Monday, March 26, 2012

Food For Thought

I just sent this e-mail to a client I thought it would be useful to post it here:

Have you ever read an article on a truly top-notch website that was stuffed with keywords? The genuinely powerful sites on the Internet never, ever consider keywords. They just provide good content that is a legitimate attempt to put out useful information.

You are letting the search engines know what your site or blog is about through the content that you have. You don't have to use specific keywords. If you're writing about a1955 Chevy that in and of itself is covering your bases with the terms like classic car, antique car, old car etc.

You will naturally use relevant terms that tell the search engines what your site is about. They use something called "latent semantic indexing." You should definitely look up this term, it is not as complicated as it sounds.

Google employs the best and the brightest and they have extraordinary resources. They don't want to be "fooled." Using keyword research tools to find keywords and then stuffing content with these terms is going to do you more harm than good--they're looking for legitimate content and they're looking to punish efforts to fool them.

In the end it's like anything in life. People can see through BS and they can program computer algorithms to see through it also. But they can also see good, honest efforts at adding something useful to the Internet. Over time, honest sites gain trust and become strong.

On the subject of trust, new blogs created around keywords all pointing to the same network of sites are not trusted in the Google algorithms. In fact, you're better off linking to legitimate sites in a legitimate way than you are linking within your network to rather awkward keywords. This would indicate that you are actually trying to spread useful information on your blog rather than using it for purely cynical SEO purposes.

I guarantee that if you forward this e-mail to somebody who really, really knows what they're doing like someone who works for Google they would tell you that there is a lot of truth in it.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Busy Is Good

The Content Dude hasn't had a chance to post on this blog in a long minute due to being to busy writing content for websites and other people's blogs and getting paid for doing it. This is a good thing. The purpose of creating this blog was to facilitate the circumstance described above, so it has served its purpose well I suppose.

There isn't much to say that hasn't already been said. It's all about quality, timely turnarounds, and professional interactions around here while engaged in work. And it becomes about White Russians, loose women, and wild music after hours.

As always, if you need some killer content at a fair price provided by a dude you'd enjoy knocking back a few cocktails with, by all means, get in touch!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Quality Content Is Money Well Spent

It is hard being a content dude these days. Fortunately, I have a foundational client that is a web design firm that recognizes the need to provide quality to their clients, and that keeps me on reasonably solid footing. To try to expand my business I am a member of some freelance sites, and there is a good bit of work available. But, it all goes back to the same lament that I had back when I first started this blog. People don't really care about quality, so they immediately look for the lowest bids and discard the rest. I won't work for nothing because I am educated, experienced, and dare I say somewhat talented at what I I get very little of the business that's out there. Yet, those who do select me are always happy with my work.

I respect the right that people have to spend their money as they see fit, but as a reasonably savvy web businessperson in my own right, I sincerely think that they are being penny wise and pound foolish. It is like starting a restaurant and looking for the cheapest chairs and the lowest quality ground beef you can find because after all, you are a "start up" and you're on a "tight budget." True, perhaps...but when your first customers stop by and they are uncomfortable in their seats and not enjoying the greasy burgers, how long will that money that you "saved" by scrimping on your infrastructure keep you afloat? I'm thinking maybe a week..?

The content on your site is the voice of your business, and you need to put your best foot forward and gain the trust of your visitors with well written, compelling, and convincing content. People are very stuck on keywords, and I used to be too because that's what I was told was important. But you don't need to try to fit your content around a slew of awkward key terms. Yes, you do have to let the bots know what you sell (and where you sell it), but that is going to happen naturally. Good content writers need to keep the keywords in the back of their minds, but the true goal is to simply write honest, straightforward, and convincing content and the rest will take care of itself.

In the end, if the site in question has something people want to buy at a price they are willing to pay, a good content writer will be able to get their message across without keyword stuffing, and the business will prosper. If the client is not offering value to their customers, guess what? You can try, but you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, and they will ultimately fail no matter how good the content is.

Many folks simply don't know the difference between truly good content and mediocre
copy written by a pretender. But I do. The solution is as simple as it is obvious. What you need to do is contract me to get your message across for you and kick back and tipple a White Russian (or Caucasian, if you prefer), secure in the knowledge that the Content Dude is at the helm with a steady if relaxed hand.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Top Ten Reasons To Use Quality Content

10.) The same reason you don't drink Milwaukee's Best.

9.) You get what you pay for.

8.) Good content creates return visitors.

7.) Well conceived, balanced content enables the Google bots to find you.

6.) Your content is the personality of your web presence.

5.) If your content is of mediocre quality, what can potential customers expect from your product or service?

4.) Use of quality content will allow you to outshine your competitors effortlessly.

3.) Compelling content entices conversions.

2.) Good content ensure that your site is being built on a solid foundation.

1.) Quality, well written content generates that all important commodity called consumer confidence.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Internet Content Providers #1 In Google Serps

When I created this blog, I picked the name based on a personal SEO observation. It has always made sense to me that the purpose of keyword research is to find terms that get a significant number of searches that do not have much competition. fit that description. The purpose of this post is to celebrate the fact that today the blog is #1 for the targeted search term. But there is another factor I would like to highlight.

I recently contended that PageRank really doesn't matter at all these days, and here is Internet Content Providers at #1 for the term with PR 0. There is a page from that has held the first position since I started the blog that we just passed that has a PR of 4. This may be circumstantial evidence, but I think that the SERPs and PR are mutually exclusive entities and there is no reason to aspire to Google PR--what you want to do is stay on point, choose a relevant URL, and add quality content on a consistent basis.

Another note on PagePank that I recently recognized. This blog is pretty new, and because I am always writing content for clients I don't post here as much as I should. But, I have put much, much, much more time and effort into this blog than my Twitter identity, which is QualityContent. My Twitter home URL has a Google PageRank of 4, but this blog, which is about a few days (or hours, I don't remember) older, has a zero. It's all sophistry when it comes to PR.

I read recently that Google has dropped the Page Rank section from Webmaster Tools, so what we have been saying for some time seems to have become common knowledge. PageRank is meaningless, and Internet Content Providers is #1!

Note: Take this post with a grain of salt. It is just cool to get to the top spot.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Content For Websites

I have always approached writing content for websites in the same manner that I approach my creative writing: I aim for perfection. Writing articles and blog posts is somewhat different, but the writer in me just won't settle for anything less than the very best I can do...but I'm beginning to realize that the quality that I routinely provide exceeds what is truly necessary.

To bid for contracts competitively, I have to try to go as low as possible knowing that there are many others out there who are still going to be bidding lower. So, I win a very small percentage of the contracts I have been bidding on. But I know for sure that the value that I would provide via the quality of my work would exceeds the value that these potential clients are getting for their money when they give the work to someone else.

When you are writing content for websites you are creating the voice of the company on the Internet. There is a huge element of marketing savvy involved, and search engine optimization is a large part of it as well. This is going to be your identity on the web, the place where your customers can find you and learn about your offerings. Your on-page content needs to be sparkling, compelling, impeccable, and convincing.

You can't look at the prices that people are paying for bulk articles that are largely for SEO purposes and expect top notch, professionally written website content for the same amount. And if you settle for less to save a few bucks, I can guarantee you that the shoddy content will cost you infinitely more money in business lost than the amount of money you "saved" by contracting an inferior content provider.

Here at Internet Content Providers we deliver content for multiple purposes, including blog posts, article marketing pieces, eBooks, and of course on-page content for websites. We place an emphasis on quality, and if you really want your web presence to be effective, you should too. Give us a call at 706-354-0781 or simply drop us an email and we will work with you to make sure that you get the content you need at a price that is fair to us, and fair to you as well.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Written Content vs. Other Media

I recognize the reality that there is such a thing as audio and video that some people consider to be "content," but to me, this is another attempt to sidestep the necessity for education and integrity while trying to squeeze a buck from the Internet.

Let me tell you straight off: I'm a musician. I love music of all kinds, and I listen to music all day while I'm working, and I play music when I'm done. Nobody respects the audio medium more than me. But I don't go to websites to hear music (except the occasional MySpace or YouTube), and I certainly don't want to hear audio when I'm searching the web for a product or service. I don't want to see video either, because it will be accompanied by audio, and I don't want my music interrupted. I can read quite well, thank you.

I respect a social media site like YouTube that allows the sharing of so much music. But that has nothing to do with website content. If you take their code and drop it into your blog to amplify some point, that's totally cool. But if you do that for someone else's site, you really can't call yourself a "content provider."

If you are a professional videographer and you create videos that become useful web content, then yes, you are playing the role of content provider, and the people in this field do amazing work. But very few videographers would describe themselves as "web content providers." My point is that the field of web content is almost exclusively the domain of the written word. There is valid content, like some podcasts and videos, that is not written, but the primary use of the Internet for commerce revolves around the written word.

The word "commerce" is operative here. The net contains mad quantities of audio and video that could be described as entertainment or art. But when I get home from the emergency room after having my leg broken in an auto accident, I'm looking for the phone number of a good lawyer in writing, not a movie or podcast of a lawyer talking. When I need a plumber because my pipe is broken, I don't want to watch a 13 minute short film about the history of copper pipes. I want to know how to get in touch with a local plumber, now, in writing.

One of the reasons I like reading things on the Internet is because it enables me to multitask. I killed my TV a long time ago, but if you are so inclined you can listen to music, watch a game on television with the volume down, and devour unlimited written information on the web all at the same time.

Try as they might, the dumb-us-down crowd is never going to get rid of the written word, and from my perspective, if you are not a professional writer, you are not a content provider.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Case Studies: Compelling Content?

Case studies have emerged as a content staple, and why not? What could be a better endorsement for a company than a narrative testimony of their success in providing a viable solution to a particular client? It's like, hey, if they were able to do that for Joe's Widgets, they can certainly do the same for me, right?

Okay, so I just opened this piece with three, count 'em three, consecutive questions. What's up with that? Do'h! There goes another one, what's going on here? Oh no!

I digress. Let me get to the point about case studies. I have a friend in the industry who was contracted by a client to write the content for their website. They wanted a case study on the site, and it so happens that a content person who had previously worked for them in-house composed a case study some time ago that never appeared. It was passed along to my friend, who says it was in fact very well written. But when she evaluated it as an SEO/SEM person who runs SEO tools in her browser, she could immediately tell that it was nothing but blatant other words, pure bullshit.

This client of hers is a web design firm that offers SEO/SEM services. So the case study was intended to prove that their design and subsequent optimization and marketing provided value to their client. The fact is, however, that the website of the company around which the case study revolved was not doing well at all. The site had an Alexa rank of 13 million, and it was registering zero traffic according to Plus, when she read the case study, the "successes" therein were very vague, like "they are now placing in the top three positions of page one for several of their targeted terms." Really? Which ones? How about a screen shot? And how much traffic do these terms get?

The bottom line is that case studies are very easy to manipulate. Everyone has a friend who will publicly toot their buddy's horn (hey--don't go there) in return for a favor. If you are going to use case studies, you have to be very diligent and make sure that you are communicating verifiable information. You also need to highlight a genuinely successful case. If you are like this client that my friend had, and the best you can do is keep your fingers crossed hoping that nobody actually puts the subject of your case study under the microscope, you're better off not using case studies at all.

But, if you really do provide positive ROI, case studies are golden. If you successfully partner with your clients and deliver solutions that make (or save) them money, it will be plainly evident, and your case studies will be numerous and compelling. But if you are just jumping on the bandwagon expecting your content provider to make a silk case out of a sow's study, you are selling snake oil, baby. And you don't want to do that, do you?

(D'oh, there I go with the damned questions again!)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Nofollow Links

I am always trying to learn more about SEO as a content provider, and I think that things are always changing, so you need to be open minded and willing to absorb new knowledge if you are going to be successful. With this in mind, I'm going to share some thoughts on nofollow links and why building them is necessary for SEO.

Nobody knows Google's algorithms in totality, but it is commonly accepted that Page Rank is derived from quantity and quality of backlinks. The bots can only measure links that they can follow, so when the "nofollow" attribute is added to a hyperlink, it's not going to "count" toward Page Rank. And of course, people assume that Page Rank is what dictates where your page will rank for your targeted terms. So, many people automatically assume that nofollow links are worthless for SEO.

Since I don't work for Google, I have no way of knowing for sure, but I disagree with the notion that nofollow links have no value. One thing I do know about Google is that they have a lot of employees, and they have the resources to hire smart people to implement their objectives. Their objective in this case is to identify valid "authorities" on any given subject that is being searched for and rank them accordingly. It seems to me that everyday users don't care about nofollows--they just link to pages that they find to be relevant. Presumably, SEOs wouldn't try to accrue nofollow links, so they appear to be totally legitimate "votes" to the search engines. I think that Google is smart enough to recognize this, and I think that a site's "trust ranking" is impacted by nofollow links pointing toward it.

If you think that Page Rand determines SERPs, end of story, then you won't agree with this nofollow assessment. I don't think that Page Rank matters in most cases, and if I'm right, there is no reason not to try to accumulate nofollow links.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Internet Content Providers Launches New Site

I created this blog in an effort to generate some business a few months ago after staying busy through responding to ads and word of mouth referrals for a couple of years. It was pleasantly surprising to see the immediate response I got, and I've done quite well since I started the blog. This has sometimes made it hard for me to find the time to post as often as I'd like to, and it has also delayed my plans for putting up a proper web site to promote my services.

That having been said, I've been feeling the need to take Internet Content Providers to another level and expand our offerings. I will still do most of the writing myself, and all of the content that leaves our offices will be edited by yours truly, but we no longer want to put any limit on the number of clients we can serve.

I petitioned the Atlanta Web Design Group to see if anyone was willing to barter site design and hosting in exchange for content, and I had several people show interest. But nothing solidified, and I understand that serving the needs of your paying clients comes first. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I found a resource that has enabled me to design the site myself, and the basic foundation is already in place.

The new site is located at If you have a moment, check it out and let me know if you have any feedback. It's been fun working on it so far and it will be a long process of ongoing optimization and marketing, but I'm glad to have been able to take this next step. Thanks to my clients and readers for your support, and I look forward to building Internet Content Providers into the writing resource juggernaut that we all know it is destined to become.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why The Content Dude?

I got interested in the business of SEO and Internet content by chance as I have explained in a recent post. It is one of those things that found me, and I'm glad that it did because it suits my talents perfectly. It also helps me around my "weaknesses." Let me tell you what I think my "weaknesses" are, and why I put the word in quotes.

I think that corporate culture values mediocrity over excellence, and before long, the goal of the management becomes to cover their own asses over their failures because they have run the bus into a muddy ditch from which they can never emerge. That is, unless they were to admit their mistakes, perhaps let some of their own go, and restructure with a different focus and intent. But that never happens. If you want to see a very poignant model depicting what I'm trying to convey, take a look at the last presidential administration. (And then take a look at the present one in about three years.) My weakness is that I can't accept the above, and I won't take pharmaceuticals so that I can.

I have never really been given the opportunity to be in a position of leadership, but I have always organically recognized failed processes around me when I have worked within a corporate structure. This is a recipe for disaster, and it's why it became necessary for me to somehow manifest a way to make a living outside of that type of structure.

So SEO work and content writing found me, and I have been able to build on my SEO knowledge and utilize my education and experience as a writer to make a living outside of the "Office Space" parody that many of us call our places of employment.

Now, the reason why I created the "Content Dude" persona here on the blog is to push the buttons of potential clients who understand and empathize with the absurdity of corporate culture. I'm not looking for a job. I'm looking for clients who need quality content delivered in a timely manner. And I'm not going to conform here and pretend I'm some sort of branded, faceless, boring but "dependable" purveyor of bland, safe product. I am indeed much more dependable and efficient than any content source of which I am aware, because I do the work myself, I'm actually a talented writer, and I have a well developed work ethic.

So you may visit this blog, and you might think...why would anyone try to present themselves as the "Content Dude" and take on the Big Lebowski as their alter ego when they are trying to attract business...? You can find the answer on a bumper sticker: If I have to explain it to you, you'll never understand.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Does Google PageRank Matter?

I got into the business of SEO and content in a rather magical way. I have never done well with corporate jobs, and the biggest problem that I ran into was that the organizations that I worked for all seemed to value mediocrity. The old school bullshit about how if you show up every day and work hard you will be rewarded is not the way it goes down. If you are especially sharp and hard working, you are invariably seen as a threat. So I found myself out of work in the summer of 2006, and I was looking really hard for a job.

I would scour Craig's List rather obsessively, and I sent out dozens of resumes without success. Things were getting scary for me financially, and I was feeling rather helpless and frustrated. I noticed that people who had jobs that included the responsibility of writing help wanted ads for their companies couldn't spell or use proper syntax. These were the same people who were, presumably, trashing my resume without consideration. The absurdity of it all led me to write a post (inappropriately) in the Help Wanted section of CL stating that employers actually valued mediocrity over excellence. It was apparently flagged and taken down in a matter of a couple of hours.

I essentially forgot about it, but a couple of weeks later I got an email from a guy who said he read that post, he liked it, and he had an open position. We connected over the phone and he hired me.

What his company did was sell backlinks. I didn't know anything about SEO, or about backlinks, previous to this. He had a network of a couple of thousand bloggers who would blog about his clients' products and link to them. My job was to review their work and make sure that they followed the guidelines. Through doing this, I gained a pretty thorough basic to intermediate understanding of blogging and some elements of SEO. As you might expect, I created my own blogs and made some money blogging in this manner as well. I had no idea that it was in any way unethical.

I learned about Google PageRank and the supposed fact that a link from a higher ranked site was more valuable, and that PR determined position in the SERPs. I really lusted after PageRank, because you could make more money with your blogs if they had higher PR. I just assumed that it was indeed true that PageRank determined SERP position.

Every quarter when PageRank would change, I read a lot of the comments that people were making concerning their sites and blogs. Many of them would say that their sites got the same or even more traffic after losing PageRank, so it really doesn't matter. I believed that they were telling the truth, but to me, it did indeed matter because of the perception. My posts were worth more if my PR was higher.

Since then, we all know that Google "declared war" on paid links and wiped away tons of PR. I have never thought that was fair, and all it really did was punish the little guy or woman in my estimation. But, it is what it is, and you have to adjust and move on.

I recently read a little "course" by an SEO named Christoph Cemper, and he repeatedly emphasized his belief that PageRank means nothing when it comes to SERPs. What matters is where you place for your terms, period, and you may find that it has nothing to do with PR. Your customers are probably not going to be running SEO tools displaying your PR or even know what PageRank is. If you show up near the top of the first page for your targeted terms, you are achieving your goal.

Cemper arrived at his conclusion by testing and real life experience, and he is very well endorsed, so I take his observations to heart. But this blog is a good example as well. I chose the URL "" because I wanted to place for that term. And though at the moment the blog has a PR of zero, it does place at #1 in Yahoo and Bing and #5 in Google for my top term, and it has an Alexa rank under 800,000 though it is just a few months old. And yes, Alexa is slanted toward SEO industry types, but...I sell web content. So my very solid Alexa ranking indicates that a high percentage of my traffic is coming from SEO/SEM savvy users running the Alexa toolbar.

The answer to the question of whether or not Google PageRank matters is probably yes and no. In the realm of perception it matters, and some sites with high PR do very well in the SERPs. But apparently, it is very possible to do well for your terms even if you don't have much PR. And Cemper contends that links from pages that place well for relevant terms are highly valued even if they don't have a lot of green in that bar.

So there's a little food for thought from the Content Dude. If you need a reliable content resource who has a sense of humor, give me a call at (706) 424-3450