How You Can Get Your Hands on a Chrome Notebook

Google Chrome Logo

Google just announced their new Google Chrome OS earlier today and from what I’ve seen so far, this is going to be totally awesome. An all online-only notebook is sweet because it’s going to make setup and computer maintenance so much easier. I have a feeling it’s going to feel a bit limited at first, but I’m positive that I can get used to it and will make it work.

And much to the delight of many Google nerds and tech geeks everywhere, they also announced that they’d be giving away Chrome notebooks to a select few people for testing purposes. They are searching for users in all areas; business, education, non-profit, developers and individuals. All you have to do is fill out their application form.

They also ask that you submit a video about why you want to test the Chrome OS, but that’s optional. It’s a goal of mine to become more comfortable with speaking to the camera and sharing my thoughts visually so I thought this was a great opportunity to get started.

This is why I want to test the Chrome OS. I hope they choose me to test. Fingers crossed!

P.S. I’m on an exercise ball so I’m a little fidgety in this video. I’ll keep that in mind next time.

How to Compare Two Lists in Excel

Knowing how to compare data from two different columns in Excel using the VLOOKUP feature is something that can be super useful for internet marketers or anyone who deals with data regularly. The other day I did some competitive research to gather backlink data from various websites, many of which had backlinks from sites I’ve contacted in the past. I wanted to make sure not to contact these sites again, so I needed to weed out the URL’s that matched in both lists.

I’m on a Macbook and using VBA code isn’t available in Excel for Mac, so I had to find a formula, which I did after a long search. Start by putting the longest list in Column A and the shorter list in Column B. In Column C enter =VLOOKUP(A1,B:B,1,FALSE) and copy the formula down to the last cell where data ends in Column A.

A1 = The cell being compared
B:B = The set of data Column A cells are being compared to
1 = Tells the formula to return a result from of data matches
FALSE = Tells the formula to return an exact match

Tip: If you’re using this to compare deep URLs but need to compare to domains, use Ontolo’s URL & Hostname Counter, set to Count Hostnames and click the button. Copy to Clipboard and paste into Excel.

Why I Won’t Buy an iPad

I can’t think if any actual reasons how an iPad could be any more useful than my laptop for work or business. I don’t know anyone who owns one and I’ve only spent about 10 minutes playing with an iPad at the local Best Buy so I admit that I don’t have a lot of experience with how it works.

From what I understand, it’s basically like an iPod Touch or an iPhone (which I do own). I’ve heard that it will (or already does?) have business software created specifically for it, such as a word processor and spreadsheet program much like Microsoft Office. While that makes it sound a little more useful, I don’t see why I would rather take that on a business trip or to a client meeting when I have a fully-featured laptop that has everything I need.

For pleasure on the other hand, I think an iPad would be great. If I wanted to read a book in bed or browse the internet on the couch, an iPad would super-simple and easy to use.

One of the biggest problems I have is that it doesn’t support Flash and since I would use the iPad mostly for web browsing, this really bothers me. I understand that Flash is a dying technology and is practically useless on mobile devices, but I thought of the iPad as more than just a large iPhone and I had really hoped Apple would have included Flash capabilities more like a desktop computer.

This isn’t to say that I would never OWN an iPad though. I’m just saying I would never BUY one. At least not for the price it’s selling for right now. For $200 more than the selling price of an iPad, I can go buy a brand new fully-featured Macbook.

This is why I’m hoping to win one instead ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ll enter a few contests here and there as I see them on Twitter, such as this one from hiTechPedia.com. I never win any contests, but you never know how things might turn out.

If I win, I might have a complete change of heart about the iPad and may even be able to provide some real reasons on why anyone should buy one. Here’s hoping ๐Ÿ˜‰

*image Courtesy of Apple

Is SEO Necessary For New Business Owners Anymore?

I came across a forum post on DMOZ quite some time ago with a new business owner asking if SEO is necessary anymore. Why this person was asking for this type of advice from DMOZ, I have no idea, but one of the forum moderators chimed in stating that SEO was not necessary. He said that hard quality work is all it takes and that utilizing meta tags is pointless. This is all the “advice” he provided. There really is a lot more to SEO than meta tags.

I do agree that doing hard quality work is very important and is what really counts when building your website, but although meta tags are an extremely small part of SEO, they can still provide value.

When it comes to ranking, these fields are generally useless, which the Google guidelines will tell you, and although Google is the most well known search engine currently, they aren’t the only one available to use, and many other search engines don’t go by the same rules.

If you place the appropriate keywords in the meta keywords tag, it can help a site stay away from a duplicate content filter. This tag can normally be avoided, but it’s a nice fallback, just in case. And as previously mentioned, some search engines may still be using it. Heck, it only takes a couple of seconds to fill in anyway. One thing to note though is that if you utilized the keywords meta tag, you leave your research open for competitors to find.

The description meta tag will not help in rankings, but with the right description, you can entice visitors into coming into your website. Also, if you’ve ever noticed from doing a search in Google, your search query will appear in bold in the description. This is proven to draw the eyes of the user into that listing. I think that makes the Description Meta tag fairly important.

Ok, so those are my thoughts on meta tags, but there is much more to SEO than that.

Keyword Research

  • High Volume
  • Low Competition
  • “Buyer” keywords

On-Page Factors

  • Title tags
  • Meta tags
  • Alt attributes
  • Internal linking
  • Header tags
  • Keyword emphasis (bolding/italicizing)
  • Page load time optimization
  • Broken links
  • HTML and XML sitemap
  • Custom 404
  • Robots.txt
  • Canonical Issues
  • Site architecture analysis

Competitive Analysis

  • Domain age
  • On-page factors
  • Visibility
  • Traffic
  • Incoming links
  • Paid search campaigns

Off-Page Factors

  • Analytics review
  • Incoming backlinks
  • Citations
  • Local optimization

A lot of this may not fit into some peoples definition of “SEO” but would instead call it “SEM” or search engine marketing, but the inexperienced don’t really care about semantics and only want their site to bring in more money. This is why I lumped it all together into the somewhat outdated term.

To answer the original question of the new business owner, no, search engine optimization isn’t absolutely necessary, but if you ever plan to have a successful online business that brings in enough money to put food on the table, then yes it is.

Google Halloween 2009 Logos

Did you check out the cool Halloween logo Google put up this year? It seems simple at first, but if you click on it, you’ll get some fun results.

Google Halloween Logo 1

Ooohhh, more candy!

Google Halloween Logo 2

Even more candy?!?!!

Google Halloween Logo 3

Awwwww, candy all gone…

Google Halloween Logo 4

…and there’s your Halloween 2009 search results.

Google Halloween Logo 5

And if you check out their robots.txt file at http://www.google.com/robots.txt, they’ve added a funny little Halloween themed rule.

Google Halloween 2009 robots.txt