Blogger SEO Experiment

It takes just as long to do something wrong as it does to do something right.

Since writing about Google AdSense and Tips for Increasing Page Views i have continued to read about more ways to increase page views and make money through Google AdSense.

It has been a bit overwhelming with all of the techniques people use. The goal is to get people to visit your site and click on your ads. But there are thousands of ways to do that. The big problem that i've found is Not Enough Time.

Here is what i created to help myself better understand the whole process. This is a graphical view of my current blog SEO profile:
blogger SEO profile, outline, plan, make money, adsense, graphical

And this is what i was planning on making:
blogger SEO profile, future, link wheel, pyramid, backlinks, revenue, outline, plan, make money, adsense, graphical
Long story short i decided to forget about making a new blog and focus more on "tweaking" my current pages. So as of right now, my Future Blog Outline is on the back burner.

This is a LONG TERM project and will take several months after all the work is done to see the final results.

Creating Backlinks:
This is the most important thing you should do to improve your site.

One quick example i read about, was similar to the idea i wrote about earlier, where you create 2 Yahoo accounts, then in Yahoo Answers, you ask a question with 1 account then answer it with the second. In the answer you paste a link to your site. Then back to the first account where you rate that answer as the best. This creates a backlink to your site that Google rates highly.

The new method i read about is to add a link to your site in Wikipedia. Or create a Wikipedia page describing something and include a link to your site. Here's an example of a Wikipedia page i quickly wrote to with links at the bottom to my Welding Glass ND Filter and ND Filter at Lake Erie. I quickly realized that this would take a very long time so i gave up on it.

The real thing i wanted to do was to Automate the entire process of making backlinks. I kept reading about a program called ScrabeBox. At first i used it to Auto Comment on 300,000 blogs. I just had to enter a name, email, URL and various comments and ScrapeBox would automatically post 1 comment to each blog.

But the more i read, the more i learned that Google is more focused on Quality Backlinks. Thousands of backlinks are still good, but having just a few backlinks from quality sites is just as good. So i used ScrapeBox again, but this time i sorted the list based on specific keywords and page ranks.

For example, lets say i wanted to create backlinks to my page about IQ Light. I would type in IQ Light into the keyword, scrape for thousands of pages related to that word. Then sort by page rank and keep just the best. Then sort out just the pages with low outbound links. (the fewer the number of outbound links a page has, the better my link will look)

I would have a list of 10-20 blogs that i could manually go to and type in a specific comment and link to my blog. This way i would have a better chance of the comment getting approved by the blog owner.

Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. Also even if it did work didn't mean that i would get any more page views, just that i had 1 more backlink to my site, which would raise my ranking.

But every once in a while the backlink made a huge difference. One day i commented on a site called Mother Nature Network (MNN). It was just something like "ya i have bamboo in my backyard in michigan, check out some of the pictures" and added a link to one of my pages about bamboo. Because of that one link i've since had over 1000 links in just the past 3 weeks. Look at the first link under Posts: and the first and third link under Traffic Sources:.
blogger backlink stats, blogspot, posts, graph, results, revenue, adsense

It just goes to show that the more backlinks you have, the more traffic you will get and the better your page rank. And as opposed to many of the steps i'm doing, this one had an immediate result from something i did. So this is definitely something i need to continue doing. The only problem is that once again, i have 280 pages and it's going to take some time.

Social Bookmarks:
I started manually posting to just 3 sites: Digg, StumbleUpon and Del.ic.ious. It was a slow process of copying and pasting the title, URL, keyword and description. But when i checked my Blogger Stats i was surprised how many people viewed my page through those links. I just needed a faster way to submit all of my 280 pages.

Then i found socialposter.com where you only had to enter the information once. It was still fairly slow because you still had to visit and submit to each site.

Then i discovered Onlywire.com. This was what i was really looking for. First you sign up for 30-40 sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ and OnlyWire saves all of your information. Then you type in the information for the page you want to submit, click publish and OnlyWire will automatically post to all 40 sites.

The only problem with it is that with the free version, you are limited to 300 post per month. 300 may seem like a lot but it's really only about 8 submissions. Seeing as i have 280 blog posts it will take me around 24 month to submit all of my pages. So i am also using other similar pages to auto-post.

Then i read more about Click Thru Rate (CTR). This is the percentage of how many people open up a page with ads vs the number of times the ads are clicked. After 8,660 views of my pages with ads, only 29 people had clicked on them, giving me a CTR of just 0.33%. Which means that for every 1000 people that view my ads i only make $1.93.

In order to increase the CTR i needed to rearrange my page layout. I found that most people view web pages like this:
website heatmap, eyes, user, look, adsense, placement, revenue

This is called a Heatmap. It shows where peoples eyes look most. Notice the ads on the right side of the page do not get any attention. Partially because most countries read left to right and partially because we are now trained to ignore ads.

So i decided to change my layout from this (having the large ad on the top right):
blogger adsense revenue, ad placement, optimize, location, make more money, custom adsense placement

Hopefully by changing the layout i would get a higher CTR. I'll be checking the % over the next month.

Backlinks from Directories:
Submitting page to Directories, which are sites that don't go out and crawl for web pages, like Google, but rather people submit their pages to them.

This can be done manually by searching for Directory's, clicking on "Submit URL" and typing in all the information it asks for like Name, URL, Email...The whole process took around 5 minutes per site.

So i like with the Social Bookmarks found a program to try and speed up the process. It saved the information and allowed you to import a list of directory pages. You would view the page, it would automatically input your information and submit. However this too started to become very tedious.

Then i discovered Free Directory Submitter, this program that will automate the process even better. You enter your information the same as in Directory Submitter, but it goes a step further by allowing multiple Title and Descriptions. That is great because Google will notice if suddenly 200 links are created overnight with the exact same text. Then when the process is started, it finds the pages, enters the info at random and then all you have to do is enter the Captcha text. Instead of taking 5 minutes per page this drops it down to around 3-10 seconds.

There are lots and lots of programs, websites, forums, directories and articles that you can use to achieve your goal. I can't remember everything i have used and all the steps i have read about. But for me the most important thing was to use these tool to try and speed up the processes.

I'm still far from being an expert in anything, but by doing some of these basic steps i have made a huge improvement in my Blogger Stats. As you can see from the large increase in my last 2 months. I've gone from averaging 100 views per month, to 1000 views per month, to as of right now 6,000 views per month.
blogger, blogspot, post, overview, stats, all time, results, monitor, how to use stats page

From the very beginning of this process i always read that this is a long term process, don't expect immediate results. I hope it increases even more in the future.


Ikea Light

Last week Karrie and i went to IKEA to look around.

My favorite area is the Lights. I really like the hanging lights made of plastic. They are just like the IQ Light i made a year ago. The funny thing is that all they are is just plastic, a cord and a light bulb. Total cost to make is about 80cents but they are charging $20. If i had big plastic sheets and some sort of stamping press i could sell them online and make a ton.
ikea light, hanging light, iq light, ikea store, lighting, plastic, white

Here are the big floor lights. They are pretty much made out of paper.ikea light, lights, floor light, paper white light, cheap floor lights

I ended up buying 2 of the DUDERO lights. I think they were $20 each, and the tiny light bulbs were another $7.
ikea dudero light, white paper light, floor, dudero, box, instructions

Here it is set up in my living room. It does a great job and i really like the floor switch that you can turn on with your foot.
ikea dudero light, ikea white paper floor light, foot switch, paper light

Painting the Livingroom

With help from Karrie and my parents, i painted my:
  • living room
  • dining room
  • hallway
  • stairs
  • upstairs hallway
  • living room ceiling
  • front closet

It took 2 days and almost 4 cans of paint.

I was originally thinking of gray paint but after doing a bit of Photoshop drawings i thought that it would look very bland. Here's what it would have looked like.
photoshop, wall color, paint, easy change room color, computer

But i decided to go with a type of tan with a satin finish. The room doesn't have a lot of light so the shinier finish would help to brighten the room.
painting the livingroom, pool table, roller paint, brush, tan

Painting the stairs. The wood platform was great for getting the high walls.painting starir, stairway, ladder, platform, wood, hard

Using a ladder and wood platform.
wood ladder, wood platform, paint stairs, house, how to

New white closet paint.paint closet, make it look like new, white closet paint

Here's a time lapse video of painting the dining room.

Scraping the paint off the bay window.

Here's a short time lapse video of cleaning up with the vacuum and carpet cleaner.


2012 GM Cars - Chevy Sonic and Buick Verano

While at the GM plant in Lake Orion Michigan i got a look at the new 2012 GM cars coming off the assembly line. The Chevrolet Sonic and the Buick Verano.
Here's a view of the lot where the cars were parked as they came directly off the line.
GM Assembly Plant, Lake Orion, Michigan, Sonic, Verano

I have to say that they both looked pretty good. The Sonic is the replacement for the Aveo, which is the A class or cheapest car they make. I got to drive the Aveo a few times when i rented an Economy Car from the airport car rental desk. It was a terrible car. It felt very "plasticy", everything squeaked and the ride was bad. But after talking with some of the guys at the plant, they said that the new car is designed a little differently, has larger tires (to replace the Aveo's piano wheels) and a different body style. And i have to say it looks better. This picture is of the standard 1.8 liter, 6 speed automatic. It get's around 35 mpg on the highway.
new chevy sonic, 2012, economy, budget, car, hatchback, assembly line

I saw a model there that got 50 miles per gallon but i didn't see the specs. But i did see that they had a turbo charged, 1.4 liter, 5 speed manual. Even that got 40 miles per gallon. I think this car would be great, a relatively cheap ($18,000) car that gets 30-40 mpg.
2102 chevrolet sonic, window price list, sticker, options

Here was the other car they were making at the plant. The Buick Verano. It's like a "baby buick." It looked good too though. I would think it's intended for a younger demographic of people then the normal Buick owners.
2012 Buick Verano, GM plant, production line, michigan

A you can see it cost around $25,000. It looks like it has a ton of features: Remote starter, heated mirrors, steering wheel controls.
2102 buick verano, window price list, sticker, options

I like both of the cars. Well i'd probably have to drive them to really tell. I'm sure the Sonic will be the new "Budget" car at all the car rental offices at the airport, so i can give it a try then.


DIY - How to Make a Tyvek Flowform Kite

I wanted to make a new flow-form kite to replace the one that i lost while doing kite aerial photography (KAP). Also because i saw instructions and it looked a lot easier then the last Rokkaku Kite i made.

A flow-form kite doesn't require any supports. While reading about them i saw that some people made them out of Tyvek, which is a type of plastic houses are wrapped in to act as a vapor barrier.
Tyvek House Wrap, vapor barrier, tyvek
I checked Lowe's but all they had was their own type of house wrap and it only came in 160' lengths by 10' high and was $100.

Then on the way home from my sister's, Karrie and i stopped at Menard's. They had several different types and i decided on a soft, non-woven wrap that was only 3' high. It's the $35 one on the left.
Menards, non-woven housewrap, vapor barrier, tyvek
NovaWrap, nova wrap, premium building wrap, vapor barrier, tyvek

It's actually really strong, i can barely rip it with my hands. close up view of tyvek, vapor barrier, house wrap

Here's what it looks like up close. close up view of tyvek, vapor barrier, house wrap
I looked at several patterns online and decided to go with this: The FF03A. It seemed simple, strong and stable. So i copied this drawing into AutoCAD and then traced the lines.
AutoCAD pattern for flowform kite, HP FF03A
AutoCAD allowed me to get actual dimensions of the material and make patterns.
AutoCAD pattern for flowform kite, HP FF03A, dimensions, printable, print
I ended up changing the dimensions. The original top was 115cm, i first changed it to 52".
computer pattern for kite, autocad, kite pattern, flowform
Then scaled it down to this size of 24" x 35" for the upper deck.
CAD pattern for kite, dimensions, pattern, print, top, sides
In my head 24" x 36" seemed a little small for a kite but when i printed out the full size patterns i realized how big it was. I might end up making the larger 36" x 52" kite but first i want to see how this smaller one fly's. It's not like i have a limited amount of Tyvek, it came in a 100' roll.

The upper and lower deck.
full size pattern for kite, tyvek, flowform kite, print
The sides and inner ribs.
full size pattern for kite, tyvek, flowform kite, print

Here's the top deck cut out. tyvek pattern, flowform kite, top deck, cut out
All of the pieces cut out.
all pieces cut out for kite, flowform, tyvek, cloth

I tested 4 different types of tape. After sticking them i made sure that i really pressed the tape into the Tyvek with the back side of a knife.

The tape in order:

  • Gorilla Glue duct tape
  • regular 3M duct tape
  • clear Tartan packaging tape
  • HD clear Duck tape
best tape to use with tyvek, house wrap, test, rip
The Gorilla Glue duct tape didn't stick well and was heavy. The HD clear Duck tape didn't stick well either. The 3M duct tape and Tartan packaging tape worked equally well. But since the Tartan tape was lighter i went with that. Also i think it was the cheapest, about $2.

Taping the fins.
tape kite fins, clear tape, tyvek, cloth, vertical fin
assemble kite, flowform, how to, tyvek

The hardest part was the final upper deck. It was difficult taping the insides all at once.
how to make a flowform kite from tyvek

Here it is with the rigging lines and tails attached.
tyvek kite made, asembled, ready to fly

I finally got to test the kite out. It flew ok. The main problem i had was that i didn't use a swivel clip to attach the line to the kite. That caused the kite to keep rotating clockwise until the bridal lines were completely twisted up.
flying my tyvek kite, make, made, tyvek, house wrap

Here's what the kite looked like as it flew at a low height.

But overall it flew surprisingly well. In high or low winds it was fairly steady. And when i was done it hadn't been damaged at all.
homemade kite, diy, tyvek, how to

Here it is higher up in the air.

Having built the kite, testing it and seeing how well it flew, i'm definitely not ready to tie my $300 Canon S95 camera to it to try and get some aerial pictures. I think we all remember how that ended up.


Image ALT and Title Tags

In an ongoing effort to try and increase my blog page views i set my focus on the thousands of pictures that i have uploaded. I noticed from my Blogger Stats page that most people visit my site through Google Image Search. It is because when people are looking for something in Google they type in the word then click on the very first website that Google suggests. If they don't find what they are looking for they may go back and click on the second or third link. My blog is not popular enough to show up in the top 5 for any keywords. Even when someone types in "DIY infrared camera filter", which is the exact title of one of my posts, it still doesn't show up until the 6th link. This is because of several reasons including backlinks, page ranks, etc. I'll get into that later.

BUT... with Google Image Search people are more likely to scroll down and quickly look at lots of pictures before clicking on the one they like. That's why my 2 most popular pages, IQ Light and TV Antenna and Fractals are getting their hits. When people type in words similar to those titles, my images show up at around 4th, 7th and 10th.

I also noticed though, that many of the images they were clicking on were NOT the pictures that i took, but rather the few images that i had copied from another page. I was a bit confused, until i realized that MY pictures were saved as something like "DSC002345.jpg" and the copied images were like "Fractal_TV_Antenna.jpg".

Google can do lots of things but sometimes it needs a little help. I could take a great picture of Monarch Butterfly's, but if it isn't labeled, Google doesn't know what it is. It can only guess based on the text surrounding the image.

The two ways that i could label an image is to download the image, rename it then re-upload it as "Monarch Butterfly Migrating.jpg", but that would take forever. Plus i would have to go back to each page and fix the link.
The easier way to do the same thing is to add ALT tag and Title tag. Instead of just /"img src=".....DSC002345.jpg"\ i can change it to be /"img alt="Monarch Butterfly's Migrating near Lake Erie" title="Monarch Butterfly's" src=".....DSC002345.jpg"\. By doing that, Google Image Search will hopefully show my image near the top of the page when people type in those words.

So even though these two images look the same, the one on the right is much more likely to show up in an image search because it has the ALT tag within the HTML code. (mouse over the image to see the TAG)

No ALT and Title tagHas ALT and Title tags
Monarch Butterfly's Migrating near Lake Erie

Now having said that, i have 280 blog posts and between 2 and 20 pictures per page. So it will take some time to label every image. As of now i'm only 1/6th of the way done.


DIY - How to Make 360° Time Lapse Photography

A cool technique i saw to make time lapse photos more interesting is actually really easy. While taking the photos, the camera is mounted on a kitchen timer; the timer rotates as the pictures are being taken.

I was going to originally use an old kitchen timer i had.
Lux Kitchen Timer White
Disassemble Kitchen Timer

But it didn't seem like it would be very solid to attach a camera to and the spring didn't have a lot of torque. Disassemble Kitchen Timer Bell Ticking
So here's the timer i used. I got it from Ikea, it's called the Ordning. It's great for this because it is heavy and flat. Ikea Ordning Kitchen Timer
To attach a camera to the timer i used JB Weld and attached a 1/4-20 bolt to the top.
Ikea Ordning Kitchen Timer 360 degree time lapse

Then i also attached two nuts to the side. That way i can either take pictures on by setting the timer on a flat surface or attach to a tripod. Ordning Timer 360 degree time lapse
Here's what a time lapse video looks like using the timer.
I actually posted earlier while making the Pine Beds.


DIY - How to Make 3D Pictures

Simply put, a three dimensional picture can be made by combining two pictures from slightly different angles. The pictures should be parallel to each other and about your eyes width apart. Then combining them in such a way that your right eye sees the right picture and your left eye sees the left. Your brain will automatically visualize a three dimensional image.

This can be done with shaded picture colors and shaded glasses, polarized glasses, crossing your eyes and alternating images.

So i went out in the back yard and took some pictures of a flower, from about a foot away, moving the camera about 6" between each shot.

Anaglyph 3D
I decided to try the Red/Cyan method for creating the 3D image. I was hoping to find those old paper glasses in a box in the basement, but when Karrie and i were at the Dollar Store i saw a pair and just bought them.3D Glasses Red Blue

There are different ways of creating the final picture. You can combine the pictures in Adobe Photoshop. Making Two layers and Screening the first as Cyan and the second as Red, then merging them together. Or you can use one of many free programs online that do all the work for you. I used Anaglyph Maker, it was pretty easy, although there is some alignment and ghosting problems.
Anaglyph Maker Screenshot make 3D
I also tried Stereo Photo Maker. It had basically the same features, was a little more complicated, but was more powerful and able to produce better 3D pictures. The same company created Stereo Movie Maker. Where you can combine 2 videos and make a 3D movie. I plan on trying that later.

When i tried to process the first pictures and make them 3D it didn't line up correctly.
Here's the two pictures that i took.

The red and cyan should only be slightly apart, as you can see the flower is way off.
3D flower align
That's when i read that you need to vary the distance the camera moves depending on the distance to the object you are photographing. For example if you are very close to your subject, 1 foot away from a flower, just move the camera a few inches. But if you are photographing a building from a hundred feet away then you can move the camera 4"-6". I realized that i had moved the camera too much for how close i was to the flower.

So a few days later i went out in the front yard and took some pictures of my house, varying the distance i moved the camera. I tried moving 2", 4", 6" and 8". The two pictures below were the best of those shots. Both of them were when i only moved the camera 2". Even from this distance, when i moved the camera too much the images didn't line up as well.
3D house car tree anaglyph
3d red cyan blue house car tree

I then went to the backyard again and tried to take a picture of the same flower, this time not moving the camera as much, maybe an inch. It came out better but still not perfect. This time i could get the flower itself to appear as if it's coming out of the screen, but everything in the background did not line up. As you can see how far the two fence posts are apart.
3D Flower Garden Yellow

The same problem with the next picture. I could either get the background or foreground to align but not both together. I guess i could have used Photoshop and double processed the image where i aligned each part then combined them.
3D Flower out of Screen

So i had to find something that would not move at all, and i found the perfect thing, Charlie.
3D Cat

These pictures came out the best of all of them. It helped that it had a flat walled background.
3D Cat Sleeping on the Bed
3D Cat Sleeping on the Bed Charlie

Wiggle 3D
I was using the Rec/Cyan method for looking at the pictures but there are other ways to create the 3D effect. This is the "wiggle" gif method.
Wiggle 3D Cat gif

It's basically like 2 frames of a movie where your brain interprets the 3 dimensions.

Stereoscope 3D
There is the stereoscopic, side-by-side method, which puts the images on opposite sides of the corresponding eyes next to each other. Then you have to look at the picture cross-eyed and there should be the 3D image in the middle. When i first tried it, it hurt my eyes. But those weird "hidden image" posters that came out 10 years ago use this same method.

It should work but i'm not sure, i can't get my eyes to cross right.
Stereoscope 3D Cat

PhotoFly 3D
Similar to the Wiggle gif method but it combines many pictures to create an actual 3D model of the area. It can be used as points in AutoCAD or to create videos like in the post i wrote about earlier.

Here's one of those videos.