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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October 31st, 2009 by john andrews

Evaluating Web Marketing Tools

I’m currently evaluating SEO and web marketing tools, and will be posting a series of reviews and experiences over the next few months. I do this sort of hands-on review about every 18 months, although I haven’t published my thoughts previously. This year’s high level of change in the web search world demands a new review now.

My methodology for review is rather straightforward. I am a competitive web publisher and I do some web strategy/SEO consulting for clients. So my needs cross over from publisher to multi-site publisher to service provider. I work with small sites and very large sites.

I take an academic or experimentalist approach to my work, paying close attention to details. I take time to try and understand what I am doing, and what results are provided, rather than accept findings as what they are supposed to be. Contrast that to an agency style of working, more concerned with uniformity, scalability, and simplicity. In other words, rather than seek automation of tasks I don’t mind interacting manually with my work tasks… provided that effort delivers value. I almost always seek unique value from my work, and consider it more like research than task work.

I will be using these tools and services to solve real problems in real time, during the evaluation period, but using test sites or competitor sites or sites associated with side projects (the local youth hockey league, my dentist, sites I have offered to consult to as a favor etc). For those I choose to continue to work with, I hope to address specific SEO/SEM problems further using the tools, as a means of figuring out if they can be used successfully that way, or how else they may prove insightful. I hope everyone reading will participate in those cases.

For most of my serious work I use tools I have developed in house, or tools accessed via client accounts. Part of this review is a consideration of the state of the art of third party tools for search marketing and competitive web strategy — including whether or not it appears wise to trust them with business activity data. I hope to identify some new opportunities.

If you know of a SEO/SEM related tool or service that should be included in this evaluation, please leave a comment to that effect.  If you have a specific reason for suggesting it, please say so, since that can help prioritize and maybe streamline some of the evaluations. I will try and evaluate everything according to my priority, regardless of cost, but of course I will be limited by my ability to gain access to tools and services. Expensive services that require term commitments and services which only provide limited trial versions will probably be excluded from consideration. I think that a company that can’t arrange for full evaluation of its offering doesn’t deserve to be considered.

The types of tools and services under review:

Those are examples of the types of tools I’ll evaluate, not necessarily ones I will be using/evaluating. I’ll post the specific tools by name when I review them.

Again, if you have specific tools or services to suggest, please comment (comments here are moderated so if you can mark your comment private if you don’t want it published here). Thanks in advance for pointing to good tools/services I might not already know.

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October 29th, 2009 by john andrews

Google buys Twitter for $6 Billion

Google has finally succumbed to the pressures of reality and ponied up the cash to buy Twitter for $6 billion dollars (mostly cash plus some serious seats at Google). Twitter is now owned by Google, as it should be.

That’s the headline I think we’ll see soon enough, when Google gets over itself and swallows the bitter pill. The mistake was already made… more than once…. when Google failed to truly demonstrate the value of Twitter to its future. Had it offered a sweet enough deal, it could have bought Twitter before. Everyone has a price. But with each passing week, Google (and the rest of us) see more and more clearly just how essential Twitter is to Google’s future. And each wek, the cost of acquiring Twitter goes up.

One of these days, Google will make the sacrifice. The question is when… and whether Google will survive the transaction.

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October 27th, 2009 by john andrews

Would you use a Link Building Tool owned by a Link Builder?

If a professional link builder created a tool for managing the process of researching, requesting, logging and managing links (paid, volunteered, incentivized, viral, or whatever), would you use it? That’s the question, and it is a question which cuts to the core issues of SEO land (trust) while highlighting uncertainties associated with the “software as a service” model (the security of competitive business information).

We already have a whole generation of people raised on web-based software as a service. Raised in a world where data is placed into allegedly-secure online databases, and accessed via the web (with little or no access accounting). Contrast that with the “old fashioned” way of doing business — keeping your own business data on your own computers, locked inside your own offices.

I used to laugh at the way people posted their private, competitive business data to third party websites. Then I stared in befuddlement as that became the norm. Nowadays I just walk around shaking my had, muttering not-very-savantish things at garbage cans while onlookers brand me a lunatic. Just kidding… but I am amazed that so few recognize the risks associated with sharing business information.

Now a well know link building service provider is offering a tool for managing link building. Part of the pitch is that only a professional link builder really knows how to build a good link building tool. I don’t disagree… but I do think the last person I want to share my link building activity data with is a professional link builder.

Just think of how valuable your link building activity data would be to someone in the link building business! That service will aggregate a vast database of places people get links from, people (webmasters) contacted for linking purposes, and perhaps even the costs of links negotiated. Wow… what a great resource for a professional link builder to data mine.

I didn’t mention the person nor company, and don’t mean to imply any lack of trust nor do I suggest that you be concerned about trusting that person. No, I suggest you be concerned about trusting anyone with your business information, especially link building activity data.

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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: ★ 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 ★ Seeing the Trees, but Missing the Forest ★ Search is a Task; Discovery is Fun ★ Why “dot everything” is a Good Idea (and ahead of its time) 

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