Friday, April 30, 2010

Expand Your Income and Boost Your Bottomline with Digital Assets and Virtual Real Estate Part 1

Many of us have heard the insights of Robert Kiyosaki on the value of assets and real estate. I've heard Mr. Kiyosaki talk about real estate and assets on TV. Plus I've read some of his books.

I like Robert's take on assets and real estate. Kiyosaki contrasts a job and an asset.

A job he claims is a place you go to - to work to make money. While on the flip side an asset is something that works for you to make you money.

Kiyosaki, has said something controversial on television I'm sure many of you have heard. He claims that if you own a home which isn't making income your home really isn't your asset. You home is an asset of the Bank!!!

He of course then makes the case for owning commercial real estate. Robert feels this is how you really gain assets in real estate. Owning commercial real estate is an asset according to Kiyosaki if it is being run profitably with tenants.

We all know how Donald Trump became a Billionaire with commercial real estate. Commercial real estate even on a smaller scale can be lucrative. For instance if you buy a $400,000 two family house (not likely in LA or NYC but possible in some places) and your mortgage is $1,500 a month you could get a tenant and pay you rent of maybe $1,500. In this scenario the tenant's rent is to covering the basic overhead of the mortgage.

Plus in 20 years the value of the home may go up to $650,000 - $800,000. So you made quite a windfall business decision to buy the commercial property. The tenant/tenants pay most of your mortgage and you get a windfall sale down the line. This is why real estate is one of the first and foremost investments a person should make. I would like to make the case that for smart and visionary people in the future virtual real estate will be almost as lucrative.

Why you may ask? How can websites, CDs, online applications and ebooks have any value close to what real estate can offer most of us? Well think about how intangible digital assets can be worth as much or more than real estate. Look at the site we're using now Facebook. It's worth 11 Billion dollars and is essentially a web application. Google is worth 30 Billion. Some people argue that Google's brand alone is worth 100 Billion dollars!

Now on the other end of the spectrum lets look at the owner of the 2 family home I alluded to earlier in our illustration. They have a tenant paying them 1,500 dollars a month which is covering their mortgage. Now let me tell you I'm not even any where near the most successful person in virtual real estate and my websites bring me $1,500 or more in passive advertising and ebook sales.

And guess what? I don't have to deal with tenants or their drama, high property taxes, or mow the freakin lawn (I already do that at home).

In fact, when I was too ill to work my passive income from my virtual real estate keep food on the table, paid my living expenses, and paid my medical costs. In short virtual real estate and digital assets have been a very good investment.

In part 2 of this note I'll go into what exactly is virtual real estate and digital assets in their various forms and how they can help smart savvy professional like you put cash in your pocket.

Until next time be happy and stay blessed,

Kamau Austin K@...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

This Weeks SEO Bytes by Kamau Austin

Understanding how a web page is designed can help you greatly in developing "on the page" search engine optimization (SEO).

Taking advantage of search engine promotion is smart and effective because 90% of your competition will be too lazy or skeptical to try it. SEObytes by KA

There are basically 2 strategies to Search Engine marketing: (1) Getting a high ranking on the map or organic listings; (2) Getting a lot of listings.

Getting high rankings on the search engines involves two things: (1) On the page factors; and (2) Off the page factors. (c) 2010 SEOBytes by KA

Learn to use the overlay feature in Google Analytics. It is the most advanced webpage information tool available for free. (c) SEObytes by KA

Friday, February 05, 2010

Search Engines and Social Media Part 3

The ability for Google to compile data on Internet users from their searches, IP addresses, emails, blogs, and websites is both brilliant and scary at the same time. They gather a digital profile of Internet users via services like iGoogle, ISPs, gmail, Blogger, and Google Analytics respectively as we explained.

The aggregate of all this information gives them a personal snap shot of your interests, concerns, and habits online. With this information they can serve up ads to you with deadly precision.

This is what we call personal search. More and more I am finding Google is showing me ads on sites not necessarily the theme of the site but the results are based on my personal tastes.

Google as been coercing me with link options to setup my blog a certain way (more recently on their servers) and inticing me to take free services like Google Analytics, gmail, Google docs, etc. to get data on my personal interests and habits. This is happening to 100s of millions of people world wide.

So let's face it Google is developing a digital profile on Internet users. So it will become increasingly important for people to shape and grow their digital profile on the Internet in a way that shapes their interests. We'll continue along this discussion soon.

Friday, January 29, 2010

SEO and Social Media Synergy Part 2

The reason web marketers have to seriously consider a synergistic relationship between search engine and social media promotion is because of web 3.0 evolution. There are 3 major developments that I can think of off the top of my head that make this move paramount.

The 3 primary reasons search engines and social media are becoming concurrent concerns are:
  1. The development of personal search
  2. The stickiness of social media sites
  3. Continued Effectiveness of both Local and Global Search

Personal search is the ability of Google and other search engines to use IP addresses, cookies, and membership database information from services like iGoogle and gmail to create a digital profile of Internet users. It is incredible the amount of information Google has on individual users and even websites to personalize advertising directed at them.

If you have opened a gmail account you will notice that the text ads in the service are amazing topical to the email messages you send out. If you also have an iGoogle account the service tries to encourage you to input your search queries from within it and not launch searches from the Google home page. If you own websites Google tries to get you to use Google analytics.

Just think if you use these services Google has very personal information about conversations that you have with your friends or business associates via gmail. Plus it knows what kind of information you search for on the Internet.

Then if you have websites with Google Analytic tracking code it has a very good snap shot of your personality online. I feel this way because the websites you create reflect either your personal or business interests. Once they compile your searches, emails, and website content they have what I call a digital profile of you. This is because these key ingredients of course characterize important elements of your life.

This type of information certainly is a reflection of your personality. They are important parts of the make up your digital profile.

Everybody online is going to have a digital foot print or digital profile. I refer to this digital information about you as a digital profile because the information is so in depth and reflective of online users personalities to me the digital footprint analogy doesn't do this state of affairs justice.

Recently surfing to a web site I noticed the Google Adsense ads weren't matched too closely to the content of the website. But they were matched almost exactly to my personal interests. It was uncanny and scary at the same time.

We'll explore the the fuller implications of this and the other major factors in the case for search engine and social media synergy within a few days.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

SEO and Social Media Synergy!

There's an avoidable synergy between search & social media promotion. The search engines are including social media results in their listings in excellent positions on top of the SERPs.

But the problem is blogs, tweets, postings and videos on the major social media sites aren't always quality content. All you have to do is read some of the posts and tweets on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn by some wind bags to see what I mean.

I'm not referring to some opinionated people who do have something meaningful to say (even if they aren't within my ideological camp). But there are plenty of tasteless people emitting harmful and hateful venom on a digital soapbox provided to them on social media. This is a discussion for another day.

Therefore, the search engines will have to create a quality filter on real time search in order for it to be useful and relevant to the average Internet user. We'll revisit this issue later in the week.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Kick the Science (KTS) Search Engine Terms

1. Search Engine - Is a database of web sites that is ranked according to the computerized criteria called an algorithm. Search engine programmers (engineers) decide in advance what is the configuration of the algorithm.

Various search engines determine ranking on their own different factors of importance or relevancy. For number of years the Google search engine has been the most popular search engine. Google even supplies the search results for lesser known search engines like AOL. Google conservatively has a 51% marketshare in search.

This all changed a little recently after Microsoft developed the Bing search engine. Microsoft also purchased a important share of Yahoo! and it's search properties (like Alta Vista, AlltheWeb, Yahoo! search marketing).

Searchers input keyword queries into search boxes and are given results from the databases of the search engines in accordance with the ranking algorithm from whatever search engine they are using.

In other words, search engines index sites it feels will be of value to its customers, which are Internet surfers searching for information.

The most important concept to grasp with a search engine, is that it uses an automated computerized system to find and rank the sites within its database of web sites.

2. Internet Directory - An Internet directory is a large listing of categorized web sites - however the concept that should be understood with the Internet directories, is that they actually have editors that decide what goes into the directory. Remember an Internet directory is decided and managed by human editors, while in contrast, a search engine is ranked by a computerized algorithm
or system. Directories are important to get links from because, they will raise your rankings in the Google algorithm (which is based on Page Rank or links from other sites to a great extent).

3. SEO - Search Engine Optimization From the Tao of Search Engine Promotion represents the Ying or Female Principle in that it is more fluid and receptive to the algorithms of the search engines, which of course you - do not control. SEO promotion is using known conventions and in some cases deconstructing the algorithms of the developers of the search engines and working with them. In other words it is like Judo where you use the momentum and power of the search engines to build your business. You will have to be constantly vigilant, in order to try to stay abreast of the latest developments in SEO promotion.

4. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising with the search engines is bidding for particular keyword phrases or search terms used most frequently by Internet users related to information on certain niches and sectors. Overture was the first great pay-per-click advertising sales channel for the search engines. It presently represents Yahoo, MSN, AOL, Alta Vista, Hot Bot, and related partners allowing advertisers to bid on particular keywords. Google presently runs its own PPC Search Engine advertising branch called Google's Adwords Select. Since PPC advertising is so expensive use it in moderation by setting daily and monthly budgets (otherwise for high volume searched keywords you could go broke). After setting budgets, which you do in the Overture and Google advertising interfaces, use PPC to test your conversion rates for subscribers, sales, etc., and constantly monitor it and fine-tune it. You want to increase your conversation rates.

This is critical because as we alluded to the expense of PPC in earlier in this article the typical major ad agency or corporate brand only spends $5 - $15 dollars to reach a thousand people (CPM). Although they may go higher for a responsive direct mail lists like $100 or $150 to reach a thousand people. In PPC advertising small business are usually paying at least 35 cents on the dollar (for any word with any real competition) to reach a thousand people or $350 dollars. I have seen and experienced people paying $2.50 a click or $2250 dollars to reach a thousand people. The true expense of PPC is never discussed by experts in that industry. Any small business using PPC should have an outstanding product ready for prime time, to see any return in investment. Alternately, they should only use it for limited testing or to get a product quickly to market on-line.

Given the expense of PPC some small business people might be better off buying classified direct response advertising in a niche publication or obtaining ad space in ezines.

Another point to discuss in PPC is how the major companies hurt their advertisers (stab them in the back) by using pop-up blockers, which hurts the advertisers ability to collect email addresses on the front end, and with spam filters block even legitimate marketers ability to reach opt-in subscribers on the back end. Google is more of a front end pop-up blocker, AOL is more of an email blocker, while Yahoo is both. There are better ways to stop email and web site spam.

What is important is that small business, if it is not careful with PPC could be paying AOL, Google, and Yahoo/Overture to put them out of business.

5. Pay Per Inclusion is paying to be included in the database of a search engine or Internet directory. Presently it is free to be included in the Google search engine. You just need a link to your site from a few other sites already in the Google database and your site will be spidered in many cases. Recently it has been announced Yahoo will charge a fee to update your new content into their search engine database. From what I understand if you are already listed in Yahoo its all well and good, but any new content that you put on your site will not be indexed (thus so up in the search results without paying a fee).

6. Search Terms (AKA Keywords or Keyword Phrases) - Search terms and more specifically keyword phrases are words searchers put in a search box to find information on a particular product, service, or item. Keywords and Keyword phrases have different tiers. For instance the top tier keyword business probably receives 500,000 searches a month. But it is so general that it would not be a good keyword for which to optimize your site. However, the second tier Keyword phrase "small business" would have less searches, but it is more of a targeted search. The third tier keyword phrases are even more targeted and would be ideal for persons to optimize their sites for although there are less monthly searches for them.

7. Search Engine Algorithm - Algorithms are sets of rules according to which search engines rank web pages. Figuring out the algorithms is a major part of SEO. The thinking is that if you understand how they calculate relevance, you can make specific pages on your site super relevant for specific search terms. For more on algorithms and SEO in general, please refer to the Search Engine Yearbook.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Facebook Valued at 11 Billion and How to Get Free Publicity

Facebook the Internet's most popular site in terms of both usage and stickiness is worth 11 Billion dollars. It is still privately owned but may be doing an IPO in the future. Very interesting story. Check in out in Facebook worth 11 Billion

Here is an interesting article on status updates on Facebook

Here's another on how to get free publicity

If you are looking to get into the huge Chinese market the following online game being developed may help you do exactly that by teaching you foreign languages. To check out the article on this new game click here

Friday, January 08, 2010

Twitter Purges Spammers and Users Lose Followers Big Time

Last week many regular users of Twitter saw their Follower numbers plummet as the social networking site purged its services of people it considered spammers. This has been reported as a big clean up of accounts which are considered to be spammy by the popular web 2.0 service.

I personally lost about 100 followers yesterday and was looking around at my tweets trying to figure out if I had written something that alienated my followers. I am relieved to find out that it wasn't something I did but a clean up of people abusing the system.

It seems some people use automated systems to become your follower so they can send you spam. I am more of a Facebook person and am still working myself up to speed on Twitter. Therefore, I don't have a real profound opinion on the topic. But in reading peoples reactions this seems to be something a lot of Twitter followers agree with.

Facebook Beats Google during Holiday Season

On Christmas and New Year's Eve Facebook beat Google in overall web traffic. Since Google is the most popular online destination because of the centrality of search in finding information on the Internet, this is an amazing development. In contrast Facebook has to be one of the most stickiest sites on the web. When I state sticky I mean the time a person spends on a site.

When using search people try to find what they need as fast as possible. So Google isn't as sticky in that regard although through its other offerings in email, video, and collaboration (gmail, YouTube, and Google Docs respectively) it attempts to engage us more -- time wise.

For a site like Facebook to become both popular and sticky at the same time speaks volumes about its success. But the deeper question remains will search marketing and social media begin to converge or develop a symbiotic relationship?

From the vantage point of users will people one day use Google to find research type information from authoritative sources but use a network of Facebook friends to supplement that research with wisdom or experience? Or will people seek out experts on Google and develop a dialog with these experts on Facebook?

This type of synergy between search engine content and social media insights is very exciting in its potential to enrich our global knowledge on countless issues. I asked some of my Facebook friends about this possibility. We will review their responses in our next post.