Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The State of Search, Not!

"Trouble with a capital t that rhymes with p and that stands for pool." ~ Meredith Wilson's musical, The Music Man (1957)
A recent Kelton Research study examined the "The State of Search" and how shoppers interact with search engines in particular. The study was based on a representative sample of 1,0001 U.S. adults.

The big takeaway which is causing a buzz in the industry is that 7 out of 10 surveyed experience what the report describes as “search engine fatigue.” In other words, 72.3 percent experienced a high level of frustration when researching a topic on the Internet. It found that three out of four of those who experience such fatigue get up and physically leave their computer without the information they were seeking.

And 65.4 percent say they’ve spent two or more hours in a single sitting searching for specific information on search engines.

Does this mean that the days of search are over?

Will the revenues from AdSense continue to trend down further?

Is PPC is next?

And if the engines are in decline is organic optimization the next to fall the way of the the silver-tongued traveling anvil salesmen?

Ummm... no.

It means these idiots did not know how to search.

Seriously, when was the last time you searched two hours for something?

Heck, if I spent 15 minutes searching for something and came up blank, I’d come to one of two conclusions: either the information doesn’t exist or the search engine is garbage.

Does it mean I'll never use search engines again? No.

I don't care for this survey... it jumps to conclusions here that are not present.

The report also discussed user frustration with clutter and the content of search results.

When asked to name their #1 complaint about the process, 25 percent cited a deluge of results, 24 percent cited a predominance of commercial (paid) listings, 18.8 percent blamed the search engine’s inability to understand their keywords (forcing them to try again), and 18.6 percent were most frustrated by disorganized/random results.

There was also a desire among many users (78 percent) that search engines be able to "read their minds." I am not making this up.

That figure reached 86.2 percent of 18-34 year-olds and 85 percent of those under 18.

Yep... and then you lost me.

How can you take the answers to a survey seriously when the recipients wished that Google could read the minds. Ugh. Obviously the focus group is a bunch of dolts. It's true the survey only looked at 1000 users out of the billions online... but did it have to find a group of thoughtless lemmings?

The Online community is often so hard up for data that they will jump on any figures that come their way, and make conclusions out of smoke and mirrors.

This info is bunk. Get me a survey of people who know how to search and we'll get a good idea what the AVERAGE JOE really thinks about the future of search.

Time and time again, the conclusion is the same from one PhD thesis to the next, and the same applies here.... all we know is that more research needs to be done on this topic before any conclusions can be made.

Amen brother.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Is Google Divine?

“I am convinced that He (God) does not play dice.”
~ Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist (1879-1955)
Well... there are people on the Internet making the argument that Google is the closest mankind has ever come to experiencing an actual Deity.

I'm not making this up...

In fact, they say, there is much more evidence in favor of Google's divinity than there is for the divinity of other more traditional gods.

You want proof?

Google is everywhere at once (Omnipresent). Virtually everywhere on earth at the same time.

Google answers prayers. One can pray to Google by doing a search for whatever question or problem is plaguing them. You ask Google.... and Google will show you the way, but showing you is all Google can do, for you must help yourself from that point on.

Google is potentially immortal. Google cannot be considered a physical being such as ourselves but her Algorithms are spread out across many servers; if any of which were taken down or damaged, another would undoubtedly take its place. Google can theoretically last forever.

Lasly, according to Google trends, the term "Google" is searched for more than the terms "God", "Jesus", "Allah", "Buddha", "Christianity", "Islam", "Buddhism" and "Judaism" combined.

Yikes... Want more proof?

Just look at this pic...

Isn't that enough?

For more on Googlism... visit the The Church Of Google web site.


PS - What do you think... have they gone too far?

Is this link bait too offensive?

Always be careful about being too outrageous... you can go too far with a joke or parody thereby creating a backlash.

I know this site parody has received lots of hate mail, so one could say their audience is "engaged" ...mmmm but not in a positive way, eh?

To avoid this I'd follow the old saying "...never talk politics or religion at a cocktail party..." Know what I mean?

I'm not saying be boring... I want strong opinions... but mocking religion... yikes, too hot for me. How does that build trust, create a community or lead to sales?

It does not.

File this in the back of your mind as a example of link bait... Over The Edge! You can be successful on that edge just, please, weight the pros and cons before launching - thanks.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Serious Moment

“There are moments when you have to just walk away and cry.”
~ Lou Angeli, Filmmaker
Support wildfire relief in Southern California

The Southern California wildfires are under control, but for those who have been impacted by this disaster, the recovery has barely begun. Your donations to either of these organizations will help the victims of the fires and other disasters around the nation rebuild their communities, and their lives.

Here are some of the agencies collecting donations for fire victims, their phone numbers and Web sites:

American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund: 800-HELP-NOW or 800-257-7575 for Spanish speakers,

San Diego American Red Cross: 858-309-1200, Designate option 2, San Diego/Imperial Counties Local Disaster Fund, to support the Harris/Witch Creek response operations.

Orange County American Red Cross: 714-481-5300, Businesses who are interested in making bulk donations of needed items may call 714-481-5370.

Los Angeles American Red Cross: 800-435-7669, Corporations and businesses interested in making in-kind donations may call 800-746-5463.

San Diego Food Bank: 866-350-3663,

Goodwill Southern California: 888-4-GOODWILL,

Salvation Army Southern California: 213-896-9160,

Governor's Office of Emergency Services: 800-750-2858,

Los Angeles Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: 888-SPCA-LA1,

Google also posted a page:


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Shave Your Yeti

“There is precious little in civilization to appeal to a Yeti.”
~Edmund Hillary, New Zealand mountain climber and first to successfully climb Mount Everest
One more example of viral link bait. Or as the Python-heads say,

"Now for something completely different..."

The "Shave Your Yeti" page is ridiculous and stupid. I just love it.

It displays an electric razor and a yeti. Go ahead try it... Shave Your Yeti.

It's just a simple, fun page that does not even mention the company that created it. Not in the URL nor the flash programming. The company is Polartec and except for the small copyright at the bottom, you wouldn't have any idea what this is, or who is doing it.

However, once you shave the Yeti completely, you then dress your victim in Polartec clothes.

It then gets silly... as if it's not silly yet, eh?

But as you laugh... you learn about Polartec. It's pure genius.

It's a great example of a creative, interactive distraction that is more viral than link bait.... but nonetheless pushes the company in a positive way.

If I had launched this I may have done things different.... but you have love the creativity. Please do yourself and favor and go shave the yeti.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Bait Your Hook

“There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.” ~ Stephen Wright, American Actor and Writer
After posting Friday's CVoD article entitled, "Learning From The Old and Lame", I realized that I did not mention one very important fact. The mocking tone I used was intended to teach you, dear reader, that a viral opportunity exists when you create tools or attractive value for your site.

People will come to your site and other sites will want to link to you... this is what you want, right? (The answer is a resounding yes)

I think I conveyed that... but probably not strong enough. Plus, I forgot to give you the buzzword... after all how can we be Internet marketers without our buzzwords, eh?

The concept is called "Link Baiting." Let me explain a bit more...

Link baiting is a great way to get natural links to your site. Real organic links that Google loves to see. It means to create something that naturally attracts back links for your site by getting people to create a viral buzz about what you produced.

In other words, it is any content or feature within your site that somehow baits viewers to place links to it from other websites. Google's own Matt Cutts defines link bait as anything "interesting enough to catch people's attention." Google is in support of it as it is based on natural relevant linking.

Such quality content is carried throughout the Internet by word of month, (remember this is considered viral marketing) and traditionally your increased links will come from forums, blogs, and the social bookmarks such as,, Furl, Digg to name just a few.

For new CVoD readers... why is this important?

The quantity and quality of inbound links are two of the most important metrics used by Google's algorithm to rank your pages. Link baiting trys to acquire those relevant links to your site.

As discuss previously, new links and more visitors, ... what's not to like?

What do you need?

And idea, or a hook. Something the will peak the interest of your niche. Keep in mind all of this baiting is free to your site visitors. Here some examples:
-Make a valuable resource report... (Here's a great one from my friends at International Living. It's called the "Quality Of Life Index" ...a list which ranks the world's best and worst places Live, Work, Vacation, or just be.)
-Build a useful tool (See Fridays article)
-Write an interesting article (Lessons from Project Management: 101 ways to organize your life)
-Run a contest
-Use humor, a funny story, picture or Joke. (Flying Spaghetti Monster)
-Write an outrageous theory or something controversial. (Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New 'Intelligent Falling' Theory)
-Become an expert in your niche and write valuable information
-And don't forget to mix and match. (Remember Monkey mail... it's a mixture... but diffenently viral. Heck, I was forwarded this one many times)
In other words, create value for your readers.... sound familiar?

I hope so. But don't think that this is easy. It's not. It's takes hard work and creativity to produce amazing, highly-linkable, high-quality content. But if you can do it... it's one of the best ways to target the engines naturally.

AND with the web 2.0 becoming more and more in play to acquire new eyes to your pages, it's a great way to use the social networks, blogs and news outlets of the web.

Why is it hard to do?

Outside of coming up with a great idea... it's the launch. Marketers forget it needs a launch and proper push. Otherwise, if you merely produce it, post it... odds are no one will see it.

So what you really need to do is to create a mini-PR campaign around it's release. Push eyes to it at the start. Make sure the bloggers and social media users can find it and help promote it.

It's definitely worth your time to try it... so, go create value.... or rather go bait your hook.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Learning From The Old and Lame

The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” ~ Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist (1879-1955)
Here's a free tool for you that might help you when you are optimizing your pages. On the other hand, it might not.

Either way, I think it's cool. Let me explain.

It's a keyword density tool.. you enter a URL and you'll receive a list of all the repeated phrases on the page and their frequency.

What is "keyword density" and why is this important?

That's the rub...

Keyword density is the percentage of words on a page that match a specified set of keywords. For organic optimization... making pages with a certain keyword density has been a goal by many in the industry to try and get their pages to rank high under a specific keyword or keyword phrase.

Some SEO consultants have been saying for years every page (article) must achieve a keyword density of 3 to 5 percent to be ranked high.

Notice I used the past tense...

Today, most smart marketers, myself included, don't believe that a certain percentage is required. The search engines use other measures to determine ranking, such as relevancy, traffic and back links.

Furthermore, keyword density has a terrible history of abuse.

For years it was easy pickins to the top of the rankings for webmasters that over used keywords in a pages. Not today. This multiple "unnatural" use of keywords with the intent to manipulate the rankings is known as search spam and/or keyword stuffing.

Please don't do it. The only result you will see is a negative one.

So... why am I giving you this tool?

I think it is still important to see the breakdown of the keywords on an optimized page. Whether or not you believe a page must meet a certain percentage of keyword density or not, the fact remains that an article which frequently mentions a keyword usually has a higher ranking than other content that does not, (holding all other factors constant).

And since this tool, in one click, will tell you how often the words on your page appear, it still might be useful.

And in the alternative... like I said, it's cool.

Take a look:

While you're on the site please take a look at the other free tools. Some are good, some are old, some are lame... but try and understand what they are doing. Can you see it?

They have created pages of viral interactive tools. Good source of traffic, eh?

Sure it is... heck you're there aren't you?

And I'm pushing my CVoD readers there. Good viral interaction works by creating an application on your site and then the Internet does the marketing for you.

Would you say that are creating value for visitors?

Engaging them?

Entertaining and educating?

Hmmm.. imagine that. CVoD baby!


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Keep ‘em Coming Back

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” ~ Sir Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister and author, (1874–1965)
Here's a review from Julie McManus about a recent presentation your CVoD editor did for my friends at Early to Rise.

For our regular readers I hope this is a review, for those new to this blog I offer this as a great overview of the CVoD web philosophy. I could not have said it better myself... Please enjoy.


Create Value and Keep ‘em Coming Back

Dear Business Builder,

Happy Friday! Here we are, yet again, and another week bites the dust. Wow, one week closer to the holidays. Yikes! I spent the beginning of the week at the Early To Rise Information Marketing Bootcamp in Delray Beach, Fl. It was 3 jam-packed days of everything you ever wanted to know about info-marketing and then some.

The conference brought together an incredible collection of people from consultants (like myself), to current info business owners, to complete internet marketing novices. And the types of businesses were even more diverse from “secrets to living past 100”, to “saving the endangered bald eagle”, to “strategies for taking care of an elderly parent in your own home.”

Plus, the conference included some of the most well known internet marketing gurus in the business such as Alex Mandossian, Jeff Walker, Rich Schefren and Michael Masterson as well as a host of other really experienced “in the 'net trenches” professionals. There were many excellent presentations and the topics ranged from concept, to list building, to product launches. I think a good time was had by all! I must say, this old dog certainly learned a few new tricks.

But one presentation stuck with me most because it was on a topic that I feel so strongly about … and it’s a topic I think is so often overlooked on the web by most businesses … QUALITY CONTENT ROCKS!

The presenter was a gentleman by the name of Andrew Palmer. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Andrew, let me fill you in. Andrew founded the position of E-Commerce/Web Marketing Director for Agora Publishing in 2000. He was tapped to create an internet business for Bill Bonner’s initial online venture The Daily Reckoning. The incredible success of The Daily Reckoning and Agora’s other online publications was the catalyst for a tremendous change in the marketing of direct response information products. To his credit, he has acquired more than one million “opt-in” names and successfully monetized them online for millions. But most important in my book … he was a really entertaining speaker and all around nice guy.

Mr. Palmer’s mantra is Create Value or Die. And informative, well written, constantly updated content is the priceless value you must add to your website to be successful in your online business. And guess what else Andrew says … a good majority of that content should be easily accessible and free.

Andrew goes on to say there are two important factors when creating an online business:

1. Create a niche of like-minded thinkers – a smaller portion of a large market …
2. And build a community … not just a business!

And you do this by generating valuable content through an e-letter or blog that prospects connect with and look forward to reading on a regular basis. And by creating a content rich website that acts as a resource or wealth of information for your niche that encourages repeat traffic and word of mouth.

And if your editorial is written to benefit the reader (not just you), not only will it make you money, but it will keep your open rates, click through rates and retention rates high, and it will keep down your spam complaints.

Andrew’s Four Es for Creating Value

E-mail – List building should be the number one priority of your online business. E-mail is a cheap, quick and easy-to-use way to bring your content and your marketing messages to your prospects. If you send valuable content via e-mail to the people that have expressed an interest in your information, they’ll read your e-letter, they’ll read your ads and many will buy your products when you ask them to.

Engage – The internet is a constantly evolving medium. It is growing and changing by the second. So why would someone want to revisit a site that never changes? You must provide fresh content and new information on a regular basis to bring additional value to your site. You must give your prospects and customers a reason to visit you on a regular basis. Several ways to do this are through blogs, discussion boards, video and podcasts. But most of all your content needs to be a good read, it needs to be unique and it needs to be real.

Entertain – People love to be entertained. No one wants to repeatedly engage in a boring or tired conversation. Keep the tone of your content light, conversational and fresh. Talk to your prospects and customers like you might talk to a friend at a party, not like you’re conducting a college lecture. People love a good story and can relate to personal details. Besides that, music, games, contests and humor are another effective way in getting repeat visitors to your site.

Educate – The more information you can provide to your niche the better. By continuing to educate your prospects, you not only give then something of value, you also get something of value – their e-mail address -- that you can market to over and over again. By giving away something of value with every contact you make, your prospect will come back and stay a while, and then they’ll come back again and buy. If they continue to receive value, they’ll come back and buy again. And that’s where the rubber meets the road.

So think about it, why just build a business when you can build a community of like minded people that see you as an expert … when you can build a community in which readers can connect with you on a more personal level, where you can build trust, share ideas and of course …

… increase sales and revenue!

Thanks to Early To Rise for an excellent bootcamp. To learn more about Andrew Palmer visit his blog – Create Value or Die (CVoD).

Hope that helped and have a great weekend.

Until next week,

Julie McManus
Editor, In the 'Net Trenches
And Web Media Goddess

P.S. Are you in the ‘net trenches? Do you need help? Send me an e-mail to and I just might answer your question in an upcoming issue.


Thanks Julie. For more on Julie and copywriting legend Clayton Makepeace's "The Total Package" visit this link


Monday, October 15, 2007

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

"If your brother or your sister's got some cool clothes
You could try them on before you buy some more of those
Reuse, we've got to learn to reuse"

~ Jack Johnson, American musician, "The 3 R's"
Yes this is CVoD... but today is Blog Action Day.

The world-wide blogging community is writing today about the environment. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future. The trick is for your CVoD editor to apply it to web marketing.

But that's easy.

A major part of my web marketing philosophy is based on one of the best buzz phrases in ecology - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. This is also known as the 3 R's.

That's right kids... For your online business to succeed, one MUST "reuse" your valuable content.

What do I mean by that?

Don't just create an e-letter article, and after broadcasting, just post the issue on your site to collect dust in an achieve section. No sir, that would be wasteful. It would be like using a styrofoam cup that you only use once and then throw away.

Don't throw away any valuable content. Put it to work for you... "reuse" your articles by optimizing them for the engines, and adding a call to action.

Rather than have your great content "reads" become a "one shot" posting that is never seen again... by optimizing the content and adding a call to action, these articles will now get ranked high enough to be found by searchers, and in turn, they will work for you to bring in names or sales.

It's a form of conserving your energy. Plus, you'll get more life out of the words you write.

Makes sense, huh?

Simple stuff but important nonetheless. Just like the 3 R's.

My family tries to practice this at home too. We try to reduce the amount of garbage we produce. We compost all of our food waste for use in our garden. I've also set up leaf compositors for the tress. Leaves are great plant food, don't you know?

I also recycle all our paper, plastic and glass. Lastly, we try to reuse everything from stone and concrete for the paths in our backyard, to clothes for the kids.

It's important to do what you can... just do something.

We do it for our kids and our families future generations. Not to go too earthy-crunchy on you... but I feel we need to teach this next generation about respecting the environment. I hope that it sinks in... and that one day they might actually teach their kids. And if that happens, I'll be happy.

A better gift for my kids I can't think of.


PS - That's it for international "Blog Action Day" - if you have a blog please join us. More web marketing coming later in the week...

PPS - Here is the full Jack Johnson song...

"The 3 R's"

Three it's a magic number
Yes it is, it's a magic number
Because two times three is six
And three times six is eighteen
And the eighteenth letter in the alphabet is R
We've got three R's we're going to talk about today
We've got to learn to

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

If you're going to the market to buy some juice
You've got to bring your own bags and you learn to reduce your waste
And if your brother or your sister's got some cool clothes
You could try them on before you buy some more of those
Reuse, we've got to learn to reuse
And if the first two R's don't work out
And if you've got to make some trash
Don't throw it out
Recycle, we've got to learn to recycle,
We've got to learn to

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Because three it's a magic number
Yes it is, it's a magic number
3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36
33, 30, 27, 24, 21, 18, 15, 12, 9, 6, and
3, it's a magic number

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Can't Buy Love Or Links

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." ~ Charles Darwin, English naturalist, (1809–1882)
Let's talk link building.

To survive in the online business world, you must play the link building game. This is also called acquiring "back links" or "link popularity." Whatever you call it, it can literally make or break your site with the search engines.

What am I talking about?

All search engines value links as a measure of how influential and important a web site is online. Sites with many important, related sites linking to them are seen in the eyes of the engines to be industry resources, and therefore deserving of the highest ranking.

Bottom line... the more relevant sites that link to you the higher in the rankings your pages will be indexed and the greater amount of names or sales will you acquire.

However, did I mention this is one of the most difficult areas of SEO?

Every smart marketer wants numerous sites linking to them but they don't want to link back. Plus the engines don't want "artificially created" or paid for links going to your site. That type of manipulation is bad for the engines algorythm, and bad for their search results.

As such, the days of buying thousands of links and jumping to the top of the rankings are over. This so-called "link farming" is no longer profitable. Google will only recognize as a true "back link" a relavent link from a like minded site. Google will ingnore what it deems to be fake or purchased links.

Oh, and if Google finds that you are trying one of the old link farming strategies... they can de-list you. That's right... boot you right out of the engine. AND right out of business.

So to be clear what do the engines want?

Real natural and organic links going to your site. Links from authoritative sites, or links from sites that share the same focus as your site. So where to start?

How about just asking those like minded site to link to you?

Sounds simple, no?

Seriously, email or contact relevent sites and ask them to link to your site. Sell them on the benefits of linking to you... that they will give their readers access to your extremely valuabkle content.

But before contacting them look over their site, study it, make sure it's a good fit, and suggest where your link might be appropriate. And where do you find these like-minded sites?


Go to the major search engines for your research, and search for your target keywords. Look at the pages that appear in the top results. You want these links..
contact them.

Don't be disappointed if you get rejected. The majority of the time you will be turned down, especially sites that are extremely competitive with you.

However, don't give up... there will be non-competitive sites that will link to you -- especially if you offer them content, products, revenue shares, etc.

So what are you waiting for?


PS - more link building ideas to come...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Power Of The Internet

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." ~ Margaret Mead, American cultural anthropologist, (1901-1978)
What would happen if every blog published posts discussing the same issue, on the same day?

One issue. One day. Thousands of voices.

Talk about building a community, eh?

Well, it's happening... on October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic.

The aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future.

This international initiative of bloggers is known as "Blog Action Day"

So if you have a blog please join us.

Can we change the world? Will anyone notice?

Does that really matter?


PS - Sorry for the lack of posts in October but sometimes...

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
~ John Lennon, "Beautiful Boy"