Friday Bits & Pieces: Google Attacks, How to Talk to VAs, and Content Isn’t King

I’ve been traveling this week for work, so unfortunately, I’m short on time for blogging.  It does really bother me when I don’t have the time to sit down and write a thoughtful article with my usual detail and analysis, but that’s how things go when you have major obligations with your “day job.”  With that said, I’ve read some pretty interesting articles/blog posts over the past week that I really want to share with you.  Hopefully you’ll find these interesting as well:

  • Your Sites Might Be In Danger…Mine Are – Spencer from the Niche Adsense Challenge site (one of the niche site duel participants) talks about how Google recently changed some part of its ranking calculations (it’s not clear what exactly changed), which has really hurt the rankings of some of his sites.  He links to some good articles that further explain this mysterious change by Google.
  • How to E-mail Virtual Assistants (or Any Assistants): Proven Templates – This was a guest post on Tim Ferriss’ blog that I thought would be extremely helpful for anyone who currently utilizes VAs.  Even if you don’t find these specific templates helpful, there are some important key takeaways that are relevant to any communication you have with your VAs.
  • 5 Ridiculous Myths You Actually Believe About Blogging – This is an entertaining piece written by Murray from, about some very common items that people believe about blogging, but he takes a sort of “devil’s advocate” approach by pointing out the flaws within these common beliefs.  The first myth that he exposes: Content is king.

That’s all for now, as I get ready to head back to Chicago tonight.  Have a great weekend!

My Blog and Passive Income Experiments Update [October '10]

It’s sad to see October come to an end, as November brings the day (the 13th) where I officially become a year older.  It’s once again time to recap how well I did in my quest for online passive income this past month.  October was more of a “passive” month than I would’ve preferred (though isn’t it always?), however there’s a lot on the horizon about which I’m pretty excited.

While I’m certainly not making enough money to quit my day job, I think people generally enjoy reading about others’ success and failure, so I’ve decided to share this information.

Let’s see how October turned out!

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November 2010 Reading List

November is almost here (my birthday month!), so it’s time for another reading list.  This month, I’m going to go with a couple suggestions that were in the comments of last month’s post.  Also, I’ve decided to add a short summary (taken from Amazon) for each book, in case you don’t feel like heading over to Amazon’s product page.

Here they are:

1) The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr

  • “The best-selling author of The Big Switch returns with an explosive look at technology’s effect on the mind. “Is Google making us stupid?” When Nicholas Carr posed that question, in a celebrated Atlantic Monthly cover story, he tapped into a well of anxiety about how the Internet is changing us. He also crystallized one of the most important debates of our time: As we enjoy the Net’s bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply?

2) What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis

  • “In a book that’s one part prophecy, one part thought experiment, one part manifesto, and one part survival manual, internet impresario and blogging pioneer Jeff Jarvis reverse-engineers Google—the fastest-growing company in history—to discover forty clear and straightforward rules to manage and live by. At the same time, he illuminates the new worldview of the internet generation: how it challenges and destroys, but also opens up vast new opportunities. His findings are counterintuitive, imaginative, practical, and above all visionary, giving readers a glimpse of how everyone and everything—from corporations to governments, nations to individuals—must evolve in the Google era.”

If you’ve read or are currently reading any of the books listed here, please share your comments.  I’d love to see what everyone else thinks about these books, especially before I read them.  If you have suggestions for next month’s reading list, please share those too!  As always, you can check out my past reading lists by clicking the Reading link on the top menu.

Niche Site Duel – Update #6: A Rank, Earnings, and Traffic Roller Coaster

For my niche site, the past week has been a wild roller coaster.  After my recent discovery that I picked the wrong target keyword and domain (by only one letter), I explained how the tiny change will make a huge difference.  Following this, the site underwent a period of a few days where there was virtually no traffic, and it had seemingly fallen off Google’s radar (although it was still indexed).

As with everything else in the passive income “game,” patience is key.  Despite this roller coaster of events, a lot of good things have come out of the past week or two for this niche site.  Let’s explore it, shall we?

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Powerful SEO Advice Straight From The Horse’s Mouth

When it comes to learning SEO (search engine optimization) on the internet, there’s a lot of fluff out there.  There are experts who claim to know everything and know very little, and there are people with hidden agendas – one of which is to make money off of you by promoting a product or getting you to opt into their e-mail list.  We accept this reality, and many of us embrace it.

That’s why it’s a breath of fresh air when the masters of SEO – the search engines themselves – provide guidance.  They have no hidden agendas, or at least, none that really bother us.  They want to create useful search engines and meaningful results, so it’s in their best interest to come up with a ranking algorithm that accomplishes these objectives.

Click to continue…

Why My Retweet Count Is Gone – Argh!

In an effort to enhance the SEO of my blog, I decided to change the permalink structure of my posts.  You may have noticed that my post URLs used to contain the month and year the post was published, along with the name of the post.   Instead, I wanted my permalink structure to just include the name of the post.

In other words, it used to look something like this:


And now, I’ve changed it to this:


Much cleaner and it’s more SEO friendly (or so I’ve read).  My biggest concern was creating broken links on other sites (where my blog posts may be linked) and losing any pagerank assigned to each specific page through Google.  To mitigate this issue, I used the plugin Dean’s Permalinks Migration 1.0. Very simply, you can input your old permalink structure and then change your permalink structure to what you want it to be (in the same permalink settings you would normally use), and the plugin takes care of the permanent redirection.  This is similar to the 301 redirection I discussed in another post.

The Big Problem

Unfortunately, I didn’t account for the affect this would have on my social networking/bookmarking plugins – in particular, the Retweet button and StumbleUpon button.  Because my link structure changed, the counts on these plugins reset to zero (they were tied to the old links that I just changed).

Now, I have nothing! I’ve heard about this happening before, but completely forgot about it.  Now, I’m faced with two options:

1) Leave it as is and maintain a better search engine optimized blog, or

2) Restore the old link structure, and thus restore my tweet and StumbleUpon counts.

I’m really incline to stick with #1, because I know it’s the best long-term answer.  What would you do?

If you’re interested in helping me out, feel free to go back and retweet some of my older posts – I’d owe you forever. I know it seems silly, but it’s been well-documented how important “social proof” is, and I’ve basically just lost a big part of mine!

The owner of this website, Eric, is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including, but not limited to,,,,, or

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