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What is the #1 thing that you want people to do when they arrive on your blog?
Last week at an event about blogging that I attended I asked the above question to 10 bloggers and jotted down their responses:

2 said ‘click on an ad’
2 said ‘buy my product’
1 said ’subscribe to my RSS feed’
1 said [...]

Post from: Blog Tips at ProBlogger.


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What is a Conversion for Your Blog?

97
It’s that time of month again where I talk a little about the split of my own income streams in the previous month. We’re looking at June here and I’m excited to share this month’s charts because it illustrates something that I’ve been saying for the last couple of months really well – things DO [...]

Post from: Blog Tips at ProBlogger.


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How I Make Money Blogging: Income Split for June 2010

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A Guest Post by Johnny B Truant.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re blogging to make money, or to express yourself. So why would you ever give something away? If you’re in this as a business, giving stuff away without charging for it seems counterintuitive. If you’re just out there writing for the sake of writing, [...]

Post from: Blog Tips at ProBlogger.


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How to Boost your Income and Popularity by Giving Stuff Away

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97
Ever wanted a quick and easy way to transfer your Flip video collection to your favorite multimedia devices? Tanbee Flip Video Converter for Mac can convert any Flip video file for playback on devices such as the iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, PSP, Walkman and many others. With this Mac Flip video converter software, you can also extract audio from Flip videos on Mac OS X.
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A Guest Post by Johnny B. Truant from The Charlie and Johnny Jam Sessions.
I got an email the other day from a man who was at his wit’s end.
The email explained that in this man’s business, he was doing many of the same basic things that I was doing, but with much less success. He [...]Post from: Blog Tips at ProBlogger.


Why Your Business Needs Friends
96
When the internal Google remote quality rater guidelines leaked online there was a core quote inside it that defined the essence of spam:
Final Notes on Spam
When trying to decide if a page is Spam, it is helpful to ask yourself this question: if I remove the scraped (copied) content, the ads, and the links to other pages, is there anything of value left? if the answer is no, the page is probably Spam.
With the above quote in mind please review the typical Mahalo page

Adding a bit more context, the following 25 minute video from 2008 starts off with M
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att Cutts talking about how he penalized a website for using deceptive marketing. Later into the video (~ 21 minutes in) the topic of search results within search results and then Mahalo come up.


Here is a transcription of relevant bits...
Matt Cutts: Would a user be annoyed if they land on this page, right. Because if users get annoyed, if users complain, then that is when we start to take action.

And so it is definitely the case where we have seen search results where a search engine didn't robots.txt something out, or somebody takes a cookie cutter affiliate feed, they just warm it up and slap it out, there is no value add, there is no original content there and they say search results or some comparison shopping sites don't put a lot of work into making it a useful site. They don't add value.

Though we mainly wanted to get on record and say that hey we are willing to take these out, because we try to document everything as much as we can, because if we came and said oh removed some stuff but it wasn't in our guidelines to do that then that would be sub-optimal.

So there are 2 parts to Google's guidelines. There are technical guidelines and quality guidelines. The quality guidelines are things where if you put hidden text we'll consider that spam and we can remove your page. The technical guidelines are more like just suggestions.
...
So we said don't have search results in search results. And if we find those then we may end up pruning those out.

We just want to make sure that searchers get good search results and that they don't just say oh well I clicked on this and I am supposed to find the answer, and now I have to click somewhere else and I am lost, and I didn't find what I wanted. Now I am angry and I am going to complain to Google.

Danny Sulivan: "Mahalo is nothing but search results. I mean that is explicitly what he says he is doing. I will let you qualify it, but if you ask him what it is still to this day he will say its a search engine. And then all the SEOs go 'well if it is a search engine, shouldn't you be blocking all your search results from Google' and his response is 'yeah well IF we ever see them do anything then we might do it'."

Matt Cutts: It's kinda interesting because I think Jason...he is a smart guy. He's a savvy guy, and he threaded the needle where whenever he talked to some people he called it a search service or search engine, and whenever he talked to other people he would say oh it is more of a content play.

And in my opinion, I talked to him, and so I said what software do you use to power your search engine? And he said we use Twika or MediaWiki. You know, wiki software, not C++ not Perl not Python. And at that point it really does move more into a content play. And so it is closer to an About.com than to a Powerset or a Microsoft or Yahoo! Search.

And if you think about it he has even moved more recently to say 'you know, you need to have this much content on the page.' So I think various people have stated how skilled he is at baiting people, but I don't think anybody is going to make a strong claim that it is pure search or that even he seems to be moving away from ok we are nothing but a search engine and moving more toward we have got a lot of people who are paid editors to add a lot of value.
One quick thing to note about the above video was how the site mentioned off the start got penalized for lying for links, and yet Jason Calacanis apologized for getting a reporter fired after lying about having early access to the iPad. Further notice how Matt considered that the first person was lying and deserved to be penalized for it, whereas when he spoke of Jason he used the words savvy, smart, and the line threaded the needle. To the layperson, what is the difference between being a savvy person threading the needle and a habitual liar?

Further lets look at some other surrounding facts in 2010, shall we?
  • How does Jason stating "Mahalo sold $250k+ in Amazon product in 2009 without trying" square with Matt Cutts saying "somebody takes a cookie cutter affiliate feed, they just warm it up and slap it out, there is no value add, there is no original content there" ... Does the phrase without trying sound like value add to you? Doesn't to me.

  • Matt stated that they do not want searchers to think "oh well I clicked on this and I am supposed to find the answer, and now I have to click somewhere else and I am lost" ... well how does Mahalo intentionally indexing hundreds of thousands of 100% auto-generated pages which simply recycle search results and heavily wrap them in ads square with that? sounds like deceptive & confusing arbitrage to me.

  • Matt stated "and if you think about it he has even moved more recently to say 'you know, you need to have this much content on the page,'" but in reality, that was a response to when I highlighted how Mahalo was scraping content. Jason dismissed the incident as an "experimental" page that they would nofollow. Years later, of course, it turned out he was (once again) lying and still doing the same thing, only with far greater scale. Jason once again made Matt Cutts look bad for trusting him.

  • Matt stated "I don't think anybody is going to make a strong claim that it is pure search" ... and no, its not pure search. If anything it is IMPURE search, where they use 3rd party content *without permission* and put most of it below the fold, while the Google AdSense ads are displayed front and center.
    • If you want to opt out of Mahalo scraping your content you can't because he scrapes it from 3rd party sites and provides NO WAY for you to opt out of him displaying scraped content from your site as content on his page).

    • Jason offers an "embed this" option for their content, so you can embed their "content" on your site. But if you use that code the content is in an iframe so it doesn't harm them on the duplicate content front AND the code gives Jason multiple direct clean backlinks. Whereas when Jason automatically embeds millions of scraped listings of your content he puts it right in the page as content on his page AND slaps nofollow on the link. If you use his content he gets credit...when he uses your content you get a lump of coal. NICE!

    • And, if you were giving Jason the benefit of the doubt, and thought the above was accidental, check out how when he scrapes the content in that all external links have a nofollow added, but any internal link *does not*

  • Matt stated "[Jason is] moving more toward we have got a lot of people who are paid editors to add a lot of value" ... and, in reality, Jason used the recession as an excuse to can the in house editorial team and outsource that to freelancers (which are paid FAR LESS than the amounts he hypes publicly). Given that many of the pages that have original content on them only have 2 sentences surrounded by large swaths of scraped content, I am not sure there is an attempt to "add a lot of value." Do you find this page on Shake and Bake meth to be a high quality editorial page?

  • What is EVEN MORE OUTRAGEOUS when they claim to have some editorial control over the content is that not only do they wrap outbound links which they are scraping content from in nofollow, but they publish articles on topics like 13 YEAR OLD RAPE. Either they have no editorial, or some of the editorial is done by pedophiles.

  • Worse yet, such pages are not a rare isolated incident. Michael VanDeMar found out that Mahalo is submitting daily lists of thousands of those auto-generated articles to Google via an XML sitemap...so when Jason claims the indexing was an accident, you know he lied once again!


Here Jason is creating a new auto-generated page about me! And if I want to opt out of being scraped I CAN'T. What other source automatically scrapes content, republishes it wrapped in ads and calls it fair use, and then does not allow you to opt out? What is worse in the below example, is that on that page Jason stole the meta description from my site and used it as his page's meta description (without my permission, and without a way for me to opt out of it).


So basically Matt...until you do something, Jason is going to keep spamming the crap out of Google. Each day you ignore him another entreprenuer will follow suit trying to build another company that scrapes off the backs of original content creators. Should Google be paying people to *borrow* 3rd party content without permission (and with no option of opting out)?

I think Jason has pressed his luck and made Matt look naive and stupid. Matt Cutts has got to be pissed. But unfortunately for Matt, Mahalo is too powerful for him to do anything about it. In that spirit, David Naylor recently linked to this page on Twitter.
What is the moral of the story for Jason Calacanas & other SEOs?
  • If you are going to create a thin spam site you need to claim to be anti-spam to legitimize it. Never claim to be an SEO publicly, even if you are trying to sell corporate SEO services.

  • If you have venture capital and have media access and lie to the media for years it is fine. If you are branded as an SEO and you are caught lying once then no soup for you.

  • If you are going to steal third party content and use it as content on your site and try to claim it is fair use make sure you provide a way of opting out (doing otherwise is at best classless, but likely illegal as well).

  • If you have venture capital and are good at public relations then Google's quality guidelines simply do not apply to you. Follow Jason's lead as long as Google permits mass autogenerated spam wrapped in AdSense to rank well in their search results.

  • The Google Webmaster Guidelines are an arbitrary device used to oppress the small and weak, but do not apply to large Google ad partners.

  • Don't waste any of your time reporting search spam or link buying. The above FLAGRANT massive violation of Google's guidelines was reported on SearchEngineLand, and yet the issue continues without remedy - showing what a waste of time it is to highlight such issues to Google.

96

Without third-party software, you must process each refund manually.As of the date of publication, PayPal has over 94.4 million users, many of whom are business owners who appreciate PayPal's capability to accept online payments in a variety of different currencies. One issue with PayPal, however, is that it does not...

95
Back in December 2007, I observed that "Blogs Are the New Trade Press." Today, it appears that news blogs are becoming the new online newspapers, too.

According to "The State of the News Media 2009," an annual report by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, "nearly one out of every five journalists working for newspapers in 2001 is now gone, and 2009 may be the worst year yet."

It adds, "Perhaps least noticed yet most important, th
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e audience migration to the Internet is now accelerating. The number of Americans who regularly go online for news, by one survey, jumped 19% in the last two years; in 2008 alone traffic to the top 50 news sites rose 27%."

In other words, people are still looking for news, "But audiences now consume news in new ways. They hunt and gather what they want when they want it, use search to comb among destinations and share what they find through a growing network of social media," reported the Project for Excellence in Journalism.

A Pew Research Center Survey in December 2008, found the number of Americans who said they got "most of their national and international news" online increased 67% in the last four years. The presidential election was almost certainly a key factor in the growth. More than a third of Americans said they got most of their campaign news from the Internet in 2008 -- triple the percentage in previous presidential election year.

Although the growth in online news consumption cut across age groups, the growth was fueled in particular by young people. Young voters and activists now rank the Internet as a news source of importance parallel to television, according to the Pew Research Center Survey.

The State of the News Media 2009 added, "And the video site YouTube also became a major delivery system for people to get news posted and recommended by friends and associates, and often from political campaigns. The Obama camp reported more than a billion minutes of campaign-produced material was downloaded from YouTube. And Youtube reported that the Obama campaign's 1800 web videos were viewed 100 million times in total."

According to Pew Research Center data, as of August 2008 the percentage of Americans who went online regularly for news (at least three times a week) was up 19% from two years earlier to nearly four in ten Americans (37%). No other medium was growing as quickly. Most saw audiences flat or declining.

The new numbers put the Web ahead of several other platforms for the first time. In the same August survey, 29% of Americans said they "regularly" watched network nightly news, 22% watched network morning shows and 13% Sunday morning shows.

The percentage of Americans, who relied on the Internet regularly, according to this data, was now roughly similar to that who regularly watched cable television for news (39%). More people still read a newspaper "yesterday" (34%) or listened to news radio (35%) than had viewed news online "yesterday" (29%). But the gap was narrowing.

Although the shift in audiences from print newspapers to online newspapers is "old news," Newsknife, which rates the top news sites at Google News, has just reported some "new news" that indicates of source gathering the news is also shifting.

According to an article posted yesterday, Newsknife noticed changes at Google News at the beginning of March that could affect traffic to news sites.

It appears to Newsknife that Google News has significantly increased its listing of blogs. "Compared with our previous findings there's now a real blogstorm," it reported.

Newsknife found 150 blog sites at Google News during March. "The growing number of blogs appearing at Google News seems to offer a simple success formula to news site owners: start blogs for your site and increase your chances of being listed at Google News," it advised.

Many news site owners started doing this a year ago. For example, Newsknife reported on March 1, 2008, a that blogs from the Washington Post, New York Times, Baltimore Sun, USA Today, and Los Angeles Times were starting to appear in Google News.

The topic of news business models for publishers in these changing times was addressed at SES New York last week. I moderated a panel that included (in aphapbetical order): Mark M. Edmiston, Managing Director of AdMedia Partners; Murray Gaylord, Vice President of Marketing and Customer Insights at NYTimes.com; Erik Matlick, CEO of Madison Logic; and Gill Torren, Associate Publisher of SC Magazine at Haymarket Media.

Following the session, Byron Gordon of SEO-PR interviewed Gaylord about the changing media landscape. Gaylord says The New York Times was aware of social media's impact back in the 1990's and has taken steps to integrate such developments into its brand making it the largest news site on the Web.

Gaylord added that NYTimes.com has more than 55 blogs and is integrating thousands of videos and related digital media into to its website, making the NY Times the most shared site on the Web. He went on to highlight a particular New York Times collaboration with Facebook, in advance of President Obama's inauguration.


S. Murray Gaylord, VP Marketing, New York Times, on social media's impact on publishing

What does this mean to readers of this Search Engine Marketing News Blog, which is also one of the more than 4,500 English-language news sources worldwide that have their headlines aggregated by Google News?

It means news search SEO is larger than press release optimization. It's larger than news article optimization. It includes blog post optimization.

And based on the latest Newsknife findings, it appears that news bloggers may be better at optimizaing their posts than traditional newspaper reporters. And this was happenening even before the economy collapsed.

What are the implications? The news industry has to reinvent itself sooner than it thought. And it has to do this at a time when economists are trying to draw the line between a recession and a depression.

In the meantime, marketers need to focus on the news blogs that are becoming the news online newspapers.


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This guest post is by Norbert Figueroa of GloboTreks. For many, keeping a blog is a full-time commitment, especially if you want to keep your readers active and engaged with what you have to say.  This often means spending long hours day after day creating content, commenting, promoting, and networking with other bloggers. Then the [...]

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger


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How to Keep Your Blog Active While Traveling

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One of the series of posts that we’re building here at ProBlogger is all about what to do in the first week of your new blog. We’re assuming you’ve already got your domain, chosen your blog platform and have installed a template/theme/design – but what comes next?
So far we’ve covered:

Writing Your First Compelling Content
Planning Future [...]Post from: Blog Tips at ProBlogger.


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3/the-first-week-of-your-blog-set-up-key-pages/">The First Week of Your Blog: Set Up Key Pages
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