Google Ferris Wheel Doodle

Not often do I enjoy the Google Doodle enough to comment on it, time is money and Google Doodles dont pay me money to talk about them.

But the Ferris wheel google doodle with its’ tons of variations is pretty funny once you get the wolf who chooses to sit at home and watch TV.

#Wolf @Winning

Here is an interestinmg file you get to see when you view the background image of the Google Ferris wheel doodle that shows all the frames possible in one place.

Google Ferris Wheel Doodle


Comment spam, yes we all got it.

I was tracking backwards some of the comment spam I get on my countless wordpress installations and came across some internet novices in need. They were on a post regarding the same email address that had found its’ way to me. The author of this post had listed a large handful of the email addresses spamming him.

ivanballard35@gmail.com, ivanballard4@gmail.com, ivann.bllrdivan@gmail.com, ivanballardbi@gmail.com, ballardivan396@gmail.com, ballardivan6@gmail.com, ivanballardivn3@gmail.com , ivanballardd317@gmail.com , lvann.bllrdivan@gmail.com , ivanballard4@gmail.com, bllrd.ballardIvan@gmail.com stellafair71@gmail.com, stellafair88@gmail.com , stellafair2@gmail.com, stellafair271@gmail.com, stellafair217@gmail.com ramonelliot.ramon@gmail.com, ramonelliot316@gmail.com, ramonelliot049@gmail.com, and ramonelliot438@gmail.com, rmnelliot@gmail.com , ramonelliot9@gmail.com , ramonelliot278@gmail.com , ramonelliot31@gmail.com

First off, if you have a wordpress blog then you have gotten the same garbage on a daily basis. If you dont get this kind of spam you likely don’t rank high enough to earn it. If anyone is telling you that they are bookmarking your website…. They’re not.

So for the SEO/Blog newbies who do not really know what is up with these constant “fans” bookmarking your website” and they “love your design”, and they are asking about “browser compatability” or “their cousin told them about your site”….welcome to the world of Scrapebox lists.

I simply respond to some of the responses of the people annoyed by this like you:


 “meaning these people spend a lot of time doing manually their spam scheme! “

^ False, there are many ways around your captcha, like deathbycaptch, imagetotext and others. Which are services their programs use to complete the captchas automatically. None of these people are wasting days on this.

“I’ll be blocking his IP address too”

^ Waste O’ Time All automated black hat programs use proxy lists and they will be back with one of 10K differnet IP Addresses, you wont waste even 5 seconds of their time blocking a single IP.

“This kind of random, poorly elaborated emails is all what their clients end up with”

^ They dont care. They just want the link and to beat spam filters. These comment spammers use “spintax: which is a “code” or sorts for presenting text to get completely different versions everytime. If they took the time to write the “spintax” by hand they would get somewhat good versions but again they use an automated service that genetares the random code based on a Thesuarus database so it tends to be crappy english but at the same time is often good enough to appear legit to Google. If its made by a computer program it will be accepted by a computer program is the thinking.


So what can you do to end this? Nothing that will fix it 100%.

What you can do that may help you somewhat.

  1. Goto your wordpress footer.php file and remove the version number and the phrase “powered by wordpress”, this is called a “footprint” which means unique identifying phrase the spammer is using to find your site and put you on the list to begin with.
  2. Use a CAPTCHA, wont solve too much but will at least force them to slow down, not use “fast posting mode”, and it will cost them .0001 $ for the captcha service :)
  3. Never let your site autoapprove comments. Autoapprove is not the default for WordPress, so you are probally ok already, but if you do allow it you will end up on every list in Pakistan/russia/USA/India because you just became the fastest and easiest link in town. AA (autoapprove) lists are worth their weight in gold.
  4. Im saving the good tips for myself, because this is why you cant stop it…..they see what you are doing and change it up.

For Website Conversions, Start at the End.

I recently had a client ask me about getting maximum utilization out of their new website. I didn;t care for the word they chose for measuring success of a webiste.

Maximum utilization is a good goal but not the thinking I take into a website. When setting a website goal I look at the maximum growth and more importantly the maximum conversion of that growth.

In every step of the process we expressly target the audience that can best convert to your goal. While your site may not have a tangible product it still is selling the experience of being the premier source of information for every person that visits.

Like any Labyrinth  or maze you did as a child, I view the online process as something that is easier to finish when done backwards.

Step #3 The What

First, I aim to learn from the client the end result that a website exists to accomplish. All great strategies begin with an exit plan and your website will be no exception. The most important thing for a good web design to understand is what is the single goal we want at visitors to accomplish when on the website. This single goal dictates all the other steps leading up to it and lend themselves towards that.

The design, the menu and the writing style are all dictated by the end goal.

Step #2 The How

Stepping backwards to the next step in planning we look at the onsite funnel. This means the flow of visitors from the page before they arrive to our goal. In order to maximize this step in the conversion process we focus on usability of a website and putting things where they are “looked for”. Easy to complete forms and a call to action that ties into what the page is about provide an easy to locate outcome to every page. How this is accomplished depends completely on the previous paragraph and the desired goal conversion. In the case that we are brand building we provide easy to share designs that encourage and offer benefits to our social networks. In the case that we driving a signup or sale, goal completion has as few steps as possible, utilizes a less is more approach and is tested and tracked to assure the best possible visitor response.

Step #1 The Where

Now moving backwards to the initial phase of conversion for a clients website we look at the entry point to the website.

In this initial phase are action is once again dictated by the desired conversion of the website. The product you are selling and the experience you are offering help dictate the emphasis of inbound marketing that will be most effective. Inbound marketing is all about anticipating where the client will be looking for what we are offering. No online marketer should ever plan to just “try everything”. Every niche and website goal lends itself better to different traffic approach. We must evaluate far more than just “which keywords” people search for. We must know if our highest converting visitor will come from search, social, B2B sources, PPC, blogs and more. While we will implement all approaches to get the highest gross number of visitors from any source we will also target our message, tone and planning to the audience we expect the greatest response .

This above is how  each step relies on the following step and how every website conversion is best planned backwards. We must make sure the design of the website funnels visitors to the goal with purpose at every phase. We must always make sure the website experience is what the source of our customers expected to find when they arrived.

This last point is what bring returning customers back to the website they now trust.

Wasted SEO Opportunities Bug Me

How do major website/seo providers get away with basic mistakes and missed opportunities?

I have had the pleasure with a fine client recently who is in turn working with a company that is a leader in the motorcycle website design industry. If you are a motorcycle dealership, powersports or even car dealer than you are familiar with the PSN Powersports Network (Dominion Enterprises) as a provider of websites for dealerships.

Dominion Enterprises offers dealer style solutions for website to a wide range of niche industries. On the dealership section of their website they state “Dominion Dealer Solutions’ marketing performance system includes: lead generation, mobile apps, reputation management solutions, web-based customer relationship and lead management tools; custom digital marketing tools including websites, SEO, SEM, digital advertising, social media….”

In this example I am using the “featured dealer” from PSN’s own website, so this can be viewed as a model website and in all likeliness is one they are proud of. The issue as you can see from mineolamoto.com is not cosmetic in nature but more decision made in the template designs. A network like this has a framework in place so the flaws are going to be reproduced across thousands of motorcycle dealerships they provide websites for.

The complete waste of the inventory in search.

This is the biggest issue which is glaring and obvious to a trained eye but a deal would never assume is an issue. The used inventory is the true source of unique content to a deal. Assume a dealership lists thousands of motorcycles per year and each is unique to their dealership. A used motorcycle that is listed provides a year, model, color and description around an actual product that is essentially a long tail keyword. IE: when you list a “Used 2008 Honda Rebel motorcycle” you are essntially targetting that keyword. This section of the website would be the most powerful tool for SEO that a dealership has at their disposal. Let’s take a look how they utilized the dealerships best weapon in search.

Very briefly, is the personal taste seo items that is likely controlled by the dealer themselves. This includes the TITLE tag being on line 78 listed after 70 lines of scripts and the title tag itself being poorly thought out.

The TITLE tag of :

“Current Inventory/Pre-Owned Inventory from Yamaha,Suzuki,CanAm,Victory Mineola-Two Wheel Corp”

Could easily have been:

“Pre-owned Yamaha Motorcycles / Used Suzuki Motorcycle Dealer inventory in Mineola, NY” Which pairs the keyword together side by side in a more likely query format.


I understand this sort of small item to be more the dealers own words and not PSN. But getting back to the main pont.

PSN websites host the images and serve the used inventory section in a IFrame. The coding is suspect at best with the use of tables when CSS would serve better to reduce the amount of code. The images of each motorcycle being sold is a unique image taken by each dealer making it SEO material that should be working for the dealer.

When you click on any motorcycle that is for sale you get linked to a URL like this one:


Is this the URL you would use to sell a 2010 Kawasaki Vulcan® 900 Custom? A simple trim of this url shows we can remove the session ID right away and use this link as well.

This is still a garbage URL, since we have 1000 motorcycles for sale, all with unique titles, names, prices and photos but all being served up on a single page.


A simple rewrite that could be applied by PSN to the entire network would be this:

www.mineolamoto.com/preowned/Kawasaki/ 2010/Vulcan-900-Custom/ 153572.2928111

If you just applied this one simple rule to the site’s HTACCESS file.

RewriteRule ^preowned/(.*)/(.*)/(.*)/([a-z0-9-]+).([a-z0-9-]+)  $ /new_vehicle_detail.asp?veh=$4& pov=$5 [L]

(You could also pass the first 3 variables as well if you had wanted to with $1, $2, and $3 but i don’t think they would need them since they use an ID number to call them on the next page load anyway.)

We can see from the product detail page that they already have the sections of this URL broken down into variables for the $make, $model, $year, $veh and $pov so this information is readily available to be used in a url rewrite.

In the url I used each motorcycle gets a real page that is all its’ own. More importantly we are using URL Rewriting to create a virtual site structure that properly drops every item listed for sale into a logical topic breakdown. Once we have listed thousands of motorcycles Google will see all of the Kawasaki bikes in the same Kawasaki folder, and all the 2010’s in the next folder down, and the model itself in the final folder.

Once the dealer has listed 10 different 2010 Vulcans in the inventory you will have all 10 of them appearing to be together in the folder / Kawasaki/ 2010/Vulcan-900-Custom/.

This changeover could be implemented pretty easily by modifying the IFRAME template they are using and creating the proper rewriting. The result would be not having 1000 motorcycles all represented by a single page inside the root folder and instead having all makes and models and years broken down into seperate themed folders passing the juice in a logical sense.

To take this the next step they could apply the same to the photograph naming as well. It is better practice to have the photo on a page located at:

www.mineolamoto.com/ Kawasaki/ 2010/Vulcan-900-Custom/ 153572.2928111

To actually be a photograph of a 2010 Used Kawasaki Vulcan. The current image on the listing page in their template is:


A quick search of Google Images shows you this item does not appear anywhere. How many new website viewers have been lost on those looking at photos of models that did not come through to your website?

This image could also be rewritten to appear to come from a local and logical source location as well. You will see it uses the same variables to identify which image to show. This means they wouldn’t even have to change the database to use this image source.

www.mineolamoto.com/ Kawasaki/ 2010/Vulcan-900-Custom/ 2928111/2_large_2010_Kawasaki_Vulcan.jpg

We are now serving up an image file with the name 2_large_2010_Kawasaki_Vulcan.jpg and we are doing it from our own URL. This means more people coming to our URL and also that Google images knows the topic of our picture since it is properly named and coming from a folder structure that clearly breaks down the topics to say what this is.

When you click on the images they open into a new page that does have the product name as a title. This is some 101 SEO that was done but unfortunately wasted since again they are calling every single photo with the exact same page:


Which could easily have been a new page named:

www.mineolamoto.com/ Kawasaki/ 2010/Vulcan-900-Custom/ 153572.2928111/gallery/

Now this is just the one aspect that bothers me the most but we are talking about a multi-million dollar company providing websites to thousands of large dealerships. This is a matter of doing something and doing something right from the start.

This is just the most pressing issue since it properly utilizes the incredible amount of content these dealers are uploading every day. Most of these dealers write descriptions by hand for every bike they upload which is also SEO gold left untapped.

A separate article could be written about the abuse of tables in the IFRAME itself, the lack of heading tags throughout the page and the link farm of outbound links on the right sidebar of every single listing page. Do we really need links to other sites to appear on every single listing page?
SEO for Motorcycle dealers

What about the other guys?

Well I did go to Dealeron briefly, who is the other similar solution for auto dealerships. I had seen some mediocre sites from them in the past and so I went to one of the demo sites at  www.sharrett.com.

First used car listing I mouse-over was:


Not perfect, but much better guys. You haven’t leveraged the virtual site structure you could have with the variables you have, but you do have pretty URL’s for the clients most valuable pages.

If you like the way I think and my obsession with SEO follow me at @toddkron or @sellaholics. If you like the article feel free to share it yourself, use “reasonable” sections of it and link back to it. I don’t BS other BS’ers, this article is me venting frustration with large organizations who are not paying attention to important concepts, but also this is my link bait.

Todd Kron

Online Marketing Director

CGR Creative, Charlotte NC

WEB: http://cgrcreative.com

BLOG: http://sellaholics.com





A Slice of SEO For Plastic Surgeons

A plastic surgeon who is working on promoting his website need to know that your primary customers will begin by looking at pictures. I had stumbled across a potential client’s site that utilized a WordPress portfolio section. A plastic surgery site will mean photos, but how much priority have you put in the traffic they can bring?

Remember that inbound marketing means anticipating a customer’s actions and making sure your business is lying in the street no matter where they walk. Thinking like a customer and anticipating their move is how you answer their question before they ask. Inbound marketing converts because you make the answer seem like their idea.

In this case making better use of your images keeps you from leaving easy money on the table.
Use of keywords the other forget is another way to fast track improvements in business. Would you have guess “plastic surgery” gets 8 times as many searches as “plastic surgeon”? Or that “Cosmetic Surgery” gets more searches than “plastic surgeon” as well. A short trip to Google Trends can open your eyes to what potential clients search for, sometimes you would be surprised.

Keep in mind the fine nuisances behind each of these searches. Watching your Analytics and goal conversions or time on site goals will help you decide later which of these searches convert in the end.
I am guess that Plastic Surgery gets 800% more searches than “plastic surgeon”, but in the end they may convert the same number of total leads as someone looking to buy chooses “plastic surgeon” and someone looking at pictures chooses “plastic surgery”.

It all comes back to know your market, your customers and their intent with every word they type. Now build your site in a way that shows you anticipated all these things.

If you can see these things clearly as I do with my eyes, then you are on your way to fixing your ranking and conversion issues. When your sales are worth 5 figures each the value of a little bit of pre-planning will be the difference between success or failure in your cosmetic surgery practice. I am sure a surgeon reading this knows that nobody needs more wrinkles stressing over a lack of new clients.

SEO for a tough keyword

So you have an SEO client in a field that you may have to concede the top spots? What is the new game plan? Sometimes you get a client that shares a name, shares a city name with other cities or shares a keyword that is sure to run into some kind of competition that can’t be helped.

An example would be travel sites, restaurant sites or tourism blogs. If you have a travel site you can be sure you will see tripadvisor, airlines, car rental sites and other authority strength sites clogging up page one. If you have a restaurant related website you don’t just compete with other people selling “Italian food” but also with review websites, city directories and local newspapers.

Sometime you just have to concede you are up against “search competition” that isn’t really your “business competition”. If you are doing SEO for a Charlotte upscale restaurant and they/you covet the term “Charlotte fine dining”, you will find about.com, the Observer, Citysearch and Opentable.com all occupying the first page. So what do you tell your client when the top 8-10 spots are almost insurmountable?

1. Set the long term goal that nothing is insurmountable. Use other steps to attract customers in the short term but don’t take your eye off the prize. There is almost nothing that can’t be ranked for if you put in the time, content and persistence. Even if you do spend a year and not outrank this kind of monster authority site you will still find that your efforts won you hundreds of other related and long tail searches. If you build the content, links and site structure right even “second place” has a lot of traffic to offer, so why not try in this win-win scenario.

2. Local search is the solution to this. The thinking behind the concept of local search is a way to keep “Fine dining” restaurants in Chicago from competing with restaurants in Charlotte. Submit to Google local / G+, Yahoo and Bing local, Yelp, Manta, Superpages and about 60 other places to help challenge for your term. Many of these are authority top juicy domains themselves and can be a fast way to a slot in the 8-20 range for your keyword The local solution also gets you page one ranking for local searches in the featured spot on Google’s Page 1. Local means both “places” as well as directory sites. This is a fast way to get top rankings as well as a good step in the right direction of Defensive SEO or saturation SEO. Winning with quantity of pages referencing your business is another way to skin this cat.

3. Third, you can change keywords and niche your approach a little bit. If your restaurant near Northlake Mall? Getting more specific is a start. “Fine dining Northlake” “Fine Dining North lake Mall” and similar searches may not feel as good but get 40 searches per month and being on page 1 is better than 500 searches and being on page 3.

4. Hijack some space on the big boys. Monitor your trip advisor, opentable and citysearch pages. Make sure customers leave good reviews and respond to them with updates and specials. If you can’t beat them (yet) join them. This is how SEO has become inbound marketing. The internet has reached the point that the fight for #1 is often not worth the effort. Often times the sites you are trying to beat out have a spot you can “pirate” some of their traffic.

5. Connected to item #2 above is you need to saturate. I have heard it said that you should blog every day for one year and there is no SEO mountain you can’t climb. I think this is a great advice but why limit yourself to all efforts on one domain. I would recommend people to blog ever three days with every post revolving around a common long tail search. This doesn’t always have to be the title it just should be worked into the writing. On our above example you could perhaps write about “name of a good Italian restaurant near Northlake Mall”….. “XXXXX is a great Italian restaurant right by Northlake…”. On the next post 3 days later well do “Asian Restaurant” or “…a great new restaurant by Northlake”. If you are doing this every three days we can use the other two days to build web 2.0 properties instead. Go open that webs.com account, blogger account or Weebly page and put your posts there on other days. In this approach we are pushing 5-10 pages up that we control and not just one. We are also developing 5-10 different C class IP’s we can link with.

Every site with a difficult or overlapping niche is a different approach but the concept is the same. Why would you start a journey pushing a 500lb boulder up a hill when you can smash it into 20lb pieces and walk each one up a little at a time.

Finally time for that GAIQ Thingy

Well, not going to take the time to make a complete post here. I am just happy to get this Analytics certification out of the way. Had been all ready to take it months ago as a matter of formality and never got to it. I had been in the middle of moving, a new home and some other things. I already work with Analytics n advanced capacities most every day of the week, it was just a matter f paying for the piece of paper to prove it. David Kyle had given the tip that they “don’t go easy on Regex”. I agree there was one or two more than I expected, but having worked with HTACCESS files for so long and some with Regex that wasn’t a major concern. If I had to point out one part of the test that difficult I would say it is the variables and cookies related to Analytics use. The test was harder than the Adwords exams but in the end anyone that uses it daily should have 75% of the knowledge in their head already. The only spots that are tricky are the parts of Analytics that you don’t use for your niche or type of website.
Like the other million people online I felt the need to put my Google Analytics Certified screenshot on my blog. And to type this keyword –> about being a Charlotte Google Analytics Expert.

Rise of the McSEO

When search isn’t enough
Let me preface by saying I am happy that SEO/SEM/Inbound marketing is really beginning to hit its stride as a mainstream part of doing business. The tone of this is going to be, “back in my day, we had to build links uphill in the snow both ways!”.
Part of everyday is to see who is saying what in the local area Charlotte SEO / Charlotte SEM keyword market. This has led me to an awful lot of drive-thru SEO’s profiles and ‘experiences”. You have heard me rant on about Yodle in Charlotte in the past, and this is an extension of that. One of the side effects of the business model that Yodle and its competitors have created is the McSEO.
I go to Linkedin and look at a company like Yodle or LocalReach and see a list a mile long of SEO Specialist, Search Marketing Analysts, and Search Advertising Managers.
For the most part 80% of these self professed search marketing professionals began their search marketing “careers” at the company they are at now.
If your SEO doesn’t go home on the weekend and work on their own projects to make income online then they are data entry specialists. Anyone with a good understanding of how powerful inbound marketing is would never stop putting new sites into motion.

When I look at the career that led to their current positions as McSEO’s I have seen Baseball coaching, auto sales managers, Internships and about 300 others career paths that have nothing to do with SERPS, site designs and what has and does work.

You have seen me on here 100 times discuss the fact that I did not attend a “company training seminar” nor a local “learn SEO” summer camp. I am proud to be “old school” it means trying, testing and learning from data I controlled and created myself.

Training courses that create nothing more than an army of copycats does nothing to advance the thinking of inbound marketing. I think this is a disservice to those interested in learning SEO as well as an issue with diluting what inbound marketing means as a skill.

I will grant the fact that someone at the top of the line must have a good solid understanding of best practices and creative thinking to make this model work. If we are going down the road of “mass producing” experts it is imperative that the person designing these happy-meals be skilled him or herself.

What has always attracted me to inbound marketing and web design for SEO is the creative aspect of giving Google and visitors what they want with the same piece of code. When I devise a way to display good content in a site with dozens of “bucketed” topics I get a sense of satisfaction. By “bucketed” I mean creating a site folder structure that breaks down site topics into folder->subfolder->subfolder hierarchy structure to pass the most relevance down the line.

If that last sentence made no sense to any McSEO reading it, then my point has been made. Learning one system that has been devised to produce the same product for every field, market and keyword defeats the entire purpose of SEO.

While a one size fits all SEO product is great for profits and streamlines a process it completely ignores the fact that every keyword and service breaks down in a different way. If you don’t see the breakdown of a website, or look at a site and think of how I can break-out more pages from the existing content then you are missing half the fun in SEO.
The next time the weekend seminar teacher is explaining how you just input the keywords into the backend of our McSEO CMS system;
* Ask him how blue, red, yellow and black widgets can possibly be sold in all the same ways.
* Ask how some product may benefit from a static image gallery to create more content pages with what you already have.
* Ask him what you do with the predesigned template in the case of selling a more “visual” product.
* How will your site change for products that have seasonal changes?
* How will your website grow at a natural pace so you can achieve not just high rankings on one page but create more entry points as the website matures.
* Seeing what makes a website, service or business model unique and leveraging that angle in what defines a marketing thought process. Creating a large sites with powerful main pages and specific long tailed pages and then making it easy to navigate for viewers while content heavy enough for robots is the fun puzzle every new client should present.

There is a reason all golfers don’t use the same clubs, all houses aren’t painted the same color and all NBA stars don’t wear the same pair of shoes.
There is a difference between teaching people to do something and teaching people to know why they do it a certain way. This lack of the second one cheats those interested n learning to do SEO right, and dilutes the experiences in those pioneering the ideas to do it better.
I guess there is no school like the old school.

My cousin the SEO told me that

One of the worst challenges in the SEO learning curve is learning that 90% of the advice you get will either be vague, repeated or bad.

With so few dependable sources to learn SEO the “book-learning crowd” who want to take a course and add it too their resume lack a real source of information to learn from. If you don’t learn 50% by trial and error than you havn’t leanred anything new, original or beyond what was already known. The “repeater” is the scourge of the SEO world. I don’t ban them from speaking, just ask anyone new to the game or willing to learn to do so on their own or get you information from a handful that truly know. I suggest Aaron Wall, Yoast, Shoemoney or Nicky Cakes for starters. All four of these guys seem to not be looking to impress anyone, and that is why they do.

A question from the Linkedin SEO Group, to use as a sample. This questions got about 12 answers ranging from buy PPC ads to “you need unique content”. Anyone that feels this is enough information to offer advice on is dangerous in calling it “advice”

How long does it take to rank a keyword in the first page of google?
I have been doing SEO for a year, but i think i still have many questions unsolved. I have to say i am now stucked. A few of my keywords have been in the top 3 pages in google, but they have never been in the first page, once they had been such close. It took me about 1 year to rank them in the top 3, the monthy search for one of the keyword is about 840,000. Do you think it is competitive? And how long will it take to rank in the 1st page? And what else should i do to rapid the process?


This entirely depends on the keywords. Without seeing the site you are working with and the keyword niche you have in mind and what you consider a keyword nobody on here should be able to give your a consturctive answer. Do you keywords overlap with other nouns or phrases, do you include a city name that has multiple locations with the same name diluting your ability to be regional without competing outside you area etc.

While there is some good advice here, you wont get a constructive answer with any value until you give specifics. “tulsa limo rental” at 300k would not crossover into any other fields, but it would have alot of local directory and TP type serps cloging the path to the top, Where “ron paul coffee mug” also has 300K but has large stores, news stories and national competition that local IP wont help you beat in searches.

Both 300K both very different secerios, not enough informaiton in your post. What you havn’t thought of yet is somethng unique to your website and niche perhaps, any broad sweeping generality is likely not enough to be helpful at all.