Web Marketing Lesson 3: SEO Dos and Don’ts

SEO Lesson for Internet Marketers

Web. Social. Mobile. How do you dominate those fields with SEO in an age of smart search engines?

SEO Dos and Don'ts article graphic

First of all, know your SEO history, or be doomed to repeat its failures. Second, make sure you do good SEO and avoid bad SEO. Here’s how.

Good SEO

If you’re doing SEO, do:
1) White Hat SEO only.
2) Be intelligent, if you want to rank at the top of SERPs.
3) Produce the highest quality wherever and whenever possible.
4) Distribute organically on traditional websites, blogs, forums, and social networks, where you have verified or verifiable accounts and profiles.
5) Let the audience come to you.
6) Make sure you know and apply the 5 fundamentals of good on-site SEO (Title, Navigation, Sitemap, Content Hierarchy, and canonical, ahreflang / rel tags / geolocation-based data serving)
7) Use the rel=nofollow tag on most commercial links.
8) Use images, infographics and video more, with proper tags and microdataformat information.
9) Use microdataformats to include good information about non-text media objects like images, audio, video and PDF files, that Google and other engines can easily read and index accordingly.
10) Optimize your site for speed and different platforms (Desktop, laptop, mobile, etc).
11) Use Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools and know them inside out as far as SEO is concerned.
12) Remove the worst bad old links you have, and Disavow those you can not otherwise take down.
13) Test, test, test … Apply best possible incremental changes. Rinse and repeat.

Remember that just as in any other form of good marketing, you should focus on giving, selling, renting, leasing or otherwise making attainable to the people what they actually want. The higher your quality of work, the stronger your relationship will be with the user. If you make great content, as I hope I do, then your first goal with a user should be that your work is so great that the user will do everything just to sign-up to the freebie email newsletter on your site.

Keep in mind that unless you’re publishing secrets for being successful in a particular field (as this site does often), you can almost count on your users to spread the word for you. And that kind of prosteletizing is the best kind of word of mouth marketing, or WOMM, you can hope for. This is because WOMM is real. It’s not paid for, and people, being social creatures, are more likely to click on a link from a trusted friend, then from a random marketer who somehow slipped into their stream of data.

Some people who have warnings or even penalties in their GWT, have reported that completely ignoring these warnings and just continuing to produce better content has resulted in the penalties going away. However, for most webmasters, this is simply not the case. Just by opening the message, they are in a way acknowledging that they know that Google thinks they have done something that is a no-no in Google’s SEO rulebook. So definitely open your messages from GWT and fix whatever problem Google has been kind enough to share with you. It may take a while to do, and it may be a month or more until Google decides to lessen or remove your penalty. Whatever it takes, it’s worth it in the long run.

Of course there are also commercial services like MajesticSEO, ScreamingFrog, SEMRush, LinkResearchTool, SEOMoz, SEOBook, QuickSprout, and tons of other SEO tools which can be of great help in finding and removing bad links. LRT is especially proud of their service in this area, marketing their “bad link juice” or toxic link removal feature as a selling-point for their paid service.

Recommended SEO Tools:

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To date, reports from webmasters are that while LRT is comprehensive, it may also be a little too sensitive about what is and what is not a toxic link. My own experience with LRT is that roughly 20% – 40% of the links which it recommended to remove, were in fact perfectly fine, and that no removal was necessary. At the same time, about 60% – 80% of the links it recommended that I remove for one particular client, which had more than 435,000 backlinks from around the web, did need to be fixed, removed, and in a few cases, disavowed.

Bad SEO

If you’re doing SEO, don’t:
1) Do Grey Hat or Black Hat SEO.
2) Produce a ton of web spam. In fact, don’t publish any webspam at all.
3) Create a ton of thin profiles and accounts to blast cheap-o links and barely legible comments on news sites, .edu sites, .gov sites, online fora, social media and other web sites.
4) Buy links.
5) Buy followers, friends, likes, shares or re-pins.
6) Try to outproduce the largest brands in your field.
7) Googlebomb irrelevant garbage with poor quality links and anchor text.
8) Make most of your links “follow” links.
9) Over-optimize.
10) Use non-readable technologies like Flash and iframes for displaying content on pages that you want to rank high.
11) Think you know everything and that you have nothing left to learn about improving your SEO.
12) Feign ignorance about the latest SEO tweaks, hoping Google will let you slide.
13) Ignore Yahoo!, Bing, Yandex, DuckDuckGo and other big search engines.

For better or for worse, Google actually believes that its bot is now smart enough to make most decisions about what is high quality content and what is webspam. Even if you know you’re doing everything by the book, you should probably incorporate a few things that de-optimize your SEO strategy a little. Otherwise, it will reek of manipulation, and that’s a no-no in today’s SEO reality.

Keep in mind that the days of owning the search results by tricks and shady ruses are long behind us. Yes, you can still get short term gains from those methods, but they will eventually come back to bite you in the backside. And if you make a bad mistake, you could even harm or kill a real, valuable brand.

Just look at what happened to JC Penney. Someone there doing shady SEO tricks tried to fool Google with paid backlinks in 2012 and got spanked hard by Google. It took them a long time (relatively) and a lot of headaches (and probably lots of money) to get back into google’s good graces.

Remember that those brands and marketers who have legitimate massive appeal will organically crush most of their small-time competition without even trying. Unless you’re selling cold-fusion in a cup for under a buck, or something as cool, useful and catchy as WhatsApp or SnapChat, there is just no way you’re going to have millions of users and genuine backlinks overnight, or even within years. That kind of popularity is usually grown slowly … repeat … s–l—o—-w——–l–y.

Staying on top of the lesser search engines is also key to SEO success, because, even though individually they may not add up to much, overall, they account for at least 25% of all searches, and even more if you also include social media search engines. This means that you should be sure to do some non-google optimization, lest you ignore those audiences, and lest you make googlebot think you are only targeting google for exploitative purposes.

And always remember that very often, the best SEO looks very much like organized chaos. Organized on the back end, and often chaotic-looking on the front end, with no single routine or format to encapsulate all of the work that goes into it. All the same, you should be more concerned with being organized. The organic nature and the benefits of what appear to be chaos will ensue, just by the very work that is done by you, and the audience with whom you have cultivated a relationship. Done right, they will eagerly look for ways to link to your site from at least one of their own sites or social profiles, if not more.

    Useful SEO Resources:

    The SEO Guide you must read:
Google’s official SEO Rules as a PDF document:
    An SEO you can learn from:
Connect with an SEO Ninja
    SEO tools
Checkout SEO Resource
    Another great SEO tutorial
Read this Advanced SEO Guide

My independent social agreement with you: If you like what you saw on this page and want to help me in my quest to challenge Google’s public pronouncements on publishing great content, then please share the link to this page on your social network profiles and anywhere that you think it might help other people.

Previous Lesson: Web Marketing Lesson 2.6: SEO Overview : A brief history of search engine optimization.
Next Lesson: Web Marketing Lesson 4: Building A Site After Domain Name Registration. The best, easiest, fastest way to build your website, pre-optimized for search platforms and different devices, right from the start.

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SEO Overview : A brief history of search engine optimization

seo history title graphic

The truth about SEO

SEO means Search Engine Optimization. It’s all about getting your pages and sites to the top of Google and other major engines, in order to gain a greater share of users, and ultimately it is used to drive people through your acquisition and conversion funnel, for commercial purposes.

To internet publishing insiders, the very concept of SEO reeks of Google hacking and tricksterism. But what is SEO? How did SEO come to be what it is today? Where is SEO going? Why do marketers love it and use it? Why is it so often reviled, and so rarely loved by the search engine operators of the world? And how can you make sure you’re doing good SEO that the search engines and real people at the other end of the search, will actually love and promote for you?

In a word, accountability.

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You see, back in the early days of search engine development, people would search freely for all kinds of things, just as they do now, only to find a lot of searches have very thin search results come up. And then the keyword marketers came along. They (we) figured out very early on in the game, how to determine what people were searching for, how competitive those search terms were, and how to rank well for them.

Ranking well was easy, because a) there were not so many SEOs gaming the system, and b) it was all about the number of links pointing from servers around the web, to a target website being pushed up the rankings in an unnatural way.

It was easy, because there was no accountability. Anyone could be anyone, and the more accounts an SEO set up, the merrier. You could buy thousands or even millions of of links, follows, friends, likes, shares, and just about any other kind of semi-trackable and wholly valuable “link juice” from an army of websites willing to sell automatic links, real-human links, and more, for less than a pack of cigarettes.

Also, tons of content management systems, or CMSes, were maturing tyo the point were nearly anyone online could set up a site, or even a network of sites, easily and quickly. Quality be damned; the volume game was still on. Blogger and WordPress became the leading causes and sources of low and medium quality webspam.

People who built a single site with high quality information were screwed, left to dwell at the bottom of page 549 of a search result, unless they lucky enough to have tons of real followers who, through organic word of mouth and social media marketing, were happy to share their content.

This meant that the people calling themselves SEOs were growing rapidly, in large numbers, with high salaries for doing easy, low quality work. For those of us focused on quality, it was at times annoying and frustrating; at others, downright infuriating, and often a business-killer.

That meant of course that many great sites simply died on the vine, and not for lack of trying. They were just too ethical for their own short-term needs. However, in the long-run, those who stuck to playing by the rules, would get a better chance at success again, as long as they survived until the inevitable search engine evolutions that would change SEO forever.

And there was little to nothing that Google or other engines could do about it. Their algorithms were still just stupidly counting link volume and link velocity as the main ingredients for determining what made a site rank higher. This lack of accountability was terrible.

By allowing the system to be gamed for so long, many regular users started to understand that most of the links they actually wanted, were probably not on page 1 of their search results. In face, it was not surprising to see all commercial links on page 1, above even the wikipedia links for important or popular subject searches.

So the big search engines decided to get smarter. Doing so would not be impossible do to, as long as they could eliminate the gamers, or at least reduce their impact. One team, the Google web spam and web quality team, was led by a guy who seems to really communicate very well what google looks for. His name is Matt Cutts, and he is famous in the SEO industry.

Matt is the lead googler when it comes to figuring out who is trying to game the network, and who is an honest and accountable person or organization, trying to legitimately post interesting information for their target audiences. Matt frequently posts blog articles and videos, as do many of his colleagues, about what is good content, and what is shady, or outright spammy content.

Recommended SEO Video:

See Matt Cutts about producing high quality content:
Find out with

Matt’s team was integral in helping Google improve its search algorithms, by removing the spammy links and lowering the rankings, or even removing tons of websites form the search engine’s index of search engine results pages, aka: SERPs. But they did not roll out this quality assurance protocol all at once. Instead, they let it trickle across the network, almost one category at a time, so that by the time it was noticed by most marketers, it had already done its job and would become harder and harder to outgame in the future.

Meanwhile, SEOs were busy trying to figure out how to game search by using social media. Given their popularity and contant connection to people’s smartphones, this seemed like a great goldrush again, and now easily dominating the relatively virgin mobile search entered the market as a tasty proposition for smart marketers. Thanks to iPhone, and then Android devices, hundreds of millions of smartphones appeared in people’s hands, and people were searching from the handsets as much or more than they were from their desktop computers and laptops.

So the SEOs were partly distracted by social and mobile while changes were happening behind the scenes in California.

And then the little engines that could, got smarter.

As I have suggested, from 1994 – 2009, SEOs had a very easy time, ranking just about any website for just about any keyword. All we had to do was pump up the link count and the diversity of those links across as many servers, subnets, IP numbers and C-Classes as possible. It was a period of netting fish in a barrel.

There was even great, cheap software that did this semi-automatically, if not fully automated. For less than the cost of dinner, you could own a range of keywords for any number of sites you wanted to push, and you could do it quickly, without too much competition. People on sites like WarriorForum and DigitalPoint Forum could semi-anonymously exchange information and trade links, or buy/sell links in massive numbers, and for very little money.

It seemed as if the heydey would last and create a second Internet marketing bubble. But those who held that view, and were clogging the Interwebz with garbage, were very narrow-minded, and were causing their brands more long-term damage than they imagined.

Around 2010, search engines started getting smart. Very smart. The algorithms were hitting hundreds, even thousands of calculations for every search a user made. They pulled results that included not just the number of links, or backlinks pointing to a target site, they also started being quite refined at pulling contextual search results, relating the actual search terms being looked up, against the anchor text of a link. They also started searching smarter for the words near the anchor text, or link.

Come 2011, and Google was not just the leading search engine on Earth, it was also quietly building itself up as one of the leading networks of verified users. Other massive networks, like Facebook, were also growing at a tremendous pace, with hundreds of millions of users signed up and at least partially verified. Yes, you could still create fake accounts (and people still do), but various steps were required to make multiple accounts on any single device.

Simultaneously, the searches on social sites were being logged, and fed into their own search engines. Twitter and facebook were then also mostly taken out of google’s search results, and as a result, you had a tumultuous period of finding and losing pages very quickly within a google search, and people started to rely more on searches directly on their favorite social networks.

Then, Google launched Google+, and it seemed like a godsend for SEOs who were looking to beat the system once again. They created tons of accounts as fast as they could, but they had to use names that seemed real to Google, and they have to give information that was a little more verifiable than ever before. Soon it seemed as if the only people really using Google+ very much were:
1) Google employees, and others who have a vested interest in seeing Google+ succeed.
2) Tech snobs or the so-called technorati, aka: elites, who just wanted to show the world that they were cooler than facebook, and they, as early adopters, would use google’s all-powerful social network to remain on the leading edge.
3) SEOs and SEMs who market brands for various products and services, using the power of the internet.

Meanwhile, the big change people were noticing was that on Google+, was that it was ripe for hacks. It was possible to rank on page 1 on the same day that an article was published, if Google+ was tricked into believing that it had received a number of +1s quickly, and given the still partly unverified Google accounts, it was easy to have bots or cheap labor in India and across Asia and Latin America, and even Eastern Europe, provide “real” people-generated profiles, that could then be used to pump up the link-juice of any target site. So even though Google’s web quality team was fighting the good fight, trying to deliver the best research for searches, they were also allowing themselves to be one of the leading causes of webspam. Give that a big +1 for irony.

And then came the Panda

Near the end of 2011, Google quietly started rolling out their first famous Panda update. It took effect by the end of January 2012, and hit hundreds of thousands, if not tens of millions of websites.

Panda basically counted not just the traditional algorithm, but also the freshness of content. Panda also was smart at making connections and bringing out into the daylight many link networks and shady link juice practices, which helped them cull millions of bad SEO pages from their index. Of course, this also hit many legit pages, which were maybe the unintended victimes of bad SEO from the old-school days of simple link-building techniques.

As SEOs took measures to defend themselves against the damage caused, or about to be caused by Panda, Google had more surprises in store. Just when everyone in the industry thought that they had applied the necessary changes to reduce the minimum possible amount of webspam published in their brand names, the GOOG went off and set up a rolling update strategy. This means that changes would take effect on an ongoing basis, and that they would not all be announced.

Now, SEOs were faced with updating their sites and pages every 90 days (maximum) or have those sites and pages fall out of google entirely.

Soon, Panda 2 and others in its wake would take hold and affect even more sites. So many changes came, in fact, that even leading search engine publications and analysts stopped trying to keep track or name every single change.

Then followed the Penguin

Penguin quickly followed Panda as the biggest change in the google algorithm in years. It counted not only freshness, but it also counted social signals much more.

Penguin caused more alarms to go off than any previous update, even though in theory, Google had long-since discounted and social search results. This major change meant that although links on social networks should not have accounted for much link juice, actual links, likes, shares, re-pins, and follows by real people were powerful indicator’s of a site’s real value, at least as far as the googlebot was concerned.

Now SEOs had to figure out how to publish all kinds of great content, in quick, regular succession, and get it shared socially, or ignore social media at their own peril.

The Penguin update, in line with the previous Google dictates about rolling updates, quickly had Penguin 2.0 and other udpates streaming out so fast, that people in the know stopped tracking every minute change.

The search engines were back on top … for a while. And it seemed they were gaining ground, wiping out zillions of pages of garbage. Yet plenty of junk remained, and much of it was still gaming the system. This was especially true in sectors which Google ignores, mostly because they don’t like them. And the acronym of these sectors is, ironically, PPC. And as we all know, PPC, or Pay-Per-Click advertising is the bread and butter of Google and other big engines.

Of course, the PPC I’m talking about here stands for something else entirely, although it is also the leading source of money spent in PPC ads. The PPC I’m talking about is Pills, Porn and Casino. Those three sectors are topics that Googlers would prefer just did not exist. And yet, they are by far three of the most popular search categories since the dawn of civilization, let alone the search engines.

So too came the Hummingbird

Come mid-2013, Google announced that its latest major overhaul was called Hummingbird. And by overhaul, we mean a complete reboot for the google machine.

You see, Hummingbird effectively replaced the entire google search engine. It left in place the different calculations that google makes for every search query it receives. And it made real-time, social and location-based search results stand out much more, especially for the majority of regular users, who are plugged in to their google accounts in one way or another, at just about any time that they’re googling.

So now Hummingbird delivered more search results that seemed to be relevant uniquely to the searcher, and it did so faster than ever before.

At this point, SEOs had to look at their strategies and techniques much closer than ever before. The notion that you could build a strong brand with grey hat and black hat SEO was dying quickly. White Hat SEO, the bane of lazy SEOs everywhere, was once again seen as the best of breed method of getting the best possible SEO results.

Of course, White Hat SEO is harder, more time consuming work, than the tricks and hacks of the lesser forms of SEO. Still, the merits of long-term value building with white hat SEO made the case clearer than ever. Just as you would not succeed long-term by tricking people to eat at your restaurant when you serve them garbage, you will no longer be able to succeed at building top ranked sites and pages by tricking users into visiting your site, or even putting up poor quality links to it from as many sites as possible.

Nowadays, in 2014, it is quite literally more beneficial to your SEO work and your page’s rank and targeted traffic, to have 1 link from a great website, than 1000 links from 1000 low quality sites. And while it will take you much more time to get that great link, the fact is, it’s worth it.

Don’t just believe that I write. Test against my theories, always.

If you’re not yet convinced, go ahead and try it on just one page, or one new site. Track that new content’s performance against the pages and sites you maintain with old techniques. If you do it right, you will see your better content with higher quality links shoot up quicker and for longer periods of time, than all of the lower quality pages you make in the next 30 – 90 days.

While you’re chewing your mind candy over what you’ve just learned here, watch this great video which goes in-depth about many instances of historical facts and sidenotes of the SEO industry, from 1994 until early 2014.

Post Lesson Note

My unofficial social contract with you: If you like what you learned in this article and care to help me in my challenge to test Google’s claims about publishing high quality content, then please share this page on your social network profiles and anywhere that you think it might help other people.

Previous Lesson: Web Marketing Lesson 2: Branding 101: Build a Brand to Remember

Next Lesson: Web Marketing Lesson 3: SEO Do’s and Don’ts The current best practices top SEO guide in 1 page.

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Branding 101

Build A Brand To Remember

Brands come in all shapes and sizes. Successful brands come in a much more limited set, restricted by guidelines, business values, and investor concerns, among other things.

I have spent more than 20 years working on branding issues. It has been part of my work in creating and developing brands and their strategies for businesses around the world. One primary lesson I learned about branding is, it’s important to always be open to learning from experts who have plenty of experience in branding, even if you have a pure, raw, natural talent for it.

And while that is obviously true for just about any subject, it is even more so in branding, because branding involves making a connection between people, … not just yourself … and the ideas and messages communicated by the brand. And here’s why this lesson is so incredibly important: If you don’t make the emotional or mental connection with whoever sees the brand, then you probably won’t form any further relationship with that person, so you’ve already lost them before you ever had a chance to get to know them.

Branding pre-requisites

Understanding what makes brands succeed or fail is a preliminary requirement before you go about trying to grapple the process on your own. Normally, it involves more than one person to get the job done right.

Without being too metaphorical, a brand is a lot like a tattoo. It’s kind of permanent, if it’s done well, but even the best made brand will experience subtle changes over time. If not maintained properly, it will eventuall fade and become less appealing. If maintained well, it will become more beautiful over time, and can even be refreshed from time to time by great creative visionaries and artists.

Given this idea, it is important to spend some time considering the Pros and Cons of various color palettes and combinations. Test with your instincts, your feelings, your thoughts, and yes, with blind test groups where possible. If you’re a one-person show, then test with a professional graphic artist or brand designer. If you can’t afford to do that, then test with a trusted friend, or better yet, multiple friends, if you can’t afford to do a proper multi-panel test. You’ll be surprised how others perceive the greatness you have conceived.

Don’t just sit there. Decide.

Eventually, you will need to pick a set of colors that you think will work best.  Go ahead. Do it. Don’t be afraid. These colors can be changed .. even if only slowly .. later on.

As an example, here are the main colors I decided to go with for this site, when I got to this point in creating this lesson. They’re nice and richly saturated. They go together, complimenting each other with a strong enough contrast without blinding the eyes.

theme colors for yasha.harari.org from 2014 march 7

And here is the custom cartoon image I created and decided to use as my branded avatar for this website, once I arrived to this point in creating this lesson.

yamaha harari custom cartoon avatar

Then, I put down on paper my thoughts about what I communicate through the SEO and Marketing tutorials on this website. And I boiled it down, pretty quickly, to just three words. Marketing. Savvy. Shared.

Mixing those ideas with the colors and cartoon image of myself and my name, I came up with this branded header.

yasha harari website cartoony brand headingTotal time: 20 minutes, including 15 minutes for the graphics and 5 minutes to write about it here.

Note: If you can’t design well or make cool graphics quickly, hire a pro. It’s worth it. Go to odesk or fiverr or freelancer sites anywhere online and you can get graphics done … affordably.

    Useful Brand Builder Resource:

    Need a cool graphic done on time and under budget?
    Get what you need right now, at

That site has been around many years, and has a network of over 10 Million users. I have used their services often, and I definitely recommend them.

By the way, here’s a great video about branding from a TEDx event, by a guy named Sasha, not to be confused with me, Yasha.

And here’s another clip, which you actually have to read, that explains pretty well (in 2011 terms) a big picture summary of the history of branding and how it has changed over the centuries.

And of course, if you enjoyed what you read in this article and want to help me in my effort to put Google to the test, then please share the link to this page on your social media profile or wherever else it could benefit others.

OK, that’s it for now. Good luck making your own kickass brand that’s memorable, and totally awesome, and stay tuned for the next lesson in building a top website.

Previous Lesson: 2014 Challenge 1 : Build a Top Website

Next Lesson: Web Marketing Lesson 2.6 : SEO Overview : A brief history of search engine optimization

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2014 Build A Top Website Challenge #1

Hi there.

As many of you know, I am an avid internet business guy. I have been working this digital medium for 20+ years, and using computers properly since around 1980 or so (when I was still a very young lad). So I think it’s about time that I share some of my really useful lessons and information that you can benefit from.

I spent decades learning this stuff, and I have decided to give away what I know, for free, so you don’t have to struggle as I did, to learn the hard way how this is all done. I’m about to blow your mind, by revealing deep insider secrets about how you can make your own successful website, and if you’re so inclined, earn your way up to the point where you can quit your day job if you wish, or keep it as a side income. You’re welcome. 🙂

So without further ado … here we go.

Challenge #1

On March 3, 2014, I decided to put this website, my little blog, to the test.

By following only strict white hat SEO rules as layed out in Google Webmaster Tools and other best practices used by professionals throughout the search engine optimization industry, I began testing what effect this will have on this website’s popularity with people and with google going forward.

In other words, even though this website is published by an SEO and digital marketing professional, and covers the topic of SEO and Affiliate Marketing, this site does not use any SEO strategies, tricks or techniques to artificially increase backlinks or pump up its own rankings in search results (aka: SERPs) in Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yandex, DuckDuckGo or any other search engine. Not even my own (Yes, I have built / coded search engines from scratch). All I chose to do for this web site is follow the white hat SEO rules. Nothing more, nothing less.

Let’s see if Matt Cutts is correct when he says that all a webmaster has to do to get a site well ranked and successful as an authoritative site in any niche, is to just publish great content that people will want to share, or at least use a lot even if they keep the knowledge just to themselves.

My Promotional Strategy

To be clear, all I will do to promote this website on its path to success, is:
A) Post in forums like DigitalPoint, TrafficPlanet & WarriorForum
B) Get involved on social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc.
C) Comment on blog posts (with relevant links to my tutorials where appropriate)
D) Set up some commando Google Alerts to discover new sites and other places where I can get involved
E) Ask people to share the page to get exclusive access to my unique professional set of resources
F) Directly ask people to share
G) Ensure that it is easy for you and other people to share my content, connect with me on social media networks and subscribe to my e-mail updates.

Hopefully this simple and straightforward method, together with great content, shall suffice in growing the blog into a successful one.

Learn. Replicate. Customize. Enjoy.

By the way, if you would like to study and apply the methods of how I have grown this site from nothing into what it is today, you may simply follow and copy my work step-by-step as outlined from here on out.

Of course, your site could be about any topic; Arts, entertainmant, news, SEO, Zelda, just to name a few. And it can offer any product or service. How you pick your niche is a whole other lesson. I plan to release a post about that.

For now, lets’s say you already have your idea, and you’re ready to start to put your site up. Now what? Where will you register your domain name? Who will you choose as your web host? What about privacy? Ecommerce features? Other options? The answers to those questions will also be adressed.

Lesson 1, Step 1 : Pick a domain name registrar and web host.

The first step for newbies or anyone thinking of building a new website, is to get signed up with a domain name registrar. A registrar is simply the company that registers your domain name. Many of them also provide high quality web hosting, which is where you store your website so that it is available to people around the world.

There are many great web hosts that can handle any new website you might want to setup and run. They include Dreamhost, GoDaddy, Bluehost, Gandi, HostGator, and so many more. There are literally dozens of great ones to choose from, and they are all very affordable. Your location, and where your audience is primarily based, is also key to picking your host. Also, things like easy software installation and management, easy domain management and other goodies and freebies which hosts often give away (including hundreds of dollars worth of free PPC ads on Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) can be compelling bells & whistles that may help you decide which is the best option for your needs and your budget.

If you would like to see a great registrar and web host at work,

They always have great offers. I know, they have a lot of critics. Of course, every top web host has many critics. That’s what happens when you’re successful. Still, GoDaddy has remarkably great service, and really low prices. At least that’s been my experience with them over the years, and I use many web hosts simultaneously, to handle all of the different websites I run.

Another solid domain name registrar and web host I recommend is,

Although I have more experience with GoDaddy than with JustHost, I can say that so far, I have only had great service with JustHost, and they also offer very competitive package deals with great features and low prices.

If you like what you read here and would like to contribute to this effort to put Google to the test, then all I ask is that you please share the link to this page on your social networks or anywhere else with anyone you know who could benefit from it.

While you’re thinking about that, have fun looking at these pictures and videos.

OK, that’s it for now. Be sure to check back soon. I’ll be updating these lessons.

Next Lesson: Web Marketing Lesson 2: Branding 101

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What I like about the new Yahoo! flickr and tumblr

The revived Yahoo! shines with a flickr of light

How one woman helped get that done.

marissa mayer caricatureIf you haven’t noticed, every since ex-Googler Marissa Mayer took up the reins as CEO of Yahoo! … the old purple bastion of human-interevened search in Silicon Valley has lifted itself up out of the grave which it once dug for itself.

In fact, Mayer has done such an outstanding job that she is now boss of the company that just last month, in July, 2013, Yahoo! saw its US search traffic top that of Google, for the first time in … well, since just about the first time that Google took first place.

So what has the new Yahoo! Chief done that has helped turn around the once dying dinosaur?

Well, I’m not going to bore you with all of the rumors and reports of internal changes, or the lavish expenses she afforded herself to build a childcare facility exclusively for her own offspring. Nope. I’m just going to focus on the three biggest changes that have rolled into town, or rather, into Yahoo! in the past year.

1) She bought tumblr. While this may not seem like anything that would help Yahoo! back to the top spot in U.S. web search, the fact is that tumblr is a fast growing service, still used mostly by teens and young adults. They are the prime demographic to target for early adoption and for social marketing. When something spreads on tumblr, it generally spreads elsewhere, too. Yes, it’s a big risk (in terms of capital) but the payoff is tremendous, if it can be actualized. And so far, so good (at least from an outside perspective).

2) She made flickr probably the coolest photo and video (and file) storage facility online. Every single flickr account now has a Terabyte (yes, that’s right, a terabyte) of free space. That’s one thousand Gigabytes. I’m not sure if you’re counting, but the last time I checked, Google accounts were in the 30 GB range, and that’s for old accounts with tons of content on them already. This makes flickr the uniquely positioned player to dominate the space of content farming.

3) She is turning Yahoo! Search into something more algorithmic, and less polluted by human interference. This one’s my favorite. When she was at Google, Ms. Mayer helped brand the extremely computer-based algorithms and SERPs of the GOOG as the most elegant way to give users what they were searching for.

However, if you’ve looked at Google over the last year, you will have noticed that their biases and other silly protocols are interfering more and more in what their search engine results pages display. In other words, Google is becoming less and less computational, and more and more based on the human bias of their editors and executives (nepotism is already in full swing there — just ask Page and Brinn, the two co-founders, who have allowed their friends and family’s websites to shoot straight to the top of their niches, without any apparent reason of actual authoritativeness).

Meanwhile, Yahoo!, which started out as a fully human directory, has started to show that it too can compete in the algorithm game, and the search results are becoming more and more bias-free, and based increasingly on science.

Oh yeah, and without adding it to the list, she upgraded the Yahoo! logo The first one I saw was on August 28. It was a simple Times looking font I saw last week looked almost accidental, only to be replaced with a kind of clean, futuristic runes font. It’s very retro … the one from last week was almost a rip-off of the old Google font. It kind of said “our logo doesn’t matter. You’re here to find what you’re looking for, regardless of the pretty face we put out front.” And now the new one seems to hark to ancient times … long before there was an Internet, or anything digital, for that matter, save for our index fingers. And now they’re rolling out (as a test?) a new logo every day in September. Here’s a sneak preview they posted on YouTube (a Google company):

So three cheers for Mayer, and may we all see a better Yahoo! grow, yay, even as hipsters and mainstream users turn away from the omnipresent and privacy-intruding Google.

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