Winning the Internet

Up Up, Down Down: Cheat Codes for the Internet

After a great run, the Winning the Internet blog has been retired. However, you can still keep in touch with New Media Mentors here.

As we gear up for Netroots Nation 2013, we’re taking a closer look at some of the convention’s hottest training sessions. We’re interviewing the trainers and taking you inside some of online activism’s most popular and elusive topics.

Today we’re interviewing Nate Thames and Salim Zymet, who’ll be leading Up Up, Down Down: Cheat Codes for the Internet.

NN13 Training Session

Up Up, Down Down: Cheat Codes for the Internet
Did you know there are cheat codes that can help you win the internet? In this session you’ll learn how to game the two big bad bosses of the internet—Google and Facebook—and position your content to win. You’ll learn the basics of Google-Fu, the offensive and defensive martial art of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as well as guidelines for staying ethical in experiments. Topics include page layout, URL structure, linking strategies, coalition building and tricks for quick ranking boosts. You’ll also learn what Facebook really thinks about your content and how you can make the algorithm love you with some easy content tricks and tips.


Q: Tell us about yourselves.

Nate: My day job is serving as an interface between the large organizations that use the ActBlue software for fundraising and the amazing team of developers that builds the product. On the side I’ve always been interested in using the asymmetrical power of the internet to wage guerrilla war on opposing campaigns and committees. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a major part.

Salim: I spent the better part of the last two years obsessing over Facebook, Twitter, and blogging as a member of the digital team for OFA and Deputy Digital Director in Ohio. I now work as the Digital Director of Business Forward. I’m a writer by trade, and know how important it is to get our work in front of as many eyes as possible. Upping your Facebook game can make that happen.

Q: In your opinion, why is it important to consider Google and Facebook when developing content for the web?

Nate: You can write the most persuasive and amazing blog post (or other piece of content) but if no one reads it then what good have you done? If you are writing about a candidate or corporation, you want your work to show up when a voter or consumer searches for your subject. People use search to make decisions. We want to influence that decision making for good!

Salim: Facebook boasts over 1billion users, over 600 million of which are active. From web traffic to brand development, votes to volunteer shifts, if you’re ignoring Facebook, you’re ignoring millions of potential content consumers. Creating content most likely to appear and re-appear in people’s News Feed’s is the most important component of reaching those content consumers.

Q: What are the two most important things to keep in mind when developing content for Facebook or your website?

Nate: For Google discoverability you must remember that Google isn’t a person and doesn’t think like a person. You must learn to write content and structure your website in a way that makes sense for Google… and your human readers!

Salim: 1) There are rules, (when and how often to post, using photos and share graphics, good copy with a strong call to action, etc). 2) Those rules can be broken to great effect, especially during heated national campaigns that garner a lot of natural attention.

Q: Why should folks attend your session at Netroots Nation, and how can they connect with you?

Nate: Google “santorum” and try to tell me that SEO isn’t important in politics. While that’s a hilarious example – and one that will be covered in the session – that sort of Google manipulation can work wonders on a much smaller scale. This session will have specific techniques to help you pull off effective search engine ranking campaigns.

Salim: If you’re trying to take your organization’s facebook page to the next level, get your content in front of more eyes, reach a new audience, and want to see what the digital team at OFA did to conquer Facebook in 2012, come to this session. Feel free to get in touch on Twitter beforehand: @SalimZymet.


To attend this training, or one of the 39 others at Netroots Nation 2013 in San Jose, register now.

About Melissa Foley

Melissa is the Director of Training and Mentoring for Netroots Foundation and New Media Mentors. She aims to use her MBA + nonprofit background to teach organizations to use new media tools strategically.

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