John Andrews is a Competitive Webmaster and Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Seattle, Washington. This is John Andrews blog on issues of interest to the SEO community and competitive webmasters. Want to know more?

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July 31st, 2006 by john andrews

Motorola Ringtones, AdSense profits and Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimizers (SEOs) concern themselves with monetization. Monetization can include AdSense, but usually the SEO is not too concerned with AdSense because AdSense pays so little. However, once the webmaster is dedicated to monetizing with AdSense, a whole genre of SEO kicks into gear. A Made For AdSense (MFA) site is a very unique beast, and can be quite profitable. Google even gives training classes for optimizing sites for AdSense. One of the popular MFA topics these days is free ringtones.

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July 31st, 2006 by john andrews

Google Knows You’re a Blogger

I’m pretty tired of seeing so many otherwise intelligent people say that if you want to SEO get a standard blog platform and write good titles, use keywords, etc. At least one high-profile failed ex-SEO even tells bloggers they don’t need SEO (and then tells them to do all that SEO stuff on their blogs).

I’m not one to give away free advice when that advice provides a competitive advantage. That is dumb, and if you think anyone is doing that you just don’t see the other angle from which they are approaching the issue (raising their own profile because their tactics no longer work and they need business, or seeking clients because they like to do client work more than they like to do SEO, or priming the market for a tool that makes it easy to do an otherwise unprofitable task, or perhaps misleading the masses to preserve a competitive edge, etc). I especially don’t give away good advice to people I don’t respect.

That said I will say this: Google knows you’re a blogger.

If that doesn’t bother you, go ahead and continue relying on your blogging platform to get you rank. Go ahead building sites that are exactly the same as everyone else’s, and expecting to rank above them (huh?) It’ a content game… oh, wait a sec, it’s a popularity game, no… it’s a search-engine-friendly-platform game, or is it… no, wait… yeah. That’s right. Blogging is all about ego and popularity, and Google knows that. Google is playing that game. Google knows you’re a blog because it is trivial to see a blog when compared to a “regular” web site.

Agan, if that doesn’t worry you, you are not an SEO and you are not competitive. That’s ok, because if you are making money off of bloggers who don’t get it, you want that to be the case. If they “got it”, they wouldn’t follow you, would they? Remember that prior point about misleading the masses…

Go ahead, search for something. Look for the blogs. Look hard, and you too, will see the pattern. Search something else…look for the blogs. Uh huh. See?

Now if you run dozens of test sites across the major CMS platforms (like I do) and even more blogs and “regular websites” and watch them in the Google and Yahoo! SERPs, you would have known this already. But would you have done anything about it? Not if you’re a blogger. For bloggers, it’s all about the blog, and ME, and MY FRIENDS, and MY TRAFFIC.

Take a look at that blog traffic. Does it convert for anything except satisfying your ego and causing clicks on AdSense? Not really. It is so-calld “long tail” stuff that converts for the low-value opportunities in contextual advertising and affiliate sales. It is *not* the traffic that converts for brick and mortar retail products and high-ticket items. Search Google for “new BMW” or “BMW seat covers” or “BMW accessories” and you don’t see blogs. Some people say that’s because those searches are competitive and use real hard-core seo that is “spammy”. Bah. Look at them and you’ll see that’s not true. Work in that niche and you’ll see it’s not so competitive. Google has it under control. Those are profitable commercial searches. Bloggers don’t get those.

Can you get around the controls? Sure. Blog incessantly on popular gadgets or incessantly and in-depth on a very specific aspect of a niche (high end audio, for example) and the combination of trendiness and depth of content will overcome much of the control imposed by Google…until there is strong competition. But is that cost effective? Not usually. It takes a ton of work, a half dozen or more substantial content items per day, and significant audience management. And perhaps even a better question, once you have all that investment in keeping up on that front, will the blog platform be holding you back? Sure it will. You should see most successful blog networks re-deploying on custom code bases pretty soon for that reason.

Google knows you’re a blog, so if you think bloggers don’t need SEO it just means you think bloggers only need blog traffic, whatever that is. Since Google defines that, you’re a pawn in the search game, no? That’s not SEO.

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July 28th, 2006 by john andrews

Mark Cuban asks for ideas?

Mark Cuban asks for ideas on getting people to go see a movie in his post “The Movie Business Challenge“. I have some ideas, but they are not brilliant ideas. They are basic concepts of business. I think his assumption that people don’t want to go see movies is flawed. They do. Or at least I want to go to movies. And my family does. And most of my friends do. So why don’t we?

Well, partly because the movies suck. But I even want to go to a sucky movie sometimes, for the fun of it. I sat almost half way through Lara Croft: Tomb Raider because I really really really needed to escape from my environment for a few hours and just immerse myself in something different.  That movie was truly aweful. Lucky for me after I left that theatre I wandered into School of Rock and caught almost the whole thing. That was a good movie.

Mark Cuban asks:

How do you get people out of the house to see your movie without spending a fortune. How can you convince 5 million people to give up their weekend and go to a theater to see a specific movie without spending 60mm dollars.

You do that by making it safe, for one. I can’t send my kids to the movies because it’s not safe for them to go alone (even together).  If it were safe and the movies were good, they’d go often. OFTEN.

You also can do that by making it respectful. To offer me a fountain coke for $6 is to disrespect me. Ditto for an $8 box of popcorn. And a theatre that is not much bigger than my home theater? With seemingly uncontrolled audio levels and air conditioning? Or how about when the movie next door bleeds into your movie… completely inexcusable business practices.

And while we are  on the topic of respect, how about the 20-30 minutes of commercials? And the product placements! Tody’s theaters seat so few comfortably, you have to arrive early to get a decent seat and then sit through all that nonsense. You know you’re being nickel and dimed. Nobody likes that. It’s disrespectful.
So sorry about the lack of originality Mark but I honestly believe you simply need to improve the movie theater if you want movie goers. We stand in long lines on opening night because we want to BE THERE, sharing the limelight of opening night, seeing neighbors further back in the line, and telling stories the next day about the new movie we saw last night. After that, wait for the DVD. Going to the movie theater is simply not a fulfilling entertainment experience.

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John Andrews is a mobile web professional and competitive search engine optimzer (SEO). He's been quietly earning top rank for websites since 1997. About John

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