Lee Odden

Should your SEO firm give you a guarantee?

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Many search engine optimization firms still tout guarantees of top ten rankings. A specific ranking or position guarantee on organic search engine listings is not practical for a couple of reasons:

1. Search Engines are in Control – SEO firms do not have control over how search engines algorithmically rank pages. We can identify the strong influencers and use what has worked in the past to achieve top rankings, but if a Search Engine decides to change the way it ranks pages, goes out of business, gets acquired, or adds/changes their source of search results data, there is really not much a SEO firm can do about that. However, a good SEO will know about these things before they happen and have a plan of attack to minimize traffic and ranking effects, if any, to the client site.

Lee Odden

Latent Semantic Indexing

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Very nice post by SEO Book, I mean Search Engine eBook, ah how about Search Marketing Guide? 🙂 about Latent Semantic Indexing. The idea is related to what I’ve seen described as “contextual relavency” where a search engine (like Google) ranks a document in part based on the related concepts in the page as a whole and compares them to other related documents in the index. What this means for your SEO efforts is explained in more detail in the post, but one take-away is to be sure you mix up your anchor text as well as keyword useage on-page.

Additional resources on this topic are posted at SEO Roundtable.

 

Lee Odden

New Vote Business Blogging Awards

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

The first voting script for the Business Blogging Awards apparently had some issues, so a new voting system is in place and any votes prior to today have been scrapped.

So please take a moment and cast your vote for Best SEO Blog
Our blog is listed as: Online Marketing SEO Blog

Additional categories to vote for include:
Best Overall Blog
Best Group Blog
Best New Blog
Best Law Blog
Best VC/Entrepreneur Blog
Best Financial Industry/Investment Blog
Best Personal Finance Blog
Best Blog by a Small Business
Best Blog About Small Business
Best PR Blog
Best Tech Company Blog
Best Media Blog
Best Real Estate Blog
Best Marketing Blog
Best Project Management Blog
Best Leadership Blog
The Picasso Award (Best Design)
The Peacock Award (Most Self-Important)
The Chris Pirillo Award (For Shameless Self Promotion)

Lee Odden

Google AdWords – Enhancements in Store?

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

I just took a Google Advertising Professionals survey and there were some interesting questions that suggest some enhancements may be in store:

Potential Google Advertising Professionals Program Enhancements:

  • Ability to have Google bill your clients directly and pass on a service fee to you for managing their AdWords accounts
  • A means to verify whether or not someone is a Qualified Google Advertising Professional
  • A Microsoft Windows-based tool for more easily uploading and downloading AdWords campaigns
  • Technical support by phone for a fee
  • Ability to add your company’s logo into reports within My Client Center
  • Directory listing of all Google Advertising Professionals on Google.com
  • Ability to be a tester for new AdWords features and functionality before public release

Potential Tools Offered by Google to Help Sell AdWords:

Lee Odden

Google Employee Blog Disabled

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

An ex-Microsoft employee who now works for Google started a blog which has interestingly been removed from the Google index.

From various sources including SEO Roundtable

An interesting post from one of the blog posts that was removed includes a comment after attending the Google sales conference:

“so after the interesting financials, the products team gave presentations reviewing product performance in 2004 and giving sneak peeks of the products we’ll unveil in 2005. if you guys thought gmail and google groups were cool, you ain’t seen nothing yet! ”

Full content of the blog can still be viewed at bloglines.com

Lee Odden

More on Folksonomy

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

As a follow up to the post on Nick’s excellent post on Folksonomies, here are some additional notes on sites that use tags to organize information.

Tagsurf – In the tagging spirit of Flickr and Del.icio.us, Tagsurf is an online message board which uses tags to help organize subjects instead of threads or channels. Currently in “Alpha” but seems to be picking up steam. Definitely worth checking out.

Furl – I list this one because Technorati tag search results are now pulling tag data from Del.icio.us and Furl. Furl allows you to archive web pages and provides up to 5 gigabytes of storage. Your collections of archived pages can be private or public and you can “share” ie promote, your archived pages via email or RSS feed. And, uh, it’s part of Looksmart.

Lee Odden

Search engine users confused yet confident

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

The results of a new survey from the Pew Internet & American Life project conducted by telephone among a sample of 2,200 adults was published. While many searchers appear confident about their ability to find information, a suprising number can’t tell the difference between paid and unpaid search results.

Commentary from Wired:

“…only 38 percent of web searchers even know of the distinction, [between paid and unbiased links] and of those, not even half –47 percent — say they can always tell which are paid. That comes out to only 18 percent of all web searchers knowing when a link is paid.”

Additional key findings outlined on SearchEngineWatch:

Lee Odden

Diversify your search marketing portfolio

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Now that MSN has dropped Yahoo in favor of it’s own search engine and AOL has made major changes to it’s search engine, there’s no doubt competition for search is heating up again. While Google still sends the vast majority of referring search engine traffic to most sites, make note of these recent search engine changes as there are an increasing number of opportunities to diversify your search marketing portfolio.

To get an idea of where search results data comes from with each search engine, take a look at these search engine relationship charts:

Bruce Clay – Pretty much started the whole search engine relationship charting thing
Search This – Search engine decoder
SearchEngineWatch – A tabular version with no Flash, but effective

Lee Odden

Blog Marketing Tips

Here are a few quick tips we’ve used to rank #1 on Google for targeted terms as well as increase the number of unique visitors to this blog 300% in the past month. However, execution and timing are key.

1. Be sure your blog template is optimized for search engines like you would a web site

2. Submit the blog everywhere you would submit a web site: search engines, directories, linking, etc

3. Submit the blog to blog and RSS search engines, directories and news aggregators

4. Use Technorati tags in your blog posts and bookmark your posts in del.icio.us and even flickr your product images – folksonomies are your future

5. Ping your blog posts to all major blog/RSS aggregators with each post – automate this if you can

Lee Odden

The well covered issue of comment spam & nofollow

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Google, Yahoo, MSN, several major blog software services are supporting the implementation of a nofollow link attribute in an effort to quell comment spam. Of course this relies on the owner of the blog or web site to actually implement the tag properly or at all, in order for it to be effective. As far as blogs go, I would expect the 80/20 rule probably applies in that the smaller percentage of blogs recieve the majority of traffic. Those bloggers are most likely to be very savvy to the comment spam issue because of their visibility and involvment. They’re most likely to start using such a tag. But it will take a long time without mass acceptance which appears to be happening.

Lee Odden

Clustering Search

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Search Engine Blog mentions a Microsoft project, MSRA SRC Toolbar which you can install to provide clustered search results. The tool is very much in “beta” as far as it’s functionality. You can only search MSN, MSN Beta or MSN News. Results are clustered in the left window and web pages in the right. Clustered results can be exanded to sub categories.

In comparison, Clusty from Vivisimo is far more refined. There was a good article on Clusty recently in BusinessWeek Online, “Building a Smarter Search Engine” If you want to get clustered search results from MSN, the MSRA SRC Toolbar is an interesting find.

Lee Odden

Google Facts

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Some interesting Google facts from a BayCHI lecture at PARC given by Marissa Mayer (Product Manager for Google) as posted by Alan Williamson.
“A very well attended (standing room only session), Marissa took us through a presentation geared around the user experience at Google and the efforts/lengths they go to.”

Some interesting facts came out:

1. The prime reason the Google home page is so bare is due to the fact that the founders didn’t know HTML and just wanted a quick interface. Infact it was noted that the submit button was a long time coming and hitting the RETURN key was the only way to burst Google into life.