My First BJJ Tournament as a White Belt

I started training mixed martial arts (MMA) at IngDojo in the Philippines at the ripe age of 34. Prior to this, I had spent 13 years behind a desk with a laptop in one hand and a phone in the other so I went in with no foundation of physical fitness whatsoever. I couldn’t run 100 meters much less run 1 mile so getting back in shape was both painful and grueling. I trained striking and bjj at IngDojo about 2 to 3 times a week for just over 1 year. During this time I visited other gyms in the Philippines as well as Canada. After a long 6 month break due to business travel and knee injury, I took the opportunity to come to Vietnam to train at the Saigon Sports Club under professor Gilberto Bottiglieri.

I initially planned on staying for a month while working remotely but when I learned about the Saigon One BJJ Tournament was just two months away, I decided to stay so I could train and compete.

I’ve now had 3 months of almost daily training and the tournament is exactly two weeks away.  I kinda feel like a  sandbagger because I frequently tap blues and very rarely get tapped by whites but in my defense I truly only have around 1 year and 3 months of training and only 1 stripe on my belt.  With fighters coming from all over the world and from a plethora of other disciplines, I’m sure I will have to go a against a true sandbagger who may have several years or even decades of training in wrestling, Judo, Krav Maga or other disciplines but since they haven’t been belted as in BJJ, they are able to come in as a white belt. But no complaints, as the cliche goes… All is Fair in “Love and War” so let the best man win.

One thing’s for sure, I aim to bring home the gold medal!

Post Competition Update

So I placed 3rd and won a bronze medal. I’ve been kicking myself in the butt ever since because I really feel like I should have won the gold but I learned a valuable lesson… competing is very different than any other setting because of the mental game that is involved. My only downfall was the mental block. I had my head up my ass and didn’t perform anywhere nearly as well as I normally do. I had the gold medal winner in a triangle coke two different times but instead of correcting the angle and closing it like I should have, I was floundering around trying other things like sweeps and kimoras. The video is painful to watch. In conclusion, I hope to continue competing so I can overcome the mental block and start winning gold medals!

Guest Posting for SEO

Guest posting, when done right, is still a very effective link building strategy for Panda, Penguin and beyond.

Get Google Authorship

Using Google Authorship in your Plus profile and in the author bio of the guest post will help to build authority to your content. More importantly a webmaster will be more apt to let you post on their site when he/she sees the authority in your authorship contributions. Put it to you this way, I wouldn’t let anyone post on this blog without it! Start with this here.

Stay Away from Splogs

AKA Spam Blogs… Don’t post on just any site especially, not one that has spun or non-CopyScape passed content unless it was syndicated properly. With all the spammy blog networks out there its important to be able to identify what Google considers “bad neighborhoods” and steer clear of them.

Hunt Down the Right Channels

Search around and look for quality blogs that are relevant to your site, product or service. No matter what your niche is, adult websites or mainstream there’s plenty of places for you to get great visibility and of course high quality links.

Collaborate and Contribute

Reach out to relevant, high quality sites and organizations in a common way to collaborate on a project together creating a legitimate connection and excuse to link to one another. Create appealing content, like what Matt Cutts would call “Link Bait” and earn links and other collaboration offers. Guest posting, as long as it done with class and creativity will always be one of the best ways to promote your site and increase rankings.

Execution

Make sure that your guest posts are not specifically marked as “guest post”, “sponsored post” or even put into a sponsored category or archive. Don’t use Exact Match Anchor Text more than 15% of the time and even make sure to spread that 15% out over many long tail keywords not just your top tier ones.

Google’s Transparency Report & Internet Censorship

the_worst_part_of_censorship_is-300x300Not sure if Google is just playing good cop, bad cop but I really appreciate their transparency report service where they track various governments’ attempts to block access to online content and as Google put it, “hamper the free flow of information on the web.” Google just updated this service and the new data confirms that governments around the world have doubled their efforts to limit information to the public and censor the web.

I urge all freedom loving people in the world to study this information and at least become aware of the government attempts to censor your access to information. Notice on the 2012 summery chart below that the 1st and 2nd biggest request Google receives to block or remove content comes from Defamation and Privacy and Security then understand that this boils down to the defamation of government officials and the privacy they enjoy keeping you in the dark.  Its hard enough to expose the truth but its even harder to bring those truths to the masses and this is why its very important that our born rights to free speech and and freedom of press are not compromised online!

2012-summery-google-transparency-report
If you don’t speak out and take action by voting in the right politicians, your country could become like China where they just completely blocked all Google services. This is why most people in China may never know the truth about what happened in Myanmar. Iran, Argentina, Brazil, France and Philippines are also high on the list of countries that try to censor the truth from their citizens.

Post Panda SEO Tips

 

matt-cutts-google-panda-tipsIf your site was negatively affected by Panda, I suggest also checking out my article titled, How to Recover from a Panda Slap Down.

1. Greater Emphasis on On-page Optimization Post Panda

  • Google Webmaster Tools is a great place to start, you should spend hours in there following the suggestions and fixing reported errors.
  • Clean code, use W3C.orgs free online tools to validate your CSS and HTML.
  • Decrease load time, Web Page Analyzer is another free SEO tool that will help you do that.
  • Crawlability: To many people’s surprise, I no longer suggest the use of sitemaps for post Panda SEO. Instead, make sure that the bots can naturally reach every page on your site without having to force Google to index it with a sitemap.

2. Written Content must be high quality

  • Spinning appears to be dead. Your written content must be truly unique.
  • Article length 500 words+, no fluff just facts and valuable information.
  • Requires independent investigation to post content that cannot be found on other sites.
  • Written by expert or enthusiast.
  • Post Panda, Google is much more critical on misspelling and grammatical errors.
  • 2% keyword density is now too much, instead use synonyms.
  • Definitely visit High-Quality Content to see Googles guidelines.

3. Use less ads and affiliate links

  • Less ads is more and can actually increase your page RPM (formally ECPM)
  • Cloak or hide affiliate links by using Action Script, Java, link shorteners or my favorite, redirects.

4. Use Graphical Content

  • High quality, large images should be used, no longer are small files that load quicker better. sacrifice load time for image quality.
  • Google now reads the text in images so don’t steal images with text or edit them if you do.
  • Use keyword variations in image file names, titles, alt tag and descriptions.
  • Give all images unique, SEO friendly URLs. This provides more unique, relevant and optimized pages to be indexed.

5. Like is the new link: Post Panda SMO

  • Get as many friends and followers as you can.
  • Show regular activity on all networks, post updates, comments, add pictures etc.
  • Use social media integration on your website with Facebook connect, Plus one, Twitter, Digg, Stumbleupon and more.
  • Use APIs that will syndicate and auto post content across social networks.

6. Post Panda SEO Link building

  • Use high-quality content to get links, blog post, article submissions, guest posts, contributions to journalistic or educational sites.
  • Black hat can still be used for indexing, don’t expect it to pass Page Rank.

7. Keep Content Fresh

  • Rewrite or append to existing content.
  • Allow user generated content like comments.

8. Study User Behavior

Googlebot being the robot that it is, can’t actually form an opinion as to the quality of your content so after Panda, Google is putting a stronger emphasis on the visitor’s activity to help them determine if your content is really worth a damn. Spend more time looking at your Google Analytics.

  • CTR.
  • Bounce rate.
  • Time on site.
  • Do anything you can to make people click and stick.
  • use flash, video appealing graphics like this little video of Professor Puppet talking about Post Panda SEO

Feel free to ask questions in the comments below :-)

Google Algo Change Reduces Low Quality Exact Match Domains

Google Algo Change Reduces Low Quality Exact Match Domains

emd-google-algo-update

Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team announced a new algorithm update that targets Exact Match Domains (EMDs). According to Cutts, this change will affect .06% of US based English search results.

Here are the two Tweets he sent out warning about it:

Minor weather report: small upcoming Google algo change will reduce low-quality exact-match domains in search results. — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) September 28, 2012

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New exact-match domain (EMD) algo affects 0.6% of English-US queries to a noticeable degree. Unrelated to Panda/Penguin.

— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) September 28, 2012

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In his tweet, Cutts used the words low-quality exact-match domains so this means if your EMD has good quality Panda-friendly content and Penguin-friendly links then don’t worry but if your EMD relies on the keywords being in the domain as a substitute for quality content, then you will more than likely be affected.

It’s not like Google is punishing EMDs instead, they are just enhancing the algorithms to remove the special privileges that EMDs have enjoyed. You used to be able to register an EMD and rank for that keyword even if the site is low quality but these days are now over.

Does This Mean EMDs Suck Now?

Not at all, it just means that having an EMD doesn’t guarantee rankings. You will now need to optimize your EMDs more and provide high-quality content just like any other domain.

Will This Affect The Value of EMDs?

Yes, they are now worth less money because they will require the same amount of optimization and effort as any other domain. The easy days of buying an EMD and ranking based on that alone are over.

Are EMDs Still Better?

Maybe even Matt Cutts himself couldn’t answer that question in absolutes but here’s my take on it. I say that they are still slightly better than a non-exact-match domain in this sense. Let’s say you have two exactly identical websites except that one is an EMD and the other is not. If all other factors were equal, then the EMD would surely outrank the non-EMD because they have just one more small factor. So EMDs are still good, they are not being punished, instead, they just aren’t being treated with the special privileges that they used to be treated with.

EMD Algorithm Update Recovery and Survival

All of my EMDs survived this update because I always posted Panda-friendly, only got Penguin-Friendly links and in addition, I think the social media integration helped to legitimize the sites as well. Things like a Youtube channel, Twitter account, and FB page helped to prevent the sites from being affected. One example is InvestinGreenEnergy.com still ranks where it did last month.

Hope this helps to clear up some of the confusion surrounding the new algo updates and please let me know if I left anything out or if you have any questions or comments.