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How Branch Rickey Predicted Long Tail Search Success

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“Luck,” Mr. Rickey once said, “is the residue of design.”

If that’s not the perfect description of life chasing the SEO long tail I’m not sure what is. Design – the deliberate use of certain keywords and phrases – has its place but often luck determines whether you are found by a prospective buyer or seller finds you.

Will then enter the phrase you envision exactly as you plan it? Or will they find you because you’re the only real estate agent in the web who discusses the concept of a kunahura and your fear of said foul beast.

Shotgun Web Presence

With just under half of 2008 gone, I’ve already surpassed my business totals for 2007. Which means both that last year was atrocious, survival through that year was miraculous, and that 2008 has been much, much better. So the natural question that arises is “how?” And for that, I almost have an answer.

It’s not coincidence that I’ve had two Canadians close escrow, passed a third to another agent, have two more coming this week, am sending listings to a dozen or so more (and even have fired three along the way since I didn’t want to be part of an agent gang bang hoping to get a piece of the action.)

It’s not coincidence that last week someone looking for bank owned homes in Tolleson tripped over my blog and the Just Listed pages … but there’s some luck in that their offer was the one of three accepted and that they’ll be opening escrow by week’s end.

It’s not coincidence that I helped a buyer find a home in Ventana Lakes and that I’m getting inquiries about the Phoenix area’s other retirement communities.

All of these things were part of the grand design … yet I also realize luck does play a factor, in that a slight change of wording can send these buyers to other websites instead of my own. All I can do is cast a wide enough net – call it a shotgun web presence (shoot and see what sticks) and hope it works.

The Other Side of the Equation

Personal goals, however, have taken a bit of a back seat. The weight loss I’ve needed to accomplish for some time still hasn’t happened (the current 10-pound drop is like throwing a bucket of sand off the beach and into ocean.) When Kris Berg tells me she loves me biggest, it’s probably because I am the biggest.

Combine that with a highly stressful job, the added “joy” of being president of my synagogue (have you ever seen the Israeli Knesset?) and the fact I’m still here sometimes is amazing.

I’ve unplugged over the last month out of necessity – fewer posts here, almost no time spent on Twitter, very little on Facebook, etc. My Google Reader overfloweth.

The last 18 months have been hard, not just for me, but for nearly everyone in this industry. Until three weeks ago I was arguing with my mother about the urgent need to find Wi-Fi access from the beach house my sister has rented in San Diego. Now … I’m all set to turn in the iPaq in favor of a book my wife bought me and a spot overlooking the beach (just far enough from the water that no one tries to roll me back in to “save” me.)

It’s taken 18 months of searching to find my own long tail, to find the keywords and phrases that will lead myself to the balance necessary to thrive in this job without letting it be your final job. “I’m going to make it if it kills me” seems like a really, really weird thing to say. And that’s not the long tail search I’d want to define me. Better to be found under “2008 will be the best year yet, personally and for my business.”

I’m already halfway there. The easier part should be … well … easier.

Right?

Testing the Long Tail

Since I’m still number 2 on Google for “kunahura” – no, really, I am – let’s see what I can do with the shehechyanu, a far more optimistic and uplifting way to conclude. You never know when someone looking for the shehechyanu may want a house in Arrowhead Ranch.

Baruch ata Adonai eloheinu melech haolam, shehechyanu vekiyamanu vehigianu lazman hazeh.

I’ve found myself saying that after each house has gone under escrow this year. Who knows … maybe that’s a good chunk of the reason behind the improvement as well.

Like long-tail fishing, it can’t hurt.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Dan Green

    June 19, 2008 at 4:26 am

    I wonder if Branch Rickey said the shehechyanu while Jackie Robinson was signing his contract?

  2. Bill Lublin

    June 19, 2008 at 5:21 am

    @Dan Green – Actually Jackie should have said the shehechyanu 😉
    As well as the fans 😀

    @Jonathan – Dude you gotta help the readers who don’t get what a Kaynahorah is (you may be #2 because you spelled it that way) – Here’s a definition from http://www.bubbygram.com

    Kaynahorah: (kayne-a-hurr-rah) literally, the evil eye. Pronounced in order to ward off the evil eye, especially when speaking of one’s good fortune. “Everyone is the family is happy and healthy, kaynahorah.” “He’ll be 86 in three weeks, kaynahorah.” Another way to ward off the evil eye is to quickly spit three times (We’re not talking hawking a big loogie. This is more like lightly spitting a poppy seed off the tongue.) “My daughter found a nice guy and it looks as if he’s going to propose. Pthui, pthui, pthui.”

    Couldn’t find a definition of the shehechyanu – so we’ll just let them know that its a thank you for the good things we’re allowed to experience -ecited at every joyous occasion .

    Ok, I’m done being multi-cultural – Time to go now! 😉

  3. Jonathan Dalton

    June 19, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Kaynahorah, Bill? Is that the dance you do when you’re at a Kanye West concert?

  4. Faina Sechzer

    June 19, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Jonathan, how do you say “congrats”? Without my grandma, I am at a loss for the right words. I will say, “phui, pthui, pthui” (better safe then sorry), as there is another 6 months to go.

  5. Paula Henry

    June 19, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    Jonathan – I do not understand the language you speak here, but do undertsan the language of the longtail and congrats on a good year with it!

    Here’s to a great rest of 2008!

  6. Louis Cammarosano

    September 6, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    What Branch Richey did was take advantage of the immense ignorance at the time by adding an African-American player to his team, Jackie Robinson, that no one else would take, but who would help the Dodgers win games.

    Seems like an obvious good move now, but at the time people questioned the decision to bring Jackie onto the team.

    With Jackie, the Dodgers finally won a World Series (beating the Yankees in 1955) and a few pennants along the way.

    Jackie endured a lot of crap and Branch Richey probably did as well.

    Branch Richey succeeded by doing what he thought was right and would work even though none of his peers was doing it and thought it was wrong.

    A tremendous lesson for us well beyond the long tail!

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Opinion Editorials

Have an in-person job interview? 7 tips to crush the competition

EDITORIAL) While we all know the usual interview schtick, take some time to really study for your next face-to-face job interview.

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Job interview between two women.

So, you’re all scheduled for an in-person interview for a job you’d kill for. It’s exciting that you’ve made it to this step, but the question is, are you ready? Especially with remote interviews being the new norm, your nerves may feel shaken up a bit to interview in person – but you’ve got this! And many of these tips can be applied no matter the interview setting.

We all know the basics of a job interview: dress nice, get there early, come prepared, firm handshake, yada, yada, yada… However, it’s good to really sit and think about all of the requirements of a successful interview.

There are seven steps for crushing a face-to-face interview. Do your homework upside down and inside out in order to walk into that room.

Which brings us to the first step: know everything you need to know backwards and forwards.

This can be done in two steps: getting to know the company and getting to know yourself. By doing website, social media, and LinkedIn research, you can get a feel of the company culture as well as the position you’re interviewing for.

By getting to know yourself, have a friend ask you some interview questions so you can practice. Also, take a look at your resume through the eyes of someone who doesn’t know you. Make sure everything is clear and can compete with other candidates.

The next step is to anticipate solving future problems. Have some insight on the department that you are interviewing for and come prepared with ideas of how to better this department. (i.e. if it’s marketing, give examples of campaigns you’ve done in the past that have proven to have been successful.)

Step number three requires you to go back to the research board and get some information on the employer. Find out who you’re meeting with (head of HR, head of the department, etc.) and make your self-presentation appropriate for the given person.

Next, work on making the interview conversation a meaningful one. This can be done by asking questions as people like to see you take an interest in them. Also, be sure to never answer the questions as if it’s your regular spiel. Treat each job interview as if this is the first time you’re presenting your employability information.

With this, your next step is to have stories prepared for the job interview. Anecdotes and examples of previous jobs or volunteer/organization experiences can help bring life to an otherwise run-of-the-mill resume.

After this, you’ll want to make sure that you’re showing enthusiasm for the position you’re interviewing for. Don’t jump on the couch in the lobby like you’re Tom Cruise on Oprah, but definitely portray that you’re excited and up for the challenge.

Lastly, make a good impression by being impressive. Be professional and in control of your body language. Put yourself in the mindset of whatever position you’re interviewing for and show them that you have what it takes.

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Opinion Editorials

The benefits of remote work are just too good to overlook

(EDITORIAL) Employees scream it from the rooftops and businesses don’t want to admit it: Remote work is just too beneficial to pass up- and here’s why.

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Work from home written with scrabble letters.

Remote work has been rising in popularity in the past several years. Especially following the COVID-19 global pandemic, more companies saw significant benefits for both their business and their staff that went beyond the realm of finances by allowing remote labor.

Less happily, many people lost their job during the pandemic, but they ended up having more time to put toward their passions or were compelled to get creative with their remote business ideas to ensure a consistent stream of income.

If you remain on the fence about allowing your employees to work remotely, or are considering a career shift yourself, take a look at the top four benefits of working remotely, which may sway your decision.

Better Overall Quality of Life

Allowing your employees to work remotely doesn’t necessarily mean they work from home full time. There are benefits to having your employees work in an office part of the time – say, two or three days – and working from home, in more familiar surroundings, the rest of the week.

In this way, your workers enjoy some freedom and independence while retaining the ability to interact face-to-face with their peers. That provides human interaction, which can play a substantial role in terms of improved mental health for your staff.

Happy employees means healthier employees, which can save your outfit money in the form of healthcare costs and lost productivity. But we will get further into the cost-saving benefits a little further on.

If you’re a remote worker, you should see yourself becoming significantly more productive. But why would this be the case if you don’t have a manager over your shoulder watching your every move?

It’s true that when employees have a greater sense of independence, they also experience a significant sense of trust on the part of their employers and managers. This is one of the huge benefits of working remotely because it has a trickle-down effect on the quality and overall production of people’s work.

Can Work Anywhere with Internet

Whether you are a small business owner or have crafted your work to tailor toward a life of remote labor, this is an opportunity for someone who has dreamed of being a digital nomad. You have the ability to work anywhere in the world as long as you have access to the Internet. If you love to travel, this is a chance to spend time in various places around the globe while continuing to meet your deadlines.

Multi-member Zoom call on a Apple Mac laptop with a blue mug of black coffee next to it.

Set Your Own Hours

In some cases with remote businesses, you have the freedom to set your own hours. Content writers, for instance, tend to enjoy more flexibility with regard to when they work because a lot of what they produce is project-based rather than tied to a nine-to-five schedule.

When you’re a business owner, this can be incredibly useful when you outsource tasks to save money. You can find a higher quality of performance by searching for contractors anywhere in the world and it doesn’t limit you to workers who live near to your office.

Saves Everyone Time and Money

 In the end, remote work typically saves money for every person and entity involved. Businesses save costs in terms of not having to pay for a physical space, utilities, Internet, and other expenses. This allows you, as the owner, to spend more of your income on providing quality software and benefits for your employees so your operation runs more smoothly and efficiently.

According to FlexJobs, employees or remote business owners may save around $4,000 on average every year for expenses such as car maintenance, transportation, professional clothing in the office, or even money spent dining out for lunch with coworkers. Eventually, the costs add up, which means extra money in your pocket to take that much-needed vacation or save up for a down payment on your first home.

These benefits of working remotely only skim the surface. There are also sustainability factors such as removing cars from the roads and streets, because people don’t have to travel to and from an office; or employees missing fewer workdays since they have the ability and freedom to clock in from home.

Weigh the pros and cons as to whether remote work is right for you as a business owner or online professional. You might be surprised to find that working from home for more than the duration of the pandemic is worthwhile and could have long-lasting benefits.

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Opinion Editorials

Do these 3 things if you TRULY want to be an ally to women in tech

(EDITORIAL) We understand diversity helps and strengthens our companies, and individual teams. But how can you be an ally to the talented women already on your workforce?

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Two women at meeting table discussing working in tech.

More and more women are leaving their positions with tech companies, citing lack of opportunity for advancement, wage gaps, and even hostile working conditions as some of the reasons why.

What’s better for the tech industry and its employees than cultivating inclusive and diverse departments? Diversity is known to strengthen the overall performance of a company and its teams, and there are a number of ways you can be an ally to the talented women already on your workforce. To name a few:

1. Be open to listening to different perspectives.

It can be awkward to hear so many reports of workplace politics stacking against women, especially if you’re not a woman!

Instead of getting uncomfortable or defensive – ask open ended questions and be interested in a perspective that isn’t yours and may be unfamiliar.

Don’t seek to rationalize or explain the experiences you’re hearing about, as that can come off as condescending. It’s common for women to be interrupted or spoken over in team gatherings. If you notice this happening, bring the conversation back to where the interruption began. Offering your ear and counting yourself as responsible for making space will improve the overall quality of communication in your company.

Listening to and validating what women have to say about the quality of their employment with a company is an important step in the right direction.

Expressing something as simple as “I was interested in what you had to say – could you elaborate on your thought?” can help.

2. Develop an Employee Resource Group (ERG) program.

An ERG is a volunteer-based, employee-led group that acts as a resource for a particular group of employees. An ERG can help to foster inclusiveness through discussion, team-building activities and events. It’s common for a department to have only one or two women on the roster.

This can mean that the day to day feels disconnected from concerns commonly shared by women. disjointed it might feel to be on a high performing team, without access to relatable conversations.

3. Be responsible for your company’s culture.

Chances are, your company already has some amazing cultural values in place. That said, how often are you checking your own performance and your co-workers performances against those high standards? Strong company culture and values sound great, but whether or not they’re adhered to can make or break the mood of a work environment.

Many women say they’ve experienced extremely damaging and toxic cultural environments, which lead to hostility, frustration, and even harassment. Take action when you see the new woman uncomfortable with being hit on at team drinks.

Call out those who make unfriendly and uncouth comments about how women perform, look, or behave.

Setting a personal threshold for these kinds of microaggressions can help you lead by example, and will help build a trustworthy allyship.

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