Move To Google Drive Today

Google Drive has just been launched, and already there are lots of experts comparing it with other consumer cloud services, for example is Google Drive better than DropBox?

There are instantly many factors that make Google Drive the obvious default storage service:

  • Will always be the cheapest of the major services
  • Should be the most reliable or thereabouts
  • Should be around forever
  • Ties in with other Google products nicely

So I wouldn’t wait – sign up and start storing, before changing providers becomes more of an inconvenience…

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Changing Your Site’s URL

This is actually quite common. It’ happened to me back in the days of GeoCities. You start off cheap – using the sub-domain of a free host, using a .org instead of a .com, buying Buy-Viagra-Here-Discount.com instead of BeUp.com. But once your site is a success, or you have learned that you domain name counts towards your credibility, you might want to improve your site’s URL.

This infographic is very too the point. Especially critical is that you don’t change anything else – otherwise search engines could decide that your site is a new site, and that could reset a few counters.

Full graphic here.

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Customer Certification

I think I have come up with a way of saving a whole lot of time and frustration in our modern internationally-outsourced-customer-service age…

I’ve just spent 30 minutes on the phone to tech support at a hosting company. The first 25 minutes were wasted on them presuming that I had no idea what I was doing. It wasn’t “is your computer plugged in?” but it was “are you sure you have enough space on your hard drive?”

Imagine if you could spend that 30 mins more efficiently by passing a test that verifies you are not an idiot. Then you could refer that test result to the tech support folk and they could take things to the next level straight away! Such a concept could save a billion hours of people like me being on hold while the guy in Pakistan takes a cigarette break and mutters “don’t these Americans know anything about phpmyadmin?”

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Your Ad in Google Image Search

Not many marketers know that this is an option, and most Google image searches have no paid ads. Yet, Google Image Search gets 1 billion page views per day. So:

1) Identify your niche
2) Find the top keyword searches for images in your niche
3) Find an image that will really stand out for those searches
4) Make an ad, get visitors/customers

Step-by-step here

While you are at it, image search is regularly neglected by SEOs. See if you can get your image at #1.

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Google is Evil Taxwise

In the US, in terms of paying tax, Google is a good citizen. Their overseas subsidiaries, which are based in Dublin, pay virtually no tax. Google claims they have broken no laws, and this is most likely correct. Ikea run a similar tangled web of companies and don’t pay any tax.  Since both are run by geniuses, it makes sense.

So, while Google escapes paying $4.63 billion in tax, that directly affects the people of Europe at roughly five dollars per person. Is that enough to make you pissed off? Probably not. In exchange for a glass of beer, you get all the wonderful things Google supply us with.

The answer of course is for governments to change the rules. Tax advantages like that create an unfair playing field that ultimately make the rich richer.

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Get Seen in Google RealTime Search

If Google isn’t open about something, it is often because they don’t want anyone gaming the system. Here’s the list of sources for RealTime Search, as reverse engineered by Search Engine Land

  • Tweets from Twitter
  • Google News links
  • Google Blog Search links
  • Brand new web pages
  • Freshly updated web pages
  • FriendFeed
  • Jaiku
  • Identi.ca
  • TwitArmy
  • Google Buzz
  • MySpace updates
  • Facebook fan page updates
  • Quora
  • Gowolla
  • Plixi
  • Me2day
  • Twitgoo

It would be easy to update a few of these every time your site has new content – can’t harm, might help

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SMX Sydney

I was fortunate to spend 3 days at the SMX Sydney, including the third day that was just for those with an Elite pass. Without a doubt this was the best SEO conference I have been to. All the speakers were top notch. Those speakers representing Google and Bing weren’t terribly interesting, but they add value by validating the conference itself, and they seemed like nice folk. Here are the speakers that impressed me the most:

Rand Fishkin – always entertaining, always packs a lot into his time slot. On the 3rd day he showed us the latest results from his PhD staff on what Google seems to be using for ranking factors, but he stressed over and over that correlation does not equal causation. And then when he compared the results with a survey of top SEO professionals, they very much aligned. Google appears to be ranking sites based on the factors the experts expect.

A big tip, especially following Panda/Farmer, is that either a lot of sites with short articles have stopped ranking, OR Google is penalizing short articles or sites that consistently have articles of a similar short length – a very good indicator that the content has been purchased cheaply and therefore is of weaker quality.

Danny Sullivan gave a good overview of where search is currently at, and that is his forte. I guess it is helpful that such a good speaker runs the SMX show. His partner in crime, Chris Sherman, turned up unannounced, good to see.

I won’t get into the technical details of what the SEO superstars presented, but suffice to say Marty Wientraub and Greg Boser were top notch, and I doubt better experts could be found. Plus they are both bald, indicative of the macho side of craving #1 rankings. Chris Thomas of RESEO is also bald, but I missed his presentation. I reckon I have a higher average trust in bald seos.

Rob Kerry of Ayima is also an SEO legend, and on Day 3 he let us in on some tools spammers use, so that we can use them for good.

Dennis Goedegbuure let us see what a nightmare/fun time can he had trying to get eBay listings rank in the search engines.

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Google Stealing Content

One day they’ll push it too far! And then they might find themselves in a whole heap of trouble.

Google kept their news search in beta for a long time, and even now don’t dare place ads there, in case it is considered they are profiting from scraped content.

But the real risk lies in their providing of search results such as cinema times and dictionary definitions. In both cases it would appear that, due to a lack of ads, they are not profiting from these forms of scraped content. And Google would argue that they are adding value by aggregating content, and therefore not breaking their own webmaster guidelines.

But it’s not that simple, and Google gives nothing for free…

I also got ratings for each film, film durations and genre, plus contact details for the cinema. But no link to the cinema website itself. Google was showing me the information I would find on the cinema website, without me actually having to go there.

Clicking on one of the links for a film, I then expected to be taken to the Cineworld website. But no. I now get a cast list, a synopsis of the film, reviews from different websites – and a list of alternative places to watch the film. Even clicking on the cinema links on this page does not take me to any of the cinemas.
http://www.labrow.com/1648

If I do a cinema search, and end up at the cinema website, the two most likely next actions for me will be:

  1. Buy tickets online from the cinema
  2. Browse the web, either by following links or thinking of where I might want to go next

But if I have received the info from Google directly, the most likely next action will be to make another search – from which Google stands to earn revenue.

Likewise with dictionary definition results. Try searching for what is “legerdemain” and you get this at the top of the page:

leg·er·de·main/ˌlejərdəˈmān/Noun

1. Skillful use of one’s hands when performing tricks.
2. Deception; trickery.  More »

There are three possible resulting user actions:

  1. Happy with the definitions and make another search
  2. Follow the “more” link
  3. Follow a link to a dictionary site

In the past, you ended up at a dictionary site, and from there you might have clicked on an ad or link. Now, it seems that the odds of that happening are less than third. Most people will be happy with just the definition.

It’s not that Google are profiting directly from scraped information, it is what the user does next. And Google know (for they have surely tested this) that stealing/scraping information is profitable for them.

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Which Trust Seal – A Comparison

I could probably link to all sorts of statistics on how much conversions improve when you have one of those “trust seals” on your site. They look shiny and official, and typically you place them at the top of your footer, or sometimes in the right column. Like this:

A lot of different companies provide these, and the prices vary a lot. If your focus is on one commercial site, then it is worth the time and effort investigating which suit your needs the best. The three basic types of seal are:

  • Security - your site doesn’t have anything nasty like malware, the server can’t be hacked, you have a security certificate
  • Privacy – all the correct procedures are adhered to
  • Trust – you are who you say you are – email, mail, phone and physical address

If you have many sites that generate small returns, some might benefit from a seal, but of course you want to get the best bang for your buck. Here’s an overview of your options:

Merchant Safe

Their key differentiator is that they are cheap. So cheap that they don’t explain the differences between their 5 seals. One is called Verified Contractor – go figure. Seems to me that the only difference is the badge. $240-$334/yr. Importantly, for $120/yr you can show the badge on multiple sites, presumably if they have the same contact details etc.

TRUSTe Starter

The product is impressive:

TRUSTe Verified Seal
Privacy Scanning
Dispute Resolution Program
Privacy Policy Generator

and so is the price, $499/yr for a meager 100 page views daily.

ValidSafe

These guys are cheap. $157/yr for their Security, Privacy or Business seals, or $297/yr for all three. Even better, the above seal is free. All it does is check your email address, but it has to be better than nothing!

SafeShops.org

The pick of the bunch (on face value, I haven’t actually tested any of these) is Safe Shops. For the first year their service is free, and from then on it is only $45/yr per seal or $60/yr for the set. Shame about the name if you aren’t a shop per se.

SiteTrust Network

These guys are real cheap ($59/yr) and have a unique selling point – user submitted feedback. Unfortunately that’s about it. They have criteria for acceptance, but nothing is verified and for all anyone knows every client is accepted regardless. However, the end user is unlikely to know or care… the shiny image is sufficient.

SiteLock

$99/yr gets you a pretty good mid-level service. For more you get daily scanning etc. If you want features without too high a cost, give them a whirl. 30-day free trial.

Business Chek

Looks dodgy, due to the style of their home page. And it seems that they do nothing more than supply the seal, and show your provided information when someone clicks on it. $77/yr but only $47/yr for Christmas!

Comodo UserTrust

It is from a top trust brand, and is free. I suggest definitely using this one and keeping it if the user reviews stay good.

Trust Guard

$197/yr gets the following verified once. Company address, email, phone, secure checkout process, and SSL certificate. Pay more to get them checked more frequently.

IBCIM.org

Not a catchy or trustworthy name. Free for 3 months, then $30/yr. No verifications, so worthless except for the eye candy.

Trustox

Only $49/yr, and gives a very good impression of the real deal. Get whichever seal you desire. Not bad, for what it is.

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The Old and the New

The old site was used for landing pages until that great company with heaps of hubris decided that our type of selling didn’t suit them. Oh well, never mind. So that they with hubris don’t think we become a totally different beast, here is what our home page used to look like (not that anyone saw this page…)

Our Mission is to find the best merchants online, and link you to their special offers!

Some of our Current Promotions:

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