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?  Competitive Web & SEO
September 13th, 2009 by john andrews

But First, to Prevent Spam, what is 6 plus 4?

You see it all the time. You are shopping for web services, maybe a designer or SEO company in Seattle. You land on the website of a company you do not yet know, and are offered a contact form. You are not offended by what you see, and maybe even like some of it; you see potential. You want more information, but not necessarily by giving up your contact info. Can you trust them?

That is why you are here reading the web page… to decide if you will seek to know more about them, or pass over them and keep looking for someone else. You hope that eventually, before you die of old age, you will find a promising company you are willing to trust. Someone you might hire. Someone who can deliver what you need. Someone who is affordable but high quality. So you decide to fill in the lead form.

Almost done, and it says “to prevent spam, what is 6 plus 4? (required)“.


I’ll stop here. I’ll just ask the obvious question of you, the business offering that form to that potential new customer, at that stage of the process:

Did you really want to introduce the idea of spam right at the point where this new potential customer was (finally) willing to trust you with their name, address, and phone number?

If you need anti-spam technologies for your lead gen form, hire a decent programmer or web developer. Tell them SEO consultant John Andrews sent you over, because you need a user-friendly, spam-proof contact form that is easy for the user and trackable for its conversion performance. If you don’t get good results, let me know.

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September 12th, 2009 by john andrews

Domino’s Pizza Delivers SEO

Domino’s Pizza. The one everyone knows, whether they like the pizza or not. Domino’s is a franchise. Each Domino’s Pizza is independently owned and operated, but buys from the main business and kicks back a percentage of profits towards an advertising and marketing fund.

I don’ t think I am ancient, but I do remember when Domino’s Pizza went national. I was a kid. Believe it or not, it was the first high-profile big brand pizza to go national. One-eight-hundred-dominos (1800-D-O-M-I-N-O-S). I hated it, because it wasn’t at all like New York pizza. By the time I moved into a dorm in Ohio, it was very popular. When I visited friends in NYC, they liked it for the take-out expediency, but didn’t consider it “real pizza”.

When we think of Domino’s, we think of the pizza we like (not necessarily Domino’s pizza), and we think of Domino’s advertising, and that Domino’s delivers in 30 minutes. Red white and blue box.  Big lighted signs. Coupons in the mailbox. Little cars with big plastic Domino’s signs attached with rubber bands. Television commercials. Whether you like Domino’s pizza or Sals’ or Tony’s, you may settle for Domino’s simply because “Domino’s Delivers”.

Did you see the  latest “Domino doors” advertising? It’s great. Domino’s Pizza Delivers, so now Domino’s is putting doors (delivery points) in parks and other public spaces, so people can order pizza and have it delivered in 30 minutes or less, even though they aren’t home. Back to basics, a brilliant move for our cell phone era.

In August, Marketing Direct interviewed Robin Auld, Domino’s Marketing Director in Europe. The killer question asked? What is the most important marketing channel for Domino’s. Would you believe the answer was search marketing?

Q: Email, direct mail, door drops, what’s the most powerful acquisition channel for Dominos?

A: In terms of acquisition I would have to say search marketing online; we do pay-per-click (PPC) and also search engine optimisation as well. People go to Google and search for pizza so it’s important that Domino’s is up there.

Search engine optimization (SEO) at the top of the list of most important marketing channels. And this from the guys who produce all that amazing advertising, beautiful branding, direct communications like door-to-door coupon drops, dedicated promotional trucks sent to community events, and the clever “Domino Doors” campaign sweeping Europe (helping us forget that  that US Domino’s employee arrest fiasco earlier this year).

Take away? Search marketing is essential, even for the biggest budget brands. Read the interview to see a bit more about Domino’s PPC and SEO targets.

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September 4th, 2009 by john andrews

Google Owns Your Internets

For years I’ve pointed out that Google consistently acts to disintermediate web publishers. For years I’ve noted how Google, while saying that we are all friends, reliably “improves” Google’s services in ways which force webmasters to eliminate their own interest in the dissemination of what they publish. The “nickels from Google” may add up to tens of thousands of dollars for some publishers, when you aggregate all those hard-earned page views and ad clicks, but the profits are not sufficient to support publishing. They support Google, and they support aggressive innovators (right now). Google has us all in the cross hairs. We are the future profit sources for Google.

One tactic of any PR machine is to engage the enemy in conversation. Debate even. It keeps everyone busy. There is so much to talk about… microformats being one huge current trend supported by Google, which serves to quite effectively disintermediate publishers. “Please wrap your content into neat little tags, so we can easily parse it” asks Google. The nickels will come soon enough.. rewards for compliance. And the scammers innovators will go “all in” on the new opportunities, and we’ll see pictures on DailyBooth of big fat smiles with big fat Google checks, and pictures of Yachts named “Google Me” and Maserati’s and Bentley’s and bling bling bling buy my program and learn how you, too can profit from Google!

If I start debating these things, I’ll be distracted. I won’t be able to also see the forest… to see the impending damage on the horizon. Everyone is amazed at Google’s progress. Meanwhile, the real issues of economic stability and industry infrastructure are secondary to the awe with which technology (led by Google) decimates our work environments. Google’s amazing. Our modern civilization is only hundreds of years old, but in that past if any “company” had ever worked to wipe out industries and destroy people’s livelihoods, they would have faced mobs with pitchforks. People would have been scared, politicians motivated, and war machines activated. Of course they probably would have been overrun and decimated by a beast as powerful as Google, but they would not have been blind to their fate as we seem to be today.

It’s easy to write an article about how amazing or how ominous Google is. It’s hard to figure out just how bad this will get for all of us non-Googlers (i.e. people who don’t work for Google). Of course Google (the machine) would love us to keep busy like that.

Everytime someone from Google speaks, we need to listen carefully. Eric Schmidt’s latest comments reported by TechCrunch include this little gem. He was asked to look 10 years out, and what the future Google looks like. He answers that Google will determine the best, most authoritative site for a given question, read it, and summarize it back to the Google user as “the answer”:

“So I don’t know how to characterize the next 10 years except to say that we’ll get to the point – the long-term goal is to be able to give you one answer, which is exactly the right answer over time…what I’d like to do is to get to the point where we could read his site [the definitive authority on a particular searched query] and then summarize what it says, and answer the question”

I cut out some because the answers were reported almost verbatum, with roundabout thoughts and an example in the middle. Read it for yourself if you like.

Eric Schmidt, the guy who thinks Wikipedia is the greatest gift to mankind ever created by man, has web publishers (and domain owners) in his cross hairs. If Google succeeds, no one needs a domain name and no one needs to create a brand. They just need to submit to Google, and then, perhaps if Google has not completely satisfied the users with “the answer”, provide a way to be contacted or a server IP for a web site for further reading (perhaps through the Google Profile conduit).

Eric Schmidt is a technologist, and geeks (relatively speaking) are poorly schooled in political and social aspects of reality. But is he really clueless? He’s CEO of one of the world’s most powerful companies. . I can’t believe he’s dumb enough to not think through the eventual outcome of his aggressive behavior… that he hasn’t considered that this is not a technological world, but a world of people. That people need to get along and compromise, and that we have been lucky enough to evolve a fragile economy based on our human interactions (not computer transactions) with less than the possible amount of war waging. Some call that “civilization”.

Civilization requires a ton of work, and most of that work is “talking”. History shows us that failure of communications, refusal to talk,  failure of educataion with respect to tolerance and cultural differences, and strong arm approaches that devalue human interaction and force a will upon others, lead to unreasonable behavior (terrorism, war, disobedience, etc). Does Eric Schmidt think the world is ready for one global economy and culture? Does he think the masses are so educated and appreciative of knowledge that they will choose one great website for answers at a cost of say food for their families or stable employment?

Ten years out is 2019. Many of you will be “mid career” by then. Between now and then, are you prepared for a Google that collects, analyzes, and summarizes what you publish, using your work to serve 80% of the world’s Internet users without your involvement? Think about it. Just how much are you giving away by allowing Google to own the Internet?

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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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Recent Posts: ★ SEO Industry Growth, Widespread Failure, and SEO Industry Challenge ★ Do you want to WIN, or just “Be the Winner”? ★ 503: GONE ★ Cloud Storage ★ Identity Poetry for Marketers ★ PR is where the Money Is ★ Google is an Addict ★ When there are no Jobs ★ Google Stifles Innovation, starts Strangling Itself ★ Flying the SEO Helicopter ★ Penguin 2.0 Forewarning Propaganda? ★ Dedicated Class “C” IP addresses for SEO ★ New Domain Extensions (gTLDs) Could Change Everything ★ Kapost Review ★ Aaron Von Frankenstein ★ 2013 is The Year of the Proxy ★ Preparing for the Google Apocalypse ★ Rank #1 in Google for Your Name (for a fee) ★ Pseudo-Random Thoughts on Search ★ Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, or a Blog ★ The BlueGlass Conference Opportunity ★ Google Execs Take a Break from Marissa Mayer, Lend Her to Yahoo! ★ Google SEO Guidelines ★ Reasons your Post-Penguin Link Building Sucks ★ Painful Example of Google’s Capricious Do Not Care Attitude 


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