You can’t use Google Plus as an entry option in blog giveaways

Google Plus I just read a rather interesting article at Blogging Girl, Google Plus Can’t Be Used in Conjunction with Blog Giveaways, and wow, it hit close to home for me: not so much because I’ve run giveaways where I’ve offered the option to add me to your circles on Google Plus a a giveaway option (yes, I have done this, on several occasions); but because I’ve entered dozens, if not hundreds (ugh, what a time sink!) of giveaways where the option to add the giveaway host to my circles on Google Plus was an option. Apparently this is a no-no for Google, per their very own Google+ Buttons Policy:

Publishers may not promote prizes, monies, or monetary equivalents in exchange for Google+ Button clicks.

The cynic in me is wondering exactly how many bloggers will abide by this rule. After all, many them require Facebook likes/follows as mandatory giveaway entries, and while Facebook has no problem with likes/follows as an optional giveaway entry, they do not allow likes/follows as mandatory giveaway entry options. Yet many bloggers continue to do so anyway. I guess it’ll keep on happening until an A-lister blogger winds up having their Facebook page temporarily or even permanently removed for things to change. In the meantime, I’m no tattle-tale, but I’m certainly not going to risk my own Facebook pages and Google Plus profile!

30
Mar 2012
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SEO: too much can be as bad as too little

The more I think about it, the more concerned I get. What does Google consider to be “too much” search engine optimization? Is it using rel=”nofollow” for all categories, tags, and internal pages? Is it using title and alt descriptions on links and images? Is it excessive heading tags? Excessive bold tags? What if I’m just a little OCD about making sure all links and titles have descriptions, and what if I have an issue with using headings and bolding often for emphasis? Will Google punish me for all of that? I certainly hope not.

29
Mar 2012
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Bloggers need to play by the rules, too.

blogging rules Many bloggers host giveaways, and build their followers (email list, RSS feed, Facebook, Google+, Networked Blogs, Twitter, etc.) by asking bloggers to follow them in exchange for an extra giveaway. The problem is that some of these third party platforms, such as Facebook and Google+, prohibit this. For instance, if you’re a blogger and you’re giving away three mens wedding bands, or a gift certificate to the online store, you cannot require bloggers to like you on Facebook (but it’s okay to offer it as an optional entry); and you can’t ask bloggers to follow you on Google+ at all (Google themselves say no, period, per their own Google+ Buttons Policy).

I’m all for giveaways. They’re great for companies, bloggers, and readers alike – companies get more promotion, bloggers get more followers, and readers get a chance at fun prizes. But you need to play by the rules, people, or you’ll ruin it for everyone.

29
Mar 2012
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Those “free” products for product reviews aren’t truly free.

Product reviews I bristle a bit when people insinuate that I get free stuff. The only free stuff I’ve ever gotten is some swag from BlogHer 2010 and Type-A Mom 2010 (blogging conferences), and even then, I only got the stuff because I was there – and I had to go collect it, lol. But when it comes to getting “free” products to review on my blog, they’re not free, because there are obligations to meet. Granted, companies send me the products right off the bat, so I could take the goodies and run. But that’s unethical. It’s wrong. Instead, I take the time to try out the product, to experience it, and to get others in my family to do the same. All te while I’m taking photos, compiling thoughts and opinions, and perhaps even shooting a video, depending on the type of product it is that I’m preparing a review for.

Then, when it comes time to write my review, I process the photos, process the video (if applicable), upload everything to Flickr/Vimeo/YouTube, and then, and only then… do I have the time to write my review. That takes time, too. I introduce the product, provide product descriptions, and then write out my experiences. I go back through the post to check for grammar, punctuation, and all of the required/desired info, and embed photos/videos. Finally, I publish the review, promote it on Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter; and send the links to the company rep to check over.

Whew. That’s a lot of work. So there you have it – my explanation, based on my own experience, of why these “free” products aren’t truly free. :)

28
Mar 2012
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Google doesn’t like it when you overly-optimize, either.

Google SEO over optimization penalty An article I just read: The Approaching Over Optimization Penalty from Google. Oh, Google. First you crack down on those sites who are under-optimized (in terms of SEO) by giving them poor rankings, or worse yet, no rankings at all. Now you turn around and prepare to crack down on those sites whom you consider to be overly-optimized. Just what defines overly-optimized, in terms of SEO, anyway? Granted, I know that there are sites out there that use every white-hat SEO trick in the book to get decent rankings for their crappy sites with crappy content. But isn’t “crappy” subjective? I’m sure there are decent sites with decent content and great white-hat SEO tricks that will wind up being unfairly lumped in with the crappy ones, and penalized right along with them.

I’m going to try not to worry about this too much, and continue doing what I do – producing great content with a side of white-hat SEO for added benefit. Here’s to hoping that Google approves!

27
Mar 2012
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