Archives for September 2006

Organic Versus Paid Search Results

image courtesy of
A new WebSideStory study announced today shows that paid search has only a slight advantage over organic search results for conversions.

The study looked at more than 57 million search engine visits on Google, Yahoo and MSN and showed a median order conversion rate of 3.40 percent at business-to-consumer e-commerce sites for pay per click compared to a conversion rate of 3.13 percent for organic search results during the same timeframe.

This announcement is timely, because recently, someone on our MIMA-SM discussion list asked about clickthrough rates on organic versus pay per click ads in search results. It’s pretty common knowledge that most people click on the organic results, but this person was looking for a credible resource citing specific numbers.

So here’s what I found:

Lameness in the SEO Biz

It’s all part of doing business in the industry, but I’ve been dealing with more and more parasites lately, so here’s my new definition:

  • Competing agencies that do not specialize in search marketing, but are too lazy to learn. They leech off of your information and good nature for their own betterment offering nothing in return and call it “co-opetition”.
  • Prospects that try every trick in the book to suck how-to information out of you in the name of “learning about the SEO process”.
  • Content spammers, copyright and trademark hacks who will take every last opportunity to rob you of your brand and content.

What do you do?

  • Be smarter about how you package information and be more conservative about setting expectations

Be Geek Cool and Lose the WWW

Something I’ve been noticing the past few months is an increasing number of web sites that do not use www. Either this is a trend that’s full force and I’ve missed it (busy with SEO clients) or it’s a trend picking up steam. Or maybe it’s a techie geek sort of thing as most of the sites I’ve noticed are a bit geeky. And they would take that designation as a compliment I think.

First I noticed Glen Stansberry’s excellent blog was shortened to just Then Thomas aka TwisterMC’s new blog, did the same thing.  And just today I noticed Greg Hartnett ( of BOTW has just said no to the www. It’s not just these sites though, I’ve noticed many others too.

Meta Descriptions Are Almost As Important As Title Tags

It’s been said that meta keywords and description tags are dead. Where as I’d agree with the keywords tag, the descriptions tag I’m no longer convinced is dead. Actually, it’s quite important; especially for blogs.

If you use the site: command in Google, and look at Google’s descriptions (aka snippits) for a blog, you may notice some indexing issues. Usually one of two things happens. Either your blog description is generic and includes things like the date and categories, or your blog’s description is exactly the same. The second one will probably land a lot of your pages in the supplemental index.

If you check out Matt Cutt’s blog, you’ll notice that the descriptions start with the date followed by time, categories and then the first few words of his post.

Googlers Cutts, Fox and Camp in the Media

Some of our favorite Google people were in the media recently:

The Chicago Tribune did a huge piece on Google overall (hattip threadwatch) with a sidebar article “Meet Google’s Credibility Cop” on Matt Cutts.

I remember reading or hearing somewhere that Matt had worked for the NSA and this article mentions only that he interned with the Defense Department doing some programming.

The article opens up with language like, “hucksters, spammers and other charlatans” when making reference to manipulations to rank better on Google. Search marketing folks will know that means tactics that are to the extreme and not legit SEO, but I am not so sure everyday business Joe and Jane will see it that way. Actually, the article doesn’t mention search engine optimization at all.

MIMA Summit 2006


That time of year is here again and the annual event held by the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association called “The Summit” promises to be even bigger and better.

There’s a fantastic lineup of speakers and sessions including two keynote presentations: One from William Rice of the Web Marketing Association and Michelle Collins, a blogger for VH1‚Äôs, Best Week Ever. Other sessions include:

  • Web Writing
  • Web Analytics
  • Brawny Academy
  • Making the Grade
  • Ask the Email Experts
  • E-Commerce Opportunities
  • Site Architecture
  • Consumer Generated Media
  • Paid Search
  • Online Advertising
  • Internet Marketing Toolbox
  • Can Web 2.0 Change the World?

I would link to the session details, but the promo page was done entirely in Flash with one movie. It’s a very cool sitelet, but not too link or search engine friendly.

Brian Clark on


Earlier this month Brian Clark of Copyblogger launched a new service called tubetorial. The site offers video and screencast “how to’s” on several topics including:

  • Web development and technology tips
  • Internet marketing strategies and techniques
  • Legal issues for Internet content producers and marketers

More than that, Brian offers some great insight into Internet business models and the selling of information. Tubetorial produces videos on their own and are also accepting viewer submitted videos. I really liked the idea and pinged Brian for more info on tubetorial. (links were added by me)

Who started and is behind tubetorial?

Get Your Marketing Right Before SEO

One of the interesting and sometimes challenging things about working in the search marketing business is dealing with the amount of mis-information and lack of understanding about SEO and marketing in general.

When you have an abundance of new business inquires and don’t need to do much outreach through inside or outside sales, it’s a very different situation than a newer company trying to get into the SEO market and build up a base of clients.

With more established companies that have a good reputation in the marketplace and an established client base, less time is spent evangelizing the notion of marketing via search than helping prospective clients understand how their unique online marketing problems can be solved.

Adhesive – When your blog needs an introduction paragraph.

StickyOne things that blogs lack is an easy way to add an introduction paragraph to the beginning of the index page. However, there are may solutions, including Adhesive.

Adhesive allows the user to create a ‘sticky’ post that will always show up as the first post on the homepage. This can then be used for an introduction/welcome paragraph that gives your visitors a bit of an explanation of what your blog is about.

This is especially useful for any blogs that function as a full fledged website. Giving the users a short explanation of what the site is about can be much more informative than just showing the last 10 posts.

Social Bookmark Services Feature Review

Read/WriteWeb has posted an excellent review and comparison of the major social bookmarking services. Digg was not included as they are considered a social news service. The bookmark services reviewed include: BlinkList, Blogmarks,, diigo, Furl, Ma.gnolia, MyWeb, Shadows, Simpy and StumbleUpon.

The result? and StumbleUpon were the clear winners. I seem to remember something a while back about how StumbleUpon Rocks. :)

Personally, I like tend to use the most for work and StumbleUpon for more recreational surfing. But I have found some excellent resources for work that way.

This information is pretty handy for when you creating your social bookmark links. Brings Collective Wisdom to Product Research

One of the most frustrating things people encounter with search engines is doing product research. Hard as they try, the affiliate links, spam and irrelevant content plague search results. There are a number of recommendation shopping sites and recently popular social shopping sites available to perform product research, but the information is often narrow or biased.

There’s a new kid on the block called Wize that we’ve been working with and I have to say, it’s a pretty impressive research tool for consumer products. The site launced today and it’s worth checking out.

Doug Baker, the internet entreprenuer who created has taken the notion of collective wisdom, made popular by New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki’s 2004 book ���The Wisdom of Crowds��� and combined it with the technology behind the search engine he purchased earlier this year to create an easy to use comparison shopping and product research web site.

Link Building Advice from the Best

Unless there’s any doubt, I am a linking fanatic. I appreciate links like they’re gold. When I talk about link building with our team, I can never stress enough the importance of linking for traffic and SEO. To me, the best way to learn about link building is to get out there and do it.

However, if you’re new, you can save quite a bit of time learning from the wisdom of others’ experience. Here are three recent posts and one bonus link on link building I highly recommend:

Rand Fishkin presents his thoughts on why email is still king for link building.

Jim Boykin has a great post about the quality vs quantity issue with link building.

Eric Ward dispells a common myth about .edu links in his post: “.edu link fallacies dispelled“.