As web marketers, we are always trying to find new ways to generate exposure for our clients. Until recently, I’ve only been using StumbleUpon as a hobby of sorts (despite my boss’s insistence it was a powerhouse), viewing recipes in my spare time and my favorite category “bizzare/oddities.”  But recent stats from the growing social bookmarking site reveals it’s underlining potential.  In the USA, StumbleUpon is trumping use over all social media site referrals holding over a 50% share of the top 7 from August- November 2011.

On average, people spend 69 minutes on a session; that’s more than three times the average time on Facebook! What’s most interesting is the longevity of a link on the site. The average half-life is exponentially larger than Twitter (2.8 hours) and Facebook (3.2 hours) at an astonishing 400 hours. Read more…

A friend of mine recently asked me to comment on why I felt so strongly the rel=”author” attribute would play a large role in the future of search rankings. In order to answer his question I felt I needed to take this a step further and explain how rel=”author” appears to fit into a much grander plan Google is implementing around personal profiles. Please note, what I have shared with you below is merely my opinion based on experience, analysis, and  discussions with some of my fine colleagues in the SEO community; not the least of whom is John Carcutt (my co-host on SEO 101 Radio).

First consider what we know:

  1. Google is taking into account the personal blocking data (the block site option in results) from users that have a long and trusted profile; confirmed by Matt Cutts in his September 21st Q&A (the first answer on the linked page).
  2. Right now, if you have a highly trusted profile and you have authorship markup (rel=author) on your articles/copy you will get representation in Google search results – by having your photo show up next to the article.
  3. In order for this markup to work you need to have a Google Profile and it must be correctly associated with the sites you write on and your author page on the site has to connect back (a few hoops are necessary) to your Google Profile to finalize the association.
  4. Google is integrating Plus into most (if not all) of their products – this was confirmed by Vic Gundrota on a recent Web Summit 2.0 interview with him and Sergey Brin.
  5. In order to be on Google Plus you have to have a Google Profile.
  6. Your Google Profile prompts you to connect all of your social profiles so Google knows your social fingerprint and can highlight content in search results that your friends have socially shared/liked.
  7. Links are an important part of Google’s algorithms but they are heavily gamed and likely cause the majority of spam found in Google’s results.
  8. If Google sees that others like your content then it has a better chance of appearing at the top of relevant searches.

Next, let’s connect a few dots and make some educated assumptions:
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It recently came to my attention that LinkedIn has a setting activated by default allowing it to “use my name, photo in social advertising.” Below is a screenshot of this setting in my LinkedIn profile.

A screenshot of Ross Dunn's LinkedIn settings showing the default setting which allows LinkedIn to use my name and photo in social advertising

First, I should state I understand this is a means of increasing social engagement and connection-making within LinkedIn. What I find problematic is LinkedIn’s flagrant disregard for our privacy by making such a setting default. If you feel the same way, here are the steps to disable this feature in your LinkedIn account, provided in graphical form:

LinkedIn Privacy Step 1: Under your name in the top right of your account click on “Settings” Read more…

A photo of John Mueller - Google Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst

Ross Dunn and John Carcutt had the opportunity to speak with John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Trend Analyst from Google Switzerland, on their popular radio show, SEO 101 on WebmasterRadio.FM. In their exclusive 60 minute interview they covered topics including Google Webmaster Tools, the Plus One button,and Google+. Below are just some of the interview highlights.

To hear the entire show (it is well worth the listen) download it on iTunes at

Important note: These interview highlights have been paraphrased unless quotes are used.  

Dunn: John, you are a Google Switzerland Senior Webmaster Trend Analyst. What exactly does that entail?

Mueller: My primary role is to connect Webmasters with engineers at Google. I try to make sure everyone is speaking the same language and all the feedback we get from Webmasters  is communicated effectively to our engineers.

Dunn: How did you start working at Google? Read more…

An image of the Google +1 button The following is a quick heads up to any designers out there who like me may wish to protect what little hair they have left from being pulled out. It turns out the Google +1 (aka “PlusOne”) button conflicts with the Javascript onMouseMove(event). This is not my cup of tea but I know our in-house programmer has a headache from this and there is a handy thread at Google for interested parties to follow who may be facing the same issue. I know John Mueller has received notice of the issue so hopefully there will be a fix soon.

To quote “Fine Art America” who started the support thread at Google Webmaster Central, this is the issue: Read more…

It is not often I jump on our blog and tell people to read another blog but this is a worthwhile exception! Ekatarina Walter, a social media strategist at Intel, An image of a thumbs up and thumbs down relating to Facebook's "liking" process.wrote an article for Mashable (an amazing blog if you don’t know of it already) discussing the top 10 tips for posting on your Brand’s Facebook page. If you have any interest in using Facebook for your company or you are using it but you feel a bit in the dark (most of us do) then you really need to read this! The 10 Tips for Posting on Your Brand’s Facebook Page

On a side note, I don’t post links on the blog like this very often but I do share great articles I find online all of the time using my StumbleUpon account (a WIDE range of articles) and my Twitter account (@RossDunn) where I link to more web marketing related content.

I always wanted to work with charities and non-government organizations; I find their sincere dedication to causes they’re passionate about an inspiration. Last year I had the opportunity to pursue this interest and flew to Hanoi, Vietnam to work for an NGO (Non-Government Organization) called “Center for Development of Community and Children.” This experience made me realize locating funding and raising awareness is hair pullingly tedious, exhausting, and beyond frustrating. To get any funding from governments or private sponsors was painstakingly time consuming and rather impersonal. Of the several projects I was working on, my primary donation hunting efforts were for building a school in the rural area of Dien Bien, North Western Vietnam.  All of the funding applications I spent hours filling out consisted of budgets and past organization reputation.  Understandably, these are important but I never felt like the reality of the project was communicated to the reader which was how badly these tykes wanted to learn how to read and get a basic education.

When I started working in online marketing, I realized quickly, these barriers I’d faced didn’t need to exist.  An online presence is so powerful for charities. It makes them visible, allows them to engage with their donors, and acquire donations faster than if they were to wait for government assistance.  Below, I’ve put together 5 tips I’ve found to be most significant when a charity is trying to build a presence online. Read more…

I have been with StepForth Web Marketing for just over two months now working as the Sales and Marketing Assistant. I had just graduated from university and thought I knew a thing or two about Marketing. Little did I know the Marketing being communicated in university classes was really more of a “History of Marketing.” What was taught was interesting: concepts, theories, ideas and maybe it’s great to learn how things were but if you don’t understand how things are then what use is it to you? It’s like taking lessons on how to use a DOS program or program a VCR. You know how to do what used to be relevant. Staying with the times is difficult in this day and age. Especially because what people did yesterday is SOOOO yesterday. How are you supposed to know what bandwagons to jump on? Read more…

a picture of a man making the shape of the letter L with his hand for "Loser" and the rest of the picture says "Comment Spam"

Every day simpletons who think they are very clever visit our web site marketing blog and post completely useless, and often amusing comments. Their goal is to get links back to their website (or their clients) by making the post look personalized and legitimate. Sadly, they are almost always painfully daft, nonsensical, grammatically retarded posts. What is even worse is if they had half a clue they would have discovered our blog comment area blocks all outgoing links; thus they are wasting their time to start with. Anyway, over the past year I thought it would be fun to collect some of the best postings before I nuked them from our database and here is a selection of the 10 best.

WARNING: Reading this article may cause impairment of mental ability!

StepForth’s “Top 10 Most Rediculous Spam Comments Received” may be associated with fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting or blurred vision. Please exercise caution or avoid operating machinery, including automobiles, following the visual digestion of this article.
>> Minor List of Side Effects

# 1. I wish I remembered which article this was sourced from. Whatever it was, it clearly had relevance.

“Blog looks really good mate, keep it up! I keep shedding the pounds thanks to information like this and my studies on resveratrol.”

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If you have any connection to the online marketing space then you know MySpace has been on the way out for a couple of years now. Well, apparently the situation is far worse than popularly known! The following graphic is from the Silicon Alley Insider shows how the once mighty Facebook competitor has crumbled:

A chart showing the dramatic decline of MySpace visitors over the past 12 months.

The Rise and Fall of MySpace in the News

The Original MySpace LogoHere is a list of articles depicting MySpace’s rise as the sweetheart of social media to where it is now; it actually starts in 2003 but I thought some peeks at the former MySpace occupants starting in 1997 would be good for a smile or two. I have to say this social property has sure had its ups and downs!

1997 (yes, really!)

January 17th, 2007: Courtesy of, here is possibly the original owner of… sexy site!! 😉


May 10th, 2000: The online storage company,


June 7th, 2001: “In Web Storage World, No Space at Myspace

ON Sunday at 8 p.m., Myspace .com disappeared. Typing in its Web address yields only an error message.

Since more and more commercial Web sites have the life span of fruit flies, that would not usually be news. But when, an online storage locker, bolted its virtual doors, it also deleted an untold number of files stashed there free by its registered users, which the company says numbered 7.5 million as of last week. (read on)


August 31, 2003: The MySpace phenomenon began… this is the earliest image of the MySpace launch.


July 19th, 2005: “News Corp.’s Place in MySpace

In less than two years, MySpace has emerged as one of the hottest sites on the Web. It has more page views than Google (GOOG ). And with 22 million members, and a growth rate of 2 million a month, it stands to rival MSN (MSFT ), Yahoo! (YHOO ) and AOL (TWX ) as one of the major destinations on the Web.

Read more…