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The SEO community is sometimes thought of being a stuffy industry, but we like to have fun like any other group of people. For example, you probably would never have guessed that there are online games specifically aimed at the optimization community.

Yet, in the past week two such games have been found, both very SEO-centric. They’re a cool novelty and they offer about as much fun as the games they are based on.

First we have Donkey Cutts, a Donkey Kong knock-off, using prominent SEO personalities and tech imagery in the place of an oversized monkey and barrels. Obviously Matt Cutts from Google is featured, but players are also able to pick from other SEO personalities (though there is some disagreement who exactly the characters are).

Donkey Cutts

There is also Madoogle, a clone of Angry Birds which lets you attack black hat SEOs with some more easily recognizable SEO faces. This one includes versions of Matt Cutts (again), Rand Fishkin, Lisa Barone, and Barry Schwartz.

Madoogle

They probably won’t help you rank much higher, but these games might allow you to relax for a few minutes while still keeping SEO fresh in your mind.

Technical debt is a common issue in the start-up ecosystem, and it has been well discussed. When scaling your product and engineering, sacrifices must be made for the sake of speed, but they almost always cause problems later. What most start-ups fail to realize is that this problem occurs in almost every aspect and form of business practice.

Rand Fishkin uses a story to illustrate this point. A man named Heaton sees a job ad on a website that looks perfect for his skill set. He applies and, 4 days later, gets an email asking to talk over the phone. The hiring manager loves Heaton and emails him 2 days later inviting him to meet with the whole team. 10 days later, Heaton meets for a full interview and is introduced to 4 of the 6 other teammates. The other 2 are out, so Heaton is scheduled to come back 3 days later. When he comes in, he gets a written offer.

Unfortunately, Heaton had interviewed at a big corporation the day after he had applied for this opportunity with a start-up. They immediately sent him an offer with plenty of time to consider. On the last day he was allowed by this offer, Heaton accepted. This day happened to be the day before he was offered a job with the start-up, which Heaton would have preferred to work at. Heaton assumes any company that takes 23 days to get back in touch for an important position already has too many issues anyhow.

In reality, they are hiring because they have a huge issue. There’s no HR or hiring function, so they had to ask the CEO to make the hire, in addition to an already difficult future. Most in this position haven’t had to fire before, so they may not realize how important it is to be fast with responses when hiring. Also, each individual only feels like they’re taking a couple days with their responses. But these few days individually add up quickly, which led to Heaton’s problems.

Only after losing Heaton does the start-up realize it has this issue and tries to solve it.

Problems like technical debt happen in every aspect of business where a start-up can take a shortcut. Not every problem goes unaddressed or scales badly, but enough issues do create an inflection point that costs money.

If you are a start-up or are joining one, be ready for these types of problems. It is always difficult to try to fix problems once you are already moving, but you will have to. Also, if you are interested in a start-up from the outside, empathize with their problems and know they may not be as messed up as it appears. They may just be dealing with start-up debt.

 

 

If you haven’t seen the political quiz website ISideWith, you really should give it a look. It won’t change how you’re going to vote in November, but it is a perfect case study in great viral marketing because, as Rand Fishkin points out, it has two important psychological triggers.

First, sharing is simple and obvious. They have made it easy for you to share the quiz on almost any social site with bright and attractive buttons. They even tell you how many people have taken the quiz because of your sharing. Showing how your sharing has influenced others plays on your ego and the desire to know how many people care about what you share.

Second, they ask you how your results made you feel. When you give them feedback, they create a ready-to-share Facebook post for you. By allowing you to not just share your results, but customizing it with your own reactions, ISideWith plays on the way people use Facebook to share how they feel. People don’t always share what they are doing or interested in, but most people share how they feel. Capitalizing on emotions is a smart way to make people want to share your content.

The site isn’t perfect – no site is – but it takes advantage of the emotions people invest in politics to make their content as shareable as possible, thereby maximizing the chances of going viral. By knowing the psychologies of your audience rather than just their activities, you can make them want to share your site with the world.

 

SEO tips being lies? Okay, not always intentionally, but it happens.  Mainly because with the ways SEO works changing so much, a lot of old techniques no longer work.  Keeping on top of these makes a big difference.

There are several, but I’d recommend checking out this great list put together by Stephan Spencer, Chris Smith, Rand Fishkin, and Eric Enge on Search Engine Land.