Saturday, August 16, 2008

A great optimist: "Blogging Success Takes A Few Months"

A Webpronews article tells us: Blogging Success Takes A Few MonthsOh, really? Is that all it takes? True, the article has some fine print. But the headline is whopper.
If you think you are going to put out a Web log that gets thousands, OK, hundreds of readers a week for every article after a month or or two or even three, you are probably in for a big shock unless your name is something like Paris Hilton or Barack Obama.
From looking at Alexa ratings and Technorati ratings of Web sites and Web logs, and from experience, I would say that the above headline is like someone writing "Becoming a best selling author takes a few months" or "becoming a successful nuclear physicist takes a few months."
Sometimes it will take years, and sometimes you will never be a "success."
Most Web logs and Web sites are not what anyone would consider a success measured by number of visitors. Some of those sites and blogs are pretty good too. Many hours are spent in wonderful, important  writing that might be read by half a dozen people in a week. The average article at a large Web site might get as few as 200 visitors in a year, discounting Web spiders.
I didn't find that a Web log could be successful with less than a few hundred posts. Unless you write fast and furiously, every day, that is going to take more than a few months.
Of course, blogging success can take only a few months (or less)  IF you are publishing at a large platform and if you are already widely known from other publicity. A blog by a famous politician or media personality is usually a  success pretty quickly, even if they write rubbish there.
Good content is not going to buy your ticket to blogger heaven or Web site heaven either.
Leonard Woolf, (the guy who married Virginia) pointed out in his autobiography that in their publishing business, they found that the long term success of a book was in inverse proportion to the quantity of books sold in the first few years. In the first few years, publishing (anywhere) is like a toilet bowl - the big pieces float to the top.
Solid content, which all the wise men tell you is a "must"  -- turns out to be a waste in Web logs from my experience. In informational.  Web sites, solid content is king. Those pages are meant to be read and reread and relied on for reference. In Web Logs, schlock often rules. I confess that some of my biggest blogging successes - relatively - were exploitation posts. A single article that must've gotten a few hundred thousand pagveviews by now was about "Sex, Google and Arabs" - mostly nonsense based on some Google trends data. The articles that I sweated over to provide deep analysis or great graphics are usually ignored. Oh Verily, Why do the Wicked Prosper? Who knows? Junkorama is not excluded in technical  Web logs either. Popular SEO 'experts' often  got to be experts by inventing technical nonsense - myths about optimal page length, disastrous advise to delete pages from the Web, articles that claim you can be a successful blogger in a few months,  etc.
The things that your liable to read in the SEO bible, it ain't necessarily so.
Ami Isseroff

Friday, August 15, 2008

Worst SEO advice I've seen thus far

I came across what might be the worst Search Engine optimization tip I have seen thus far. Some of these Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Superstitions are not just a waste of time. It seems they can actually hurt site visibility in search engines.
This one is the "advice" that Deleting old Web pages helps SEO. The recommendation is to delete "outdated" pages when doing site maintenance. That breaks existing backlinks as well as reducing the Authority of your site.
Another bad one I have seen is the advice that the Optimum length of title text is ten words or more. The text in the title tag should be exactly as long as your keyword and your keyword should not usually be 10 words or more.
The same "expert" quoted as giving this advice is the one who boasted of inventing an arbitary optimum page size.  See Optimum Page Size Superstition
Some of these SEO experts may be paid by the competition to ruin people's Web sites for them.
Check it out!
Ami Isseroff

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

SEO expert admits inventing optimum page size superstition

Buried somewhere in all those newsletters you get from various SEO firms, you will find, believe it or not, an admission by a prominent SEO opitmization "expert" that they had simply invented a supposed optimum size of 250 words for Web page text.
Different "experts" and SEO tools have often advocated various small page sizes. This seemed strange to me, because in comparisons, I found that the top pages usually contained thousands of words and the files were 60 KB or larger. Evidently, Web design firms invented this limit in order to be able to show clients that they were getting sites with many Web pages.
What is true of course, is that if you only have a limited amount of content, you may want to spread it over more pages to increase the page count of the site, which can help SEO up to a point. Likewise, it may be difficult, depending on your subject, to write in a natural way and still maintain optimal keyword density. However a really large and well written page can draw a hundred or a even a thousand times more visitors to your site than the average page, and it also presents opportunities for extensive embedded links to other pages in your site.
The page size optimum is one of many Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Superstitions I examine. The latest ones include:
Beware of contradictory and strange claims by SEO "experts" that don't make sense and contradict your own experience.
Ami Isseroff

Another SEO superstition - title length

A recent article quotes an "expert" as saying that text of title tags must be at least ten words long in order to place well in search engines!
This is certainly false. Title tag text should be precisely as long as is needed to contain the page keyword, and keyword should almost never be ten words long.

Big Brother Google is watching you - and not just them

And Google, the leading online advertiser, stated that it has begun using Internet tracking technology that enables it to more precisely follow Web-surfing behavior across affiliated sites.
We know that Google is already gathering all sorts of information through their online software, and likewise Yahoo! and MSN. Now the plot thickens a bit. The technical question is, is how is Google - and how are others - going to be using this information to shape their advertising facilities and search engine behavior? The paranoid question, is what sort of unethical use can be made of these data, either by corporations or rogue employees?? If Joe Smith finds out you are looking at photos of naughty nude ladies and other "good stuff" can he trace you from you your IP and use this information for blackmail?
And, by the way, never being a sentence with "And" - even if you write for the Washington Post!
By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 12, 2008; D01
Several Internet and broadband companies have acknowledged using targeted-advertising technology without explicitly informing customers, according to letters released yesterday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
And Google, the leading online advertiser, stated that it has begun using Internet tracking technology that enables it to more precisely follow Web-surfing behavior across affiliated sites.
The revelations came in response to a bipartisan inquiry of how more than 30 Internet companies might have gathered data to target customers. Some privacy advocates and lawmakers said the disclosures help build a case for an overarching online-privacy law.
"Increasingly, there are no limits technologically as to what a company can do in terms of collecting information . . . and then selling it as a commodity to other providers," said committee member Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), who created the Privacy Caucus 12 years ago. "Our responsibility is to make sure that we create a law that, regardless of the technology, includes a set of legal guarantees that consumers have with respect to their information."
Markey said he and his colleagues plan to introduce legislation next year, a sort of online-privacy Bill of Rights, that would require that consumers must opt in to the tracking of their online behavior and the collection and sharing of their personal data.
But some committee leaders cautioned that such legislation could damage the economy by preventing small companies from reaching customers. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) said self-regulation that focuses on transparency and choice might be the best approach.
Google, in its letter to committee Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.), Markey, Stearns and Rep. Joe L. Barton (R-Tex.), stressed that it did not engage in potentially the most invasive of technologies -- deep-packet inspection, which companies such as NebuAd have tested with some broadband providers. But Google did note that it had begun to use across its network the "DoubleClick ad-serving cookie," a computer code that allows the tracking of Web surfing.
Alan Davidson, Google's director of public policy and government affairs, stated in the letter that users could opt out of a single cookie for both DoubleClick and the Google content network. He also said that Google was not yet focusing on "behavioral" advertising, which depends on Web site tracking.
But on its official blog last week, Google touted how its recent $3.1 billion merger with DoubleClick provides advertisers "insight into the number of people who have seen an ad campaign," as well as "how many users visited their sites after seeing an ad."
"Google is slowly embracing a full-blown behavioral targeting over its vast network of services and sites," said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. He said that Google, through its vast data collection and sophisticated data analysis tools, "knows more about consumers than practically anyone."
Microsoft and Yahoo have disclosed that they engage in some form of behavioral targeting. Yahoo has said it will allow users to turn off targeted advertising on its Web sites; Microsoft has yet to respond to the committee.
More than a dozen of the 33 companies queried said they do not conduct targeted advertising based on consumers' Internet activities. But, Chester said, a number of them engage in sophisticated interactive marketing. Advertisers on's site, for instance, are able to target advertising based on "over 3 billion page views" from "15 million unique users."
Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice stressed that the data are gathered exclusively for advertising on that site.
In their letters, Broadband providers Knology and Cable One acknowledged that they recently ran tests using deep-packet-inspection technology provided by NebuAd to see whether it could help them serve up more relevant ads, but their customers were not explicitly alerted to the test. Cable One is owned by The Washington Post Co.
Both companies said that no personally identifiable information was used and that they have ended the trials. Cable One has no plans to adopt the technology, spokeswoman Melany Stroupe said. "However, if we do," she said, "we want people to be able to opt in."
Ari Schwartz, vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, said lawmakers are beginning to understand the convergence across platforms. "People are starting to see: 'Oh, we have these different industries that are collecting the same types of information to profile individuals and the devices they use on the network," he said. "Internet. Cellphones. Cable. Any way you tap into the network, concerns are raised."
Markey said yesterday that any legislation should generally require explicitly informing the consumer of the type of information that is being gathered and any intent to use it for a different purpose, and a right to say 'no' to the collection or use.
The push for overarching legislation is bipartisan. "A broad approach to protecting people's online privacy seems both desirable and inevitable," Barton said. "Advertisers and data collectors who record where customers go and what they do want profit at the expense of privacy."
As of yesterday evening, the committee had posted letters from 25 companies on its Web site.