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Confused in Minnesota – Cold Too

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There are companies out there spamming daily with ads for search engine optimization. They send spam inviting me to spend money to be number one in the search engines by optimizing my site. What is “number 1” and how will it help my business? Number one for which keyword search? Does everyone use the same search strings when they look for St. Paul, or for real estate?

I am not an SEO expert, which might be why I am confused. I have a basic comprehension of math, almost good enough to get through the captcha on this site, but I don’t get number 1. When I Google my name my web sites come up first. Kind of nice, people find me that way but if my name was “John Smith” I am not sure I could ever come up first. People who search for homes don’t usually use my name so if it were John Smith I would not be left out in the cold. (It is so cold here today you wouldn’t believe it).

Since last January (it was cold here then too) my blog has come up first in search engines using the keywords that the spammers are trying to get me to pay for. (They don’t target their spam) It is nice to come up first and it does help my business but more people find me through long tail type searches and those are the folks that hire me. Most of my business comes from specific content that struck a cord with the buyer or seller, who found me using some obscure string of words, and then read some of my blog. Which is good news because there is only one number one spot, and writing a blog is just more fun if someone reads it and makes contact.

Some web site owners go to Google and type in search terms like their domain name, or real estate blog and get all excited when they come up first. (excitement keeps them warm) Others Google the title of a blog post and it pops up. Does any of that matter? It shows that pages are being indexed but beyond that I question the value. My business blog comes up fifth in Google under “virtual pumpkin carving contest”. I get tons of traffic right around Halloween but have not seen any evidence that it is helping my business, it does jack up my bounce rates and screw up my analytics. (Yes I really am a geek, when I am not cold) All traffic is not equal, and not all pumpkin carvers are looking for a Realtor(R).

Then there is the whole domain name thing that I don’t understand. People seem to find my information about St. Paul and about real estate without using a domain name at all. It is nice to have a domain name that is easy to remember and that is why I purchased the domain names that I currently use. If I were starting a new blog today, in the cold, I would not spend much time worrying about the domain name, I would focus on content. Since I can’t spell I would pick one with three of four letters in it, like the word “cold” or “ice”

I learned a lesson about domain names, you might say I had a “well duh” moment. I was working with someone and asked her to look at my blog. I gave her the domain name and she typed in “saint” instead of “St”, as a result I now own SaintPaulRealEstateBlog.com, and StPaulRealEstateBlog and both are pointed at my site. You never know exactly how people are going to search, or even how they will spell a domain name.

I have never paid a dime for my position in any search. Some believe that web sites and blogs need a lot of expensive marketing, they don’t. They can be promoted inexpensively through directories and by putting the domain name on marketing materials.

Friends don’t let friends spend money on SEO, unless they are sure there will be a healthy ROI.

Did I mention it is hella cold here today?

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Mariana

    November 30, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    Yeah, Brr chilly here in Colorado-Land as well, even under 4 layers of shirts and sweaters…

    …target spamming? Now that would defeat the purpose, no?

  2. Charleston real estate blog

    November 30, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    Hey Teresa, it’s still November, and a long way until spring but I’ll bet you enjoy the North anyway.

    And you’re number one in my SEO book for your great blog (even if I don’t want to move to Minnesota).

  3. Teresa Boardman

    November 30, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    Who wouldn’t want to live in MN? It is supposed to snow all weekend. How cool is that? LOL

  4. Charleston real estate blog

    November 30, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    High 60’s and sunny in Charleston this weekend. (I am originally from windy and snowy Chicago).

  5. Todd Carpenter

    November 30, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    I should charge for SEO. For example, due to my donated gift of link love, Lani’s RE Revealed now comes up above the fold on Page 1 Google for the term “”awesomest real estate blog”. It’s number 1 if you use quotes. How can you argue with results like that?

    I know everyone on this blog is now jealous of Lani, thinking, “I wish I had the awesomest real estate blog”. Call me, maybe we can work something out.

  6. Steve Belt

    November 30, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    Teresa- When it’s crazy hot here in Phoenix, we tend to get a little cranky. I’m thinking this may be a similar phenomenom with your cold weather.

    It’s funny you mention your own name’s google ranking. Before I started my blog, my own name couldn’t be found in the top 100 for google. It was truly pathetic how poorly my Web 1.0 website.

    Having grown up a little in the last few months, my name now refers to me for 4 out of the top 6 results in google. My own blog strangely is 3rd, but at least 2, 5, and 6 are all references to me. Steve Belt the java developer is topping out ahead of me, but I have a feeling we are neck and neck…hehe

  7. Benjamin Bach

    November 30, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    It was -4 this morning when I went to the office. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

  8. Lani Anglin

    November 30, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    1. Teresa, what’s snow? Oh, and you’re spot on- the “be #1 in Google spam” is almost as frequent as the pharmaceutical spam now. About as effective too…

    2. Todd, if you offer up my #1 spot on Google, I get 60% of whatever your cut is…

    3. Bach, wth are you doing working at 4 am????

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Social Media

*New* TikTok Insights launch: Content creators finally get audience analytics

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The popular short-form app, TikTok, finally launches the anticipated Insights feature, where content creators can view target audience data.

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Two girls filming on TikTok.

Marketers searching for the zeitgeist which means TikTok scrollers pause to watch their content and then click through to buy a product have a new tool to help make that happen.

  • TikTok Insights offers marketers bite-size bits of user demographic information that will help build content that leads to sales.
  • With TikTok Insights you can learn more about your audience’s behavior, their interests, and their general sentiment toward brands.
  • TikTok Insights is free to use. Marketers can find TikTok user demographics by using filters to determine what they’re looking for.

The demographic info can be age-focused, focused on specific types of marketing, or even as specific as holiday or event marketing.

This is a step in the direction marketers have been asking for as they create content for the TikTok platform; however, creators looking for detailed analytics like they get from meta need to wait. Insights doesn’t offer that for now.

Like TikTok says in its own analytic information,

“While analytics are helpful in understanding the performance of your videos, you don’t need to create future videos based primarily around them. It’s best to consider the bigger picture, lean lightly on analytics, and use them as a source for insight rather than strategy.”

Marketers trying to key into reaching TikTok’s billion users worldwide are left, right now, searching for the magic that leads to consumers making the jump from the platform to using their purchasing power.

For marketers that means keeping things creative and collaborative, two key factors in TikTok’s success. And that success is huge. Users spend an average of 52 minutes on the platform when they log in and a staggering 90% of users say they log on every day.

TikTok Insights will help marketers find ways to connect, but the content TikTok is looking for is authentic.

And while entrepreneurs can bid for advertising like other social media platforms, they need to remember when planning that spend, that most TikTok marketing success stories are more accidental than planned. Have fun with that knowledge. Instead of pressure to create the perfect plan, TikTok Insights allows marketers to keep it creative and to find a way to tie it into what they enjoy about the platform.

Like all other social media marketing, focus on creating content that stops the consumer from their continual scroll. Make it a challenge and keep it real.

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Social Media

Grindr got busted for selling users’ data locations to advertisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) User data has been a hot topic in the tech world. It’s often shared haphazardly or not protected, and the app Grindr, follows suit.

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Grindr on phone in man's hands

If you’re like me, you probably get spam calls a lot. Information is no longer private in this day and age; companies will buy and sell whatever information they can get their hands on for a quick buck. Which is annoying, but not necessarily outright dangerous, right?

Wrong.

Grindr has admitted to selling their user’s data, however, they are specifically selling the location of their users without regard for liability concerns. Grindr, a gay hook-up app, is an app where a marginalized community is revealing their location to find a person to connect to. Sure, Grindr claims they have been doing this less and less since 2020, but the issue still remains: they have been selling the location of people who are in a marginalized community – a community that has faced a huge amount of oppression in the past and is still facing it to this day.

Who in their right mind thought this was okay? Grindr initially did so to create “real-time ad exchanges” for their users, to find places super close to their location. Which makes sense, sort of. The root of the issue is that the LGBTQAI+ community is a community at risk. How does Grindr know if all of their users are out? Do they know exactly who they’re selling this information to? How do they know that those who bought the information are going to use it properly?

They don’t have any way of knowing this and they put all of their users at risk by selling their location data. And the data is still commercially available! Historical data could still be obtained and the information was able to be purchased in 2017. Even if somebody stopped using Grindr in, say, 2019, the fact they used Grindr is still out there. And yeah, the data that’s been released has anonymized, Grindr claims, but it’s really easy to reverse that and pin a specific person to a specific location and time.

This is such a huge violation of privacy and it puts people in real, actual danger. It would be so easy for bigots to get that information and use it for something other than ads. It would be so easy for people to out others who aren’t ready to come out. It’s ridiculous and, yeah, Grindr claims they’re doing it less, but the knowledge of what they have done is still out there. There’s still that question of “what if they do it again” and, with how the world is right now, it’s really messed up and problematic.

If somebody is attacked because of the data that Grindr sold, is Grindr complicit in that hate crime, legally or otherwise?

So, moral of the story?

Yeah, selling data can get you a quick buck, but don’t do it.

You have no idea who you’re putting at risk by selling that data and, if people find out you’ve done it, chances are your customers (and employees) will lose trust in you and could potentially leave you to find something else. Don’t risk it!

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Social Media

BeReal: Youngsters are flocking in droves to this Instagram competitor app

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As Instagram loses steam due to its standards of “perfection posting,” users are drawn to a similar app with a different approach, BeReal.

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social media - bereal app

BeReal is one of several “Real” apps exploding in growth with young users who crave real connections with people they know in real life.

According to data.ai, BeReal ranks 4th by downloads in the US, the UK, and France for Q1 2022 to date, behind only Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

BeReal flies in the face of what social media has become. Instead of curated looks that focus on the beautiful parts of life, BeReal users showcase what they’re doing at the moment and share those real photos with their friends. Their real friends.

It’s real. And real is different for a generation of social media users who have been raised on influencers and filters.

As the app says when you go to its page:

Be Real.

Your Friends

for Real.

Every day at a different time, BeReal users are notified simultaneously to capture and share a Photo in 2 Minutes.

A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.

BeReal app

The app has seen monthly users increase by more than 315% according to Apptopia, which tracks and analyzes app performance.

“Push notifications are sent around the world simultaneously at different times each day,” the company said in a statement. “It’s a secret on how the time is chosen every day, it’s not random.”

The app allows no edits and no filters. They want users to show a “slice of their lives.”

Today’s social media users have seen their lives online inundated with ultra-curated social media. The pandemic led to more time spent online than ever. Social media became a way to escape. Reality was ugly. Social media was funny, pretty, and exciting.

And fake.

Enter BeReal where users are asked to share two moments of real life on a surprise schedule. New apps are fun often because they’re new. However, the huge growth in the use of BeReal by college-aged users points to something more than the new factor.

For the past several years, experts have warned that social media was dangerous to our mental health. The dopamine hits of likes and shares are based on photos and videos filled with second and third takes, lens changes, lighting improvements, and filters. Constant comparisons are the norm. And even though we know the world we present on our social pages isn’t exactly an honest portrayal of life, we can’t help but experience FOMO when we see our friends and followers and those we follow having the times of their lives, buying their new it thing, trying the new perfect product, playing in their Pinterest-worthy decorated spaces we wish we could have.

None of what we see is actually real on our apps. We delete our media that isn’t what we want to portray and try again from a different angle and shoot second and third and forth takes that make us look just a little better.

We spend hours flipping through videos on our For You walls and Instagram stories picked by algorithms that know us better than we know ourselves.

BeReal is the opposite of that. It’s simple, fast, and real. It’s community and fun, but it’s a moment instead of turning into the time-sink of our usual social media that, while fun, is also meant to ultimately sell stuff, including all our data.

It will be interesting to watch BeReal and see if it continues down its promised path and whether the growth continues. People are looking for something. Maybe reality is that answer.

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