Archive for October, 2008

Authors Of Search Engine Marketing Talk
October 14, 2008

Mike Moran and Bill Hunt, authors of the new edition of  “Search Engine Marketing, Inc.: Driving Search Traffic to Your Company’s Web Site,”spoke to WebProNews about some of the changes they have seen in the industry since their last book in 2005.

How has social media impacted search engine marketing?

Mike Moran: It’s interesting because all the consultants that dove into search marketing a few years ago have now made the trek into social media marketing. I think that the basic idea that you can get attention from doing things for free that resonated with search engine optimizers is the same idea that makes social media so appealing.

The same people who liked the idea of crafting a good Web page to be found by search are excited at the prospect of a blog entry that attracts subscribers. I think that the public relations skill of knowing how to tell a story is the common thread between organic search and social media. If you know the kinds of things that interest your customer, you can create those stories so that search engines find them, but your customers will pass them along as well.

I think that social media has made search marketing more interesting because it’s provided another way to get value from the good content you needed to create for search marketing anyway.

Do you see value in SEM and social media?

MM: Nah, I think it’s all a fad. Oh wait, we wrote a book about it, so we probably think there’s something going on here. Over the last few years almost everyone has discovered the excitement of getting qualified Web traffic without having to pay for advertising (with organic search and social media), or by paying much less than with other forms of advertising (with paid search).

But the real fun begins when you combine social media with search marketing. You can use your search-savvy techniques to get attention for your social media and, in turn, your social media success can bring you links to your Web content, which helps search marketing. I would go on to describe how your now-improved search marketing might further help your social media, but I’m concerned you might get dizzy.

Bill Hunt: Mike nailed it, many are looking to it as the new “it” technique and are moving on past search.  The reality is the better you optimize your content the more it will be found in the engines and the repositories for the different media types.

If you look at the whole chain of events you can see the linkages of the two.  For example, we recently worked with a client on a press release that had wide distribution and was picked up by a number of bloggers which reviewed the product. This was followed by a TV commercial that was added to YouTube. The aggregation of all of these has a cross-link value as well as creating nearly 1,500 new doorways into the site.

What do you believe are the best social media tools for SEM?

MM: I don’t think that any tool is the best in all situations. In the new chapter of the second edition of Search Engine Marketing, Inc. that we devoted to social media, we tried to cover a wide range of tools so that you could choose the ones that work best for your business, which you’ll find out only through experimentation. Most companies can benefit from blogging and microblogging (Twitter and friends), because those tools get your expertise out there front and center.

The things that you know are usually more interesting than that page from your sales catalog, so that kind of content not only develops a following for your company, but also attracts more links than the average Web page does. If your people are the key to your business, such as in consulting, using Facebook, Linked In, and other social networks might be a great way to show off your people.

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Finally! Google to Offer RSS Feeds for Web Search Results
October 9, 2008

A rumor that’s been floating around the web lately is that Google will offer RSS feeds for new results in basic web search. Today Search Engine Land confirmed that Google will “soon” offer this functionality. Why is this big news? Because there’s no better way to keep track of new mentions of a company, person or concept online than through RSS.

As Search Engine Land’s Matt McGee points out in his post, Google is the only major web search engine to not offer feeds for basic web search, as they do in blog search and news. We’d previously recommended Live.com for web search feeds, but who really cares about Live.com search results? They’re terrible. Gooogle feeds are good news.

Google says that the new feeds will be part of the Google Alerts product, which currently delivers e-mail alerts for new search results in web, blog and other result types. Google Alerts are widely used but are, we’d argue, like training wheels for people not yet comfortable with RSS feeds. There’s nothing wrong with that, but many of us want our feeds.

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How Important is Website Design in SEO
October 8, 2008

Do you have to sacrifice all of the creative and artistic elements of your web site to rank in the search engines?

Thanks to the birth of professional search engine marketers the top ranks are saturated with the pages of companies that can pay for such insight. That said, it’s certainly possible to employ high ranking tactics in your own website. Actually, the most basic tactics can move you up from an 800 position to a 300. However, it’s the top of the scale where efforts seem almost inversely exponential or logarithmic, you put a ton in to see a tiny change in rank.

How do you meld the ambitious overhauls required to attain significant ranking and NOT compromise the design of your site?

DESIGN CAN’T BE IGNORED

If you have an existing site, you’ve probably tied it into your existing promotional content. Even if you’ve allowed your website to cater to the more free form of the net, it should still be designed as a recognizable extension of your business.

The reasons for doing so are valid, and can’t simply be ignored for the sake of achieving a first age position, can they? If your research into search optimization leaves you shuffling around thoughts of content, keyword saturated copy and varying link text, you correctly understand some of the basic pillars of search engine optimization.

And, you aren’t alone if you have this disheartening thought-If I do all this SEO stuff and reach number one across the board, who would stay at my site because it’s so stale and boring I’m even embarrassed to send people there!

There are two ways to successfully combine design and SEO. The first is to be a blue chip and/or Fortune 500 company with multi million dollar advertising and branding budgets to deliver your website address via television, radio, billboards, PR parties and giveaways with your logo.

Since chances are that’s not you, and certainly not me, lets look at the second option. It begins with some research into your market, some thoughtful and creative planning, and a designer who is a search engine optimizer, and understands at least basic CSS and HTML programming techniques. Or a combination of people with these skills that can work very well together.

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Google reopens 2001 search index
October 7, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO – Google has relaunched its 2001 search index to provide a light-hearted look at the growth of web use over the past seven years.

To mark its 10th birthday, Google has made available its oldest readily accessible search index for one month only, which users can browse the comparatively tiny search engine, including links to websites as they appeared in 2001.

A statement on the Google site said: “The world wide web and the world have both changed a lot since 2001. Searching Google’s 2001 index illustrates both points in what we think is a pretty entertaining way.

“If you searched on ‘Michael Phelps’ in 2001 for instance, you were probably looking for the scientist, not the swimmer. ‘Ipod’ didn’t refer to a music player, and ‘YouTube’ didn’t refer to much of anything.”

According to web experience consultant Webcredible, the index alsos provide a point of measure for the evolution of online marketing. The difference in the number of results thrown up when searching on the terms “search”, “engine” and “optimisation” results between the 2001 version and the current Google is notable, growing from 12,300 in 2001 to 77.8m today, an increase of 632,520%.

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Defining SEO Information Environments Through RSS
October 2, 2008

I have been pretty obsessed with the topic of Information Environments as of late.

From their structure, to the way that we let them interact with the search engine bots, a full understanding of our Information Environments is the basis of a strong SEO approach. No matter what changes in search algorithms a strong Information Environment Design will help your usability as well as assist in classifying your data.

In a recent post, I broke down the basic website levels in terms of Information Environments from shallowest to deepest, Domain>Sections>Categories>Pages>Media.

There are several ways to help make the connection between these levels, and thus help classify the information held within. The most granular connection takes place on the link level, with anchor text passing classification. More advanced classification concepts include SEO Siloing.

One way to help classify your data is through the use of RSS. Most sites today use Really Simple Syndication to get their content out to readers and search engines alike. Fresh content is key to timely crawls, and RSS feeds play right into this basic SEO concept. However, most sites only have an RSS feed on the domain level of their Information Environment structure.

By taking RSS feeds and placing them at the Section and Category level you can help define the information on and below that level.

The Concept in Practice

Let’s say we have a site fantasy sports information and products, http://www.fantasysportsexample.com. (Tis the season!)

On this site we deliver Fantasy basketball, football, and baseball info. These become the Sections in our Information Environment Design.

Below these Sections, we deliver player news, stats, and feature articles. These will become our Categories.

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By placing an RSS feed on the Categories of this site we can help classify all of the information found there and below.

Let’s take a look at the basic RSS XML structure

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Basic RSS feed structures allow you to label a channel as well as each individual item.So for our site, http://www.fantasysportsexample.com , we will use the concept of SEO Siloing at the Section level. We will do this by creating mini-sitemaps that the user navigates to from the homepage that list links to each Sections’ Categories, as well as links to the other Sections. This will help define the categories.

At the Category level we will create our RSS feeds.

One for fantasy basketball player news, one for fantasy football player news, and so on and so on.

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