SEO Think Tank


Here is a list of the top ten things that I learned by entering Shoemoney’s 2008 SEO ThinkTank contest. I’ll be sure to try to apply this to any other blogging contest that comes up.

9. Keep Things Simple. As far as blog design goes, simpler is better. Don’t go for the fancy layouts and graphics. It just makes your blog look dated or unprofessional.

8. Consider submitting a top ten list! Reviewers (and Diggers) like lists.

7. Don’t be afraid to GROVEL. Groveling is a strategy! Its not beneath you! We had one contestant offer his personal concierge service. Another offered personal massages

6. Be Human. Let your unique traits and weaknesses, hopes and fears show. Its what makes us human and more interesting. If you strip all of this out of your post, it becomes dull and boring. One contestant caught the judges attention by admitting his infatuation for the lovely Pam Lundgren.

5. Interact with other contestants – help each other out or give each other moral support. Its a good bet that other contestants at your level, are feeling the exact same doubts as you are. Plus, chances are that they will interact with other contestants or with some of the judges and you start building up your rep. and social network.

4. Clearly state what you have to offer. The majority of contestants tended to trumpet their own skills and accomplishments. The few that clearly stated what they had to offer the group (even through groveling) stood out from the other entries

3. Congratulate the winner – add graciousness to your rep. Also thank them, as they’ve probably got a ton of useful content on their blog, plus, now you’ve got a great reason to talk to them at the next SEO conference.

2. Brand Yourself – two words on this – Furry Hat. All the reviewers remember Furry Hat Guy! They will remember him when he shows up again on-line or at the next conference.

1. Enter even if you don’t think you can win. It provides valuable hands on experiencing in blogging, generating great content, branding, networking, etc. It gives your site great exposure. You introduce yourself to some top level SEO/Internet Marketers. Plus, you get to practice using Google Analytics and other traffic tools as you watch the traffic on your site. As an added bonus, It also provides a ton of content for your followup blog!

Yes, I know, I only have 9 things listed. I just can’t think of the tenth item. Anyone have any suggestions for a 10th item?

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When I traveled to Del Mar for the SEO Think Tank, I found it to be such a quaint and picturebook seaside surfing community, that I was determined to come back to visit and explore it some more.

Most of the time, I drive right past this community on my way South to San Diego. Finally, one day I found myself just up the highway from Del Mar and was finally able to re-visit.

The first stop was at the beach where 2008 SEO Think Tank was held. Right away, I saw something unforgettable!

Meet John King. He sort of dropped in while I was strolling along the beach.

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Most people come to Del Mar beach to surf or swim in the waves.  Not John. He takes advantage of the wind hitting the bluffs to ridge soar in his paraglider.

Ridge soaring can be tricky.  Too little wind and you lose lift — a fact that John demonstrated when he was forced to land on the sandy beach, instead of at his launch point on the bluff.  Too much wind and you get blown over the ridge.  But John knows what he’s doing.  He explains that there’s a point on the ridge that provides enough lift for him to turn around and head back.  Luckily, there’s a house with a flag right at that point, to help him mark the spot.

It was pretty amusing watching John bunny hop along the bluff until he came to the drop off . . . and up and away he soared!

While waiting for John to fly back, there was of course, plenty of traditional classic California scenery to see.

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I had been blogging about Think Tank all week and Blimey!

My views/visitors plunged!

I’m waiting for the guys/gals to put up their own posts.

Looks like Shoemoney has something interesting in the works.

Then at last! Salvation!

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Al @ SelfMadeMinds posted and mentioned my gate crashing antics and quintupled my traffic. @Al, thanks a million, buddy!

Now that I had a chance to mingle with and talk to some of the attendees at 2008 SEO Think Tank, I could kick myself at all the things that I forgot to ask them!

When I first started planning on crashing Think Tank, I was too busy with the preparations to be nervous. I had to find all the vendors, order the cards, find a programmer for FreeBestDeals.com, rent a van, etc.

As the day of Think Tank drew near and all the footwork was pretty much done, the nervousness settled in again. Especially since the update at Purposeinc.com showed that Think Tank was turning out to be twice as big as I had thought.

Once at Think Tank, I was so relieved that I had actually gotten there and that everything worked according to plan, that my brain kinda shut down. I mean, here, I had the undivided attention of Jeremy Schoemaker, and I couldn’t think of a blasted thing to say to him!

So, if any of the guys are reading this, here goes:

To Jeremy & DK – thanks a million guys. You guys are the catalyst that really got me started on blogging. And with that, it was also the incentive to get me started in building my site, FreeBestDeals.com. I don’t know how successful I will be at these endeavors. But I know that my success would have been Zero, had I not taken action.

To Al Carlton – it was a pleasure to meet you, mate, as I have been following your blog, SelfMadeMinds for some time now. Now that I’ve had time to think of it, there are tons of things I wished I would have asked you about – how you got started with Coolest-Gadgets.com; about your motorcyle arbitrage; whether you remember a Desktop Tower Defense player called Epicview . . . I also wish I would have brought up Roz Savage, the British woman attempting to row solo across the Pacific. And blogging about it the entire way. Its funny– when I mention blogging to my family or friends, they get a confused look on their face and don’t know what to make of it. When I mention the British woman rowing across the Pacific, I get a reaction right away. It’s usually “whoa!”, or “she’s crazy”, or “she’s got guts!”. I find it ironic that they can better relate to someone rowing across the Pacific, than they can with the concept of me blogging . . .

To Zac Johnson – it was great to meet you! I started following your blog, ZacJohnson.com after the contest, and it looks like it has great advice and articles that even we newbies can benefit from. I wish I would have asked you for advice on meeting and talking to people at large conferences like Blogworld. I find that its difficult to do if you’re not naturally outgoing.

To all the Think Tankers – I wish you guys could all brainstorm and come up with an official title for the group, such as “Web Entrepreneur” or something similar. It would make it much easier than to have to keep typing SEO Expert/Affiliation Marketer/Social Media Master/Internet Monetizer, etc!

Thanks again, everyone! I hope to see you on-line and at the conferences!

I especially want to thank DK for being such a good sport about this. It was great to hanging out there on the beach. I had a chance to meet and talk with Jeremy, Neil, Zach, Andy and especially Al Carlton, among others.

Poor DK. With everything going on, I’m sure that he didn’t need to an unexpected visitor crashing the event. He was a great host and made me feel welcomed and let me mingle and talk to everyone.

Eventually, though, he had to kick me out. This was a big ticket event, and we didn’t want to step on anybody’s toes.

My only regret – I didn’t get a chance to play Werewolf with all you guys!

About 3:30, I see some Think Tankers walking around the corner into the lobby. Among them is Shoemoney himself! I also recognize Neil Patel and Andy Liu.

They Are United!

They Are United!

Umm . . . Neil? What are you doing, Neil? Neil! Keep AWAY from the cake!

3:00 pm comes round. Then 3:15. Oh oh! No sign of any Think Tankers!

I ask the Hotel receptionists, “If you see anyone walking around who looks like this, could you please let me know?”

Have you seen this guy?

Have you seen this guy?

Jeremy, everybody thinks that mini-you is extreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeemly cute!

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