Lee Odden

5 Myths about SEO

seo-myths.jpg
When you size up the search marketing industry, you really have to marvel at all the different information sources, many of them conflicting, and how search marketers are able to stay on top of what’s current and relevant compared to noise and malarkey.

In the course of talking to prospective clients, prospective business partners, attending conferences and events, reading blogs, books, discussion threads, forums, newsletters and industry publications, you can get exposure to an amazing variety of observations about SEO. Many of them are spot-on. Some of them are tales of a mythical nature. A few are just plain bunk.

For some context on this post, I think it is important to note the distinction in intent for most search engine optimization efforts: SEO for publishers, blog networks and affiliates is a different thing than SEO for lead generation and on-site transactions/sales. Many tactics are the same, but the intentions and outcomes are very different.

Lee Odden

SES Chicago SEO Videos – Laura Thieme

I’ve casually known Laura Thieme of BizResearch for about 2 years but for some reason our paths crossed repeatedly at the recent Chicago Search Engine Strategies conference. First it was the in the speaker ready room, then the most excellent Vintage Tub and Bath SES Dinner (yeah Allan!) where I sat across the table from her team members Traci and Jessica, then again during the conference, then the ClickTracks party and finally on the last day of the conference when I asked her to do a short interview.

Laura has been a speaker at SES for many years and will be teaching a college level course at a University Business School in Ohio next year. In this short video interview, I asked Laura about the need for consistent information and education on search marketing as well as her thoughts on gender distribution in the industry.

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

Andy Beal on Running a SEO SEM Agency

Andy Beal has been around the block and then some when it comes to building SEO-SEM firms. Today he posted his “Top 10 Business Mistakes Search Marketing Firms Make“. Here are Andy’s tips 1-10 and I’ve thrown in my own thoughts and observations after each.

1. Charging a “Set-up” Fee.
We’ve pretty much moved away from this but not 100% as some small projects warrant it. It does help companies spread costs out, but it also has to be managed properly since so much work occurs during the first 60-90 days of a campaign.

Lee Odden

AllBusiness.com Launches New Design

One of the blog networks that I write for is hosted within AllBusiness.com. If all goes well, they will launch their new design on Tuesday. Here’s a preview screen shot:

The old interface was getting very busy which is a challenge when you’re a site like AllBusiness.com with millions of documents. I think the new design is much cleaner and it’s great to see the bloggers, ah I mean, “Advisors” posts brought up higher in the page. I guess this means I should get busy and start posting there regularly again. 🙂

We’re just finishing up with a 6 month promotion called, “6 for 06” with AllBusiness.com where several consultants (like myself) volunteered time to help out selected small businesses with certain problems. The company I worked with was AdventureOut.com, a California based outdoor adventure company that also hosts an online store.

Lee Odden

SEO the way it should be

Today I had a nice marathon meeting on a SEO project for a larger client that, despite the length, was a pleasure. With this project our SEO firm was brought in during the planning stages of a major web site overhaul that included siginificant front and back end enhancements. The project involves an advertising agency responsible for branding and overall creative direction and an IT consulting / web development firm that is tasked with all the programming, integration and web site implementation. And of course, there’s us.

There are interesting dynamics in this situation as you can imagine. The ad agency wants big graphics, the web developers aren’t keen on extra efforts to make urls search engine friendly and we’re asking for more text every chance we get. But overall its very civil and all parties have the client’s best interests in mind.

Lee Odden

Referring SEO Projects

For some reason, when I get calls from companies with small SEO projects, I simply draw a blank when trying to think, who locally I should refer them to.

Of course several independant consultants come to mind, but the really good ones are always too busy. I don’t want to refer these projects into a situation where they can’t be helped. There are also a number of local agencies that “also do” SEO, but these projects are likely too small. Or the agencies aren’t very good at SEO.

I avoid at all costs just saying, “We’re not taking on projects, or your budget is too small, good luck and goodbye.” I don’t mind referring them on to someone that can help. However, it must be a give and take situation and it must be respectful.

Lee Odden

Don’t Step on Your SEO

The good advice over at ISEDB from Scott Buresh regarding how ways clients sabotage the search engine optimization performed on their site has motivated me to write a few of my own along with comments on some of Scott’s suggestions:

  • Chase after the “latest SEO tactic” – The fundamentals of good SEO have not changed that much and chasing after the latest trend can compromise months or years of solid SEO work. An example is changing a site’s dynamic urls to keyword-rich urls solely for SEO benefit. Search engines are smarter than ever at crawling urls with variables. Just because a url is database generated does NOT mean it is bad for SEO. Making a sitewide url structure change without considering the effect on current rankings, redirection strategy, site map, 404 handing etc is also problematic.
Lee Odden

Interview with Dan Thies of SEO Research Labs

Spotlight on Search – Interview with Dan Thies of SEO Research Labs

When you think of keyword research services, the name that often comes to mind these days is Dan Thies. In developing his search marketing business, he was able to find a niche in keyword analysis and successfully progress that into search engine marketing and optimization training with SEO Research Labs and also a book, the Search Engine Marketing Kit.

In this interview with Dan, find out how he started out, his take on keyword research tools, common misconceptions about search engine optimization, search engines and SEO training.

Please describe your background and how did you get involved with search marketing?

Lee Odden

Ranking SEO Firms

Today I received emails from two different SEO firm ranking lists that have ranked my SEO firm, TopRank in the top 5. One from topseos.com where TopRank was ranked #4 and the other from PromotionWorld.com where we were ranked #4 again. Bruce Clay did quite well in both as well.

At first this seems pretty cool, but I am wondering how potential clients preceive it? I know it pisses some SEOs off, which most lists are prone to do. But I really don’t care what other SEO firms think. What comes to mind is how subjective such rankings are. Here are the editorial/review policies for both lists:

Promotion World:

“The Top 10 SEO Company Awards are based on the offered services, package diversity, value, customer service, feedback and website popularity of the selected companies.

Lee Odden

SEO.com for Sale

I received an interesting call yesterday from someone who wanted to know if I was going to SES in New York because she wanted to talk to companies that might be interested in buying a domain name she owned.

My response without knowing the domain name was, “Thanks but no thanks”. Then she shared that it was seo.com, which was interesting, but not for me.

I am curious what a domain name like seo.com would go for? Who would buy it? I guess another logical question is, “Is SEO.com really for sale?”. The whois info shows a holding company in NYC which is different than the info the person gave me on the phone.

If any other SEO firm received the same call and that did some due dilligence, please leave a comment.

Lee Odden

Friday Roundup Links

John Scott Interview. Talks about V7N SEO contest, being in the Wall Street Journal and Fun Uses of Coco Nuts in Japan – Search Engine Journal

Matt Cutts at SES NYC – One of the sessions he’s participating on includes Robert Scoble and Jeremy Zawodny, “Pundits on Search”. I will be speaking at Pubcon in Boston with those two in a session about Blogging. Should be fun.

Todd Malicoat on WebmasterRadio.fm – Todd and Greg Niland talk links and more. Todd is a linkMASTER and an all around great guy. This is a must-listen podcast.

Finding outsourced SEO help – WebmasterWorld

MSN Search updates search home page and search results. And as much as I am not a fan of MSN Search and rarely ever use it, I LIKE the new new MSN Search. Incidentally, Jensense has the scoop on ContentAds, the name of MSN’s new contextual ad program.