Archives for December 2006

Session: Social Media Optimization

This is a bit of a late post but I want to get it out there before it gets swallowed up by all the other half-finished posts in my WordPress control panel. 🙂

I am happy to say that the session on social media optimization with Neil Patel, Andy Hagans, Rand Fishkin, Todd Malicoat and I during SES Chicago last week went pretty well. Todd and I did not do PowerPoint presentations but we did get a few minutes to introduce ourselves and talk a little bit about SMO.

Neil started things off with a very unique and humorous explanation of Wikipedia. Basically, “Don’t spam Wikipedia.”

Rand followed up with an excellent review of the various social media sites ranging from digg to StumbleUpon to reddit. He made excellent points on how these communities are sensitive to promotion and provided general guidelines for interacting with them.

Yahoo and Google Copying Each Other

For some good humor, check out the following posts by Jeremy Zawodny from Yahoo and Matt Cutts from Google. Jeremey points out a striking similarity between the Yahoo and Google MSIE splash pages. Google has changed the splash page to something else by now.

Matt responds in that very politically correct and polite way that Matt does and then he points out how Yahoo has been copying Google’s PPC ad layouts.

I’ve seen other examples of this sort of thing shared with me by a search engine employee and I guess it’s bound to happen. They watch each other so closely and there are so many teams involved that stuff like this can slip by. Although, the ad formats and colors are pretty hard to miss. 🙂

Google Updates Finance

It’s been six months since Google launched their Finance offering and Google announced today that several new features have been added including:

  • Enhanced Charts: Up to 40 years of historical data for US stocks is now available.
  • Market Trends: A “top-mover‚Äù module on the Google Finance homepage now highlights the market’s top moving companies which are featured categorically by price, market cap, volume, and number of queries.
  • Customizable Portfolios: You can now store multiple portfolios and upload information from other online portfolios with several customization options.
  • New Design: Users can now also view currency information, sector performance for the US market, and a listing of top market movers.
  • Portfolios on Personalized Homepage: If you use the Google Personalized Homepage, you can now view portfolios there.

HatBait Voting Starts

Here is a little fun for your Monday and it’s called HatBait.

HatBait - Thomas - Cow HatWhat’s HatBait? Well it’s a fun little contest/promotional piece where Linda ambushed us all at SES in Chicago and asked us if we’d pose for her HatBait contest. Since she offered a free link, it was hard to resist.

Now she’s got them all up online and you get to vote for our favorite picture. Some look better than others and cows always rock!

Get your vote in by Wednesday and may the best hat picture win.

[tags]hatbait, linkbait[/tags]

Place Your Votes for Hat Bait

lee-hatbait.jpg
(I’m crazy for hatbait)
On the tails of the Drink Bait promotion during WebmasterWorld Pubcon in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, Li from Search Marketing Gurus ran a very interesting “Hat Bait” promo during the Chicago Search Engine Strategies conference. I believe she has the largest single collection of labeled SEO photos anywhere!

Everyone from Danny Sullivan to MC Detlev posed with one of Li’s funky hats. Now’s your chance to vote (via comments) on which photo of a search marketer wearing a silly hat is your favorite.

I think some other creative variations for “bait” that include some social media could be:

Song Bait – Video SEOs singing a particular song. Everyone sings the same song and views vote on their favorite.
Smile Bait – Vote for best smile.
Joke Bait – Video SEOs telling their best jokes.

TopRank SES Chicago Wrap Up

Google Webmaster Central Audience
Last week’s Search Engine Strategies conference was jam packed with information, networking, some fun and a little business too. What I like about conferences in Chicago is that it’s only an hour flight from Minneapolis, so I can leave on the last day of the conference and get home at a decent time. These days with a growing family and the biz, I need all the productive time I can get.

For anyone that reads this blog, you know we try to do our part and walk the talk on the social media front by offering photos on Flickr, videos, tags and bookmarks – and the SES Chicago conference was no different. We blogged 14 sessions, did 7 video interviews and posted 61 photos (so far). Our SEO Designer and go-to guy for anything related to blogs, Thomas McMahon joined me on this trip and earned his keep by doing a great job blogging most of the sessions covered here.

SES Chicago Clicktracks Party

John Marshall
One cannot go an evening at a Search Engine Strategies conference without some type of revelry and Wednesday night was no exception. Clicktracks delivered an encore of sorts by having a party at B.L.U.E.S. which is where TrueLocal had a party two days prior.

ClickTracks Party SES Chicago
Guests were treated to drinks, food and the musical stylings of Chico Banks and the Candy Lickers – yep, that’s right. There was an additional singer to rev things up (didn’t catch his name though) added after a few songs.

John Marshall, Laura Thieme
As you can see John and Laura Thieme got up and put it down on the dance floor along with other SES party goers.

Thank you to Dan and John of ClickTracks for a great party!

Session: Ad Copy & Landing Page Optimization

This was an open discussion session where users submitted their sites to get the Google ad copy critiqued and the landing page looked over for quality and usability. Tips included:

  • Keep important information towards the top of the landing page.
  • Be detailed and don’t just assume your visitors know your services.
  • Simpler the better.
  • Put simple URLs in ads.
  • Try sentence caps vs small caps.
  • Image quality on landing page matters. Make it look good.
  • Whitespace is good.
  • Bullet points give a great way for users to scan information. Long blocks are bad.
  • Should be easy and quick to digest the copy.
  • Always be sure you know, and your visitors now, the target of the ad. What’s the call to action?

Session: Big Ideas for Small Sites & Small Budgets

This session covered things from what a small business owner should be paying attention to, what you shouldn’t, and gave ideas, tips an information for the small business owner. All great tips to consider when trying to compete with the larger companies.

  • Stop algorithm chasing and forget about magic formulas like % of keywords on the page.
  • Link age is becoming more and more important.
  • Click backs becoming more important. Example: If someone clicks on your listing in Google, then returns seconds later to the Google results, it tells the engine that that ranking wasn’t a good match for that person.
  • Latent Semantic indexing is becoming more important.
  • Speak the customers language and don’t just optimize for search engines.

SES Chicago Videos – Neil Patel & Cameron Olthius

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Well, maybe that should be Neil and Cameron of Advantage Consulting Services, since they are not strangers to after conference festivities nor are they strangers to some of the most successful social media optimization campaigns being run in the SEO industry. Cameron covers the fun part and Neil talks about the SMO or social media optimization panel he spoke on regarding Wikipedia.

 

Cameron and Neil write an excellent blog at Pronet Advertising.

Some SES Chicago Swag

Checking out the expo hall, there are always a few great deals and lots of free iPods to sign up for. I skipped most of the iPods this year as I was a afraid of all the follow-up emails and/or sales calls.

However, here is some good swag that I did pick up.

SES Chicago Swag
Click the image for layover descriptions.

  • Google color changing orb.
  • Unica Keychane game.
  • Lycos fish stress ball & document clip.
  • Netconcepts climbing hook and compass.
  • Yellowpages highlighter with built in Post-It flags
  • Network Solutions multi-color lightup pen.
  • Ask pen that writes very nice and has a nice design.
  • Bruce Clay Tangle toy.
  • WebTrends magnets.
  • Yahoo magnetic toy in tin.
  • Truelocal rocket toy.
  • DoubleClick electronic die.

Click Fraud, Mafia and Terrorists

At the end of the SES Chicago show WebmasterRadio.fm held a press conference announcing some jaw dropping information about data being analyzed regarding click fraud being used to fund terrorist organizations as well as organized crime.

I shot about 13 min of video with Daron Babin and Jim Hedger speaking most of the time along with Dave Naylor, Mikkel deMib Svendsen and Jeremy Shoemaker chiming in. As with the other videos I’ve shot, I will upload when I have a better internet connection.

These are very serious topics and statements being made and Daron mentioned that log data provided by AIT web hosting is still being analyzed.

For an in-depth look at the situation, visit Search Engine Journal where Loren Baker provides a rundown along with a screen shot example.