Marketing Strategy Geek - Andy Beard » stats http://andybeard.eu Internet Marketing, Lead Acquisition, Online Business Strategy and Social Media with Original Opinion and Loads of Attitude Tue, 01 Apr 2014 21:47:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Fairly Useless Feedburner Google Analytics Update http://andybeard.eu/2445/feedburner-google-analytics-update.html http://andybeard.eu/2445/feedburner-google-analytics-update.html#comments Fri, 13 Nov 2009 21:25:30 +0000 http://andybeard.eu/?p=2445 Feedburner apparently has integrated analytics with Google Analytics… woopie doo

I suppose it makes things simpler for people who weren’t already doing something similar for feeds, and at least they are segregating clicks between email and RSS, something their competitors for RSS > Email such as Aweber, Feedblitz, Mailchimp etc have been able to do for a long time.

Tags: , , ,

The post Fairly Useless Feedburner Google Analytics Update appeared first on Marketing Strategy Geek - Andy Beard.

]]>
Feedburner apparently has integrated analytics with Google Analytics… woopie doo

I suppose it makes things simpler for people who weren’t already doing something similar for feeds, and at least they are segregating clicks between email and RSS, something their competitors for RSS > Email such as Aweber, Feedblitz, Mailchimp etc have been able to do for a long time.

What they can’t do is track RSS signups as a goal, and until they can do that from a marketing perspective RSS is fairly useless.

Google Reader is also still misbehaving – even if you use a 307 temporary redirect to your Feedburner URL, Feedburner evaluates the URL before offering the feed for subscription. You end up with split URLs in Google Reader depending on the signup method.

Http://andybeard.eu/feed

Http://andybeard.eu/feed/

http://feeds.feedburner.com/Exploring-Niche-Websites

I have read of ways using iframes to spoof the signup process a little, but from a marketing perspective it isn’t really acceptable and no substitute for a real thank you page process that can also be defined as a goal.

Google still is driving the assumption that RSS should be free to share, and not measured, but they are losing that battle to Twitter – they have no support for authenticated RSS feeds, and you can’t prevent people sharing RSS content that might be personal, either sensitive data or paid subscription.

This severely limits the utility of RSS for paid subscription content, RSS use to monitor collaboration services, etc.

It is also a financial risk – ever licensed an image from IstockPhoto? I am not a lawyer but…

What happens if that image, which is licensed for 500,000 impressions ends up on the Digg home page and is spread virally accross the internet? At $1 per hundred additional viewers, an image that is seen by an additional 500,000 could set you back $5000 – Istockphoto are owned by Getty, hardly known for being generous to accidental image plagiarism.

Feedburner team… what happened to that open directory of Pingshot ping locations? Hell even just a current list of where you update would be better than nothing.

Tags: , , ,

The post Fairly Useless Feedburner Google Analytics Update appeared first on Marketing Strategy Geek - Andy Beard.

]]>
http://andybeard.eu/2445/feedburner-google-analytics-update.html/feed/ 29
503 Service Unavailable Status Code Can Kill Your Search Traffic http://andybeard.eu/1793/503-service-unavailable-status-code-can-kill-your-search-traffic.html http://andybeard.eu/1793/503-service-unavailable-status-code-can-kill-your-search-traffic.html#comments Mon, 25 May 2009 19:00:38 +0000 http://andybeard.eu/?p=1793 This is a post I am sure the “Andy Beard Haters Club” will gloat over, but as I haven’t been able to find a resource anywhere on the effect extended use of 503 Service Unavailable can potentially have on a site, and in particular the effect on search traffic, I thought I should write about it.

Tags: , , , , , ,

The post 503 Service Unavailable Status Code Can Kill Your Search Traffic appeared first on Marketing Strategy Geek - Andy Beard.

]]>
This is a post I am sure the “Andy Beard Haters Club” will gloat over, but as I haven’t been able to find a resource anywhere on the effect extended use of 503 Service Unavailable can potentially have on a site, and in particular the effect on search traffic, I thought I should write about it.

Using 503 Server Unavailable For Extended Periods Can Kill Your Search Traffic

Using 503 Server Unavailable For Extended Periods Can Kill Your Search Traffic

This isn’t your typical scenario – 503 errors are frequently sent when a server becomes overloaded, or there are some backend problems. A search of the Google Webmaster Help forums doesn’t bring up a huge amount of cases, and mostly it is enquiring about what someone should do when they want to do some maintenance on a live server, probably for a short time. In my case I didn’t plan to be in “Maintenance Mode” for an extended period. Here is the complete timeline:

  • April 6th – I received an email from Jeff Walker announcing that he would be reopening PLF2.2+ in 2 weeks time – I had been working on some unique WordPress split-testing stuff that I thought would be a useful high perceived value bonus to my audience – it was time to reawaken the blog anyway.
  • April 6th Late – activated maintenance mode plugin with a custom theme – I added some stuff about PLF 2.2 and a subscription form for notifications – also still had tracking code on the page.
  • April 12th – Even though it was the weekend, noticed a significant reduction in search traffic
  • April 15th – Due to problems with the maintenance mode plugin and access permissions, I was forced to open up more of the site than I intended – I was trying to have it set up so that only the feeds and a couple of landing pages could be access by non-admins – it didn’t quite work as expected, so I opened the whole site up.
  • April 15th – posted first blog post in 9 months
  • April 15th onwards – tinkering with site structure – I had gone live with a lot missing such as custom query string revisited, thus indexing depth could be a problem.
  • May 2nd – might seem totally silly, but this marks the day I added Google Analytics back on the blog – 2 weeks with no stats at all was both infuriating for a stats junky, but at the same time helped me to remove the shackles – at least off of one leg.
  • May 20th – bit the bullet and switched permalinks for most of the site (possible article) – also removed robots.txt from a few historical posts (more on that to follow)
  • May 25th – Seeing if search will recover

I only expected to be down for 2 or 3 days, and switching on maintenance mode was a great way of focusing my attention on what needed to be done.

It could be looked on as something devious – some kind of bait and switch of a whole domain – I looked on it at the time as providing a clear message of what was going on, and providing something interesting to visit in the meantime.

One thing I haven’t added back into my header are variuos claim meta tags for the various search engines, but is probably something I will add as and when I get around to it.

Whilst I haven’t included full traffic details, I can assure you that search traffic dropped across the board, even on terms that have brought trafic for years and where I have so many links it would seem silly for me not to rank, such as phrases related to nofollow, dofollow, and various plugins.

My search traffic isn’t totally dead, down by 75%, so I am receiving only 25% of the search traffic I used to. I don’t have the custom tools available or the time to compare reindexation times with recovery of search traffic potentially due to switching permalinks.

At least I haven’t had to deal with as much comment spam :)

The short form:- 6 days giving a 503 service unavailable page was enough to kill my search traffic, though it took 2 more days for it to die.

I am not saying that maintenance mode is a bad plugin, or that this isn’t the recommended way to deal with site updates that require you to restrict access for a short while. I do most development either using a combination of XAMPP and Netbeans on my PC, or on varous development domains.

I have also heard of cases where sites have been offline for months and have experienced almost instant recovery.

Do you have any experience with 503 Service Unavailable, and the effects it can have on search results if returned consistently for extended periods?

Tags: , , , , , ,

The post 503 Service Unavailable Status Code Can Kill Your Search Traffic appeared first on Marketing Strategy Geek - Andy Beard.

]]>
http://andybeard.eu/1793/503-service-unavailable-status-code-can-kill-your-search-traffic.html/feed/ 23
HowTo: WordPress Multivariate Split-testing With Google Website Optimizer http://andybeard.eu/1507/multivariate.html http://andybeard.eu/1507/multivariate.html#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2009 02:43:47 +0000 http://andybeard.eu/?p=1507 WordPress Sales & Affiliate Themes

I spent the better part of a week and a few hundred dollars ($300-$400) on various WordPress sales letter and affiliate themes – I came to the conclusion that they weren’t something I would use.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The post HowTo: WordPress Multivariate Split-testing With Google Website Optimizer appeared first on Marketing Strategy Geek - Andy Beard.

]]>
WordPress Sales & Affiliate Themes

I spent the better part of a week and a few hundred dollars ($300-$400) on various WordPress sales letter and affiliate themes – I came to the conclusion that they weren’t something I would use.

  • Some I would class as pretty but lacking substance (polite version of crap)
  • Every single theme was designed around the concept that you run a single theme on your blog at a time
  • They all suffered from what I regard as a horrible plague – theme option pages – if you need to set up lots of options after you have uploaded a theme, you have lost a sale, unless I can also import and export settings.
  • The worst aspect of theme options pages is using them for the content that might appear on a page, because it is a nightmare to set up split testing, and when editing, you really want all the words on the page in front of you.

So I set about creating a solution for myself…

I started of with Thematic which I had already been playing around with for a good 8 months. Themeatic is an offshoot or branch of Sandbox of which I was also a fan, but built upon a grid system that hopefully I won’t totally destroy when I finally get around to theming on this site.

The first challenge was custom CSS for every page, and navigating my way through the maze of which functions initialized at which time within the WordPress core, such that the style sheet used is determined by the page selected in the default custom layout selector.

The end result is only 160 lines of code in functions.php, plus some in individual custom theme pages, and that may well get shorter as I optimize things, but the end result is something unique and useful.

I am a strong believer in doing things once

Once I have created a custom sales page theme for this system, though it is not limited to sales pages, it can be used without any setup overhead other than selecting it within a dropdown list and hitting save.

And of course, everything is created based upon a child theme of Thematic, thus when Thematic has one of its frequent updates, there will be very little if any pain in upgrading.

WordPress Split Testing With Google Website Optimizer

There are a number  of plugins that claim to provide support for Google Website Optimizer. Most only work with A/B split testing as the authors couldn’t figure out the best way to add tags to post content.

In addition often the GWO code was placed in the wrong place in the header, it needs to be after Doctype, but before the CSS to effectively fully replace the CSS – I realise CSS is meant to be cascading, and you can force your way through when it doesn’t quite work out, but sales pages are meant to load fast.

So our single CSS file by default no matter what style the page is gets wrapped with GWO selectors by default. The most important element on the page, the post title which most of the time is used as a headline also gets wrapped in selectors by default.

You don’t have to test them all the time, but they are there when you want them. 

I eventually selected one plugin solution, from an Italian company who do landing pages. I may end up tweaking things more, moving various thing from functions.php into the plugin, though many of the hooks I have used are specific to thematic, even the one I ended up using within the plugin to get the correct placement of the GWO code in the header.

Whilst I claim that this video would only be 5 minutes at the start, it is actually 8 minutes, but demonstrates the full process of setting up split testing with my current solution.

 

I am sure you are also curious about how it works, so here is the demo sales page from the video, with split testing currently enabled.

The reason I haven’t yet implemented shortcodes are 2-fold.

  • I don’t need them
  • Using PHP, it is quite easy to use most of the work I have done with any other split testing software, either javascript or PHP based, for those with tin-foil hats (most affiliates using Adwords extensively?)

The PHP plugin I discovered rocks – I tweeted about it a couple of weeks ago.

Implementation for other theme frameworks isn’t immediately planned, and code after some more tweaking will be made available in various ways (for the geeks whose shoulders I had to climb on to get this far), and I will probably package things in some way for those less technically inclined looking  for a “solution, along with modified versions of various themes I have rights for.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The post HowTo: WordPress Multivariate Split-testing With Google Website Optimizer appeared first on Marketing Strategy Geek - Andy Beard.

]]>
http://andybeard.eu/1507/multivariate.html/feed/ 69
Stompernet Site Seer – Ripped Apart http://andybeard.eu/1362/stompernet-site-seer.html http://andybeard.eu/1362/stompernet-site-seer.html#comments Sun, 18 May 2008 19:52:21 +0000 http://andybeard.eu/2008/05/stompernet-site-seer.html Stomper Site Seer is totally free, other than requiring registration. Is it worth handing over your email address?

Comparisons are bound to be made with the many free tools available from SEOmoz and SEObook, some of which are purely online services, and others are browser plugins. Many of the SEOmoz tools also require registration, and some are under the hood of their paid membership, especially tools which provide long term analysis of both your own site, and that of competitors.

Tags: , , , , , ,

The post Stompernet Site Seer – Ripped Apart appeared first on Marketing Strategy Geek - Andy Beard.

]]>
Stomper Site Seer is totally free, other than requiring registration. Is it worth handing over your email address?

Comparisons are bound to be made with the many free tools available from SEOmoz and SEObook, some of which are purely online services, and others are browser plugins. Many of the SEOmoz tools also require registration, and some are under the hood of their paid membership, especially tools which provide long term analysis of both your own site, and that of competitors.

How Far Will Stompernet Move The Free Line with Stomper Site Seer?

Brad Fallon and Andy Jenkins are among the most astute marketers I have ever come into contact with. They want your email address, they are going to use it for marketing their products and select partners, and they are going to a lot of effort to get you to give them permission to do so.

My hope is that they will continue development of Site Seer to make it more useful, and thus retain as many referrals as possible. I am a Stompernet affiliate, by referring my readers to them I want them to provide incredible value even in their free material.

So far Stompernet Site Seer shows promise, but is certainly not without its flaws

So on with this review…

White on Green

The reports are quite small white text on a green background. Whilst my eyes aren’t perfect, I have never needed glasses, but I found the current design hard to scan & tiring on the eyes.
The easy solution was to switch off CSS using the web developer toolbar.

With or without the CSS I found it hard to determine what each section was really about.

One Page

When you setup a report, you provide a domain, plus a number of keywords.

My home page isn’t really intended to rank for anything highly competitive, in fact this whole blog ranks well in both the main Google search results and blog search whilst doing almost every factor other than page titles totally wrong.

Just an immediate example are current results for Site Seer.

Site Seer Google Search results

Site Seer in Google Blog Search

I gain quality links on a regular basis, and ensure juice flows to the parts of my site that need it, but so far I am not optimizing this site extensively in a traditional manner.

Thus I provided just a few keywords, and expected Site Seer to do the following:-

  • Scrape each search engine for current rankings for each keyword
  • Scrape top ranking pages for each keyword
  • Compare various on page and off page factors of my pages compared to competitors
  • Monitor various ranking factors of my site over time, and that of my competitors

Unfortunately Stompernet Site Seer isn’t currently as sophisticated as I had hoped. When I entered andybeard.eu as my domain, and a few keywords, my home page was analysed based upon purely my home page.

Presence On Various Sites

The first section of site analysis are various links to perform site searches. Fairly basic stuff. As well as various search engines, there are also links for various other useful sites such as PRWeb and Ezine Articles.

There is actually a bug in some of these links. WWW is being prepended on any domain, thus whilst search engines can cope with that to a greater or lesser degree, it doesn’t work at all for PRWeb and EzineArticles if you decided to make your canonical URLs without www.
It is actually interesting that for some reason Google is no longer treating www.andybeard.eu and andybeard.eu the same for site searches. The site:www.andybeard.eu command comes up with no results. This might be a by product of them switching site searches to use Google custom search, but I had though that was only when you use Adsense for search.

This section also has 8 free videos – I must admit I haven’t watched them all yet.

On Page SEO Analysis

The first section is a site analysis using Google’s Adword’s API

This is an interesting and sometimes surprising report for many site owners. We analyze your page through the Google API and determine what “topics / silos” Google thinks your site is about.

The results from the API are effectively the same as can be obtained manually using the Google Adwords External Keyword Tool

It is actually very useful, for landing page keyword research, as you can see in this video from Ryan Deiss a couple of months ago.


Google Sneak attack

How valuable is this for SEO?

The important thing to remember is this is not really related to siloing. The Adwords tool gives you keywords related to the page, or if you so instruct, also including related words to the pages linked from a page.
It is more useful in competitive analysis – this information will allow you to quickly spot which keyword terms they are aiming for, and which ones they should be aiming for

If you want to be really sneaky, and they have an affiliate program which you can track at keyword level, try joining their affiliate program and throw some traffic at various landing pages on your competitors site to test various keywords they are using before you even build your own.

Unfortunately what this doesn’t really do is give you “topics / silos Google thinks your site is about

Why?

First of all, for on page it is only dealing with a single page, or at best a page, plus pages linked from that page – that doesn’t cover your whole site. When I point Site Seer at my home page, it doesn’t come back to say my site is about lifestreaming, blog widgets, Mybloglog, Blogcatalog etc, but most of my readers are aware that I cover those topics, and it is more than the occasional mention.

This might be due to bugs currently in the Adwords keyword tool. On Friday night / Saturday morning there was an Adwords tool update of some kind. The results from Site Seer that I obtained were quite strange…

Leather Belts

Those are the top level groupings, with other keywords displayed as…

Site Seer Adwords Results

Secondly, the tool cannot take into consideration topical authority based on external SEO factors - whilst you can claim your content to be on a certain topic, for Google it is important to take into account the “status” your site holds within both your area of topical authority, and references from sites of high authority of more general importance.

Thirdly, there is internal linking – this can add as much or more weight to a page than links from external sources, especially for pages that tend to be more sales related, and less likely to generate natural linkage. On product specific promotions within the internet marketing niche, I can rank highly without any SEO effort – no link building required, because of built up authority, and the power of internal linking. Sometimes I even get quite notable links for which I am very greatful for, though because of the short term nature of many promotions, the link equity is more useful for future promotions.

Lastly, the Google Adwords API will return results for a page even if it hasn’t been indexed. To prove this point I grabbed the start of this article, pasted it into an HTML page, even without any meta data, and pointed the Adwords Keyword tool at the page – it returned tons of related, albeit generic keywords.
It didn’t return product specific terms such as Stompernet. Want to see for yourself? Here is the page (nofollowed)

Thus whilst I am sure the Stompernet guys are aware of this, after all people using PPC can get great quality scores on totally new domains which haven’t even been indexed, the description is a little ambiguous.

Meta Analysis

I have nothing really to object to regarding the meta tag analysis – they provide a good deal of instructional information.
They did forget to mention blocking DMOZ descriptions

I am currently a little bit of a maverick regarding meta descriptions. I have used them on this site in the past, but there is a major problem. Some of my more popular posts have so many trackbacks on the permalinks, that invariably even when I used a unique meta description, Google in its wisdom used part of a trackback. They did that even when half the trackback was in Chinese. The reason is that trackbacks often have the title of the link to post in them. Thus at the end of each page is always a fairly high occurrence of whatever I included as the title of my article, and Google seem to pick that content up no matter what I do to try to correct it.

Stomper Analysis of your Meta Keywords
# Your site has no description. Indicated to have one!
# You have included too many Meta Keywords
This page has 107 meta keywords.
# Your Meta Description is too short.
It is 0 characters, it is suggested to expand it to at least 150 characters.

Stomper Analysis of your Meta Keywords Continued…
Meta Keywords: Of the keywords that you entered, here is a list of what is included / missing:

1. wordpress seo INCLUDED in meta keywords.
2. niche marketing NOT INCLUDED
3. linking structure NOT INCLUDED
4. pagerank update NOT INCLUDED
5. seo siloing NOT INCLUDED

I am obviously a failure… but other than the niche marketing keyword the pages ranking for the terms generally have the term in the meta keywords. It is just they have applied my home page to all.

Currently I just have a load of tags being added automatically depending on what is on my front page. As and when I switch to a more formal front page, I will probably change that and keep it to core categories.

Headings Analysis & Image Alt Text

They spot what h1 h2 and h3 headings you use, and which images are missing alt text. It seems to work.

Sitemaps

Apparently they check to see if you have a sitemap. Here is my sitemap which they found. The observant among you will notice from the headers being sent that that page returns a 404 not found.

This feature currently gets a 0/5 as it is clearly broken.

The Off-page Value Report

This is mainly quite basic stuff, pulling numbers from Google and Yahoo site explorer. Of note is that my number of indexed pages has been jumping around quite a bit in recent days, maybe they are picking up more tag pages again.

Yahoo seem to be reporting a lot more backlinks than they have in the past.

The tool found me in DMOZ, not in Yahoo (no I am not paying $300 for a link I don’t need from a dubious reviewer) and Alexa well bleh…

Social Media

The social media results rely on APIs, and it is possible they haven’t included error checking

No returns from Technorati or Delicious – this is most clearly a blog and I do have a reasonable listing in Technorati, and a few people have bookmarked various pages on Delicious.

Note: if you fancy bookmarking a few of my posts, this one on WordPress SEO is worthwhile, and people are still making these linking gotchas, and linking mistakes.

Keywords

The keyword analysis is of course quite telling. I rank for all kinds of things that people are not searching for, including the keywords I entered into Stompernet Site Seer.

SEO Myths

The reports finish off with 10 common SEO myths which many will find valuable, though they weren’t presented very clearly

Stomper Site Seer – Long Term Potential

When one of my competitors jumps ahead of me in the SERPs, wouldn’t it be great to know it was because of a number of new links they received, or because they changed something in their site structure.

I don’t want this on just one page, I want it on multiple pages, though a few good landing pages to start

How feasible this level of monitoring is in practice is another thing

  • On page not too hard
  • Position in the SERPs again not too hard
  • Incoming links – very hard to do with any reliability
  • Internal linking structure – possibly hard depending on site – every time I use the SEO tag more than 100 internal links change.

The guys at Stompernet have the financial resources and the geeks to do this kind of thing, and probably the desire as well. Whether they will give the full thing away is another matter, but even a cut down version would be nice.

I don’t want to spend time micromanaging stats, even though I am a stats junkie – Google only seem to tell you what they want you to know.

Summing Up Stompernet Site Seer

  • It provides some very easy “lazy statistics”
  • It can currently be used for 5 websites… or pages – it can already be used to keep tabs on competitors
  • You gain access to 23 new instructional videos explaining every step of the site evaluation
  • The Stompernet faculty is made up of people I consider as mentors – these guys are good – whilst you should always look for alternative point of view, they know what they are doing.
  • It is 100% free of charge

My personal opinion is it is well worth signing up. Just being on the email list and experiencing product launches is a huge learning experience.

I have been enjoying looking at my referral stats at this end, even though they are a little disappointing. One reason I like promoting Stompernet are the affiliate tools, totally custom made.

Tags: , , , , , ,

The post Stompernet Site Seer – Ripped Apart appeared first on Marketing Strategy Geek - Andy Beard.

]]>
http://andybeard.eu/1362/stompernet-site-seer.html/feed/ 26
Alexa Rating Changes? http://andybeard.eu/1300/alexa-changes.html http://andybeard.eu/1300/alexa-changes.html#comments Thu, 27 Mar 2008 17:28:42 +0000 http://andybeard.eu/2008/03/alexa-changes.html For the last few months I have noticed a fairly substantial decline in my Alexa rating despite an upturn in traffic after the Christmas holidays. The traffic hasn’t been as high as during the PageRank updates in October 2007, but certainly higher than the average for most of last year, even factoring in some downturn in Stumbleupon traffic.

Tags: , ,

The post Alexa Rating Changes? appeared first on Marketing Strategy Geek - Andy Beard.

]]>
For the last few months I have noticed a fairly substantial decline in my Alexa rating despite an upturn in traffic after the Christmas holidays. The traffic hasn’t been as high as during the PageRank updates in October 2007, but certainly higher than the average for most of last year, even factoring in some downturn in Stumbleupon traffic.

Quantcast provide real data because I am Quantified with their code embedded in every page

We can compare that data with Alexa

Alexa Daily Reach

I have also had some incompatibility problems with a few users of Internet Explorer with some of the Javascript widgets, though the errors that seemed to be causing the problems have now been fixed.

However the problem doesn’t manifest just on this blog, it seems to be fairly universal on blogs in the same or similar niches, and as far as I am aware, none of these blogs have had a significant decline in real traffic.

Here are the stats for the following blogs:-

Problogger
Shoemoney
John Chow
DoshDosh
Daily Blog Tips

Alexa Reach

Alexa Rank

I took these screenshots a couple of weeks ago, though there doesn’t seem to be any significant change within the last 2 weeks..

The trend seems to be downward for all these sites, though as I have already started, I don’t believe any of them have a real decline in traffic.

So what could cause this?

I initially thought that it might be due to problems with the Search Status plugin for firefox, or the way Alexa support 3rd party Applications but the developers stated they hadn’t noticed any problems. It is true that occasionally I have problems with Alexa data displaying in Search Status, but currently I attribute this to a possible timeout of my poor internet connection (yeah it is still bad)
Does anyone else get a grey bar for Alexa a lot of the time?

It could also be some kind of manual adjustment, either for specific niches, or for data that comes from 3rd party applicaions which are predominantly used by webmasters. This would make a lot of sense because it is widely known that Alexa scores for various online marketing sites are much higher than their real traffic figures, and Firefox is generally popular among web developers.

Has anyone been monitoring similar data in other niches and noticed what may be a modification of the data? Examples of quantified sites would be very welcome to compare, especially if there are other sites in the same niche that are also quantified.

Oh and please, I am just going to flag as spam any comment questioning whether Alexa data has any value, and that might cause all previous comments to also be removed. Spam Karma has a great roll-back feature.

Did you notice that Alexa are again reporting reach using “millions” in the first Alexa screenshot?

Tags: , ,

The post Alexa Rating Changes? appeared first on Marketing Strategy Geek - Andy Beard.

]]>
http://andybeard.eu/1300/alexa-changes.html/feed/ 34
Exclusive Content For Membership Sites and Agencies http://andybeard.eu/1170/exclusive-content-for-membership-sites-and-agencies.html http://andybeard.eu/1170/exclusive-content-for-membership-sites-and-agencies.html#comments Wed, 23 Jan 2008 13:30:47 +0000 http://andybeard.eu/2008/01/exclusive-content-for-membership-sites-and-agencies.html At the end of last year Donna wrote “Some Days I Wish This Blog Were Private So I Could Share More” giving some vague but interesting hints as to how certain links can give a site a boost, and how the benefit of those links decreases if they are removed at a later date.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The post Exclusive Content For Membership Sites and Agencies appeared first on Marketing Strategy Geek - Andy Beard.

]]>
At the end of last year Donna wrote “Some Days I Wish This Blog Were Private So I Could Share More” giving some vague but interesting hints as to how certain links can give a site a boost, and how the benefit of those links decreases if they are removed at a later date.

This was especially significant for me at the time, because I was struggling with a problem which I couldn’t solve.

A few days later 5ubliminal posted, “If I Told You… I’d Have To Kill You” – a simlar idea, again specific to SEO techniques but with a few hints to how you can work out what others are up to… without them telling you.

My End Of year Problem

Lots of sites were publishing their year end stats, showing which were their most popular posts for the year, traffic numbers etc, and many of them were missing one, and in many cases many important statistics that can be used to determine the success of a particular post.

I didn’t post a yearly roundup – it would have been a lie

I know which are my most successful posts based upon various metrics, and the metrics I use are in many cases different to the metrics other people use, and I can use them for competitive intelligence

I wasn’t prepared to write a post highlighting my most popular posts for the year, or the ones I wanted to highlight, if I couldn’t be 100% honest about my methods.

Scribd

The changes Scribd made after the revealing Stompernet videos were really the straw that broke the camel’s back. If you release information without a great deal of restraint on how that information should be used, it can cause problems, and sometimes various tactics and methods stop working, or are prevented from working.

Release The Information In Private?

This is one option I have considered – it would be easy to set up a membership site, or use a report such as this just for list building, or even give it to a number of membership sites I am a member of as a bonus, but that introduces secondary problems.

I am not a programmer

I have worked with programming teams for years, but I can only tinker with code these days. If I released the information to just a few hundred, or possibly a few thousand, there would be 2 very specific problems.

  • Only about 10% of the people receiving the information would be able to do anything useful with it – this stuff is a little bit technical, and even once I have all my data together it takes time playing around in excel to really benefit from it, and realise the significance.
  • My limited use of these methods flies under the radar – if you have a few 100, or 1000 people mining the same data, it would throw up a huge red flag, quite needlessly, as many would be looking for data on exactly the same websites.

If I make the information available, the ideal solution would be

  • A 20 page report
  • A viable proxy based extraction and storage system for compiling data
  • Various tools, possibly in Excel, to make manipulating the data relatively easy for less technical folk

Oh, Andy Is Going To Sell An Ebook?

Ebooks work for newbie stuff and basic training, or techniques that get hyped but are not necessarily for your average users (even if they are effective)

This isn’t something I want to hype about, and it certainly isn’t basic training

The financial model just wouldn’t cover the development costs

I could also include it in a membership site of my own, but it isn’t something that would stand on its own, I need a lot more time to get together complimentary materials.

With the new year people are planning their course of action for 2008, and this would prove a benefit for their content planning strategy.

Content For Your Membership Site or Agency

Do you remember the days before the junk peddlers of private label rights and bundled master resale rights products when content really had value?

These days the people who create exceptional content only provide it via higher end membership sites, and most, but not all of the ebooks are beginners guides – they can still be good value, but that isn’t the kind of content I want to create.

Over the last year writing this blog I have received a number of proposals of various kinds from membership site owners looking for specialist content, which is why I am considering a slight return to the old ways of providing content to a limited number of partners for a fee that is just a “drop in the ocean” compared to the fees members pay for access to great content, and certainly much better value than retaining me on a permanent basis.

Price – contact me by email for details – I expect to spend up to $5000 on development of the scripts and tools, though depending on the way they are designed, I might also have to provide hosting. I would much prefer to have a comfortable budget for development than to be scraping the barrel.
On top of that I will also be offering support if you provide me access to your member area – there is certainly some 2-way benefit

Initially I am not going to set a specific limit on numbers, but ideally I would like to have the report and tools made available to between 10 and 20 membership sites or agencies

I am including search marketing agencies, because they often have lots of people working with clients with whom they want to share tools and reports. Hopefully a few of the more popular SEO membership sites will pick this up anyway, so small agencies can benefit from their existing memberships, but for larger corporations it would probably be best to purchase your own license.

For further details and possibly a few examples those who have my email can just email me, or you can just use my contact form

I am going to be selective about where this information and tools will be made available

To finish, just one example:-

Which one post was my most successful in 2007? This isn’t 100% accurate because like with all statistical measures there can be extenuating circumstances that mess with the data, and using this method there are frequent occurances within the top10, in much the same way a front page Digg can make a blog seem more popular than it really is.

The Tale of Little Linkalot and Some Blogging Thoughts where I actually linked through to another one of Donna’s posts, “The Tale of Little Linkalot

If you can work out why I regard that (based on this method) as my most successful post, a “cornerstone” or in some ways “tipping point”, bully for you, but don’t go spreading it around too much ;)
Even if you can work it out, you are going to appreciate a 20 page report on how to use this method to share with your members or clients, and the tools to go with it.

I could have just written a short blog post with my top 50 stories of 2007, provided details for compiling the data, and a very rough excel spreadsheet and a few charts, but it would not be very usable for the majority of non-programming geeks, and the method would be burned or limited within a few hours or days.

Why burn a great method just for a few links?

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The post Exclusive Content For Membership Sites and Agencies appeared first on Marketing Strategy Geek - Andy Beard.

]]>
http://andybeard.eu/1170/exclusive-content-for-membership-sites-and-agencies.html/feed/ 11
OpenAds – $15.5M Funding Series B and Hosted Advertising Management http://andybeard.eu/1167/openads-hosted.html http://andybeard.eu/1167/openads-hosted.html#comments Thu, 17 Jan 2008 09:54:09 +0000 http://andybeard.eu/2008/01/openads-hosted.html Openads - the web's largest ad-space communityOpenAds, formerly phpAdsNew is an Open Source advertising management script, or at least it was. For a good overview I recommend Tims excellent introduction to OpenAds.

But that has changed somewhat overnight

Tags: , , , ,

The post OpenAds – $15.5M Funding Series B and Hosted Advertising Management appeared first on Marketing Strategy Geek - Andy Beard.

]]>
Openads - the web's largest ad-space communityOpenAds, formerly phpAdsNew is an Open Source advertising management script, or at least it was. For a good overview I recommend Tims excellent introduction to OpenAds.

But that has changed somewhat overnight

OpenAds are adding a free hosted version of their sofware, though it is currently in closed beta.

Even with the improvements they made with version 2.4, and certainly those changes were critical for this move to make it more resource efficient, they are going to need some hefty infrastructure in place to serve all the ad units for multiple sites.
So that is one area the new series b funding by new investor Accel Partners will be used.

The big questions are who they are going to decide to go up against, and how are they going to generate revenue?

OpenAds Competitors

Potential Adserver competitors on the upscale side include:-

24/7 Real Media Open AdStream
Advertising.com ACE Serve
Engage AdManager
ValueClick MOJO Publisher
DART (DFP)
Atlas
Google

But at the same time they could also be looking to compete with or effectively wipe out the lower end market

Hitsconnect
Hypertracker
Adminder

AdSense Detective (monthly fee)
AdSense Gold (one time fee)
AdSense Tracker (one time fee)
asRep

It is really a question of who they decide they want to compete against

Google have the potential to offer a definitive solution that could be looked on as conclusive proof for protecting your Adsense account, and combining Analytics and Adsense with Doubleclick would have many advantages, though that level of advertising integration would be scary.

The low end market is pretty much underserved, the majority of bloggers and web publishers do not use any advertising management solution, and a great number probably don’t use tracking either.

A hosted solution is ideal because it lowers the barrier for entry – you could use the code on any platform without server knowledge, even for bloggers using blogspot.

How Would They Earn Money?

  • Advertising other affiliate programs
  • 2 Tier affiliate programs
  • Middleman for CPM based advertising and affiliate JVs
  • Become their own affiliate network
  • Additional payments for “pro” features

They won’t be able to make any money from Adsense referrals as I believe OpenAds is UK based, though it is always possible to change commercial location.

Scott from OpenAds says in the comments on the blog

Openads will always be GPL, and a download version will always be available. The hosted version is a simpler way for publishers to get up and running without the hassle of installing, configuring, maintaining, etc.

- The hosted version of Openads is free (and of course the downloadable version). In the future, we may offer commercial services to users of either version of openads (downloadable or hosted) if they want additional support.

- We will try to release new features to both the downloadable and hosted versions at the same time.

Like James mentioned above, this is a major step that we are undertaking, and we are very excited about future prospects for Openads. I know that our team has been very focused on this project, and they have been doing a tremendous job so far.

We look forward to offering this huge new offering to more and more people as our beta rollout progresses.

Tags: , , , ,

The post OpenAds – $15.5M Funding Series B and Hosted Advertising Management appeared first on Marketing Strategy Geek - Andy Beard.

]]>
http://andybeard.eu/1167/openads-hosted.html/feed/ 4
IzeaRanks & RealRank – How Many Lies Can You Tell Your Advertisers? http://andybeard.eu/1152/izearanks-realrank.html http://andybeard.eu/1152/izearanks-realrank.html#comments Thu, 10 Jan 2008 18:38:27 +0000 http://andybeard.eu/2008/01/izearanks-realrank.html Lets face it, bloggers love stats and rankings, even if they are based upon meaningless data. For some it is an ego thing, or just a measure of their own worth or progress to achieve whatever goals they have set for themselves, and for others it is monetary. If you want to sell advertising on your blog other than PPC or CPM based, you need to have some kind of carrot to wave at advertisers to encourage them to part with their advertising dollars.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The post IzeaRanks & RealRank – How Many Lies Can You Tell Your Advertisers? appeared first on Marketing Strategy Geek - Andy Beard.

]]>
Lets face it, bloggers love stats and rankings, even if they are based upon meaningless data. For some it is an ego thing, or just a measure of their own worth or progress to achieve whatever goals they have set for themselves, and for others it is monetary. If you want to sell advertising on your blog other than PPC or CPM based, you need to have some kind of carrot to wave at advertisers to encourage them to part with their advertising dollars.

Adage Power 150

Over the last few days for instance I noticed that Advertising Age have rejigged their Adage Power150 which I previously discussed a few months ago. It is great to see that Google PageRank has a lot less importance, and the inclusion of Yahoo link data, but there is an over reliance on Technorati.

Technorati is easily gamed, because they count links from the sidebar and footer, which can easily be encouraged by creating widgets and WordPress Themes. They do try to clean up their own Top 100 list, manually removing blogs that seem to have an overbearing number of links from viral content.
There are also some aspects of how a theme is designed that have a huge affect on how many links Technorati claim from a single blog, or the number of blogs that Technorati think are at a single domain.
Technorati currently accounts for 70 of the possible 150 total points a blog can receive, and the top ranking blogs can gain close to a full quota, unlike PageRank for which only 6 or 7 points can reasonably be attained.

Adage Power 150 changes

You will notice that a lot of the Yahoo references show zero – values returned from an API need to be cached and discounted if they are zero, or return a number that is a significant change. I have seen Yahoo numbers drop from 30K links down to less than 9K, only for them to rebound.
It should also be noted that Yahoo also give credit for nofollow links from places like Delicious, Stumbleupon, and even blog comments. Not all links are created equal.

There is a bonus with the changes – I have gone from around 30 on the list to 17 or 18, and Adage is a low but consistent traffic source and has certainly extended my reach with new subscribers.

Top 100 Make Money Blogs

Another list that sends traffic daily is Mark’s, but again it suffers from a number of anomalies.

Top 100 Make Money Blogs

First of all PageRank plays a visible factor, or I am sure Yaro would be placed a few points higher, he used to be a PR6, and whilst it might not affect position so much, I have highlighed the other sites that currently have a penalty.

There also seems to be a problem with the Technorati rating on a number of blogs being much lower than it should be. I am not sure if this is a canonical domain problem, or some kind of new factor being applied to specific domains for data accessed by API.

Niches

Many niches don’t link out as much as meta blogging and technology blogs, and those in related niches such as venture capital.

As an example regular reader Lucia also has a knitting blog – I know that at times she gets 3 or 4 times as much traffic as me, even without social media influence.

PR3 (I remember it being a 4?), Technorati rank 44,000 (141 blog reactions), Alexa around 200K

The current statistical measures people use just don’t relate to the vast majority of bloggers.

Existing Stats Are Not Accurate?

Alexa is based upon toolbar usage – though their own toolbar isn’t very useful for many people, webmasters in the meta blogging niche can recommend the highly useful Search Status toolbar for Firefox that feeds Alexa with the same data.

Compete used to suffer from poor uptake of their Firefox toolbar because of problems with Firefox, but when Compete was added to the Search Status toolbar, again meta blogging and SEO blogs saw a boost.

With Technorati being used as a factor in so many monetization services, various methods have been used to boost links from other bloggers. Whilst they might get manually edited out of the top100 blogs on Technorati (and I have written how to avoid this several months ago), their numbers still get reported through the API though there is no guarantee that will last forever.

What would top bloggers do if the API for Technorati starts to report zero for anyone that Technorati feel is gaming the system?

Quantcast

Quantcast is accurate, but only if you include their tracking code on your blog and get “Quantified

If you don’t, you end up claiming they are inaccurate in your end of year stats ;) – sorry Rand, I couldn’t resist that one.

If you compare our data and the SELand data to what Compete, Quantcast or Alexa are reporting, you can see how tragically inaccurate those services are. Sadly, that’s no anomally. Everytime I get access to a client’s visit data, I’m always curious to check the three and have not once found accuracy, even on a relative basis. Third party traffic metrics still have a very, very long way to go.

Just to give you an idea of what happens if you don’t add tracking code to get quantified, here is a comparison between this domain and DoshDosh, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land & SEOmoz.

note:the Quantcast images will display much clearer in a feed reader, they are limited on display width on the blog and forced to a smaller size

Search Engine Land traffic is directly measured, as is my own, the other sites are just a panel estimate. As SEL effectively makes the others almost invisible, lets replace SEL with Marketing Pilgrim

You can see some clear traffic spikes in the panel estimates, probably due to click traffic from other sites which have Quantcast code embedded such as Digg

In fact of the major social news and bookmarking sites, only Digg and Propeller are Quantified.

Why IzeaRanks IS Needed, But Might Be Rejected

When you create a page on a blog to help you sell your advertising inventory, how can an advertiser trust the traffic figures you give them, and why should they have to research whether you in some way gamed the statistics?

If you are a large publisher and it is a significant advertiser, you might be willing to give them access to some real statistics, such as Google Analytics through shared access, or your advertising administration system might provide reasonable stats to advertisers. As an example B5Media use Valueclick – I would hope Valueclick have some tools to provide statistics that can be verified before an advertiser makes a purchase.

Certainly Problogger isn’t listed as Quantified

For smaller publishers it would be possible for them to use existing services like Quantcast, but they don’t, because using Quantcast isn’t being encouraged by the people that count… the monetization services and advertisers.

For all the negative publicity Izea has had due to their PayPerPost service, one thing remains clear – they are an advertising company looking to help bloggers make money. They are not a competitor.

I would be more worried if I was placing tracking code on my blog if Izea in some way were a competitor creating content, such as Performancing with their Metrics service, which Izea themselves almost purchased though then it was a different animal, and not just a branded version of an existing tracking service.

I am a firm believer in not making things too easy for competitors, well with this blog I don’t care so much, but certainly for niche sites. I don’t worry too much about monetization services gaining stats, and I never looked on MyBlogLog having access being a problem. I am not sure if Blogcatalog are collecting anything, but again, they are not exactly running a blog network.

Izearanks

The IzeaRanks interface is honestly pretty basic compared to what is offered by Quantcast as far as raw traffic stats, and you are certainly missing all the segmentation data (though I am not sure how reliable that is).

Izea’s “RealRank” is based upon the following factors (from their announcement)

  • 70% weighted towards visitors per day
  • 20% weighted towards amount of ACTIVE inbound links per day
  • 10% weighted towards pageviews per day

I am not sure whether Izea have come up with a way to have only “Real” pageviews and visitors counted, as many stats packages have problems with the pre-fetching of pages from Stumbleupon causing massive errors.

The active inbound links is an interesting statistic. Links that deliver real traffic. It is relatively easy to build up links and gain PageRank from obscure sites, or to game rankings with themes and widgets, but those links rarely get clicked on by visitors. Even blogrolls are pretty much ignored by visitors unless you have an unfair advantage of your sitename starting with the letter A ;)

Many people state that the value of RealRank will be based upon how many bloggers use it. That is partially true, but the real traffic and unique visitor values will be valuable to advertisers even if just one blogger signed up for the service.

I am disappointed that Izea are not doing anything with feeds, though it is much easier to do that with WordPress blogs than blogs on Blogspot, especially with the way Google have now integrated Blogger and Feedburner. The technical skill that would be needed to feed a feed into izea and back out to Feedburner would cause countless technical support problems, and Izea have enough technical support problems with some of their other services, and no end of headaches.

There is an API, I am sure some smart people will jump on it and use it to provide something useful, though I am not sure how quickly that will happen. The usage restrictions of 5000 calls per day is generous.

It is true that Google might currently look on javascript from Izea as an indication of writing paid posts, but hopefully with Social Spark that will be cleared up. Social Spark will offer total transparency. If you are doing nothing wrong, it probably isn’t going to be a major problem even if Google clock up even more false positives for a short while. If you are doing something naughty, you are probably going to be caught anyway.

Do You Have An Advertising Sales Page?

If you have an advertising sales page on your blog, have no doubt that advertisers will start to expect the availability of real statistics, not something you quote from AWStats.
AWStats typically reports around 6x as many page views compared to javascript based tracking on my blog, and quite a few more unique visitors.

You could include Quantcast, but you might as well include IzeaRank at the same time especially if some smart people come up with a way to present the stats effectively.
I can see Paul’s point at Mashable, that Izea maybe should have concentrated on the whole of the internet, and not just the blogosphere, but you could argue that the BBC or the Washington Post should be included in the Technorati Top100 as well, because they offer RSS feeds.

In my mind the individual rating of blogs by RealRank is meaningless unless it it put into context of their topical niche, such as I could compare Mashable with Techcrunch on Quantcast and discover that neither are quantified, so the statistics are totally worthless.

I can understand why Darren doesn’t necessarily need it, or other B5 Media Blogs, but many niche bloggers do need something they can use to demonstrate their relative worth. Just a week ago a key tip from Shoemoney on Darren’s blog was about a clear advertising page.

Is there a difference between clear and transparent/honest/uncoloured ?

How much creative license should people use to sell advertising?

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The post IzeaRanks & RealRank – How Many Lies Can You Tell Your Advertisers? appeared first on Marketing Strategy Geek - Andy Beard.

]]>
http://andybeard.eu/1152/izearanks-realrank.html/feed/ 20
The Pied Piper Of PayPerPost? http://andybeard.eu/1075/pied-piper-payperpost.html http://andybeard.eu/1075/pied-piper-payperpost.html#comments Tue, 06 Nov 2007 16:14:05 +0000 http://andybeard.eu/2007/11/pied-piper-payperpost.html Pied Piper of PayPerPostOver the last year I have given a fair amount of coverage to PayPerPost, who now house the service along with other endeavours under the name Izea.

There are multiple reasons why I have supported PayPerPost and similar programs so strongly, and yet at the same time have never reviewed a link buying / selling service.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The post The Pied Piper Of PayPerPost? appeared first on Marketing Strategy Geek - Andy Beard.

]]>
Pied Piper of PayPerPostOver the last year I have given a fair amount of coverage to PayPerPost, who now house the service along with other endeavours under the name Izea.

There are multiple reasons why I have supported PayPerPost and similar programs so strongly, and yet at the same time have never reviewed a link buying / selling service.

I have mentioned link buying and selling in passing, and also a couple of WordPress plugins, but those plugins generally allow you to sell links which have a nofollow.

My emphasis both in editorial about services and in the few reviews I have myself written is to encourage the writing of quality content with editorial links. Compensation in whatever form should be based upon the time involved, expertise, and possibly the size and influence of the audience, and not based upon any SEO benefit to a site or service being reviewed.

Encouraging The Selling of PageRank?

It is my belief that I don’t advocate the selling of PageRank, especially considering how I also discourage excessive blogrolls and sitewide links. If you have links coming in for your every utterance, I suppose internal linking structure is less important to you than acknowledging sites you respect (who might also reciprocate), or possibly those you sell links to (if you do) but in general for niche marketing blogs I tend to avoid leaks in the sidebar.

Comments on Sphinn and even here in the comments recently suggest there is some kind of disconnect between how I regard paid review services, and possibly how they are regarded, used and abused by the SEO community at large, and possibly Google reacting to that attitude taken by SEOs and not that taken by the review services, or the reviewers themselves. I think it is important to point out that PayPerPost was created by a marketing company, not by an SEO or link selling company.

Rather than single out individuals for the comments they have made, I would rather answer a specific question asked here on my blog by Lisa Stewart

Hi Andy- thanks for the excellent and well thought out post and arguments FOR services like PayPerPost.

To play Gevil’s Advocate- If a site (like PPP) is offering a fee to post and the fee is based entirely on Page Rank (and sometimes Alexa traffic) then why can’t it be interpreted as paying for page rank?
A post coming from PPP on a PR3 site may cost advertiser 10.00 and the SAME post on PR5 is 50.00.

Why wouldn’t Google seeing this as gaming PR?

Now I should point out that at this time Google is interpreting this as gaming PageRank. I personally feel this is the wrong interpretation, but then my own interpretation could be extremely biased. I have been penalized by Google, even though I believe I don’t sell PageRank.

Advertiser Or Client Intent

Every potential client who has requested a review and I have considered for a review, when told that specific link text is not a possibility, and that any link I give would be for editorial purposes, has responded favourably.

It seems people are not necessarily ordering reviews for SEO purposes at all, though I do give SEO friendly links to things I highlight as part of the editorial process.

Many corporate advertisers have a different need to fulfil, that of creating a buzz about a new product and feel that blogs are an interesting avenue to explore. They will most likely get different feedback than they would from traditional reviews sites, because a reviewer whilst being a consumer, would also spend more time doing it.
In the attention age we live in, gaining feedback from consumers whilst increasingly vital, is also becoming increasingly more difficult – sure consumers might make a passing comment, but constructive feedback is less likely, unless they feel aggrieved.

Google, Microsoft, and even most startups have rank upon rank of staff members and shareholders to “get the message out” about a new product or service, but in many ways those too are paid reviews that don’t mention competing products or services.
Other large companies don’t have such an extensive and influential online presence amongst their staff and investors, thus they look to other alternatives.

  • Internal PR – the largest firms retain their own public relations specialists, often with shared ties to advertising personel – this isn’t a cheap undertaking.
  • PR Firms – expensive but have access to key influencers
  • Press releases – wider distribution costs money, though they are less effective for companies that aren’t monitored continually, and information is less likely to trickle down to niche markets – I have seen a number of popular websites hosting paid press releases
  • Focus groups – Google themselves pay $75 per hour for people to test their services, and are probably paying the person monitoring them even more – from this they gain private feedback, but I wonder how many people also write about the experience.
  • Product sample giveaways – quite frequently these do not have to be given back, so a blog owner can keep them, or give them away to readers.
  • Special events – I have attended special events by major Fortune 500 corporations launching products where many of the exhibitors (including me) had flight, room and board funded, along with display space, and the same was probably true of the press.
  • Paid reviews and buzz marketing

For some reason there is a disconnect between paying a blogger $10 to $200 for a post, and paying a staff member $100 per hour to chase a group of bloggers to write something for free, feed them with drinks, sponsor their events etc.

Social media optimization might be looked on as successful if a $5000 budget garnered 50 to 100 links, but paid reviews can garner many more links for a similar budget, and could also be used in conjunction with a social media campaign.

Paid blogging is a way of grabbing the attention of a blogger to consider looking at a product or service and sharing their experiences about it in public.

There are obviously some companies that use it specifically for SEO purposes, and some bloggers who are willing to write something purely for SEO purposes. Then again have you never heard of “SEO press releases” and “Article Marketing” where the content is provided 100% with links just to copy and paste.

I don’t think Hewlett Packard, Ford, or major movie studios really care that much about whether links count for search engines, but they probably do care if links are clicked. If you use nofollow, to a percentage of readers who see the link, the fact that you use nofollow suggests that you don’t trust the service you are writing about, the intent of nofollow.
The same is true for any redirects which suggest affiliate links and commercial tracking.

It is quite possible that 30% of my readers, and possibly more than 50% of my regular readers can see when I have used a nofollow on a link, because I encourage them to use the Search Status plugin for Firefox.

When Google and Microsoft employees start linking to their employers using nofollow, that is when I will start using nofollow on paid reviews and linking to consulting clients.

Leading People Astray

It has been suggested that my coverage of PayPerPost, Paid Reviews, and PageRank is in some way leading people astray, and thus the “Pied Piper” connotation.

My firm belief is that my readership is extremely mature and intelligent, and quite capable of making their own informed decisions.

Many do sell advertising in various ways without the nofollow attribute value, and would choose to use that advertising or not without my intervention, as they chose to use it in the first place without my input.

When half your family income comes from a few links in the sidebar on a few blogs, it is a very difficult decision to remove them just before Christmas, especially if you have long-term contracts.

If I was to denounce PayPerPost, it would have very little effect on the decision process each would make as an individual.

Alternative Metrics For Authority

There is a pay scale in many aspects of every day life, the time of different people has a different perceived value.

Advertisers, companies doing market research, and those looking for a little consulting need some way to determine a suitable pay scale.

  • Traffic metrics

    Alexa and Compete are not very relative to niches, and not enough people install Quantcast code on their site to get a real measure.

  • Technorati

    easily gamed with WordPress themes and widgets – eventually Technorati do kick sites out of the Top100 but the APis will still send high ratings. Competitions and “review my blog” have also been looked on as a good way of boosting Technorati rankings, and then we shouldn’t forget memes and link chains.
    Technorati really need to move away from counting anything in a sidebar, including blogroll links.

  • Feedburner Subscribers

    You would hope that this would be accurate, but due to the problems with default feed packages, and cross promotions of alternative reading platforms, the real number of subscribers could be anything from 30% to 90% of the number shown… and of course that doesn’t mean that people even open their feed reader.

  • Comments

    How much can your blog actually stimulate discussion on other blogs, and in your own comments. This is a measure of influence.

  • Clicks From Feeds

    Lots of people subscribe to content but don’t read it, or take action by clicking through to an article or referenced site. Feedburner do offer some tracking, but it is hard to use this as an external metric, and to get good results you have to use their tracking URLs which then reduce the numbers of links counted by other metrics such as Technorati. People make linking mistakes.

  • Social News & Bookmarking

    Most sites provide some kind of API access, thus allowing you to judge the quality of a page based upon social factors and popularity. These are also gamed to a certain extent. Stumbleupon need to provide an API. Eventually something like the Social Media for Firefox extension might be looked on as more useful than other metrics.

  • Meme Trackers

    Meme trackers try to track what is a hot story right now, such as Techmeme and Megite. The nearest thing they provide to an overall measure of influence are compilations of statistics such as the Techmeme Leaderboard. It is a very small subset of sites.

  • Custom Metrics

    Scripts such as Blogstorm can give an indication of popularity, but require server side access, and for a blog owner to care about being listed.

  • PageRank

    Proving to be too easily gamed (WordPress themes and funny redirects), and the visual representation provided in the Google toolbar is now being adjusted with manual PageRank penalties with arguably commercial considerations. It hasn’t been very meaningful for search results for some time, and now it is no longer a metric of social influence by anyone that understand these things. Unfortunately Google mislead their Google Toolbar users.

  • Misleading PageRank Description

  • Argus Is Coming

    I am excited about the potential of whatever Izea (PayPerPost) come up with for their Argus project which promised to provide a comprehensive metrics service for both bloggers and advertisers.

    I haven’t seen it, am not on the alpha test, and might not get early access to it because I am not going to be at Postiecon or Blog World Expo.

Examples Of PageRank Used For Ranking

The Google Directory
The Adage Power 150
The Top 25 Blogs About Blogging
The Top 100 Make Money Onine Blogs

The of course there is the PayPerPost Direct – it is an advertiser marketplace and PageRank is used as one of the indicators of authority or influence, but you can’t search the database based upon that field, and it is just one metric offered and soon to be removed.

It is quite possible Google just took that database of sites for its penalty list, without realising that whilst PageRank is used as an indication of authority, bloggers are free to set their own criteria in private discussion with someone requiring some kind of review service. Bloggers are quite able to specify that they will nofollow the links, or use redirects. they are also able (as I do) to insist that all links are editorial..

I know bloggers on that list who have never written a review for PayPerPost.

Techcrunch Crunchies

In closing, Techcrunch along with a number of other technology blogs will soon launch what appears to be an award ceremony for technology startups.
If there happens to be a monetization or blogging category, I know who I am going to nominate, and encourage people to vote for.
In something as serious as an award called “The Crunchies”, I am quite happy to try to influence any results.

Update

I just want to highlight why I don’t support paid links and this is the kind of review I really wish Sebastian had been paid for.

If Sebastian was giving that type of advice in private, it would probably cost someone $1000 or more… seriously, Sebastian knows his stuff, just as he demonstrated with the Blogcatalog redirect problems in the past.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The post The Pied Piper Of PayPerPost? appeared first on Marketing Strategy Geek - Andy Beard.

]]>
http://andybeard.eu/1075/pied-piper-payperpost.html/feed/ 18
Remarkable Traffic From Alexa Themselves? http://andybeard.eu/1070/remarkable-traffic-from-alexa-themselves.html http://andybeard.eu/1070/remarkable-traffic-from-alexa-themselves.html#comments Fri, 02 Nov 2007 23:06:16 +0000 http://andybeard.eu/2007/11/remarkable-traffic-from-alexa-themselves.html Many webmasters would say that Alexa data is meaningless, and that there is no benefit in gaining in Alexa rating, other than possibly from various metrics used for advertising, and “meaningless” ratings charts to brag about.

Tags: , , ,

The post Remarkable Traffic From Alexa Themselves? appeared first on Marketing Strategy Geek - Andy Beard.

]]>
Many webmasters would say that Alexa data is meaningless, and that there is no benefit in gaining in Alexa rating, other than possibly from various metrics used for advertising, and “meaningless” ratings charts to brag about.

But whilst we await an advertising metric which can’t be gamed, there is certainly one measurable benefit of having a good Alexa score, or more importantly a significant gain in Alexa rating.

Alexa Can Drive Real Qualified Traffic

But where from? The Top 10 Movers and Shakers page.

Due to the sudden influx in traffic over the last week due to the Google PageRank updates, I was shocked to see some referral traffic coming from Alexa.

Here is a screenshot for some future bragroll or for use as “social proof”.

Alexa Movers & Shakers

Here is my traffic spike that demonstrates that 390% increase in traffic as measured by Alexa.

Alexa Traffic Spike

Alexa Accuracy

Here is the amazing part of all this, though obviously the traffic interested in my PageRank articles is probably similar in nature to my normal traffic (using the Search Status plugin for Firefox)

390% Increase Is Fairly Accurate

The peak traffic on 24th October represented 4,093 unique visitors (24hr tracked by MBL) and 6,901 page views. Awstats shows 7674 visits and 66630 page views – the first figure is a lot more accurate.

Traffic actually has grown fairly slowly since February or March whichever metric I use, other than the one that probably counts the most, subscribers.

Feedburner Subscribers

You will notice that that subscriber growth doesn’t contain any significant spikes. The growth isn’t based upon massive social media traffic such as a front page Digg as this blog has never appeared there, and probably never will.

I will have some more stats about the “PageRank Blogstorm” in due course.

So How Much Traffic Can You Gain From Alexa?

Note I am at the bottom of the list, so the traffic I will receive is much lower than those further up.

So far since I appeared on the list yesterday I have received 110 visitors, and those visitors know what the site is about which they are clicking on. Targeted Visitors

If that listing remains for a week (I don’t know how long they normally last), then I might gain 300+ visitors.

300 visitors might not seem like a lot, in the past I have managed to send 400 to someone’s blog, but in the general scale of things in this niche it isn’t bad for a single source of targeted traffic (discounting social sites), though temporary.

Tags: , , ,

The post Remarkable Traffic From Alexa Themselves? appeared first on Marketing Strategy Geek - Andy Beard.

]]>
http://andybeard.eu/1070/remarkable-traffic-from-alexa-themselves.html/feed/ 16