Category Archives: Organic SEO

Screwing with your Geeky SEO Buddies – Referring Keywords and the “Minus” Search Command

Fun post here, nothing that will make you any money. Okay scratch that, some smart-ass will lobby me otherwise… but that’s not the point here. The point is to screw with your SEO friends.

I wanted to see how closely one of my employees was monitoring his Google Analytics for a particular website, and also have a little fun at the same time. This particular site doesn’t have much content on it, and nothing “fun” per se. Thus, I decided I’d do a search and rig it to be one of those people who search on something like 10 words long that make you scratch your head how they found your site.

My search:

abc brand -”hi tim lets see how closely you monitor your analytics”

What’s above is exactly what shows up in his Google Analytics or referral logs. By using the “-” command you are telling Google to exclude whatever follows that. Thus, so long as I put something I know he doesn’t have on the website I can ensure that text will come through into the stats. You could put anything. I choose not to get too crass. To be sure, the minus search command is rigging things here, almost like cheating really. Its not quite as pure as how George ranks for something like catchy professional photographers company’s names. Not sure how well that one converts??? Can we get a search volume estimate in the Google External Keyword Tool for that?

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Baltimore SEO Meetup Last Night

“Meet the Baltimore Internet Marketers” was the theme of last night’s Meetup event held at the ETC in Canton, thanks the kind donation of space from R2i (thanks Page!).

This is the first event I’ve organized in roughly six months for this group, which was way overdue (I’ve been busy) but better late than never, right? Anyhow, we should get that back on track now.

We had a great turnout. I didn’t count exactly, but we were in the 25 to 30 attendee range. I think it was 3 ladies and the rest were a bunch of scruffly guys (myself included)… which was actually more gender-diverse than previous meetups. Poor Lori and Kathleen.

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New Baltimore SEO Meetup – Meet the Local Internet Marketers

If you are outside of the Baltimore / DC metro area than this post will be of no interest to you. If you are in the area then consider checking out the next SEO Meetup we are having. Its been like 6 months since our last one, but prior to that we had been getting together roughly once every month to six weeks or so. I’ve been swamped finishing up grad school and getting things with work running a little more efficiently. That’s my excuse.

The agenda will consist of roughly 45-60 minutes of “who the heck are you” type introductions, where each attendee has maybe 2 minutes to share who they are, what type of work they do, if they are hiring or looking for partners, etc. Then – if time allows – we may have a little link building tips discussion followed by a few drinks and perhaps a bite to eat at the Austin Grill located in the same building as where we are having the event, the Emerging Technologies Center in Canton.

So far in attendance will be myself and approximately 20 other local internet marketing people (skewed heavily towards SEOs).

Disclaimer: I blatantly stole the idea for the “meet the local internet marketers” from Keith and Corey. Oh well fellas, that’s how the web works :)

How to get Google Sitelinks – Sublinks under your #1 listing

Question from an associate…

Off the wall google question for you. How do you get listings like the #1 slot here.

google sitelinks

google sitelinks

My response:

You mean the sublistings aka “sitelinks” underneath of the #1? They are context-specific. They will show when Google thinks you are looking for a specific company and the #1 result is that company. Thus, you can have a #1 ranking and they won’t show up, unless the keywords show a direct match for what that site actually is.


search on “shoes” and you’ll see is #1, but with no sitelinks

search on “” and you’ll see is #1, this time with sitelinks b/c Google thinks you are looking specifically for their site / company, not just “shoes” in general

This all said, you’ll only get the sitelinks when you site has a decent level of authority. That is, you’ll need to have a site with a little “link juice” that is on Google’s radar, not just a crappy little site with two inbound links. The links they show are generally their interpretation of the most important pages on your site. If your site architecture is good this might match up with your main navigation. That said, it could feature other pages too if they have a lot of inbound link juice or internal link juice to those specific pages.

I believe there also may be a feature too in Google Webmaster Tools to tweak these, but have not yet played around with it.

Also, here is Google’s commentary on sitelinks (aka sublinks).

FYI – since I took a few minutes on this I’m going to recycle on my blog…

Is SEO Decietful? An Analogy to Consider…

I just posted this over as a comment on the blog of a colleague…  He mentioned how many people consider SEO to be deceitful, and then went on to compare it to a deceitful piece of direct mail he recently received.  I think Black Hat SEO in many cases is “deceitful”, but white hat SEO for the most part isn’t.  I think its just more putting your best foot forward.  In that case, its once again more like traditional PR.

I don’t share the thought though of those who say SEM/SEO is deceitful.  I view it as simply understanding what the search engines want and giving it to them… Its sort of like wearing a nice outfit to a big interview.  Its not outright lying or intentionally deceiving, but rather just putting your best foot forward.  The interviewer knows you don’t wear suits everywhere you go :)

Nowadays I think everyone must consider the source in all things.  That’s a skill that is much needed in this age of multitudes of media outlets across different mediums.  All information is biased, in some way.

Deceiving is having a client who sells one product and optimizing for an unrelated or very loosely related keyword.  Who has time for that?  Way too inefficient.  Instead, most of the “SEO” that I see is instead simply elaborating a bit more than what might be appropriate or deserving if there weren’t search engines to consider.  Maybe without SEO I would write 3 paragraphs of text about an accounting firm’s year-end tax preparation services, whereas with search engines to consider I write 5 and include a more to-the-point TITLE tag and H1, and then work a little harder to make sure other sites know about it.  That’s not deceiving.  That’s just doing a better job, doing more than otherwise is “necessary”, and perhaps trying harder.

Thoughts in agreement?  Thoughts to the contrary?

SEO Whitepapers – It’s Not Rocket Science

A colleague referred me to this page offering some SEO Whitepapers. I haven’t read any of them. I’m sure they are very good though.

But once you are involved in the SEO industry for a while, the whitepapers – much like SEO conferences – begin to all say the same thing. The truth is SEO itself is not rocket science. Its simple.

  1. Create really great, unique, valueable content about all the various aspects of your topic.
  2. Code your site with a good understanding on on-page SEO, CSS, information architecture, conversion and usability.
  3. Get a lot of other really great websites in your topical area to link to your site.

Note that I said SEO is simple, not easy. It can be damn hard.

Content - The challenge here is creating “really great content” if you are an SEO person or SEO agency. You likely know nothing about the topic. Thus, you must rely on a copywriter. That copywriter likely knows nothing about SEO. Now in a perfect world the copywriter understand the value of SEO, and you work together peacefully and harmoniously. In reality, you are too damn busy and so are they – so it doesn’t work out as nicely as you’d each like, and someone often ends up compromising. That aside, I’ve yet to find a copywriter than can provide me with the quantity and quality of copy I want, at a price I can afford. Truth is there is no shot – I have a never-ending appetite for content.

Coding - This one ain’t too rough. Brush up on HTML and CSS standards, on-page optimization fundamentals and conversion/usability topics and generally this is the one I find most firms can really rock. That’s the problem though, rocking this is simply the admission fee – it won’t differentiate you or set your site apart from the crowd with respect to search rankings. Everyone else is doing it too.

Great Links – Simple in concept. And sure, if you have a cool tech site about Steve Jobs or something you’ll be in good shape. All the techie kids at Digg love that stuff. Sphinn too – funny stuff about SEO or the internet is great link bait. As is anything fun, entertaining or controversial is easy. Try getting links for something boring. A nice boring accounting firm. Give that a shot. And no, you can’t change the firm’s entire offering or marketing strategy – nice thought in principal though, but good luck getting someone to buy into that on Day 1 of your campaign!

Admittedly I’m taking a negative tone here. That’s really not me. I’m just trying to illustrate the point though that anyone with more than a reasonable amount of experience with SEO will often agree that what to do is not their problem. How to do it within the business confines that exist is the real challenge.

How do we make a regular, ordinary accounting firm interesting enough that other sites link to them? How do we do so while still keeping with the scope of a realistic campaign (you can’t hire a guy from Enron to join the accounting firm!). How do you apply the principles of SEO that are fairly simple, and implement those items in such a way that is better than your competition, thus setting you apart? That is the real challenge.

That is SEO.

Anyone can write TITLE tags.

m0serious – the Poetic Profit SEO Rapper

The web is great. Tons of information. Problem is its damn stale. Text, text and more text. Boring.

Forget reading SEO blogs, forums, articles, etc. If you want to learn SEO, watch some rap videos.

No I’m serious. m0serious in fact. If you do nothing else this week check out mOserious’s Youtube page. Listen to the lyrics. Good info there. From now on this will be part of my firm’s new employee training.


If you have animation please use in moderation! Word up homie. Word up.