CrankyDave (aka David Sacco) is a freakin’ institution, bamf par excellence. That’s it, I said it and I’m not sorry I said it. You can learn more about Google and SEO in general from a forum or thread discussion with CrankyDave than you can researching for hours online. Got a question about Google, best just to ask CrankDave. Case in point; once I was researching link development on Google, and on the first page of search results was a forum post by CrankyDave. Ta Da! See, told ya it’s just better to ask him.
Well I tell you why. CrankyDave has made it his business to know search. He’s a website owner who took the fight in his own hands and made the search engines, especially Google, pay attention to him. That’s an accomplishment that many, rumblepup included, wish we can lay claim to. His website http://www.chainzonline.com is what I love to call a B3B, a Big 3 Babe, where he’s got first page listing for his chosen keyword from Google, Yahoo and MSN, in one of the most competitive industries on the net. That’s workin’ it friends and neighbors, and (as far as I can tell) he did it all himself.
I think that I first had the pleasure of getting’ wisdom from Dave at a thread from WebProWorld. As everyone knows, I’m faux famous for asking dumb questions that for some reason or another, attract answers. So, I posted my question about Google, and mister CrankyDave stepped in.
What ensued was what normally happens, CrankDave “educates you” in the finer points of Google, and has a professional and very informed wealth of knowledge he uses to do the edjumacating. He just…knows.
And, he’s one busy dude as well. Not only is he an Moderator at TIP and a VIP member at any forum worth it’s weight in…um, forum members, but he’s a very busy internet entrepreneur who’s taking care of his own little slice of heaven. It’s been my pleasure to know him, to learn from him, and to try to follow some of his examples. When he gave me a chance to ask him even more rumblepup questions, well, you know me, I just had too.
rumblepup: Como estas señor? Soooo. Uhmmm. Why are you so Cranky?
CrankyDave: LOL. Some time ago a Chicago sports radio station had a morning crew of Jim Memelo (“Spawn”), Norm Van Lier (“Stormin Norman”), and Doug Buffone (“Uncle Fuzzy”), that I really enjoyed listening to. I loved to send them a quick fax in the morning, that I always ended with some sort of little proverb, and then would get to work while I listened. There was rarely a morning that I missed sending them a fax and Norm would read the proverb I’d ended my faxes with at the end of their show. I started off by signing them “Cranky Cub Fan Dave” (as a Chicago Cub fan there’s plenty to be “cranky” about) until one morning Norm coined me “CrankyDave”. I liked it and just kept on with the shortened version. It depends upon who you ask whether or not the name fits me or I fit the name.
rumblepup: So why the blog? Why now? (thanks by the way)
CrankyDave: I’m glad you like it. I rarely have a shortage of things to say on a variety of subjects. CrankyDave.com gives me a venue to share what I want about whatever subject I want to talk about. For the most part, it’s about things that make me “cranky” for any number of reasons.
rumblepup: When where you first introduced the web?
CrankyDave: Let’s see… That would have been about 9-10 years ago. The brokerage company I used implemented online trading. If I remember correctly, they offered a discount for placing trades online instead of calling them.
rumblepup: When did you decide to take your business online?
CrankyDave: I started looking into taking my company CHANZ! online 5-6 years ago. I spent what little free time I had reading and researching most anything I could about it. The company was stable and performing very well but “online” looked like a means to work smarter not harder. In hindsight the “not harder” part is debatable but definitely smarter. In the summer of 2002, due to compliancy issues raised by the Sarbanes-Oxley, I lost a lucrative corporate account. I decided that this was as good a time as any to go online and after deciding upon hosting etc. registered the domain and started building the website in February of the following year.
rumblepup: What was it like getting your first website online? Must have been scary after all the personal upheaval.
CrankyDave: What was it like? Exhausting! I really hadn’t counted on spending so many hours glued to the computer. This is when I guess I really discovered that working smarter can indeed be working harder.
rumblepup: What was is like, trying to learn about SEO and SEM?
CrankyDave: Fascinating! To read and listen to all the various opinions and theories as to how and why things work was, and is, truly stimulating to me.
rumblepup: Did you learn it in the forums or from research?
CrankyDave: Forums, research, phone calls, emails, anywhere and everywhere I could get an opinion. I was fortunate to have a couple of really exceptionally people spend a lot of time communicating with me early on and still am. One in particular I hope is enjoying their retirement. 🙂
rumblepup: How did it change your approach to promoting your website?
CrankyDave: I can’t say that really changed my approach too terribly much since I had a pretty good grip on what it was I wanted to do and the approach I wanted to take. For me, it simply made sense to not try and reinvent the wheel, but to learn to better use the wheel I already had.
rumblepup: When did you discover your first forum? Why did you decide to join?
CrankyDave: I discovered forums early on in my researching. There was a wealth of different opinions. That was something really important to me. I wanted to know what EVERYONE thought.
rumblepup: Do you consider forums important learning or networking centers, or both?
CrankyDave: Yes, I certainly consider them important learning and networking centers. I believe the key to all of it is the bettering your ability to develop your own opinions, ideas and processes, and avoiding the mistakes someone else has already made. That’s what makes the collective stronger.
rumblepup: In a sense, your knowledge of Google and techniques for working with the search results is a very valuable asset. Why share? Why take the time to instruct other doober noobers like me on strategies, techniques and technology?
CrankyDave: Doober noobers?
rumblepup: Newb is so 90’s, don’t you think? Like to think I can start a new netspeak trend.
rumblepup: Yeah, I should have known better. In any case, back to the question. Why help?
CrankyDave: The core of my philosophy is that to be successful, you must help someone else to do the same. Folks who take the time to help others achieve success both personally and professionally are richer for doing so. Generally happier too.
rumblepup: Your largest search issue has been, from what I can tell, Google. Obviously, with Google nearly owning search, it’s an important topic. How much time do you take to look into the other SE’s, or dedicate search engine strategies to the other SE’s?
CrankyDave: I spend very little time strategizing for the SE’s. I know it sounds so very cliché’ but I spend my time thinking about my visitors and potential visitors and how to better serve and convert them. For the most part, everybody knows what works. It goes back to what I said earlier. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, do a better job of using the one’s (wheels) you have.
rumblepup: Do you do any online advertising? I’ve always been a big proponent of spending advertising dollars on getting search results instead of advertising. Do you agree with that statement, or do you think that some advertising is necessary?
CrankyDave: Absolutely. I spend money advertising online and off. Besides, the two aren’t mutually exclusive. A happy client that found you via an advertisement can do as much or more to get you better search results, not mention more pre-qualified traffic, than your dollars might have otherwise. Diversify. The “results” you get from happy clients are priceless. No need to limit yourself as to where and how you get them.
rumblepup: What SE’s do you like, apart from the big 3? Why?
CrankyDave: Which ever one is new. 🙂 Actually, I like Ask.com although I do miss Jeeves. Another one that fascinates me is ChaCha.com. Novel idea of a guided search engine. I actually hope they succeed.
rumblepup: What browser do you personally use? Do you use more than one?
CrankyDave: IE. No I don’t use more than one. I prefer to look at sites the way the majority of surfers do. Last I checked, that was with IE.
rumblepup: What is the one piece of advice that you would give any website owner? In other words, a tried and true classic design, marketing or promotion technique which you feel not enough people take advantage of.
CrankyDave: Common sense. The best tool there is. I’ve said it twice now, I guess the third time’s the charm… Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, do a better job of using the one’s you have. Title, links, structure, content. Do a better job utilizing these 4 things and don’t get caught up in the minutia of trying to disguise things. Outperform your competition.
rumblepup: Yeah, you’ve said that before. Must be the old age….OUCH! Ok, I’ll stop with the jokes. Jeez, everybody keeps hittin’ me!
rumblepup: What current trends are you most excited about? (Web 2.0, social bookmarking, etc)
CrankyDave: Let’s see… The Chicago Bears are 6-0. I like that trend. The price of gasoline is coming down. I like that trend too. 🙂 As far as search is concerned, I like trend that’s developing of searchers better being able refine their own search. Google is taking that step by integrating their Froogle results into their regular results. Searchers being more empowered to better be able to define their own relevancy. Can anyone say build your website for your visitors?
rumblepup: It’s been my contention the web is at a crossroads. With the emergence of social networking, social bookmarking, blogging and user created content, the web CAN become a people powered medium. Corporations have always tried to CONTROL the web, and with the advent of NET NEUTRALITY, are making the biggest attempts to do so. Which way do you think it will go, will either side win, or will it be a mix of both?
CrankyDave: Water always finds its’ own level. Look at all the chatter right now in the blogosphere over the recent pay per click model initiated by payperpost.com. Not too unlike all the chatter from traditional media when bloggers initially hit the net. Yet, both have found a way to exist together to the benefit of both.
rumblepup: Is there a new web bubble? Everybody fears what happened in the late 90’s, early 2000, but to me, the bubble burst was simply due to wrong-headed business models and policies. During the bubble bursting thingamabobber, those years where very profitable for internet e-commerce, and I think that since then, many have learned learned their lessons. But I’ve been hearing talk down the wire that a new, weirder bubble is emerging. Any ideas?
CrankyDave: I generally leave those things to the prognosticators. It’s never a bubble until after the fact. Housing, the metals market, etc. Only time will tell. Greed is a powerful motivator.
rumblepup: Who was your favorite Banana Split?
CrankyDave: Hehehehe… You gotta love Snork. The strong silent type. Any time they can work a Harpo Marx type character into something, I’m onboard!
rumblepup: My favorite as well. Gotta love the Snork.
CrankyDave: Thanks for having me Robert! I enjoyed it!