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 http://QualityContentProviders.com. 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 "InternetContentProviders.net" 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

Monday, September 14, 2009

Optimum Keyword Density

I had a reason to poke around the web today looking for what SEOs have to say about optimal keyword density. I saw a variety of different opinions, and the one that resonated with me the most is the right brained perspective. As you might expect, most people are looking for a number, and I would say that the consensus that I saw was around 2%-7%. This makes sense to me as a general rule of thumb, but the answer that I was feelin' was something along the lines of, "It varies, go with what works."

It seems to me that the operative word here is "relevancy" in general. If you have a site or a blog that stays on a particular topic, or at least stays in touch with the general theme while extending outward, the content will naturally have an appropriate keyword density. When I write on this blog, I never think about using the words that I'm targeting. But, because the blog is about Internet content and SEO, the bots have no problem identifying it as a source of information relevant to the providing of Internet content. (Of course the URL doesn't hurt either, but that's another post.)

One SEO said that if you are concerned that you may have too many keywords on a page, you probably do, and that rings true. Yet, people report having success with up to 35% keyword density, which sounds like a lot, but it is working for their page, so why "fix" it? It's all about results, and I think that the left brain tendency of many people in technical fields leaves them looking for a numerical absolute where there really is none.

The place where I differ from many is that I am not going to clear it all up for you here in one fell swoop. Those who insist that they know for sure what is best in every instance are either lying, or deluded. However, what I am saying with a degree of certainty is that if you stay on point with your content without trying too hard, your keyword density will probably be just fine. If you do this and you are not seeing results, it may not be the content that's the problem. But it may be. And that's the way it goes.

This is not to say that intelligent, earnest, informed effort is of no value. The Content Dude is just about facing reality when it comes to SEO. I know that most people who read this blog won't take me seriously because I always say that there are no absolutes (and I drink too many White Russians). But I'm going to continue to be myself, state my case, and serve clients who respect honesty and the uncertain nature of predicting exactly how Google bots will see each individual page on the web.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Web Content: Frequency Is Key

Many savvy SEOs have been saying for years that Google Page Rank is really not important anymore. I have always felt as though this may be true in a real sense, but we all deal with perception, and the perception may be that high PR is a measure of success. But, this is a perception that needs to be altered, because indeed, PR means nothing. All that matters is how your page places in the SERPs for the terms you are targeting.

I've had a number of different blogs over the years, and without question, the frequent addition of fresh, original content is the most important element to building your feed. When you add content often, the bots recognize your location as a consistent source of new information. I remember reading John Chow stating that he updated his blog every single day, and that this was the early key to his success.

I'm a writer, not a techie, but I think that general logic is applicable to understanding SEO. The bots are going to be drawn toward fresh information and find static sources to be less relevant and trustworthy (unless they are often linked to as an authority on a specific topic). So the feed that is constantly being updated with relevant content is going to be indexed quickly and seen as a trusted source of dynamic information.

Updating your content often is not just a good way to get noticed by Google; it also increases your chances of writing something that goes viral, and/or developing a regular readership. If someone finds your site or blog and likes what you do, they may very well return if you keep posting regularly so that they have some reason to keep coming back.

With all of this being said, I have to mention that I have not been following my own advice with this blog. This is because I have been busy writing for others so that I can pay my bills, buy White Russians, and go bowling. But I need to make the time so that I can be sure that I optimize my viability going forward.

If this makes as much sense to you as it does to me, get in touch and we will be glad to provide you with consistent, fresh content specific to your niche at a price you can afford.