Archives for August 2008

SES San Jose: Black Hat vs White Hat Playing Dirty with SEO

Black Hat White Hat SEO Panel

People love controversy, and that was clearly in evidence at this SES session covering the most controversial of SEO debates, White Hat versus Black Hat. Moderator Matthew Baily of SiteLogic and his crew of experts from both sides spoke to a standing-room only crowd. Panelists included:

  • Greg Boser of 3 Dog Media
  • Todd Friesen, Director of SEO at Range Online
  • Bruce Clay, President of Bruce Clay, Inc.
  • David Naylor, SEO of Bronco
  • Jill Whalen, CEO of High Rankings

The speakers were, for the most part, vague about what color their hats were, but each expert drew upon their own professional experience, techniques and observations when responding to questions posed by Matthew and the audience.

What is Black Hat SEO?

SES San Jose Wrap Up Day Three

IMG_1922

Another fine day of blogging is under the collective belt of the TopRank team. Google Dance offered a very nice distraction last night and you can see by a quick search on Flickr the fun that was had. Thank you Google.

Here’s a wrap up of posts from the TopRank Blogging team for day three of Search Engine Strategies in San Jose:

SES San Jose: Successful Tactics for Social Media Optimization

SMO Reputation Management

Entering the realm of social media can be a bit like trying to enter an exclusive club. There are barriers to entry, codes of conduct, and unwelcome outsiders are quickly identified and ostracized. Yet, like an exclusive club, the benefits of membership can be great. Marketers looking to benefit from social media would do well to heed the advice of the three presenters in this SES session, moderated by Pauline Ore of IBM Corporation.

As Kendall Allen, digital marketing and convergence media consultant, pointed out, social media has come a long way since the advent of the Internet. Listservs, user groups and chat rooms have given way to the networking giants of Facebook and Myspace.

SES San Jose: News Search SEO

News Search SEO

News search engines offer a great way to receive targeted traffic related to breaking topics or to help with a public relations launch. In this session, industry experts Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, Lisa Buyer, President & CEO of The Buyer Group and Greg Jarboe, President and Co-Founder, SEO-PR look at how to make use of press releases and news content to tap into the power of news search.

Lisa kicked off our session explaining that optimized press releases are a vital part of any news SEO strategy.

The first step to defining the online PR opportunity is to define the media segment. With your online PR campaign are you targeting editors, journalists, analysts or the media?

SES San Jose: SEO Rehab & Intervention

SEO Rehab & Intervention Panel

The SEO Rehab & Intervention was a great session oh how we are all addicted to something in our industry. Granted it was a bit of an un-structed session, but that’s what made it entertaining. The discussion flowed from chocolate cake to Twitter and SEO.

Here are a few good tips:

  • Spend your time on what your doing next. Things change, so should you.
  • Why check your page rank daily when it changes quarterly?
  • When page rank does change, and if yours goes down, check the sites in your industry. Did they all go down? If so, stop panicking.
  • Other time wasters include checking rankings, backlinks and pages indexed constantly.
  • Feed your addition with tools that will do the checking for you. Then you can get a quick overview.

SES San Jose: Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is fast emerging as a must-have in search strategies. In this session, industry experts Vanina Delobelle, Global Product Director for Monster, Erik Qualman from Search Engine Watch and Global VP of EF Education, along with Brnet Csutoras, Online Marketing Consultant offered some tips to successfully integrate social media into your search marketing mix.

Vanina kicked off the session this morning discussing what social media is and how, when used correctly, it can benefit your business.

So, what is social media?
– Social networks like MySpace, Facebook and Xing
– Forums such as Phorum and phpBB
– Microblogging with twitter or pounce
– Multimedia sharing sites like YouTube, Flicker and Slideshare
– Diggs with Wikio and digg
– Blogs and live casts
– Virtual Universes like Second Life

SES San Jose: Ads in a Quality Score World

quality score image

“Quality over quantity” applies to almost everything we encounter, from the foods we eat to the people we interact with. It certainly applies to pay-per-click ads, in which the quality of your campaigns, from keywords to ads to landing pages, takes precedence over the quantity of money you bid. Your keyword quality scores can be either a barrier of entry to ad rankings or your free pass to the head of the line. This session explores everything quality score, from what affects your score to how to improve it.

Dana Todd, CMO of Newsforce, directed a panel of four industry leaders in quality score, who take the discussion from the basics to detailed, actionable advice.

The Basics of Quality Score

SES San Jose: Search Behavior Update

The famous eye tracking heat maps are just the start of understanding search behavior. What about what happens before they get to your site? Or while they are on your site? Search behavior is something a site needs to understand to get more users to their site.

Search Behavior Update Panel

Here are a few of the thoughts shared:

John Marshall

  • It’s hard to get good search behavior update unless you have access to a search engine or HitsLinks.
  • Lots of people look at the keywords area in analytics. This shows a narrow view of activity.
  • We should be using site search data from your website to get visiter intent. This is very valuable.
  • Often times, free data like this is often ignored and it shouldn’t be.

Internet Marketing Conference Tips: David Berkowitz Search Insider Summit

It’s hump day during SES San Jose week and it reminds us there are many avenues for interacting with marketing conferences. It’s one thing to focus on programming events like our last few tipsters, it’s another thing to have spent numerous conference hours in the shoes of an attendee, speaker and conference programmer.

David Berkowitz is Director of Emerging Media & Client Strategy at 360i and Programming Chair of MediaPost’s Search Insider Summit with a short but very important tip:

Make time for the activities and dinners. The [SIS] Summit has far more shmooze time than time in sessions, and that’s for a reason. As excited as I am about the program and the speakers, the lasting relationships come during the downtime, as do the most meaningful conversations.

SES San Jose: Getting Vertical Search Right

Google may be the giant in the search industry, but they may have to much data to get you want you want to find. A previous session talked about semantic search and how it’s being worked on, but if you can’t wait, vertical search is something you can use today.

Getting Vertical Search Right Panel Vertical Search Growth

Philip James from Snooth was the first presenter. He said that back when the web was smaller, regular search engines worked better as they had fewer pages to work with. Now, with trillions of pages, it’s getting harder and harder to get good results. This is where vertical search comes into play. They have a smaller index and can provide a higher quality result. As an example, if you are on a food vertical search site and search for ‘spicey’ it already knows it has to do with cooking.

SES San Jose: Landing Page Utopia Expert Roundtable

Segmented Landing Page: Landing Page Utopia

Continuing the day’s trend, I attended another landing page-related session to round out Day Two of SES San Jose. The Expert Roundtable brought together four ‘knights’ of landing page optimization, armed with their tips and tricks to achieving the ‘holy grail’ of pay per click ads: Landing Page Utopia.

Moderator Ron Belanger, Vice President of Agency Development at Yahoo! Search Marketing, helmed this team of experts. Each speaker had their own unique ideas as to what achieves the most effective landing pages, and I’ve highlighted some of their original ideas and basic tips.

Scott Brinker, President and Chief Technology Officer at Ion Interactive, began the session with a challenge to the typical landing page format. “Landing pages look the same today as they did five years ago,” he observed. Scott offered three ways marketers can move beyond the standard with their landing pages:

Internet Marketing Conference Tips: Chris Sherman Third Door Media

Figuring out how to get the most out of internet marketing conferences takes experience with plenty of conferences, including events like Search Engine Strategies happening in San Jose this week. So it seems fitting to follow up on Danny Sullivan’s advice with the insight of fellow Minnesotan, Chris Sherman.

Chris is co-founder of Third Door Media as well as the SMX conferences, has a search marketing consulting business and has been as involved with the details of conference programming, moderating and speaking as anyone you can find.

When torn between going to one session over another, go to the one that has fewest attendees. With so many people live blogging conferences these days, the odds are good that someone (or many) will be covering the popular session, so you’ll effectively get a two-fer even without personally attending both.