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Serendipity is cool word. It’s got all of those neat syllables that just roll off your tongue, and it’s one of those big boy words I like to use to charm the socks off Mrs. Rumblepup. The meaning is just as cool. It’s chance, luck, digging for worms and coming up with gold. Cool Neato stuff. It’s a good word. I don’t use it often, but when the situation arises, here I come out with classy “serendipity”.

Well, serendipity certainly applies to NeO, aka David Brown, owner of Neo1Seo, a SEO firm that not only do I respect, because of its work, but also because of the contributions of NeO to the web master community. Why does serendipity apply here? Well, recently I went to the forums for a little help in understanding Yahoo, and how to capitalize on the new cool rankings I had there. NeO comes and gives me a once over, twice over, thrice over to (as we Latino’s say) ‘splain things to me. His point of view was insightful and helpful; to the point and friendly to boot. So I decide to check him out.

NeO learned SEO and SEM the hard way, because he HAD to. As the owner of an online business, he needed to get his website up there. So what did he do? He grabbed the bull by the horns and learned the things he had to, as an entrepreneur, to affect the search results necessary for success. In the process, he began the journey towards SEO awareness.

(repeat after me, ooohhhhmmmmm)

After working two plus years for someone else, he headed out on his own to start a trusted SEO firm. Hey, when you’re dealing with a firm that has a brain like Brian Mark aboard, well you know you’re in the right hands.

So, I asked NeO if I can ask him some of my dumb questions. Hey, I am the king of dumb questions, what can I say? Luckily, David said Okiedokie, and I sent him a few.

rumblepup: Hello señor! You’re a busy guy nowadays. How’s business?

NeO: Great! Don’t worry about me though… business will get better.

rumblepup: I only found out recently that Brian Mark works with you. Brian is an awesome marketer, and I’ve only briefly spoken with him on some threads, and once on the phone, but I’ve always been a fan of his work as well as impressed by his abilities. How did you guys…uhmm…hook up?

NeO: Well late one night, up near brokeback Mt…someone else asked this question… (you thought it was going to be a juicy break on some brokeback story, sorry to disappoint!)

Brian and I have been in cahoots for quite some time now… One day he asked if I wanted to collaborate on some projects, and I jumped at the chance to add his resume to the firm’s repertoire! We’ve been having fun since, and plan to continue well into the future!

rumblepup: Do you have any plans, or any aspirations, to do speaking engagements, or broader presentations?

NeO: I used to speak to large groups at my old job… but have yet to be asked to do any speaking engagements for anything SEO related. Not to say I wouldn’t, time permitting, I’m busy as a one legged man in an ass kicking contest!

rumblepup: It’s a real interesting time in for the web right now. Since the emergence of new technologies (web 2.0, AJAX) and social networking and social bookmarking has become somewhat of hit, it looks like the web has a real chance of becoming “user driven.” Of course, most people still do SEARCHES on Google, Yahoo and MSN, but more and more web enthusiasts use places like digg, Technorati, Furl, and the new sites like ma.gnolia, for searching. The concept being that the content is trusted, because someone found it, found it to be a good source, and bookmarked it. What are your opinions on this trend? Will it continue? Will the SE’s adopt more of this type of user driven content? Are they already using it? (Google Co-op, Google Notebook, MyYahoo, MSN’s Live Space, even Ask has mystuff.ask.)

NeO: Web 2.0 technologies are definitely the future. I’ve seen trends come and go on the net, throughout the years… and I believe that these user driven (word of mouth) social book marking sites will be around for years to come. RSS to .html feeds are something to keep an eye on IMO. This just goes to show that being a spammer doesn’t make much sense, some of my most hit pages are How-To videos that I put up (for the simple fact that I was tired of explaining it to all my friends) and now several authorative sites have linked to them… because they help people. The Golden rule still applies to the net today, now more than ever, good content will keep people coming back to your site!

rumblepup: When did you first discover the web for business?

NeO: I started to learn VB in 1993 enjoyed it but then walked away from it all to have a career in real estate… I came back in late 98 early 99 to start hacking (original term = someone that can quickly decipher a program and teach it to others.)

Well that and I did get into a bit of trouble hacking… and was politely told that I was a smart kid and should I choose to continue down the road I was on… I’d end up in prision ;), so I decided to make a living on the net… I would like to point out that I was not an overnight success! This isn’t as easy as downloading an eBay success kit and making 10k per week! There’s sooooo many scammers online it’s really sad!

rumblepup: When did you first decide to put a website up? What was it like, putting up your first website?

NeO: Aug 6th 2003 was the first site launch… A timeshare resale company, I wanted a way to carry over onto the web and still be able to make some cash… I enjoyed the process more than the outcome!

rumblepup: When did you first discover the magic acronyms, SEM, SEO? Any other acronyms you like?

NeO: Shortly after the launch of the site… I thought if I built a site I’d have a ton of visitors that would turn into sales! That didn’t happen, however it was back in the glory days of keyword stuffing – all you had to do was stuff your meta tags with a ton of keywords to get noticed in the SE’s… Then the Florida update happened and sites that were ranking were no where to be found! That’s when I really started putting effort into learning as much as I could about SEO & SEM.

I also like the acronym SERP (it sounds sexy)

rumblepup: With so much attention given to optimizing for Google, you, amongst a whole “nation” of SEO providers, actually take some time to address dealing with MSN and Yahoo. Is the term “Optimized for Google, and Yahoo and MSN will be just fine” still true, or should website owners be concerned with different issues concerning the other members of the Big 3? What other SE’s do you think can become more important in the future?

NeO: I think that if you only optimize for Google your cutting your own throat! Yahoo! And MSN make up the other two big chunks of the proverbial pie… Brian knows that one of my favorite tee shirts says “I’m not that smart… but I can rank well in MSN” Since the MSN live update has come through, it’s not as easy to get overnight rankings in MSN (they’ve learned from past mistakes) as it was before. I think that sites like digg, Furl, delicious, & technorati will become a viable source for searches in the very near future!

rumblepup: Nearly Every Successful Marketer is a Spammer” is an article I found on Aaron Wall’s SEOBook, and it has some interesting points, in that some seemingly spam type linking and marketing techniques can actually be used in that grey area between black and white hat marketing. I’ve often employed “creative” link building in my marketing endeavors, but never overtly spammed, if spamming means flooding open pages with link after link of the same content. What are your thoughts? Should SEM’s be creative in finding IBL’s, or will it eventually NOT pay off. How “creative” as a professional, do you have to be to service your customer, if at all?

NeO: Don’t SPAM… that’s my first thought! Spammers suck… plain and simple, I get approximately 90 comments daily to my blog 90% of them are ads for Viagra or some other drug… It’s annoying and they never get a link. I personally believe that the Spammers of the world are the trailer trash of the web! Now while I agree w/ what Aaron says in the article to some extent… I also believe that Buzz Marketing can achieve the same results. Sure getting a front page article on digg will help bolster traffic… but in the end, if you’ve wasted someone’s time, are they going to bookmark your site, or come back again, or better yet… are they going to buy anything from you? Probably not…

In my humble opinion the best way to bring about awareness for you or your site is to establish yourself as someone who knows a little something about your area of expertise. Make a video tutorial, Share a simple hack, and offer a free program that will help out newb’s! Some of my most trafficked pages are simple tutorials I’ve put together (RSS to .html & Add an alias to Gmail) People actively search for these, and when they find that I’ve taken the time to build a how-to video they link to it!

rumblepup: Google has finally made peace with the term PSEM. At one time, you could see that Google clearly did think hiring an PSEM was a good thing, ’cause they do not want anybody manipulating their search results. I believe that if a person, on their own, is not getting the results they need, they SHOULD hire a PSEM, if not but for the very simple reason that SEM is a job in and of itself. How can anybody manage a business AND manage SEM at the same time? What other reasons should a website owner take into consideration when thinking about whether to hire a PSEM, like yourself, or not?

NeO: SEM & SEO is a full time job, you’d be hard pressed to run your company and tackle all of the duties of a full time SEO / SEM! I do know that Google has said not to hire a company that Guarantee’s first page placement! Which makes sense… no one can “Guarantee” that, do they have a copy of the Google algorithm? Or are they going to use black hat techniques to get you there only to have a short lived victory… and then your site gets black listed!~

My other personal favorite is these companies that Guarantee 1st place SERP’s for terms that NO ONE SEARCHES FOR! I can pretty much rank for supercalifragilisticexpedalicious in a few days… because no one else is trying to rank for that term! So my best advice is be careful out there… ask for references, past clients, campaigns they’ve run, what success have they had… And then watch your traffic… did it increase? Are you improving sales? Does the overall ROI pencil out?

rumblepup: Damn but ROI gets around. Who is the guy?

NeO: It’s not a guy. It means Return On Investment.

rumblepup: COUGH!!!! Ahem. (clearing throat) Of course it does. Jeez, no wonder Mrs. rumblepup won’t let me use the toaster. Shall we go on to the next question?

rumblepup: I’ve always had the belief that if you achieve a certain PR (Page Rank for the bubble heads) you can use it to take advantage by targeting certain keywords. In my thinking, if Google “trusts” your site enough to give it a PR of 6, then targeting a keyword like “shoestrings” will give you a better SERP, over a page with a PR of 3, who target the same keyword. However, since BigDaddy, that thinking has amongst marketers has changed. Now it seems that Google will trust the links that you send out from your website, but not really take your PR into consideration when serving up results. In other words, PR means nothing as it pertains to search results, just on page factors. Can you expand on this a little, or, do you agree that PR still has something to do with SERP?

NeO: I’d say first off that PR has more to do with off-site factors (like who links to you and what’s their reputation) than on page factors. What webmasters / SEO’s and the likes need to keep in mind is that the little green bar doesn’t pay the bills… sales pays the bills… A good PageRank is what we all strive for, but don’t put so much emphasis into the little green bar… instead focus on building quality pages that HELP internet users and through natural attrition your IBL’s will grow! And along the way you’ll gain some Google juice A.K.A. PageRank 😉

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.

NeO: KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) instead of wasting your time trying to figure out the cheat code to get to the top… build a quality website! Tell everyone you know about your website, be proud of your creation! And keep plugging away at it! One other thing that I would mention to webmasters…

rumblepup: I only said one. Ouch! No hitting.

NeO: don’t have to be an author to publish content… do a Google search for the niche your in and include RSS in the search… You’d be amazed at all of the FREE content you could have on your site to help your viewers… If your not sure how to do it, swing by my RSS to .html how to video, watch it, learn and prosper 😉

rumblepup: The browser wars are getting interesting. FF is VERY strong amongst the web enthusiast group, and gaining ground in the casual user group. IE7 boasts an impressive bunch of features. What’s your favorite browser and why? Will you be using IE7?

NeO: I do have Internet Exploder 7 but only use it to check pages… FireFox RULES!!! With the plugin’s and add an engine functions on FF you can’t go wrong!

rumblepup: How come you’re all matrixy? Do you have the sunglasses?

NeO: Because NeO is the OnE! I started using that handle yrs ago and it’s just kinda stuck… I do have the sunglasses and even got the Halloween costume for a class reunion Halloween party we’ll be attending this yr!

rumblepup: Now, tell me a joke and say goodbye.

NeO: A skinny little white guy goes into an elevator, looks up and sees this HUGE black guy standing next to him. The big guy sees the little guy staring at him; looks down and says: “7 feet tall, 350 pounds, 20 inch private, 3 pound left testicle, 3 pound right testicle, Turner Brown.”

The skinny white guy faints and falls to the floor. The big guy kneels down and brings him to, shaking him and says, “What’s wrong with you?” In a weak voice the little guy says, “What EXACTLY did you say to me?” The big dude says, “I saw your curious look and figured I’d just give you the answers to the questions everyone always asks me. I’m 7 feet tall, I weigh 350 pounds, I have a 20 inch private, my left testicle weighs 3 pounds, my right testicle weighs 3 pounds, and my name is Turner Brown.”

The small guy says, “Turner Brown?!…Sweet Jesus, I thought you said, “Turn around”!

rumblepup: LOL. Happens to me all the time. You see, I’m 7 foot 8 inches tall, and my private is….OOUCH. Ok, I’ll stop, I’ll stop.