Category Archives: web 2.0

Gaming Clan Series: Don’t Ph33r Twitter And Blogs

My Gaming Clan Leadership Lessons From A Newb remains one of the most popular articles on Y3B and one of the favorites on top Google SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).  I say that not to impress anyone but, rather, to impress upon you that there is a huge interest in the following:

  • social media strategy
  • gaming clan skills
  • effective communication
  • transferable skills for video game geeks
  • leadership skills for gaming clans

Bridging the gap between the technology and “soft side” of social gaming clans is one of those pursuits I did simply because I believe in the message and have a bit of experience with it.  What’s more important is that I am a newb, like you, because we’re all learning every day.  Even with the Nipples of Fate rocking hard since the nineties,  we remain humbled because there are always opportunities for growth and improvement.

So, today I am here to share with you a very important message that I am going to turn into my proverbial dead horse (YAY!):

ATTENTION GAMING CLANS:  Do not ph33r Twitter and blogs.

I’ve received countless messages via XBox LIVE, Twitter, WordPress, and more where clan leaders share their frustrations with clan members that are giving them pushback with their social media strategy.

Why is it that people are social media agnostics – especially in gaming clans, where communication is crucial!?

For those paying attention, you know I’ve already shared my top reasons and tips for using Twitter (for social media agnostics).    Here, I’d like to discuss the benefits of Twitter and blogs for gaming clans. Read the rest of this entry

The Evolution Of NoF: From Tribe To Community

When I look back at all the years NoF has thrived, I am filled with great pride and joy.  I’ve made some good friends, built some business relationships, and learned a lot.  More importantly, we have built a great community.  Of course, as with any endeavor, you can’t please everyone.

Some would say that NoF has devolved, which I find ironic considering the people that are saying that are the very same people that have often abandoned us, refused to follow procedures, or just didn’t ever buy into our vision.  As a Business Consultant and a bit of an Internet Entrepreneur, one of the things I help businesses do is build communities.  Each case has to be treated differently because there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Fortunately, I’ve learned a lot from well over ten years of helping to lead our humble “little” gaming clan.  We’ve grown from a tribe to a community.  To me, that’s a very big thing..  But we’re still working out the kinks.  Certainly, such a big change is a culture shock so now is the part where people drop off and some reminisce about “the good ‘ol days”.  It’s to be expected.

Allow me to share this stream-of-conscious account of NoF’s evolution and how it may apply to your organization…

 

Read the rest of this entry

Desperate For An NFL Fix? Scott Sigler Might Have A Temporary Fix

http://www.galacticfootballleague.com/

The NFL is just around the corner and I know how antsy NFL fans can be. This is one of the few sports that I still follow and for good reason. Being a man who has very little time to waste, I love that the NFL has the shortest season of all American professional sports. I also like, that for the most part, the games are once a week. Finally, the one game elimination postseason, on top of getting to the point, makes for quite an intense build up for the final game, The Super Bowl.

But enough about me. I’m here to tell you of a possible alternative to help kill off the remaining weeks between now and the season opener. His name is Scott Sigler. He is mainly known as “The New York Times Bestseller” of a unique genre of sci-fi horror. He’s also the first author to use podcasting to build up his fan base that led to his NYT’s selling credentials. The first released podcast novel that started it all was “Earthcore“(in 2005), which is about a company that tries to mine into a mountain in Utah for the largest discovered deposit of platinum, only to find more than what they bargained for.

Despite that thrilling intro to the podcasting world, the novel that got my attention was “The Rookie,” the first novel of the Galactic Football series. This series is set in “a lethal pro football league 700 years in the future” and “combines intense football action, space opera, and the criminal underworld”. The protagonist is Quentin Barnes, a 19 years “redneck” quarterback prodigy of a backwater colony known as “The Purest Nation”. His skills take him away from the all-human, mining planet of Micovi and 3rd tier Football league, to an Intergalactic 2nd tier League and a chance to advance to the 1st Tier with a possibility to win the GFL Championship trophy with his new team, the Ionath Krakens.

Audio Promo of The Rookie:

Download: THE_ROOKIE_by_Scott_Sigler_-_Balls_Promo.mp3?sid=0b62c785cd188ff04cf96c7ca944fe69&l_sid=23869&l_eid=&l_mid=2365125

As Scott Sigler calls it, on top of the series being a kick-ass homage to his favorite sport of NFL Football, it’s also a coming of age story. On his way to GFL glory, Quentin Barnes has to learn to overcome his “Purest Nation” prejudices, get acquainted with his new intergalactic teammates and realize that there is more to life than just the game of football.

There are currently two books in this series (The Rookie and the Starter) and the are available in print, e-book, and audio-book format. If you’re tight on cash and would like to sample it first, you can check out both The Rookie and The Starter as free podcast novels over at Podiobooks.com (As of this writing the free podcast of The Starter is up to Chapter 18 and hasn’t completed yet). If you like what you see and hear you may want to pre-0rder the third book in the series (The All-Pro) before it comes out in September 6, 2011. You may also want to check out the rest of Scott Sigler‘s stuff as well. After all, we eager NFL fans could use some time killing alternatives before the opening kickoff, am I right?

Yogizilla’s Tech Basement: So You Want To Learn SEO?

Ever since I started to more aggressively share my information products and services (for free and for a premium, as appropriate), I’ve encountered many people that really undermine what it we do as “SEO people” (there’s much more to it than just SEO, I assure you).  It can be quite insulting to someone like myself to be asked, “Can you teach me how to do that SEO stuff you do?”  I’m all for sharing information and helping others out, but I DO have to make a living too.. And it’s not like I learned SEO overnight, either! Silly rabbits.

It seems you make some good money doing that SEO stuff.  Can you teach me how to do the same?

Yes, I’ll help you but, first, let’s get an attitude adjustment and shift your perspective a bit…

The problem with these types of questions is not that they’re a jab at my ego.  I’m used to people thinking SEO is just some silly thing people offer companies that don’t know any better.  I’m also used to people thinking that “all” SEO requires is some link building and on-page optimizations.  If it were as simple as reading some books and doing some Google searches, we’d all be in the business and making big bucks with it..  But it’s not quite that simple. Sadly, ignorance exists in all areas of the service industry and it only helps those of us with real experience differentiate ourselves from the self-proclaimed “gurus” and “experts”.

While SEO is very complex, it is also not a black art (I may have mentioned this before).  You can learn the basics of SEO easily but you need the fundamentals to be able to do it right.  In my consultant work, I wear many hats because so many service offerings connect and overlap that you can’t (and shouldn’t) departmentalize yourself.  Being a one-trick dog in this economy, especially with so many pretenders and copycats prowling about, is not a smart move.   Besides, there’s always something new to learn or a better way to streamline processes and drive value.

Let’s start with the concepts behind SEO… Read the rest of this entry

Yogizilla’s Tech Basement: Sitting On The Google Authority Throne (SEO Shite)

Have you ever wondered how Google determines a web site’s position in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages)? Me too. Truth be told, all us SEO experts mostly speculate because Google does not make their secret recipe known to anyone. This may very well be the reason why many of us online marketers, web designers, and social media wizards are seen as quacks. Fair enough. Whether of whether you are on the fence about the value of SEO or SMO or not, you should at least be aware of the basic rules at work. If you have any sort of web site, online content, or Internet-based service, being visible on Google is relevant, if not paramount to your success! Why? Because having traffic that grows in spite of your direct marketing and referral efforts sure beats going the door-to-door salesperson route. Really, who has that sort of time?

SEO is NOT a black art.

Many see SEO is purely guesswork (or magic) and, while I admitted to the speculative nature of the work, there is a science to it. The most important thing to note here is that the same proven methods will have different results for different people. Hence, the foundation of SEO and SMO alike (they go hand-in-hand, really) is built out of these solid metaphorical bricks:

  • Tempering your expectations (being patient).
  • Understanding performance indicators (monitoring key metrics/stats).
  • Identifying direct and indirect competition (finding the search results that appear before your own).

If you can handle that, you’re ready for the basics of SEO. Before we proceed, I want to be clear on something:

You don’t need to be tech-savvy to do the basic SEO stuff. In fact, it may put you at an advantage because you won’t over-complicate things!

Rather than reinventing the wheel, I highly recommend listening to Dino Dogan and Dan Cristo’s podcast on Search Engine Optimization. They hit all the basics. I’ll build upon their ideas further… What Is Authority, In Google Terms?Authority in Google jargon is a pain in the ass. The elusive concept of authority goes beyond mere PageRank and how it is computed is as complex and inexplicable as Google’s ranking algorithm (which, mind you, has over 200 rules built in, apparently). Let’s simplify… Think of authority as Google’s take on “niche marketing”. It’s all about how you position content. From there, how relevant and significant the content is, according to a slew of performance metrics, determines your authority. Some say authority is contextual, which more appropriately explains keyword rankings. I’d say authority is a composite of your overall performance across categories, tags, social media, and backlinks/votes. I reckon that regular site updates, heavy site traffic, low bounce rates, and average site visit (time spent on your site per visitor) factor in as well.

Ranking high in one area does not preclude others.. Unless you’re talking close-match keywords.

Interestingly enough, you can rank high on several keywords and have little authority. Focusing your content helps establish authority. High participation and conversion rates from site visitors helps as well. In the manner, authority tells people your site is important, whereas PageRank is more granular, focusing on each individual page (duh). What Is A Quality Link?In their podcast, Dino and Dan discussed the importance of off-page work. They also mentioned how this area is often overlooked. Link building is a huge part of SEO but people skip out on it or try to cut corners. Certainly, smaller sites should focus on quality, not quantity. High-value backlinks have three major traits:

  • Contextual. Links from related sites tend to have the most value. When it is obvious what you are clicking to, due to all the descriptive content encapsulating a link, humans and search bots alike rejoice!
  • Natural. “Click here” links are terrible because you’re competing for “click here” search ranking. A natural link eases people into a new site without seeming out of place or “bought”. It’s all about anchor text, BABY!
  • Authoritative. A site with established authority can give you tons of street cred. If you build value, the big boys will notice and hook you up, yo.
  • Popular. The more clickthroughs a link gets, the more significant it becomes. The more significant a link becomes, the more juice you build up. Increased link juice means your traffic will start growing exponentially!

In simple terms, build something remarkable and get people talking about it. You’ll get natural links and tons of buzz if you have something special to share on the interwebz. How Does Social Media Factor In? You knew this was coming! Social media should factor into any SEO strategy because it is simply magical. Most other areas of SEO require a constant grind and waiting for the results to show but social media can produce quick results AND give you long-term growth. As Dan Cristo mentioned, backlinks from social platforms run less of a risk of getting penalized. On top of that, you gain traffic sources that will continue to work for you with minimal maintenance. It’s a very natural system. Most so-called SEO “experts” focus on optimizing for highly-competitive sectors and merely building links. This is wrong because it doesn’t tell a story. Social media, however, DOES. Making it easy for others to promote your great works makes sense, no? OR you could just work 24/7 to promote and share the hard way… Name Spaces And Naming Conventions Here’s a simple yet often-overlooked area. Dino is right when he says URLs and, more importantly, domain names are very valuable. The “rule of thumb” (inside joke, unless you listened to the aforementioned podcast already) is that optimizing top-level data for human audiences and search engines alike is HUGE. Your domain name is one of the first things that sticks out to pretty much everyone. From what I’ve seen, Google weighs domain names and URL naming conventions heavier than most other items. Content freshness is a big part of the equation but look at the “baby sites” that appear in search results. Anyone can change in-line HTML elements to target a specific market/audience but you’re pretty much stuck with your domain so a keyword-rich name shows commitment and some degree of authority too. I really like the 301 redirect idea. It really works as a traffic booster, which is why people are still squatting on good domain names. Mind you, a seksy domain name is only helpful as a good “shot in the arm”, but you still got to build upon momentum thereof or you will get buried by more authoritative, established sites. The Slight Edge In Online Marketing Let’s bring this home! Building authority and staying ahead of the competition is all about one-upping the folks dominating the top 3-5 SERP spots for target searches/keywords. That is where most traffic goes and you WANT that traffic. Realistically, you won’t hold on to top positions for long so make the most of it while you can by really delivering something people care about. See what your competitors are doing and do something better. I am not suggesting being a copy cat but why bother reinventing the wheel? Surely, what they’re doing works so borrow some pages from their playbook: find out what keywords rank best for them, how many IBLs (inbound links) they have, and what social media solutions they leverage. Also, how often do they update their site? Think along the lines of relevance, freshness, popularity, and authority.

You don’t have to have all the answers.

There’s a market for everything. Not everyone wants solutions. Everyone likes a compelling story or useful information, something that relates and matters to them. All too often, sales and marketinf folks focus too much on the numbers and technical side of things. Focus on people and good things will come. Google knows this and that is why they are looking for more natural-looking content and human elements.

Be human and appeal to human beings.

Your personal touch is part of your unique advantage. So is your story. Don’t let the technical stuff overwhelm and consume you. When engaging in online marketing/promotion, use the human touch.As an IT veteran with heavy business background, especially in sales and marketing, I have to remind myself to avoid jargon, robotic practices, and things that make me seem impersonal or scripted. These types of things make you seem fake or boring, they don’t really speak to people unless they’re gullible. Great web sites have great content but truly remarkable web sites focus on human elements: ease of use (self-explanatory), usability (how practical information is), compelling stories (something we can relate to), presentation (which is very contextual), and the like. Valuing the time of our audience members is HUGE and page loading time is only part of it. Remember that, although you work for yourself, you are really working for others: put them at the center of all you do (this is the difference between a hobby, or labor of love, and serious work). Do you…

  • Force people to sign in to participate? Why?
  • Make commenting and sharing difficult on any or some platforms? Why?
  • Go on and on about your life, derailing otherwise compelling points?

Just some food for thought there. If you’re going to take up their time, make it worth their while somehow. Gone are the days when gimmicks and trickery fooled search engines and you could “fake it until make it”. We need to be honest, authentic even, with our approach. Content is king but it’ll be a lonely king if you don’t see the urgency in getting a little more familiar with modern marketing and all that SEO/SEM/SMO rubbish that makes many roll their eyes (I saw that). Hope you enjoyed this article! Now, what will you do differently with your online stuff now that you know all this good stuff?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 52 other followers

%d bloggers like this: