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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Creating SEO-Friendly Websites
September 30, 2008

SEO is one of the most important online marketing trends available right now. Almost everyone knows that you need good quality text, keywords and links combined with lots of popularity and a good reputation to make it big. But it’s also important to take a holistic view of your online business pages. Your website is a valuable SEO tool in itself. By building (or remodeling,) your website so that it’s more easily accessible to spiders, you can boost your search engine score astronomically. It’s also important to have the “SEO-friendly website” conversation with your website design company and/or SEO firm if you have one to make sure that they on the same page as you. So with out further ado, here are some things that you should keep in mind when building or redesigning your website:

1. Content, Keywords and Links. As always ensure that your content, keywords and links are unique, of good quality and relevant to your business. Your back links should also be relevant so be sure to look out for and reject illogical links. Use absolute links which are less likely to have issues, but also allow you to get more backlink love if your content gets scraped. Remember that when it comes to keywords there is such thing as “too many” so don’t overdo it.

2. Make your links and keywords easily accessible to spiders. Drop down menus make the website user friendly, but they aren’t spider friendly. Somewhere on the page you should be placing good old-fashioned text links so spiders can find them. Also, be aware that SPIDERS CAN NOT CRAWL IMAGES OR FLASH. Be sure to label everything with text and include text descriptions so that spiders can find it more easily. Use minimal AJAX and Flash, and you shouldn’t be using frames at all.

3. Viral Videos and Pics. Enable the “Enhanced Image Search” option and list a video sitemap in your Google Webmaster Central account. Also, get your videos played on viral sites like YouTube, AOL, MSN, Yahoo, Metacafe and MySpace. All these places are crawled by Google. When posting captions and descriptions for pics and videos use words like “image” “pics” or “video” since many searches for pictures or videos include obvious words like that.

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Link Building: The Future Of Relationships
September 25, 2008

Link building is hard work. Have you ever tried to get people to link to your pure commerce/commercial brochure-web site? You know how tough it is out there.
The Future Of LinkingThe link economy has become so established, we’ve even got strategies built around the idea of never linking out. Once people perceive something to be valuable, they’ll think twice about just handing it over for nothing.

So what is an SEO supposed to do?

The key to linking in an environment where there is high value placed on links is to think of linking less as a process, and more in terms of building relationships.

Here are a few linking ideas designed to reduce the pain and increase the effectiveness of your link building campaign.

Relationship Link Building 101

The first step in your link building strategy occurs before your site hits the web.

If you’re thinking of launching a static brochure-ware site, and link building is part of your marketing strategy, think again.

Why?

There is less chance for relationship building.

Preferably, you want a site with plenty of potential for on-going community involvement and interaction.

Examples?

News Sites. Social sites. Blogs. Frequently-updated information sites. Teaching sites. Advice sites. Q&A. Wikipedia-style sites. The static brochure website will still have a place, but those sites with higher levels of user engagement will trump it.

Produce Really, Really Interesting Content

Posting what everyone else is posting is not interesting.

Look at what everyone else is posting and take a new angle on the the topic. Don’t just go one better, go ten better. Learn the lessons of The Purple Cow. Be worth remarking upon. People are hungry for unique, quality content.

They’ll link to you if you have it.

If your competitors are spending ten minutes on their posts, you spend a day. Spend a whole week. Cover areas no one else is covering. Make your posts game-changing posts. You’re going to need not one, but a consistent body of such posts. Think about the sites you link to. You need to aim to be better than those sites.

At very least, you need to offer a point of difference in order to be linkworthy.

Link Out

If you’re new, you’re going to need friends. You’re going to need influential friends.

A link out to sites run by influential people becomes an advertisement for your site in their referral logs. People will follow the links back to see who is talking about them, and if you’re got an impressive set of articles/posts, you’ll be on their radar in no time.

Give Forward

Most modern marketing is based on the idea of reciprocation. If you do something for others, without requesting something in return, most people feel they should reciprocate.

Give something valuable. Give wide. Give freely. Some of it will eventually come back.

Give nothing, and you’re guaranteed that nothing will come back.

Lose The Ads

The less commercial you appear, the more likely you’ll get linked to, especially from .edu and other authority information hubs. Few people want to link to sites plastered with advertising unless that site already has established authority.

You can introduce advertising once you’ve built up link authority.

Flattery Gets You Everywhere

Make people feel important. Make them look good. If you make them look good, they’ll want to point that fact out to others. They’ll do your marketing for you.

Look For Companies With “In The News” Pages

This tip flows on from flattery. Write about companies in a good light. To find companies that have “in the news” style pages, do a Google search for -your industry + “in the news”-.

Use Meme Trackers

Monitor upcoming news stories. Use Google Hot Trends, subscribe to Google Alerts, and check out Twitter stuff like Twitter Search and Twitscoop.

Write stories about fast-breaking events that have little competition but high interest levels. If the meme gets big enough, news sites will look around for content to quote, and, given a lack of competition, hopefully they’ll quote yours.

Get Seen In The Community

Participate in answer sites, forums, article sites, Wikipedia, Squidoo, Amazon et al. Contribute something of real value. You’ll get direct links in some cases, but at very least you’ll raise awareness, which can translate into links down the line.

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Google Patent Hints At More Linkage Penalties!
September 23, 2008

Tedster, administrator of the WebmasterWorld, recently posted a thread at WebmasterWorld. The thread was related to the discussions that were going…
…around an updated Google patent named Information retrieval based on historical data.

In any event, Tedster has indicated a lot of abstracts that are new in this document. I would like to extract some of them.

if the content of a document changes such that it differs significantly from the anchor text associated with its back links, then the domain associated with the document may have changed significantly (completely) from a previous incarnation. This may occur when a domain expires and a different party purchases the domain All links and/or anchor text prior to that date may then be ignored or discounted.

So now you got it right! It states that it is not just about changing the domain name registration information. It is because of this fact that a lot of people who buy sites, try to keep the same form, same style as well as the same category of content on that domain.

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SEO Merits of Interlinking
September 19, 2008

Many webmasters spend a lot of time optimizing their home page only. They do this by optimizing on page factors like H1 tags, title, keyword density, alt tags, etc, and off page factors like the number and quality of inward links from other sites. That’s fine and is something you should definitely do, but you should also take some time to optimize all of your inner web pages as well.

This is because if you can get a good pagerank for all of your inner pages, as well as your home page, it increases the chances of these pages being ranked highly in the search engines for their chosen keywords, and increases the number of visitors you could get.

So how do you achieve this? Well firstly I recommend that all of your main web pages are just one click away from your home page. You should have a well-structured navigation menu on your home page. Each link within the menu should be an anchor text link containing your main keyword(s). For example, let’s say you had an inner page about hair loss. Now you may have done keyword research and found the term “hair loss” to be too competitive, so let’s say you have decided to optimize your web page for the less competitive term “male hair loss”. In this example, your link from the navigation menu should be “male hair loss” rather than “hair loss”.

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10 Ways to Drive Massive Traffic to Your Website
September 18, 2008

Targeted traffic is the lifeblood of any successful business. In this article, I’m going to show you how to get laser targeted traffic in just a few simple steps.
1. Article Marketing – One of the best ways to drive targeted traffic to your website is through the use of article marketing. This is one of the oldest techniques for generating traffic, but it’s still one of the best.

Once you have written your article, you can then submit it to some of the top article directories like EzineArticles, GoArticles, Buzzle, the American Chronicle, ArticlesBase, and SearchWarp. For a list of the top article directories online, go to…

Article Directory List | Article Directory Rank | MasonWorld Internet Marketing Strategy | Internet Based Marketing Blog

You can also publish your website to Web 2.0 sites like Squidoo, HubPages, Zimbio, and Gather.com.

For a complete list of Web 2.0 sites, go to… Web 2.0 Directory : eConsultant

Article marketing is even more powerful when you submit exclusive articles to bloggers and owners of newsletters. This technique has sent me thousands of visitors with a single article. The key is to find the right distribution outlets.

Just imagine if you spend just one hour each day writing and distributing one article. In three months you would have 100 articles all sending you traffic on a daily basis.

So get out there and start syndicating your articles, submitting guests posts, and writing for online newsletters.

2. Viral Ebooks – Why not bundle your articles together and create a viral ebook? Giving away free ebooks is one of the best ways to generate traffic online. It’s also one of the best ways to build your mailing list.

You can submit your PDF ebooks to Scribd, eSnips, DocStoc, Calameo, Issuu, Yudu, FreeIQ, and ButterflyReports.

For a complete list of ebook directories you can submit to, go to Free Ebook Directories

Quick Tip: You can also convert your ebooks to exe files and submit them to all the different software directories online. You can convert your ebooks using afree piece of software called WebsiteZip Packer.

3. Blogging – Blogging is one of the best things you can do for your business. Blogging is a great way to get to know your readers. Plus, blogging can play a major role in getting valuable search engine traffic from Google, Yahoo, and MSN.

4. Submit your articles to Blog Carnivals. A blog carnival is a collection of blog posts on a particular subject. They are then posted together on on blog – called a host. The host (who is also a blogger), publishes the carnival on their blog, with links to each blog post that has been submitted.

This creates an excellent opportunity to get your blog posts shared on other blogs.

There are a number of benefits to participating in blog carnivals. Not only will you generate extra traffic, but it also provides you with quality backlinks and an excellent opportunity to connect with other bloggers.

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