Archive | May, 2009

Does Social Media Help SEO?

28 May

Don’t count on it…

At least not directly. One of the oldest tricks in the search engine optimization bag of tricks is to creatively link to your site from other sites. Will posting links on social media outlets like digg.com, facebook.com, twitter.com and myspace.com help pass SEO juice to your site? It’s a complicated answer that’s closer to no than yes.

What’s the social media SEO story?

I’ll focus on four of the most ubiquitous social media outlets to provide a summary of sorts.

Facebook and SEO

Sure enough, most of it is behind a wall of authentication and other link obfuscation, but the “pages” are more or less public. While you don’t have control over the link anchor text, links are still real links on pages, while links on profiles are opened in obfuscated URL frames and are hidden behind authentication nonetheless.

So using links on your and/or others’ “pages” works a little for SEO. Links from profiles and walls don’t help SEO at all.

Furthermore, though not SEO, Facebook’s ads are some of the most flexible and targetable PPC around. You can really hone in on a demographic with specific interests and other criteria, and then choose PPC or PPM models. Etc.

Myspace and SEO

AFAIK, all links are obfuscated.
Furthermore, when sites obfuscate links e.g. msplinks.com/dsdf07dsf70detc.
they don’t need to even bother with nofollow rules, as the link is worthless anyhow.

Twitter and SEO

All twitter links are nofollow
Most links are also compressed, so even if a SE decides to register them, they’ll be obfuscated or at the very least, truncated.

But just as in FB, twitter can be a good SEM tool, even if it doesn’t directly help SEO.

Of note though, Ask.com does not pay attention to nofollow, allegedly.

Digg and SEO

Submitting pages to Digg *can* be SEO helpful, indirectly. If you pick a niche phrase, e.g. “Hawaii hotel with handicapped access” …And use it in both the title and description, the digg piece will inherently rank well, and it SOMETIMES directly links to your page. Is that link nofollow? It’s a tough answer. Digg recently implemented a diggbar that most certainly frames the URL and passes little or no SEO juice. If you’re logged in, and (like me) turned off the diggbar, then it *seems* that link juice is passed. I.e. they do NOT use nofollow. But keep in mind, most people use the link-juice-vampire bar.

SEO and Social media summary

There are scant direct social net SEO opportunities out there. But even when not directly benefiting SEO, the visibility, engagement and brand awareness doesn’t hurt!

Here’s a slightly dated (2007)  list of social sites that do NOT use nofollow.
Not sure how accurate it is anymore.

If you have any questions, just post in the comments. If you need SEO, click the link! My name’s Dan Dreifort, and I do SEO.

Cum on feel the noise

25 May

Need some good tunes? Bored with plain Jane kid music? This track is too precious. Maxwell “the silver hammer” Schoen, barely out of diapers, covers the Quiet Riot classic “Cum On Feel the Noise”. How many takes did this kid require to knock this one out of the park? One.

I particularly enjoy the guttural moans at just the right spots. Headbanger frontmen wannabes take note.

This is called a launch pad. Next stop… greatness. Download/Listen

How Long Does Esquire E-ink Battery Last?

20 May
e-ink-magazine

The Amazing Magazine Technology Museum

The October 2008 issue of Esquire Magazine was the crown jewel in my magazine technology museum. Not a difficult feat, considering there are only two specimens on display in the collection. The operative word in that first sentence is “was” because today, May 20, 2009, approximately eight months after I purchased said gem of a magazine, the batteries have died. Why would a magazine have batteries?

This issue of Esquire (which I haven’t read) was the first magazine to employ an eink / e-ink cover. There’s also an e-ink advertisement on the inside cover, but it’s not as impressive. For sure, the cover itself isn’t that impressive either. But it’s a representation of fantastic technological potential. For almost a year I’ve displayed it on my shelf. The usual response upon noticing it was something along the lines of, “Is that magazine moving?!” or, “Is that an LCD screen built into a magazine?!” or, “Why did you buy Esquire?!”

Now, unless I hack it, it’s dead. A victim of limited battery life. I can’t wait for real e-ink magazines and newspapers. And no, the Kindle and other e-ink book readers don’t count. They’re too rigid, bulky and expensive. I won’t hold my breath for something better though.

The other specimen in my magazine technology museum? It’s the July 2007 issue of Wired Magazine. It looks different from your copy or any other for that matter because it’s the first magazine with a cusomized cover. Wired allowed the first 5,000 respondents to provide a picture to appear on their issue of Wired. I kept my custom Dan Dreifort cover issue in the plastic wrap and purchased the mass market Optimus Prime cover to read. Yes, I still read Wired. It’s gone downhill in the past few years, but it’s still worth $10/year.

What will be the third entry into my exclusive Magazine technology museum? I’m giddy with anticipation!

Why Bank of America is Failing

7 May
Bad omen for Bank of America? Or cruel joke on me?

Bad omen for Bank of America? Or cruel joke on me?

I got my mortgage through Bank of America in 2004. It’s a 30-year fixed rate 5.25% dream… of sorts. The dream ended when I tried to pay BOA more. Bank of America automatically withdraws my monthly payment from my bank account. I was paying a little extra on my principal every month. Business is good, so I decided to pay more. It’s generally a good idea to pay down huge debt as fast as you/I can. So I called Bank of America.

“I’d like to pay $100 extra to my principal every month. Can you start withdrawing more?”

“Sure! All set.”

Seemed like everything was fine. Then, a month later, I notice that it’d been over a month since BOA took any money from my account. I log into my BOA account and noticed a late fee. Not good. I call again.

(I should note that my VERY short summaries of these calls are not representative of the average 40 minutes each call lasted.)

“I called a month ago to try to pay you more and you stopped taking my money completely. Then you charged me a late fee.”

“We’ll remove that. Looks like you need to pay some money before we can start automatic deductions. We don’t deduct automatically unless you’re all paid up to date.”

“WTF?! Whatever. I’ll pay by phone, but I don’t want to be charged for paying by phone.”

“OK, we’ll waive the fee because of bank error. There you go. All paid up. Auto payments are all set.”

And you think that’d be it. Or maybe you’re smart and somehow know that BOA screwed it up. On a whim, I called back a couple of days later…

“Is everything set for autopayment?”

“No. You still owe $15.”

“Isn’t that how much you charge for a phone payment?!”

“Yes.”

“That was supposed to be waived.”

“Oh, and you owe some more money too!”

You can imagine I’m starting to get pissed. I tell them to waive the $15 fee. I pay some more money via phone. I call back a couple of days later. Looks like I owe another $15 before they can start taking my money. It’s a sad broken record. (Strangely, I found an LP record on the road today when I was getting my mail. Surely a sign from the big cheese in the sky that I’m part of a cruel reality sitcom. What was the album? It’s “Chillers” – the joke sickens.)

From what I can tell, BOA would be in heaps of trouble even without the sub-prime mortgage fiasco. Buying stressed investment banks? Pshaw. Bank of America was already screwed. TARP bailout money? An ineffective band-aid. BOA can’t even take money from its clients when they have direct access to their bank accounts. Idiots. I’m told I don’t need to call Bank of America again, and that if I do so, it’s because I want to. I don’t believe them. If I had a record player, I’d listen to this album. Surely its guidance would be more helpful than BOA phone support.

I’m Dan Dreifort. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Determine Line of Sight

4 May
Determine line of sight between two points

Determine line of sight between two points

EDIT: This post is old. the link to the software doesn’t work anymore, but Google has some ideas. Download at your own risk.

I use EVDO to connect to the intertubes. My indoor 7dbi omni antenna topped out at 1mbps down / 100kbps up on a very good day, usually lingering at about 500kbps down and 60kbps up. I bought a three watt amplifier package (came with a 5dbi omni) and gave it a shot. It increased my signal a little, but it also increased the noise. My speeds actually dropped a little.

I called Alltel to find out where my tower is located. It’s almost exactly 3 miles away… through hilly terrain. I’m located in what’s known as a “holler” in these parts. A hollow is essentially a valley in a valley, a nightmare of sorts in the RF arena.

I wanted to get a yagi antenna to point directly at the tower, but I wanted to find out if I had line of sight (LOS). It would be a waste of time and money to use a yagi or grid antenna without LOS.

I found a great, free program called RadioWORKS from Desert Hail. Enter the lat/lon of both points and it displays a graph to help you determine if you have line of sight between two points. It allows you to easily enter antenna elevation at both locations, so you can play around with the figures to determine how high you need to mount to obtain line of sight.

So, from the LOS survey I posted above, I determined that though I have LOS, part of the Fresnel zone is occluded. Rather than jump right to a yagi/grin directional antenna, I’ve decided to take my omni antenna to the roof to see if that helps. It might give me enough. I hope so… Though I found online sources to calculate bearing between two points, aiming a directional antenna is a task I’d like to avoid.

EVDO Antenna Line of Sight Update

I took the works to the roof and achieved a much faster connection. However, dealing with the inevitable lightning strikes is a daunting task. The antenna sits on a solid steel slab and is otherwise very inviting to lightning. Properly grounding the antenna involves an additional connection which loses precious dbi. And the mounting logistics are annoying too. On a whim, I moved the antenna to a second story window with decent LOS to the tower. Problem solved. It’s not quite as fast as it was on the roof, but it’s better and good enough. Lesson learned: If you’re able to place your antenna higher in your house, give it a try. I moved my Cradlepoint MBR1000 upstairs and ran some cat5 to a little switch that sits where the Cradlepoint mobile broadband aggregator used to be. As an added benefit, my wifi signal is also better when broadcasting from this height.

Line of sight update two

Checked today and the link to the line of sight software is dead. In case it doesn’t come back up or dies again in the future, please Google for radioworks line of sight to find other download sources for this great free software. (Update 3 – vendor link is working again. I had to remove the www. from the url. I’ve informed them of their webserver misconfig. Awful canonical SEO problem. They helped me with LOS, I’ll help them with SEO!)

Dan Dreifort consults on SEO and usability. He helped start an ISP in 1996. That ISP is still up and running, somehow. When he first started looking into determining line of sight he couldn’t believe the lack of available tools and information. Then he realized he was spelling it wrong. Line of site. Yeah, that doesn’t work as well.
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