Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is all about positioning content in front of a relevant audience during the most opportune time in the buying cycle. Because 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine and 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results, SEO is an essential tactic to include in your digital marketing mix.

 

Recognized as a top source of information about search marketing and how it integrates with other digital marketing tactics, TopRank is dedicated to sharing our expert knowledge on SEO best practices and helping you take your optimization game to the next level. Heck, we wrote the book on optimization, Optimize: How to Attract, Engage and Convert More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing.

 

Browse our SEO articles to find tips, guides, news, expert interviews and much more.

 

Lee Odden

Search Engine News Blog

When I first started Online Marketing Blog in Dec 2003, it was mostly a reblog. I would post links to articles I found interesting on the web. I would also add comments to those links.  When I transferred the blog away from blogspot.com hosting to it’s own domain name and WordPress, I also stopped posting news links for the most part and moved those sorts of posts to a blog I was using to develop article ideas. I’ve had Thomas update the layout of that blog and it is now called Search Marketing News.

Lee Odden

SES Chicago: Q&A on Links with the Search Engines

I had some distractions earlier in the day and did not get to blog any of the pre-lunch sessions. So here’s the first post-lunch session:  Links Q/A with Search Engines moderated Detlev Johnson from PositionTech.  This session is a combination of short presenations followed up with Questions and Answers.

Speakers include:  Kaushal Kurapati – Ask Jeeves, Charles Martin – Google, Tim Mayer – Yahoo, Ramez Naam – MSN.

Detlev announces a part this evening sponsored by WebmasterRadio, Bruce Clay, PositionTech, TrueLocal and NY Times.  This is kind of funny: Tim Mayer takes a photo from the podium of Barry Schwartz blogging from the front row.

First up was Kaushal Kurapati from Ask Jeeves to talk about how links work with Ask Jeeves.

Links from high quality pages are best.

Lee Odden

SES Chicago Day 2 Wrap Up

This is the first SES conference I’ve been to where there were no large scale events sponsored by any of the major search engines. There are smaller, invite-only gatherings, but they only involve a small number of attendees. 

I opted to check out some of the Chicago steak houses recommended to me by Jolina, one our Public Relations rockstars, who is from the area.

On Sunday, Andy from WebCertain and I first checked out Harry Caray’s.  This place is definitely a Chicago tradition in sports bars. Unfortunatley, their interpretation of what "medium" means was very different than what Andy and I had in mind. Service was excellent though.

Lee Odden

SES Chicago: SEM via Communities, Wikipedia & Tagging

More Search Engine Strategies goodness from Chicago: SEM via Communities, Wikipedia & Tagging

Moderated by Danny SUllivan.  Speakers included: Jeff Watts – National Instruments, Andy Hagans – Text Link Ads, Aaron Wall – SEOBook, Jim Boykin – WeBuildPages

First up was Jeff Watts of National Instruments.

National Instruments approach to community:

Traffic = Community + Search + Content

Very focused on content development. NI looks at community as a way to find out what people are looking for relevant to their web site.

Any conversation about community needs to start about buzz. Need to make sure you a part of the conversation. Alludes to Cluetrain:  “The conversation is going to take place, the issue is whether you choose to take part or not.”

Lee Odden

SES Chicago Keynote with Danny Sullivan

Keynote Day 2 of Search Engine Strategies with Danny Sullivan

Danny says keynotes should be inspiring.

How are we (search marketers) viewed? 
Shows photo of guy wearing spam shirt and drinking a beer.

Shows quotes from various sources characterizing SEOs as:  Worthless, shady, criminals, cockroaches

Who to blame?  

Blach Hats:
Blog spamming, keyword stuffing, content thieves, cloaking

But consider some contradictions:

  • Some news sources are allowed to cloak
  • Large respected pubs selling links
  • Web site of respected blog software maker hosting spam pages

White Hats:
Algorithm ingnorant, simple tips overselling, industry best practices

Consider:  

  • Simple tips aren’t simple to people who don’t know
  • Working with designers and others to do content SEO is a skill
Lee Odden

Search Marketers to Spend $5.7 Billion – 2005 SEMPO Survey

After the last session about advanced keyword research, SEMPO held a reception where they were to announce some of the preliminary findings of what Dana Todd called their annual "big ass survey". 

The SEMPO state of the industry survey run last year provided some very interesting and insightful statistics about how marketers are using search marketing as well as future expectations.

The 2004 SEMPO survey indicated search marketers planned to spend about $4 billion on paid search, organnic and paid inclusion. The 2005 SEMPO survey reports that number to rise to $5.7 billion as announced by Kevin Lee of SEMPO’s Research Committee. Confetti flew at the SEMPO reception as Kevin announced more statistics out of the survey.

A press release about more details of the survey are forthcoming.

Lee Odden

SES: Advanced Search term Research Tools

The next session I was able to blog at Chicago Search Engine Strategies was Advanced Search term Research Tools Moderated by Detlev Johnson of PositionTech.

Speakers included:  Christine Churchill – KeyRelevance, Lori Weiman – KeywordMax, Shayn Ryan – LSI Systems, James Lamberti – Comscore, David Warmuz – Trellian

Christine was first up and started with keyword selection consideration for PPC and SEO.

Things to look at:

  • Relevance
  • Keyword popularity = traffic potential
  • State in buying process
  • Competition

Golden rule:  It’s not about the keyword YOU want to be found on. It’s about the keywords the end users are looking at.

Tools:

  • AdWords
  • Yahoo/Overture
  • GoodKeywords.com
  • Wordtracker
  • KeywordIntelligence.com
  • KeywordDiscovery.com
Lee Odden

Blogs About SEO and Search Engines

In just a few weeks, Online Marketing Blog will be 2 years old. Dec 28 to be exact. It started out as a blogspot blog using Blogger (still ranks #1 for "seo blog" on Google ??) and I finally got it moved to it’s own domain name and WordPress in the past month or so.

Starting out as a personal project rather than an intentional marketing effort, I spent the greater part of those 2 years experimenting with what to write and what audience OMG serves. In the end I just write whatever I feel like and have time to. Sometimes it may come off as a business blog especially with the gratuitous self promotion (hey, I’m a marketer) but there are often articles, tips and resources that come as a result of working in the search marketing business and being active in the industry.

Lee Odden

Domain Name Traffic Monetization

Lee Odden     Pubcon, Search Marketing, SEO

Frank Michlick posts about a trend in purchasing domain names citing articles from Business 2.0 and the Wall Street Journal.

Interestingly, last week at the Pubcon search engine marketing conference, I met people from two different domain name broker/buyer/management/monetization companies: Moniker.net and Oversee.net.

During my discussion with the fellow from Moniker, a prominent SEO mentioned he’d spent $1000 the night before (had to get his fix) buying up domain names for the purpose of parking them to monetize traffic.

To be honest, I had noticed people doing this, but did not realize the momentum it has gained as an advertising practice and method of generating revenue.

Update: Here’s an interesting site I found that offers a way to monteize your unused domains: http://www.trafficclub.com/

Lee Odden

Pubcon X Wrap Up

The conference portion of Pubcon ended yesterday. Exhibitors pulled down their booths promptly at about 5pm. It would be great if there was more time in between sessions to visit the exhibit hall though. Overall, it was a great show and opportunity to connect with many of the leaders in search marketing.

Yahoo drew a lot of attention to the Yahoo Publisher Network (YPN) program and seems very committed to building a great program for publishers and advertisers.

Yahoo also announced the availability for blog publishers that are participating in the beta YPN program to place ads in their RSS feeds. That’s something that I will be testing with this blog very soon. Feedback is welcome.

Lee Odden

Pubcon X – Link Building

Lee Odden     Marketing PR Conferences, Pubcon, SEO

Linking is still a critical part of helping sites rank higher in search engines and to drive traffic. This session included linking legend, Eric Ward, Jim Boykin of WeBuildPages and Bill Hartzer of MarketNet.

First up was Jim Boykin WeBuildPages. Jim decided not to speak from the podium and walk the aisle. Google Jagger update. Some did well, some not. Shortcuts are no good.

He presented a list of linking paranoia that pops up every time there’s a shift in rankings.

What does Google rank highly?

EDU, GOV
High TrustRank (lots of authority and .edu backlinks)
Huge and powerful websites sub pages (Amazon)
Old page that never changes, but gets steady links over time
New page on old stablished sites (good internal links)
Old sites that update and get a steady flow of backlinks that coincide with new content additions

Lee Odden

Pubcon X Big Site – Big Brand – Big SEO

This session was moderated by Stephanie Leffler of Monster eCommerce and included: Marshall D. Simmonds, Jeremy Sanchez, Chris Zaharias, Bill Wise

First up Marshall Simmonds from NY Times (About.com) who talked (very fast) about the complexities of search engine optimization for large publishers.

His employer, the NY Times also hosts several other publications adding to the size and complexity of their SEO initiative.

With the NY Times, he wanted to make it focused, but the NY Times ego created unrealistic expectations. As with many prominent companies, they equated their reputation in the offline world with justification for ranking well online.

Issues contributing to the complexity of big site SEO included: large amount of content, writers not familiar with web writing. rigid CMS and others.