Archive for 'RIP'

Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn

By GuyKawasaki

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  • The average number of LinkedIn connections for people who work at Google is forty-seven.
  • The average number for Harvard Business School grads is fifty-eight, so you could skip the MBA, work at Google, and probably get most of the connections you need. Later, you can hire Harvard MBAs to prepare your income taxes.
  • People with more than twenty connections are thirty-four times more likely to be approached with a job opportunity than people with less than five.
  • All 500 of the Fortune 500 are represented in LinkedIn. In fact, 499 of them are represented by director-level and above employees.
  • According to my inside sources, the person with the most pending LinkedIn invitations is…Guy Kawasaki. (Though I’m not sure if I should be proud or ashamed of this factoid.)


Most people use LinkedIn to “get to someone” in order to make a sale, form a partnership, or get a job. It works well for this because it is an online network of more than 8.5 million experienced professionals from around the world representing 130 industries. However, it is a tool that is under-utilized, so I’ve compiled a top-ten list of ways to increase the value of LinkedIn.
  1. Increase your visibility.

    By adding connections, you increase the likelihood that people will see your profile first when they’re searching for someone to hire or do business with. In addition to appearing at the top of search results (which is a major plus if you’re one of the 52,000 product managers on LinkedIn), people would much rather work with people who their friends know and trust.

  2. Improve your connectability.

    Most new users put only their current company in their profile. By doing so, they severely limit their ability to connect with people. You should fill out your profile like it’s an executive bio, so include past companies, education, affiliations, and activities.

    You can also include a link to your profile as part of an email signature. The added benefit is that the link enables people to see all your credentials, which would be awkward if not downright strange, as an attachment.

  3. Improve your Google PageRank.

    LinkedIn allows you to make your profile information available for search engines to index. Since LinkedIn profiles receive a fairly high PageRank in Google, this is a good way to influence what people see when they search for you.

    To do this, create a public profile and select “Full View.” Also, instead of using the default URL, customize your public profile’s URL to be your actual name. To strengthen the visibility of this page in search engines, use this link in various places on the web> For example, when you comment in a blog, include a link to your profile in your signature.

  4. Enhance your search engine results.

    In addition to your name, you can also promote your blog or website to search engines like Google and Yahoo! Your LinkedIn profile allows you to publicize websites. There are a few pre-selected categories like “My Website,” “My Company,” etc.

    If you select “Other” you can modify the name of the link. If you’re linking to your personal blog, include your name or descriptive terms in the link, and voila! instant search-engine optimization for your site. To make this work, be sure your public profile setting is set to “Full View.”

  5. Perform blind, “reverse,” and company reference checks.

    LinkedIn’s reference check tool to input a company name and the years the person worked at the company to search for references. Your search will find the people who worked at the company during the same time period. Since references provided by a candidate will generally be glowing, this is a good way to get more balanced data.

    Companies will typically check your references before hiring you, but have you ever thought of checking your prospective manager’s references? Most interviewees don’t have the audacity to ask a potential boss for references, but with LinkedIn you have a way to scope her out.

    You can also check up on the company itself by finding the person who used to have the job that you’re interviewing for. Do this by searching for job title and company, but be sure to uncheck “Current titles only.” By contacting people who used to hold the position, you can get the inside scoop on the job, manager and growth potential.

    By the way, if using LinkedIn in these ways becomes a common practice, we’re apt to see more truthful resumes. There’s nothing more amusing than to find out that the candidate who claims to have caused some huge success was a total bozo who was just along for the ride.

  6. Increase the relevancy of your job search.

    Use LinkedIn’s advanced search to find people with educational and work experience like yours to see where they work. For example, a programmer would use search keywords such as “Ruby on Rails,” “C++,” “Python,” “Java,” and “evangelist” to find out where other programmers with these skills work.

  7. Make your interview go smoother.

    You can use LinkedIn to find the people that you’re meeting. Knowing that you went to the same school, plays hockey, or shares acquaintances is a lot better than an awkward silence after, “I’m doing fine, thank you.”

  8. Gauge the health of a company.

    Perform an advanced search for company name and uncheck the “Current Companies Only” box. This will enable you to scrutinize the rate of turnover and whether key people are abandoning ship. Former employees usually give more candid opinions about a company’s prospects than someone who’s still on board.

  9. Gauge the health of an industry.

    If you’re thinking of investing or working in a sector, use LinkedIn to find people who worked for competitors—or even better, companies who failed. For example, suppose you wanted to build a next generation online pet store, you’d probably learn a lot from speaking with former Pets.com or WebVan employees.

  10. Track startups.

    You can see people in your network who are initiating new startups by doing an advanced search for a range of keywords such as “stealth” or “new startup.” Apply the “Sort By” filter to “Degrees away from you” in order to see the people closest to you first.

  11. Ask for advice.

    LinkedIn’s newest product, LinkedIn Answers, aims to enable this online. The product allows you to broadcast your business-related questions to both your network and the greater LinkedIn network. The premise is that you will get more high-value responses from the people in your network than more open forums.

    For example, here are some questions an entrepreneur might ask when the associates of a venture capital firm come up blank:

    • Who’s a good, fast, and cheap patent lawyer?
    • What should we pay a vp of biz dev?
    • Is going to Demo worth it?
    • How much traffic does a TechCrunch plug generate?

Addendum

These additional ideas came in through comments:

  1. Integrate into a new job.

    When people start a new job, ordinarily their roots aren’t that deep in the new company. However, with Linkedin, n
    ew employees can study fellow employees’ profiles and therefore help them get to know more people faster in a new company. (contributed by Vincent Wright)

  2. Scope out the competition, customers, partners, etc. This seems like it’s a no-brainer, but you can use LinkedIn to scope out the competition’s team as well as the team of customers and partners. For example, your competitor’s vp of marketing came from Oracle…she’ll probably believe that business is war. (Kev)

Stock/Finance Related Sites of Interest

I stumbled onto two interesting stock/financial sites during my online browsing activities earlier. I think I was turned onto these by David Berkowitz’s Marketing Blog. Thought I’d share the wealth:

1) Stockpickr–A service that has teamed up with Jim Cramer’s “TheStreet.com” site to produce an interesting picking blog. I am a big Cramer fan by the way.

2) Wallstrip–A video blog that highlights various investment ideas that features a very cute hostess to boot.

Enjoy!

Smokin' Hot

As I waited to see the doctor I referenced in a previous post, I skimmed through the complimentary copy of Bicycling Magazine (which I have a personal subscription to) which was sitting in the lobby area. I had time to kill so I figured I’d browse through it to make the time go by a little quicker.

About halfway through the magazine there is an ad with a smokin’ hot blond depicted wearing Shimano clothing. Quick 4-1-1 for the uninitiated: Shimano is a popular component maker for bicycles, fishing equipment, etc. which is obviously trying to expand their presence into apparel and gear. Upon further reflection, I realized I hadn’t even noticed the brand until well after scrutinizing “Miss Thing.” It’s not like I have any “shot” with this girl, and I’m perfectly content with the girl I’m presently dating. It’s a total guy thing though—it’s who we are and how we’re wired. Our human nature, if you will.

Stop and think for a moment: what is Shimano really selling in this ad with the gorgeous blond? Clothing, right? Hell no—they are selling HER! They are selling the ideology that somehow buying their product gives you a shot with the model or someone much like her. It’s that subliminal message connecting some strangely placed dots within the male ego that has worked for years and will continue to do so because that’s how we’re wired. It may work on women, too, but I’m not as sure about that. Any women care to chime in to lend some “expertise?”

A majority of cyclists are men so this is likely an effective ad because guys will undoubtedly talk about the girl which will invite other guys to check out the ad. Shimano is a secondary component to the girl, but they know that. She definitely grabbed my attention so the ad worked (on me at least). All heterosexual guys will almost always notice gorgeous women (and make comments to their buddies) because we’re extremely visual. It doesn’t matter if they are single or married either—it’s the very basics of advertising to men, and it won’t go out of style. We warm blooded guys won’t let it. I’m not so sure “taken” (married or seriously involved) women would have the same reaction would they?

by Roger Bauer
Posted: 11/20/2006

Designing a website can be a daunting task if you’re new to the game and have little time to research the proper ways to develop a site that is both user and search engine friendly. After-all, what good is a website if no one can find you? Below are some things to avoid if search engine traffic is a priority.

Frames
Frames are pages within a page. Search engine crawlers, spiders, or bots (small pieces of code the engines send out to inventory websites) read a frameset as one page with very little content. Just because you can’t see the frames distinctly when viewing a page online doesn’t mean the search spider sees the site as a human does. If you want to see the site as a crawler does, right click on the main area of the page in question and view the source code of that page. Avoid frames especially for main/home pages of a site.

Flash
Flash is a very cool and hip way to do a page as it can incorporate interactivity and entertainment into a site or page, but it has little value to a search crawler. The fact is a search crawler cannot read a Flash page or component so all of that content and interlinking you worked so hard to develop earns you nothing in terms of search value. Your viewers may love your site, but you’re unlikely to attract new viewers without the help of the search engines. One caveat: it’s okay to mix in some Flash, but stay way from pure Flash for your website if your goal is to attract the masses.

Java-script Navigation
Search crawlers can’t execute lines of code therefore they won’t be able to navigate your site if you implement a lot of Java-script to guide users. The purpose of a crawler is to inventory a website to report back to the engine what it found. Once the search engine has a pretty good inventory of a site, it can mix that site in with the search engine results pages (SERPs) for a given keyword phrase. Try to make the crawler’s job as easy as possible by limiting the amount of scripting navigation per page. If you insist on using scripting for navigation, make sure you have some form of HTML navigation visible as well. At worst, have an HTML link on each page to an accurate site map for your site.

Dynamic URLs
Most search engines will not list dynamic URLs in their results pages. Dynamic URLs are typically used for database driven sites or script based sites. The above paragraph outlines the reasoning behind avoiding scripts, and dynamic URLs are no different. If you must use dynamic URLs, try to have a main page that doesn’t so that the search engines can find you.

Image Map Navigation
Search crawlers frequently get stuck within image maps and can’t accurately inventory your site. Stick with standard HTML navigation schemes if at all possible.

When designing your site, keep in mind that it needs to be easy to navigate for users and search engine crawlers alike. A slick site is of little use if no one can find you especially a search engine crawler.

The Basics of SEO

What is SEO anyway?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO for short) is a highly involved, somewhat lengthy, process designed to elevate an internet website’s major search engine ranking and/or positioning. The major search engines (Google, Microsoft Network (MSN), and Yahoo) make up greater than 70% of search traffic on the internet. This is a common way for people to find others, information, companies, potential business partners, etc. by entering a “keyword” or search term. Typically, the searcher will seek information on their keyword or search term and click on the top results. Thus the higher a site ranks for a given keyword or search term, the better its chances of attracting more visitors to its site.

Why Should I Care about SEO?
If you run a business and have a web presence, don’t you want the most people possible knowing about that business? Wouldn’t it benefit you if your website was able to bring you new leads or develop new customers every day, 24 hours per day? Research has shown that nearly 95% of all search engine users rarely read past the first page of search results. Because of that, it behooves you to have your website on the first page of search results for specific keywords and terms.

Can’t I just Pay for a High Ranking?
No! Organic (or “free”) search listing rankings cannot be purchased. These are “earned” over time via links, content, keyword relevance, page and site descriptions, titles of pages, etc. You can pay for clicks to your website based on specific terms or keywords however these are separate results from the free results people commonly click.

What is Pay-Per-Click?
Pay-per-click is a form of internet advertising where you pay a certain amount for each “click” or “hit” to your website as a result of a person searching for a certain keyword or phrase.

What is Click Fraud?
Click fraud occurs when a person or automated computer script imitates a legitimate search for a keyword or phrase yet clicks on the pay-per-click result for the sole purpose of generating revenue for the search engine or affiliate.

What is a Linking Partner?
A linking partner is a website which provides a link to your site. Some will require a link on your site to theirs in return (a reciprocal link) while others will want to have a link on a third party’s site in exchange for the link to yours. Reciprocal links aren’t as valuable as unique one way links but the more links you have pointing to your site (link popularity), the more “important” the search engines will consider your site.

What is Page Rank?
Page Rank is Google’s proprietary algorithm for determining a site’s importance. It’s expressed as a value from 1-10 with 10 being the most important and most desirable. The algorithm was designed by Larry Page, Google’s co-founder. Page Rank is affected by things such as the number of links pointing to your website, and the amount of unique and relevant content on your website.

What is a Keyword?
A keyword is a typical word or phrase you’d expect people to use when searching for your site. That’s about as simple as we can explain it.

What is Keyword Density?
The number of keywords you use on a particular page in relation to the number of total words on that page. The more keywords you have peppered throughout the page and site, the better your site may rank for that particular term. You must be careful not to load a page with too many keywords, however—that is considered keyword “stuffing” or spamming and is frowned upon by the search engines.

What is a Sitemap?
A sitemap is basically an inventory listing of all of the pages on your site. It tells the search engines how to get around your site and also how many pages there are on your site. It can be made visible to your visitors, but it doesn’t have to be. Uploading an XML file directly to the search engines is a generally accepted best practice for optimizing your search engine rankings.

What is a Spider?
Search engines utilize small programs to surf and inventory sites all over the internet. These are called spiders, and they follow links from site to site to gather their inventory to report back to the search engine. They are also referred to as crawlers or bots from time to time.

What is a Meta Tag?
A meta tag is an HTML piece of code which provides information about that particular page or document. These don’t provide formatting information or any actionable code—they are there for the search engines to catalog your site and the pages contained on your site.

What is a Blog?
A blog (short for weblog) is a news or journal type of site which is frequently used more for opinionated type of entries and is typically updated frequently. It is intended for general consumption but has become a valuable tool for all types of users to spread information and awareness of their websites.

Why Should I Write Articles for my Website?
Articles are a great way to increase the amount of unique content on your site as it pertains to the keywords you desire to rank well. There are numerous websites that publish articles, and it is common practice for the authors to include a link in their by-line back to their website. This creates an inbound link to the author’s website which in turn increases its popularity. It’s also a good way to increase awareness aside from the linking benefits.

What are Directories?
Directories are databases containing listings to websites based on categories and sub-categories. Many of the search engines access directories to crawl their links to learn of new sites. Directories are an invaluable resource for search engines and can often serve to improve a site’s ranking depending upon how important the search engine weighs the directory in question. Directories may provide a link to your site often without requiring a return or reciprocal link on your site.

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