Random Rants and Raves of an SEO Coder

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Do You Chrome?

17 - Feb, 2010, No Comments »

I’ve been a hardcore Firefox user for quite a while now (probably something along the lines of the entire 5 years it has been around). And while I almost refuse to use IE except when debugging a client issue, I have a full suite of Windows based browsers installed.  I will use Safari on occasion, and as I said, IE only on the rarest of occasions.

I have however started using Chrome more regularly. Typically I will use it when I want to view a site that I have an account on as if I were an un-authenticated user.  Why? You might be surprised at how many sites you thought you have follow links from that really are nofollowed when the site can’t tell who you are (ie basically how Google will see your link).

I also stuck to Firefox because of the plug-ins that I like to use.

That has made a little switch lately. I have found some great Chrome extensions that will make it a more useful tool for me. Of course I can take credit and say that I found all of these extensions myself.  That would be a lie. I found several of these extensions via a great post on Chrome extensions.  17 Google Chrome Extensions for Web Designers and Developers is a post that lays out (you guessed it) 17 great Chrome extensions that are perfect for what I need.

I’m still not a Chrome-only user, but I have already started using it at least once a day. We’ll see if it becomes a bigger part of my browsing day!

Directory Scrapers and SEO

08 - Jan, 2010, No Comments »

If you are familiar with the Internet at all, just the mention of the word “scraper” can bring about tremors (or elation if you happen to have an evil streak). Personally, I like playing with scraping just to see what I can do from a programming perspective, but the idea of using someone else’s content for personal gain is not something I can always get on board with.

For those of you who do not know what a directory scraper is, I’d say in my most basic terms, a directory scraper is a “search engine” that looks to be returning real search results.  However, behind the scenes they are actually just searching a major search engine, Google for example, and then presenting the results as their own.  Most typically these sites monetize their sites by embedding PPC ads in the displayed page.

I’ve not really seen any major SEO advantage to being listed in these sites. Typically a user has to search to see your results. Since search engine spiders do not submit random search terms to these sites, the odds of getting a backlink from a site like this are slim.

Take for example my SEO business. In the past I’ve played with ranking it for “Richmond SEO firm”. You can search Google for that term and see the rankings. Now look at the results of searching a directory scraper site for Richmond SEO firm.  At the time of this writing the results were identical.

Personally, I use Google for nearly all of my non-work searching.  I would not have even found the site I linked to if not for doing some backlink analysis for a client.

I guess then that my main conclusion is that these types of directory scrapers have marginal SEO value at best for link building. Probably not worth the effort to pursue, but maybe a fun way to test things.

Social Profile Matching

06 - Jan, 2010, No Comments »

I’ve been surfing around on social media sites since before they called it social media. And during that time, I’ve set up profiles everywhere it seems. Most have something to do with SEO coding or website development as that is the work that I’ve largely been doing since before Y2k (yes that dreadfully overrated tech event).

All of these profiles have been set up under several different profile names. Originally, I started using “bullmoose” as my profile name (long story!). After a very short time though I noticed that “bullmoose” was taken on all of the new sites before I even started to sign up. Hmmmm, what to do? Well, use my name right? Wrong! My name is obviously more popular than I thought it was.  Turns out “Kent Allen” is taken on nearly every website that allows user signup.

So, I needed something unique and identifiable.  So, I just reversed the spelling of bullmoose to come up with “esoomllub”. I’ve used it as a username on many sites since I came up with it. More recently though I’ve had a need to start using my given name.  And since I am typically a first adopter of new social media sites (even those that have failed), I can often get my name now.

So what’s the point?

Well… over the last 10 years I have accumulated a series of profiles with different usernames. I don’t think there is a good solution to syncing the names. So, I’ve finally put together a spreadsheet of social media sites that I have accounts on so that I can stay sync’d with myself (no split personality here!).

Things I did not even realize or remember until I starting pulling together my list:

  • Esoomllub is the most popular username I have used. I can remember using it on Yahoo way back in the day (only to forget the password and lose the email account I had it set up under.  Thus, username lost! However I do use it on My Blog Log (now a Yahoo service).  I have set up a series of websites there that have their own “profile” page, including a page for my SEO company .
  • I set up a series of profiles for less than admirable social media  spamming purposes before realizing I did not really like being in to spamming of any type.
  • My latest signup was on Friendster.  I’m not sure how much I like the service, but you can check out my Friendster profile to see how it looks.
  • Do you take advantage of having a Google profile? You might want to give it a look. Here is mine.
  • If you’re not a Knol user, give it a try. Even I have a Knol profile.

I’m sure my situation is no different than others.  You sign up for sites over time, user some of them a lot, use different usernames, and even lose track of some.

Is Flippa Crappa?

09 - Aug, 2009, No Comments »

While I’ve not been a wildly active member of SitePoint in a while, I was pleased to see their marketplace for websites taking a much larger profile this spring with the creation of Flippa.  Flippa bills itself as a place to buy and sell websites. And while that is surely possible, after my first post beta auction experience with Flippa, I can just say that I will likely not be back. Sure… I’ll probably swing by and browse, but that’s it.

I just participated in an auction there (you can surely find my username there to find out which auction). Found a domain that was listed as a PR2 (really a PR1 — although it could have been PR2 when the auction started).  Not an expired domain, but a real domain that someone owned. After a little research of the domain, I placed a bid at the minimum bid amount ($50). At that point I thought I would see my bid show up. Wrong.

On Flippa, your bid has to be accepted.  I can dig that I guess (dig with one ‘g’ not two). Ok, so I can just wait for the seller to accept it (I mean, he did set the min bid at $50 right?).  Wrong.

Evidently on Flippa there is no notification of the auction creator that there has been a bid.  At least that is the opinion I formed. Well, either the seller did not like my bid and chose to ignore it instead of just rejecting it, or he had no idea that a bid was placed.  The auction expired — no acceptance or rejection of my bid — no communication at all. Gee, this site must be well traffic’d!

To be fair and to not sound like a newb, I realize that there may have been a reserve price in mind by the seller.  That’s cool.  Take the 30 seconds to reject my bid then.  Oh… there is the rub.  It did get rejected, today.  2 days after the auction ended.

Sour grapes… no.  It’s a weasily little PR1 (not PR2) domain in a generally non money making niche. I will surely buy far more valuable domains this month.

It’s just a little disappointing to see what was one of the better website/domain auction places (SitePoint) replace their forum based site with what I thought would be a great site, only to see a general lack of traffic on it (at least based on looking at the lack of bids on the site).  Oh well, I guess it’s back to eBay to find great website auction deal! (sarcasm).

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