Comment Spam Comedy

clown-sadLike most bloggers, I am inundated with comment spam, where link droppers post a random comment on your blog that includes a link to a web site, for the sole purpose of gaining traffic and link popularity to the site.

Wikipedia defines comment spam or blog spam as:

“Spam in blogs is a form of spamdexing. It is done by automatically posting random comments or promoting commercial services to blogs, wikis, guestbooks, or other publicly accessible online discussion boards.”

Being a WordPress user, I find that most spam is caught by WordPress’ built-in anti spam plugin Akismet, but sometimes a few gems make it past the filter and into my comment review list.

Most comment spam is completely non-sequitur to the post it is dropped on, making it highly amusing. Having chuckled on a daily basis at the comment spam received on this blog, I thought the comments deserved a blog of their very own. Therefore, this week I launched Comment Spam Comedy.

The goal of Comment Spam Comedy is to publish the most amusing non-sequitur blog comments posted across the web. I welcome submissions so if you have a worthy contender for publishing, please contact me via the site or via the Twitter account.

When you submit your comment spam, please include the commenter’s name, the URL he/she link dropped and the URL of the post it was dropped on.

Enjoy the randomness!

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Google Doodle Celebrates 30 Years of Pac-Man

The iconic arcade game Pac-Man celebrated it’s 30th anniversary this month. That’s right, 30 years ago, Pac-Man was launched in Japan and it’s been a firm favorite ever since, with young and old.

To commemorate Pac-Man’s 30th birthday, Google created an interactive Home Page Doodle:  a Flash-based mini game of Pac-Man incorporating the Google logo. The “I’m feeling lucky” was replaced with a new button “Insert Coin” and you could play Pac-Man complete with 1980’s sound effects without leaving the Google home page. Apparently, it’s the first time Google have ever used Flash on their home page.

The game proved so popular with office procrastinators, that Google has kept it live so you can play it to your heart’s content. To play, you simply click that button or wait a few moments and the game will start by itself. If you click twice on “Insert Coin” then two people can play. Ms Pac-Man joins the game, with the second person controlling her movements using the WASD keys.

If you’re a Pac-Man freak, Mashable has shared how to download Google’s Pac-Man game to your PC so you can play without an Internet connection any time you like.

Happy Birthday Pac-Man.

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SMX Sydney 2010 in Pics

invisible-friends-smlSorry for the blog silence lately, but I’m still recovering from the  SMX Sydney Conference last week and also spent the better part of a week in Melbourne having some down time.

The conference had a completely different feel this year. With registrations topping 1,000 for Day 1, a new venue in the Sydney Hilton and some seriously impressive speakers, it was almost as if the industry had grown up.

When I had a client ask me a few days later what my biggest take away from the Cofnerence was, I was surprised to find myself answering “Facebook is the most powerful business tool on the web”. What? A social media epiphany at a search conference? I guess that means that social media is no longer a value-add, but a key component of any search marketing campaign. The number of sessions dedicated to social media this year underscored this.

I’ll write a longer post about the Conference soon, but if you don’t mind poor grammar and typos, you can view my live blog posts of some of the main SMX sessions.

If you’re more interested in a visual snapshot of the conference, check out:

If you can’t be bothered waiting for my conference recap, Matt Burgess (@therealburgo) has done a fine job with his already.

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SMX Sydney 2010: Site Clinic

And now for the most enjoyable session of SMX, at least to date. The legend-ary Site Clinic.siteclinic1

Team Motherwell is up first, consisting of @motherwell and @lucasng who are reviewing

Issues found:

– graphical text – all keywords embedded in image

– no H1 tags

– links lead to another site entirely

– there’s no custom 404 error page

– canonicalization issue – need to fix in GG Webmaster Tools. This will consolidate your links.

– need more links – try getting links from Aussie directories

– the online store needs some work done – price should be next to the image of the product. No call to action.

– use breadcrumb navigation to help searchers find the categories / pages they are actually looking for. Also helps people to know where they are in your site.siteclinic2

– weird title tags that need tidying up

Next up is Team Google with @gregable and Jim Sterne. They’ll be reviewing

– I want to buy a stroller, but can’t find them. Bye!

– On the product detail page, no price and no obvious way to purchase

– Maybe “Where to Buy” link will help. Ah…. no. HELP! (Jim hands over to @gregable)

– Greg will be viewing the site as googlebot.

– Greg is trying to find a specific type of child car seat but can’t.

– Very little information about the product. Really wants a detail page, not lots of the same data on similar pages.

– Home link is on the right hand side of the navigation. Why?

– Uses a grey-on-grey link nav at the bottom of the page which isn’t helping.siteclinic3

– Some non sequitir link titles e.g. *4 Reasons*

– Greg says the site has some nice GG friendly URLs

Team Boser is next, featuring @gregboser and @oilman. They’ll be reviewing

– Sell box sets of DVDs and similar products

– Todd and Greg spend some time trying to get the display right and during the tense silence, the site owner takes the opportunity to promote his DVD box sets “Avatar, available now for $44.95”. Gets a big laugh from the audience.

– There are too many links on many of the pages.

– There’s no need to keyword stuff every single internal link on your site. Google already knows you sell DVDs, you don’t need to hit them over the head with it, says @gregboser

– Trim down your categories and stop loading up your footer with irrelevant links about DVDs, especially in nearly black font on black background, says @oilman.siteclinic4

– Use your movie reviews for content. If you have to, produce clever mashups of pages that are algorithmically unique, but still made up of content elsewhere on your site, says @gregboser.

– Rotate through your content and create mashups that will give you better links in Google.

Next up is Team SEOmoz with @seomom and @dannydover to review

– Gillian starts by asking who in the room are SEOmoz PRO members and proceeds to give some of us a beer! Cute.

– Danny says the site looks good – clean and sharp.  Nice to see categories and images on the home page. Also the brands are front and center on the HP.

– The text nav at the bottom is a bit dodgy, but the payment options/logos at bottom are fantastic.

– No custom 404 error page – Why not? Boring. Gillian says she wants to see some options and some fun on the custom 404 page.

– Enormous home page – 1.6MB in size but should be 150-200 kb. A faster loading site is a better performing site in both engines and sales. Flash file is the major problem.

– Looking at the page as googlebot shows LOTS of links, but no text content. Give people who don’t have Flash an option, preferably text.

– Used to look at the site (SEOmoz plug)

– 301 issues galore due to switching domains.

– ridiculous number of links from small number of domains = BIG spam signal to Google. Clean it up says @seomom

– keyword analysis shows very good keyword density, esp long tail.

– Danny points out that if you do a search in and you can’t find any results, the 404 page will eventually redirect to a search in Bing for same query.

– Gillian points out that the Call to Action buttons are too passive. Use “Email Me If…” option with drop downs like “if my product is in stock”, “if refrigerators go on sale” etc.

– Use Buy Now rather than Add to Cart

– Use A/B Split testing to confirm findings.

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We have a tee design winner!

Thanks to all of you who entered our Design the 2010 Search Engine College Tshirt Competition and especially those of you who took the time to vote for your favorite finalist out of the ten in our poll.

From the very beginning of the poll, a clear leader emerged.

This morning, voting closed and here are the results:

My hearty congratulations to our winner Cindy N (whose design is pictured) and the two runners up Matt and Michael.

Seems that Cindy’s tag cloud design appealed to a lot of people and the way she had highlighted Search Engine College in green within the cloud – well, we thought that was inspired!

Cindy, as winner of our tee design competition, you get the following cool stuff:

– a 2 day conference pass to SMX Sydney 2010.

– a t-shirt sporting your design

– the kudos of seeing your design printed on t-shirts and distributed to all attendees at SMX Sydney 2010.

I’ll be in touch shortly with details on your prize pack. Thanks again to all who entered and voted and see you at SMX!

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