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.

Lee Odden

New Video Search Engines Launch

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Yahoo launches video search engine. It searches for files in Microsoft’s Windows Media, Apple Computer’s QuickTime and RealNetwork’s Real Media. From CNet

It’s a bit like image search. You enter your keyword phrase and search results come back in a grid of thumbnails. Click on a thumbnail and it splits the screen into two frames (horizontal) with the thumbnail at the top including a “Play Video” link and the original web page below – much like Google images.

Blinkx video search engine is launched. Sources include Fox News, HBO, ESPN, National Public Radio and the BBC World Service. From ZDNet

Lee Odden

SEMPO Estimates 2004 Search Engine Marketing Spend at $4 Billion

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

SEMPO Finds Advertisers Will Spend $4 Billion Dollars in 2004 on Search Engine Marketing. 2005 estimated at 39% higher according to their recently released research paper, The State of Search Engine Marketing 2004.”

Official Summary:

ÙÄÇÉ Brand awareness is advertisers’ top objective for SEM programs, particularly
large firms
ÙÄÇÉ ROI is outpacing inflation: Advertisers say they could afford to pay on average
33% more for price of keywords and remain profitable, while they say prices have
gone up 26% on average in the last 12 months
ÙÄÇÉ SEM is poaching budget from shopping directory listings, web advertising, email
and print ads
ÙÄÇÉ Senior executives consider SEM a high business priority at 50% of advertiser
respondents
ÙÄÇÉ Advertisers plan to increase their SEM spending 41% on average in 2005
ÙÄÇÉ Most advertisers plan to manage the majority of their SEM spending in-house
in 2005

Lee Odden

Topic Maps & Clustering

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Wired ran an interesting article recently about how the U.S. Government is using topic maps to provide context for words that have multiple meanings. This would help infer meaning in examples like: Mustang car or Mustang horse?

This is the challenge for search engines as well. Clustering tools like those offered by Vivisimo’s Clusty search engine appear to be quite effective, but not widely adopted. A search on “Mustang” clusters groups of search results according to topics like “Parts”, “Horse” and a town in Oklahoma. This is a lot more helpful than a similar search on Google which displays mostly car web sites in the first page of results.

Lee Odden

Webmaster World Search Conference

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

It’s a bit late to post on this I know, but it’s been a very eventful past 2 weeks.

The WW Search Conference in Las Vegas was an excellent event. It was well-attended and the content very useful ranging from Online PR to big/dynamic site optimization. It was quite entertaining to hear Greg Boser and Daron Babin reminisce about days past “brute force algorithm hacking” and cloaking – if you’re into that sort of thing.

Here’s great post on the Yahoo Search Blog. Yahoo and WebmasterRadio.FM threw a great “Casino Night” part at Rain, a nightclub in the Palms.

Also, Barry Schwarz from RustyBrick does an excellent job summarizing the conference.

Lee Odden

BtoB SEO Found Lacking

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Studies by SEM firm OneUpWeb and JupiterResearch indicate most BtoB sites are barely optimized, if at all. What it boils down to is a lack of education on the benefits of SEO. BtoB marketers think because they have big ticket products/services and typically longer sales cylces, that natural search visibility is of “no importance whatsoever”. From BtoB Online.

Some of the BtoB marketers out there just don’t get it. The sale may not occur online as is the case with consumer goods, but the credibility that comes with top ranking on both general industry keyword phrases and relevant, specific solutions phrases is priceless. It’s like getting press in an Industry publication read by your prospects. PLUS what’s the cost of NOT gaining top ranking in your category?

Lee Odden

MSN Search Engine and Desktop Search

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

MSN prepares to promote search engine launch – from newmediazero

Former Yahoo exec becomes Blinkx CEO. Also included in this announcement: “Microsoft Corp. plans to launch a test version of Blinkx’s desktop search product by the end of the year.”

So Yahoo is building their own Desktop search and Microsoft will try a version of Blinkx. At least that’s what the current story is.

Lee Odden

BtoB Search Marketing

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Google Rules BtoB Search
Excellent article from Marketing Sherpa and Enquiro based on surveys taken by 1,500 business execs and IT pros.

Lesson #1. Google’s dominance is overwhelming in B-to-B
Lesson #2. Searchers are often warm (not yet hot) prospects
Lesson #3. Organic results are far more noticed than paid ads
Lesson #4. Position counts for clicks – but so does your copy
Lesson #5. 18.9% of Prospects Visit You *Before* Search Engines

Full article from Marketing Sherpa

BtoB Search Myths
One of the BtoB Myths metioned in the article that I often hear: “People don’t do searches for big ticket B2B products and services.” The article gives some good examples of how that’s just not true. We have client SEO programs that also prove it’s not true. A search on Wordtracker or Overture keyword suggestion tools for any of a variety of big ticket concepts reveals a pretty healthy amount of search activity.

Lee Odden

Search Engine News

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Search Engines = Satisfaction – Pew Internet & American Life Project and comScore Networks revealed in a Data Memo on Search Engines Report that use of search engines ranks behind only e-mail as a frequent online activity and that 87% of search engine users say they find the information they want most of the time. Nothing new to those in search engine marketing, but the data is important to reinforce the fact that users are increasingly satisfied with their search experience. From an advertiser’s perspective that means search engines visibility will continue as an important contributor to brand exposure as well as a direct lead and sales tool. Via MediaDaily News

Lee Odden

Search Engine Strategies San Jose

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

I have to say, the Search Engine Strategies, San Jose conference was amazing. What an incredible collection of people, all interested in the online marketing space. I heard estimates of 2500 – 4000 attendees, by far the largest showing of any SES show to date. Representatives from Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask and others presented at multiple sessions, providing priceless information on the current state and future of the search engine industry and marketing online.

I also met some great presenters and attendees of the show – too many to list here.

What’s really incredible is that my company now has direct insight into the nature of search marketing that we can bring to our clients, adding tremendous value the services we provide. I am recommending more of our staff attend the next SES conference in Chicago later this year.