Hello and welcome to another edition of ‘7 Days of Search and Social‘. It was fairly quiet out there last week as there are a few conferences/seminars and the like. No drama. No algo changes… nada. Man, this feels like th emiddle of August out there (usually the quiet time).

On with the news….

Lead Story

Understanding Search and Social

Oddly enough, for the first time in a long time, there really wasn’t a ‘lead story’ last week. There was no drama. There was no ‘big news’. Maybe its because the conference season is swinging, not really sure.

So, this week I thought I’d touch on something we talked about in our SEO training chat sessions (held each Friday) – getting a grip on social and SEO.

Far too many people seem to get focussed on the links… the followers… metrics that aren’t likely to mean much. On the other hand, very few seem to be talking about the updates Google made to its social search. More here;

Google Updates Social Search

This is an important oportunity because Google is actually adding and re-ranking sites in the top 10 of query spaces where your social circle might appear. This is no small change, but not really talked about much. If you’re not adapting for it, do so NOW.

Now on with the rest of the weeks news and views.

Quick Nav Links – Talk of the TownGeek CentralSocial SearchGoing VerticalVideosToolsPatents

Talk of the Town 

3 Content Strategies To Target Decision Makers By Search Intent – one of the areas I like to talk about that really isn’t much is; user intent. Meaning assessing WHAT the query is seeking to accomplish. This was a great post along that line which offers some interesting insight.

Google’s Page Segmentation Patent Granted – I bumped this one into the main section, from the geeks section, because it’s an area also not talked about much out there. This is an important concept which both Google and Bing are very interested in. Learn it now!

Headsmacking Tip #18: Use Discussion Search as Competitive Intel – Rand had some advice on using the discussions vertical (in Google) for doing some competitive research. Interesting stuff that I hadn’t thought of before (hate it when that happens).

Five Visionaries Sum Up The Future Of Search – sure, I wish they’d asked me so I could be a ‘visionary’ but ya can’t win ‘em all right? Some great insight here including my pals from Surf Canyon.

Link Building With Elizabeth Taylor – while a few folks gave her a hard time about riding the coat tails of the event, this post from Debra certainly is not. It does show not only a few good ideas, but an understanding of how to get the most from recent headlines.

Product Page SEO tips – was an short but important post via the Vertical Leap Blog. This is one area I also haven’t seen enough on and thought it was worth adding. Ecommerce SEO can be a very trying time, add this to your mandatory reading.

How SEO Consulting Has Changed – Jennifer wrote a thought provking post, via SNC, which looks at how our job has changed over the years.

Quick Nav LinksTalk of the TownGeek CentralSocial SearchGoing VerticalVideosToolsPatents

Search Geek Central

Search Geek Goodies

Social Search

Going Vertical

Quick Nav LinksTalk of the TownGeek CentralSocial SearchGoing VerticalVideosToolsPatents

Videos

Video Sitemaps – Interview with Paul Carff

Brian Solis Interview: Social Media & Influence

Cutt’s Corner

How should I handle localized content?

What are some of the projects that the webspam team might tackle next

Weapons

Quick Nav LinksTalk of the TownGeek CentralSocial SearchGoing VerticalVideosToolsPatents

Search Patents

Google

Determining semantically distinct regions of a document

Geographic coding for location search queries

Searching Structured Data

Query Revision Using Known Highly-Ranked Queries

Microsoft

Suggesting related search queries during web browsing

Web graph compression through scalable pattern mining

Yahoo

Creating Vertical Search Engines for Individual Search Queries

Ranking entity relations using external corpus


/end SOSG session

Quick Nav Links – Talk of the TownGeek CentralSocial Search Going VerticalVideosToolsPatents

Check out the SEO Tools guide at Search Engine Journal.

Weekly Search & Social News: 29/03/2011




If you’ve worked in the SEO industry for any significant length of time, you’ve inevitably had a situation arise where a brand new site was being planned or an existing site was being overhauled and you were brought in to ensure the new (or new version) site would get SEO.

And unless you have magic fairy dust at your beck and call, you have also had to deal with the fact that you were called in after the new site was already planned.  Or more likely, the build was already taking place.  Or worse, already done and in launch mode.  Unfortunately this is the wrong time to be doing SEO, let alone performing an SEO audit.

1. Keyword Focus

If you don’t know what keywords to focus on, you can’t truly know or understand the topical focus you need to convey across the entire site.  Sure, you may have content already written – maybe even from a previous site.  Except without current data on now-trending topics, your message could now be irrelevant.  Or even if it’s relevant, it could be lacking the focus necessary to current search trends.

In an SEO audit, keyword research is paramount.  Not only to hone in on timely relevance and trending, but to also help reveal who the true competitors are that are currently ranking for those main topics you need to focus on.

2. URL Structure

All too often, marketers or site designers or developers know there needs to be content related to services or products, and information about the company or business, yet without first having an SEO audit performed, URLs can’t properly be seeded without that keyword research being performed.  And only after the keyword research is performed can you understand what the URL structure needs to look like.

3. Content Organization

URL structure is integral to content organization, and builds on topical organization.  Without a proper SEO audit, you don’t know the best way to organize the content on a site.  Sure, you can guess, or “think” you know, yet that’s like rolling the dice believing (falsely) that “good enough” is well, good enough.  If you don’t get your content organization plan hammered out before site build or rebuild, you end up causing topical dilution.

4. Content Depth

Without a proper SEO audit, how do you know the amount of content you need, whether it’s on an individual page, an entire section, or the whole site?  Only a proper audit can reveal the sweet spot in your goal setting plans for competitive success.  And only the sweet spot, weighed against topical focus priorities, will reveal how much content you need.

5. Inbound Link Planning

Only a proper SEO audit can reveal the details of a  link building plan, based on the combination of the previous four reasons you need to do the audit first.  From what keywords you’ll need in your inbound link mix, to what the URLs will be you’ll be targeting, to which groups of content need how much link building effort to support, supplement or overcome content depth factors.

6. Social Media Needs

Without a proper audit, social media initiatives are another shot in the dark.  Maybe you’re going to succeed at reaching your prospective clients or customers, yet even if you do, you won’t be able to maximize the value of your effort without that site audit.

A properly performed audit will reveal details about your target market, competitive landscape and opportunities for social media initiatives.  Again, the sweet spot grid will help identify some of these, as will an understanding of those topic priorities.

7.  Production Costs

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been brought in to perform an audit after production has begun.  Let’s just say “too many”.  Given all of the issues I’ve described above, it’s going to inevitably mean some of that production effort will have to be scrapped if you want to get the full value from your SEO efforts.  URL changes, content re-organization, topical messaging, starting link building campaigns…

All of these cost additional money that can always be saved by first having that audit performed.

8. Sanity

This is actually an important reason – not just for the sake of the person performing the audit.  Every person involved in the process, whether they’re willing to acknowledge this factor or not, will suffer a lot less stress, a lot less chaos when an audit is performed first.

Real World Barriers

Quite often, you’ll find key players in the web initiative will have a vested interest in having the site build started or even completed before SEO is considered.  Usually it’s a financial issue – “we have to get the new site out there sooner – we can’t afford to wait a week or a month…”

Sadly, that’s usually because people have made promises or commitments they are unwilling to break.  Sometimes its fear based, other times its more subtle fear – pride, stubborn thinking, ego-driven need to maintain control of a process.   And yes, sometimes its even a matter of “any site is better than no site”.

Nonetheless, when taking a detached view of everything involved and the ramifications of failing to have that audit performed before the site build, everything points to the sequence needing to be audit first, build later.

Check out the SEO Tools guide at Search Engine Journal.

8 Reasons SEO Audits are Needed Before Sites are Built


BuzzwordsFor those looking for the perfect storm of formerly-catchy, all-that buzzwords in order to live la vida loca, this post is for you. Not only has the vernacular surrounding social media become totally square, and the-opposite-of-phat, but the vast majority of people using these once-fly words have no idea they are now totally lame.

Here is a quick rundown of words that should be removed from the suburban dictionary, stat:

1. User-Generated-Content

Latin for “crap,” user-generated-content (or UGC) is the buzzword used to describe anything published online by Average Joe. The problem is, most Average Joes who are posting content are also spending their weekends building bombs in their basements.

UGC is a fancy name used to make an unregulated, uneducated slew of junk sound like it’s sophisticated and profound (well beyond its qualifications). While it worked to hide the truth in the beginning, everyone who uses social media has since gotten wise, and UGC is now as overused and groan-worthy as a Gary Coleman joke.

2. Optimization

Offering optimization is a nice way of saying, “Hey, we’re gonna make your thing better at being a thing. We’re not sure how, but probably through optimizing it.” Most people can smell the BS from a mile away.

Whether it is keyword optimization, social media optimization, mobile optimization, or optimal optimization, the only real value the word “optimization” has is in a game of Scrabble. (63 points, not counting any double or triple word scores).

Monetize3. Monetize

The word “monetize,” a verb, refers to the process of enforcing a mythological state of being to something that has little or no value. “Monetize” is a fancy way of describing intentions to make something valuable, without ever outlining the process through which value will be instilled.

This means claiming to be able to make money off of something’s popularity, based on no factual evidence. While a few Internet ideas have been successfully monetized (Facebook, Google, AOL), the majority of them (Bob’s Fishing Blog) have not.

4. Authenticity

Authenticity is a buzzword that has been overused across all fields, mostly because it’s a fancy way to say “real.” Creating an “authentic” blog or giving a look of “authenticity” means “we will make this thing look real.”

However, beyond that, there is limited explanation. Just because Pinocchio said he was a real boy, does not make it so. Claiming that a product is authentic offers no assurance beyond stating that it will physically exist in time or space.

5. Green

Unfortunately, “green” is not a unit of measure. There is no established set of prerequisites that must be met before declaring one has “gone green.” Because of its popularity and fuzzy definition, everyone who’s anyone is going green.

Got that Hummer up to 12 MPG highway? Congrats on going green! Limited your amount of annual carbon emissions down to only two trillion tons? Congrats on going green! Posted a sign that reads, “Please turn off light in break room?” Congrats on going green! Because “going green” is a completely unregulated state of being, it has become a completely overused and annoying buzzword.

6. Synergy

Synergy, by definition, is “Combining two or more elements in order to obtain a more desirable result than any individual element could produce on its own.” Synergy is simply a way of stating something is different.

There has always been peanut butter, and there has always been jelly; putting them together is an example of synergy. In reality, synergy is usually a fancy way of covering up for the fact that if peanut butter and jelly sit in a paper bag for too long, the bread will become soggy and the peanut oil will rise to the top.

7. Social Networking

Thank Aaron Sorkin for this one; “Social Networking” has become the copyright-infringement-free way of saying “Facebooking.”

Much as facial tissues are to Kleenex, or inline skates are to Rollerblades, so is social networking to Facebooking (or Twittering, or the act of spending time on any other website instead of working). While we do not expect these sites to disappear anytime soon, we surely hope that their aliases will.

Conclusion

Buzzwords are a double-edged sword, as part of the reason we hate them is because of how much we once loved them. A buzzword is usually a clever way of expressing an idea, which, once expressed, immediately loses shine with each additional use.

While there is no way of preventing new buzzwords from popping up, it is up to us to retire the old ones. And, we think that is perfectly Fazmazzle.

Post images by: by aussiegall and Plutor

Check out the SEO Tools guide at Search Engine Journal.

7 Social Media Buzzwords That Make Us Cringe


Many people wonder why the last financial crisis almost hasn’t affected the Internet advertising market, while other industries had huge losses. Some experts said that the industry didn`t have much money, so it had nothing to lose. But other experts said that small and medium businesses (the basis of online advertisers) have not suffered really much.

We think that another answer is truer: Internet advertising allows arranging target expenditure of the advertising budget. You can deliver your advertising message to clearly defined audience at time when this audience is ready to perceive it. Also you can easily define which of advertising channels is the most beneficial, which of your ad texts / graphics / pages … brings more sales.

We will consider the most important aspects of building a complex analysis system of marketing effectiveness (not only online marketing but also offline) in this article. Also we will highlight the most important points you should consider during your work with incoming data.

Setting business objectives and KPI

The first stage is setting business objectives. You should define your company purposes, divide the company to departments. Below is an example of departments and their goals for an online shop:

Sales

  • purchases percentage increasing
  • increasing of products amount in one order
  • increasing of an average bill of one purchase

Marketing

  • decreasing of marketing expenses for each purchase
  • brand awareness increasing
  • growth of conversion rate – turning visitors into buyers
  • increasing of repeated purchases amount
  • increasing of registrations amount
  • increasing of references amount in the network

Call-Center

  • increasing of handled calls amount
  • growth of conversion rate – turning calls into sales
  • consultancy time reduction
  • reduction of calls not related to order placing (guarantee, uptime, etc.)

Web Development

  • higher pages download speed
  • reduction of downtime of a site
  • reduction of unavailable pages amount(the 404-th and other)

Search engine optimization

  • increasing of visits from organic search
  • increasing of revenue from visitors who come from search engines
  • etc.

After it, you should define key indicators of efficiency (KPI) (material expression of your business purposes) on the basis of these purposes.

Analysis of online marketing campaigns effectiveness from A to Z

For example, you may use CRM system data to define the amount of purchases; brand search data on Google Analytics and type-in traffic to define brand awareness improvement; the number of “brand” mentions in Twitter during the calendar month to define increasing of references amount in the web, and so on.

As a result, we receive measurable indicators which will help to track the dynamics and understand if we are on the right way.

The result of your work may look like a table containing KPI and methods of KPI getting:

Establishment of a web analytics system

The establishment of a web analytics system is the next step in the effective marketing analysis construction. We recommend using Google Analytics because it is free and easy to operate. It features great functionality to receive almost all necessary data.

The installationof this system consists of two simple steps:

  • Installation of Google Analytics code (simply adding several code lines to all pages of a site)
  • Setting of goals tracking. You need to follow your KPI here. For example, if you need to get data about the amount of new buyers and the quantity of goods in one purchase, you should set two goals: “New customer” and “Successful sale”.

Also you should define other reliable data sources (for example, Twitter, keyword research in Wordtracker, call-center software etc.). And it is better not to change ways of data gathering, because it can influence data reliability.

Some tricks that can help to organize tracking of the most common goals:

1) Calls tracking:

  • You may set up phone numbers depending on traffic sources
  • Your employee may ask users to perform certain action on a site (to press «Thanks for your call» button,  to press «CTRL+Enter») which will be defined as the purpose «Successful call»
  • A combined method (If the client names, for example, the product code during the call, a special script is executed automatically on his computer)

2) Tracking files downloads (price list, case studies, company profile …). The simplest way is adding “onclick” parameter to links with these files, which allows performing a virtual page view for Google Analytics.

3) Tracking registered users. If you want to monitor behavior of registered users you may assign users to “custom variables” in Google Analytics while registering on a site, and then segment these users depending on values of these variables.

Advertising campaigns tracking

It is important to track maximum of marketing initiatives, because each of your advertising campaigns influence on your business. For example, it`s better not just to start advertising on TV, but also to control the result. If you notice that advertisement brings sales during, for instance, Champions League Final and brings nothing during an Indian soap opera, then don`t waste money on ineffective advertisement.

Let`s consider the most common challenges facing the marketer, who leads audiences to the website of your company:


Оnline campaigns tracking

  • Tracking PPC effectiveness
  • You may track Google AdWords effectiveness by integrating AdWords into Analytics.
  • Other PPC advertising systems (Microsoft AdCenter, FaceBook, MIVA, etc.) can be tracked by marking links with help of the Google and Excel URL builders (so it will be possible to understand exactly, e.g.,  which campaign in FaceBook and which keywords in Microsoft AdCenter lead to the goals achievement).
  • Internal mailing, banner placement, Twitter e. t. c.

Links can be marked with the Google URL Builder tool

Google URL Builder tool

Google URL Builder tool

Оffline campaigns tracking

  • Creation of marked links with the help of URL builders
  • Creation of interim pages with short URL addresses(www.amazon.com/SuperBowl)
  • Creation of automatic redirection (a user automatically is redirected through the chain)

http://www.amazon.com/SuperBowl ->

http://www.amazon.com/?utm_source=tv&utm_medium=video&utm_campaign=superbowl2011 ->

http://www.amazon.com/

Correct understanding of indicators

Even well configured web analytics system doesn`t guarantee its effective usage.

We recommend making reports based on business objectives and KPI you defined at the very first stage. It`s better to avoid abstract formulations like «the bounce rate has decreased by 10 %» or «the number of pages viewed by users has doubled». Try to be more specific.

You should always ask yourself “So what does it mean?” If you don`t manage to reach business objectives after 2 or 3 answers to this question, then this indicator doesn’t play any role.

For example:

  • The bounce rate increased by 10%. So what does it mean?
  • This causes reduction of page viewed by a visitor by 12%. So what does it mean?
  • This causes reduction of income from advertising by 8%. We`ve got the idea! We really need to seek to bounce rate reducing because bounce rate influences advertising revenue.

The main goal of web analytics is to identify problems, to suggest ways of their solving and to estimate results.

For example:

The problem is a low number of site visits.

Visits

The decision is to try the site search engine optimization.

The analysis of results is a report “Visits from search engines. “Visits amount increased by 56% for the three last months, the income from these visitors increased by ~200.000$ (+59%)

Visits

You should pay attention first of all to the next top 10 reports:

  • Visitors. The report “Map Overlay” allows you to identify the most attractive markets in terms of geography.

Map overlay

For example, we can see that Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver convert much better than New York, Atlanta or Dallas.

  • E-commerce. The “Overview” Report allows you to define traffic sources and campaigns which give the greatest profit, to see the dynamics of conversions and revenue data for the certain period.
  • The report “Funnel Visualization” allows you to identify bottlenecks that cause the greatest difficulty for users on the path to the goal (for example, you can determine that 90% of visitors abandon the process of registration on the second page of a form)

Funnel Visualization

  • Traffic sources. The «Google AdWords» reports allow defining which Google AdWords campaigns give the best return of investments.

Traffic sources

  • Traffic sources«The Source and means» reports allow to compare the conversion of various methods of audience attraction (what the difference between direct, organic, CPC, banner, email etc. is).

Traffic sources

  • The “Top Content” report allows to define the most popular pages of your site, and increasing of conversion first of all on these pages; you can also determine which pages generate more revenue and which less (and fix it) using the $index parameter.
  • Traffic Sources Report “Keywords” (compared with the previous period) allows you to define which of the most valuable keywords (in terms of sales) began to bring less conversion.
  • The report “Search on a site” allows you to identify the most popular topics on your site and to provide users with correct content.
  • Traffic sources. The report “Direct Access” allows determining the level of interest in your brand and the dynamics of the core of regular customers (it shows brand queries in conjunction with the report “Keywords”)
  • Visitors. “New vs Returning” report allows to define if visitors are interested in a project and whether they are ready to come back there again and again.

Conclusions

  • One of the most powerful advantages of online advertising is the ability to define efficiency of each marketing measure.
  • You don`t need to buy expensive tools of web analytics because a free tool Google Analytics can solve 99% of problems.
  • Try to integrate tracking of all campaigns using the URL Builder.
  • Don`t seek to see as much reports as possible during analysis, base the marketing analysis just on your business objectives and KPI.
  • Always ask yourself the questions “So what does it mean?”and “What can I do with this?” for better orientation in indicators and umbers. A set of recommendations what to do is the best result of a good analysis.
  • Make a list of 10 reports which you will look through to obtain data which is necessary for the development of your business.

Check out the SEO Tools guide at Search Engine Journal.

Analysis of Online Marketing Campaigns Effectiveness from A to Z


Less than 24 hours after the official announcement of this year’s Apple’s WWDC conference, the tickets for the event are sold out, as stated on the event’s website.

Last year, it took eight days for the WWDC tickets to sell out. But this year’s record ticket sales are no surprise given how much the iOS platform has grown in a year.

This year’s conference will focus on the next generation of iOS and Mac OS X Lion, and recent rumors claim that the next generation iPhone will be absent from the event.

[via TUAW, Apple WWDC]

More About: apple, Conference, iOS, wwdc

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There seems to be a great deal of chatter about the devaluing of links on your basic syndication channels (article networks) after the Panda Update.WebmasterWorld Members discuss ideas on how to build links that would stand the test of time.

There seems to be a great deal of chatter about the devaluing of links on your basic syndication channels (article networks) after the Panda Update.WebmasterWorld Members discuss ideas on how to build links that would stand the test of time.

Posted by richardbaxterseo

This morning I set myself a challenge. Using some inspiration from recent excellent ideas, strategies and articles about the Panda update, I decided to see if I could cobble together a quick strategy to weed out pages that might be deemed as “low quality” in the eyes of Google’s most recent major algorithm update.

I gave myself two hours to get the data and to put this post together, with the intention that you’ll be able to download the template and pick up your analysis from where I left off.

It’s all about poor performance

This methodology should help you identify poorly performing pages that have few, if any links and a high average bounce rate across a wide spectrum of keywords. This might help you identify any page candidates that need a rethink.

Step 1 – Head to Google Analytics

Head over to analytics and navigate to Traffic Sources > Search Engines:

landing pages in GA

Now, select “Google”

Google traffic GA

Step 2 – Get lots of raw data

Make sure you can get your hands on plenty of data by inserting the &limit=50000 query into your report URL. This might come in handy later!

Step 3 – Sort by landing page

We’re interested in landing page performance, so in your left hand sort column, select “landing page”

sort by landing page

Step 4 – Download the data as CSV and create an Excel Table

Ok so far so good – by now you should have a rich data set all tuckered up in Excel. To make your data into a table, highlight it and press CTRL-L on your keyboard.

Excel data

Step 5 – Head to Open Site Explorer

Next, we’re going to export all the links data that Open Site Explorer can give us, and use VLOOKUP to add the number of links to each URL in our table. Whee!

OSE - SEOgadget

If you’re not familiar with VLOOKUP, check out Mike’s awesome guide to Excel for SEOs. Create an Open Site Explorer top pages report (My favourite report since, ever), download the data and throw it in an Excel tab called “Top Pages”.

Tip: for the purpose of this blog post, you’ll need to remove the domain name from the Open Site Explorer data. Do a find and replace for your domain, replacing the domain URL with nothing, like this:

Find and replace in Excel

Step 6 – VLOOKUP time

Next, you’re going to need to combine the analytics data with the top pages data from OSE. Create a new column in your analytics data called “Links” and add your VLOOKUP, just like this:

vlookup in data

Pro tip: use IFERROR to weed out any nasty N/A errors, replacing them with a 0, like this:

=IFERROR(VLOOKUP([@[Landing Page]],toppages,6,0),0)

Step 7 – Create your pivot table

With a complete data set, you’re now able to create your pivot table. Insert a pivot table and setup your filters, labels and values like this:

Filters and values

Step 8 – Filter by bounce, visits and use conditional formatting

At the end of my data mashing, I came up with this table:

A finished table

I can only imagine what this data might look like on an extremely content thin, "low value" site. Any page with a very high bounce rate, measurable level of traffic and low / no links might cause some concern and there are certainly a few pages in this list I’d like to take a closer look at.

If you’d like to take a closer look at your pages, you can download this Excel document here:

http://bit.ly/PandaData

PRO Tip: Add your keyword data

I have a working theory that it’s good to have a complete picture of a landing page’s performance. In principle, you could build a more complete picture using keyword data. Think about it like this: if a page has a slightly below par bounce rate, with the keyword data intact you can investigate the problem a little further. Is there a specific keyword that’s causing a problem? How would you approach this problem?

I hope you enjoy using the data and I’d love to hear your thoughts on how this type of analysis could be developed further. Happy number crunching!

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James Gosling, the man who created the programming language, Java, has just joined Google.

The hire was quite the win for Google, which is currently embroiled in a lawsuit with Java’s owner, Oracle, over some uses of Java in the Android stack.

Gosling said in a blog post on the move, “I don’t know what I’ll be working on. I expect it’ll be a bit of everything, seasoned with a large dose of grumpy curmudgeon.” Call us psychic, but we’re willing to bet Gosling will be working on the Android platform.

Gosling developed Java while he was an employee at Sun Microsystems. The project began in 1991, and the language was released in 1995.

But when Sun was acquired by Oracle in a deal that closed in January 2010, Gosling left the company a few months later. At the time, he said, “Just about anything I could say [about Oracle] that would be accurate and honest would do more harm than good.” He’s since been notably cynical about Oracle’s treatment of the Java language and community, even going so far as to call Oracle CEO Larry Ellison “Larry, Prince of Darkness.”

Gosling said he had turned down several “excellent” opportunities prior to signing with Google. He wrote that the new job, whatever it may entail from day to day, “looks like interesting fun with huge leverage.”

More About: android, Google, james gosling, java

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Five open source experts have been proclaimed gurus by the Linux Foundation, a title awarded for outstanding contributions to the FOSS community.

One of the reasons Linux works so well is because of its community — an army of pro bono tech support and IT experts who, via forums and Q&A boards, will get you up and running, help you customize and configure, and be your safety net in the world of OSes without operating manuals.

So when the Linux Foundation decided to pick a roster of true gurus — no social media-style “experts” here — it looked at the Linux.com users who showed the most participation and contribution in 2010. Between February 2010 and February 2011, these individuals made up a significant chunk of the more than 500 community blogs, 4,500 message board posts, 2,600 comments, and nearly 700 answers to questions posed by the community on Linux.com.

Not only does this contribution show these Linux users are committed to furthering the aims of the FOSS community; it’s also a nice implicit recommendation on their CVs. According to tech job site Dice.com, Linux knowledge is still a widely sought after skill, with demand growing 47% over the past year.

This year’s Ultimate Linux Guru is Matthew Fillpot, a technology enthusiast that constantly works on new projects for “nothing more than new knowledge.” He’s a development and training specialist at an international travel company and has been a Linux user since 2000. Fillpot has been a Linux.com moderator since early 2009, and as the Ultimate Linux Guru, he will receive a fully loaded “Dream Linux Machine.”

This year’s other gurus include:

Each of these experts will be invited to attend this year’s invite-only Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit in San Francisco, where they will participate in the annual Linux.com Planning Meeting. Each guru has also received a Guru badge on his Linux.com profile.

More About: foss, Linux, linux foundation, linux gurus, open source

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