Writer’s Block for WordPress

Hey folks, some of you probably noticed two lower quality articles that I published earlier this month to the Frequently Asked Questions section of the site. No, my fingers weren’t taken over by a wizard who is terrible at SEO, rather I was fooling around with a new wordpress plugin that I had recently created, Writer’s Block. Writer’s Block is a very simple WordPress Plugin that allows you to get recommendations for content to write on your blog when you are just having one of those days without inspiration. You type in a keyword you are interested in and it delivers questions that people are searching for on Google related to that topic. If you were to ask about Gardening, it would likely return questions like “which gardening zone am I...

GrepWords is Mine, All Mine, Muhahahahaha…. well, also Carters, but still, close enough.

So, it is rare that I make the foray into paid tools, but I finally decided to bite the bullet and jump in. About 4 months ago I was reached out to by the folks at GrepWords as I was working on a post on YouMoz and had put out a request over Twitter for any ideas on keyword tools. At the time, like many of you, I had never heard of GrepWords. They were a beta API at that point and only really offered 2 things. Lots of keyword data, fast. Interestingly enough, that is what I needed. That is what I have always needed. Unfortunately, they needed a lot of work. They couldn’t really do payment processing well because they were outside the U.S., they didn’t really have a nice design or any tools tied to it. They built up a decent group of beta users who...

Possibility, Probability and Proof: On Case Studies, Correlation and Causation in SEO

I wanted to spend a bit today dealing with a pretty big issue that I see regularly in our industry, bickering over the state of research in search engine optimization. Rarely a week goes by where someone doesn’t say something about correlation does not equal causation in response to the mere sight of the word. So today, I’m going to write about 3 types of SEO research we see in our industry quite regularly and what I believe the appropriate response should be… Case Studies This one is actually my pet peeve. We tend to let this one go with a pass nearly every time despite the fact that it is likely the least meaningful SEO research presented. I was particularly drawn to this issue after a series of case studies coming out of Link Research Tools...

Keyword Research on Regular Expressions Steroids in Grepwords

There really hasn’t been much innovation in the keyword research space for a while and for good reason – the largest problem of getting good data has long been answered by top providers like SEMRush, Trellian KeywordDiscovery, WordStream and others like KeywordSpy. The data they provide is wonderfully useful, but the one thing that always felt limiting was the way we could get at their data. While they might provide accurate estimates for Google traffic, or useful data on large numbers of keywords, getting at the data required clumsy querying techniques no better than exact, phrase and broad match. As a developer, I found this cumbersome. Recently, though, I have found a better solution – Regular Expressions. At Virante we have long had access...

Open Penguin Data Project – Calling for Submissions

Many of you may have seen the launch of my new project Open Penguin Data. The description of the project isn’t quite clear so I thought I would explain a little further. What is the Open Penguin Data Project? I want to crowdsource potential variables that might be used by Google to determine which pages are caught by Penguin. I have created a CSV of URLs that are marked as either (1) hit by penguin or (2) not hit by penguin for a series of keywords. I need the SEO community to provide variables and their values for each one of the URLs in the dataset. For Example: Let’s say you believe that having links from blog comments might be a variable Google uses as part of Penguin. You would download the CSV of URLs and mark each one as either having or not...

Stupid Shit People Say Post Penguin

“There is more spam now than there was before”. The reality is that Penguin most likely only impacts sites that were already ranking well. Google is not going to use their most computationally intensive algorithms to check every URL on the web. They are likely segmenting based on commercial value of the SERP, the visibility of the URL, and the search volume of the keyword in order to limit the number of pages they need to analyze. This means that those more spammy sites sitting at positions 15 or 16 might get skipped in this iteration. However, now that they are in the top 10, they will be picked up for analysis in the next update. Moreover, many will be scared into believing they are next on the list and will clean up. This takes time, but ultimately...

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