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John G.

Level 4 Contributor

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About Me

Laughter is the closest distance between two people - Borge

24 Reviews by John


Matt Cutts - the God of SEO - If the SEO world had a God, it would be Matt Cutts. Matt is the geeky but amicable public face of Google's search quality team, which maintains the algorithms that determine how web pages rank in Google searches. Because Google is famously tight-lipped about the precise mechanisms it uses to rank websites, the SEO world hangs on Matt's every word, as his blog posts and interviews are often the only authoritative (i. E., non-speculative) resources on many SEO topics.

If SEO is important to your website (as it most likely should be) it is worth keeping up with Matt's blog. Also, if you are ever uncertain about a particular SEO tactic (say, using "noindex" on sitemap pages) I would start your research by searching Matt's blog and interviews. Although Matt Cutts will not suggest webmasters use black hat or even some aggressive white hat techniques, if Matt says a particular SEO practice is kosher, you can feel safe that your site will not be penalized for using it.

Some useful (and interesting) interviews with Matt Cutts:

John Battelle's inteview
In conversation with Eric Enge
SEOmoz video interview
SEOmoz Webmaster Issues Q&A
On personalized search
On how to structure a site
Discussing reinclusion requests (and bizarrely stroking a cat)


An inexpensive way monitor email delivery - As a website owner, getting your emails delivered can be difficult and expensive. Companies like Return Path offer very expensive ($10k+) email monitoring and delivery services. They will both telll you if your emails are reaching your customers inboxes and help you to increase your delivery rates. However, for a start up or a small business, these services are often too expensive.

This is where Delivery Monitor comes in. It offers a very simple service - it tells you if your emails are being delivered to major ISPs and email services. And it works for this, very well. However, Delivery Monitor does not help you get your emails delivered - this is still up to you (and can be the hard party if you are not technically savvy). However for $80 per month, Delivery Monitor still feels like a good deal. Especially because you have 30 days to cancel so you can try it out for free (and if all your emails are delivered, you may not need it again!).


See what your website is worth (sort of...) - WebsiteOutlook.com claims to be able to figure out how much websites are worth based on various data sources including traffic, page rank, and estimated ad revenue. The trouble is none of these data sources is accurate. Alexa (which it uses to infer traffic) is known to be terribly inaccurate. Similarly, it's anyone's guess how much various sites make on advertising - some sites with clever niches can RPM at $100 (revenue per thousand page views). Also sites could have additional pay models, which would not be captured in the WebsiteOutlook model.

These inaccuracies bare themselves out in examples - Google.com is said to be worth $1.2B (stock market says $120B today). Turns out most large sites are vastly undervalued on WebsiteOutlook. Small sites seem to error on the other side - they appear to be overvalued on average. For example, WebsiteOutlook.com says its own site is worth $300k. I don't think I would pay half that <img title="Wink" src="/javascript/tiny_mce/plugins/emotions/img/smiley-wink. Gif" border="0" alt="Wink" />

WebsiteOutlook is certainly not a useful business tool, but I have to admit it is kind of fun to type in different websites and see what the $$$ is. So 2 stars for me - it's entertaining. <img title="Cool" src="/javascript/tiny_mce/plugins/emotions/img/smiley-cool. Gif" border="0" alt="Cool" />


What's the point of Sergey Brin's new blog? - Is it just PR for 23andMe? It seems like it from the first post... such a smart guy. Would be nice to hear more from him.


Yahoo Webmaster Tools are better than Google's - I've found Google's webmaster tools to be disappointing. Most of their monitoring tools are infrequently updated and their backlink tool is completely useless (it shows a very small percentage of actual backlinks). Yahoo's new Site Explorer on the other hand, it frequently updated and the backlink tool is great. The only downside is you cannot tell which backlinks are follow or nofollow. Otherwise, Yahoo's built a winner.


bhpphoto.com is a domain sitter - you want bhphotovideo.com - I hate sites like this. You probably are looking for the photography and video equipment online store which is: bhphotovideo.com


Google AdWords is frustrating and here's their phone number so you can yell at them - Google AdWords has a poorly designed user interface - it's hard to navigate and slow. Moreover, they do not let you do simple things like change your billing from pre-pay to post pay. Lastly, getting decent customer service help is next to impossible - they just email you links to their help pages, which is infuriating if you've already read them. So if you're unhappy like me, the best thing you can do is call them, complain and get them to fix it.

Here's their customer service number - *******453 - let them have it.


Test your site on different browsers - nice free tool for web developers - It's hard to test your site on every browser version, and inevitably something will be broken on something. Browsershots.org tests out your sites on most Linux, Mac and Windows browsers, and returns screen shots so you can see if anything is broken. Very useful tool.


If you're new to SEO, start here - Rand Fish at SEOmoz is one best when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. If you're new to SEO the best place to start is SEOmoz's beginner's guide: http://www.seomoz.org/article/beginners-1-page It will give you all the basics and point you in the right direction to become a pro... with a little hard work and few years of experience, of course :)


Nice free tool to analyze your website's SEO prowess - HubSpot provides this useful tool free (presumably to sell you on their paid service) which analyzes your website and grades it based on SEO criteria like Keyword quality, alt tags, directory listings, etc. Most criteria are well accepted, so the report is a useful checklist. However, if you're relatively sophisticated on SEO tactics, websitegrader is unlikely to tell you anything you didn't already know about your own site. Websitegrader is perhaps most useful at competitive intelligence gathering - that is, comparing your site's SEO attributes with those of competitive websites.


Great SEO Checklist for anyone starting a website or revisiting their SEO strategy - Todd Malicoat is one of the best in the search engine optimization space. He knows his stuff and isn't afraid to tell everyone about it. This list is a fantastic resource for anyone who thinks Search Engine Optimization is important (probably should be everyone) and is either building a new website or revising their SEO strategy for an existing site:



Vedivi's WallCooler good option for VPN and remote computer access for a small business - If you're an individual or small business looking for a decent way to access your computer and files remotely, WallCooler is worth checking out. The personal version is free (no VPN), and the Pro version isn't too expensive ($16/mo) either. The only downside I've found is that it can be a bit slow at times, but it could be my connection. Net net, WallCooler works, and is good value. I've also been reasonably satisfied with the customer support on the Pro version.


Google's PageRank is unfairly biased against new and small websites - I am working on a start up that hasn't launched yet, but one thing is clear: when it does launch my site will be at a clear disadvantage to older, more established websites or any site that is connected to them, *regardless of the quality of my site.* And unless my site is really lucky or has some inside connection, it will not get written up in one of the PageRank influential blogs like TechCrunch so I will have to wait months and months and spend time and money on link building and marketing to get my site off the ground. Contrast this to Google or Yahoo - as soon as they launch a new product or service it goes straight to the top of Google search results.

The influence of Google and their PageRank algorithm is huge, and it is clearly unfair to new and "unconnected" websites. So, for example, if I started some neat little site that offered a unique and valuable service, and Yahoo (or Google) decided to copy me, they could bury me with their superior PageRank, even if my site was better quality.

Fortunately, the costs of doing business on the internet are low enough that small sites can often tough it out and provide a better service than larger sites, and with patience, hopefully one day succeed. But it still makes me angry to know the sites like Google are creating a monopoly on the way information is disseminated on the internet, particularly because PageRank is based more on popularity than quality which hurts small and new websites.

I believe the internet needs a new way of helping people find good websites. A mechanism that is more based on *quality* than *popularity* (ie, PageRank). I'm not sure if SiteJabber will be able to do this one day, but I certainly hope someone does.


Keyword Elite works for generating keywords for PPC marketing, but use at your own risk - I tried keyword elite and it worked, but the problem is that now Google forces you to use captchas when searching keywords so I get a lot of N/A in the columns. It seems like some of the monthly paid keyword services are more effective now because of Google's new regulations on this type of software crawling their keyword / adword system. Also, you have to use it at your own risk because it is rumored that Google will ban your IP if they see you using this type of software. You may want to head to a local coffee shop and use their Internet service if you want to run this software.


Kolimbo's affiliate advertising program unimpressive for publishers - Kolimbo seems like a good idea for a publisher - promises of large national brands with high referral rates. However, I found once I signed up a lot of the big national brands weren't interested in letting smaller publishers participate in their affiliate programs. Moreover, there were only a very limited number of coupons and deals listed. Lastly, the website interface is hard to use and looks really bad. Personally, I found ShareASale and LinkShare to be much better.


One of the best affiliate program for online merchants - If you are small or medium sized online retailer, shareasale is probably your best bet for an affiliate program. Its fees are modest, its customer service is good, and its website is easy to use. ShareAsale is really a service driven company instead of a sales driven company. I would highly recommend it to any online merchant.


Cool looking forum for forum owners - Not a lot of activity yet, but the homepage looks really cool. The quality of the threads is not too bad for a new forum... will keep my eye on this one.


Website owners use Yahoo Answers to drive traffic and improve SEO - I never understood why anyone would bother posting answers to questions on Yahoo Answers. Then I figured it out - people trying to promote their own websites. These people answer questions all the time so they can put the URL of their website into their post signature. I think some people believe each of these inbound links will increase their search ranking on Google, but these are NO FOLLOW links, so I don't think it will work for them. However, if you answer a lot of questions well on Yahoo Answers you will get a decent amount of traffic to your site (particularly if you get selected as a "best answer"). To me, this seems like a lot of work for 20-30 referrals/day. But I suppose if their posts are very topical each referral could be pretty valuable. Here's thread discussing this: http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t=852000


New websites that need to improve their search ranking should list in the Yahoo directory - I feel like Yahoo is ripping everyone off. I hate the idea of paying $300 just to have Yahoo say my site isn't spam and they will publish it in a list. However, when you're just starting out with a new site, and if you don't have major blog or other online media coverage, Yahoo's Directory listing is well worth the $300 fee.


Aplus hosting more like Cplus hosting if you're a small website - I read a number of positive reviews on CNET and other reputable sites of Aplus hosting before signing up for a dedicated server. However, after I signed up I began to realize that unless you are a large customer, Aplus customer service is terrible.

We had a number of problems setting up the server and they were not very helpful. But the WORST was their server farm in Phoenix went down and our site was down for 7 DAYS! Larger customers were kept up as they shifting resources from another facility but our pleas were ignored. Moreover, as compensation for the downtime, they only gave us one month free! We lost thousands in business but Aplus didn't care. In retrospect, I wish I had gone with Rackspace. My other friend who runs a small website has been using them had their customer service is much better and they seem to care more about working with start ups (Rackspace had downtime too, but they were more responsive to getting things back online and compensating their customers). I would avoid Aplus if you're a small company.

John Has Earned 151 Votes

John G.'s review of AdWords earned 11 Very Helpful votes

John G.'s review of Yahoo Answers earned 22 Very Helpful votes

John G.'s review of Moz earned 17 Very Helpful votes

John G.'s review of dir.yahoo.com earned 4 Very Helpful votes

John G.'s review of Google Analytics earned 3 Very Helpful votes

John G.'s review of KeywordElite earned 4 Very Helpful votes

John G.'s review of WebsiteOutlook earned 4 Very Helpful votes

John G.'s review of GasBuddy earned 3 Very Helpful votes

John G.'s review of Aplus earned 6 Very Helpful votes

John G.'s review of Browser Shots earned 3 Very Helpful votes

John G.'s review of ShareASale earned 6 Very Helpful votes

John G.'s review of Freelancer earned 6 Very Helpful votes

John G.'s review of Google earned 2 Fraud Buster votes

John G.'s review of ShareASale earned a Fraud Buster vote

John G.'s review of siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com earned 9 Very Helpful votes

John G.'s review of Google earned 8 Very Helpful votes

John G.'s review of Deliverymonitor earned a Very Helpful vote

John G.'s review of Website Grader earned 4 Very Helpful votes

John G.'s review of B&H Photo Video earned 2 Very Helpful votes

John G.'s review of MattCutts.com earned 2 Very Helpful votes

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