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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April 16th, 2010 by john andrews

Ten Top SEO Blog Content Strategies

Looking for a content strategy for your SEO blog? Learn from the best! Scour the SEO feeds and twitter lists, and notice what works for the SEO crowd. I did, and I compiled this Top Ten list of SEO Blog Content Strategies.

Top Ten SEO Blog Content Tips for 2010

1. Make a “Top 10 List” of interest to beginner SEO consultants with little business experience. You can do it! You really can! Just pick any micro topic, and focus on it like a laser. Make up ten possible  things and list them as a “Top Ten” list. Don’t go into detail… you don’t want anyone to notice you don’t really know what you’re writing about. Just a line or two for each. I see people fail at this over and over, but for the sole reason that they add too much detail! Just make the statement, repeat it with a nte or two on how it *might* work, and move on.

2. Make a “Top Ten SEO Myths” post

Same as #1, just pick any ten things that peopel disagree about. Call them “myths” and viola… great content!

3. Make a Top 101 List

Same as #1 above, just super long. More than 100 so that it’s remarkable (101 is better and 103 is even better.. you get the idea). Prevailing SEO wisdom says many people can easily memorize Top 10 lists and so they read and move on. But tose same people will fail to get past 23 on your list, and so they will bookmark it. The truth is, they don’t actually book mark because they have no intention of coming back. Instead, they send it to someone else to try and extract some social proof value out of it. Go ahead.. test this for yourself! Or.. just write a Top 103 list!

4. Make a Top 10 List of SEO Posts

And yes, it can actually be a Top 10 List of Top 10 Lists. In the SEO field, even that will work! Go ahead.. try it! Consider doing it weekly.

5.  make a Top Ten List for off topic things for SEOs

SEO people pay to much attention to themselves and their friends. Exploit that, by showing them there is more to the world than what they already pay attention to. How easy is that!  Pick 10 things out of a gazillion things on the Internet. Cats, dogs, cakes, bacon… whatever. Don’t spend any time on picking… just DO IT. And do it on Friday or Monday.

6. Make  Top  10 Things Not to Do in SEO List

The contrarian route.. works great! Be sure and include “Don’t Publish Top 10 Lists” because, well, it needs to be there.

7. Make a Top Ten List referencing a celebrity and SEO

Something like “Top Ten SEO Tricks Jason Mraz Doesn’t Know” or “Top Ten SEO Mistakes Ashton Kutcher Makes”. Then take one of your previous “Top Ten” SEO lists (or contrarian lists) and add one line to each item, mentioning Jason Mraz or Ashton Kutcher. No one will actually read it… so just make sure you don’t write much.

8. Make a Top 10 Ways post for SEO

There is a little known physiological tendency among SEO people (believed to be genetic, but possible environmentally exacerbated e.g. beer, hard liquor, excess oxygen) to cite and refer Top Ten SEO lists. You can try it for yourself. See 9 and 10.<

9. Make a Top 10 Reasons why your should NOT Read This Top 10 List

Again, if it works, why argue? Success on the web is all in the execution.

10. Make a Top 10 Reasons why your MUST Read This Top 10 List

Seriously. Are we done? Lesson learned? Awesome. Now Happy Friday. Enjoy your Happy Hour. See you Monday!

John Andrews is a Seattle SEO consultant, and all around Digital Marketing consultant specializing in Competitive Web & Internet Strategies and SEO.

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April 15th, 2010 by john andrews

Internet Wisdom

I’m not an experienced professional but I have more websites and blogs on the topics of my career than any of the other people at my workplace do. That might be because they spend a lot of time actually doing the work, while I am an inexperienced young newbie with lots of free time and mad web design skillz. Or it may be because they know so much about the topic that blogging disconnected bits and pieces that might do more harm than good doesn’t make sense to them.

But it makes great sense to me, because every little thing I discover (usually because they showed me) is cool and interesting and (to me) seems to solve all of my problems (at least until I run into the next one).

Therefore I blog “how to” tips all the time. Even if they are often short-sighted, usually incomplete, and mostly lacking in sufficient detail. My blogs get hella traffic. I’m kind of a big deal on the Internet (amongst my Facebook friends). I might even get a raise because of that.

Today’s post is about Advanced IT Topic “A”. I had no idea about this stuff until this week, when my plain vanilla install of Open Source MegaPackage broke. It was throwing error messages like a circus monkey. Most were crazy incomprehensible but one caught my eye. I asked the old dude in my department about it, and he gave me a wicked smart command to run from the command line of the web server. I posted it below, so you can use it too. It might totally fix your broken MegaPackage install, especially if you get error messages like the one I got (which I used in the title of this post, so you could find it via Google).

So if you got that error, just try this command. It might work for you, too! If not, just keep trying stuff, because you might eventually come across a command that works for you, too. That’s how you learn! Or else you can just try a different open Source MegaPackage and see if that one works. No sense wasting hella time if the bugs seem too strong.

Oh and be sure to blog about your experiences, to help others!

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April 14th, 2010 by john andrews

Living in a Literal World

Online, we live in a literal world. I can’t over-emphasize that enough. Literal, as in “understood exactly as it was stated”. I suspect your readers are taking your communications far more literally than you suspect. True for visual as well as written. They see and “hear” (inside their reading minds) what they want to see and hear, and will use your communications to confirm what they already “know”, whenever possible.

When a policeman says “everything you say and do can and will be used against you in a court of law” she is being very specific. She didn’t say “may be used against you”, although many people hear it that way. She said “can and will”. And she said that because in our legal system, professionals paid by the government are charged with a mission of searching through all available evidence to find the parts that support a case against you. They have no interest in finding anything that helps you. That is presumed to be someone else’s job.

Every observation will be taken literally if it serves the intended purpose — convicting you. Otherwise, it can be disregarded or perhaps used as leverage in an effort to obtain additional, more convicting evidence. Your readers (and viewers) similarly examine your communications to find what they need to “convict” you. That’s all negative language, but the same is true for positive perspectives. It’s not always bad.. sometimes they are fans seeking affirmations of your godliness. How literally do they take your messages?

If people love your brand, they see the love in your messages. Much has been written of “confirmation bias”… a related concept.

So be literal in your communications. Add specific captions to your images, even if they are “obvious”. I assure you not only are they NOT obvious to everyone, but to some, they are “obvious” in ways you never intended.

Also be literal in your press releases. When you say “Our Firm was awarded a prize for great web design” you are telling the world that you do great web design work. But you may find that a much more literal communication will serve you far better towards that goal. Your readers need to hear more explicitly what the facts actually mean. I used the word “need”… because in order to receive your intended message (that you do great web design work) they need to be told that you do great design work.

By the way, the people closest to your customers know the best language for reaching your customers with your message. It’s one thing to win a design award, and quite another to win a design award that proves you are an awesome partner for your clients to be so lucky to have on board.

“Our Firm consistently produces award winning web designs. We received the great Web Design Award from The Official Counsel this year. Careful review of our work demonstrated we consistently produce more excellent Web Design work than other design firms.”

That said it plainly… we do great work and others agree we do great work, and we have Great Work awards to prove it. Now tell them why it is so important, to them.

“Great web designers often produce winning design comps in the first round, saving time and expense compared to less capable designers. Great designers also bring state of the art designs to you for review, instead of waiting for you to first decline common, more easily mass produced designs.”

You need to tell them the facts, but also tell them why those facts are so important. Place it into the context of your marketing message – you want great, we are great, everyone knows we are great, you need us to be great because of A, B, and C. You want US to work for you.

Get literal. It works.

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