Our latest interview is with Bob Massa. What’s interesting about this one is that Bob has been involved in SEO and online marketing since 1997. That makes him a certified old timer, and it’s worth seeing what he things about the was search has changed and his ideas on link building.
One of the things I enjoy about following Seth Godin’s blog is that he is always looking at the bigger picture of the world’s of marketing and business. It just helps you step back from the day to day detail that tends to make up ones business life.
One of his recent posts was titled: We specialize in everything. The reason this stuck out for it exactly describes what we do here at Stone Temple Consulting. The point is that everybody needs to specialize in something, and what we specialize in is being a generalist.
Specialization is a good thing. In the world of web marketing, some people specialize in social media promotion, others specialize in link building, and others specialize in technical SEO, etc. This is great stuff to do, and to be an expert in.
There are times when waht a company needs is access to a particular type of specialist. A really good social media expert has to invest lots of time in building their network, their reputation in social media communities, finding and submitting content to keep their reputation current, and voting on content submitted by others.
This is a lot of work, and it is not something that can be done halfway. So when you have a make/buy decision for a social news campaign, you are almost always going to want to bring someone in to manage this for you. A specialist that invests the 2 hours per day just in keeping their reputation up to date.
At other times, you want someone who can help you with the big marketing picture. This would be someone who can help you determine if you should be pursuing a social news strategy, a widget strategy, affiliate programs, article promotions, or something else. Then, if necessary, you can bring in another specialist to focus on that one specific area.
So, it’s OK to be a generalist. Just make sure that you specialize in it …
Recently I had the privilege to speak with Yahoo Chief Scientist Andrew Tomkins. This interview was a follow up to his keynote presentation at SES NY, where he spoke about the future of search, and Yahoo’s major initiative in that areas. Check the interview out, and add any comments you may have below.
Back in December I did a blog post about Updating to WordPress 2.3.1. I noted in that post that I waited a long time to do the update because I knew it would be a somewhat painful process. I probably spent an hour getting the stage set (backing things up including the database), and reading and re-reading the instructions.
I then completed the actual update in about 2 hours. Not horrible, but still not something you do on a whim. Ironically, 2.3.2 came out within a week or so of my doing the update. But, I was not in any hurry to do it again. So I waited.
It was with some pain that I saw that 2.5.1 was available, and saw the dreaded words indicating that it included an important security update. That’s a good way to get my attention enough to contemplate investing a few hours in something, so I decided to go through it all again.
Given the expected downtime, I set aside a few hours of my Saturday to get this done. Saturday afternoon I went to the Upgrading WordPress page on the WordPress site. That’s when I saw it:
What? Update in about 2 minutes? You are so full of … What the heck I decided, let’s give it a try. So I clicked on the link to go get the WordPress Automatic Update plugin. I then tried it out.
Well it definitely took longer than 2 minutes, but I was actually done in about 10 minutes. When I was done with it, I sat there a bit stunned. I had geared up for a major grueling task, and it was over in no time.
Note that the plugin does backup your entire blog and your database right at the beginning. So if anything goes wrong you should be able to restore things relatively easily.
The only odd thing in the plugin is that when I got to the last screen where it was supposed to enable my pluging again, I got an error message. I ended up having to manually reneable the plugins (which is easy of course). I then spent some time checking out the blog to make sure that everything was ok, which it was.
All in all though, this is one phenomenal tool. Don’t even think about doing an update the old way any more, unless you have reason to believe that you have done some custom things to your blog that the tool won’t be able to deal with.
It startles me sometimes how many people out there are publishing very significant web sites, but don’t really understand what is going on with SEO. Worse, many major CMS systems make it impossible to build a search engine friendly web site.
The types of issues that people run into with these systems is always pretty much the same:
- Undecipherable URLs
- Poor crawlability / encoded links
- Create reams of duplicate content
- Limited or no control over titles
- Limited or no control over headers
- Limited or no control over metatags
By the time you are finished absorbing all these problems into a web site you are left with something that is completely useless.
Last Wednesday I spoke with Stephan Spencer of GravityStream product. It’s a great potential solution to all the above problems.
How it Works
GravityStream does not require you to make any significant changes to your existing CMS and web application environment. When a user goes to a web page on your site, GravityStream gets invoked. It then takes the existing page and tweaks the page according to a set of changes specified in its own CMS. This can include fixing the URL, making links crawlable, dealing with duplicate content, and changing titles, headers, and metatags.
It turns out that this is really easy to setup. Stephan told me that the time from SOW to completed implementation is typically thirty days. Makes it pretty easy to get off the ground with it.
The fact that it is minimally intrusive to the pre-existing environment is a critical factor. When dealing with large companies, it can be very difficult to get them to change their web environment. The minimally intrusive approach makes this a much easier pill to swallow.
Certain types of problems are endemic to large scale web sites, particularly those that use third party CMS and web application environments. These environments are designed to be flexible enough to handle a wide variety of different web site structures, and that’s a great thing. You just can’t afford to give up search engine traffic as a result of all this.
While we have not used GravityStream (yet), it appears to offer a nifty solution to these problems.