Archives for December 2007

Getting to First Base: A Social Media Marketing Playbook

Getting to First Base
[Note from Lee: Is that chicken wearing a garter belt?]

Beginning with a blog post on creative blogger pitches, Darren and Julie caught TopRank’s attention with Lee Odden’s name showcased on a flirty pink envelope. Watching Lee dig through the mail looking for his pink envelope only intrigued me more, and I knew I had to read this guide to social media – not only for review purposes, but to enjoy the romantic innuendos and maybe even pick up on a few dating tips for future reference. 🙂

Immediately, the tongue-in-cheek section titles such as “A Social Media Love-In”, “Size Matters” and “I Totally Digg You” grab your attention in this social media guide offered by Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo. This humor mixed in with an exciting field like social media made for an enjoyable read as I learned how to initiate the first date and get to first base; well, in the social media world anyway.

Top Online Marketing Blog Posts 2007

A lot of work can go into producing and promoting a popular blog. While we’ve made some progress in terms of raising the visibility of TopRank and have made a tremendous number of connections, I think we’re really only “half way there” as far as where we could be. Using blogs as a marketing and PR tool is a process of planning, execution, measurement and refinement like any other tactic. We’ll continue that trend with new features and design in 2008.

In the past when we’ve posted the most popular blog posts for the year, it was based purely on the number of visits. This time, we’re taking into account a mix of metrics including: visits, inbound links, comments and social bookmarks from services like Del.icio.us and StumbleUpon.

TopRank Tips: Conference Live Blogging

conference-blogging1.jpg

Anyone that reads Online Marketing Blog from time to time knows we do a bit of conference blogging. In fact, during 2007 OMB covered 14 conferences involving nearly 100 blog posts, over 1500 photos and 20 videos. Besides the conference sessions and after hours coverage, we also typically conduct interviews before the events, as well as video interviews during conferences.

The efforts of the TopRank blogging team have enabled Online Marketing Blog to become the first blog to secure an official media sponsorship for just about all major search marketing conferences including: Search Engine Strategies, Search Marketing Expo, WebmasterWorld Pubcon, MediaPost Search Insider Summit and eMetrics Summit. OMB is also ranked by Advertising Age as one of the top marketing blogs on the web.

AdAge Power 150 and Bloglines Reporting Issue

Readers of Online Marketing Blog may have noticed the “ranking” for our blog reported by the AdAge Power 150 widget has dropped from #12 to #43 or so the past week. I just wanted to assure new readers this is not because of any change in subscribers, links or traffic but due to Bloglines not reporting any of our subscribers.

Even though the Bloglines metric reported by AdAge is zero (we actually have over 1300 subscribers) OMB still ranks in the top 50 on the AdAge Power 150 with a score of 61. Add to that the 13 we’d normally get for the number of Bloglines subscribers and the score for Online Marketing Blog hits 74, which ranks us somewhere between #9 and #13 as there are several others with the same score.

Happy Holidays from TopRank!

 

Frozen Sunrise Lake Minnetonka

The great thing about winter in Minnesota when you’re in a computer/indoors intensive profession, is that there aren’t as many distractions to go outside. Compared to all the snow and ice, back link analysis and code optimization seems pretty appealing.

I’m not sure how many of our readers are in warm climates, but I thought I’d share a few chilly Minnesota photos from today:

Frozen Morning on Lake Minnetonka
Lake Minnetonka on the way into the office in the am. I really shouldn’t be taking pictures and driving at the same time. 🙂

Ice Houses on Lake Minnetonka
The two ice fishing houses on the lake outside our office. Besides the satellite TV, they’re probably outfitted with an easy chair, refrigerator, card table, hot plate and wireless internet. Oh, and probably a small fishing rod – you never can tell.

A Story of US Bank Visa Losing Yet Another Customer

[Start Rant]

Anyone in the search biz who knows me, knows I’m a pretty easy going person and sometimes even rational. 🙂 My experience with usbank Visa both in the past and today trying to buy a product online and later a domain name transfer gave me a good taste of the unreasonable way seemingly reasonable companies are serving customers. And making it difficult to stay on as customers.

First, I attempted to purchase a product I was planning to use as a prize for a contest at our office. I should have just had Amie take care of this stuff, but I thought it would only take a few seconds like most of the monthly online purchases I make. However, in this case, the online merchant checkout screen said there was a problem with the usbank Visa.

Google DoubleClick Deal Good to Go

At the SIS conference last week there were a number of DoubleClick employees in attendance. In fact, I sat next to Cam Blazer during dinner one night and any speculation or questions about Google and the acquisition approval from the FTC had to be answered with a “We’ll have to see” sort of answer.

Well, now the Google DoubleClick deal is official and the news is lighting up the web.

I for one, would love to get a few questions answered, like “How does it work for a search engine to own an agency that provides PPC and SEO services like DoubleClick Performics?”

SIS Session: Microsoft New Keyword Services Platform

Microsoft adCenter

The sponsored lunch today at Search Insider Summit comes from Microsoft adCenter which included a demo of their new Keyword Services Platform and add-in to Excel 2007.

Stacy Harris from Microsoft adCenter

Stacy Harris:
Feedback from marketers is that traffic is good, but they want more of it. Marketers also want AdCenter to be easier to use.

Natala Menezes Microsoft adCenter

Natala Menezes is up next and promptly announces Stacy was engaged last night!

Key points for current and future development of adCenter: Quality, Transparency and Simplicity.

What does this mean to keyword research, optimization and analysis? Access to real data, not just graphs including demographic and geographic information. It also means easy to use tools including keyword libraries and an adCenter add-in for Excel 2007 which focuses Keyword research, forecasting and monetization data.

SIS Opening Remarks Gord Hotchkiss

Gord Hotchkiss

Opening remarks: Gord Hotchkiss, CEO & President, Enquiro —Emcee of the Search Insider Summit

Where is search at? This year was the first time seeing a major change to what users see via universal or combined search, as well as the beginning of personalization and search term suggestions or query refinement.

Gord recently talked to usability people at the major search engines via a webinar which can be found at enquiroresearch.com

The “holy grail” of search is disambiguation, i.e. understanding user intent.

Four things that came out of the webinar.

Personalization holds promise, but in 2008 it’s not going to impact user experience that much. Engines like Google will continue to play with personalization in the coming year, but don’t expect much.

Link It Up – Fun Links from the Inbox

We get lots of links recommendations daily from friends, industry peers, PR interns who have absolutely no idea what they’re doing and way too many mindless bots. In a moment of weakness as I wait for the opening reception for SIS to start, I thought I’d share a few worthy links from others and a few of our own.

Stairway to Google Heaven – Mel Carson from Microsoft was inspired by the Fishkins Rand and Gillian to write this blog post ode to what search marketing can do for good causes.

he finer points of top rankings – podcast interview with small business marketing legend, John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing and myself on leveraging social media and networking channels such as Twitter, MyBlogLog and StumbleUpon. mp3

Marketing Sherpa Email Summit

marketing-sherpa-emailmarketingsummit.png

This announcement might be a bit early, but I think the last Marketing Sherpa Email Summit sold out pretty quickly. This is an event (in Miami February 24th-26th) that’s near and dear to TopRank’s marketing consulting services which are made up of: search, PR and email marketing. Out of those three “legs”, email marketing is by far the most productive in terms of ROI and conversion rates.

What’s great about this conference is that it’s all about email and nothing else. Sliced and diced into 3 tracks (BtoB, Advanced BtoC and Operations) as well as 5 general and 36 breakout sessions, there’s “something for everyone”, as they say. There’s also an opportunity to get “certified” as an email marketing expert through a package that includes both the Summit and an online course.