Archive for the ‘Out on a Limb’ Category

First Day – Ranked Hard, An SEO Comic

Sunday, January 6th, 2008 |

Update 2/11/08: We have made this comic, bigger and better. Come view the new and improved ‘Ranked Hard: SEO Comic‘ at it’s new home. We have also posted all the SEO comic strips on

Welcome to the first installment of our SEO comic, “Ranked Hard”!

This won’t be a daily comic or weekly, but we’ll do our best to get a new one out as often as we can. This comic will be about the trials and tribulations of the mythical staff of Ranked Hard, a growing SEO company. There will certainly be parallels to our SEO company, Big Oak, but we won’t tell you where reality and fantasy cross. Although most “SEO people” who read this will certainly have their own ideas about what is from real life. ;-). In any case, have fun and give us your feedback. This is our first attempt and I already see a few things to improve on the next comic.

I will be posting head shots and background about all the characters. For now, let me introduce you to the crew at Ranked Hard:

  • Bradley Smart, President & SEO Consultant
  • Roosevelt Jones, SEO Consultant
  • Beatrice Gonzolez, SEO Researcher
  • Simon Caine, SEO Copywriter

We hope you grow to love them as much as we do. And without further delay, our Ranked Hard’s First Comic Strip entitled “First Day.”

First Day - Ranked Hard, SEO Comic Strip

by George Perry & Shell Harris

What is RSS – RSS in Plain English

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008 |

Before you begin watching this video on RSS, I have to give a HUGE recommendation to the company that produced this remarkable piece of work, Common Craft. They have created some very creative and helpful videos to help people understand a variety of technologies and ideas, such as RSS. They say it best themselves:

We use a simple format and real-world stories to make sense of complex ideas.

We’re interpreters. We present your products and services in plain English using short, unique and understandable videos in a format we call Paperworks.

They have many more videos for you to see and I wish them the best and hope they succeed. The idea is wonderful and the delivery is even better. The Internet needs more companies like them.

SEO with a Star Wars Perspective

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008 |

I believed the world could be divided into two camps, “Star Wars People” and “Indiana Jones People”. Well, after the Lord of the Rings, I have now included “LOTR People”. Just about everyone has a favorite they rank over the other and so I have made classifications. I say this because I’m going to recommend a very clever blog post about SEO and Star Wars that I thought was humorous and educational. I’m recommending it even though I’m a “Indiana Jones Person”. ;-)

The author mention Darth Sidious and Darth Vader as Blackhat masters and even classifies Luke Skywalker as a Greyhat proponent. All the other major characters are there as well, although Leia is missing. Real Star Wars’ fans will be chagrined to find Jar Jar Binks is also included. Take a moment and read the post, you’ll get a chuckle.

Google Backs Down from eBay

Friday, December 21st, 2007 |

How many companies can make Google Blink? At least one and that company is eBay. Take a look at the no. 74 in the 101 Dumbest Moments in Business as reported by You’ll read that Google invited eBay’s top sellers to a party promoting Google’s Checkout payment system, a competitor with eBay’s PayPal. eBay found out and pulled its ads from Google for a week, just to test. “Mysteriously” Google’s party was canceled.

Its good to know Google “respects” someone. Even it is must cost them a lot of money before they do

Committed to Commenting

Thursday, December 13th, 2007 |

I have started doing something I hope catches on in the blog community: Commenting with purpose. Being the owner of this SEO blog I’m always delighted to see comments, especially since this means someone thought enough of what I wrote to read it and then comment on the content.

It can be discouraging when a commenter is taking advantage of the fact that I do follow comment links, but if they have said something worthwhile I feel it is a small price to pay if I give away some link juice. It can also be disheartening to see I have three comments on a post, but the total word count for all three comments is about 30 words. Sometimes three simple comments like, “Nice post, I agree with your thoughts,” can be nice, but more often I would rather have one comment that says something more and even challenges what I have written.

So, I have committed myself to commenting with purpose. When I visit other blogs I will make every effort to make an intelligent, thoughtful and interesting comment that actually adds to the post. It may not always be lenghty, but my comments will never be boiled down to a “Nice Post” comment.

I hope those commenting on my blog will try to do the same, and I also hope my readers will not feel pressured to write more than they want. After all, I would rather see a short post with gratitude than nothing at all. Thanks for reading and for commenting. And when you do comment, use your name, not your keyword, it cheapens the comment, in my humble opinion.

Update: Well I’ve made one comment per day this week and I feel good about my contributions. Here is one of the comments I made on a post by Jill Whalen about changing urls.

Akismet Really Stops Comment Spam

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007 |

How well does Akismet stop comment spam? The Big Oak SEO Blog has been running since October 2006 and as of today, November 28, 2007 it has protected this blog site from 10,608 spam comments

Nicely done, Akismet. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Of course it does say a lot about the pervasiveness of comment spam today and how active it still remains, sadly. But it is also a confidence builder for using the DoFollow WordPress plugin without the fear of comment spam overrunning your site. Akismet can protect you from comment spam 99% of the time even with 10,000 spam attacks.

StumbleUpon Shark Surfaces

Thursday, November 15th, 2007 |

Living in Richmond, Virginia you don’t often see sharks swimming by, but this week I saw more than a few. These sharks were in the stats and analytics of our client’s sites. Let me explain. We do social bookmarking for our clients when it feels right and not just for the sake of doing it or because it is the new hot button in the Internet marketing community. For this reason, we haven’t pursued social bookmarking heavily. It does have its uses and can be done effectively if the time and effort are applied and the service or product can utilize that type of marketing. But I digress…

Unexpected Site Spikes
When it makes sense, we do submit our client’s strategic pages and pages that may be of interest to the social communities, but more often other people do the submissions for us because the site or page naturally draws the interest of the anonymous Internet user.

I can tell someone has submitted a site to Digg or StumbleUpon because I’ll see spike in the traffic that had nothing to do with our efforts and then drops back the next day or so to the previous natural traffic progression. As I was looking at the line graph for a client’s stats I realized for the first time that the StumbleUpon traffic caused a spike that looks exactly like a shark fin, more so in the first example but the resemblance is carried through on all three examples. I have included them from Google Analytic screen shots for your amusement.

“The StumbleUpon Shark rises to the surface,” I thought to myself. I looked at a few other clients’ stats and found other appearances of the StumbleUpon Shark, sometimes more than once in the same month.

Conclusions from Data?
Since I try to give something of value in every post I will mention that I noticed the traffic increases were somewhat proportional to the site’s overall traffic. You can see this in the screen shots which have traffice ranges from 20 – 2,700 visitors. One site was averaging 20 visitors per day but spiked with StumbleUpon traffic up to 60 visitors. Another site averaged 900 visitors a day spiked to 2,700 visitors, both increase around a 200% increase. So the StumbleUpon traffic may have something to do with the existing popularity of your site.

Examples of Shark Attacks?
If anyone else has data or experiences to share, please let us know. Be careful though, the StumbleUpon Shark could be invading your stats without warning. But unlike “Jaws”, that would be a good thing.

duh DUH…duh DUH…duh DUH

YouTube or Self Hosting Videos – SEO Tips Week 43

Monday, October 29th, 2007 |

SEO TipsRarely would I ever give advice that included putting material on an external site rather than your own site. But when considering videos I have to say that making sure it is branded correctly and posted to is critical. gives small businesses the possiblity to have national exposure, possibly even more than a a network advertising campaign. It would require an extremely viral video but it has been done by many companies as well as individuals.

There are just too many viewer on to pridefully say you are going to post your video on your site and wait for the video linkbait to catch on. With this can happen overnight with the right video and your traffic would be derived from the grass roots marketing of your video on

Once the video is posted on you can post it on your site and will pick up the link to your site. It will be tagged with NoFollow, so no link juice, but it will provide traffic through the link. You will also want to brand the video with your web address.

Junior SEO Associate (Search Engine Optimization Assistant)

Monday, October 8th, 2007 |

October 23, 2007: This position has been filled.

Junior SEO Associate (Search Engine Optimization Assistant) needed by Big Oak, a leading Search Engine Optimization Company located in Richmond, Virginia. Visit our website to learn more about us:

This Junior SEO role will be responsible for deploying key internet marketing & SEO strategies on behalf of our clients working from a project plan prepared by the Senior SEO staff. You will be trained in strategic Internet marketing techniques. Some client interaction may be required so excellent verbal and writing skills are prerequisites. This position is a wonderful opportunity for a junior-level web or marketing enthusiast looking to move into SEO. To be considered for this Junior SEO role you must be meticulous in your attention to detail and take pride in your work.

See more about this Junior SEO Position in our SEO jobs section.

How Google Determines Paid Links

Friday, October 5th, 2007 |

How Google Determines Paid Links

DMOZ Blog – A little late?

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007 |

I saw that DMOZ launched their blog yesterday (9/26/07). I actually had to snicker to myself. Now they launch a blog? What about 2 or 3 years ago when it would have been helpful. So many people, SEO people, have been put off by the lack of response from DMOZ that I’m not sure they can ever recover. If not for the “support” of Google I’m sure this directory would have been finished long ago.

I found it particularly humorous they have a comments turned on. We’ll see if they actually accept any. I’m sure most of the comments will be of the unhelpful nature. Although I am purely speculating because at this time there were two comments and one of them was mine: “Welcome to the blogsphere. I hope this will be the first steps in mending the relationship between DMOZ and the Internet public.”. (9/25/07).

I did click the FAQ for the blog and it directed me to the FAQ page, so there wasn’t much to learn from that.

DMOZ does explain the purpose of the blog:

We intend to use this blog to:

  • Provide authentic messages about DMOZ and the efforts of our volunteer community.
  • Highlight enhancements, both current and future.
  • Allow editors to showcase their categories and describe, in their own words, why DMOZ is so important.
  • Recruit new editors. If you have access to the Web and are passionate about a category, find out how to apply.

Additionally we want to hear from you.

I’ll hold my judgment based on the number of posts as well as the number of comments, both critical and supportive. It would be nice if DMOZ would start living up to the lofty goals it subscribed to many years ago and became a directory someone actually cares about again.

Big Oak SEO Blog

This SEO blog is provided by Big Oak SEO, a SEO Company. Most blog posts are related to search engine optimization, short reviews, SEO tips and increasing site conversions. Email us at or give us a call 804-741-6776 to see how we can help your company. More

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