2009 February

Archives for February 2009

Why Rand Fishkin Doesn’t Follow You

I love twitter. I mean I really really really love twitter. It’s so much fun and really quite useful. Twitter is fully a part of my days and is quite fully integrated into my life at this point. Being this addicted to twitter makes it hard to step back and understand how others use the service. I’d say it’s a safe bet that applies to a lot of us based on the barrage of crap and criticism Rand Fishkin (@randfish) takes everytime he raises his head on twitter.

Let’s face it, there’s probably nobody else in our little corner of twitter, that gets more crap for not following everybody back. As of right now Rand has 4740 follwers and only follows 9 people himself. What does this mean? Well, it could mean that Rand is using twitter as a broadcast medium and not a conversation medium like the rest of us. Is that true? Let’s look:

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hmmmm – looks like any other twitter stream out there. Actually, it probably has more @s than a random page of my tweets. 

I hopped on IM with Rand today and we got chatting about twitter and how he uses versus how I use it and I think I get it now. Read on for an examination of how we use twitter differently and how I think Rand could engage better on twitter with out it costing him too much time and focus. 

Let’s talk about Rand first because it’s easy to break down his twitter methodology. Rand follows 9 people that important to him personally. He only follows those nine because he doesn’t want to miss anything they tweet and if he were to follow hundreds of people his important 9 would be too easily lost in the flow. Rand also has most everybody he follows sent to his phone. Imagine if he added just one more follower: me. I alone would mess up that system entirely.

Rand also doesn’t use any tools. He used his mobile, and the web interface. If those are the only tools you use and want to actually keep up with anything then yeah, 9 follows is pushing it. 

Rand’s basic twitter philosophy is to follow a handful of personally important people fully and then use search.twitter.com to look up anything else. That’s fine. I get it. It’s just exactly opposite of my philosphy. My philosphy is to follow a ton of people and then go to their individual feeds as necessary to back read and catch up when needed. I use twitter to see what people are talking about right NOW and then jump in. Rand uses twitter to see what his circle HAS BEEN talking about.

I follow a bit over 600 people right now and it’s always growing. I have one rule about following people: If you @ me I will follow you back once I verify you aren’t a bot. It’s that simple.  How do I manage to follow that many people and not miss too much stuff? I’ll tell ya and maybe Rand will even adopt some of these ideas and have more fun with twitter.

First off I use TweetDeck on my desktop and run twitter on a second monitor along with IM and email. Communications is a monitor to itself. TweetDeck rocks because it allows you to group and segment your twitter feeds in a variety of ways and display the custom feeds in side by side panels. My TweetDeck has several panels:

  • All Friends
  • Replies – all @oilman responses
  • Group: Oilman – gotta keep track of what I’ve tweeted
  • Search: MrsOilman – keepin and eye on the wife
  • Direct Messages
I could make it more detailed but that basic config works for me. Here’s how I suggest someone like Rand could use TweetDeck:
  • All Friends
  • Replies – all @randfish responses
  • Group: Randfish- gotta keep track of what he’s tweeted
  • Group: Rand Clan – put your 9 in here 
  • Search: SEOmoz – track mentions of the company
  • Direct Messages
Here’s my TweetDeck:
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ok – let’s move on to Mobile.

When Rand says “mobile” I’m assuming he means SMS only because he has a Windows Mobile phone and there is crap for apps for those things. Possibly he’s using the mobile web version of twitter but is pretty awesome suckage as well. Rand, if I’m wrong let me know and I’ll update this section. Using twitter via SMS alone sucks. I don’t blame anybody that has a low follow count if this is the case.

I have an iPhone and I died a little inside when I bought it but I love it for twitter. There are a ton of decent twitter apps that make using twitter on the road a breeze. I use twitterfon as well as bookmarking some custom search results in Safari. I use the custom search results in a effort to avoid bumping up against twitter’s annoying API limits. I don’t have a single person I follow sent to my phone via SMS but I do have all Direct Messages sent to my phone. I do that mostly so I can entertain you all by tweeting my cell phone number when I’ve forgotten to add the “d username” to the SMS. All in all I much prefer using twitter from the desktop of laptop vs my iPhone but it’s very managable either way.

So why doesn’t Rand Fishkin follow you? Honestly? Cuz twitter simply doesn’t factor into his life the same way it does into yours and mine. If you think that because he’s not following you he’s not paying attention you are sadly mistaken. 

Sorry to all you that thought I was going to slap Rand around hehe. Sure, I’d love to see him engage more on twitter. It often feels like twitter is the bar at a conference and we’re all mixing and mingling and moving around have a good old time and Rand is standing by the entrance trying to decide if he should come party with us. Rand, come on in. The beer is cold and people are friendly. Oh, and my twitter id is @oilman if you ever want to follow me back 😉

Yahoo Search Submit Explained

I’ve been gainfully and happily employed at Position Technologies now for about 5 months and it never ceases to amaze me how few people have heard about Yahoo Search Submit (you might know it as Yahoo Paid Inclusion) let alone understand how it works. I figured it would be beneficial to take some time today and break it down for you. A lot of what you’ll find below has been lifted from www.positiontech.com so I feel pretty ok about flat out copying it hehe.

First off, before we get into the different flavors…what is Yahoo Search Submit? Simply put it is a pay for inclusion program that guarantees review for inclusion in the Yahoo natural search results (Search Submit Basic). Additionally you can pay for on a flat rate cpc basis to gain more control over how and when your site is indexed and how fresh your organic search listings are (Search Submit Pro). Of course, there are no guarantees. Yahoo! Search Marketing has a thorough set of guidelines that must be met for acceptance into these programs. There are basically two types of programs:

Search Submit Basic

The fastest way to promote your Web site!

Yahoo Search Submit Basic assures your content will be included in the Yahoo search index, providing you the largest market reach available from a single service.

Price: $49.00 per URL annually (Limit 5 URLs per Domain)

Benefits include:

  • Quick Inclusion ensures that your content is included within the Yahoo! Search index, generally within 4 business days
  • Weekly refresh updates that allow content to be updated frequently
  • Basic Performance Reports that provide essential insights on how URLs are performing in the Yahoo! Search engine, including number of clicks and the average rank of displayed URLs
  • Tool that analyzes the contents of the submitted URLs and provides feedback regarding metadata and content on the page

Feed Services

Trusted Feed Advantages:

Designed for large or dynamic sites, our Trusted Feed program gives Webmasters ultimate control of their search engine presence by leveraging the advantages of direct data feeds to Yahoo! and the leading shopping engines.

Price: Variable CPC

Benefits include:

  • Guaranteed indexing of every Web page you submit – including deep dynamic pages.
  • Performance-based pricing ensures that you pay only when your URL is clicked.
  • Enjoy the freedom of a rapid, 48-hour refresh – you’ll know that your content, Title or price changes are immediately updated and available to your customers within 48 hours.
Ok so we know there are two flavors. What does that mean product-wise for you? It means your choice is 3 products. Search Submit Basic, Search Submit Pro – Self Serve, and Search Submit Pro. Well, not really your choice. There are monthly minimums and URL counts to be considered. They are as follows:

Search Submit Basic

  • Number of URLs per Domain: Limit of 5
  • Minumum Budget: None
  • Review/Subscription Fees: $49/yr/URL non refundable fee
  • Cost Per Click: None
  • Time For Inclusion: 3-5 days (on average)
  • Average Refresh Rate: 7 days (per Yahoo! guidelines)
  • Customized Titles: No
  • Customized Descriptions: No
  • Support: Online/FAQ
  • Online Reporting: Search Terms, Ranks and Clicks
  • Online Account Management: Yes
  • Dedicated Account Manager: No

Search Submit Pro – Self Serve

  • Number of URLs per Domain: Up to 4000
  • Minumum Budget:  None
  • Review/Subscription Fees: $150/domain, one-time, nonfundable fee
  • Cost Per Click: Based on Content Category
  • Time For Inclusion: 3-5 days (on average)
  • Average Refresh Rate: 48-72 hrs (per Yahoo! guidelines)
  • Customized Titles: Yes (per Yahoo! guidelines)
  • Customized Descriptions: Yes (per Yahoo! guidelines)
  • Support: Email and phone
  • Online Reporting: Search Terms, Ranks, Clicks, Click Cost and URLs
  • Online Account Management: Yes
  • Dedicated Account Manager: No

Search Submit Pro

  • Number of URLs per Domain: Unlimited
  • Minumum Budget: $1500/month
  • Review/Subscription Fees: None
  • Cost Per Click: Based on Content Category
  • Time For Inclusion: 3-5 days (on average)
  • Average Refresh Rate: 48-72 hrs (per Yahoo! guidelines)
  • Customized Titles: Custom Optimization
  • Customized Descriptions: Custom Optimization
  • Support: Email, phone and assigned account manager
  • Online Reporting: Search Terms, Ranks, Clicks, Click Cost and URLs
  • Online Account Management: Yes
  • Dedicated Account Manager: Yes
And there you have it. The basics of Yahoo! Search Submit. Now before all you affiliate webmasters and lead gen junkies get all fired up and think this is a slick way into Yahoo! please read this first: Search Submit Content Guidelines (via Yahoo! Search Marketing)
If you’d like to know more please drop me an email: todd at positiontech dot com.

Affiliate Summit West 2009 – Oilman And A Giant Crab

Wow – was Affiliate Summit already a month ago? Crap. They were super cool to give me a press pass and I’m only now getting around to writing up my thoughts on the show. Sorry Shawn.

I wanted the stir to die down so I could re-engergize the coverage…yeah…that’s my story.

As many of you know I started my SEO career as an affiliate selling Phentermine and Viagra. Back then there was no real affiliate community like we see today. I’ve been out of the game for several years now so you can only imagine my jaw was on the floor when I showed up in Vegas last month. The place was crawling with affiliates, merchants, technology companies, and affiliate network companies. The show floor was packed. I haven’t seen that many booths at conference outside of maybe SES NY in a long time. You literally could hardly move through the aisles. 

The other thing that really struck me was how well attended the vast majority of the sessions where. People were hungry for information and by and large were asking very well thought out questions. I even unoffically joined the SEO panel with some of my good friends (@davesnyder, @cshel, @ericlander and @scottpolk). I ran around with the microphone doing my best Vanna White impression. The panel went really well. We even wound up with this great video review: 


On the last day of the show I was having coffee with Heather Paulsons and ran into a long time friend of mine, Kris Jones, from PepperJam. We talked at length about the lack of crossover between the affiliate conferences and the more traditional confernces. I can safely say I will be working hard this year to make it to ASE09 in NY – maybe even as a speaker – hint hint ;). 

The show was refreshing to me and I’m motivated to use some the that time I spend watching TV in the evenings to get back into some affilaite marketing for a little extra pocket change as well as some new learning opportunities. I’m actually starting to learn how to do some PPC for my own stuff but don’t tell all my SEO buddies – they’ll disown me.

This was my second Affiliate Summit. I went one of the very first shows years ago and I am absolutley impressed with what Shawn and Missy have built over the years. Well done. I’ll be back.

As a parting gift – here’s me with a giant crab at ASW09:


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