Lee Odden

SEO: Rocket Science or Colonoscopy?

Aren’t you glad I didn’t include an image with this post? OK, so SEO isn’t rocket science, but it’s not a colonoscopy either. Well, maybe GooogIe thinks SEO is rocket science, but what do they know. 🙂

What’s with the cliche’s? Cliche’s are simply a way to hide innuendo which was the case when this Dave Pasternack -  SEO/rocket science guff all started. Some of the arguments in this debate are not entirely without merit so I’ll take a humorous and a somewhat practical approach to explaining a few.

One of the common questions that comes out of this silly debate is, “What do we get for that monthly SEO fee?”.

Lee Odden

Playstation 3 Baby!

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, Rant

I couldn’t help myself. The Best Buy employee walking around the games area with a Playstation 3 under his arm was just too tempting. I was there to buy a Nintendo Gameboy Advance game for my oldest and I had to ask, “How many of those PS3’s do you have?”. The BB guy said “6”. I said, “I’ll take it”. And walked out of the store with 1 game, 3 Blu-Ray movies, an HDMI cable and a 60 gig PS3.

Somehow I’ll rationalize this as a purchase for the kids, but who’s kidding who? I know what a stand alone Blu-Ray DVD player costs right now, so in my mind, this was a good deal. Besides, we used our old PS2 for movies 90% of the time anyway.

Lee Odden

The hypocrisy of digg and spam

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, Rant, Social Media

More aggressive SMO marketers often talk about being careful not to get user accounts banned on digg. But what about the domain name? Banning user accounts has to do with the actions of the user. That is, behaviors and actions the user can control.

However, a domain name brings into other considerations. For example, whether or not influential members of the digg community like or don’t like a certain site or topic, regardless of what the mass of digg users respond to in the form of story submissions and votes. The site or blog owner has little control over whether other people submit stories and/or vote on them, bury them or report them as spam. Even if they’re not.

Lee Odden

The Lame PPC and SEO Debate

In yesterday’s interview with Andy Beal, I made reference to comments in a DM News article that cited SEO as on the way out and that SEO is “simple”, positioning PPC as “better” etc. Andy’s response, which I think was not entirely without a sense of humor, invited an interesting response from Richard Ball.

You don’t have to look far to find commentary about PPC vs SEO, some good humor and lively debate.

In a recent article on ClickZ, “Think Organic, Act Paid” Kevin Lee, whom I know and respect as a marketer, talks about how he thinks PPC results will eventually become more relevant than organic results. (Good luck with that) He also makes this interesting comment, “SEO spammers don’t care if they manage to get a high position for keywords and keywords phrases that are less than perfectly relevant…”. I was actually surprised to see the only reference made about SEOs was in combination with the word “spammer”. His position is pretty clear.

Lee Odden

Public Relations Spam and the Bad Pitch

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, Online PR, Rant

It continues to amaze me how many clueless or sloppy PR pitches we get week in and week out. Just last week it ranged from obvious typos/grammatical errors to claims that a story was exclusive and unreleased when a quick check of Google Blog Search showed nothing less than 10 blogs had already posted on the topic. While these are not necessarily dealbreakers for coverage, the one that will guarantee a visit to the trash bin is blatant spin.

I realize as much as anyone, that the job of a public relations expert is to tell compelling stories. But there is a big difference between outright “spin” and a story that is genuinely interesting and newsworthy. Because I am in the public relations business, I may be more suspicious of this than most. But when a pitch relies on a sort of suspension of disbelief effect because of great storytelling, I consider that nothing less than public relations spam.

Lee Odden

Incompetence by Design

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, Rant

Watch out, cat post coming!

Recently a credit card of mine was identified by the issuing bank as possibly having been included in a set of stolen data or online tampering. A new card was issued. Then I went about updating services paid with this card.

One of these services was our phone company and DSL provider, Frontier Communications. After not being able to login to the online bill pay I called and was informed the only way to change the card on file was to login via online bill pay. My description of not being able to login or successfully retrieve login information was falling on deaf ears, so I restate this information. I am informed of Frontier’s excellent security measures and the rep reiterates that the only way to change the card on file is through logging in online, knowing full well that I cannot do that.

Lee Odden

SalesForce.com and SEO Names

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, Rant

In a rare moment of vanity-search weakness (yeah right!), I Googled my name (Lee Odden) and was surprised to see an AdWords ad from salesforce.com. I am not sure why they would do that as there are so many other people in search marketing whose names are searched on more frequently, are well known, more prominent in the industry, etc.

Out of curiosity I started plugging names into Google (50+) to see which ones would pull up more ads from salesforce.com and the only other names pulling up salesforce.com ads were Danny Sullivan and John Battelle.

This is very strange indeed as I don’t belong in the same room as those two guys. The even stranger thing was that the landing page is pure crap. There’s nothing on it. Maybe it’s salesforce.com’s call for search marketing help?

Lee Odden

StartupJournal SEO Nonsense

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, Rant, SEO

There was a Q/A article in the Wall Street Journal’s StartupJournal site on search engine optimization that I’ve been meaning to respond to for a few weeks now. A good question was posed by a small business owner who was confused about “search engine optimizers” and whether they were worth it.

There seem to be two schools of thought from journalists on the topic of SEO. Those that slant it towards evil, worthless and shady. And those that check their facts and present those facts. I’ll let you decide what angle the writer from the StartupJournal was coming from on your own.

The question posed:

“We own a dance-wear Internet store and are completely confused about search-engine optimizers. Are they of value to a smaller company, like us? One optimizer quoted us $40,000 to enhance our Web site and improve our ranking.”

Lee Odden

Lameness in the SEO Biz

It’s all part of doing business in the industry, but I’ve been dealing with more and more parasites lately, so here’s my new definition:

  • Competing agencies that do not specialize in search marketing, but are too lazy to learn. They leech off of your information and good nature for their own betterment offering nothing in return and call it “co-opetition”.
  • Prospects that try every trick in the book to suck how-to information out of you in the name of “learning about the SEO process”.
  • Content spammers, copyright and trademark hacks who will take every last opportunity to rob you of your brand and content.

What do you do?

  • Be smarter about how you package information and be more conservative about setting expectations
Lee Odden

Be Geek Cool and Lose the WWW

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, Rant

Something I’ve been noticing the past few months is an increasing number of web sites that do not use www. Either this is a trend that’s full force and I’ve missed it (busy with SEO clients) or it’s a trend picking up steam. Or maybe it’s a techie geek sort of thing as most of the sites I’ve noticed are a bit geeky. And they would take that designation as a compliment I think.

First I noticed Glen Stansberry’s excellent blog was shortened to just lifedev.net. Then Thomas aka TwisterMC’s new blog, bloggerdesign.com did the same thing.  And just today I noticed Greg Hartnett (greghartnett.com) of BOTW has just said no to the www. It’s not just these sites though, I’ve noticed many others too.

Lee Odden

Get Your Marketing Right Before SEO

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, Rant, SEO

One of the interesting and sometimes challenging things about working in the search marketing business is dealing with the amount of mis-information and lack of understanding about SEO and marketing in general.

When you have an abundance of new business inquires and don’t need to do much outreach through inside or outside sales, it’s a very different situation than a newer company trying to get into the SEO market and build up a base of clients.

With more established companies that have a good reputation in the marketplace and an established client base, less time is spent evangelizing the notion of marketing via search than helping prospective clients understand how their unique online marketing problems can be solved.

Lee Odden

Online Communication 101

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, Rant

In the course of working with a fast growing business, you get exposed to many different people. Prospects, clients, employees, potential employees, vendors and consultants all bring different communication skills to the table. That’s not news of course, but it’s simply amazing to me the lack of effort some people put into communicating effectively.

Here are my top 5 online communication pet peeves:

  1. Emails asking for a call back and they don’t include a phone number in their signature, and many times, not a signature at all.
  2. Phone messages with a name and a number and no reason for calling.
  3. Phone messages and the phone number is read so fast, you’d think the person was in a contest for fast-phone-number-reading.