Sunday, October 28, 2007

CoHosted Links Discounted by Google - Truth or Myth

Following up on my question as to whether google discounts links from sites that are hosted together, I've found a new release that suggests other people seem to feel the same way....(and I quote / paraphrase)

June 28, 2007 - SEO Hosting, a division of Host Gator web hosting, announced today .... a new service enables customers to optimize their web sites for search engines by hosting on multiple C classes.

The new service stemmed from customers regularly asking Host Gator for multiple C Class capabilities because of their belief that search engines will penalize sites that have the same C class and are linking to each other. With multiple C Class capabilities, customers no longer have to work with different hosting providers to overcome this problem and can consolidate all their sites on SEO Hosting.

Does this matter at my small size? For instance, I have four generators of links hosted at the same place:
Todays Learners
Parent Homeschooling Forum
Learning Games

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Jim Boykin - Is Google Googling me?

Jim Boykin,

We spoke a few years ago and it started me thinking a certain way and building my site and links a certain way. It's worked well for me (I run a small online educational business). I've collected a few old domains from others, nurtured my own, and advertised/promoted without while staying under the radar. I've a question.

As background, we know that Google discounts the value of links from related sites. Well, to be more precise, they probably discount the value of large numbers of links from related sites. Google figures that two sites that share an IP address are probably related. So they would discount those links.

Do you think Mr. Google also considers the following as indicating that sites are related and so they are discounting the value of the links?

a Registered to the same person.
b Registered to people at the same address (physical or email).
c Sharing the same webmaster account
d Sharing the same adwords account
e Sharing the same adsense account
f From blogs that are part of the same google account.
g From blogs, adsense, adwords, and websites that share a common google account?

In short, how much research or googling is Mr. Google doing to value or discount links along these lines?

PS - Jim, I'm a big user and fan of your free tools. Especially the cool tool. Thanks.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Test Preparation - Advertising

Test preparation -would advertisements for preparing for tests be of higher value than advertisements for just generally building vocabulary skills?

At, we are engaged in a great google-adsense experiment. We're trying to find how we can adjust our page so that ads of more value per click appear.

We've been stuck in the $.09 basement for awhile with adsense touting vocabulary games, vocabulary activities, and free word games. By changing the title and building a few incoming links with words like test preparation or SAT preparation, will the ads change?

It seems to be that preparation for the standardized high stake tests merits maybe $.12 clicks which would be a 30% increase in revenue (which we would like :->)!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Online Marketing & SEO Consultants

I am a small company trying to build a good profitable stable niche. When I started, I need nothing about online marketing and couldn't have told you what PPC or SEO stood for. I was in a hurry so I used consultants to get educated. It was clearly not the only way. I could (probably should) have gone to the "boot camps" for a few days of intensive online marketing training that are often offered around the seo and other conferences.

I started with a consultant who ran some marketing tests on ppc on yahoo and google. I learned the basics of how it worked and spent some money running tests on moving traffic around. I found that there was alot of traffic and concluded (along with some other research) that I should launch.

After I'd been in business for half a year, I hired Ten Golden Rules (Jay Berkowitz and Maria et al) to help me improve my online marketing. They were good in that they had the capability inhouse to work on several types of project so we refined and rebuilt my sales funnel, created a new template for my webpages, and created ten pages designed for SEO purposes. I learned alot from working with them, paid them promptly, and asked them more questions that they could answer. It was a six month project.

I've used consultants intermittently since then. I had the "copy surgeon" work on some copy for me at one point. I had Ken help with some projects (get a domain transfered over to me) and I've worked with Juliana of Infineight Web Design intermittently for four years now.

I use lots of outside writers to help generate articles, web pages, or newsletters. I tend more towards people with real subject matter expertise (reading skills, homeschooling, math, educational curriculum etc) rather than marketing people.

I recently used the Hits Doctor to update my Google PPC campaign recently. He found that it was hard to improve on the performance since it was very well-tuned already but he did add Yahoo & MSN. Most importantly, he took a fresh look at the sales funnel and got us back to working on how to refine it.

Overall, the consulting firms are a little too pricy for me. I am basically a marketing firm living on a tight margin so we need to cost-effectively do our marketing.

For instance, adding a $1500 monthly marketing management fee on to a $4000 a month PPC budget means moving our cost per customer from $36 to $50. It would make sense if they could do alot more than we could but instead, I spent the money on some training sessions for our staff inhouse and now, on a much more cost effective basis, we're up and running.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Wikis and educational wikis and spelling wikis

We have been looking at some of the technologies and so I have joined some educational wikis. They're interesting in that they seem to be alot like forums in terms of building a community but they're different too.

The difference is that in addition to threaded discussions, there's an ability to collaborate and create a nice set of documents. Other than that, with the threads and profiles, it's a very similiar collaborative tool.

Has anyone created an spelling wiki? More specifically, a wiki on teaching spelling? I think that would be an interesting approach to encouraging collaboration on I start by creating a spelling course which we encourage everyone to give input to.

But, - if it ever becomes operational - is joomla based. Is there a joomla wiki technology?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Alternative Spellings & SEO

I wrote once before about using "typos" to pull traffic. I think I called the article typos and SEO and dealt with the fact that I could pull almost as much traffic by spelling kindergarden incorrectly as kindergarten correctly.

I will now admit to a pair of out of control hobbies: blogging and karate. In fact, I've brought the two together in site on my experiences at the Lavallee Karate dojo in Ft Lauderdale.

In doing so, I've been struggling how best to help people find it and I found that I was the only site listed if they googled "bugo kumatae", which is our term for our sparring. Unfortunately, it turns out that one of the reasons that my site showed up first was that I was spelling it incorrectly.

I'm still not entirely sure how to spell it correctly (or if there is a correct spelling). I've asked alot of people how they would spell it and so far, I rarely get the same answer twice. (You see, our karate school has been primarily an oral tradition until I tried to record it). I think the most likely spelling (two instructors suggested it) is bugo kum ite. In any case, I'm now involved in trying to optimize the site for these terms no matter how you spell them.

Here is the current footer that I have on a post and almost daily, I add a new variation...

PS - A note on the term bugo kum ite - Is it bugo kum ta? Bugokumite? bugokumtai?bugokumatai? bugokumathai? bu go ku matai? bugo kuma thai? Bugo kuma tae? Bugo kumatae? bugo kumatae? bugokumatae? boogo cuma tae? boogokumatai? boog go ku matai? boogo koom tae, bugo koom a tai? bugo koom tae, boog koom tai, buggo kum tae. boogo kuma tai, boog go kum tai. Why this long list? I've told people they could find this site by googling "bugo kuma tai" but sadly, no two people seem to have the same idea of how to spell it. So if I add enough permutations, I'll cover the possibilities. bugg okum atai? boogg ocuma tai? bugokumite bugo kumite?

Monday, October 08, 2007

How to embed .mpg files in a blogger posting

How do you embed a .mpg file into a blog?

This is the question I Googled when attempting to embed an .mpg file into a blog. I got no real answers from that search. There are several different ways to do it but I was looking for a way to use HTML code to embed the file. It didn't seem to want to be done that way.

Turns out there's a very simple way to do it......

Friday, October 05, 2007

Starting a Green Business Online- free advice

I had breakfast with a friend who mentioned that his wife has started a great new business, importing a novel "green" product which I think should have strong appeal in the US marketplace. Being an overly enthusiastic techie, business-guy, and "save-the-earth" type, I gave him an earful of free unsolicited advice.

Here's the thoughts that I had.

1. Pick your domain very carefully and with an eye on search engine optimization, a second eye on people and their ability to correctly type in URLs, and a third eye on messaging (fortunately, the toxins in our environment means many of us have mutated to three eyed beasts). The choice of domains will do more to determine your search engine success and messaging than anything else. If you are Amazon, you can afford to educate the public who you are. Otherwise, pick a domain that has your keywords in it and which messages somehow. BTW - Time4Learning is only a partial success on this count. Say an A-. Some of my favorites sites and blogs in terms of naming are: Web-Home-School, Todays Learners, Learning Games for Kids, Reading Skills Pyramid, Parenting in an electronic age and SpellingCity .

2. Don't spend much money up front on a website. Instead, blog it. Install wordpress (it comes on many sites ready to install with a click) or use blogger (which can be positioned onto your domain easily). The process is simple. A - Pick and register your domain (I use or for this - under $10 and easy). B - Get some pictures and key messages and topics ready. C- have a webdesigner with blog experience and in 3 hours together, pick and install a template, customize it, and get trained on how to post. Be sure to get the mods on wordpress that make the page name & URL reflect your articles topic, not just the site name and some codes (This is key for SEO). In fact, I would just use blogger to avoid this complexity.

3. Write blog articles to cover the key issues. Fill in the profile with how you want to be contacted Don't use your home number - use a line that can be turned off!). Write a blog article with your pricing. Write another on product issues. Write another on Green stuff. Etc etc . Write articles on when you first got interested in the environment. Write about stylish clothes. Basically, write a post every few days. Or every day. Keep them short, professional, on or around the topic etc

4. Revisit the blog structure monthly. By this, I mean the menus and key message. Easy navigation to key sections is critical. To get a sense of this, look at how we keep moving these two blogs around. Karate at 50 and Moms Homeschooling. Nobody gets it right at first. Just adjust it slightly every month based on what you're learning.

5. Socialize and promote online. Alot. Find forums that are relevant and join them and participate. It's your signature line with your key message and a link that is your marketing. Find communities and blogs of people with similiar interests and get to know them. Write about them. Spend $1K on promotion getting people to blog about your products. Think about using the blog to market.

6. Once you get going, learn to track your traffic (thru your hoster or feedburner or google's webmaster tools or google analytics).

7. When you get going, learn to use the social bookmarks (technorati, delicious) and social networks (linked in, myspace, etc).

8 Keep building you understanding about keyword mechanics, SEO onpage issues, keyword volumes that are relevant to you, and the leading sites in your sectors.
Build relationships with them. I, for one, have an intimate relationship with the keyword "homeschool curriculum". I know who it likes best and why. I have relationships with the other leading sites. And homeschool curriculum likes me too!!!! ;->

9 Someday, build a regular website. Or don't. Blogs are flexible and powerful as content mgt systems that there's no reason to keep looking.

SEO Questions - Open for help

Is it worthwhile trying to get separate IP addresses for colocated domains ? Any way to quantify impact of joint ip address? I have a series of major accounts in the same whm/cpanel account at sultan. They have the same IP address. Our parent homeschool forum, for example, generates thousands of links to our main domain. Todays Learners, Learning Games for Kids, Reading Skills Pyramid, Parenting in an electronic age and SpellingCity are all on the same account & IP address.

Revenue Optimization. I'm trying to move my monthly advertising revenue from $1K to $10K. I might have to better understand adsense, affiliates, revenue optimization, and other advertising-revenue choices.

Advertising. I have never "bought traffic", my ads have been cheap, bought case-by-case, and carefully balanced for traffic and seo purposes. What about pure agency-type traffic or impression buying? Does it make any sense?

Google analytics. I hear great things about google analytics. My host provides urchin. Is this upgrade worth it? If so, what is involved not just in setting up the account and javacodes but in learning to use it effectively?

Authority & .edu sites. I have a disproportionately small number of them. I feel like my site could do better, could be moved from a 6 to a 7 or 8. I got no basis for that and obviously, it's a symbolic measure. Still, my link pattern is strong in every way except major authority sites. Any ideas?

Directories, especially DMOZ - I've never paid attention to directory listings and cannot seem to get my site listed in DMOZ (what a weird experience I've had with them over the last three years). Is there a methodology or approach here?