About Malachi Threadgill

http://plus.google.com/103510014564641721680/

Connect with me on Google+ My name is Malachi Threadgill. I am currently an internet marketing expert for a telecom here in Dallas, TX. In my free time I absorb SEO, SEM, and Social like a sponge. Here I will discuss my thoughts and opinions related to my hobbies. I may even toss in some discussion of music, film, sports, and games from time to time if something really stands out.

Posts by Malachi Threadgill:

Tutorial: How to easily create a Google Maps for SEO Part 2

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about when I was going to release part 2 of my Google Maps for SEO API tutorial.  Well, here it is!  and I have made it more simple than ever.  In this tutorial, I have included a simple KML file for your viewing to see how to set yours up.  I have also included the snippet needed in order to call the KML in the API on your website.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<kml xmlns="http://www.opengis.net/kml/2.2">
  <Placemark>
    <name>Simple placemark</name>
    <description>Attached to the ground. Intelligently places itself
       at the height of the underlying terrain.</description>
    <Point>
      <coordinates>-122.0822035425683,37.42228990140251,0</coordinates>
    </Point>
  </Placemark>
</kml>

Now you can see how the KML file is suppose to look, you can add as many different locations as you want within the kml file.  just add an additional <placemark> and you’re good to go.  I recommend creating additional fields within the KML placemark including <address> <street><state><zip> etc. By doing this you will let google know more accurate information about what you’re trying to show on the map and will also increase SEO information and bait for the search engines.  If you know basic html, you can also add image or hyperlinks to the code. ( NOTE: in order to add this type of information or any other html markup, you must use CDATA in your XML KML.) The coordinates are great and required, but additional information is key to success for any SEO.  I have found great success doing this for a string of tire dealerships on the east coast.  I did not design the website, but i did implement the Google Maps SEO.

Example 2:

<Placemark>
<name>Edinburgh</name>
<description><![CDATA[
<div><a href="http://localtiredealers.net/kramer/locations-hours/edinburgh.html">
221 Carmichael Way <br> Chesapeake, VA 23322 </b>
</a> </div>
<div><img src="http://www.yourthinkbox.com/ifc/coupons/chesapeake.jpg" width="200px" border="0">
</a></div>]]></description>
<styleUrl>#C</styleUrl>
<Point><coordinates>-76.234312,36.65978,0</coordinates></Point>
</Placemark>

From there, You’ll use your typical map settings (refer to part 1 of my tutorial) and add the overlay of the KML file you created.

var gx = new GGeoXml(“http://www.website.kml”);

map.addOverlay(gx);

This javascript is very easy to use and can be implemented to almost any website.

check back soon because I will be posting a tutorial on how to easily place google maps into wordpress for SEO best practices.

How effective is facebook for small business?

facebook Slogan : “facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you”

We all know what facebook is and what its for. We love connecting with our friends and frenemies to see the gossip and stories of our lives. We connect with one another in unparalleled ways and can monitor the activities of loved ones without actually having to pick up the phone. I love facebook and appreciate its effectiveness daily, but the real question I’m asking is how effective if facebook for Small Business?

My short answer: facebook is not very effective in the SMB space. The inherent setup of the website is geared toward connecting friends with one another, not connecting people with business. There are anomalies and I believe that some businesses can strive and succeed by utilizing the facebook platform, but I am no longer big on the idea of connecting with businesses and blatantly accepting their advertisements in my feeds.

The main problem is that when people are on facebook, they dont want to be bombarded with updates from X number of businesses they became fans of oh a whim. As I said, there are exceptions – Companies can incorporate Value prop’s including coupons and discounts to entice followers and I spoke about this in great detail in 2009. Social Media and the value prop. The idea sounds great. Offer value to your followers to continue to advertise to them. The main problem with that is that even with the value add, I know personally I am not going to follow car wash X for a service I am not going to utilize on a regular basis. I’ll wait until a receive a traditional coupon or when I need to utilize the service I will go and negotiate the same sales price I received last time. I dont think companies like this can succeed on platforms like facebook.

Another issue with using facebook for a small business is what i’ll call the “friend effect.” I have a friend that has a small business and they are moderately successful in this venture. I am wholeheartedly happy for this person and I am glad that they are loving their new venture. Unfortunately, this friend heard about the social media craze and how facebook can be effective for their business. The hastily created their brand new facebook fan page and invited all their friends become fans of said business. This person then began spamming the crap out of their new business facebook profile and just annoyed their friends. I know for a fact I wasn’t alone in this irritation as we had mutual acquaintances that shared my frustration. If you are going to make the jump into social media with your SMB and add all your friends as fans, at least spare them the spam of having to 20 wall posts a day promoting your niche website that nobody is going to use on a regular basis.

My next post will focus on the types of businesses I think can find success on facebook and if I am feeling it, I will post an SMB etiquette guide to insure that you dont piss off your followers and fans.

New Horizons!

I would like to sincerely apologize for the delay in updating this blog. It has been far too long and that is inexcusable. In a decision for my sanity, health, and future, I recently left my previous employer for what looks to be a very promising and fulfilling new position acting as the internet marketing manager for a very impressive VoIP company. This will hopefully free up a little spare time in the evenings and weekends to start participating more on this blog and the community in general.

Social Media Fail. – You NEED value added

It is no surprise that social media is the future of online connectivity and advertising.  Businesses are trying to connect with customers and potential customers in unparalleled ways.  Right now, companies are jumping on the Facebook, Twiiter, Yelp, bandwagon in attempts to increase exposure and retention.  Recently, a colleague of mine saw a great ad at a local carwash encouraging customers to become fans of this company on facebook. The ad is actually a great ad.  It encourages customers to mobilize and connect with the company via facebook.  There is just one huge problem – why would a customer want to become a fan of this company?

In order to maximize this ad, the advertiser should have had some sort of value proposition.  It doesn’t really matter what it is.  It could be a 20% off coupon or even some text saying monthly specials for facebook fans.  The point is, Customers need a reason to connect with the business.  Why would a customer waste their time to go home and become a fan of a company with no benefit for themselves?  I know I wouldn’t.  But for a promise of a discount, monthly specials, or some sort of other deal, I would be more likely to investigate this further. In the future, this company should have a value prop in their social media efforts.  They will see greater results. Guaranteed.

Is RSS really Dead? Not yet.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been seeing more and more news trickle through my twitter, rss, and facebook streams informing me of the apparent death of RSS.  This Death is definitely news to me.  While my RSS usage has fallen quite a bit over the last quarter,  RSS has become much more valuable for me in different ways.

For the latest technology, industry, and web design news, I have joined my counterparts in utilizing twitter as my primary source for immediate information.  For social interactions and a secondary platform for other relevant news, facebook is my best friend.  For a third-tier source of information – comedic, industry, or otherwise, I love me some digg.  But as a database for important articles and information, RSS is still king.

I find myself using RSS more and more as an information trove instead of a resource for the latest up-to-date information.  Google Reader has amazing search capabilities that allow you to quickly, easily, and efficiently, go back and find articles relevant to anything you need.  Obviously, logging into any RSS reader and finding over “1,000 unread items” can be overwhelming.  When this happens, I usually quickly browse through my favorite folders and then mark the rest as read.  If I need to go find information at a later date, I can just do a search.

In my opinion, RSS has been surpassed.  The web 2.0 revolution has created new ways for information to be pushed to the eyes and ears of the web.  As an archive of information, RSS still may have lasting power, but the shift has begun away from RSS as the primary source for up to the minute information.  It will be interesting to see how long it takes for the RSS dominance to fully fall as more efficient methods continue to take over.

What are your thoughts?

twitter vs. tumblr vs. the next big thing – it’s up to Google.

google, twitter, tumblr

google, twitter, tumblr

It’s no secret that twitter is the current media darling and most popular up and coming “web 2.0” website.  Twitter, in its simplicity, is honestly a very valuable application.  It has done everything from help a student who was arrested in Egypt get released, provide amazing data for the swine flu hysteria, and help bring much more awareness to the current Iranian conflicts during this years presidential elections.  Originally, I was cautious of the practically of a service such as twitter.  I was content with my facebook status updates.  Twitter won!  I am drinking the kool-aid.  Everyday, I see new uses for it.  I am constantly finding new music, learning new photoshop and SEO tricks, and finding out when other colleagues in the corporate world are taking their afternoon bathroom breaks.

Personally, I don’t update often on twitter.  I believe I have some valuable insights and opinions, but I am not organized, nor do I have the time, to constantly update my status with ideas, opinions, and what I am eating for lunch.  One day, I hope my economic situation allows me the success and time to devote a decent amount of time to participating in the constant information exchange revolution that is in our midst, but I am not sure if twitter will still be the micro-blogging leader when that day comes.

Twitter is great, Oprah uses twitter, Shaq uses it too, but for how long?  Twitter is still a VC funded startup with no current long-term profit model.  I am not naive, I know both internally, and in the news, analysts are predicting ways for twitter to become a profitable media giant.  Until this model is released, there is no long-term certainty twitter will last longer than a few more years.  Granted, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, or any other tech giant could offer the tremendous fee to acquire twitter.  But I am hesitant that any company will fork over the large sums of money required until there is a real profit model.

Additionally, there are rumors that twitter has a 40% fall off rate after initial sign-up.  Analysts are speculating that 2 out of 5 people that sign up for twitter only tweet once and never come back.  This is understandable.  If you look at how many soccer moms signed up the day Oprah put her first tweet online, you would be completely shocked.  As Oprah goes, so goes the a large percentage of women.  She has that much power.  Some believe that many people sign up for twitter, think it’s just another way to tell their friends what they’re doing, and don’t use it again.  This is honestly a great possibility, but as I said in my opening, I don’t tweet every day and I still find great value in the use of twitter.  I wonder how many people are out there that actively use twitter and either don’t actively update their status OR may not sign up at all.  These are just a few thoughts that I will have to research in the very near future.  I will post these results as soon as I have some proven statistics to back up my findings.

Moving on, as twitter gains prominence, every person who was pissed off that they didn’t think of twitter first is now trying to create their own twitter… only better.  Enter tumblr, etc. etc. etc.  There probably hundreds of new twitter clones on the internet by now.  Can one of these clones actually offer better or similar features and gain enough market share to present a real challenge?  This is very possible, and tumblr could have a chance.  tumblr has some great functionality and encompassed everything I would want in my micro-blogging suite including easy access to video, images, quotes, etc.  I think the GUI of tumblr is also very well laid out and could possibly start to gain a substantial market share.  Will this turn into a big myspace vs. facebook battle?  I don’t know.  But, I wouldn’t be surprised if the premium is too high for companies to acquire twitter, they make take a very close look at one of twitters main competitors, especially if one has a decent share of the market.  I firmly believe that within the next year Google will own twitter, tumblr, or something similar.  If they don’t, they will have something developed in house similar to what’s already being developed in Google Profiles.  Google needs to own micro blogging the way it owns us with gmail, youtube, and search.  At the end of the day, Google will choose the winner.  Whether they pick twitter, tumblr, or create their own.  Google will win again.

Google Searchology – Mobile Keynotes

Today is Google’s Searchology.  It’s a time when Google unveils all the new tools related to search.  Here are some notes I listened to during my brief time viewing the conference.  I focused on mobile as I believe this section of search is going to be the main area of expansion over the next few years. 

Mobile search is growing faster than PC search

This is obvious.  With the introduction of the iPhone, Android enabled phones, and expansion of blackberry.  mobile search is growing faster than ever.  I completely agree with Google regarding this and I am interested to see how google monetizes adwords within the mobile platforms.

Challenge of devices – hundreds w/ widely varying capabilities

Google has had a difficult time creating a mobile platform that works seamlessly among all different types of phones and carriers while working with the strengths and weaknesses of each Technology.

Mobile search is inherently local. 

Mobile search is going to continue growing as the locality of mobile search allows for location specific results – specifically with with restaurants and services.

People use mobile search because:

  • complete 
Google has worked tirelessly to implement all the features of Google Search that are available on the desktop into the mobile platforms.  This allows the end-user all the benefits of their normal search within the mobile platform
  • easy – effortless to search ann get answers
As with the Desktop, by making the services easy to use, the end-user will receiver relevant and pertinent information at any given time – even remotely.
  • local – knows where I am and acts as such
By implementing local search via GPS, searching by location is a powerful tool both for businesses and searchers as it allows users to find locations around them. 

mobile web and web are different but google wants to enable users to reach all aspects of each platform

***google is combining search query history from your desktop with your mobile environment.***

In the coming weeks, if you are logged into your google account on your desktop and mobile phone and enter a query on either, you can review your search history on your phone and visa verse.  The presenters used a plane flight number query as an example for this new service.  In my humble opinion, this is an amazing feature that is going to mend the gap between mobile phone and desktop connectivity even further.  The ability to seamlessly utilize both services together is an amazing concept and should be taken advantage of to the highest extent.

 

That’s about it on the notes i took for Searchology – Mobile.  If I think of anything else I will surely update you guys asap.

Question of the week – Meta Tags

Recently, a friend of mine sent me an email asking for a favor regarding some SEO she was helping out with:

Please look at this for me, I know you know a lot about websites, I think this guy has too many meta tags.  I sent him a separate email with screenshots of other people’s metatags and he is pretty much adding everyone’s college names into his…thoughts?

I would recommend him get rid of anything that isn’t directly relevant to the content within his website in the meta tags.  With what he has now, it would actually be better to have no meta tags at all. He’s definitely going to be penalized organically. 

From Wikipedia:

Meta elements are HTML or XHTML elements used to provide structured metadata about a Web page. Such elements must be placed as tags in the head section of an HTML or XHTMLdocument. Meta elements can be used to specify page description, keywords and any other metadata not provided through the other head elements and attributes.

The meta element has four valid attributes: content, http-equiv, name and scheme. Of these, only content is a required attribute. 

Essentially, by including all of those irrelevant keywords in the meta tags, he is telling the spiders to look for content that isn’t being included in his page.  I’d suggest only using the keywords for the names of his school, DMA locations around the area, and broad keywords associated with his vertical.  Length doesn’t really matter, as long as the content is relevant.    Explain to him that the meta tag section is similar to the index or Table of Contents of a book.  If he were to open a book and try to find information from the index or TOC that wasn’t actually in the book, he would probably be upset.  The same goes for the search engines.

I hope this helps.  If you need me to explain it further just let me know.

SEO index cheat sheet

Here are a few quick pointers to remember when developing your individual html pages

1.  Meta Tags – Keep your Meta Description at or below 150 characters. 

Often times, SEO’s will frequently overload the meta descriptions with tons of keywords, phrases, etc.  This is detrimental for SEO success.  Keep Meta Descriptions as accurate as possible with the content on the website.  In essence, think of your Meta tags as the Table Of Contents for the rest of the page.

2.  Title Tags – Keep your Title Tag at or below 70 characters.

As with meta information, developers often times try and put too much information into the title.  Keep the title accurate and short.  SEO moz suggests using this title syntax – Keyword < Category | Web Title.  I have used this for multiple wordpress and other websites and agree that this is a fantastic way to properly title your websites.

3. Links – Minimize unique links per page

This is more controversial.  Some SEO’s are huge advocates of outbound linking as much as possible.  I am a fan of outbound linking, but try to limit it and spread out outbound linking between individual pages.  Also keep outbound links accurate and relevant and include a title in the anchor code.

That’s it for now! I plan on posting more of these in the near future.