Rabu, 25 Juni 2008

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Jumat, 06 Juni 2008

Does the Cutting Edge of Social Media Really Pay?

By Mark Silver (c) 2008 Heart Of Business

So someone asks you: "What's your Twitter name?" and you look at them like they are a loony. Twitter? Huh?

And then the next person asks you, "You blog, right? What's the URL?"

Hold it. What happened? In the seeming blink of an eye, suddenly there's all this new so-called 'social media' on the web, and you know nothing about it.

What's worse, is that everyone else seems to be there already. It's like you went to the bathroom, and when you came out, the party moved on, leaving you in a dark room with empty glasses all around you.

Time to drop everything and catch up with the party... quickly! Quickly!

And let's say you catch up with the party...

You've got your blog, your Twitter name, and all of those things. And no matter how fast you run with it all, it doesn't seem to be making much of a difference.

The world IS moving, you can't safely ignore it. And yet chasing after it isn't working. What to do?

Innovation is a no-no.

There is a teaching in Sufism that speaks against innovation. Well, not all innovation, and only in certain circumstances.

This is sometimes where people get the idea that Islam is anti-science or anti-progress. Not true.

In the twelth century, during Europe's 'dark ages,' Islamic culture had some of the most advanced universities, scientists, and doctors in the world, at the very cutting edge of modern technology. The problem with innovation is that it can feed on itself.

Innovation is forbidden when it becomes a false idol.

We've come to think about technology as 'computers' or 'science.' But, the word 'technology comes from the Greek 'tekhnologia' meaning, an interest in an 'art or craft' (Oxford American Dictionaries) .

The problem comes when someone studies technology for its own sake. For our personalities, our egos, the lure of 'newness' is strong. New sensations and learnings can encompass all of our attention, immerse us in the experience.

This can be a good, because immersion is a great way to learn. The problem with something like all the innovation happening in web technology, is that there is no defined 'end' point. There is no way to tell externally when you've done enough.

If you get caught in this loop, you can emerge months or years later, having totally lost track of the path you are on.

The irony is- people want connection.

The irony of web-based social media like blogs and Twitter is that it's coming out of the deeper hunger to connect to community, to love, to Source. Yet all of this innovation in the internet can leave you exhausted and isolated- even if you're good at it and like it.

As you may already know, that connection you're yearning for is in your heart, not Twitter. It's in the hearts of other people, not in the technology. If you forget that, you'll be lost. By remembering your true intention, then technology can be useful to you.

So do I blog and Twitter, or not?

Well, I'll give you a definitive answer: it depends. :) It depends on your business, and the hearts of the people you are trying to reach.

If you work with younger adults or teens, or with engineers or gadget geeks, then yes, you're going to want to meet them where they are, which is usually on the cutting edge of the latest toys.

If you don't, it may not be as critical. And, even if you suspect that a good portion of your audience is found in the 'blogosphere' as it's sometimes called, there's still no need to be so urgent about it.

How do you proceed? Well, take breath, connect to your heart, and let's take a look.

Keys to Technology

* Your current website and newsletter is not obsolete!

Don't panic and discard what you've got now. Just because all of this new stuff is out there doesn't mean what you already have isn't perfect for what you're doing. My bicycle is more than fifteen years old, and it gets me around just fine. And, if you haven't even gotten your website done yet, it's still more than worthwhile to finish.

* You don't need the latest, just adequate.

Unless your business is about social media and cutting-edge web technology, in which case you probably aren't even reading this article (hiya!), then forget about Twitter, Pownce, Digg, Stumble-Upon, del.icio.us for right now. You don't need anything but entry-level basic. Just start reading some blogs, without being in a rush. Here's a few to start with:

Dawud Miracle
Michael Martine
Adam Kayce
Heart of Business (my own)

* Set a 1-3 month 'safe zone' of learning.

As you begin to learn, tell yourself that you don't have to do anything about it for one to three months, that you are just going to learn. It will work even better if you find a friend or colleague who can give you an hour or three for a personal guided tour of this stuff.

This approach doesn't just apply to blogs, but it applies to most anything new you need to learn about your business. And, once you understand the basics, the more obscure pieces will come MUCH more quickly.

You might actually find yourself enjoying the technology. :)

With blogs and other social media, remember that technology is just a tool, and that the craft you are studying is not blogs. You are involved with the craft of connection, and you're just learning a new tool to do what you already know something about.

Don't let gurus rush you. Take a breath, and dip in. You may find that all of this innovation and technology can actually increase your connection to what you care about most.

The best to you and your business.

SEO - Just Add Water.....NOT!

By Jennifer Horowitz (c) 2008

I miss the old days....life was simple. Your TV had just a few channels, your phone was attached to a wall, and the computer was a cool thing to have for the few who could afford one. But times change, our world changes and technology grows. TV has 200 plus channels (and still nothing on), your phone is attached to your hip and you could not live without a computer and the Internet is filled with billions of pages.

SEO was an easy job then. It was a no brainer. It was fast, it worked and the stress was little. Well, those days are long gone and the facts of SEO are no longer as easy as it used to be. It is not a quick fix and it is an ongoing process.

Sure, there are hundreds of SEO companies available for you to choose from. Cheap ones that say they submit your site to 1000's of engines (big deal), ones that add 100's of doorway pages (look out for spam), those that promise fast top rankings (they lie). Let's face it, for SEO there is The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. But lets not focus on the bad and ugly....they may be cheap, but you get what you pay for...nothing!

SEO is not instant, not any more. You need to look at many factors, you need to be prepared to make changes, you need to be willing to work closely with your SEO expert and be willing to be in it for the long haul. SEO changes and you need to be ready to meet those changes.

You should be serious about your web site. This is your business and you need to treat it as such. Canned web sites, website templates that offer everything from stores to products to hosting and say you have no worries on updating the site and still can achieve rankings may be a bit misleading. SEO is ongoing work and one you need to be prepared to handle.

Your SEO Expert serves two purposes...to guide you in changes that you need to make to a web site and to help you optimize your web site by actually working within the site so that you can be found for relevant keyword phrases.

Your Web Site Design

It used to be that design aspects really did not matter. Well, now they do and it is a big deal. If your site is poorly designed, poorly coded and developed using complex databases or heavily graphic, you face issues. You may need to make changes, you may want to develop a new site...whatever the need, your SEO will inform you what issues may be causing the site from being read correctly.

Your Keywords

Please...generic words may seem like the best, but with billions of pages, is it really feasible? Keyword phrases are extremely important, phrases that target your audience are imperative. Your SEO expert should work with you on helping you to make the most important choices on good, targeted and precise phrases that will target your consumer or product line.

Your Content

Using your keywords in content is important for the engines. Having good content is important to your consumer as well. Lack of content is not going to help you gain on the engines and lack of content is not going to help your consumer understand your product line. Your SEO expert can provide you writing assistance for those do it yourself folks or provide you with their expert content writers. Do not be fooled...if you are not using keywords with content, how can you expect to achieve rankings for those phrases?

Your Site Link Popularity

If no one else thinks your web site is important, then why would a consumer. You web site needs to be found on relevant web sites. You need to get your site out there....it needs to be seen on other web sites. Not doing so means that even you do not think your site is important enough to share with others. Your SEO can help you achieve a successful link campaign or even consult with you on the process. This is a time consuming task, and it needs to be done right. I mean, you want your site to be seen on the best of sites, so take the time to consider getting a link to those sites that can help you be seen as an expert in your product field.

Your Blog

Funny word...Blog. I mean, what does it really mean? Who came up with it...well who cares. What is important is that they are fabulous for helping with your SEO campaign. They are informative, they are easy to navigate, they contain content and so much more. Bogs are the way to go to help enhance your site. Again, your SEO can help you by developing a blog. You can easily learn to maintain it, keep it fresh, and keep it current.


Sure, SEO is just part of your marketing game plan. But it is a vital one when used with your other online and offline marketing. Gone are the days of easy rankings. Just because you built it, doesn't mean they'll come. A website is a business and as such deserves your time and your professional SEO to help you achieve your goals and bottom line success.

How Does a Search Engine Rank Your Page?

By Chris Wainwright (c) 2008

Every smart Search Engine Optimizer starts his or her career by looking at Web pages with the eye of a search engine spider. Once the optimizer is able to do that, the journey becomes a lot easier.

The first thing to remember is that the search engines rank "pages", not "sites". What this means is that you will not achieve a high ranking for your site by attempting to optimize your main page for twenty different keyword phrases. However, different pages of your site will appear up the list for different key phrases if you optimize each page for just one of them. If you can't use your keyword in the domain name, no problem - use it in the URL of some page within your site, e.g. in the file name of the page. This page will rise in relevance for the given keyword. All search engines show you URLs of specific PAGES when you search - not just the root domain names like www.freewebs.com but www.freewebs.com/kerjagratis/iklan.html.

Second, understand that the search engines do not see the graphics and JavaScript dynamics your page uses to captivate visitors. You can use a graphic image of written text that says you sell 20 red roses at $47. But it does not tell the search engine that your website is related to the sale of red roses' unless you use an ALT attribute where you write about it.

Therefore you could easily have a wonderful graphic with a picture of roses followed by the text "20 beautiful red roses at only $47", but the search engine will only see the following:

..img_src=".../images/sale_red_roses.png" width="250" height="100" class="image"...

As you see there's nothing in the code which could tell the search robots that the content relates to "Red Roses", "Sale", or "Beautiful". The situation will change if we rewrite the code like this:

...img_src="/images/sale_red_roses.png" width="250" height="100" alt="Sale of Beautiful Red Roses" class="image" ...

As you can see we've added the ALT attribute with the value that corresponds to what the image tells your visitors. Initially, the "alt" attribute was meant to provide alternative text for an image that for some reason could not be shown by the visitor's browser. Nowadays it has acquired one more function - to bring the same message to the search engines that the image itself brings to human Web surfers.

The same concerns the usage of JavaScript. Look at these two examples:

Visit our page about discounted floral arrangements!


The first example is what visitors see, the second is the source code script that produces the output. Assume the search engine spider is intelligent enough to read the script (however, actually not all the spiders do); is there anything in the code that can tell it about the discounted floral arrangements? Absolutely none!

As a rule, search engine spiders have a limit on loading page content. For instance, the Googlebot will not read more than 100 KB of your page, even though it is instructed to look whether there are keywords at the end of your page. So if you use keywords somewhere beyond this limit, this is invisible to spiders. Therefore, you may want to acquire the good habit of not overloading the HEAD section of your page with scripts and styles. Better link them from outside files, because otherwise they just push away your important textual content.

There are many more examples of relevancy indicators a spider considers when visiting your page, such as the proximity of important words to the beginning of the page. Here, as well, the spider does not necessarily see the same things a human visitor would see. For instance, a left-hand menu pane on your Web page. People visiting your site will generally not first pay attention to this, focusing instead on the main section. The spider, however, will read your menu before passing to the main content - simply because it is closer to the beginning of the code.

Remember: during the first visit, the spider does not yet know which words your page relates to! Keep in mind this simple truth. By reading your HTML code, the spider (which is just a computer program) must be able guess the exact words that make up the theme of your site.

Then, the spider will compress your page and create the index associated with it. To keep things simple, you can think of this index as an enumeration of all words found on your page, with several important parameters associated with each word: their proximity, frequency, etc.

Certainly, no one really knows what the real indices look like, but the principals are as they have been outlined here. The words that are high in the list according to the main criteria will be considered your keywords by the spider. In reality, the parameters are quite numerous and include off-the-page factors as well, because the spider is able to detect the words every other page out there uses when linking to your page, and thus calculate your relevance to those terms also.

When a Web surfer queries the search engine, it pulls out all pages in its database that contain the user's query. And here the ranking begins: each page has a number of "on-the-page" indicators associated with it, as well as certain page-independent indicators (like PageRank). A combination of these indicators determines how well the page ranks.

It's important to keep this in mind: after you have made your page attractive for visitors, ask yourself whether you have also made it readable for the search engine spiders. In the lessons that follow, we will provide for you detailed insight into the optimization procedure; however, try to keep in mind the basics you've learned here, no matter how advanced you become.

Minggu, 01 Juni 2008

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