February 12, 2008

Article Syndication, Duplicate Content, and SEO

A few weeks ago, we were discussing whether submitting your articles to article banks is seen as duplicate content, and whether the search engines would penalize your site and/or specific website pages based on this information.

According to Google's webmaster site:

"Syndicate carefully: If you syndicate your content on other sites, Google will always show the version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you'd prefer. However, it is helpful to ensure that each site on which your content is syndicated includes a link back to your original article. You can also ask those who use your syndicated material to block the version on their sites with robots.txt. "

So it seems that Google DOES see syndicated articles on article banks as duplicate content. While they may not penalize your own site for this, putting your article in the article banks probably won't increase your SEO rankings either. In addition, the search engine may show, in their search results, your article on the article bank's site instead of on your own site.

On the plus side, having your article show up in the search results often can lead prospective customers back to your site. I'm not abondoning my plans to syndicate my articles, but I will be creating two versions of the same article to avoid the duplicate content problem: a long one to put on my own site, and a short one to put on the article banks and on my blog. Taking the extra 15 minutes to shorten an article seems like a worthwile investment of my time.

February 6, 2008

Need Financing For Your Business?

One of the biggest challenges to starting or expanind your business is finding financing. Yes, you can check with your local bank or credit union. You can use your credit cards (though I wouldn't recommend this method!). You can borrow from family or friends. You can use your savings.

But if these methods don't work, here are three places you can borrow from other people:


More and more, individual people are willing to pool together to lend money to each other. You simple indicate how much you want to borrow and what interest rate you'll pay, and individuals can pledge money towards your loan. Read the rules and information on each site to determine which one is best for you.

February 5, 2008

A Great Article

Here's a great blog entry for all small business owners, from Marnie Pehrson:

Everything I Needed to Know About Personality Types I Learned in Little League Basketball

Good insights!

January 31, 2008

Marketing to Women - Class begins Feb 21

What's more important?

  • Learning about how women buy

  • The product or service you are selling

(Hint: the answer is #1.)

In order to grow your business, you must understand women's lifestyles and what are their specific wants, needs and desires.

In this two-session teleclass, you will learn:

  • What women buy -- and why

  • The number 1 thing you must do in your marketing to women

  • The 10 (HUGE) mistakes we make when marketing to women

  • The keys to creating a woman-friendly website

  • How to market to women without alienating men

  • What women want and need from a shopping experience

  • How to re-write your marketing copy so that it's inviting to women

Click here for more class details about Marketing to Women.

This teleclass meets one hour each week, for two weeks.

  • Feb. 21
  • Feb. 28

All teleclasses are 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM eastern. The teleclass will be recorded, so if you can't attend live, you will be able to download the recordingst to listen to at your leisure.

Registration fee: $67 for the two-week class

Click here for more class details about Marketing to Women.


January 21, 2008

Shopping Carts and Merchant Accounts

Understanding and studying e-commerce can become a full-time business! My friend Paula has written an excellent blog entry about shopping carts and merchants accounts, which gives you an overview of what you'll need to get started in e-commerce.

Also the recording from the E-commerce 101 teleclass is now available here. This recording will only be available until February 15, so download today!

January 15, 2008

SEO and Google: Going For The Big Win

Nielson NetRatings reports that in November 2007, searchers used Google 57.7% of the time.

Google has been steadily increasing it's marketshare, while Yahoo and MSN are declining. A look at this chart gives you some cold, hard facts:

MSN/Windows Live13.313.612.912.013.812.0

When I'm teaching my SEO For Everyone class, I focus strongly on getting good results in Google. Even if Microsoft buys Yahoo (as hinted about in this Motley Fool article), the combined result still won't equal Google's power and scope.

What does Google care about? Content. Pure and simple, Google loves a site with lots of content. And even better, Google loves a site where there's continually new content. This is a vote for adding new stuff to your site. If you write a newsletter, add your newsletter articles to your site after each publication of your newsletter. Put a blog on your site. Interview people in your industry and put those on your site. Always be thinking of ways to add content.

Of course, Google loves a site that other sites link to. You can create a sophisticated link strategy, but here's a hint: create content that others want to link to, and they will.

Should you ignore Yahoo! and MSN? No. But your first priority when optimizing a site is to figure out what Google wants and give it to them. You don't even have to search far: Google Webmaster Central will give you some tips.

January 11, 2008

Go Look In The Mirror

Who creates your calendar and books every waking moment of your time? Who asks you to work evenings and weekends to grow your business? Who forces you to work with clients who are not really a good match, or pushes you to sell, sell, sell when you are tired or sick?

Being self employed means you are the boss. You set the agenda. Alan Weiss has written a good blog post about it here.

If you're unhappy with the way your business is going or how hard you are working, go look in the mirror. And ask yourself: Am I working hard because I have to -- or because I THINK I have to?

Sure, there are times when we have to put in that extra effort to get a project done before a deadline. But there are too many self-employed people who complain that they are working 60- and 80-hour work weeks, as if working hard (to the point of illness sometimes!) is going to get you "extra credit" points in Heaven.

StartUp Nation reports from a survey: "80% of small business owners planned to work during the holiday break. 56% said they would even interrupt holiday dinner for an important customer phone call. "

Did I hear that wrong??? You would interrupt dinner with your family to take a business call on a holiday???

The American Work Ethic tells us we have to work hard to be a good person, a good provider, a good citizen. I'm not against working hard, but if you are working hard all the time, perhaps now is the time to ask yourself, Have I taken the American Work Ethic too far? What's the point of being self-employed if my boss is a tyrant?

And the next time you are feeling overworked and overwhelmed, cancel an appointment and go for a walk or take a nap. You can't work at peak performance 24-hours a day.

(P.S. I give you permission to take next Friday off from work. I'm going to!)

January 3, 2008

Find a Mastermind Group for 2008!

Mastermind groups are a great way to get the support and brainstorming you need to be successful in your personal and business life. We have created a Mastermind Group Finder so that you can research all the free and fee mastermind groups looking for new members.

Read our description of what a Mastermind Group is and is not, so that you can be sure these types of groups are right for you.