’ll be stuck spending an hour or two in the middle of the night catching up. I like to use my cell phone when I’m away from my computer to go through my feeds. Google has excellent mobile tools, and Reader is no exception.
  • Don’t use iGoogle – I was using this for awhile, and realized a) I couldn’t use the shortcuts, and b) I couldn’t utilize the sharing or starring features. Perhaps if they improve it I’ll go back.

Those are the strategies I use to read through my feeds in Google Reader. What strategies do you use? Please add me as a friend – you can either add me as a contact in Google Talk, or shoot me an e-mail and you’ll automatically be added to my Google Reader Friends. jessestay at gmail dot com

Danny Sullivan Just Doesn’t Get SNO

Dave Bascom, of, and also a good friend of mine, recently reminded me through a blog post of his about Danny Sullivan’s Whiteboard Daily Search Cast where he criticized Facebook ads as a “revolution”. Danny goes on to say that because search ads are being “requested” by the user, search engine advertising is much more of a revolution than that of Facebook advertising.

I respectfully disagree with Danny here. I think Danny is getting his terms confused. While SEO is the process of me getting what I have requested, search engine advertising is not that case. Advertisers on search engines do not know who I am and therefore cannot detect the best ads to send my way. Because of this, it is extremely easy for advertisers to get what I am truly looking for wrong, and especially hard to convince me that I should buy their product. Advertisers only know what I’m searching for – not who I am, not who my friends are, and therefore what search engines can deliver is extremely basic. Search Engine advertisers (note I’m not saying SEO here) are still pushing ads to me, many of which are not what I want to receive.

Facebook, on the other hand, is a search engine’s biggest competitor in the ad space. Facebook, in essence, has on top of the existing internet, created a personal internet for others to use, associate with friends, purchase from retailers, do business, you name it. People remain on Facebook (and other social networks) because it is where their friends and family are. Facebook knows these relationships, these interactions, and all about who you are and what you are looking for. Therefore, all Facebook needs to do is give a basis for businesses to do business on top of their “personal internet”, and now all users have to do is search within Facebook and they can get way better search results than a normal search engine could ever give you. Facebook has done this with their platform. They’ve done this with their “Facebook Pages”, and they’ve also done this through Beacon.

Now, add to that the ability for advertisers to convince your friends to tell you about your product. Danny, it’s not about getting into “the conversation”. Facebook isn’t just a “conversation” – I use Twitter for that. Facebook is a lifestyle – it’s a way of living. It’s not about someone, even a friend entering the conversation and saying, “hey – do you want a new iPod?” It’s about me and my friends talking about what we’re getting for Christmas, and one of my friends knows I’m looking for an iPod, and tells me about a cool deal on iPods he discovered. Facebook is not an interruption – it’s a natural evolvement of life. Well-placed ads in Facebook are those that Friends tell other friends about. They’re about me seeing what my friends are doing, and realizing – hey, my friend just shopped at Fandango (hi Phil!), maybe I should shop there too!

I am going to be blogging here really soon about a term I call Social Network Optimization (there’s also a chapter in my book), or SNO. While SEO is all about defining your place in a linked relationship between websites, SNO adds a layer to that by defining your place in a linked relationship between real people. You’ll start seeing more and more SNO as social networking becomes more and more used. Is SEO dead? I don’t think so – a good company will need to find ways to utilize both techniques to place themselves optimally on the web. SEO could eventually evolve more and more into SNO, but SEO I think will always be around in some form.

SNO and Facebook ads are the new revolution. Viral and Permissions marketing is here to stay my friends – Danny, I’m sorry, but I think you’re wrong on this one.