In a world of disrupt, or be disrupted, I invent.
I’m an accomplished search engine optimizer and programmer in New York City that speaks with CTOs, CMOs, DevOps and full-web-stack developers with equal ease. My career goes back 25 years to the halls of Commodore Computers, and my actual SEO career goes back 20 years—to well before Google, when I gleaned the need for this field before it even had a name. My path has taken me from successfully helping technology start-ups get off the ground, to being a V.P. of a NYC-based boutique PR agency (where my HitTail.com invention helped usher in the era of long-tail marketing almost 10 years ago & is still going strong)—all the way through the rapidly rising-star of A-Lister, 360i of Oreo Super Bowl tweet fame (where I helped them secure the upper-right quadrant of the 2012 Forrester Wave Report based on some tech I built called 360iTiger).
20 years of solving diverse search-problems in this evolving and moving-target arena has made me good at tackling almost any challenge that comes my way, such as when I helped JCPenney get one of the most notorious Google penalties of all time successfully lifted. This also includes navigating the politics and motivations of the various stakeholders that come into play when figuring out how to do SEO right—baking it right into every other endeavor for all the many interconnected holistic wins—an equally worthy goal for Fortune 500s and SMBs. I currently lead up two of my own projects in Github—the Levinux micro Linux for education, and the Pipulate free and open source SEO software. In addition to their obvious utility, these FOSS projects are also “authority experiments” in a new era of SEO.
Design, programming and communication rarely work together in perfect unison, but it can have quite an impact when they do — and is the ideal for which I’m always striving.
I am in a much-maligned field, because SEO looks like advertising but is not, and confuses everybody. Yet, I’m drawn to it, and exploring new incarnations of a particular age-old human truth: namely, how the grapevine spreads information faster (and cheaper) than shouting into the air (advertising). Spread-worthy information tends to spread to the right people. Where it doesn’t, that’s where SEOs come in. We help that information reach its audience by packaging the payload to easily ricochet around the networks—i.e. the modern water cooler… thereby forcing the competition to continuously shell out even money for advertising to compete with you, thereby feeding off of your enemies’ supplies in classic Sun Tzu fashion. Few really “get” SEO, but I can explain it to almost anyone.
What am I capable of doing, and what have I done lately?
In the field of SEO, you either make your own tools or you are a slave to other peoples’ tools—which are most often breaking and going obsolete right as you use them. Only recently have a few mainstream enterprise tools appeared that tackle some of the stickier problems and also withstood the test-of-time (and Google cat-and-mouse game). They are MajesticSEO, BrightEdge and Conductor—none of which I’m going to try to reproduce. But for everything else, there’s Pipulate, the latest rendition of a lineage of tools I’ve worked on and re-imagined since 1998. Well, I’ve got it more correct and more timeless than ever before in the latest version that takes stand-alone Python function as drop-in plug-ins that almost magically become available for your use in Google Spreadsheets.
Although the dots have been there for a long time waiting to be connected, I was the first to combine the QEMU PC Emulator and Tiny Core Linux into the most incredibly small (around 20MB) standard tiny Linux server on your hard drive that is perfect for USB and Dropbox, and doesn’t need admin rights to run—or even an install. Oh yeah: works on Windows, Macs and even other Linux desktops and is a perfect intro to “old-skool” Linux, Python or the types of “embedded systems” propagating everywhere along with the internet of things (IoT). It’s being used more and more in actual educational curriculums and settings, because everyone gets an identical machine for their lessons, without buying a single thing.
The cloud is nice, but real hardware is nicer. All those wonderful effects of miniaturization and economy of scale manufacturing and Moore’s Law mean tiny, cheap computers! I felt and saw this coming and was just waiting to jump on the bandwagon with the right device, which I did with an unboxing video when such computers for the first time in history came down to the $35 range—and it surpassed a million views. Technically, not my finest work, but my timing was perfect. Now, this million-view video is one of my bragging rights. And I still love the Pi, and believe that what it represents is important to the world on many levels.
Yep, I worked for that 2013 Super Bowl Oreo Tweet marketing company that proclaimed “You can still tweet in the dark” in real-time during the black-out during half-time. I had nothing to do with that, but I did work for them through their 6 years of stellar growth during which time I directly helped them secure a Forrester Wave Report top-Agency position by filling in a proprietary technology piece which, like HitTail, is another first-of-its-kind. I could explain it here, but why not just read about it on 360i’s 360iTiger Press Release and Blog page.
2011: Python Article
Based on my web traffic, it appears that I’m responsible for turning thousands of people onto the Python programming language. I used to describe programming as a necessary evil to get my work done, but then I discovered Python and it truly all “clicked”—and I for the first time fell in love with a programming language. This is my love letter to Python and the only piece of writing I’ve revisited to improve over the years to keep pace with its growing popularity. I see an “Advanced Python” article in my future, as I become more fluent and port Pipulate from 2.7 to 3.x.
A “longtail theory”-based writing topic suggestion tool that gives keyword suggestions that are uniquely poised to be effective in drawing in new active organic search traffic to your website when acted upon, in an incremental and reliable lather-rinse-repeat fashion. I created it while working for Connors Communications, and it has subsequently been sold to micropreneur Rob Walling who has been an excellent steward of my creation—which is as useful now as it was when I created it in 2006 when it was named one of the most innovative products of the year by BusinessWeek magazine, proving to be the solution to your “Panda” and “Penguin” woes.
What’s Mike Levin, the SEO consultant in NYC, doing today?
Viewing the window of opportunity to do something really big and great running out, I have devised a perfect scheme by which I can be gainfully employed in the field of SEO and produce videos to teach the world how to make useful little Python programs that I can turn around and add right back into my own system (license allowing and usefulness warranting, of course), thereby tending simultaneously to the forrest and the trees–both of which, I endeavor to see clearly at all times.
Eventually, I’ll find a way to make money off of this beyond being a salaried employee, and achieve financial independence and travel the rest of my life. Perhaps Pipulate will become your next favorite product, and you’ll fall in love with Python programming because of me, and maybe even the vim text editor and interacting with computers almost exclusively through the command-line, and through that you’ll find everything you’ve ever been looking for spiritually in your life. Or maybe just contact me with a business opportunity.