Archives for October 2006

StartupJournal SEO Nonsense

There was a Q/A article in the Wall Street Journal’s StartupJournal site on search engine optimization that I’ve been meaning to respond to for a few weeks now. A good question was posed by a small business owner who was confused about “search engine optimizers” and whether they were worth it.

There seem to be two schools of thought from journalists on the topic of SEO. Those that slant it towards evil, worthless and shady. And those that check their facts and present those facts. I’ll let you decide what angle the writer from the StartupJournal was coming from on your own.

The question posed:

“We own a dance-wear Internet store and are completely confused about search-engine optimizers. Are they of value to a smaller company, like us? One optimizer quoted us $40,000 to enhance our Web site and improve our ranking.”

Feedblitz Gets a Makeover

Feedblitz, one of the most popular feed to email services got quite a make over today as Feedblitz 2 launched.

Feedblitz 2

Along with the new look and feel comes a wealth of new features including an upgraded API, monetization, publishing, tags, stats, subscribe to comments, diagnostics, speed and more.

I haven’t had much time to play with the new Feedblitz, but it’s looking quite nice. If you’ve dug around, share your thoughts on the upgraded service.

[tags]feedblitz, email, feed, rss[/tags]

Getting Listed in News Search Engines

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With Yahoo News being more popular than CNN or MSNBC, (comScore) there’s a tremendous opportunity for online marketers to gain visibility with consumers as well as those members of the media that research news stories, subject matter experts and press releases online.

News search engines crawl a defined list of trusted news sources and employ their own algorithms to determine ranking of stories. Yahoo crawls about 6,500 sources with very few if any blogs included, Google crawls about 4,500 sources including many blogs and Topix.net says they include 10,000 news sources including blogs.
Here are a few tips on getting visibility on several of these top news search engines:

Tchotchke Report from DMA06

When I attend or speak at conferences, I always, like to visit the exhibit areas to see how they’re laid out, scope out which search marketing agencies are exhibiting and to visit friends from other companies and search engines. While checking out the Interactive exhibit hall here at DMA06, I noticed a few things:

There were hardly any search marketing agencies. Kevin Lee was there with Did-It and I believe I saw iCrossing. That was it. Apparently SEOInc had a booth in the other monstrous Exhibit hall that was made up of list brokers, direct mail companies,etc.

The major search engines were there (except Ask.com and AOL) as was True Local.


Google


Yahoo

Yahoo Sending Invites for Upgraded Sponsored Search

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I guess it’s the night for emails from the search engines. Yahoo sent out an email to Yahoo Search Marketing advertisers with a notice that Yahoo is now allowing them to request an invitation to upgrade. That’s an interesting spin isn’t it? Have your advertisers ask to upgrade? What it really means is a phased approach at rolling out the new program:

“Invitations will be sent in stages to U.S. advertisers over the remainder of the year and early next year. You’ll be notified of your upgrade date at least two weeks in advance. You’ll also be able to access a preview of what your account will look like after the upgrade.”

Some of the new features include:

  • Fast ad activation (no more 3-5 days)

Google is Pumping Up the Base

An interesting email from the Google AdSense team came in early this am:

As our valued AdSense publisher we’d like to present you with a great opportunity to gain additional free traffic to your website through Google Base. Google Base is a place where content owners, like you, can upload information to Google. You describe and assign attributes to the information you submit and we use this meta-data to target search results to what users are looking for. In fact, based on your items’ relevance, users may find them in their results for searches on Froogle, Google Maps and even our main Google web search.

Here’s an example of how we’re surfacing Google Base housing content on our main Google web search:

DMA-06 WebmasterRadio.FM and Pubcon

WebmasterRadio.FM man of many talents, Daron Babin, gave a little video interview at DMA 06.
WebmasterRadio.FM

Be sure to check out WebmasterRadio.FM for live interviews and the best Internet radio shows on search marketing.

I believe their next stop will be WebmasterWorld’s Pubcon conference in Las Vegas Nov 14-17, which will be one hell of an event. There will be four keynote presentations including John Battelle, Danny Sullivan, Guy Kawasaki and Jon S. von Tetzchner, the fellow behind the Opera browser.

For this Pubcon I’ll be bringing Karen and Jolina (the red thing is part of our PR firm’s logo), two of our PR/SEO Project Mangers. It will be their first search marketing related conference so it should be a great event for them. I plan on doing at least 10 interviews like the one above with Daron at Pubcon, so watch out for me and my tiny camera.

WordPress vs HTML: YouTube & Other Services

YouTube LogoOne of the things that bugs me about WordPress is this WYSIWYG editor. It’s nice, but it has a tendency to eat your code. However, I found out a few cool features.

Did you know that you can put in basic HTML code into the WYSIWYG editor and it’ll render out as HTML when you hit save or publish? You can put in bold, italic, span, link and image HTML tags all in the WYSIWYG editor. Have an image on Flickr you want to post? Put the entire raw code that Flickr gives you into the editor, and it’ll be converted into a pretty image when you post it. That’s quite handy when you don’t feel like toggling back and forth between the HTML window.

Search Marketing Links 101706

ClickZ is taking nominations for their 2006 Marketing Excellence Awards. Please consider toprankblog.com for the Marketing Blog category.

Larry Chase does it again with 11 excellent tips on increasing site traffic.

Windows Live Search adds Linkfromdomain operator.

Audio presentation: “Top 5 Search Marketing Opportunities for 2007: Real-Life Data from 3,944 Marketers”

Rand presents his summary of the Google ranking algorithm. You could also call this Google ranking factors. Nice.

PRWeb CEO Explains Decision and Enhancements

After announcing that PRWeb was going to discontinue their free press release distribution service, there was quite a bit of buzz in the search marketing and PR blogosphere. Some people considered it as suspiciously financially motivated and too soon after the acquisition by Vocus. However most people, myself included, believe this is an excellent move for PRWeb.

Too many companies were abusing the free wire service to send out less than credible announcements. I’ve always believed that the credibility of the newswire is almost entirely dependent upon the quality of news releases that they distribute.

I sent a few questions to PRWeb CEO David McInnis to get a more formal response and clarification on what was behind the decision to discontinue free press release distribution, whether PRWeb will start charging for their other free services and to ask about some of the new features coming out including an ebook publishing service and enhanced press release metrics.

Online Public Relations and Blogs

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Later today I’ll be presenting here at DMA-06 on a panel called, Blogs, RSS and Podcasting with Amanda Watlington from Searching for Profit and Stephan Spencer from Netconcepts. Basically, my presentation will cover how blogs can be used as public relations tools in the context of “Push and Pull PR”. The presentation is broken up into:

  • Opportunity
  • Push and Pull PR
  • Blog Optimization & PR
  • Blogger Relations
  • Case Study

The “opportunity” section explains how many journalists are ignoring the noise of getting pitched by so many PR firms and company PR staff. Whether it’s a pitch by phone or email, many members of the media go online (98%) to find news sources (76%), story ideas (92%), experts and to research press releases (73%). The percentages come from a study done by Middleburg/Ross.

Interview with Chris Pirillo

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Normally when I do interviews, I categorize them under “Spotlight on Search or Spotlight on Blogging”, but Chris Pirillo doesn’t fit in just one category. He’s a bit of a renaissance man when it comes to all the enterprising projects, ventures and activities he’s involved with.

Chris started Lockergnome in 1996 and hosted TechTV’s “Call for Help” show for 2 years. He hosts a popular conference every year called Gnomedex which has been sponsored by the likes of Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. He’s written books, columns and many articles and he produces a popular online radio show.

I met Chris when I started writing about SEO on Lockergnome and in person at SES conferences. Chris did a podcast interview with me at SES New York in April and I’ve been threatening to interview this fellow Midwesterner (he’s from Iowa) for almost a year. Things finally worked out and I was able to do a short interview.