The Search Engine Journal was kind enough to interview me about various SEO topics, including: evolution of SEO, using UGC to drive SEO, Domainers vs. SEOs, and making the transition from in-house SEO to out-house SEO (working out of my house as an SEO consultant).
I didn’t realize it until now, but this is my 2nd interview with the Search Engine Journal–the first was over 3 years ago. If you dig reading about me 1/10th as much as I do, then I suggest you check out both interviews:
Dustin Woodard 2010 SEJ Interview
by Todd Mintz
Dustin Woodard 2007 SEJ Interview
by Jessica Bowman
Besides learning more about me, I think you’ll find some helpful SEO tips inside both interviews.
Posted in Domaining, Reputation Management, Search, Twitter, User Generated Content | Comments (0)
Pubcon is always a great conference and tends to attract more practitioners then some of the other major search conferences, which is something I highly value. I’ll be speaking at Pubcon next week on UGC SEO (optimizing user-generated content to drive large volumes of natural search traffic). Surprisingly, this is my first time speaking at Pubcon and I’ll get to do it with the conference founder, Brett Tabke on the final day of presentations.
Besides the conference sessions, there’s tons of great parties. This year I plan to attend DK’s Poker Tourney and the SEOMoz 3rd Annual Search Spam/Werewolf party (went to the first, but missed it last year).
The Poker Tourney isn’t a charity event this year, but the intentions are still the same. This year Purpose Inc has asked that attendees post one of their favorite charities to a blog post. I’ve decided to mention Kiva, which is a non-profit that enables you to lend money to entrepreneurs in 3rd world countries to allow them to get themselves out of poverty. You get to choose who you lend to by reading their profiles and what the money will go towards, then they pay you back so you can lend to another in need.
Hoe to see you in Vegas!
Posted in Search, Social Networking, User Generated Content | Comments (2)
Twitter search seems fairly basic, which often leads to people using 3rd party Twitter tools for searching. Most people don’t realize it, but Twitter some handy search command abilities:
Basic Twitter Search Commands (no surprises here):
- Multi-word queries: if you search multiple words, Twitter’s default search will search tweets containing both (or all words).
Example: big doggy would find tweets that contain both “big” and “doggy”, but not necessarily the words paired together.
- Exact match queries: if you use quotes, you can limit tweet searches to exact matches.
Example: “big doggy” would find tweets that contain the exact phrase “big doggy”.
- OR queries: if you are looking for two related or interchangable words, OR queries work well.
Example: dog OR doggy would find tweets that contain either words.
- Hash Tag queries: Hash tags used to be one of the only methods of putting a stamp on your tweet to help those searching in Twitter, but they not as critical these days as Twitter search has improved. Regardless, people still use hash tags (#), especially when attending events or joining in on a meme
Example: #ff would find tweets that contain #ff (which stands for Follow Friday).
- At queries: when referencing someone on Twitter, you use @ (at reply), so it makes sense you can search for people doing so.
Example: @webconnoisseur would find tweets reference me.
- Question queries: target tweets that ask a question.
Example: web designer ? would most likely find tweets of people looking for web designers.
Advanced Twitter Search Commands:
- Combining queries: You can combine queries to really nail down what you are looking for.
Example: “seattle startup” OR “seattle start-up” OR “@seattle20″ combines the simple search commands listed above and would be an excellent way to find tweets related to startups in Seattle.
- From and To queries: You can actually target tweets that are specifically sent to or from someone.
Example: “from:GregBoser” “to:Graywolf” would show me tweets Greg Boser sent to Michael Gray. If you perform a query like this, Twitter will also include a link that will allow you to see the entire conversation, if there is one.
- Exclude queries: You can specify words you don’t want to see in your query.
Example: hello -kitty would show me hello tweets, but exclude tweets that are reffering to hello kitty or someone saying hello to their kitty on twitter (trust me, you want to stay away from these people).
- Location queries: You can actually limit tweets by location.
Example: beer near:Seattle within:15mi would show me beer tweets written within 15 miles of Seattle
Note: it isn’t entirely accurate as it appears to go off the location the person has listed in their profile, which isn’t always where they are at the time.
- Date-based queries: You can actually limit tweets by date, both before (use “since:”) or after (use “until:”).
Example: techcrunch since:2009-09-12 until:2009-09-13 would show me tweets about TechCrunch over the weekend on September 12th or 13th
- Attitudinal queries: Some Twitter users incorporate happy or sad faces into their tweets. You can search these to find attitudes about topics.
Example: cloudy with a chance of meatballs :) would show me people who were happy to go see or enjoyed the movie Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.
- Source queries: probably one of the least useful queries unless you want to research a 3rd party tool’s adoption, you can do query searches by tweet software source.
Example: LOL source:tweetdeck would show me LOL tweets that came from someone using tweedeck.
- Link filtered queries: a great way to track down referenced links, this query will limit Twitter searches to tweets that contain links.
Example: mashable filter:links would show me people’s tweets linking to Mashable articles.
- Jumping forward in older searches if you are hunting for something via Twitter search and want to save yourself from clicking “older” over and over, you can change the page number (after your first older click) in the Twitter URL to jump forward.
Example: http://search.twitter.com/search?max_id=3984008800&page=2&q=fight&rpp=20 is the result I get after searching fight in search.twitter.com and clicking on older once. To jump further back in time and skip a bunch of tweets, I can go up to the browser URL box and change the page=2 portion to page=35 to jump straight to page 35.
Hope you find these Twitter search commands useful. If you know of others, or would like to share your example uses, please leave a comment.
Posted in Search, Social Networking, Twitter, User Generated Content | Comments (4)
After attending SMX Advanced (or listening in), then reading Matt’s post about no-following, many SEOs, both beginning and advanced, are running around like chicken’s with their heads cut off, scrambling to decide what to do.
The more we pin Matt down on no-follow, the more confusing things become. If you were to read Matt’s post and overreact, you might remove all your no-follows including on blog comments, turning your site into an over-crawled (spiders visiting areas they shouldn’t) and over-spammed site (users dropping tons of links in comments).
Or, if you are a bit more savvy, you might start blocking comments on your blog, iframing your footer links site-wide, or dissallowing linking on all UGC.
The key with any exposed change is to wait until the dust settles and SEOs test & share their results. If you have been using no-follows appropriately, you shouldn’t have much reason to change them now. Matt says these changes have been in place for a year, but I know for some borderline abusers of pagerank sculpting, the more noticable changes took place the past couple months.
External linking is where the greatest mistakes will be made. I would recommend against assuming Matt’s advice to stop using no-follow applies to external links as he appears to be speaking mostly about internal linking practices. I’ve asked him to clarify his stance on external linking because there are a lot of reasons why Google would prefer to heed your external no-follow instructions.
What should you do? For now, I recommend sitting tight.
Posted in Search, User Generated Content | Comments (6)
Read this piece on Valleywag today about the New York Times hiring their first-ever Social Media Editor.
Here’s the NYT description of their social media editor:
One of the bracing things about this topsy-turvy media landscape is that you can wake up one morning and find yourself actually doing something you never thought you’d even think about. Take Jennifer Preston. In 25 years in the news biz, she’s been plenty of things: Reporter (cop shop, City Hall, Albany, etc.), editor (political editor, section editor, administrative editor, etc.) and even circulation marketing manager (at New York Newsday). But still, did she ever think she’d wake up one morning as “social media editor”?
No, she didn’t but yes, she did. That morning was this one.
Jennifer is our first social media editor. What’s that? It’s someone who concentrates full-time on expanding the use of social media networks and publishing platforms to improve New York Times journalism and deliver it to readers.
…She will help us get comfortable with the techniques, share best practices and guide us on how to more effectively engage a larger share of the audience on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Flickr, Digg, and beyond.
Knowing the NYT has the 2nd most popular Twitter following and a great number of journalists with accounts on Twitter, I thought it would be interesting to check out who Jennifer Preston is and if I knew her from past social media events I have attended.
Turns out her Twitter account was locked, according to Valleywag. Looks like she opened it up to the public in response to the article, but she had yet to post her first tweet. I looked around for a non-NYT account for her, but didn’t find any. One place I looked was Linked in. I was shocked to see she only had 13 connections (especially for someone who works for a large publisher).
I tweeted my findings, which may have spurred her to post her first tweets (she now has 3). From my perspective, she’s got less experience with twitter, digg, youtube, blogging, etc. than any college intern I’ve ever worked with.
Either the New York Times is trying this as an experiment, or they have effectively set a very low bar for what is considered a social media expert.
Posted in Reputation Management, Social Networking, Twitter, User Generated Content | Comments (1)
Can’t believe how many people scratch their heads trying to figure out how to make money using twitter when the formula is so incredibly simple. If you fall into this camp, let me share a little secret with you…
How to Make $$$ Using Twitter:
Follow these simple steps.
1. Open up your twitter account
2. Click on the dialog box to create a post.
3. Hold down your shift button on your keyboard.
4. While holding the shift button, carefully click on the 4 button exactly three times.
Congrats! You’ve successfully made $$$ on Twitter. Now go tell your friends that @webconnoisseur showed you how to make money using this easy tweet this link.
Posted in Social Networking, Twitter, User Generated Content | Comments (87)
Sometimes when I use Twitter, I feel like I’m Mel Gibson in the movie What Women Want. Sounds random, but stay with me here…
In What Women Want, Mel Gibson’s character can hear the thoughts of all the women around him. Sometimes the chatter is information overload and it drives Mel crazy, other times he can harness the information he’s gained and put it to good use.
Twitter is much like the voices in Mel’s head in the movie, only the voices come from other Twitter users who are predominantly online marketers, consultants, and pr professionals. If you follow too many people, you will go insane. If you follow or surround yourself with the right people, you will gain valuable insights.
It’s important to know what your goals are with Twitter. Is it tapping into the minds of fellow marketers? Or maybe a particular segment? Are you looking to join a certain conversation? Whatever your goal is, make sure the majority of the people you follow match that goal.
If you’d like to add one more voice in your head, follow me @webconnoisseur.
Posted in Social Networking, Twitter, User Generated Content | Comments (2)
If you are on Facebook and haven’t had the pleasure of reading a 25 Random Things About Me note about one of your friends yet, you are missing out. Normally not a fan of chain letters or tagging memes, I will admit the 25 Things activity on Facebook is fascinating.
History of Facebook 25 Things Notes
Facebook notes were launched on August 22, 2006, but didn’t receive heavy usage until 2009 thanks to a new viral phenomenon that started off as “25 Random Things About Me.” Memes using notes on Facebook are nothing new, entire websites have been put together to catalog and inspire various memes-most as lame as the emails that have been going around for over a decade.
The Velocity of 25 Things
The earliest entries I can find via various search tools for 25 Things is mid-January. I really saw it taking off in my personal network starting in February. Using Google trends, I compared 25 Things searches to searches for an older site people might be familiar with: 43 Things.
As you can tell from the chart, 25 things searches increased rapidly, easily overshadowing 43 Things despite the fact that users won’t find Facebook notes entries doing this search, nor will they find definitive information about the origins of it.
How to Find 25 Things Notes
If you do want to find all your friends 25 things postings, I suggest you follow these steps:
1. Login to Facebook and make sure you are on the main page (click Home if you are not sure).
2. Click the drop down arrow for more feeds (blue arrow next to live feed button)
3. Choose notes.
4. Scroll down and you will likely see activity around 25 Things postings.
5. Click show more posts at the very bottom if you want to look for more postings.
Facebook 25 Things Learnings
There are things we can all learn from Facebook’s 25 Things success:
- Patience is important in business. Facebook could have easily scrapped notes long ago due to low activity.
- Never underestimate user-generated content.
- Viral successes are often luck
- Providing a platform where UGC viral successes can happen is important
I noticed a lot of people commenting on how Facebook didn’t make sense to them until they started reading other people’s 25 Things posts – this simple meme has created an amazing amount of value for Facebook and their traffic reflects it:
Posted in Reputation Management, Search, Social Networking, User Generated Content, Web | Comments (2)
I wrote a guest post over and IndieGoGo, a cool fund raising and awareness tool for filmmakers, on the topic of using SEO (and SEM) to attract an audience for your film.
Here’s a teaser:
Making a film is a big enough challenge in itself, but if you are like most low-budget independent filmmakers, you’ll quickly discover that finding an audience for your film can be even more challenging.
Outside of widely known marketing methods like submitting to festivals, inviting people to special screenings, and attempting to make friends on social networks, most filmmakers fail in allowing their audience find them on their own.
Read the rest of the post: Build Your Film’s Audience Using Search Engines
Posted in Reputation Management, Search, User Generated Content, Video | Comments (1)