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by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 04/29/2008

April, 2008 at miklevin.com

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Yeah, so Google Docs kicks Blogger’s butt as a daily writing environment for a personal blog–especially now with the offline thing. It used to be that Microsoft Word was a necessary part of any daily blogging, for the spell-checking and offline ability (especially with the Blogger plug-in for Word). But now, with FireFox having it’s built-in spell-checker, and Google Docs working offline, and integration built into Google Docs for Blogger, this is pretty much the brain-dead choice, until something dramatically changes. Blogger is free. Google Docs is free. FireFox is free. And all of it will now work online or offline from whatever computer/operating system platform I happen to be using. And the same writing environment works for my miklevin.com public writing. Each month, I start a new monthly journal for miklevin.com. I publish it into Blogger. It gets it’s “placeholder” as a single post in Blogger. So, it sort of becomes a nested blog. But I can use the Tag feature to turn it into its own section, so all the free-form daily writing gets grouped together.

Monday, April 28, 2008

So, I’ve been an SEO guy for many years, dabbling only occasionally in pay-per-click (PPC). But recently, I’m finding that it’s much easier to become a keyword topic expert with rapid experimentation in an AdWords campaign. You are essentially “walking the walk” WHILE you do your keyword research, managing actively deployed AdWord campaigns directly. This provides about a day-long feedback loop with the world as your keyword testers, without being reliant on on the aggrecrap keyword tools that feeds everyone identical “target these” keyword lists, culled from second-tier engines. You can more-or-less distill down super-lists of keywords in about a week, which have the lowest competition and the highest number of clicks. These are super-charged longtail keyword lists that live at the murky edge of valuable keywords, where the best deals are to be picked up. It’s like shopping at Marshalls–slightly damaged inventory results in deep discounts, but is still perfectly good merchandise.

Imagine my surprise–the guy who invented HitTail–that I’m hooked on AdWords! You can actually zero in on the hottest topics by rapidly rolling out campaigns, watching the click-through response much more quickly than with natural search campaigns, do refinements, and eventually use what you learn in natural search campaigns. As it turns out, I’m totally in my element in AdWords, able to shake & bake keyword lists, exporting from HitTail, swapping between Excel for formulas, Access for keywords and functions, and AdWords. The resulting campaigns have, as Gary Beal repeatedly points out, a remarkably low cost-per-click (CPC) in relation to the click-thru-ratio (CTR) and overall high number of clicks.

My AdWords mandate is to keep the cost low, the clicks high, and to actually move the overall numbers. I’m really just conducting experiments, and being allowed to keep my hand in the AdWords arena, I think in part to compare to how I’m going ot do compared to the outside agency.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Welcome to the brand new personal site, miklevin.com. I’m happy to be back. For you see, I’ve had many false starts in life, and this Web journal is about gaining ground in life, and the hellbent determination to never lose it again.

I’ve been miklevin at erols, gmail, yahoo, msn and aol. So, I’ve finally gone and registered miklevin.com to make this the home of my journal. It’s a blog. It’s a soapbox for pontificating about technology, programming, philosophy, pets, religion, poetry, married life, entrepreneur-ism, the good ol’ Commodore Amiga days, these new Google days, the changing media, and my new life in New York City. I’ll learn Linux starting with Hardy Heron Ubuntu 8.04, choose my primary open source programming language in my move off of the Microsoft platform. I’ll find my alternatives to my beloved Adobe PhotoShop and Illustrator in the open source world. And I’ll share my poetry–old and new.

I’ve pretty much been a writer for myself as my own audience since 1988, when I graduated high school and decided talking to myself was the best advice I’d ever hope to receive. Since then, my box of paper journals has grown in weight to become a burden every time I move, which seems to be becoming more and more often. I can’t search the text, and the idea of scanning it all digital for some silly sense of personal archiving strikes me as a waste. There’s no damn purpose in archiving, and the writing has maximum value at the time it’s written–for whatever purpose, be it cathartic for myself, or in an attempt to share the ideas. So at long last, and application like Google Docs bursts onto the scene, effectively begging to replace my paper journal system–for in 20 years, which is more likely–me being able to find my old paper journals and flipping through thousands of pages to find some obscure thing I wrote 20 years ago–or logging into my Google account and doing a search? So, after several false starts in switching over to surprisingly fragile electronic journals, Google Docs and the centralized hosted solution provides the answer. So I’m finally starting miklevin.com after losing mike-levin.com is perhaps my attempt to finally plant some roots, and reflect how I recently found my true identity, and how it’s never to late to make a fresh start without having to start from square one.

This blog is about approaching 40, and just starting my life. And I’ll end this first brief post with poetry from my old mike-levin.com site, which I’m fortunately able to retrieve from the Internet Archive waybackmachine. The first poetry I’ll re-introduce is on one of the biggest themes I expect to prevail this blog: productivity.

The 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 friggn’ rule – Gotta’ use it. It’s a tool
Reducing clutter that we pack
Into our lives to hold us back.

When goals elude and time flies past
And with each step, you’re still in last
Consider how you lost your aim
You’ll find recursive tasks to blame.

With each thing you set to do,
A hundred more come fly at you.
Until at last, you quite forget
The goal for which you had first set.

The 80/20 Rule just asks
That you should start to plan your tasks
So when you’re only one-fifth done
You could have stopped and still have won.

Copyright December 7, 2002, Mike Levin