Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category


Shameless Self Promotion

SOL: A Light Novel

One of our contributors here at EugeneSEO, Max E. Keele, has just published this novel. It has nothing to do with SEO at all. Except that we’ll be using SEO mojo to market it.

Check it out at Naraka Press.


Busy as a ________

Beware! Two-headed Weasels!

So, we’re up to our armpits in two-headed weasels for the rest of this week and about half of next. Guess y’all will have to do without the wit and wisdom of Eugene for a bit. Promise we’ll be back as soon as we get these bloody things off.


Hey America! Happy Birthday!

4th of July Fireworks

Photo courtesy Max Keele. © 2011. All rights reserved.


Local Search: Attention All Brick-and-Morter Merchants

Two questions.

  1. Are you a business with a physical presence?
  2. Are you prominent in local search?

If the answer to #1 is “no,” you may skip today’s post. If the answer to #1 is “yes,” then the answer to #2 had better be “yes” also. Because if you plan to do business in your community—that is, if you plan to attract customers to your place of business—you damn well better show up high on the Google page for search terms like

  • Your business name
  • Your industry + your city, your region, your neighborhood
  • Your product or service + your city, your region, your neighborhood

Because if you don’t, you are missing a rapidly growing market segment, namely those customers who never use the Yellow Pages. They instead look stuff up on the internet, at home or at the office, on their computer, on their cell phone, on their iStuff.

Try it. Go to Google and type your industry plus your city. Like “pizza eugene.” Are you on the map that appears covering the top 3 or 5 or so positions? If not, you’re in trouble. Your competitors have claimed that extremely valuable real estate. And even if you’re at the top of the “normal” listings (those beneath the map stuff), you are losing money.

Local search for Pizza, Eugene

And the winners are

So how do you fix it? First, you have to sign up with Google Places. This is necessary. Fill in all the details. All of them. Add photos. Use your best keyword kung-fu and pick great keywords for the description and services fields.

You will need to validate the listing. They do this by either robo-phoning your main business number and giving you a PIN code, or by mailing the PIN to you on a postcard. You will then need to enter the code next time you log into your Places account.

If your competition is weak, that may be all you need to do. If they are strong, you have to fight back. One very important way is to get reviews and ratings from as many people as you can.

One more thing. What if you looked yourself up just now and found a listing that’s just plain wrong? Like a competitor’s address or phone number in your listing. Or even somebody else’s business name in your address. Look through your Places account. There is a link in there that lets you report a problem. Do that immediately and keep doing it until it gets fixed.

And here’s something new! Google has just launched “City Pages” which is a collection of city information that will also be huge, I’d guess. Read more here:

Google Adds City Pages


Google Instant: Now the Wrong Page Is Even Faster

Couple of days ago, we went on a little rant about Google’s propensity for trying to read our minds in order to deliver search results just the way we want them. Never mind that they really can’t read anybody’s mind, and let alone the extraordinary level of control they can then exert over our access to information, and forget completely that this could absolutely ruin the whole search marketing industry—we forget where we were going with this, but rest assured, the internet is not a better place because of Google’s determination to guess what we want and deliver it without further ado.

So now, today, we read about Google Instant.


Now, not only do they try to decide what you really want to see, but they then assume that they are right and start loading their first choice for you onto your computer. This is known as “prefetching” and while it may speed up your experience—if they did guess right—it also uses your computing resources without your permission which may have a deleterious effect on any multitasking you’re doing, or on your trying to load the page you actually wanted.

Please Google please! Make it stop!

A bunch of stories about Google Instant,2817,2386934,00.asp


Very Cool SEO Infographic

Hey, check it out. A London digital ad agency name DataDial put together this very nicely conceived and rendered graphic representation of what search marketing is and does. This is so awesome we wish we’d done it.

SEO InfoGraphic (click the image for one huge damn file)


The Ethical Aspects of Black Hat SEO

Yesterday, as guest lecturer, I spoke to a class full of college seniors on the road to careers as business owners and corporate executives. It was my usual “Introduction to Search Engine Optimization” spiel, starting with a crude explanation of what a search engine does and ending with a brief discussion of that weird conundrum about the color of your hat. While I was speaking, I chanced upon two thoughts that—though not directly related—seemed interesting enough to be worth further exploration.

One: an Ethical Conundrum

The question of Black Hat SEO vs White Hat SEO is not a question of ethics. Not really.  Google and the other search engines are businesses. They make money by indexing a lot of other people’s information. Using a proprietary device that they actually do own (the search algorithm), they make all this information available to others who may or may not find it useful. They never ask anyone whether or not they would like to be in that index. They then attempt to enforce a set of “rules” that are designed to make their algorithm work better. They claim that everyone in the index—whether they are there voluntarily or not—are subject to these rules and must abide by them.

That’s all well and good, because if you are in the index—and the index likes you—it can be quite profitable.  But here’s the thing. By not following the “rules,” you can get the index to like you faster and more than if you do follow them.

Because it is not a crime to attempt to exploit an algorithm’s weaknesses, can it even be considered wrong to do so? Isn’t it cheating? And isn’t cheating ethically wrong?

Well, it might be ethically wrong to cheat—if you’re playing a game that you joined deliberately, with full knowledge and acceptance of the rules.

You’re walking down the sidewalk on an errand of your own purpose. You notice that there are pigeons wandering all around you. Then you notice that some few of the pigeons are carrying hundred dollar bills in their beaks. It occurs to you that you could chase them and maybe catch a buck or two. Then it occurs to you that you could buy a bag of popcorn and attract a lot of pigeons, who in order to eat it, would have to drop whatever they were carrying at your feet. Cool! So you buy popcorn and it works great and you soon have a small but growing pile of hundred dollar bills.

Until some guy comes out of nowhere and tells you: “This is my game and you’re cheating. The rules are you have to make the pigeons want to give you their dollar bills, but you can’t feed them. Or touch them. Or scare them. Or promise them anything.”

Then he gives you a list of fairly vague things you can do, and goes back in the building. So, is it unethical to keep feeding the pigeons? Is it unethical to keep the money you’ve already gained?

My thinking is that it’s obviously not unethical to game a search engine’s system and gain whatever you can from it. It is not even wrong to practice black hat SEO. But here’s the catch: Since the search engine has control over who is in its index and how well they perform there, they do have some significant power. The guy with the pigeons can stand next you and wave his arms and make them all fly away to another street where his game will continue without you.

So for me, the answer is Black Hat SEO is not wrong, but it is risky. I don’t do it because I don’t like the potential consequences. But if I ever think up a way to game Google’s algo without getting caught…..

Tomorrow, thought number Two: a Metaphor.