Archive | July, 2006

The Spirit of The Radio

Posted on 29 July 2006 by SonHouse

I recently discovered Webmaster Radio..it’s probably been only in the last month or so.  I’ve been reading Shoemoney’s blog and was curious enough to tune into his first show, Net Income.  Since then I’ve listened to a bunch of the shows including: SEO Rockstar, Click This, Affiliate Marketing Today, and Net income.  Wow, what a great idea and the shows have been very informative.  I don’t really know any of these guys, but would like to get to know everyone at the upcoming shows, etc.  I dig the intro to SEO Rockstar.  Rush was one of my favorite bands growing up…I used to listen to The Spirit of The Radio in my 1971 VW Super Beetle with the amp cranked up to 11.

I really enjoy the SEO Rockstars show with Greg and Todd, funny dudes to say the least and very knowledgable in the search world.  You can pick up some great info from these guys and if you listen carefully, you’ll pick up on a few tricks of the trade.  The same goes for shoemoney’s show…he’s very straight forward and seems to know what he’s talking about, plus he flashed that big Adsense check on his site so anyone that can make that kind of scratch is going to get some attention from me.   JenSense has a show as well called click this..she goes after the search folks and I’ve heard her interview some people at google and MSN.  She hits them with some hard ball questions and represents the webmaster’s interests it seems, so go Jen!

I’m learning about a few other heavy hitters in the industry…can you say Matt Cutts?

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My Brush with Greatness, Little Stevie

Posted on 29 July 2006 by SonHouse

Ok, so I’m a big SRV fan and am proud to say it dates back a bit to my senior year in high school, 1985, that’s right I’m 38, about to turn 39 in a few days..yikes! Anyway, SRV had already made a name for himself by then but for a guy like me from a small south texas town, seeing him live was something I’ll never forget.

 

I was on spring break that year down at South Padre Island Texas, my friends and I had rented a huge condo that slept about 10 of us and about 10 girls from our high school had rented the unit next to ours so needless to say, we were having a blast. One of my roomies kept talking about this guy, SRV, that was playing that afternoon down at the jetties, we all decided to go down and check it out. Now, I play a little guitar and bass and had been for about 2 years and believe me when I say that things were never quite the same after that afternoon. I had experienced a life changing event that I will never forget. The date was March 11, 1985 and this picture is from that show..I was right in front!

 

SRV South Padre.gif

 

So..we get down to the jetties where the concert is being held, and this other buddy of mine knew a guy who’s old man worked for the beer distributors that were sponsoring the concert. This guy had a backstage pass that he snuck to my buddy through the chain link fence so he could get in…we then proceeded to sneak that pass to each one of us that was there and before long we were all backstage hanging with the bands and drinking King size Bud and Lite. I didn’t really know what SRV looked like but I saw a few dudes that just had to be in his band. There was one guy all dressed in black wearing this hat with a huge feather sticking out of it. He was standing off on his own drinking a beer. I would later learn that was Tommy Shannon, one half of and the bass player in SRV’s band Double Trouble. Chris Layton, SRV’s drummer the other half of the equation was lingering around too..talking to some friends.

 

I caught my first glimpse of SRV as he came out of a trailer in the backstage area..this guy was a site to see, pale as a ghost all dressed up in this crushed red velvet outfit, with long sleeves, complete with hat and feather of course. We lined the stairs leading to the stage as all the guys walked passed us giving us high fives along the way. The I rushed around to the front part of the stage that and planted myself right in front of SRV as he launched into a tune called Scuttle Buttin’ then into Soul to Soul from there…wow, I was simply blown away. I don’t really know what I was expecting but it certainly was not that. I think I stood there the rest of the time with my mouth hanging wide open as SRV continued to tear it up. The concert ended with him trashing his guitar and leaving the stage as feedback filled the air. Holy shit! That was it, I was hooked forever. Come to find out that SRV was probably bottoming out around that time on drugs and alcohol, but I must say it didn’t really affect his performance that afternoon.

 

I went on to see SRV many more times, probably 6 or 7 times while I was going to UT Texas in Austin. He always played concerts at the Palmer Auditorium or Austin Opera House.

 

The last time I saw him was in 1989 the year before he died. He played a concert at the Austin Opera House and my good buddy and I decided to go check it out. We brought our records along with us thinking we’d get to maybe see him after the show and get a few autographs, what were we thinking! Well after the show was over we went back to the car to get our LPs and as we walked back into the concert hall, we walked right passed the crew and security. Nobody was stopping us so we just kept on going. We ran into Tommy Shannon in this hallway, he was very cool, signed our albums and pointed us in the right direction to find Stevie. Well we continued through the backstage area and ended up in a bar in the back and sure enough, there sat SRV at the bar, talking with some friends. We nervously approached him and said something stupid like, “We love your music and play guitar ourselves”. He was very polite and told us to keep it up and keep practicing. He also signed our album covers, my buddy brought his Texas Flood and I brought my Live Alive double LP. He even signed mine twice once for me and once for my girlfriend. After a few handshakes and some small chat, we were on our way in total disbelief.

 

I’ll never forget that night…check out the LP cover..it’s a bit faded these days, almost 20 years old but still very cool to look at. He signed the inside cover to Carla, who was my girlfriend at the time…

SRV1.jpg

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Wonder SEO Powers, Activate!

Posted on 28 July 2006 by SonHouse

power.jpeg

Shape of a back link…form of a keyword.

If you got that..then we’re about the same age.

Ok..so I’ve been messing around with SEO for sometime, probably since around 1998.  I was doing it back in the day and didn’t even know it.  I was always fooling around with the meta tags and re-writing copy in such a way that was appealing to the SE crawlers.  This is back when there was no google and the main players were yahoo, excite, and lycos.  Also, there wasn’t a ton of spam out there so my site always ranked well in the keywords I was targeting.

Fast forward to today, and I’ve found that the tactics are different and the rules have certainly changed…not that I ever did anything too far on the dark side but I’m learning that some of these rules are somewhat open to interpretation and when you build a site that ranks well just to see it fall from grace due to some crazy algorithmic change or cosmic shift in the universe, then you have to ask yourself, WTF?

Anyway, I’m learning the hard way on a few of my projects.  I’ve been working on a network of information sites for the last 6 months.  Editing the pages, SEO totally on the up and up, adding tracking code, serving the ads, etc.  and one day, I’ll be damned, if a few of the sites, didn’t start receiving a ton of clicks drivin completely from google organic search.

So to my amazement, I watched all day as the vistors, clicks and ad dollars started pouring in.  Wow, I couldn’t believe it, all of my hard work was starting to pay off, every refresh in Adsense was seeing more and more cash flowing in…how cool is that?  I scrambled to tweak the pages that were getting the most traffic, started to investigate the back links, and added a few targeted images to the pages, creating a rotating script to keep them fresh.  Then I started working on internal link structures to improve user navigation and experience, built sitemaps and I tried to figure out where I rank in the SERPs.  This goes on for about 1 week.  I hardly slept that week working round the clock to get things done then one day I wake up to every webmaster’s worst nightmare, I can’t find any of the pages in google’s index, not one! I went from about 1,500 pages indexed to 0 overnight…for this one domain.

Hmmm…I about had a heart attack!  Not sure what had happened or why it had happened.  I had been running a program to track SERP’s for the pages and after about 250 searches I realized that the engines may not like this so I stopped.  I then read up that I needed to get a google API License Key which would allow me to do 1,000 searches per day.  So after I received my Key, I sent google a reinclusion request for the domain in question, got down on my knees to beg and told them what I did or thought I did wrong and asked very politely to be included back in the index.  I haven’t heard back, it’s been about 10 days or so, seems that it may take a while.

Then I hit the forums and blogs and discovered I may also have been penalized or banned due to duplicate content, I’m not sure though as I’ve never heard back from them.

The sites in question were information sites made up of articles that I purchased from someone online.  They may and probably are to be considered MFA sites, which I understand were hit hard this month.  The information is very useful and the ads are not very pronounced, and blend very well with the content.  I knew the content was not exclusive, you can find the same articles all over the place, but I thought if I could make improvements and improve the users experience with my pages then I could out rank the others.  Well..seems as though it may have worked a little too well. Keep in mind I kept it on the up and up the whole time, all white hat stuff.

The traffic on my site started to really pick up, 1,000 plus a day, on 7/05/06 and the party ended on 7/12/06.  One thing I read up on was that big changes have been going on at google for the last few months, Big Daddy is out, and working on all of the data centers now.  So my theory is that a bunch of the MFA sites did in fact get dropped or banned or whatever, and my rankings improved after those others were gone…then it was just a matter of time I guess, or I was dropped due to the script I was running to analyze the SERP’s, or there was some kind of shift or major change that effected my sites.  Who knows?

The real frustrating thing here is, I’m not sure what the problem is.

In the meantime though, I’ve been focusing on the other 2 of the big 3.  SERPs in Yahoo and MSN are fair, and continue to improve everyday.  I’ll just keep pluggin’ away, working on the sites and see what happens over the next few months.

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