MNF: Your Activation Status Cannot Be Verified At This Time

Micro Niche Finder Error #:12057

An error occurred while attempting to verify your activation status.

Error #:12057

Your activation status cannot be verified at this time.

I got this error message when I opened my copy of Micro Niche Finder version 5 (which had been successfully activated previously). However, after closing the error message box, the application continued to open and function just right, so, I thought nothing further about it and figured that it probably would just resolve itself the next time I open Micro Niche Finder. On the third day and the third time the same error appeared, I finally decided to seek help from the MNF support pages.

I was directed to a knowledgebase support page at* which enumerated a few steps to solve the error. Of the 5 steps, I only did the first 3, but when I re-opened Micro Niche Finder, it opened nicely and got its activation verified.

MNF Solution

  • Firstly, MNF support suggested to check the computer date and time. Mine is alright.
  • Next, support asked to clear the SSL-State in the “Internet Options” of Internet Explorer. And also to un-check the 2 options on the Advanced Tab shown in the picture hereunder:

    I unchecked the ones that are marked with red x’s in the above image.
    I forgot to clear the SSL-State however.
  • I was also asked to download the latest, and all, updates from Windows Update. This I did not do as I preferred the auto-update to do this at the proper time.
  • Then, ‘Reinstall IE 8’. I also skipped this as I did not find any need to do this. After all, I don’t use IE. I use Firefox. So I just closed the currently open IE browser.
  • Next was the instruction to “Download and install the root certificate update from Microsoft…”. So, I visited the given site and read about the suggested file, paranoid as I am about any extra installations. The statement in the overview that said “Once you have installed this item, it cannot be removed” made me lose interest in it. Besides, it further spoke about enabling me “…to use Extended Validation (EV) certificates in Internet Explorer 7.” Mine is already IE8, so perhaps I don’t need this update after all.

So, like I said I, only followed the first 3 steps of the solution. And when I restarted Micro Niche Finder again, lo, all’s well again.

*Click here to go to the exact support page link.

Why I Don’t Care About PR: My Turn

The first time I heard and came to know about PR and what it is, I found that my then 8-month-old blog has PR2. I guess PR2 was reason enough for me to get ecstatic about, newbie as I was (and still am btw). I was therefore wondering why some folks write about not caring whether they get a PR boost or not. In fact, some go as far as declaring that PR is useless and a nuisance.

As far as I know, an increased PR means a lot, some of the reasons being:

  • It serves as an authority index as far as google is concerned. And considering where google stands in the search engine race, I suppose everyone should agree.
  • Advertisers tend to go for sites with higher PR. What little experience I have in this area confirms this ‘fact’.
  • It reflects on the blogger’s/webmaster’s level of SEO skill.

Among the posts of bloggers who expressed their thoughts about Google’s PR being not necessary, these are the common factors they cite:

  • Google is playing god and change their criteria at their whim to make us feel like we are helplessly at their mercy.
  • Alexa ranking is a better indicator than Google PR.
  • Google’s algorithm is flawed.
  • Traffic is more important and we can get traffic without Google’s PR.
  • PR is nothing more than a number.

While they certainly have a point in these areas, I found that, more often than not, they were motivated to write about it because they were either left out or, worse, demoted in the latest PR update. When Google thus found my blog not worthy of an increased PR rank in the latest update, the immediate thought was, “finally, it’s my turn to post an ‘I don’t care about PR’ article”. 🙂

In writing such an article, I guess I would be inclined to say the same things the others have been saying, but first I have to admit that if I were Google, I myself wouldn’t want to give this blog a PR boost at this time. In my comments in other blogs about Google matters, I always iterate that google is not perfect. It makes mistakes. Well, in their latest update, Google didn’t make a mistake this time in withholding a PR boost for this blog. Would you consider a blog that is barely able to output 8 posts a month worthy of an additional PR?

Now, what should my reasons be for saying I don’t care about Google PR? Err…sourgraping?

Seriously, I think I should wait till I get myself out of the ‘newbie’ sandbox and till I get a lot of experience before venturing into a discussion concerning the downside of Google’s PR ranking. For now, I still think that whatever stinks about Google’s PR algorithm is still outweighed by its perceived benefits. Some of the few business sites I have, by the way, despite being snobbed in the latest PR update, remained where they are at the SERPs and the revenue they’re bringing did not change at all.

Is Google Analytics data a factor in a page’s ranking?

Does Google think the world will end in 2012?

Google for Webmasters Tutorial: Ranking

Is Using The Wonder Wheel In SEO Effective?

using wonder wheel for seo

I wrote about my first encounter with the wonder wheel in my post “Wonder Wheel : LSI“. There, I revealed that what I learned in my researches about the matter I am not necessarily applying in this blog, as this is purely a personal outlet for me (that I prefer to be not limited and boxed-in by seo rules). I however have applied whatever knowledge I’ve gained (at this stage of my (ad)venture online) to other projects of mine and found that, to some considerable degree, they worked.


One great use of the wonder wheel is to discover keywords that are directly related to other keywords, much like LSI. Some sources revealed their technique of finding a profitable keyphrase that has lots of traffic and most particularly has a high CPC (for purposes of earning with Adsense). Then they say that for this particular keyphrase they can stop caring about the competition. Why and How? The method is to input the keyphrase unto google search and look at its wonder wheel elements. The circumferential keyphrases (I just used ‘circumferential’ because of the circular arrangement of the other keyphrases around the main keyphrase) are then analyzed for number of searches and, this time, competition. The object is to find as many keyphrases that has considerable searches but less competition no matter how little the CPC may be. A keyphrase with very low CPC tends to have less competition, even if it has a considerable search count. If it is not found in the current wonder wheel, the search is expanded into the adjacent sub wonder wheels.

Having collected the sub keyphrases that are related to the main keyphrase (the one with the high CPC), the next thing to do is build a blog for the main keyphrase and blogs for all the sub keyphrases. The technique aims to draw traffic from the sub keyphrases (which as earlier mentioned have low competition, considerable traffic, and probably low CPC) and pass them to the main keyphrase (which has high CPC). The purpose of the sub keyphrases’ blogs is just to draw the traffic, so no adsense blocks are ever shown on these blogs. Only the blog for the main keyphrase contain adsense blocks.

Usually the sub keyphrases’ blogs are free blog types, e.g. wordpress, hubpages, squidoo, myspace, etc. The blog for the main keyphrase may either be a hosted one with its own domain, or also another free type blog.

Does The Wonder Wheel in SEO Really Help?

While I agree that it makes sense and theoretically should work, so far, I’ve never come up with a project that followed the above procedures to the letter. I even later on heard of some negative feedback about this technique. However, in most, if not all, of my projects, I’ve always remembered these things and would implement something similar but usually not completely like it. In cases where all the sub keyphrases (the ones surrounding the main keyphrase in the wonder wheel) are all highly competitive, I tend to just mention these keyphrases within the main page of the main keyphrase blog or site. That is, I scatter these sub keyphrases among the contents. I suppose that when google crawls the site and finds all the sub keyphrases mentioned in it, it will decide that the site’s author really knows everything about the subject matter of the site. The wonder wheel, by the way, came out around a year ago and google is probably done with any testing phase it put it under, if any. So, for whatever purpose it serves them, google is probably totally comfortable with it.

While I could not exactly say how much it contributed to the success of my projects (because it is mixed with other sensible SEO techniques), I definitely believe that it played a considerable role in the present serp status of my projects.

Video: Wonder Wheel

Google Wonder Wheel Keyword Research Tool Helps Discover Hidden Niches

SEO Side Effect – A shot at a highly competitive keyword

I’m just writing out some observations I made after checking the stats lately of one of the few business sites I’ve created a few months ago. I have yet to analyze these data. But I just am posting these right now and hope to make a follow up post after my analysis (which may take awhile, considering that I am allotting for these tasks only a few hours a day).

If you jump back a few months ago to my post about my ‘Update to Keyword-In-Domain-Name Experiment‘ post, you’ll see that I made a rather detailed account of what I did, novice as I am, to my very first business site to bring it from nowhere to #2 in the google serps. This site is the very same site I was talking about in my post called ‘The Power of the Keyword-In-The-Domain-Name‘ when I tested the veracity of what I’ve been reading everywhere being preached by the gurus. I can never thank MNF enough for giving me that first green keyphrase and my ‘First Step Up Google’s PR Ladder‘ excitement . I was just lucky enough to have a friend who gave me time to play awhile with his Micro Niche Finder on his laptop. After finding how cool MNF is as an SEO tool, I decided thereafter to buy a copy for myself (although I could have just continued using my friend’s) in order to thank James Jones. It proved to be one of the very best investment I’ve ever made.

I started out working on a 3-word keyphrase that glowed green in MNF. Most bloggers/webmasters by the way, when they talk about their seo experience, for whatever reason (competition?), never reveal their keyphrases (although some do). I think a struggling newbie like me would be better off sticking to the same policy. So, let’s just symbolize my keyphrase with a dummy phrase like, say, ‘robotic swing arm’. The root keyphrase ‘swing arm’, although it has a tempting high search count, was very competitive and was colored red in MNF which means ‘you’re out of your league here, go find another less competitive phrase’. So I settled for the longtail ‘robotic swing arm’ because it was as green as an empress’ jade pendant, although it only has a search count 1/10th that of ‘swing arm’.

Long story short, my seo efforts brought me a little success. Number 2 in google. There were even a few days at a time when it tiptoes at number one, only to rest back to number 2. Then lately, I found that my site has begun to show up in the google searches for the 2-word keyphrase ‘swing arm’ although I did not do any seo work specifically to rank for that keyphrase. Yesterday it was #19 out of 17,300,000. It looks like my seo efforts to rank for a 3-word long tail keyphrase produced a side effect of raising my hopes to rank at the 2-word root keyphrase. I run MNF again and checked out this 2-word phrase’s data. It’s SOC (strength of competition) value is a whooping and glaring red 1000! Green SOC values range from 0 to 50 only. Now I ask myself, do I have a chance at landing within the first page of google if I focus my seo work on this particular phrase? MNF’s SOC tells me it’s a difficult climb (SOC 1000). Even Traffic Travis showed a Difficulty Rating of ‘Extremely Difficult’. Market Samurai also threw an extremely high SEOCTR value of 186% (low seoctr, say 0% to 7%, means weak competition). It’s like, everywhere I turn, everybody tells me ‘you can’t do it’.

Like I said earlier, I have yet to give these observations a little more attention. If some of you have had experiences that run along these lines, you could probably cut short my analysis time by giving me advise based on your experience. What do you think?

Some SEO Videos

SEO Tips

Finding .gov and .edu backlink sources

Using Google News Alerts For Free Targetted Backlinks

I tried using this Google News Alerts technique for my backlink campaign for a couple of my business sites. Essentially it involves adding alerts to your existing google gmail account which you can do by:

using <a href=google alerts video" title="using google alerts video" width="163" height="114" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-1269" />
  1. Signing in to your gmail account, then
  2. Among the left-topmost links, click on ‘more‘ (right next to ‘Web’).
  3. In the dropdown menu, click on ‘even more‘ (the bottom-most menu entry).
  4. In the resulting new page, click on the ‘Alerts‘ link (the one with the bell icon).
  5. In the ‘Create a Google Alert‘ box, enter your keywords.

What is supposed to happen is that as soon as some webpage containing the keywords you asked to be alerted about gets indexed by google, a google news alerts email is sent to you giving you the link to that new page. If it’s a page which allows you to leave a link, e.g. through comments, then your goal of leaving links in pages related to your keywords is served.

The first time I did this, a few google alerts started pouring in within the hour. I expected to be able to instantly make links out of each alert I received but I soon discovered that not all pages returned by google alerts are from blogs on which you can comment on. Pages from commercial sites (e.g. Amazon, Ebay, Insurance companies, etc.) also get scooped up by Google Alerts. But there are numerous alerts that I was able to use effectively for backlinking purposes. And so far, there’s never a day that I don’t get alerts.

First to Comment

Normally, I’d be typing in my keywords in google to search for webpages to leave my links in. These returns existing pages, some of which are old and already have some PR ranks. The use of Google Alerts is an excellent supplement to this method as it allows you to effortlessly discover new opportunites for backlinking as they happen. If you are one who makes a big deal out of being the first to comment in a post, then this might give you a better chance. (But regular readers of a particular blog don’t wait for a post to get indexed before reading it, so they’re most likely to be able to comment first).


Having tried it just 3 days ago, I think it is too early for me to evaluate how effective google alerts is for me. I have, however, satisfactorily contributed some entries on time on Yahoo Answers because of Google Alerts. I also found that a particular keyphrase gets repeatedly involved in questions submitted in Yahoo Answers, so you can also repeatedly input the same answers there. I think people submit questions without even bothering to check if the same questions had been thrown before.

Additional Free Traffic

I think Google Alerts is good and will work to gain me more traffic in the long run. My business sites (which I was able to confidently come up with using MNF) already have its share of traffic coming from the search engines. With the kind of links I’m leaving, thanks to Google Alerts, I also tend to draw a percentage of the traffic from competing pages out there.

Right now, I’m only asking to be alerted whenever my keyphrase is encountered by google. They say I can get even more razor sharp targetting by converting my keyphrase into several variations of question phrases instead.

Have you tried Google Alerts? How has it helped you in your SEO work?

Using Google Alerts

Wonder Wheel : LSI

Just thought of throwing in a few lines about something I’ve learned yesterday.  It’s not new. I am actually wondering why I only learned about it now.

It’s about this Wonder Wheel tool from google that I guess is synonymous with this LSI thingy that a lot of seo guys are going loco about.  For those who haven’t heard or seen the wonder wheel, you can find it by inputting your search term or phrase into google, say ‘dog diapers’. Once google returns a new page of search results, you’ll find a ‘+ Show Options…‘ link on the top-left corner just above the first search result item. If you click on that, it will update the page with a left-side bar containing a few more links that you can use to make your search even more specific. One of the links, as you can see in the image below is the wonder wheel.


Clicking on the Wonder wheel link will bring up a figure reminiscent of a mind-mapping, or brain-storming technique I’ve seen somewhere before. The words at the tips of the spokes surrounding the main phrase ‘dog diapers’ are related keywords or keyphrases that google thinks are relevant (and thus we should think so too) words that it should also find in your site if you want to rank in the ‘dog diapers’ phrase. Clicking on one of those related phrase links will update the figure into the one shown below where another wheel appears showing its own set of related words.


This graphical representation of the semantic relationship between keywords is a very nifty seo tool as far as my neophyte seo mind is concerned. (Author’s note: I hate to to repeat the words ‘neophyte’, ‘beginner’, ‘newbie’ in my posts but I can’t escape the fact that I am presently exactly that. Hopefully, a couple of years from now, I could make a post without using these ‘keywords‘(?)  🙂  anymore). Note also that this blog isn’t exactly something I am seo-conscious at the moment, so you’ll definitely not find any traces of me practicing these things right now. Here, like extremejohn is saying, I’m ‘just writing to write and being natural doing it‘***. However, in another project of mine, I am certainly putting this knowledge to the test.

If you have some more ideas in maximizing the use of this information, you can always comment below and help us newbies out.

***ExtremeJohn’s comment in another post.

Update to Keyword-In-Domain-Name Experiment

There have been some changes that I’ve noticed lately in my site’s rankings (no, not this blog) on both Google and Yahoo with regard to my little experiment about the Power of the Keyword-In-the-Domain-Name, that it prompted me to draft up an update post about it. Veteran bloggers need not read further because I know you have been there and proven this time and time again.

The following is a summary of the previous actions and events surrounding the experiment:

  • August 1, 2009
    • launched the site.
  • August 5, 2009
    • Google indexed the main page only. There were 3 initial pages.
  • August 5, 2009
    • Slipped through Google’s fingers. “site:mykeyprase.tld” produced ‘no results…’ as if Google has never seen it yesterday.
    • “cache:mykeyphrase.tld” however says google has taken a snapshot as early as 8/2/2009.
    • 4 hours later, “site:mykeyphrase.tld” showed main page again as indexed.
    • 10 seconds later, disappeared again. What the…
  • August 6, 2009
    • Did a little backlinking work.
  • August 7, 2009
    • Google showed again that it has indexed the main page. A search for its main keyphrase showed it at number #7!
    • Yahoo showed that it has not indexed any page yet, but has detected 4 backlinks.
    • Bing has not indexed site yet. I submitted the site url to bing.
    • Did some more backlinking work.
  • August 8, 2009
    • Yahoo, no indexed pages yet but has detected 7 backlinks.
    • Bing, no index.
    • Google indexed 2 pages now: the main page and the sitemap.
  • August 9, 2009
    • Yahoo: #1!
    • Google: still #7
  • August 10, 2009
    • A few more backlinking work.
  • August 11, 2009
    • No changes to status.
  • August 12, 2009
    • Google: demoted the site from #7 to #632! An hour later, to #273.
  • August 13, 2009
    • Google:- still nowhere. Didn’t care to check specific location.
  • August 14, 2009
    • Google: still nowhere. Didn’t care to check specific location.
    • Bing: showed signs of having indexed main page, but fluctuates every now and then.
    • Editted the Meta(descriptions) content in all pages, because previously, 80% are redundant in all pages.
    • Editted the Meta(keywords) content in all pages, to make sure no phrases are redundant.
  • August 15, 2009
    • Google: indexed 6 pages. Site was # 246.
  • August 18, 2009- Google: #280.
    • Yahoo: slid to #2. #1 was occupied by a subdomain! Oh well, it’s there search engine.
    • Bing: #1!
    • Editted the main page to correct some Google rules violations. The adsense block was directly below the title and some other adsense links have left-floated images right below them. So, I inserted a line of text to separate them.
    • Editted the main page to increase main keyphrase density from 2.05% to 4%.
  • August 19, 2009
    • Yahoo: #2
    • Bing: #1
    • Google: #3!
  • August 20, 2009
    • Yahoo: #1
    • Bing: #1
    • Google: #3!

Notice that after 5 days of simmering under the depths of the Google abyss, it resurfaced to #3. I still am not sure what really happened when from its perch at #7, it plunged down to nowhere and stayed submerged for a whole week, only to resurface at #3. My guess is either:

  1. It simply is part of the ‘Google dance’. Or,
  2. It dropped because Google noticed the violations. So when it was rectified, Google immediately brought it back up where it rightfully belonged. (However, I see a lot of ranking websites which shamelessly violate Google’s rules up front and yet get away with it.  Somehow adds more to my confusion).

Prior to the plunge, I was neck-deep in backlinking work and so when it dived the day after, I somehow subconsciously related the plunge to my backlinking work. Thus, now although I know better, I still am slightly link-phobic and have momentarily minimized all backlinking activities.  I’ll resume as soon as the phobia disperses.

I’ll be monitoring it to make sure it is stable in its position. Note that the target here is free traffic. That means that I never submitted any material to article directories for the purpose of driving in traffic. I only did 2 things:

  1. On site optimization (e.g. optimizing tags, increasing keyphrase density), and
  2. Backlinking.

Again, I’ll be closely monitoring it for signs of stability. Once stable, I’ll see if I can drive it to the top.

One more thing: Yeah, it’s indeed true that what counts is being within the top 5 spots. When the site was at number 7, it garnered considerable traffic. But when it went to number 3, traffic spiked up five-fold.

The Power of the Keyword-In-The-Domain-Name

Here’s another most often-preached principle by the gurus that I personally have the benefit of proving to myself to be true – the power of the keyword in the domain name. Like I’ve said in a previous post, I’ve just recently taken keyword research seriously. Pessimist as I am, I often find myself wondering if the preachings of the web gurus, one of which being the effectiveness of keywords in the domain name, are true. I guess there are several ways to find out, but there’s only one way to go about it where the result of which I will believe a hundred percent. And that is to try and see it for myself.

I got to my computer and did the usual procedures someone who has just learned about keyword research would do. It might have been very easy to just pick any keyphrase that doesn’t have any commercial value because it would have the least competition, if not none at all. But I said to myself, it would be a much better proof, should it succeed, to try a keyphrase that not only will appear within the first page of a google search but also earn as well, say, in adsense.

Long story short, I came up with a keyphrase that I fancy to have some commercial/adsense value. It’s got the markings of a good keyphrase as defined by the seo masters. It has a considerable search count value (well, at least it’s got more than a thousand); has low competition; has low search returns when searched with quotes around the keyphrase. And most importantly, the domain name is still available without me having to resort to the use of hyphens.

One seo master boasted of his site appearing in the first page of google on the third day after he launched his site in his server. This really got me worried because I can’t even find my site using “site:mykeyphrase.tld” on google for 5 days. Google got it indexed on the 6th day and only the main page (I had initially uploaded 3 pages in all), although “cache:mykeyphrase.tld” says it was cached on the second day after launch. I remember how elated I was to see that the site was finally indexed. The next day however was a downer in that it appears that google forgot about it and says it has not indexed the site. I searched frantically for some advise about the matter online. Some discussions say this situation is normal and is no reason to worry about. Google is not only not human, but is also not perfect. Some say this situation reeks of the smell of a site being banned for some reason or another.

Somehow, the impatient part of me (the dominant one) surprisingly agreed not to conclude just now that the experiment is a failure. It turned out to be one good decision because the very next day, I found out that it had re-appeared in google’s index. Not only that, it is now in the first page of the google search results for the keyphrase. Conclusion? The SEO gurus are right. A keyphrase in the domain name does help a lot. My site is among the entries in the first page of google! Number 1? Nope. But the conclusion of this experiment brings me to the beginning of another experiment. And that is to prove that backlinking work will help push a site up the rankings.

And oh, let me add that it earned $2.35 in adsense on its first day. A measly earning you might say but it puts the $ sign to my little $uccess.

How to install wordpress on a subdomain

Installing wordpress using Lunarpages’ CPanel is a breeze. I simply followed the instructions and voila! I have a fully working wordpress site ready to take in my posts and settings. It is a one-click affair, in contrast to manually installing wordpress where you have to edit the config file and create a database. But that was wordpress on my main domain. To install wordpress on a subdomain was different. I need a ‘How to install wordpress on a subdomain’ tutorial to proceed. Or so I thought.

I remember the first time I decided to install wordpress on a subdomain, I was stumped when it came to the ‘install directory’ textbox in Lunarpages CPanel. lunarpagesiconEarlier, I had installed wordpress using the same Lunarpages CPanel for my main domain That was easy. However, for the subdomain,, I was hesitant to proceed as I did not want to take the risk of messing up my existing wordpress installation. What if I install wordpress on a subdomain and it overwrites the previous one? This concern wouldn’t have been an issue had I chosen to install manually. But I was using CPanel now. The ‘install directory’ part prompts me to leave it blank to install wordpress on the root directory. Which root directory?

Googling for the answer did not immediately give me a satisfactory and direct answer. Thus I had to submit a ticket for this no-brainer question. Lunarpages support , helpful as ever, promptly provided me the answer on how to install wordpress on a subdomain.

  • If you have not created a subdomain, create it first in CPanel.
  • Then click Fantastico icon.
  • Click on WordPress (under ‘blogs’ on the left side), then click on the ‘New installation’ link.
  • Select the subdomain you want to install wordpress in on the ‘Install on domain’ dropbox.
  • Leave the ‘Install in directory’ textbox blank. This will install wordpress on the directory of the subdomain which was automatically created when you created a subdomain through the CPanel.
  • Type in your desired username and password under the ‘Admin access data’ section.
  • Under ‘Base Configuration’, fill up the necessary boxes. ‘Site name’ is the name you want for your subdomain.’ Description’ is anything you want to describe your subdomain.
  • Click ‘Install WordPress’.
  • That’s it. To install wordpress on a subdomain is a piece of cake after all.