Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Dealing With Search Engine Stress


As a member of several search engine optimization forums, and I have recently noticed (especially since Yahoo recently decided to try their hand at competing with Google) that the stress level of many webmasters has gone way up. This applies not only to webmasters involved in Internet-based home businesses, but to webmasters in general.

Additionally, it seems that many people that are in the business of search engine optimization (SEO) are, with good reason, going completely bonkers. As Google came on the scene in 1998 and quickly dominated the search business, website optimization became largely a game of shooting at a single target, namely, pleasing Google…for all intents and purposes, Google became the “800 pound gorilla” of the search engine business.

Since the advent of search engines (particularly Google) spawned the whole SEO business, I guess its only fair that the search engine industry can once again turn the SEO business on its ear, and it seems now to be sort of a cat and mouse (not desktop) relationship that can get really interesting as we move forward.

Not only are there now several viable players (most notably Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Ask Jeeves) in the search engine business, but they are all adopting different and frequently changing algorithms for determining the ranking positions for websites. The current game is that webmasters are trying to figure out how the various search engines perform the rankings and, on the flip side, the search engines are striving to be unpredictable to those webmasters and SEO firms.

For those people using websites to promote home-based businesses, it can be stressful constantly trying to determine “what the search engines want” and agonizing over every downward fluctuation in rankings that their website may experience.

Looking forward in time, I think we can expect that rankings will fluctuate frequently and will not be at all consistent from one search engine to another. It will be quite common that for a particular search term a website might suffer a drop in position ranking for search engine “A” and an increase position ranking for search engine “B” at essentially the same point in time.

Rather than stressing out over every position ranking “wiggle", a better approach might be to just focus on “what do visitors to my site want?”. The search engines are striving to give their users a quality (relevant) search experience and if you are focused in giving visitors to your website what they are looking for, these paths will meet somewhere down the road.

You can save yourself alot of consternation by focusing upon the needs of the website visitors you are seeking to attract, rather than chasing the frequently changing ranking algorithms of several search engines. Focus on a single target instead of chasing several miving targets at the same time.

This article pertains to natural searches only, as paid search engine advertising is a completely different situation. Full Article

Guest Columnist Kirk Bannerman operates a successful home based business and resides in California. For more details, visit his Website

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

You're a slave to the schedule. What's up with that? Don't you represent freedom?

which Girl Interrupted character are you?

Georgina Tuscan

You are roomate to Susanna, and a pathological liar (you tell people your father is the head of the CIA). You live in a world you created in your mind, and are obsessed with childhood and the Wizard of Oz.

Personality Test Results

Monday, April 19, 2004


LONDON (Reuters) - British commuters take note -- the respectable person sitting next to you on the train fumbling with their cell phone might be a "toother" looking for sex with a stranger.

"Toothing" is a new craze where strangers on trains, buses, in bars and even supermarkets hook up for illicit meetings using messages sent via the latest in phone technology.

"Toothing is a form of anonymous sex with strangers -- usually on some form of transport or enclosed area such as a conference or training seminar," says the "Beginner's Guide To Toothing" on a Web site dedicated to the pursuit.

It is made possible by Bluetooth technology which allows users to send phone contacts, pictures and messages to other Bluetooth-enabled equipment over a range of about 10 meters (yards).

Users discovered they could send anonymous messages to people they didn't know with Bluetooth equipment, spawning a craze dubbed "bluejacking."

Jon, aka "Toothy Toothing" and the guide's author, explained toothing was born after he was "bluejacked" by an unknown girl while commuting to work in London. After a few days of flirting, she suggested a brief encounter in a station lavatory.

"The meeting wasn't a romantic thing -- it was purely sexual. Barely anything was said," he told Reuters via e-mail.

He said potential toothers begin by sending out a random greeting -- usually "Toothing?."

"If the other party is interested, messages are exchanged until a suitable location is agreed -- usually a public toilet, although there are tales of more adventurous spots such as deserted carriages or staff areas," his guide adds.

Jon, who's in his 20s and works in finance, estimates there could be tens of thousands of toothers from all sorts of professions and lifestyles. Certainly the Web site's message board is busy.

"Any toothing on these trains?" asks one poster about services between Cambridge and London, prompting positive responses from "Dannyboy" and "Zeke."

"I'll be around London Bridge mainline station around 9.45 - 10 a.m. tomorrow if anyone's interested...," another poster called "Boi" wrote hopefully.

While some happily recount their successful encounters, others suggest there are a few teething problems with toothing.

"I tried toothing in Tooting (south London) last night... not a device to be found," a frustrated "Snowdog" posted sadly.

Although clearly not what the industry had in mind, toothing may lead operators toward similar, more mainstream projects.

Last month it was reported that a team in Boston had created a service for cell phones called Serendipity, an wireless alternative to online dating.

It allows subscribers to store their personal details and what they want from a partner and when there are enough similarities between two people and they happen to be in the same area, it tells their phones to communicate with each other.

Dario Betti, of the British-based consultancy Ovum, said bluejacking had really taken off, helped by the fact the service was free.

"The element of the unknown, that you are connecting to someone around you that you might not know, it's a novelty factor that is helping it to start," he told Reuters.

If Jon and those who use his forum are right, toothing is certainly livening up life for some bored commuters.

"A lot of my day's taken up with a soul-aching commute into the city, and that just feels like dead time," Jon said.

"Flirting is fun, sex is fun. We're just employing expensive, complex toys to find the most basic form of entertainment." Full Article Here

Rule may compel Google to open books

By Michael Bazeley
Mercury News

Rampant speculation about a possible public stock offering has turned Google into the most closely watched technology company in the world.

Now the Mountain View Internet company may be forced to show its hand.

Privately held Google appears to have triggered a provision of the 1934 Securities and Exchange Act that requires it to disclose closely guarded financial details by the end of the month.

The filing, with the Securities and Exchange Commission, would reveal so much about the secretive firm that many experts believe Google might take the next logical step and file for an initial stock offering, reaping the financial rewards that go along with having to open its books.

``It's a terrible place to be in because you get all the disadvantages of being a public company and none of the advantages,'' said Scott Spector, an attorney with Fenwick & West in Palo Alto. ``I can't imagine the company wanting to be in that situation.''

Google officials have been tight-lipped about the reporting requirement and possible plans for an IPO, and they declined to comment for this story.

But many observers believe that Google has triggered the requirements to become a ``publicly reporting'' company.

Companies must report financial results to the SEC once they have at least $10 million in assets and more than 500 shareholders of record, including employees who hold stock options. Google's profits are thought to be $100 million or more. And the assumption -- reinforced by Google's Web site, which touts ``pre-IPO stock options'' to prospective employees -- is that the company has granted stock options to most of its more than 1,000 employees.

If those assumptions are true, then Google should have to start making quarterly filings to the SEC by April 30, which is 120 days after the close of its fiscal year.

Reporting companies must disclose the same information to federal regulators as publicly traded companies, including assets, liabilities, operating expenses and partnerships. But they do not trade their shares on the Nasdaq or New York stock exchanges.

``The notion is that once you have 500 shareholders, you are a public company,'' said Peter M. Astiz, a securities attorney with the Gray Cary law firm in East Palo Alto. ``The effect is you become public. They have to report all the same numbers.''

Most companies view this middle ground with disdain because they spend millions to comply with government regulations and get nothing in return.

In fact, filing this paperwork can come with disadvantages. In some circumstances, employees or investor shareholders can start selling their shares on the over-the-counter bulletin board. Companies typically prefer to control when and how their shares are traded.

Companies that grow big enough to hit the filing requirement typically opt to become a publicly traded company first, attorneys said. That's because public stock offerings can enrich employees and investors, and they give the company access to cash that it can use to innovate or acquire other companies.

Google executives have appeared in no hurry to become a public company, in part because it would begin to lift the veil of secrecy under which they seem to enjoy working. What is more, the company's revenue stream appears strong, and it may not need the money that an offering of public stock would generate.

Also, Google may not want to undergo the cultural shift that takes place in companies when they have to meet analyst and shareholder expectations every quarter. Google may turn out to be the rare company that willingly files public financial reports but doesn't publicly trade its stock.

Another option is for Google to dodge the public reporting requirement. In 2001, the SEC detailed how companies can do so: by disclosing their financial information only to shareholders.

``You've got to give them the same information that you would otherwise give if you were public,'' Spector said.

Preparing the financial information is costly, and companies run the risk of the information leaking to outsiders. But several companies have picked this option.

``I would think Google would move mountains to not go public this way,'' said Kip Weissman, attorney with the Luse Gorman Pomerenk & Schick law firm in Washington, D.C.

Google could also buy back its shares from employees and investors, but few experts said they believed that was likely to happen.

Read Entire Article Here

Don't Send All Search Traffic to Home Page

The most common mistake marketers make is to send all their search engine traffic to their home page, CEO Kevin Lee said in DM News’ latest video, “Effective Search Marketing Strategies and Practices.”
Searches should lead directly to the appropriate landing page, Lee told moderator and DM News senior editor Brian Morrissey in taping last week for the hourlong video.

“The closer you can get them to the results of the search, the higher the conversion rate,” he said.

Marketers should test to find which keywords resonate best with customers, especially those with the best potential to convert.

Read Entire Article Here