Were You Hit by Penguin 3.0?

When algorithms affect real world businesses and lives...

My Sunday Search

October 19, 2014

To Ello.co or Not to El-Loco?

Bloggers weigh in.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Penguin 3.0 Aftermath: Were You Hit?

Hysteria. That's what happens every time Google makes an announcement regarding its algorithmic changes. True enough, for many online marketing fortunes built on the back of the search engine - this is often a prelude to bad news. After all those dollars spent on optimization tools, SEO, writers and even sponsorship, years of effort could and may have gone down the drain. Or worse, it could mean lost revenue for the coming months.

But for ordinary users who just want to happily look for something to buy on the Internet, well, life goes on.

Google Culture and Dependence
I've had an interesting conversation with Luana, a friend I met on +MyBlogU, about the existence of a Google-centric culture that we're having when it comes to online marketing. The first instinctive idea that popped in my head was, "There's a Google centric culture?"

That's when it hit me. It's true.

Think about it in a broader way, and not just in Internet marketing. Are you using something from Google right now? Gmail? Google Plus? Search? Blogspot? Google Play on Your Android Phone?

I've always seen the tech giant as a lovable fur ball with some intent to watch over the things we're doing including the things that we search for online.

I even ignored Edward Snowden's statements against Google.

As a fan and maybe a blind follower of the web titan, I've only seen the good things that it does and gives us; and I only read about the good things that I hear. Breaking free from that, could feel a little like, shall we say, sinning?

The Real World Effects of a Google Penalty

  • Lost clients
  • Lost audience
  • Lost readers
For some, it's more about the stigma and the negative impression that could scar a blog or a website for a long time. Advertisers could shun you and go to a different blog or website. Your site's name could be the subject of a blog post title with negative connotations - it's just bad PR in a world where everybody is striving to look good.

The effects of these could reverberate across the online marketing circles and brand you for a long time.

So I asked a few friends on MyBlogU to weigh in on the whole dilemma. I asked them how it impacted their websites and blogs. Maybe, just maybe, we could glean a deeper insight into how we should go about in the future.

My Indian client has actually seen a rise in search engine rankings starting on Oct. 7. Impressions went up by 44% and clicks by 64%. My Italian client (no blog nor fresh content) also saw a rise in impressions by 12% and there have been 32% more clicks in SERPs. Most of improvement is for search queries containing brand names, but some other content went up to the first page, too. All in all, Penguin 3.0 has been good to my clients

The situation with my websites is different, but willfully so. Search impressions went down to 12 from an average of 37 a day for LuanaSpinetti.com and there has been a loss in clicks of 14%. I was expecting it, since I sold a few dofollow links on the homepage over the past few months and I have been playing with the robots.txt file, excluding Googlebot at a certain point. I removed the links about a week before the update and then reinstated the robots.txt file a few days ago. Search clicks average 10-12 per day now. Also, I noticed there is no manual webspam action under Webmaster Tools, so the penalty was only algorithmic.

The situation is stable for other websites that were penalized for "unnatural outbound links". For some, the click average per day went up a little, for some others even by 50%, even though there has been no considerable improvement in rankings (which is the norm for penalized sites with a small community, I suppose).

What am I going to do now? In short, nothing. I don't hate Google for this, because I know their business model. I do my best to avoid penalties for my clients, but then Google can do whatever to my websites, since traffic from Google only makes up for the 2% of my total traffic and I rely more on community building than on SEO. Also, there's no way I would give up on advertising, even when the methods for it don't really make Google smile. But that's for another story.

Luana Spinetti | Freelance Designer

Few of friendly bloggers affilate sites have been effected for few keywoords and their SEO visibility have dropped certainly and there is a net loss of 3%-4% in SEO keyword visibility.It seems that most of the affialiate sites have not receovered yet.This is case of only few blogs which are in my site but there a couple of sites on internet which have recovered well and there couple of good sites which have good Gain arte upto 8-9 % in SEO visibility.

Conclusion of Penguin

Most of the spammy websites are hit with recent updates and some with black hat are doing fine.

My personal take

There are many issues surrounding Google's decisions and updates and most of them have been unpopular to many Internet marketers and bloggers. But, as Luana says, these are business decisions and it's rather unfortunate that this can sometimes spillover to real lives and businesses.

As a disclosure, I have been hit by Penguin 3.0 myself. Well, on another blog that is.

But water under the bridge, life is very good and I still love blogging and writing. No SEO technique or penalty can take that away from anyone.

So your website got tanked: it's not the end of the world
The thing with ranking on any search engine is that it's essentially a matter of weighing subjective "opinions" in the form of links/websites/blogs hierarchically arranged and trying to make them an objective reality.

These are all perceptions and don't get me wrong, an interesting undertaking by itself.

But think about it. Go ahead and search for "the best car insurance in New York"

Ok, fine, let me google that for you.

It says, Geico, progressive, and a long domain name I couldn't care less about.

First of all, I don't have a car. So, I don't really need car insurance. Second, I don't live in New York. Third, if ever I will win a car and get some car insurance, it will most likely be shoved down my throat by some goons over the [redacted] in the Philippines.

The thing is, what's "best" is subjective. We all have our own opinions. Even if you have the "rightiest" opinion of them all, or even if you have the "bestest" review out there, with the most optimized seo killer whatchamacallit engine out there, someone, somewhere out there, will beg to differ.

My belief as a blogger, is simple...

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Devotions: Genesis, Healing and Ten Commandments

We were not able to go to Church today so what I did was to gather and ask my kids to read the Bible, and we read about Genesis Chapter 12. That part about Abraham, leaving his homeland and dropping by Egypt. (Christian Bible: Genesis 12)

And then we watched Dr. Albert's video - Part 2 of a series of 4. It's about healing and as usual, Pastor A never fails to emphasize the finer points of healing in the lives of Christians. I've also learned and validated that our emotions and spiritual being is closely intertwined with our physical bodies. There's a recent scientific article supporting this claim - I lost the link but it supports the greater inclusion of psychiatrists and psychologists in healthcare facilities. Google it.

I can attest to this because of a fairly recent semi-traumatic event which happened to me - just a few weeks after that - I got sick for one whole week. It's one of the rare moments when I was stuck in bed, everything tasted bad, slept the whole day and just lay there as I watched my wife struggle to help me like I was a baby. I was totally helpless, and I can say that yes my wife really is a blessing to me, in the past, the present and the future. So thanks, Weng.

Now this video by Pastor A, could be best understood if you are bilingual like me. He speaks Filipino and English. It's really funny if you can speak Filipino as well as English.

I'll leave out the message lest I do something to it, but on a side comment: "Jesus spat on somebody? Hwat?!"


My notes about the ten commandments parchment above:

I took it from a dailymail.co.uk article: The best preserved Ten Commandments parchment goes on display in New York dated 2011. Picture credits entirely to them.

Now, it interested me (despite the debates at the bottom of that article about it being "the foundation for most American Civil and Criminal law") because I've always been drawn to it. It must be because my mom hung a version of it near our dining table.

It's also crucial to study this because it's one of the most delineating factors between Protestantism and Catholicism.

Note: There are many rocking changes in Catholicism now that's worth watching and observing. I will link to the reddit post that will link to the article. (Click here) Warning, reddit can confuse you.

According to the Daily Mail article the ten commandments are as follows:

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
  4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy
  5. Honour thy father and thy mother
  6. Thou shalt not kill
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery
  8. Thou shalt not steal
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness
  10. Thou shalt not covet

I boldfaced the second commandment and you'd understand why if you're a Christian in the Philippines.

So that's it. 

Note for the day: Science and Spirituality are NOT mutually exclusive. There should be no dichotomy.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Finding the Best in People: Meet Kim

The Quest for Awesome Sauce
It's a straight-forward question, "how do you make a superstar?" That will be the theme for the whole week as we look for experts who can point us to the right people, connections or social media tools to achieve our goals.
Brainstorming for a solution
So for my next #mbustorm challenge, we'll be exerting our best efforts to achieve this. As a music industry outsider this is beyond me, I'm not a music talent promoter so we'll look around for the veterans and the pros. Our course of action is this:
  • Brainstorm through MyblogU.com and interview them.
    • How do we go about in YouTube promotion?
    • How do we make a video viral?
  • Follow through their advice - that's doable
  • Execute and promote
  • See the results

  • Get a publicist involved
  • Is it good to go for "wider audience" or better to narrow it down and focus (I would say focus)
  • Crowd-funding sites
  • Sing for charity
  • Tell his story
  • Get a journalist interested
  • Interview on blog
  • Come up with a Twitter marketing campaign

Action Plan
1. Register a domain for unofficial Kim R. Fan Page - Done!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Leveraging Fiverr for Your Online Marketing

Tickle Marketing

Scintillating, titillating, rabidly funny and amusing, we live in the day and age of ooh's, aah's and haha's. It's an era of having our funny bones tickled and the Internet people want more!

When there are just so many voices out there, the best tickler wins! Just ask Ben Huh of icanhaz.cheezburger.com - a multimillion dollar blog network that has millions upon millions of page views in any given day. Their business model? "Make people laugh."

But don't take our word for it, take GoDaddy.com's Executive Chairman and resident funny mogul Bob Parson's advice,

Keep people happy, give them a good time and give them what they want

Bob Parsons | GoDaddy.com Executive Chairman

Get Some Talent Juice from Fiverr

The Internet is a big soupy goo of everything and the thing is, not all of us have the talent to make people laugh. Not all of us have the confidence to even go on video. Just like in real life, we need other people who have this distinct talent for evoking emotions. This could be expressed in writing, art, video, music and humor. This is where Fiverr.com comes in.

So for my next #MBUStorm brainstorming project I asked the good folks from +MyBlogU to share their Fiverr.com secrets and how they've used it for their online marketing efforts.

But before that, do take a look at this #MBUStorm Video I made using Fiverr.com talents diegoclaudiu and meathousebeats

Caricatures and Artwork

I take a look at Fiverr now and then to find something cool. I never go crazy and it does take some time to find something worthy. As an example, our MyBlogU social media profile pic is done through a Fiverr gig. I send in our team's photos and got the cartoon created. I re-arranged the cartoon faces and added our graduation hat after that. The result is pretty neat!

I find some cool gigs in the following categories:

  • Creative and instructional voice-over for my videos
  • Creative logo mashups
  • Cool video mashups

Some gigs get me really inspired as well! Like I can come up with a cool video idea by just coming across an interesting voice-over gig at Fiverr.

I usually stay away from crazy videos. I never buy likes or followers from Fiverr...

Whiteboard Explainer Videos

True to my form, I researched Fiverr for the best bang for whiteboard video creation. Even created a spreadsheet: how many minutes or words, how many images allowed, would they synch your voice, would they add music, what were the upsells, what was their rating, etc Then I put out a request because I was planning a series for my upcoming book. My choice was Everyvan For the first 3 or 4 of 6, he was timely and got more creative. But then I think the word got out! Fortunately, I was patient and when things didn't happen in 24 hours I knew he would make good and he did. I think tipping him every time helped! Here's one of the series he and I created with the most comments and thumbs ups:
Introverts unique power tools in selling

Design and Art

Another great qn, Danny.

The rap is cool, by the way.

I can't share any links or do any shout outs, because this was sometime ago (and I don't exactly remember who I hired for my needs).

I can't say I have hired anyone to do any marketing per se; I have mostly hired folks more design (although that is part of marketing as well) - Designing logos, eBook covers and so forth.

I have thought of hiring folks for marketing (such as posting stuff to 100 pages, or getting 100 likes), but the truth is that it is useless. It's just a waste of time and effort (trust me, I had a hard time with this, especially on my old Twitter account. I had grown my followers pretty fast, using follower exchange services and so forth, but I didn't have a connection with most of these folks).

It's great to show off the numbers, but they are just that - numbers. As an entreprenuer, and as an online marketing, I should be thinking about loyal fans/followers - it might be just 10 fans, but they are worth a lot more than 1000 mindless followers (I mean this in sense that those folks don't really care about what we say. They followed us for other reasons).

Hiring designers has been a wonderful (and painful) experience. It's only 5 bucks, so expecting too much might be a big mistake (unless you pay more for extra work).

The trick is to find good ones - whatever your need might be. There are a lot of bad designers, along with a few really good ones (find those! Look over the reviews and such).

Anyways, that's all I have for now. Hope that has helped!


Vector Art and SEO Services

Hi Danny, I've used fiverr three times.

For keyword research - I was curious if someone who specialises in SEO can come up with better keywords than I could and she couldn't. Her list was pretty similar to mine, so it wasn't worth it, but it gave me confidence that I'm good at keyword research.

For tagline creation - again, I didn't like any of the suggested taglines and some of them had nothing to do with my request.

I had a cartoon character drawn by Dhevan Pratama and this guy was awesome. Great response time and I loved the character.

In conclusion, fiverr can be hit and miss. There is some fantastic stuff there and there are also some gigs that don't deliver great value.

Logos and Press Releases

One of the things we do at Digital Analytics 101 is to teach small business owners about marketing and branding. We use Fiverr all the time to give them ideas of what new logos might look like, some sample press releases... I can't say enough good things about the talent and experience we've had with the folks we found on Fiverr. The ability to get three great concepts to present for less than $20 has really been business-changing for us.

*More to come - I'll keep this post updated. Keep em coming guys! Thanks

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Blogging Dreams

Show me a blogger who is lost, and I'll show you the infinite.

Every blogger aspires and dreams. They say that it's like an itch that just needs to be scratched until the ideas mellow and that lump on your skin becomes tender. Perhaps, this is also satiated when you're already living in your dreams in some distant oasis where the waves scatter amid a foamy wash of happiness.

Blogging's greatness comes from the little things that we share and love. It comes from passion, ideals, faith and the notion that yes, we are not alone.

To many people, blogging is a continuing search for the things that we are looking for in our real lives. It's about soul-searching and looking for people who are doing the same. But don't let me get ahead of myself. Let's see what others have to say.

Hope and Purpose

Hope is a funny thing. It just pops out like the snap of a finger waking us up from our technically induced slumber. Snap, you open your eyes and then see the shadows still dancing, still prancing about. But with your eyes open, things become clearer. 

Things... manifest...

So to find this hope, I had to ask this question: Has Blogging Helped You Attain Your Goals/Dreams? Maybe a house or a car

Hey Danny,

Excellent question, as always. Blogging has helped me to achieve satisfaction, knowing that I am helping others to succeed through my blog (that is perhaps the greatest reward).

Blogging has also encouraged me to adopt a different outlook on life - to take on challenges, to learn and experiment more often (that's perhaps the best way to live life; gaining more experience.

We may not be able to answer the fundamental questions, like why we exist, but at least we can say that we had a good run). (An example would be languages; I am learning two of them right now. I doubt that I would have done it, had I not come across blogging). Blogging also helped me to improve my writing skills, marketing skills (something I didn't have earlier) and networking skills (which is good, communication is the key, right?). 

Discovery and Soul Searching

Probably the biggest difference blogging has made in my life is that it's helped me discover more about who I am and what I want. When you're consistently find something to write about that is of interest to you, sooner or later you begin to see the trends Through blogging I've met people who have helped me learn and expand my ideas.

I've always been in creativity and more specifically in creative ideas. When I saw myself going back to that topic again and again, eventually I got the message - this was where I needed to go (even though I thought I wasn't creartive at the time). I am now a certified ARTbundance™ coach and I help people find their own insights and great ideas by using creative tools.

Blogging has also helped me improve my writing skills, get confident as a writer and get paid to write. I'm not making a fortune writing (yet), but I am making money, having fun and I have the condfidence to say that I'm a freelance writer.

Inspiration and a Dream Job

In other times, this burst of inspiration comes shining through. That one moment, a glimpse of light peeking from a small crack lends one to stand once more. Such is the story of Nishadha Silva, a man from Sri Lanka who has found his dream job.

I always wanted to work for a start-up. And I got the opportunity to join a diagramming start-up Creately because they spotted this article written by me. I got called for the position of social media marketer and once in the interview I managed to convince them of my SEO and other digital marketing skills. I got hired as the Internet Marketing Specialist and now I'm a Lead Internet Marketing Specialist handling most of the marketing activites. Not bad for a blog article :-) .

Friendship and Camaraderie

When I lost my job aged 57 four ago, blogging changed my life. It has given me contacts who give me paying jobs that pay the mortgage. No, I am not rich, but I have a roof over my head and friends who care. Those are the two most important things in life, so I am happy.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Bucky's Room, Codeacademy, Udemy

buckys room
So today, I've rekindled my love for learning. Specifically, javascript and html. It's just something that I wanted to learn and re-learn. It's like eating ice-cream the second time around. Can you remember when you first ate ice-cream? Probably not. But it should have made an impression on you, that after you tried it, you'd want to try it again. You want to re-experience the sensation.

I'm switching between codeacademy.com, udemy and buckysroom.org. It's like trying to alternate between three books on the same topic. In this way, one complements the other as the third one verifies the knowledge.

I like Bucky's style, it's pretty straightforward. Hopefully, it will lead up to me later on learning how to make those inspirational animated html5 sites like the ones you can find in hongkiat. This is the first episode of his beginner javascript tutorial.


Update: Included Introduction to Javascript by Douglas Crockford

Video 1 - Bucky's Javascript Tutorials

Video 2 - Javascript Tutorials: Comments and Statements

Video 3 - Javascript Tutorials: Variables

Video 4 - Javascript Tutorials: Different Types of Variables

Video 5 - Javascript Tutorials: Using Variables and Strings

Video 6 - Javascript Tutorials: Functions

Video 7 - Using Parameters with Functions

Video 8 - Functions with Multiple Parameters

*Passing information to the parameter.

Video 9 - The Return Statement