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.

Lee Odden

Apple Spotlight desktop search

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be more desktop search releases, ZDNet UK News reports that at Macworld Steve Jobs gets bold and describes Apple’s new built-in search functionality “Spotlight” as better than Google and Microsoft. Obviously he hasn’t used Yahoo desktop search because it’s been working fantastically for me. Much faster and easier to use than Google or Blinkx so far. I have not tried MSN desktop search yet.

Lee Odden

SEO Blog

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Recently I had this SEO blog redesigned by Thomas, our resident design-savvy SEO guy. Feedback regarding layout and content would be much appreciated. We want to make sure this blog is providing the kind of information you want regarding search engine news, site optimization, search marketing and online PR.

I’ll even throw out an incentive: I have 10 Gmail accounts to give away to the first 10 feedback comments. Please use a good email address otherwise I won’t be able to send out the Gmail invite.

Lee Odden

Search Marketing Drama: SMA-NA & SEMPO

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Recently Threadwatch announced the forming of SMA-NA as an alternative to SEMPO. Recent posts on Threadwatch and SEOBook provide some lively commentary regarding an exchange between Ian McAnerin and Barbara Coll.

I joined SEMPO as an individual member shortly after it was formed thinking it would force me to become more involved with the industry. I had spent the first few years entirely focused on growing our business. I can’t say whether there has been any direct benefit to our firm but I cannot say there has not either. There appear to be a good number of people in SEMPO doing their best to further the search marketing industry. I have no doubt there are a few others who are in it purely for personal gain. But that’s expected to some degree, isn’t it? It’s not right but it happens.

Lee Odden

Search Engines Drive Retail Site Traffic

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

According to Hitwise one if five retail site visits stemmed from a search engine query. Leaders in referring traffic were Google, Yahoo and MSN. No surprises there.

Other comments:

Hitwise also found variation among the three leading search engines when it came to sending users to retail segments. Downstream traffic from Google tended toward books, sports and fitness, and music. Yahoo! Search sent more of its users to video and games, automotive, and classifieds. MSN Search sent a disproportionate number of its referrals to apparel and accessories, house and garden, appliances, and electronics. Also, eBay accounts for 12.68 percent of traffic to shopping sites.

The report also found that 75 percent of keyword searches that resulted in visits to shopping and classifieds contained three words or less.

Lee Odden

Blogs in the U.S.

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Some interesting data from a new report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project regarding blogs. Thanks to Search Engine Watch

* 8 million American adults say they have created blogs
* Blog readership jumped 58% in 2004 and now stands at 27% of internet users
* 5% of internet users say they use RSS aggregators
* 12% of internet users have posted comments or other material on blogs
* 62% of internet users do not know what a blog is (what? your dog? no, blog!)

All I know is, I was trying to read 10-15 email news letters per day to keep up on industry trends taking away hours of valuable billable time. Now through a combination Google and Yahoo News alerts plus my nifty Firefox RSS reader called Sage, I can get this information faster and more efficiently in a fraction of the time. It may take a while, but mass adoption of RSS News is on the way.

Lee Odden

Keyword Research Tools

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Here’s an interesting Keyword Research Tool using Overture and Wordtracker data. It goes a step further than some of the free tools and offers suggestions and a sort of score for how difficult it might be to rank well for a particular keyword phrase.

Another similar free keyword suggestion tool using both Wordtracker and Overture data is offered at Digital Point.

Google suggest can be useful for Google-specifc keyword reseach.

DaveN has made a cool tool that uses Google Suggest data so you can scrape more than the default 10 search term suggestions.

Of course there’s the Overture Keyword Selector, Wordtracker and the Google AdWords Keyword Sandbox.

There are others, but this is all I have time for now.

Hope everyone has had a happy holiday!

Lee Odden

SEO Tools

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

I noticed a few new SEO and Search Tools recently and decided to post several that you might find useful.

New – Backlink Tool – Checks unique domains pointing to a site. From Jim at WeBuildPages (thanks Aaron)

New – Google Suggest Scraper – Enter letters, words and it returns more than the default 10 phrases from Google Suggest. Interesting for keyword research specific to Google. From DaveN who also has several other interesting SEO Tools.

Keyword Pagerank Finder – For all you Pagerank-obsessed-crazed fans out there, this tool lets you search for sites that rank according to their Pagerank. From SEO-Guy who has several other SEO Tools.

Digital Point Keyword Suggestion Tool – Uses Overture AND Wordtracker data plus it’s free. Other useful tools here as well.