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Introduction
Hundreds of millions of searches are conducted each day with searchers trusting that the first ten results shown on Google are likely more relevant to their needs than the millions of underlying web pages. Tapping into this awesome potential, search engine marketers are learning the strategies, skills and tactics to ensure their web sites—or those of their employer or client—are the ones that show up on the first page of search engine results. The resulting multi-billion dollar search engine marketing industry is leading the way in helping businesses realize a high return on investment for their marketing budget and creating skilled search marketers. These search marketers are utilizing tactics for placement in the natural search results (search engine optimization), applying their expertise in obtaining top paid placement (search engine advertising), and tapping into the newly evolving social networks (social media marketing). With the industry in need of new talent to meet the growing demand for search engine marketers, MarketingPilgrim.com launched a scholarship contest in the fall of 2006 to find the next generation of search engine experts. We asked entrants to provide an essay explaining their favorite search or social media marketing tactic, then chose a winner based upon the popularity of the essay and the choice of our expert panel of judges. With the contest attracting almost 50 entrants, each providing fresh ideas and tactics, the inaugural contest was a huge success. As a follow-up, we launched a second contest in the spring of 2007, this time making the judging even more demanding on those that entered. As a result of both contests, Marketing Pilgrim named two winners, discovered more than 65 talented marketers, gave away prizes worth more than $15,000 and collected valuable advice, strategies and tactics. The Marketing Pilgrim Essays is a collection of these fantastic marketing articles. We’ve edited their content, categorized them based on type of channel (organic, paid, social, etc), and highlighted each author so they can receive acknowledgement for providing such great advice. We hope you’ll find huge value in reading this book while appreciating that the content is provided without charge. All we ask is that you’ll recommend this book to others and encourage them to download it at www.marketingpilgrim.com/internet-marketing-books. Our sincere gratitude goes out to each person that entered the contest, the companies that donated prizes, our expert panel of judges, and the hundreds of thousands of Marketing Pilgrim readers who voted with their mouse. We hope you’ll find many ideas and tactics your own company can use.

Andy Beal
Editor Marketing Pilgrim www.marketingpilgrim.com For more information about the Marketing Pilgrim Search Engine Marketing Scholarship Contest visit: http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/search-engine-marketing-scholarship/

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Table of Contents
Introduction.................................................................................................................................. 2 Natural Search Engine Optimization The Definition of SEO.................................................................................................................. 6 Glossary of a New Paradigm....................................................................................................... 7 Search Engine Optimization Overview ...................................................................................... 10 The Power of SEO..................................................................................................................... 13 The Golden Rule of SEO .......................................................................................................... 14 The 6 Most Important On-Page Optimization Factors ............................................................... 17 How Non-Techies Can Win in SEO............................................................................................ 20 How to Weather Search Engine Algorithm Shifts well ............................................................... 22 Do You Still Optimize Your Site for Search Engines? ............................................................... 24 Wednesday Morning Bowl-A-Rama: How to Teach Internet Marketing to Your Grandparents...26 SEO Is Nothing but Karma......................................................................................................... 28 My Site Ranks Better Than Yours.............................................................................................. 30 Want to Rank Top in Google? Wear Nike Shoes. ..................................................................... 32 Estimating the Value of Search Engine Optimization ................................................................ 35 10 Shortcuts for Successful SEO .............................................................................................. 37 Free Beer Inside!....................................................................................................................... 40 What Do Chocolate-Covered Coffee Beans and SEO Have in Common? ................................ 42 Press Releases: The Other Paid Search Option ....................................................................... 43 Have Your Top Competitors Do Some of Your SEO for You .................................................... 46 Most SEOs Are Virgins.............................................................................................................. 49 SEO is Pointless (But You Don’t Have to Tell Your Clients)....................................................... 51 Increase Conversion Rates with the Google Website Optimizer? ............................................. 53 Dominating the Long Tail of Local Search with Databases ....................................................... 57 Why Will the SEO Industry Change in Two Months? Niche SEO .............................................. 59 Creating an SEM Sidekick That Would Make Batman Jealous! ................................................ 62 Aaron Says................................................................................................................................ 64 Keeping Your SEO Clients—How to NOT Get Your Contract Cancelled .................................. 66 The SEO Article You Shouldn’t Read......................................................................................... 68 The SEO Article You SHOULD Read—5 Reasons Accountability Matters ............................... 70
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10 Ideas to Smooth Out Even Rough SEO/SEM Projects ......................................................... 72 Big SEO Projects—A Strategy To Get Them ............................................................................ 74 5 Steps to Streamlining Your SEO Process............................................................................... 76 SEOTRIZ .................................................................................................................................. 79 The 7 Deadly Sins That Hurt You as an SEO or SEM ............................................................... 81 Two Years Before the Mast: Tales of In-House SEO ................................................................ 84 How Much Are We Worth?......................................................................................................... 86 Wishing upon a Star: How the Internet Is Increasing the Ability to Make Our Dreams Come True ................................................................................................................................................... 87 What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? ....................................................................... 89 So You Wanna Be a Search Marketer ...................................................................................... 90 SEM Seeks Compatible Organization for Long Term Relationship ........................................... 92 11 Steps to Becoming a Profitable, Self-Employed SEO .......................................................... 96 ERROR 530: We’re Sorry. The Internet Is Fully Optimized. Please Find a New Occupation..... 98 Shhhh! The Dirty Little Secret about SEM/SEO Certification .................................................. 100 SEO 2.0: Marketing, Analytics and the Evolution of the Industry ............................................. 102 The Psychology of SEO........................................................................................................... 104 Internet Marketing 4 P’s 2.0 .................................................................................................... 106 New Archenemies? SEO and ROI—Say It Ain’t So, Joe ......................................................... 108 Damn You, Andy! How to Win Marketing Pilgrim’s Search Marketing Contest ........................ 111 Social Media Optimization What Studio 60 Can Teach Us About Blogging ....................................................................... 112 Free Link Love—To Get It, Give It Up! .................................................................................... 115 DaveN Goes White Hat............................................................................................................ 117 Linkbait 2.0: The Soul of Linkbait (Part 2) ............................................................................... 119 5 Ways Jesus Would Promote Himself in the 21st Century .................................................... 122 10 Biggest Master Baiters in the Search Industry ................................................................... 125 AIDS Clickathon—A Viral Marketing Strategy to Fight the HIV/AIDS Virus in Africa................ 127 Five Pillars of Social Media Marketing .................................................................................... 130 My Tips.................................................................................................................................... 134 The Ultimate Internet Marketing Article.................................................................................... 136

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Paid Search Engine Advertising (PPC) The (Alleged) Miracle of Pay-per-Click Marketing ................................................................... 138 Instant PPC Success for the Hometown Hero ......................................................................... 140 Excuse My French: How to Choose Keywords for Your Regional Market ............................... 143 Strategize Your Pay-per-Click Campaign for Maximum Profits in 7 Easy Steps ..................... 145 Are You Making These Costly Mistakes with Your Search Marketing? ................................... 148 LSSQTFCP (Local Site Seeks Quality Traffic for Conversion Purposes) ................................ 151 The First 100 Impressions: What Your Paid Keywords Can Tell You ...................................... 153 Bob and Weave Click Fraud Thieves....................................................................................... 155 Is Google Really Listening?..................................................................................................... 157 Google is Evil .......................................................................................................................... 158 Acknowledgments.................................................................................................................... 160 Index........................................................................................................................................ 162

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The Definition of SEO
or Make It for the Person, Not the Search Engine. by Josh Garner (http://www.seo-factor.com) What does ‘SEO’ mean? Search Engine Optimization, duh. No, no. What does it mean? It means ‘to optimize a site for search engines.’ I guess that’s pretty close, but going with that thought alone can actually land you in a bit of trouble. We often talk on SEO and what the searchers are looking for, how they are acting, how to optimize a site, etc. But we often neglect a very important idea. Simply optimizing a site for the search engines isn’t really the best idea. If we do that and that alone, then we won’t likely find success in our business endeavor. We would then neglect our clients’ needs and/or any help that we might provide to the online community. Optimizing a site for the sole benefit of the search engines could result in spam or content that sounds too repetitive because we are trying to make sure our keywords are on the homepage a certain number of times to achieve ‘density.’ We may end up getting tons of links to and from areas that are less than acceptable because we keep thinking that ‘Link Popularity’ means ‘get as many as we can.’ We may end up in jail because every time we walk into Albertsons we keep hearing ‘It’s your store.’ So, what should we be doing? Yes, SEO means ‘to optimize a site for search engines,’ but we should be thinking of it as ‘optimizing a site, so as to show search engines what the site is about and how it can help the online community/consumer.’ If you have relevant copy on your site, you will likely be using your desired search terms sufficiently anyway. And with the ever growing use of LSI1, search engines will pick your site out. If you have relevant and helpful text on your site, you will get quality inbound links from other sites simply on merit. If you just remember that it’s just a jingle, your hands won’t become idle and attempt to steal your favorite candy bar. In closing, we shouldn’t be making and optimizing sites for the search engines. Do it for your visitors. So what if Google doesn’t give you the best ranking? Given proper content and quality, you will get the visitors. Yes, optimize the site for the crawlers. Make sure you aren’t doing anything black hat. Correct errors. Clean up the code. Make proper use of header tags and meta tags. But do this for your visitors, not the search engines. The search engines will love you for it.

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Glossary of a New Paradigm
by Aaron Pratt (http://www.aaronpratt.com) New terminology is making our online advertising metrics world a whole new kind of economy. This vibrant economy surely will result in progress on a global scale—exactly what the industrial revolution promised for the peasant economy nations of the 19th and 20th centuries: click-through rate (CTR) The expressed average in “percentage per hundred” for ad impressions that once clicked arrive at the destination site. The CTR does not measure people who failed to click yet arrived at the destination site later on as a result of seeing the ad. For this reason, many researchers tend to see this as a measure of the immediate response to an ad, rather than the overall response. In cases where no visual information is available from the ad itself however, CTR is then equal to the overall rate. conversion rate A percentage representation of how many visitors take a desired action that goes beyond simple browsing of the pages. Desired actions may include software downloads, newsletter subscriptions, membership registration, product sales or pretty much anything that goes beyond simple browsing. The largest influences on higher conversion rates are consumer interest, product attractiveness and ease of the process. cost-per-action (CPA) A payment model for online advertising; payment based entirely on actions that are considered ‘qualifying.’ Any action that results in fulfilling conversion rates can be considered a CPA action; the most common are sales and registration. cost-per-click (CPC) An online advertisement cost for every click made on a given backlink ad. As opposed to payper-click, this is the cost the advertiser incurs for every time her or his advertisement is clicked on to their destination site. Neither arrival at the site nor any purchases or other actions on that site is calculated in this cost. cost per thousand (CPM) The base price for every 1000 impressions of an ad banner that is seen or downloaded by a visitor. (M is the Roman numeral for 1000.) For example, if the CPM is $10 and the request is for 500,000 impressions, the final ad will price at 10 × (500,000/1000) = 10 × 500 = $5000. customer acquisition cost The final cost of acquiring new customers with current marketing strategies used by a site. This number is obtained by dividing the total amount of money spent on acquiring new customers by the actual number of new customers obtained. Rebates and discounts are usually not included however this can be debated. hit Every time a file request is made to a Web server. This is a term that has been misleading in the
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past, instead of meaning “file requested from Web server,” it was thought of as unique visitors, page browsing or visits to a site. However, graphics can also be requested. Because a hit is merely the activity of requesting a file from the Web server, and every request is a hit, a single page view can represent several hits. hybrid model Any combination of online models for marketing payment, for example CPC and CPA or any other combination. impression A single instance of online advertisement displayed. The single act of displaying once is one impression on the navigator. Multiple displays are multiple impressions and so forth. One pop up or one banner on the front page are each individual impressions. page view Every request made to load a single HTML page. Also known as a page impression, these may or may not be of help to given marketing structures unless they generate a sale. If they do not generate a sale, they can even be considered an expense. pay-per-click (PPC) A more popular term for the receiving model of CPC. Any Internet structure that uses a CPC agreement between the impression ad and the destination site is using the popular PPC model as well; the difference is usually that emphasis on how to serve an impression more easily is given priority rather than the destination site itself. pay-per-lead (PPL) A receiving model for generating some kind of lead to potential clients. Any system that remunerates for contact information, such as name, address, email, or any information to produce a list of potential clients. Normally, PPL is only profitable when visitors themselves input the correct information voluntarily, otherwise it is usually fraudulent. pay-per-sale (PPS) Online model for every sale made on a site due to direct visitor referrals. In the PPS structure, not only must a potential client visit the site, but they must also buy a product if the advertiser is to make any money. Usually a percentage of every sale is the final remuneration of any PPS. site stickiness Total time spent on a site throughout a given period of time. Stickiness is a measure of how much time people spend visiting a site and how often they return. This can usually be seen in average minutes per month, other times it is measured in pages viewed per month. Minutes per month is the best indication of how sticky a site is or is not. The biggest advantage to this is having people see the same impressions a repeated number of times. unique visitors This term refers to those individuals who visit a given site or network at least once in a set time frame, usually thirty days. Unique visitors may be visiting for the first time or returning after repeated visits before the set time frame, but the usual method is counting the number of different IP addresses visiting per month. website traffic
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The amount of visits a site receives, usually per month. During the rise of the Internet Phenomenon, this was considered the most valuable tool for gauging a site’s success or failure, but now true success is usually defined through conversion results. Thus website traffic and conversion together equal results. This discipline will continue to grow as new ways of doing business online are created and along with new terms will come a better way to describe exactly what we do as search engine marketers.

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Search Engine Optimization Overview
by Aman Kumar Search engine optimization (SEO), is about creating a website in such a way that it will appear higher in the search rankings. SEO is aimed at achieving the highest position in the organic listings on the search engine results pages. SEO is very useful for driving visitors through targeting the high volume, low intent generic phrases. To do this you need to define a list of keyphrases to work with. A website that’s optimized for search engines can reap huge benefits for the website and ultimately the core business. A key benefit of SEO is that it is relatively cost effective since there is no payment to the search engines for being placed there. SEO is a long term strategy. To identify the correct investment requires a long term cost/benefit analysis. The data below shows the importance of appearing in natural or organic listings—which receive between 60-80% of the clicks for a given search. • • • • 81.7% of users will start a new search if they can’t find what they’re looking for in the first 3 pages (typically 30 results). Over half of Internet users search at least once a day, while around half use search toolbars from one of the main providers, Google, Yahoo! or MSN. 42% to 86% of websites are found through search engines. There are 300 million searches carried out every day.

There are three main factors that determine the search engine ranking of a website: • • • Site optimization Site popularity Link popularity

Site optimization is about placing the right keywords in the right places on a website and making the website accessible to search engines. Site popularity can be achieved through online and offline marketing and through link popularity —the more websites that link to a website the more popular it will become. The number of searches by people trying to find information is still growing dramatically. Nielsen//NetRatings reported that there were 5.7 billion searches in the US in January 2006, a 39% year-over-year increase from 4.1 billion in January 2005. Furthermore, the number of searches in the US is more than 183 million per day. SEO Quick Strategy The motive of search engine optimization and submission is to attract targeted traffic by attaining very high positions in the search results using the most appropriate keywords relevant to the content of a website
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The following six steps are guidelines for increasing search engine rankings: • • • • • • Search engine optimization strategy Identifying competition/related websites Determining target keywords Design for the search engines Optimizing page content Link popularity building

Step one: Planning/creating search engine optimization strategy Strategies should be created for each market and each interactive property. Every property should be looked at differently; broken down by its core sections and core user audiences. The goal is understanding how users interpret and find content on an industry-specific website. Step two: Identifying competition/related websites Use the search engines to identify competitors. Search with the keywords that you expect users to use to locate your website. The websites that are ranked in the top positions are the competitors whom you have to beat to reach the top. This helps when trying to build links to your website. Step three: Determining target keywords/key phrases Effective keyword phrases are frequently searched for (high demand) but not being targeted by many other websites (low competition). There are three core tools out there that can help locate good keywords/phrases. WordTracker WordTracker is one of the most essential SEO tool for keyword selection and research which will suggest hundreds of related phrases based on the number of users searching for it and the number of websites targeting it Overture Overture’s search term suggestion tool is free and much quicker to use than WordTracker. It works in much the same way as WordTracker but doesn’t tell you how many websites are targeting each keyword phrase. Google Google AdWords Keyword Tool tells you which keyword phrases are being targeted by other websites. Step four: Design for the search engines Search engines scour the Internet looking for web pages to index, following links from one web page to the next. To ensure a search engine ranking, all pages on a website must be accessible to search engines. Some search engines have problems with:

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• • • • • •

Links accessible solely through frames, image maps, or JavaScript Very long pages Very short pages Flash pages Long JavaScript (JavaScript should be placed in an external document) Dynamic URLs

Step five: Optimizing content The foremost criterion for a website to be able to attain and retain top search engine ranks for a long period of time is to have a great content. In the world of search engine optimization, content is king! A real long term solution that adds significant value to a website is to create firstrate content and give related websites a reason to link to a site directly. Lack of content can be harmful Quite simply, search engines love content—the more content there is on a page, the easier it is for search engines to work out what the page is actually about. Search engines may struggle to work out the point of a web page with less than 250 words, ultimately penalizing that page in the search rankings. Step six: Linkability/popularity Inbound links to a website play a significant part in determining its position in search engines. It’s not just the quantity, but also the quality and click-through rate of links to a website which is important. The objective here is to get descriptive links on as many relevant and highly trafficked sites as possible. This is first done by getting on the large web directories (Yahoo!) and then the local industry-specific directories. The next step is to identify and locate related websites (typically not direct competitors) to exchange links with.

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The Power of SEO
by Risa Borsykowsky (http://www.rb3webdesign.com) We live in an incredible age. Information is obtained at the speed of light. Ask me anything and I will find the answer right now. Long gone are the days when you’d have to blow a ram’s horn at the top of a mountain to send a signal. I can communicate with anyone right now. Anything I want to buy, learn, or compare—I can do it right now. Our lives have been transformed by the Internet—an incredible knowledge base that contains every fact, product, invention, and concept ever recorded since the beginning of time. It enables, creates, and provides instant access to knowledge. It gives us the Power of Now. There may be thousands of websites that contain the information that you seek, but only a handful will get your attention. These websites hold the power to influence and affect the way you make decisions. The people who deliver this knowledge to you are very powerful. These people are the SEO and SEM consultants. Successful SEO/M consultants intricately understand the Internet. They know what creates a buzz, how to create the buzz, how to keep the buzz buzzing, and how to influence people with the buzz. They know what people want, need, love, and crave. SEO/Ms have incredible power because they create and promote the websites that attract visitors. These websites rule eCommerce; they affect opinions; they rule the Internet. SEO/Ms make this happen. Successful SEO/Ms don’t just have their finger on the pulse of the Internet; they create the pulse that is the Internet. There are so many brilliant sites on the web that have penetrated my life and millions of others: Google, eBay, craigslist, Netvibes, Snapfish, MySpace, Zillow, Blogger, forums, blogs, news sites, cool tool sites, and so much more. I remember the first time I performed SEO on a site a three years ago. I did one little thing—I changed the title tag of one of my client’s sites to include the keyword phrases we were targeting —”New York Caterers” and “Catering New York.” A few weeks later, the site ranked #3 for those phrases in Google and #1 in Yahoo. I just could not believe it. I was so surprised, I sent an email to Jill Whalen asking her how it could be that I got a site to rank #3 in Google when all I did was change the title tag. That was my first taste of SEO, and it was very powerful. As a web designer, I know that a great web design won’t get much visibility without SEO/M. A site needs a pleasant design, great content, intuitive navigation, good usability, graphics, and cool tools to get people to stay and return, but it needs SEO and SEM to get found and thrive. The Internet has transformed our lives by giving each person the power to make a difference— whether it’s by participating in an online community, or writing a blog, or creating a website with a cutting-edge way of getting something done, or a new way of presenting information to make a visitor’s experience more meaningful. A great website with great SEO/M is a powerful combination.

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The Golden Rule of SEO
by James Bowden (http://www.ubloop.com) Everything you need to know about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) you learned in kindergarten. Really. You may already know much more than you think. The armies of programmers that create search engines work very hard to get computers to do a bad job of what you do in the blink of an eye: make a judgment about a web page that makes sense—common sense. This article introduces the basic ideas behind Search Engine Optimization (SEO), using concrete examples to reinforce these principles. It also aims to teach you the information needed to make informed SEO decisions on your own. In the beginning First, a little history. Millions of years ago dinosaurs roamed the earth. A hop, skip, and a jump later, Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) was invented. Believe it or not, HTML, was not meant to be another confusing programming language (if you do understand them, bravo). Rather it was meant to be simple to understand—a layman’s language, so simple that it’s not even programming, it’s just “markup.” Now, if you view the source code of some very popular sites (e.g. eBay or Amazon), things will look pretty confusing. How can a computer language meant to be simple become so horrendously complex and confusing? What happened? How did we stray from the path of simplicity, elegance, and beauty? Well, we Web developers happened. And we happened in the worst of ways. We decided that we wouldn’t just use HTML to mark up our newfangled hypertext. No, we used HTML as a Swiss Army Knife and tried to create pixel-perfect layouts with a simple markup language. Well, it did slice and it did dice, but it made a horrible mess. We tried to control the look of a website by throwing embedded tables, along with other atrocities into the mix. The jumble of unmatched parts would pile up until we got what we wanted or the computer started to smoke. My current score: smoke, 2; what I wanted, 13. Yes, in the end we got a site that worked. But we ended up sacrificing our soul—the original ideal of clean and simple HTML—to do it. HTML+CSS+SEO = The way things ought to be Fast forward to present times and we find a culture that can, sometimes, learn from our mistakes. My most important golden rule of SEO is: “Make each webpage with your user in mind, and the search engines will follow.”
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Search engines try to give results that make sense. So make your web pages make sense! While the basic rule really is that easy, there are some ground rules to keep in mind which may not be obvious. First, remember that computers are dumb. Even the best search engines are stupid compared to a human. You need to make it easy for them, speak their language. This means you should use meta tags with keywords and descriptions; make your title relevant, add alternate text to links and images—basically take every chance to say to the robot spider, “Here, this is what that means.” Each of these elements adds extra information which may be obvious to a human but is very important to a dumb computer program. This text may not be visible to the user, but you should pretend that it is. Design your HTML source code as if that is what the user saw. Second, this advice applies to white hat and not black hat SEO. Black hat SEO uses tricks to fool the stupid computers. This article is meant to help them instead. What this all means in practice When the world inherited CSS, some designers used it to make sites pretty again. But just as important, the separation of content and presentation returned HTML to the path of simplicity and beauty. SEO is the final element of the new equation of elegant web design. SEO helps users and robots to navigate the maze of a website’s information architecture. SEO provides signposts to guide a user forward and leaves a trail of breadcrumbs to show them the way back. What the heck does that mean, exactly? Some examples will help this make sense. The URL itself Consider these two URLs: http://www.domain.com/cgibin/store.cgi?section=Shakespeare&id=4867635 and http://www.domain.com/Shakespeare/Romeo-and-Juliet/ If you were at a library, and these URLs were, oddly enough, the titles of two books, which would you be more likely to pick up? The second choice is much more natural, sensible, and informative. The URL is a label, and it should make sense. The second choice is also easier for the user to remember, write down, and tell a friend about. Can you remember the Dewey decimal number of the last library book you borrowed? Title tag The title tag is one of the most heavily weighted on-page SEO elements you can design for. And some people don’t even fill it in. As an example, the title tag on this page is well optimized: <title>The Golden Rule of SEO | Marketing Pilgrim</title> Make your title simple and explain in one line what the page is about. This is best for both the search engines and your users. I’m starting to follow you, but why does all this matter?
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It is important to follow the golden rule because if users find your pages clean, on topic, and helpful, they might return. Better yet, they may link to your site from another web page. This is called a backlink. Building backlinks is an undervalued SEO concept that is overlooked by many organizations, and it’s also a main factor for determining search engine results today. By designing your website with the user in mind you are killing two birds with one stone. You make it easier for search engines to read through and understand your site. Also you begin to build a site presence through backlinks. These relationships are essential for any modern site. Just as in any other business, happy customers are the best kind. So work for your customer, not for a stupid computer.

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The 6 Most Important On-Page Optimization Factors
by Martin Muehl (http://www.biz4you.at) The most important on-page optimization techniques include content optimization, the title tag, several meta tags, headlines & text decoration, alt and title attributes, and continuous actualization. 1. Content optimization This is a tough one, because you should of course concentrate on your user and easy readability, but you always have to have an eye on the search engines as well. For your users, it’s clear what a certain page is about if it’s written in the headline, but for search engines it’s also important to repeat the important keywords several times. So you have to strike the right balance: • Concentrate on your users first. That’s what the website is about—you don’t sell your products or services to search engines but to people. And if they don’t get what you’re saying or find it hard to read through your website they will very likely hit the back button of their browser and visit your competition. Then modify for search engines. If you have your content written, go over it again to try to get more keywords and phrases in where they fit and make sense. There is no certain keyword density or number that is best, just be sure to just use them a couple of times. The best ways to avoid using them too often are to use different words and phrases and to create some lists. Lists are always good to bring in some keywords.

•

2. Title tag <title>Website title</title> It is displayed at the top of your browser and it is also used as the title of your website in the SERPs. Therefore you should take your time and think about the best title for your page. Important aspects of the title tag: • Give every page of your website its own title and don’t use one title for the whole website. • Include a maximum of 10-12 words. • Think of it as a short ad copy, because that’s basically what it is on the SERPs. 3. Meta tags Meta tags are not as important as they used to be. That’s basically because people started using them to spam search engines—especially the keyword tag. Nevertheless, there are still some important meta tags you should use: • <meta name=“description” content=““ /> The description tag is probably the most important meta tag. It is displayed in the SERPs and you should select it as carefully as the title tag.
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Important aspects of the description tag: o o o o • Give every page of your website its own description and don’t use one description for the whole website. The description tag is one of the few meta tags that still positively influences your website’s ranking, so it’s good to use your most important keywords in it. It should contain not more than around 25-30 words. Think of it as a short ad copy, because that’s basically what it is on the SERPs.

<meta name=“robots” content=“noodp” /> <meta name=“googlebot” content=“noodp” /> The NOODP tag is quite new and tells the search engines to don’t use the title and description tags they find from your entry at DMOZ. This is especially helpful if you are not satisfied with the tags there, or you want to change them. Everyone who ever had something to do with changes at DMOZ knows that we are not talking about days or weeks if it comes to how long that can take. So if you use the NOODP tag you are basically telling the search engines that they must not use the DMOZ entry, but the tags that are currently on your website. Google may ignore the general NOODP tag, so if you’re using the “googlebot” version you should be safe. • <meta name=“robots” content=““ /> The robots tag is used to tell the search engines (i.e., spiders or robots) what they can do with your website. Possible entries are index, follow, noindex and nofollow. Index/noindex tells the search engine whether to index the page or not; follow/nofollow tells them to whether follow the links or not. 4. Headlines & text decoration Headlines shouldn’t only be used to structure your content and keep it easy to read, but also for SEO reasons. Search engines tend to give headlines between <h1></h1> and <h3></h3> tags more relevancy, <h1> being the most relevant headline. Just like the headlines, other text decorations can also help search engines identify the most important parts of your website. Use <strong> and <em> to mark text where it’s useful and also try to create lists using <ul> or <ol>. Of course, always keep an eye on your defined keywords and phrases. 5. Title and alt attributes Title and alt attributes are used to describe text links and images. You should use them not only for search engine visitilbity, but also for accessibility. They are shown if you hover the mouse over links and images. Also, the alt attribute is shown if the image isn’t (yet) loaded.

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6. Keep it up-to-date Search engines always want new content, so feed them! Not only your website will grow automatically if you’re always adding something to it, but also search engines tend to spider your website more often if they always find something new.

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How Non-Techies Can Win in SEO
by Harmit S. Kamboe (http://www.dthree.com) If you are someone like me who has not written a line of code, but understands how critical SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is, then fret not. Help is at hand. I have had the good fortune of stumbling across and being a part of the SEO industry and have found that SEO is more to do with good, logical thinking than any secret coding tricks. Maximizing SEO return has two basic components: 1. Know the problem 2. Solve the problem Know the Problem By and large, the problems with SEO are twofold: 1. Search Engine Penetration To be considered as a possible result for a certain query, the target page (not the site) must be a part of the search engine’s index. Lest assume that a target site xyz.com has 5,000 pages but when you run a check on Google (site:xyz.com), Google only displays 700 pages. Clearly, there are 4,300 pages that Google is not aware of. And that of course is a problem. 2. Rankings on desired terms Once a target page is in the search index, the next problem to solve in most cases is showing up too low for specific term. This is where there is no magic bullet. One of the best things to do is to take a close look at the links ahead of you and rationally ask yourself why are those pages more popular than your page. Ranking is essentially a popularity contest with a twist. The more popular you are with the “authority figures/sites,” the higher up your listings will move. Solve the Problem 1. Solving Search Engine Penetration Search engines are on your side when it comes to reaching out to content that they have not had a chance to index. You should be let the search engine bots in and ensure that there are no technical road blocks in their way. Removing these artificial road blocks is one of the best things you can do to get more pages in the search engines. To do that, think like search engines which can read only text and follow uncomplicated URLs and you will form the outline of how to address the lack of penetration. 2. Solving the Rankings issue

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This is where you must be prepared to roll up your sleeves, test, wait patiently and then re-test based on your results. Ask yourself if you were the searcher, what would you type in to get to the target page? Does your page have the complete information for what a searcher would be looking for? Not only must you pick the right words, you must also have the right content. And of course think of how you can popularize your target page. Is there a study mentioned that would be picked up news publications, is there a quote that would be picked by news wires, is it an interview with a celebrity, is there a calculator/tool that consumers will find useful and can be recommended by a consumer rights group, etc.? With SEO as in life, it is the thinking and the planning that is the key. The execution is something that is done at the tail end of the engagement. If you have something that is worth sharing and people knowing about, SEO is not as hard and mystifying as it sounds.

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How to Weather Search Engine Algorithm Shifts well
by Steve Petersen Spiders are fickle; humans are not. Well, when it comes website preferences, that is. Search engines frequently shift or tweak their algorithms in order to offer more relevant results for their clients—human beings. While most of search engine optimization efforts cater to search engine spiders through attention to various types of links, site structure, IP address characteristics, and the like, focusing on web surfers instead will allow any optimization effort to weather any shift or tweak well. Granted, human online preferences do evolve, but they always demand quality content, attractive and clean design, logical navigation, and a superb user experience. Search engines are moving towards tracking user behavior as an integral part of their ranking schemes; thus, fine tuning a site with more consideration to Homo sapiens tastes rather than to digital arachnid druthers makes sense in the long run. Here are ten tips, listed in no particular order, for human-friendly site design: 1. Always have the end user in mind; make them come back. Site visitors may come, but they will not stay if they cannot easily find what they are looking for. If site visitors are industry insiders, use industry jargon. When normal people visit the site, do not confuse them. 2. Ensure that each page is narrowly focused on a certain topic—the title of the page. When a page focuses on avocados, talk about avocados, not healthy food. Specific pages rank high on relevance and seem logical to site users, and they show up individually on result pages no matter how large the site is. Also, when pages with high relevance ranking are used in payper-click campaigns, text ads linking to them are cheaper. 3. Judiciously use fancy features like Flash and AJAX. These features could take a long time to load in a browser, and no one wants to wait. Further, indexing spiders cannot read their content (well, at least for now text is much easier on spiders); what they cannot read is not indexed. 4. Structure the site with humans in mind. Homo sapiens users are inherently lazy and expect a logical way to navigate a site. Use clear menus that are consistent throughout the site with in-text intra-site links when appropriate (see 3). If a site is sloppily organized, what does that say about the product or service the site touts? 5. Make indexing easy for spiders. What bots cannot traverse, they cannot index. Spiders only persist when they confront
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obstacles if their programming is flawed, and search engineers are paid to program well all the time. They are not paid to program spiders to decipher or guess how they must navigate a poorly structured site (see 3). Further, a text site map does not hurt and keeps all pages on the site within three clicks from the homepage. 6. Use original quality content that is naturally created. Keywords are important, but search engines condemn unnatural use of them (see 1). Make sure that they are in the page title tag, at least once towards the beginning of the content, and in the anchor text of links when applicable. Use words that are related, like synonyms, to the keyword. While “keywords” acts as a keyword, “keywords” too close to “keywords” and other keywords is keyword stuffing. 7. Link only to relevant sites. Search engines use links to travel the Internet, and they keep track of who is linking to whom. If a site is for a Realtor, it should not link to a toothbrush manufacturer’s site. However, while linking to competitors is not advisable, a Realtor’s site could link to complementary businesses like a mortgage company or to a recreationally-oriented company that specializes in the realtor’s geographic area. What links would site visitors want and expect? 8. Design a visually appealing, not overwhelming, site. A professional design will reflect positively upon a company and its products or services and vice versa (see 1 and 3). 9. Update content logically. Search engines like up-to-date content, but refresh only when it is logical. For instance, how often does a car change makes or models? Never. When does it change color? It can every so often. How long does it stay in a particular parking space at the dentist office? Hopefully, not very long. 10. Respond to visitor feedback and needs. Why would they come back to a site that does not meet their needs even if it was ranked highly? See 1. To best gage this offer contact information and perhaps a survey from time to time.

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Do You Still Optimize Your Site for Search Engines?
by Yuri Filimonov (http://www.improvetheweb.com/about/) It has been a while since search engine optimization entered the mainstream and everyone and their mouse has started offering SEO services. But what is it about search engine optimization that should site owners care about? What is SEO? By definition, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is optimizing a site (or a page) for search engines (some may interpret the title as optimizing the search engines themselves, but that’s another story). When optimizing a site, the following factors may be taken into account: • • • • • site crawlability (how easy the site is spidered by the search engine bots) the right keywords after keyword research2 correct keyword placement3 links from topical websites links with relevant text in the link (anchor) text

Naturally enough, most of the factors relate to how the search engines evaluate a website and only one of them is related to the humans: the words that the potential site visitors use. Who do we optimize the site for? But we have to remember that we create a site for the site visitors, because they will be buying our products and using our services. So how do we make sure the site works well with humans? While site spiderability doesn’t directly affect how it is perceived by the people, other aspects may as well be optimized taking the humans into account. Optimizing for people As mentioned before, knowing the words your customers use to find your product is one of the main tasks, when optimizing your website. In turn, using the words your customers will relate to is important for them to understand your offer better, which should result in more orders. Though you may be tempted to stuff the right keywords everywhere you can, you should also remember that your visitors see the site as well. If they find it hard to read, they will leave it. That is why having all titles, link labels and body text written for humans is vital for your site success. When arriving at your site with human-friendly text, your customers will read the site copy, be able to understand you and order your product. Of course, you need to remember
http://www.improvetheweb.com/how-to-conduct-your-keyword-research-and-make-your-seo-moreefficient/ 3 http://www.improvetheweb.com/search-engine-ranking-factors-place-your-keyword/
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search engines and know which keywords to use and where to have them. But you can have human-friendly titles instead of keyword stuffed ones, too. When it comes to links, there’s a myth4 of “The more links, the better,” while in reality it should be “The more targeted traffic the link brings, the better.” When aiming at receiving targeted traffic, you automatically get links from quality topical websites (where your target audience is) and use relevant anchor text as well. So, as you may have noticed, by focusing your efforts on optimizing your site and promotion for the humans, you gain not only basic SEO benefits, but real targeted traffic and conversions as well. Summing up Generally, a solid approach would be to develop your site for people and only keep search engines in the back of your mind, which will guarantee greater conversion rates. If you also consider copywriting, (site usability5, accessibility6 and credibility—all of which have to do with humans—you’ll gain the competitive advantage your online rivals may not have.

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http://www.improvetheweb.com/website-optimization-myths/ http://www.improvetheweb.com/using-usability-to-improve-site-profit/ http://www.improvetheweb.com/how-to-gain-a-competitive-advantage-with-an-accessible-website/

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Wednesday Morning Bowl-A-Rama: How to Teach Internet Marketing to Your Grandparents
by Eric Hebert (http://www.evolvor.com/about-evolvor-media/)

The first Wednesday of every month, our local business committee gets together at the bowling alley to discuss the happenings around town and how it affects the local business. The main function of the local business committee is to promote the city and its businesses. They accomplish this by holding fun events several times a year in hopes of attracting outsiders to come in and experience the rich culture the city has to offer. Like my grandparents, the committee has no clue how to use the Internet properly, especially when it comes to advertising these events. They primarily advertise through newspaper ads, billboards, flyers, and other means of communication circa 1974. Nevertheless, they do experience moderate success with their events using their rather small marketing budgets. Did I mention that the city is also a college town with 20,000+ students with their eyes glued to a computer screen all day? Then came a new idea for the fall, right around the time I started attending these meetings. Mind you, I am fairly young (24, with most of the committee being over 45 and having decades of business experience). The idea was to promote the committee’s website, which does feature descriptions and links to most of the businesses’ websites. Fantastic! How were they going to do this? Spend a $1,000 on T-shirts with different URLs printed on them that would redirect to the committee’s website. They would then hand the shirts out to the business owners for their employees to wear. Not a bad idea, considering many people shop and walk the street everyday. That is of course if everybody actually wears the shirts. (By the way, it’s been a month and I’ve seen one T-shirt—one!). Another means of promotion made more sense, which was to reimburse any merchant who included their URL in their print advertising. So why was this doomed for failure? Why did I feel smarter than this committee of esteemed business owners? I began to introduce to them the idea of maybe using some Internet marketing techniques to help bring traffic to their site. One of the first things I noticed was their inability to recognize the importance of search engine marketing. When asked about ranking high for specific keyword phrases, they responded with “We already are number one on Google for the name of our city.” Mind you this was not done through any outside SEO, but ranked high because it’s the official city website. This is where I suggested ranking high for the name of the college that resided in the town. How many more people are searching for that word? How many of these people are probably interested in what the town surrounding the college has to offer? Probably all of them! Step one in opening their eyes was not only explaining the importance of traffic to their site, but the concept of traffic quality and where that traffic comes from. Online marketing is about eyeballs, but more importantly about eyeballs that are looking for what you have to offer. Step two was introducing pay-per-click. Most of these people are used to a CPM or “number of subscriber” model of buying media—you know, 20th century style. When introducing PPC to this mindset, it can be hard for them to understand. I asked them what they think is more important: 1000 random people coming to their website or 100 people who are very interested in what that site has to offer coming to their website? The smart ones in the room chose option number two.
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Stressing the importance of qualified leads and their importance helped them understand why PPC is so powerful. After we were on the same page, I told them that they could be number one in just a few days, that is if the keywords were affordable and the budgeting made sense. The instant gratification of PPC can save lots of time in trying to decide if a marketing campaign is proving successful. The final point I addressed, and the most important to any campaign, was the website’s landing page. The page itself was rather horrible. The site did not feature any of the print advertising branding, navigation was difficult to understand, and colors scheme gave a dark, cold feeling. Let’s just say any visitors would probably not spend too much time looking around. I addressed just some basic points that many didn’t realize: Navigation has to be designed with the visitor in mind. Correct contact, about, and site map pages need to be available wherever the visitor may be. Colors and fonts should match print advertising so the visitor feels they have found the right place. Navigation should point to pages which feature descriptions and contact information for local businesses, which is the objective of the entire campaign. These rather simple aspects of design were an afterthought to the committee, as if they thought their visitors already knew where everything on the site was and could immediately find what they were looking for. There are many misconceptions about online marketing in today’s business world, whether it is in a large, corporate environment or in a small town business committee. As an Internet marketing consultant, one of my biggest challenges is getting people to “unlearn what they learned” about marketing and advertising and think outside the box for a change. Knowing how to speak with those who are unfamiliar with these concepts is kind of like talking with your grandparents—simplify it a little bit, don’t use industry gibberish, and have some respect for them at the same time. Don’t make them feel small or stupid; focus on the benefits of each technique and why it will continue to benefit them in the future. The more they begin to understand, the more they’ll come to trust you in the future. And trust in this industry, my friends, goes along way in building your success.

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SEO Is Nothing but Karma
by Steven Bradley (http://www.thevanblog.com) Yep, karma. Not the spiritual “Law of Karma” central to Eastern Philosophy, but the Americanized version of karma practiced by Earl Hickey every Thursday night: do good things and good things happen. That’s really all it takes to succeed as an SEO. Karma. And maybe a little hard work. “Okay, you new-age-hippy-freak,” you say, “I’ll bite. How is karma supposed to help my site get more search traffic?” By inducing you to build a website that’s useful and usable. Give people something they want and give it to them for free. Maybe it’s information or some web tool that makes someone’s life easier. Give away something entertaining. You’ve been dying to star in a video anyway. Just make it something of value. Add to the web instead of creating more noise. That’s all good, wouldn’t you say? Create something of value. Do good things. A funny thing happens when you create something useful and give it away. People like it. They like your content, they like your site, and they like you. They like it so much they tell their friends about it. If they have a website they link to your useful content so everyone else can see how helpful it is. Know what else? Because you didn’t try to manipulate them, the search engines like you, too. They like that you didn’t try to stuff or hide keywords everywhere and have given them something relevant to a query. They’ll like you so much they’ll return your pages for semantically related queries. All that natural writing was good. MSN might not care that much, but when has Microsoft been accused of doing good? They don’t get karma. But they will like those links you’ve gained. Google will like it. They tell us they don’t do evil, which isn’t exactly the same as doing good, but it’s close. Want to know another way karma can help? You can participate in the community that is the Web and do good there, too. Answer questions people leave on forums or join in the conversation on industry blogs. The relationships you build with your helpful advice will have karma taking notice. Cultivate relationships with people in your industry who’ll thank you with relevant links. Search engines really like when you help topical communities, I guess. It shows them how good you are and how much this karma thing is part of you. As you help more people they’ll introduce you to even more people, who’ll introduce you to even more people. Pretty soon all those people will come to see you as an expert, as an authority in your field. All the other authorities will get curious about you and check you out. “Who is this new expert come to join our rank?” Your genuine offering of good advice shows you worthy of gaining membership in their inner circle of influence. Still want more? Know those clients you helped with your services and products? You did a good job, right? And gave them value in return for the money they spent? Those clients are happy with you and will send more clients your way. Some of them have websites too, and will throw a few links your way for good measure.
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All joking aside, if you thought any of the above was mildly amusing and moving on if you didn’t, it really is true that doing good is successful SEO. We all know it boils down to content and links. The former gets you the latter and the latter drives search traffic to the former. Doing good stuff is about building a reputation and a brand. It’s about creating something link worthy that builds links naturally. That good stuff is about building contacts within the social structure of the web. Contacts that will provide links and help seed your viral campaign. That good is creating value so when people find you they have a reason to trust you. ‘Good’ means building a site that loaded quickly and provided a positive experience. The people whose trust you’ve earned are much more likely to hand over their credit card information and write testimonials and positive reviews all over the Web, creating more links and more positive reputation for you. That good information you left does lead people to stay on your site longer and revisit more often. It will leave traffic patterns that prove to show search engines you haven’t just figured out how to game their algorithms. It’ll show them they can trust your site when they recommend it in search results. Sure, karma isn’t the only path to success and sometimes it can take a painfully long time getting back to you. But it can return to you a lot more than you have to put in. And what it gives back has a tendency to last. It may take a little while to get that karmic momentum moving in your favor, but once it is it will push, pull, and drag you along with it. And all you had to do was genuinely offer something of value to the world and help those you came in contact with. That and some hard work to get it all done.

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My Site Ranks Better Than Yours
by Julien Raby The Early Days Do you remember when you first got into SEO? Personally, I was studying general Web design when I first heard about it. My teacher was trying to explain us the value of a link and why search engines give so much importance to it. He used the “courtyard metaphor”: In high school, there is the “Alpha Beta” gang (apologies to Revenge of the Nerds) and the nerds itself. Typically, the guys in the football team get more benefits and attention than nerds. But, if one of the big guys starts hanging with a nerd, it doesn’t go unnoticed. The nerd will suddenly become more popular. That’s the same thing with websites and links. If you get a connection with established sites, your popularity will grow. Although it was a questionable choice of metaphor to use in front of a bunch of apprentice programmers, we understood well the value of a link. Since this class, I think I haven’t spent a single day without thinking about SEO. In the first few months I spent several hours a day trying to decipher the truth. I was religiously reading all the content of Search Engine Watch and a bunch of other sites. I was making “best practices” statements to myself: “The title must be 140 characters long with my best keyword at the beginning, repeat keyword if possible. Keywords should also be included in meta description and meta keywords. My pages should not have more than 500 words with a keyword density of 5%,” etc. Then I realised the sad truth: I could not be 100% sure of my statements because of all the conflicting opinions. My early research lead me to the evidence: SEO is not and will never be an exact science. But at the same time, I had to deliver because I felt confident enough to go after my first clients. Stress, anguish. Who should I trust? Some advocate that SEO is all about links and PageRank while some believe that we should “turn off the green bar aspect of our toolbar and move on with our life” [http://www.highrankings.com/issue158.htm]. Some say that directory submissions are still worth it when others state that they can actually hurt a website. Nobody seems to agree on anything. Result? My first client cost me money. And not only because I failed to make his site rank for any significant keywords, but also because I had to rewrite all his content because I first did the job in an excessive and shameful keyword stuffing way. Growing Up I have been doing SEO for 18 months now. Fortunately, I’m more successful now. And since this contest is about sharing tips, I’ll tell you how I manage to achieve good results: I stopped listening to people. Now, that’s obviously a little drastic, as I should say something like “I stopped listening to every(no)body”. There are undisputable resources on the Web. But as you gain experience you might have to disagree even with the same people you used to listen to blindly. Really, one of my best moves was to stop worrying about what others think and start
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figuring out by myself. What an Inexperienced SEO Should Do Get your hands dirty. Start from scratch. Choose a subject you know well (SEO’s an easy one, but it’s getting a little crowded these days. You may want to try a less competitive area). Buy a domain name, create your content and design, start a link campaign. Now give your site a couple months. While you are waiting, improve your design, work hard on your content and choose carefully which site to target for a link request. Your new site should now be ready for its real purpose: tests. You hear someone preaching keyword density? Test it for yourself. Can internal linking really help to improve your ranking? Give it a shot. And so on. I’m sure there are many SEO approaches you are taking for granted. I can assure you that you will feel much more confident in front of your client if you have actually tried the techniques you are advising. And, of course, stay tuned with the authority sites and never hesitate to reconsider what you thought was a case closed.

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Want to Rank Top in Google? Wear Nike Shoes.
by Will Critchlow (http://www.wandd.net/) You know you’re an entrepreneur when you’re sitting in the cinema wondering how much money you could have made by buying popcorn wholesale and selling it at the door. You know you’re into SEO when you look at SERPs like “leeds hairdresser“7 and you wonder how quickly you could become as a hairdresser, how much you could afford to charge per cut (CPC) and what your ROI would be. Now, most startup businesses fail in the their first year (reference8), and that figure might seem daunting if you’re thinking of starting a business, but the truth is that these businesses were doomed to failure anyway (“robot horses“9). A scary number of people start a business without a real way of making money. Similarly, a scary number of people launch their website without a strategy to get potential customers to their site. How running an SEO project is like a business • • • Many more people talk about doing it than actually do it There is no ‘secret’; there is no ‘magic bullet’ It’s more about execution than it is about having that killer idea

Many more people talk about doing it than actually do it How many people do you know that have been ‘quitting their job’ for the last 10 years? How many people have ‘a great business idea’? How many actually go out there and take the plunge? I knew that I wanted to run my own business and yet I went out after university and got a job working for someone else. Then I got another job. Finally, I felt ready to go for it. The stats told me starting a business was a big risk. Not to mention the longer I waited after my first job, the higher my salary got. People are lazy, they don’t want to rock the boat, so they never jump ship. Everyone has heard of the entrepreneurs that have made it, everyone knows (of) someone who has made a fortune from a website that ‘came top of Google’ and now turns over a lot of money every month. However, Mr. Branson didn’t just ‘decide to start’ a multibillion, multinational business, and you can’t just ‘decide to launch’ a successful Web-based business. The blood, sweat, tears and uncertainty puts off a huge number of people. I am guilty of it; I have been almost running a serious SEO project for my sideline business offering whisky gifts for at least a year. I am prevaricating in the same way that so many people
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http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=leeds+hairdresser&btnG=Google+Search&meta http://www.isquare.com/prologue.cfm http://money.cnn.com/2006/08/30/smbusiness/worst_ideas/index.htm

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who have dreams of running their own businesses continue to show up to their job each day. There is no ‘secret’; there is no ‘magic bullet’ Business books, journals and newspapers are sold on the grounds that they’ll tell you how to be the next Google, or the next YouTube. Truth is, there is no magic bullet. The real secret is that there is no secret and you need to commit time, energy and passion to succeed. I am a huge believer in learning from books written by people who have made it—I got a lot from Losing My Virginity10 by Richard Branson and couldn’t have started my business without Selling to Win11 by Richard Denny—but no book is going to give you the drive to succeed. Similarly, I read widely on SEO and don’t believe there is a magic bullet in the SEO world either. Just because everyone knows that you need to write good content, update it regularly, build your reputation in your field and garner high quality, relevant inbound links doesn’t make it easy. There is a lot of mystique around link building services and I have no doubt that the best in the field are indeed very, very good. Having said that, for the most part, I think most white hat SEO consultants are mainly executing their strategies better than the competition. For the most part, they aren’t doing anything much different to what you know you need to be doing; but they are doing rather than talking. It’s far more about execution than it is about having that killer idea In the business world, it’s your friend who is “going to start a business just as soon as I get my great idea.” In the online world, it’s someone who thinks that the only way to optimise their small business website is to come up with something that is so new that people will simply have to link to it. Execution is the step that is missing from so many hypothetical business plans. You can analyse successful companies all you like and look for similarities that point towards success, but only the more subtle examinations reveal the truth: the most successful companies are rarely the only ones in their field. There were other search engines before Google but they built their dominance through doing search better. There were other online bookshops when Amazon launched, but Amazon made their inventory and fulfillment process better. In the final link to SEO, I believe that the best SEO campaigns—the ones that generate great profits—do not generally contain ideas that no one has used before. ‘Killer ideas’ very often fail but well executed strategies rarely do. So next time you are waiting to do something because it isn’t a ‘killer idea’, step back and remember that you are far more likely to succeed by doing than by not doing.

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http://www.virgin.com/AboutVirgin/WhatWeAreAbout/WhatWeAreAbout.aspx http://www.denny.co.uk/content/training-resources/books.php

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There’s a reason Nike’s slogan is ‘Just Do It’ rather than ‘just hold off till you have that really great idea.’ In answer to the title, “Want to rank top in Google? Wear Nike shoes,” it’s not about rocket science or magic; it’s about just doing it. I guarantee you’ll be ahead of the 99% of your competition that are still talking about it. And when you execute, drop me a line and let me know how you get on.

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Estimating the Value of Search Engine Optimization
by Alex Cleanthous (http://www.webprofits.com.au) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the holy grail of Internet marketing because of the allure of ‘free’ traffic. There’s no doubt—achieving a number one ranking in Google or Yahoo for high-traffic-volume keyword phrases can be extremely profitable for any business. Because of this, SEO may be one of the most competitive and difficult areas to achieve online success in. Think about it—there can really only be one website ranked number one in Google or Yahoo for each country! But how much is a top ranking actually worth? One way of estimating the value of a top ranking in Google or Yahoo is by calculating the cost of a top position for a particular keyword phrase in the pay-per-click (PPC) engines. For example, let’s say you want to estimate the value of a #1 ranking in Yahoo for ‘car insurance’. Here’s one way of estimating the value of this ranking: 1. First we research the number of people searching for ‘car insurance’ on Yahoo Australia. We find that there were 26,210 searches last month for that phrase. 2. Next, we research how much the top position is costing the advertiser per click (CPC) for the keyword phrase ‘car insurance’. We find that the top bid is $4.49 per click. 3. Next we take the average click-thru-rate (CTR) of an advertiser in the PPC engines, which is 1%, and we calculate the estimated value of the #1 position. Here is the formula: (number of searches per month x CTR) x CPC = estimated value of #1 ranking or… (26,210 x 0.01) x $4.49 = $1,176.83 So, from this calculation, the estimated value of a #1 position in Yahoo for ‘car insurance’ is $1,176.83 per month. Now if you were able to get a 2% CTR (which is very possible if you know what you’re doing), then the estimated value would double to $2,353.66 per month. And if you were able to get a 3% CTR (which is possible if you’re very good), then the estimated value would triple to $3,530.49 per month.

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The reason we estimate a #1 ranking using this formula is because we can automatically get a #1 position for ANY KEYWORD PHRASE by bidding the highest amount. Importantly, getting a top ranking for any keyword results in ‘free’ traffic—but it does cost time and money to get that position. SEO is only viable when the estimated value of the #1 ranking is higher than the total cost of getting that position through PPC advertising.

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10 Shortcuts for Successful SEO
by Ahmed Bilal (http://soccerlens.com) If you were given the task of summarizing the whole wealth of SEO knowledge in 10 concise tips, what would you come up with? Here’s my list: 1. Buy/rent an old site The benefits are well documented12, but an important factor often overlooked here is time. Yes, you can spend 6 months, put together all that content, get all those links, then wait for another 3 years while the site ‘matures’—but you don’t have that much time, do you? Buying the right site gives you a fantastic head start in any niche. You’ll always find ‘potential sites’ with owners who don’t have the time to tend to their website. There’s a growing awareness online of the value of websites, but in most niches you can still get good bargains. 2. Optimize title tags A title tag will tell the search engines and users what the current web page is about. To improve your search engine rankings, use that page’s target keywords in the title tag. To cater to regular readers, keep your title tag short and readable, and if you wish, you can also brand each page with your main domain URL. Jill Whalen wrote a basic article on optimizing title tags13 that is still relevant today. If you’re looking for specific advice on fixing up the title tag in your WordPress blog, read this post14. 3. Optimize URL structure Rand tells it all in his 11 Best Practices to URLs15. A few key highlights: • • • • • Use static URLs Keep it short (instead of long folder sequences and sentences) and descriptive (instead of numbers) Use keywords Use hyphens for term separation Remove extra data

As Darren Rowse observes16, you can miss one or two of these and still rank well. However, when you’re building a new site you need to get as many things right out of the box as possible,
12 13 14 15 16

http://www.jimboykin.com/screw-the-sandbox-buy-and-old-site/ http://www.highrankings.com/allabouttitles.htm http://seohotline.com/optimzing-title-tags-in-wordpress/ http://www.seomoz.org/blog/11-best-practices-for-urls http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/09/28/11-1-best-practices-for-url-structure/

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and URL structures are fairly easy to get right. 4. Site information architecture Michael Gray from his experiment on deep crawling for mini-sites17: For sites that are brand spankin’ new to relatively new (less than 1 year), or have less than 30 pages in total, go ahead and link everything to everything, using a combination of top, side and footer navigation. Once you’re “old,” and more importantly have some trust (i.e. organic rankings and traffic), it’s time to start thinking about siloing18. Read this if your pages aren’t already deep crawled and indexed. 5. Quality content A few thoughts: • • Initially, forget about getting links and focus on providing information that you know your audience needs. Do it in quantity, do it quickly and get it out there on your website early. It’s not hard to create something unique and useful that is focused towards your niche audience; the main difference between success and failure is the ability to take action and actually implement your ideas. Under the cries of “Content! More content!” people sometimes forget that developing tools19 and even lists20 are fantastic ways of adding quality information to your website.

•

6. Get links from these directories and sites (if you can afford/manage it) • • • • • • • • • • • DMOZ Yahoo Directory MSN bCentral Best of the Web JoeAnt GoGuides Business.com About.com Wikipedia Squidoo Work.com

There are more directories and websites that could be useful, but in getting your website the early link juice and search engine trust, these 11 are the most effective (and some websites, like About.com and Wikipedia, are very tough to get links from).
http://www.wolf-howl.com/seo/deep-crawling-a-mini-site-part-ii/ http://www.wolf-howl.com/seo/seo-siloing/ 19 http://tools.seobook.com 20 http://www.copyblogger.com/increase-web-traffic/>
17 18

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7. Linkbait the A-list Controversial, but I advise you to approach this with the target of gaining ideas for adding value to your website. • • • • Find out who the top bloggers/websites are in your niche (in search engine rankings, mindshare and influence). Study their websites and learn what they link out to. If it fits in with your site’s focus, determine what you must do to create something unique, compelling and useful, and then get busy doing it. Don’t expect the world when you send your article in an email to your A-list.

8. Go cherry picking for links I’ve always believed that if you listen to the experts, you will learn most of what you need to know about any subject. If you want a quick explanation of how to find the best links for your websites, learn from Jim Boykin and read his advice21 on how to get22 links23. And if you need a step-by-step walkthrough on the actual link building process, here’s a fantastic post by Todd Malicoat on link building cycles24. 9. Network like crazy You cannot overestimate the importance of networking, especially online where you have no physical interaction with your clients or your competition. • • • • Make the best use of your time by targeting the hot spots of networking in your niche. Visit forums and comment on other blogs so you can build a presence in your industry. Email and IM are meant for you to stay in touch with contacts and turn strangers into friends. Use them. Contacts are everything, especially in competitive industries.

10. Learn how to “get lucky” The basic principle is that in order to be lucky, you have to put yourself out there and give yourself the best chance possible of getting lucky. The best way to be lucky in business is to make sure you take advantage of the long tail of opportunities—if you’re not putting your ‘calling cards’ out far and wide, how do you expect to get noticed and have opportunities come your way? How does this apply to SEO? In terms of getting natural backlinks, of course. So, you’ve read my list, now it’s your turn—what are your top 10 tips for SEO success?
21 22 23 24

http://www.jimboykin.com/tips-for-finding-the-best-pages-to-get-links-from/ http://www.jimboykin.com/part-two-tips-for-finding-the-best-pages-to-get-links-from/ http://www.jimboykin.com/cherry-picking-links-believe-it/ http://www.stuntdubl.com/2006/10/17/link-cycle/

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Free Beer Inside!
by Joost de Valk (http://www.joostdevalk.nl/blog/) Running your sites like you’d run a pub What would you think your neighbors would consider the best pubs in your town? What do you base that on? I bet you thought of a pub immediately when you read that question, and you couldn’t come up with an answer to the second question that fast. Now you should really get to know what makes a pub popular. It matters because what makes things popular isn’t really different in the online and the offline worlds. It’s all about creating buzz, making people talk about you (or link to you, the online equivalent) and making them feel something is happening that they shouldn’t miss. You know what drives you out of a pub, don’t you? Consider some of the things that might: • • • It’s empty. The music is not to your taste. The service is bad.

Let’s translate these things into a “things you should not do” list for site owners: • • • Never officially launch a site when doesn’t have enough content on it.25 Know your readers26, don’t give them anything they won’t like, and please, don’t play music27! Make sure your readers can find what they’re looking for28.

Now that was easy, and you could probably come up with a lot more of those if you tried. You should also consider the other end, though: how do pubs get people into their place? Some of the stuff I’ve seen pubs do: • • • Give away free drinks at certain (unannounced) times. Arrange special events, like concerts, game nights, etc. Have so-called “proppers,” people hired to get people into a pub or disco, talk people into getting in, usually with incentives like free entrance and/or free drinks.

Now let’s translate these things into marketing actions you could do for your site: • •
25 26 27 28 29

Give away stuff, or better, create a contest in which you ask people to create content for your site and award prizes for the best content29 (yes, this article is self-aware ;) . You can think of all sorts of special actions, but try to make it include interactivity. For instance: put a chat room up on your site and get a famous person to answer

http://www.avivadirectory.com/successful-blog-launch/ http://www.successful-blog.com/content/know-your-audience// http://www.seomoz.org/blog/how-to-convince-a-client-their-site-doesnt-need-music http://9rules.com/blog/2006/10/can-i-search-your-site/ http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/search-engine-marketing-scholarship/

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•

questions on a specific time. Or make a program available for purchase for a special price for just a short time30. Announce this far enough ahead for people to be able to be there, and short enough for them to feel special for knowing about it. The equivalent of a propper in the online world is the paid blogger: buy blog posts. Pay people to blog about your site and create the buzz you need.

Now of course this is a thought experiment, but experiments like these should help you to do what any good SEO should do: think outside the box. The technical side of SEO is a necessary “evil,” but in the end he who gains the highest amount of links is the one who wins any battle in the SERPs. The only way to gain a lot of links naturally is being creative. Make people enthusiastic about what you’re doing. This doesn’t mean you have to create a full fledged community for each site you’re building. You do have to create some buzz though, and give people a reason to link to you. You can win even in the most competitive of SERPs by being creative31, instead of spending large amounts of money on buying links. And if you’re wondering where the free beer is? Well it’s at SES Chicago for all the judges if this article wins the contest

30 31

http://www.maczot.com/ http://seoblackhat.com/2006/10/06/headline-link-bait-love-viral-marketing/

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What Do Chocolate-Covered Coffee Beans and SEO Have in Common?
by Aaron Phillips When used separately they are good, when used together they are even better! I have achieved success with press releases using the following technique for two years. The components include a well written press release and a special combination of keywords and Google Alerts (your new best friend). What is Google Alerts32? It allows you to enter keywords and subscribe to those keywords for email updates as Google finds news related to them. Lots of people use this service and I have a secret ingredient that will increase the exposure of your press releases. At the bottom of each one of my press release I include a statement such as, “My company currently competes with Competitor A, Competitor B, Competitor C, etc.” Carefully selected and used in moderation, this will expose your press release directly to your competition’s customers! What happens next is amazing! Everyone that is currently subscribed to the keywords “Competitor A,” “Competitor B,” and so on, receives my press release, while my press release receives a significant increase. Google Alerts spreads my press release to the competition’s customers with the end result being more traffic and more business for me! Like Chocolate-Covered Coffee Beans you need to be careful with the quantity and know when enough is enough! The one thing I suggest is using a simple, true and factual statement such as “I compete with Competitor A”. The moral of the story: utilizing “Chocolate-Covered Coffee Beans” (competitor names as keywords in your press releases) will result in additional exposure, but using too many may keep you up at night!

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http://www.google.com/alerts

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Press Releases: The Other Paid Search Option
Buying your way into natural search rankings with press releases by John W. Ellis (http://www.johnwellis.com/) The concept of paid search marketing is not new for online marketing experts. By bidding on keywords, a website is positioned in a search engine’s sponsored listings. Anyone willing to spend the marketing dollars is able to compete. Paying for space has long been the distinction between pay-per-click (PPC) and natural search rankings. However, recently with the new rules of Web 2.0 that line is being crossed. Now the two are blending together with press releases. New tools are providing marketing experts ways to pay for high natural rankings as well as sponsored search positions. Press releases have not changed from their basic concept. They are still a way for companies to communicate to the public about news and events. They were and are a way to get news and media outlets to mention your company. However, the Internet has changed the way press releases are processed, read and distributed. Unlike the older system, press releases are not just going to a handful of journalists. The modern online press release is going to RSS feeds, search engines, social tagging sites, news feeds, as well as traditional journalism outlets. The long term affect of a press release is much more important. Because there is complete control of the link and the keywords associated with the link, press releases are the best form of link building available. With the increased number of quality links, websites will quickly climb in search engine rankings. You must pay attention to the details to receive the full benefit of press releases in search engines. Optimizing press releases is a unique craft that consists of important, visible headlines, compelling stories, proper structure and links. Mixing all of that together with targeted keywords can prove to be a difficult task. However, below are some general guidelines to push writers in the right direction. Tips for great online press releases •Link building is key. Links are the single most important feature of press releases. Each time a press release is picked up and published on a website, those links are multiplied. This is the major source of increased search engine rankings. •Link guidelines: o Stay on target. Stick with the most coveted keywords and make sure the anchor text includes those words. o Create search friendly links. By keeping the links short and “search friendly,” the impact of link building will pay off when the press release is distributed across the Web. o Avoid too many links. One link per hundred words is about the right amount. Any more than that and the press release looks like spam or a link farm. Any less,
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then the press release is not getting its full benefit. •Avoid sales pitches. Although not always an easy task, the purpose of an online press release is clearly not a promotion. The main goal of a press release: To increase search engine rankings. Editors do not want commercials; they want valuable information that will interest their readers. The financial benefit of the press release will come later, when users begin their search and the website appears high in search engine results. •Write from a third person point of view. Press releases are published on various news websites and in some cases offline media. It is best to view the press releases from the reader’s point of view. Do not use words such as: us, we, your, and you. •Link to relevant landing pages. It is important for Web content editors to make sure there is information on the site that corresponds to the event or news item in the press release. •Build original content. To increase your search rankings, the press release needs to be picked up by as many websites as possible. This is done through using good stories and information. •Add targeted keywords to press release. Whenever possible, fill the press release with targeted search keywords. It is often easier to add keywords after the press release is written. Ideally, the closer the keyword is to the top of the press release, the better. •Keep the reader in mind first, not the search engines. If the text does not read well with a specific keyword, then do not include it. Use words that your customers use. More importantly, use words that they use in search engines. What should I look for in a press release distribution company? The quickest way to get a press release distributed is through a wire service. These services provide instant distribution to a network of news services, such at Google News and Yahoo! News. There are a variety of press release distribution services available. Below are a few qualities and capabilities to look for in a press release distribution company: •Editorial staff—A company that will help you optimize your press release will maximize its reach. •Search engine presence—Does the company offer a direct feed into search engines? Since many journalists and Web editors use search engines to find stories, having your story there makes that process easier. •RSS feeds and syndication—Allowing a webmaster a direct feed multiplies the number of times your press release will get picked up, thus increasing search rankings. •Social tagging—Having a company that will assist with tagging and bookmarking will help the press releases connect with more people and more websites. What does all this cost? As stated in the subtitle, “Buying your way into natural search rankings with press releases,” this all comes at a price. You have to pay a fee to be part of this distribution service. The price for distribution varies from company and depends on the options. The cost per press release can be as low as $40 to as high as $300 for complex configurations.

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Keep in mind the most important goal of online press releases: increasing search engine rankings. The best way to get those rankings is through (1) very precise and targeted links within the press release and (2) large distribution. The route that is going to meet more of those targets at the best price is the solution for you. All other options are just icing on the cake and in some cases are not even that important. Do not get swayed by other options, at additional costs, that do not help with those two goals. Act quickly Like any search engine ranking technique, it is only a matter of time before the effects of this tool are diluted because people abused the system. It is important to get in early and often and make a claim on these new press release formats. Search engine optimization press releases are a proven commodity. This not the familiar press release that so many communication managers and marketing professionals have grown accustomed to. Online marketing is evolving quickly and people are looking for more and more information and fresh content. By containing interesting stories, your press release will make Web editors happy which will ultimately affect that your position in the market.

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Have Your Top Competitors Do Some of Your SEO for You
by CK Chung (aka Kid Disco) (http://www.webosis.com/ http://www.seodisco.com)

What if I were to tell you that you could cut the amount of time spent on a certain element of SEO by half and, at the same time, double your productivity for it. Is that something you might be interested in? If so, read on, grasshopper. :) SEOs will generally kick off an optimization campaign by examining analytics, performing keyword research, checking on-page elements, analyzing links, and so on and so forth. However, there is an extremely useful tactic that is often underutilized or left out completely from the SEO’s arsenal. What am I talking about? Ladies and gentleman, I present to you . . . competitive intelligence. What is competitive intelligence? As it relates to search marketing, I would define it as the process of performing research to gather information about your competitors’ websites and analyzing that data for the purpose of extracting methods used and formulating strategies that you may use to optimize your own website. Competitive intelligence can open your eyes to many things, including: •What your competitors are doing. •How you compare to your competitors. •Predicting what your competitors will be doing. There are plenty of resources and tools on competitive research and analysis that are readily available for you to use. Simple searches on the SEM Search33 tool for competitive intelligence34 , competitive research35 , and competitive analysis36 will return a barrage of blog posts and articles that will lead you to a slew of resources and tools you may incorporate. These tools and tactics that you will find will lead you well on your way to gathering useful data on your competitors. Being the swell guy that I am, I’ll present two of my favorite tactics. View the Source Often, you will find that your competitors will leave a bunch of clues and/or trails in the source code of their pages. Some of the things you may find include: •The keywords they are targeting (meta name=“keywords”)
http://www.alistercameron.com/sem-search/> http://www.alistercameron.com/sem-search/sem-searchresults/?cx=010231549314128785615:ujp59mjgvr8&q=competitive+intelligence&sa=Search&cof=FORID: 10 35 http://www.alistercameron.com/sem-search/sem-searchresults/?cx=010231549314128785615:ujp59mjgvr8&q=competitive+research&sa=Search&cof=FORID:10
33 34

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•The kind of content management system they are using, if they are using one. •The analytics package they are using, if they are using one. •The other third-party companies your competitor is using. You may use this knowledge to exploit your competitor’s weaknesses, implement these practices on your own site, and/or obtain additional information through further research, if you know what I mean. ;) Another item in the source you should look for are comments. Many Web developers and designers will leave notes in comments like this:

You should also look for entire elements or blocks of code that may be commented out. These may reveal such things as new elements that may soon be introduced to the site and/or items that are being tested on the site. Competitive Link Analysis And now we get to the answer to the initial question: How can you spend half the time on a certain element of SEO and get twice as much out of it? The element I’m talking about is inbound links. Everybody knows the importance of inbound links in an SEO campaign. Why not use your competitors to help you out? You can easily analyze the backlinks of your competitors. There—there’s half the work of researching for potential link acquisition targets all done for you. Now all you need to do is implement the usual link building strategies to acquire backlinks from the same sites that are linking to your competitors, right? Well, you could, and I’m sure many of you are doing this. But I have more. Using those usual link building strategies, what if you were to get the website that is linking to your competitor to change that link to go to your site, instead? Then, instead of your competitor having 1 backlink to your 1 new backlink, now your competitor has 0 and you have 1. Bang! Double your productivity. Not only are you gaining links, your competitors are losing them! :) Of course, you will want to avoid anything that may cause the search engines to become suspicious. I’ll speculate that your competitor’s backlinks being replaced by yours across hundreds of sites may do just that. So, you obviously should be replacing not just a single competitor’s links, but many other
http://www.alistercameron.com/sem-search/sem-searchresults/?cx=010231549314128785615:ujp59mjgvr8&q=competitive+analysis&sa=Search&cof=FORID:10
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competitors’ links. In addition, keep in mind that this strategy should be just a part of your link building campaign, as it is best to keep your link profile diverse. Summary So, there you have it, folks—competitive intelligence and a few tactics in a nutshell. I would really need something larger, like a clamshell, to expand on the subject, but I hope I have provided enough information for you to get started on the right path. Being aware of competitive intelligence will not only help you gather information on your competitors to use to your advantage, but it will also make you aware of what you should and shouldn’t be doing on your own Web properties so that your competitors can’t gather the same type of information about your websites. Of course there are more sneaky tactics you may use with competitive intelligence, but we can’t go into those here. :D

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Most SEOs Are Virgins
by Jeremy Luebke (http://www.xuru.com) I can hear the email programs firing up now “…just because I’m up till 5am link building and editing title tags in my underwear does not mean I’m a virgin.” Slow down, you can close your email client, you have it all wrong. A virgin SEO is one that has never had a site banned by a search engine. And like in real life, if you’re a virgin, you don’t know what your missing. Method to My Madness The first time I had a site banned, I was shocked and devastated. The second time, I was ecstatic like a kid on Christmas morning. No, I’m not bipolar, I’m obsessive. I had to know why the site was banned, and the theories I received from my fellow SEOs were not good enough. I needed cold hard facts. I got them by creating a new site and methodically testing each theory until the second site was banned. It was like being back at elementary school and picking on the girl I had a crush on until she stomped on my foot. Now I’m not suggesting you go out and dirty up your white hat, just buy a few different hats to wear when the time is right. The best system admins I know can hack a server any day of the week, and the fact they have that knowledge makes them 100 times more effective at securing their own servers. Search Engine Optimization Specialists are much the same way. To know your enemy, you must become your enemy Sun Tzu37. What’s in It for You? In a single word, knowledge. John Andrews’s competitive webmastering38 philosophy sums it up best. Researching and analyzing all aspects of this art called Search Engine Optimization is what sets apart the good SEOs from the great SEOs. There are so many brilliant people in our industry that just blow me away with their knowledge (Rand39, Todd40, Greg41, Michael42, etc.). I am a very competitive person, and the idea that someone knows more than I about my passion and chosen profession leaves me sleepless at night. I am not saying I know everything there is to know or that I ever will, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying. Where to Start There are so many ways to approach a research project such as this. Some goals may be long term and others short term. The first item on your action list should be to head over to Syndk843 and join the forums. I’ve also heard good things about the forums at SEO Black Hat44, but it’s a subscription only service and I haven’t signed up myself. I’m seriously considering it though.
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Sun_Tzu http://www.johnon.com/1/competitive-webmaster-blog.html 39 http://www.seomoz.org 40 http://www.stuntdubl.com 41 http://www.webguerilla.com 42 http://www.wolf-howl.com 43 http://www.syndk8.net/ 44 http://www.seoblackhat.com/
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After spending some time there you should have a good idea about the basics of black hat SEO. Now get out there and test, then test, and then test some more. You can’t learn to be a painter from a book and you won’t learn how black hat truly works from a forum. Make sure to create a new persona before you venture into the dark alley. The last thing you want is to host a shady website on your server with your other white hat domains. With how cheap domains and hosting are these days, it’s just not worth it. You don’t even need a new domain or host to embark on this journey. The ability to leach off an established domain by using a free blog service is something many black hats use. Mix it up a little and try out all your options. Do Not Lie, Cheat or Steal! There is a difference between black hat techniques and criminal activities. To me black hat is about competing with the search engines while white hat is about competing with your fellow webmasters. SEOmoz has an interesting debate on white versus black45. If you are scraping someone’s copyrighted content, you are not learning the dark arts or doing research. You are stealing. With so many free content sites on the Internet these days, there is zero reason to scrape someone’s website. So don’t do it! Don’t let your little information gathering experiment turn into a lawsuit. By now you’re probably presuming I’m a hard core black hat SEO when the complete opposite is the truth. My websites are white as driven snow. I have my own personal research projects but that is not what I do for a living or where I make my money. There is too much money to be made in the long run to risk a ban. I’ll also let you in on a little secret. Black hat SEO is a lot of work. It is not the easy path to riches as many would lead you to believe. The same 80/20 rule applies to the dark arts as to everything else in life. 20% of the webmasters will earn 80% of the money. Knowledge is power. Now go get you some!

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SEO is Pointless (But You Don’t Have to Tell Your Clients)
by Jordan McCollum (http://www.mamablogga.com) Sad, but true: our industry is pointless. But don’t go and trash your beautiful keyword research (or worse, kill this browser window!). Of course SEO has a purpose. Simply stated, the purpose of “pure” SEO is to generate more qualified traffic to a website. And that’s good—more is better. Right? Not always. Sometimes, more is just more. How can you tell if your SEO is pointless? Here’s an example: Jim Bob’s Weddings-andWebdings contracted with an SEO company. Six months into the contract, Jim Bob is forwarded a disturbing article that claims “SEO is Pointless.” He calls his SEO for the conversion rate, as suggested in the article. After some prying, Jim Bob finally gets a breakdown: Pre optimization: Post optimization: 335 unique visitors/month 9500 unique visitors/month 5 conversions/month 50 conversions/month

Initially, these numbers look vaguely impressive. After all, Jim Bob is now getting ten times the conversions that he was before. But Jim Bob persists: what’s the conversion rate? Calculate out the percentages: Jim Bob’s gone from a low-but-okay conversion rate of 1.5% to a muchless-respectable 0.5%. Jim Bob terminates his contract. Jim Bob’s ex-SEO suffered from tunnel vision and focused on delivering more traffic instead of more value. Some clients are satisfied with a lower conversion rate as long as they have more conversions. Don’t let those complacent clients lull you into thinking that SEO should end at a landing page. No amount of traffic can compensate for a website that won’t convert, losing visitors like water through a sieve. This is even more true in a PPC campaign, where you have to pay for each visitor. Eventually, the client will realize that they’re paying for something pointless and worthless, and you’ll lose them as a client. SEO cannot just be about getting visitors to a site or even making the site nice for them to play on. There must be a goal that is larger than simply bringing more people to the site. Why do your clients want higher rankings and more traffic in the first place? To get more buyers, not more page views. So what’s an SEO to do? Think about that statistic I mentioned earlier: conversion rate. With a little work, Jim Bob’s Weddings-and-Webdings could creep up to a 3.13% conversion rate46. Before you point out that 3.13% is less than 3 percentage points better than the SEO’s original effort, fire up the calculator for a little more math. Jim Bob’s SEO is proud of 9500 uniques/month. Now, instead of sitting back and waiting for the revenues to roll in (and getting fired), the SEO turns her attention to the Weddings-and46

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Webdings site itself and make a few adjustments to get up to that 3.13% conversion rate. The 50 conversions/month jump to almost 300 conversions/month. Want an even more impressive statistic to share with Jim Bob? That’s 600% lift—or 6000% lift over the pre-SEO+Conversion Rate Enhancement numbers. How can you offer such amazing value to your SEO clients? The plan is three-fold: adjust client expectations, deliver and report. 1. Adjust client expectations. Why is this important? Chances are your SEO clients will be very well-educated about (and fixated on) the “search engine” part of SEO. They want rankings and the commensurate traffic. That’s good. That’s why they’ve hired you. But don’t lose sight of the ultimate goal of their website: sales, leads or whatever other conversions they track. If they find out in 6 months that their conversion rate has dropped significantly—or if their revenue hasn’t increased proportionately with their traffic—then they’ll realize that more is just more, and they don’t want to pay for “just more” anymore. If you can always keep the ultimate goal of not just more traffic but more conversions in sight, you can show your client the value your services provide.

2. Deliver. Great. Now your client expects you to improve their conversion rate. How do you do it? Here are a few tips to get you started:
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Examine exit pages and bounce rates. Look at the pages which turn people off, especially people who’ve just found your site. Are your landing pages turning people away? Your 55 question, 17 page order form? Reexamine the pages that drive your visitors away. Are they targeting the right audience? Are they too complex or too simple? Can the visitor see where to go next? Create clear paths. Show visitors what they should do next. Say they arrive on a landing page. They can learn more about your products, order now or see related products. Don’t make your visitors ponder long and hard about where to go from here. Put more calls to action in your text and graphics, placed prominently above the fold. Guide them down the “conversion funnel.” Simplify, simplify, simplify. This goes hand-in-hand with creating clear paths. Make your navigation standard throughout the site, easy to find, easy to understand, and easy to use. Eliminate any unnecessary fields and steps from your order form. If visitors use site navigation to abandon a shopping cart, eliminate it from the checkout process.

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3. Report. Make sure you and your client track the conversions generated in your campaign so that you can show the value of your efforts. These tips only scratch the surface of conversion rate enhancement techniques. SEO as an end unto itself may be pointless, but all your keyword research and content creation need not be in vain. Just keep the true goal of the website in sight and you’ll be on your way to providing your clients real, demonstrable value in no time. Stop your clients’ websites from losing potential customers like a sieve and start funneling them through the conversion process with conversion rate enhancement services.

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Increase Conversion Rates with the Google Website Optimizer?
by Jeff Horsager (http://adgeek.typepad.com/) Testing is critical to the success of any marketing campaign. Testing provides actionable data that translates into increased ROI. It is results oriented and provides insights that allow you to improve any marketing campaign in measurable ways. Split Testing and Multivariate Testing Basic testing of ad campaign elements (such as ad copy) is often done through what is known as split or A/B testing. Split testing is simply testing two advertising elements against each other under similar conditions to see which performs better. An example of split testing is taking identical PPC ad copy and driving it to two different landing pages to see which page converts better, or creating two PPC ad copy variants and sending them to the same landing page to see which variant gives you a higher CTR (click-through rate). Multivariate testing is the testing of more than one variable at a time, and requires sophisticated statistical analysis to determine results. Until now, multivariate testing resources were cost prohibitive. Google Website Optimizer47 is a free multivariate testing application from Google. It allows users to test different combinations of content on a site or landing page with the goal of increased conversion rates. It is available to all AdWords users and provides analytic power on par with any website optimization software package out there. If you are using PPC or email campaigns to drive users to a landing page with the goal of conversion, Website Optimizer is a godsend. Through well thought out landing page design and testing you can get feedback that will significantly impact conversion rates. Define Conversion Goals The first step in testing is defining conversion goals. A landing page should have one central goal—the action you want the visitor to take. This action defines the conversion. This could be a purchase in a transactional campaign, or an email address in a lead generation campaign. The landing page is what you will be testing, measuring, and tweaking. This is the test page in the optimization experiment. The original content becomes the control, and variants of page elements such as copy and images compete with each other for improved results. After completing the call to action, users arrive at a conversion page. Usually this page is an acknowledgement that the transaction has occurred, such as a ‘thanks for your order’ message. By definition, any traffic that lands on this page is converted traffic. Once you have identified your test page and conversion page, decide what elements you want
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to test. Deciding Which Elements to Test Google Website Optimizer allows you to test up to eight elements at a time. Here are a few elements consider testing: •Headlines •Calls to action (such as “Buy Now” buttons) •Images and hero shots (i.e. product images) •POA (point of action) assurances such as guarantees •Forms •Copy 64 Tips for Getting Started with Google Website Optimizer48 and 101 Easy Ways to Use Google Website Optimizer49 provide more test ideas. After identifying the test elements, you are ready to set up your experiment. Setting up the Test Preparing your pages for testing involves inserting JavaScript tags into your HTML. The Website Optimizer generates this code for you. On your test page, paste the “control script” code before the closing HTML head tag, and paste the “tracker script” code at the bottom of the page before the closing HTML body tag. Also, place the “tracker script” code before the closing body tag on your conversion page. Next, place the “section script code” before and after the elements you will be testing and the variations of those elements. For example, place the code before your original headline and a headline variation that you want to test. Bryan Eisenberg of Future Now, Inc. has written an excellent white paper called 10 Minutes to Testing50 that provides a detailed overview of setting up tests with the Website Optimizer. Validate the code and start the test. Check the Results Website Optimizer reports are intuitive and provide actionable data you can use to improve your results. Remember to let the test run for long enough to yield results that are statistically valid. The report consists of two tabs: the “Combinations” tab, and the “Page Sections” tab. Here is a screenshot of the “Combinations” page:

http://www.grokdotcom.com/2007/04/03/64-tips-for-getting-started-with-google-optimizer/ http://www.conversion-rate-experts.com/articles/101-google-website-optimizer-tips/ 50 http://www.grokdotcom.com/pdfs/10minutesGWO.pdf
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This page shows the performance of different combinations of the tested elements. The “Combinations” column lists the results of your control page, followed by the best performing combinations in order. The “Estimated Conversion Rate Range” shows how well each combination performed based on the percentage of impressions that resulted in conversions. For example, in this screenshot combination 11 had a 38.9% conversion rate representing a 24.9% improvement over the control page. The “Chance to Beat Orig[inal]” is the probability that a particular combination will beat the control. The “Chance to Beat All” column is the probability that a combination will be more successful than any other combination tested. The “Conversions/Impressions” column enumerates the number of impressions each combination received and how many times those impressions converted. Here is a screenshot of the “Page Sections” tab:

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This lists the sections with the biggest impact on results expressed as a “Relevance Rating.” The “Combinations” tab, by contrast, shows which combination of sections performed best. Conclusion and Resources Testing is vital to any advertising campaign. The Google Website Optimizer is a free multivariate testing tool that can dramatically increase conversion rates and ROI. You may be surprised at what works and how seemingly small details can make a huge difference. In addition to the Google Website Optimizer Page, you should check out Future Now’s Google Website Optimizer—7 Free Resources To Get Started51 for additional tips. Happy testing.

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Dominating the Long Tail of Local Search with Databases
by Ben Fremer (http://www.FPWebsiteDesign.com) These are some of my best trade secrets. Please only use them for good. This article will show you little-known techniques on how to dominate the search engine results pages for local searches—searches which are “service name” + “city name.” Whether you are a local Realtor, accountant or home builder, or a national services provider, this article will show you how to greatly improve the results of your current search engine marketing campaigns. It is a little known fact that traffic from extremely uncompetitive local search terms can add up to big traffic and sales if you can cover them comprehensively. For this, I am going to share two methods (one is an easy pay-per-click tactic, and the other is a very advanced organic tactic) of using publicly available databases of world/national cities to totally dominate the search engine results pages where people are searching locally, but where most marketers haven’t spread their net far enough to reach. The first method is very straightforward. You simply need to get one of the available databases and do the spreadsheet-multiply-cities-by-services function to generate all of the keywords that you want to show up for. Simply copy the counties you want to show up in, and you suddenly have the names of all of the theoretical 1,000 cities you serve without having to waste time trying to think them out. You should also be sure to multiply your service keywords by the “city” + “state name” combination, as well as by the “city” + “state abbreviation” combination as these are commonly looked for in the long tail. You may now have over 20,000 keywords if you cover just one metropolitan area, or hundreds of thousands if you cover the whole United States. Simply put all of these keywords into your ad campaigns, and now you are at least showing up on practically all of the SERPs in the long tail of your local keyword universe. If you have hundreds of thousands of keywords to input, you may be well advised to contact a sponsored search representative for bulk uploading your keywords. This next method for dominating the natural search listings (where people are more likely to see and click your listing) requires a working knowledge of a scripting language and MySQL to exert its full potential. For our example, we will be using PHP. This could otherwise be tediously done by manually generating static pages. On a side note, it should be noted that this method should only be used to show up for cities that you actually serve and for services that you actually offer! There is unfortunately potential for black hat abuse here. Basically, we will be making a directory of the cities we serve with each city page optimized and skillfully interlinked. Here is an example URL of a client website that is currently using this technique: http://www.daspc.com/Accounting-Services.php?city=Troy&state=Michigan . Some quick searching on Google shows that not only does the client show up well for “Troy, Michigan Accountant,” but they also show up right near the top for every suburb of Detroit whether you are looking for an accountant, a certified public accountant, or a CPA firm. This works for companies that serve clients in cities across the entire United States, too.

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As you can see, this site uses dynamic variables in the URL. Mod_rewrite can get you even more on-page points by making your pages look like .html files. The script also dynamically generates optimized internal anchor text, and can link to all of the nearest cities by pulling in dynamic latitude and longitude. I will spare you the underlying programming, suffice to say reading 300 pages of an O’Reilly PHP/MySQL book can teach you how to do it. The main thing to be concerned about is the difficulty in getting these pages indexed and ranking well. To help, I am going to share my equation for my simple theory of website rankings on search engines—drawn from hundreds of hours of studying SERP’s. This is so simple, I’m surprised I haven’t seen it before: A page’s rank = on-page optimization (varies by search engine) * PageRank (varies by search engine) + value of link juice pointing directly at the page (varies by search engine) * anchor text distribution of those links The important point to make here is that high rankings with city pages are not achieved by link building to the individual pages, but by passing PageRank through to the highly on-page optimized pages over time (see PageRank to understand passing of PageRank). The pages will probably be originally indexed into Google’s supplementary index and not rank well, but depending on the PR of the pages on your site linking into your city pages (the higher PR the better), and the length of time the links to your city pages have been in place passing PageRank on to your city pages, your site may come out sooner rather than later. You should be out by the next PageRank update—so about a maximum of three months—if you do it right. Here is another useful relationship equation. Time in supplemental results = the number of city pages / PageRank value being passed on to city pages. What this means is that you are not going to dominate all the global SERPs for a competitive keyword (a few million city pages required) if your own website is a low PageRank site, so it would be best not to overreach your ambitions. Well, that is all. This is an extremely powerful tactic for picking up the long tail, especially when coupled with the database and service name multiplication for service and product names. If you would like to utilize our services, please feel free to contact us.

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Why Will the SEO Industry Change in Two Months? Niche SEO
by Ahmed Bilal If you are an SEO consultant, or if you are responsible for purchasing SEO services for your organization, the ideas discussed here may be the most important ideas you read this year. In a nutshell, the SEO industry is changing. We have integrated linkbaiting and social media marketing into our SEO toolkits, but now it’s time for the “step.” It’s also an end to a cycle—we know (to a great extent) what search engines want and how to give that to them. But as search marketers, do we know what our clients want? And as media buyers hiring SEO firms, do we know what options we have? In the next two months (it is early April 2007 as I write this) you will read a wave of articles talking about “niche SEO.” I urge you to follow this wave closely—if you embrace it, you will be part of the new breed of SEO. If you don’t, you’ll be playing catch up by the end of the year. What is niche SEO? The best way to answer that is to show you. Do you have industry-specific SEO knowledge? If you give a competent SEO a specific industry and 30 minutes, he can tell you: •How competitive that niche is •What the top keywords are •Top ranking sites in that niche •Where to get topical links from •Untapped sub-niches (by comparing keyword popularity and relative competition) That’s impressive, right? Now if you handed the same assignment to an SEO with deep knowledge and experience in that industry, he could tell you, in those 30 minutes: •Who the top link sources are •The sites most likely to link to you (and how to get those links) •The linkerati52 and how to attract their attention •The top bloggers and their background (I’m talking names, history, email and phone contacts) •The top communities in terms of traffic and influence—and how to use them •Where to buy ads for traffic •Niche-specific monetization opportunities •Trusted information sources •The misinformers (spammers) •50 linkbait ideas
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•Top traffic sources (and how to get traffic from them) •How to segment and target sections of the linkerati without alienating the rest Is this something that a ‘generic’ search marketer can find through research? Yes and no. Yes, because ultimately the resources being used are the same. No, because it takes too much time. Knowledge, experience and an established network in an industry are the three main checkboxes your prospective hires will have to tick. Why/How “Niche SEO” is Better Than “Generic SEO” A real world example, to show you how powerful niche SEO really is: On 4 and 5 April, there were two key sports-related incidents in Europe. During two soccer matches (one on each day), visiting fans clashed with the police inside the stadium. The common factor in both incidents is that the visiting fans were English. The incidents have raised serious security concerns within the game and because of the police involvement, it can (and probably will) turn into a diplomatic crisis as well. These are serious events, but as news goes, it is also an opportunity for a smart marketing to provide unique coverage of these events and gain market share as a result. The ideal way to do this would be to: •Find videos related to the incident—clips from TV coverage in the English media, in the Italian and Spanish media, and video footage taken by fans •Connect with fans visiting these matches and get their input •Provide full (and immediate) coverage of all news related to this incident •Pull out historical information that relates to such violence and do a timeline piece •Find academic research on soccer hooliganism and refer that in your articles •Start and manage discussions on this topic in different forums, using your profile and referring to your coverage/articles to drive traffic to your site •Use your media contacts (that cover soccer/sports news) to promote your site •Contact leading soccer bloggers with targeted pitches about your content related to this issue •Contact podcasters in your niche and give them exclusive information in exchange for coverage Who would be the ideal candidate to do this? Someone who: •Knows which forums fans frequent and has a strong profile in those communities. •Knows where to quickly get news and video clippings of this incident. •Has a strong social network in the soccer news industry that includes media contacts, podcasters and bloggers. •Has historical knowledge (through experience and as a fan) of soccer and specifically, similar issues in soccer. •Knows the best strategies of promoting content in this sector. Versus:

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A crack team of linkbaiters and search marketers who will charge you $500 per hour but will then spend the next 10 hours—$5000 of your time—learning about the niche while other news sites cover the breaking news and eventually become the main hubs of discussion around that topic. The choice is yours. Where do you stand? If you’re a search marketer, you can be a ‘generic’ SEO or you can pick a handful of industries (through personal experience) and specialize in them. If you’re a business owner or someone looking to purchase SEO services, the main three questions you should ask the next SEO company are self-evident—do they have the •Experience •Social network •Background knowledge you need in your industry? The success of your business will depend on those answers. There is much more to talk about on this subject. To follow the discussion, use Technorati to track “niche SEO53.” And if you want to criticize/discuss this topic further, find me Google my name54 and I’ll be glad to answer any questions you have.

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Creating an SEM Sidekick That Would Make Batman Jealous!
by Taylor Pratt (http://www.lunametrics.com) Being the best usually means working with the best. Where would Johnny Carson have been without the support of Ed McMahon? You think Batman had a serious chance against Two-Face without Robin (assuming he isn’t played by Chris O’Donnell, of course)? Creating a sidekick with Chewbacca caliber seems impossible, but what if it were as easy as installing a few lines of code or typing in a username and password? Wouldn’t it be great if you could figure out what keywords people actually are typing into search engines and clicking through to your site? And how about what pages they are clicking through to the most? Hallelujah! It really is that easy to access this kind of information. Most websites today have some type of analytics installed that their SEM is overlooking (Holy missed opportunity, Batman!). While your eyes are glazing over at the thought of reading an article about analytics, I’d like to make an argument that they are more than just numbers. Analytics tell a story, and they just might be the sidekick you’re looking for. I like to consider my client’s analytics data as a story, with 4 major chapters that build off of one another: Chapter 1: Keyword Analysis Looking through the thousands of keywords (hopefully) that visitors clicked through to your site on can provide you with a wealth of information that should strongly impact your SEM campaign. In the beginning you can use these keywords as suggestions as to what you should be targeting. It is a great way to dive into the mind of the customer and get a better understanding as to what language they use when describing your product or services. Your internal search engine is like a golden ticket into the mind of your customer. You know they are interested in your services, and now you get to see what they think right keywords are. Closely analyze these keywords, and see where you could be targeting them and if they would bring in enough traffic to merit such a focus. During your campaign, these keywords are a great measurement to determine how effectively you are using your targeted terms on your site. Analyze the long tail keywords and make sure you are focusing on the best terms. How can you tell which terms are the most important? Chapter 2: Tracking Your Visitors What good is ranking number 1 in Google for “Batman” if none of your visitors take action or “convert”? Your best keywords are the keywords that lead the visitor to your page, and once they get there, they click through to the rest of your site. Your analytics makes it simple for you: 50 visitors came from Google searching for “Batman,” and 0 clicked through to the rest of your site. 15 visitors came from Google searching for “batmobile die cast car” and 10 of them clicked through. Data like this tells us we need to refocus our SEM campaign to focus on the language the customer is using, not just the terms that bring in the most traffic.
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Don’t overlook what keywords your visitors are coming in on from the other search engines either. Obviously most search engines have their own ranking algorithms. Use that to your advantage by analyzing the keywords your visitors are coming in from on each the engines. I’ve found great keywords that I didn’t even know I was ranking for in MSN, but I was nowhere to be found in Google. Once I knew it was important, I was able to work it into my SEM campaign. Also included in Chapter 2 is tracking where your visitors came from. Are your paid links actually sending targeted traffic to your site? Are your links doing anything more than improving your rankings? Chapter 3: Page Analysis Your analytics sidekick also gives you the invaluable information of learning at what point the customer leaves your site. Was it something they didn’t like on the page? Did they think your shopping cart process was frustrating? If you find enough people leaving your site at the same point, you should put up a red flag and take another look at your page. Your best option might be to do some user testing. Regardless, you want more than traffic, you want conversions. Looking at the pages that your visitors are clicking away from should also raise a few eyebrows. Are they finding their answers on this page? Should we expand on our content? What relevant internal pages should we be linking to in order to make it easier for the customer to find what they want? And while you are tracking your visitors click path, you should be able to calculate the ROI of your current SEM strategy. Chapter 4: Measuring ROI Identifying which keywords, search engines, links, and even email marketing campaigns are generating the highest percentage of conversions from the traffic they send is a great way to measure your campaign ROI. If conversions are down, or aren’t improving the way you want them to, then you might want to consider modifying your current campaign. Are the costs of your SEM project justifying themselves? If you’re like P. Diddy—writing lots of checks and still not “going platinum”—then you should be reconsidering your strategy and your investment in general. Having the ability to see which keywords and sources are bringing you the best traffic is an invaluable resource. You need to know where to increase spending and where to focus. Analytics are a constant measurement resource identifying which search strategies are working and which strategies are failing (or making no impact at all.) Don’t try to fight your competition shorthanded. You have an invaluable sidekick just waiting to help you. Don’t ignore your analytics. There are plenty of great free resources and great analytics blogs to keep you from being frustrated, and to maximize your analytics potential.

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Aaron Says
by Aaron Smith Let’s face facts: our clients only care about SEO if it brings them business. There are many times that we SEOs get hung up on search engine position and the ensuing traffic that should come from a top spot. This is all fine and good and is great for our own personal satisfaction, but what does position and traffic really do for our clients? The answer to this question is simply, absolutely nothing. I have worked on many sites that I was able to get listed is some really choice positions in several large search engines. This position also generated quite a bit of traffic for each one of these sites day in and day out. The only problem with this comes with the client’s question, “If I have all of these hits, then why doesn’t anyone buy from me?” This is the point that I had a revelation; SEO doesn’t mean squadoosh without appropriate marketing strategies being implemented on the site. There are a few important things that we forget when going about our SEOing on a client’s site. We forget that if the site is not appealing then their clients are not going to click to buy. We need to use a little psychology when helping a client out. Don’t be afraid to do a little research about the specific type of business that you are trying to promote. (other than just keyword research) I do this by asking myself a few questions. • What colors drive the behaviors that this business needs? What I mean is red incites passion, and blue drives calmness, green sparks a thought of money. What does this business need to happen? A particular color scheme will really help drive the point of the site home. Have I made full use of a call-to-action in the title? I have found that the greatest response for a site is if the site title is set up as a call-to-action. If I can spark the interest of a potential client from the search engine content then I can definitely get them interested in the home page content. Does this business need products up front or would they benefit from a more detailed description of their service? Many businesses need to feature their products up front to drive a customer to an order section of the site, while other businesses need to properly describe their service to merely pique the interest of the reader.

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These basic questions provide the opportunity to really focus concentrated efforts on conversion and SEO at the same time. Let’s be honest: our clients don’t really care about how many hits they are getting. They may ask about hits because it’s what we have trained them to ask, but the real issue is “How many customers are buying from me?” This is why focusing SEO in a way that also touches customer conversion or marketing will ensure that your client will end up with a solid position in search engines and will be pleased with the number of conversions that they receive from their site. Once this is out of the way, I can start my normal process for SEO. Now, I know that some people may think that some of this is antiquated or more of the same but it does work none the less. I work the content to ensure that I have enough keyword saturation (and no, I don’t mean
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blast the page with keywords). Revising the content then leads me in to alt tags, text links, reciprocal links, and the same old stuff that we do day in and day out. To be honest I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel, I am only trying to make sure that each and every client becomes successful on the Internet and I think that many times we lose sight of that fact. Now, I’m not saying that we all need to focus only on doing this or guarantee a certain amount of conversion for a client, but what I am saying is that by improving a client’s conversion rate we are simplifying the daily conversation, “You have blah, blah, blah, number of hits and that is great!” At the end of the day, positioning in a search engine takes a backseat in our clients’ mind as long as we can bring them revenue from their sites.

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Keeping Your SEO Clients—How to NOT Get Your Contract Cancelled
by Taylor Pratt (http://www.lunametrics.com) You’ve just landed the big contract. You have been waiting over a month to get this client to sign their contract, and now that they have you can begin your traditional SEO process. You know what I’m talking about: keyword research, competitor research, building new content—the list goes on and on. All of these are vital to a successful SEO campaign. So now you are 3 weeks into the project and you are ready to send the client some recommendations. You start your email off by telling the client everything they are going to need to change in order to achieve those desired high rankings: the JavaScript menus, they have to go; we are going to have to do some URL rewriting; and what were you thinking, using all of that Flash? You get a response a couple days later saying that they would like to put all SEO work on hold. They are not sure if this is the right thing for them now. They were very happy with the way the site looked; they just wanted to get traffic there now. If you are like me, your jaw hits the floor. You’ve already invested three weeks into this project and you are ready to really get the show on the road, and they want to stop? What did I do wrong? Actually, it is not what you did do, it’s what you didn’t do. When you initially met with this client, did you do anything more than find out what their business does and browse around a little on their website? No—you didn’t do any real work on it, because you weren’t getting paid to. Of course they are willing to do what it takes to market their site, they came to you didn’t they? The problem is that we assume that a client will be willing to make changes to their site in order to achieve those high rankings. We make the same kind of mistake by assuming they will want to target those keywords that people are actually looking for, and not worry about branding. Well, I don’t think I need to tell you what happens when you assume. So now that we have successfully lost a client, what are we going to learn from this? The answer is the creation of a wonderful evaluation—an SEO audit. At your first meeting with a prospective client you should ask them one important question: Would you be willing to let us perform an SEO Audit of your website for X amount of dollars? The point of the audit is to bring to their attention all of the search-unfriendly practices they are using on their site, and to find out whether or not they are willing to change their ways. Stress the fact that it actually could be a cost savings process for them. Instead of paying you hourly or monthly to do all this work, only to find out that they have spent a ton of money on changes they don’t want to make, they can find out right away if SEO is for them for a much smaller cost. You still make out well because you were compensated for your time. By bringing these issues to the table at the very beginning, you will also establish a greater line of communication with the client. They know what is going to be expected from them, and how much work they can expect from you. The business relationship will greatly benefit from a simple audit. The important issues to include in your audit are the changes the client will have to make to
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their site and what kind of buy in they will have to get (e.g. from their legal department, which is not always about the audit itself, but telling them what they need to know and not being afraid to walk away from the table). Below is a list of architectural items to look at to help get your audit started. Technical Site Architecture Issues • Is the site being indexed by Google, Yahoo, and MSN? • Do they have a black- or grey-listed IP address? • Is the site in frames? • Does the site use JavaScript? • Do they have a CMS in place? • How does the site perform in Internet Explorer vs. Firefox vs. Safari? This is very important for not only you to have, but for the client as well. Show them where they stand, and where they are lacking. Remind the client why they need your help. They will be surprised how poor of a job they have done choosing keywords, and you will comfort them by telling them how you can help. The best part is that you will not have to worry about that horrible email or phone call saying that SEO is not for them.

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The SEO Article You Shouldn’t Read
by Nick Urbani (http://www.eboostmarketing.com/) This may not be what you want to hear, but your tricks, tips, and techniques do not matter. Even if you all like to sport your white hats, your ace-in-the-hole, top-secret tactic is useless. Let’s be honest with each other—it’s okay, no one’s listening. Your newly discovered SEO trick isn’t really earth shattering or even groundbreaking. Is there anything really new to SEO? The long-term profitability of any individual SEO will always rely on the innovation of strategy. All of us could throw tactics and tricks at our clients, but a coherent, forward-looking strategy is what it takes to win. To be the best, you must have a strategy that avoids becoming obsolete by continuously creating the new. Very rare are the “a-ha” moments in life which seem to create new ideas out of thin air. An SEO cannot rely on these infrequent instances in life. How do you plan for continuous innovation in the dynamic environment of digital marketing? The irony of creating cutting edge strategies is that success depends on failure. This requires experimenting, learning from experimentation, and adapting quickly. In the realm of science, scientists use the scientific method. However, not all business innovations can be tested using this method with complete clarity in a practical way. Changing search engine algorithms and user trends are difficult experimental environments to learn in. In order to open the door of learning and strategic innovation in Search Engine Optimization, I apply 5 changes incorporated into Theory-Focused Planning. 1. Minimize Detail Typical plans within current SEO strategy include breakdowns of link popularity, search engine ranking, keyword density, etc. This makes it easy to troubleshoot problems with the use of tactics. For example, our “ACME roadrunner trap” landing page ranking has fallen on Yahoo! due to a competitor’s superior use of div tags and higher quality links. Again, I could fire tactics at you all day, but this troubleshooting method depends on the reliable predictability of search engine algorithms. Strategy should focus on solving critical unknowns that will make or break your campaign. How will search engines use bookmarking in their search algos? Does our target audience and environment call for the use of RSS feeds? 2. Predict Trends Typical clients ask for a prediction of the bottom line—search engine rankings. This would make sense if search engines interpreted the sites the same every quarter. However, we are subject to the extraordinarily dynamic function of algorithms. More important than the specific ranking over any time period is the underlying trend over that period. 3. Focus on theory, not rankings In most reporting documents sent to clients you will find endless numbers offering current
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rankings for each keyword on each search engine. But in our business, the theory used to achieve those numbers is far more important than the numbers themselves. Rankings, placement, and ROI have little utility in an ongoing SEO strategy. Rankings give little insight into SEO planning, especially in the early stages. Trends and performance related to the interdependent SEO operations—coding, copywriting, and linking—will provide earlier signs that a strategy is either winning or losing. 4. Review very frequently The winning SEO will not be the first to start or the one with the best initial strategy, but the one that learns the quickest. As an example, an SEO that reevaluates his or her plans monthly rather than yearly has the potential to learn 12 times faster than a competitor. 5. Hold yourself accountable for learning, not results. Clients, corporations, and SEOs themselves must understand that the plan is a hypothesis and the goal is to adapt as quickly as possible. In this type of environment SEOs will evaluate themselves on how quickly they learn and will be able to more effectively validate their thought processes and utilize their ability to adapt in an experimental environment. Some may disagree with taking Theory-Focused Planning and applying it to Search Engine Optimization. To some, theory does not equal practicality. However, the tactics and techniques you use are based on some theory of what will work and what will not work in the future. Your reputation, your services, and your profitability are all being wagered on this theory. Therefore, a practical approach is to continually test and adapt the theory upon which you place your bet.

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The SEO Article You SHOULD Read—5 Reasons Accountability Matters
by Laura Lane Three weeks ago, the most popular article in the running for the SEM Scholarship was Nick Urbani’s “The SEO Article You Shouldn’t Read.”55 While I agree with many of the points he makes, we differ in several areas. I agree that a “coherent, forward looking strategy” is important in SEO. Furthermore, I like to win as much as everyone else—but what does it mean to “win”? Is it just about getting a number one ranking? What I love about SEO is not just the thrill of getting a number one ranking, but the accountability that we have to our clients. This is the biggest thing that Urbani’s Theory Focused Planning is lacking—accountability. He mentions holding yourself accountable for learning in his last point, but is that all accountability is or should be? 1. Predictions + accountability = rankings, leads, sales Predicting trends is not just about rankings, whether in the short or long term. Yes, we are at the mercy of the search engines and algorithm changes might drop rankings you’ve worked for months to obtain. My challenge is this—a client asking for predictions solely regarding rankings isn’t asking the right question. More importantly, if you answer in terms of rankings, you’re not being accountable to the work you’re doing for your client. Ranking number one doesn’t matter if it’s a term that no one queries. Rankings matter in terms of their impact on your client’s bottom line. Over the long term (accounting for monthly ebbs and flows and giving you time to adapt to algorithm changes), you can look at how you’ll improve your client’s rankings, but the more important factors that you should hold yourself accountable for are the increase in amount and quality of traffic those rankings drive for your client, as well as increases in leads and sales. 2. Focus on measurable results I agree with Urbani that a keyword ranking report is not the determining factor of a successful SEO campaign. However, he dismisses ROI as having “little utility in an ongoing SEO strategy.” I understand that ROI won’t help you get terms ranked, but rankings won’t matter if they do not increase the client’s site traffic, leads or sales. Moreover, what does a client really care about your SEO theory? If you can’t return a positive ROI for your client, rankings will not matter. In the end, analytics and measurable results will keep you accountable to your SEO theories and rankings (and your clients)—then you’ll know whether you have a winning or losing strategy. 3. Patience is a virtue As SEOs, we belong to a community of learners. However, it’s not enough just to read and learn. You have to know how to implement, and more importantly, when to implement
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changes and strategies. Reviewing the status of a campaign monthly is a good thing. You want your clients to do well, your clients want to see results. However, constantly re-evaluating and changing your strategies may not be a good idea. You cannot force the search engines to pick up your keywords or changes. Being accountable to your clients means knowing when to tell them it’s going to take more time to obtain rankings and how long is long enough to wait before making another round of changes. 4. Be accountable for learning and results Search engine optimization is a dynamic process. Those of us who have been doing this for 6 months and those who have been doing this for a decade can improve upon current strategies. Clients have to understand this is not a perfect process. When Urbani addresses accountability, he talks about being accountable for learning, not results. He states, “The goal is to adapt as quickly as possible.” However, you can run into problems if you implement new ideas too quickly. What happens when an engine’s algorithm change starts returning spammy results while your client’s keywords drop? I would hope you aren’t immediately compromising the integrity of your client’s site to obtain a higher ranking. Accountability means sometimes taking a hit in the rankings for a little while, explaining it to the client, and continuing to research the issue and a solution. This shows the importance of focusing on your long term ability to return a positive ROI for your client in terms of rankings, leads, and sales. 5. Accountability to Everyone Involved I love the competition in SEO. Who doesn’t love beating someone else for a top ranking? At the same time, there is a lot of responsibility that comes with being involved in SEO, which we don’t always acknowledge. You have to remember that you are accountable to: • The rest of your SEO team. You always have to bring your “A” game. Your colleagues rely on your ideas and learning as much as your clients do. There is only one number one spot on Google, and for a competitive keyword, you probably are not the only SEOs trying to target it. Your clients. Clients need your help choosing keywords that they can not only rank well for, but that will also drive meaningful site traffic as well as produce leads and sales. Hold yourself accountable (and prove your value) to your clients with measurable analytics. Searchers. The keywords that your clients are ranking for are terms that actual people are looking for. Are you helping them complete their search? If your client ranks well for “blue widget parts,” is there relevant content there? Or will the searcher leave immediately for another site?

•

•

As Urbani points out at the end of his article, “to some, theory does not equal practicality.” Maybe I’m a person who thinks analytically, but I’ll take practicality over theory. I want to be accountable for my work product and able to prove value to my clients—and to me a winning SEO strategy means going beyond theory and rankings to measurable metrics like ROI, leads and sales.

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10 Ideas to Smooth Out Even Rough SEO/SEM Projects
by Scott Clark (http://www.sitecreations.com/blog/) Many of us have converged on search marketing from other disciplines, be it media marketing, advertising, web development or programming. This diversity is one of the reasons why it’s so much more fun to socialize in our industry than to do so within any single discipline. But moving into SEM from other disciplines is not always easy. With Web design and programming, the results are usually visible—there are phases of release and visible outcomes. The client nods approval while looking at a screen or printout and everyone moves down the project path. The ads run on the selected media property at the selected time. The ad proof is approved by the client before hitting the magazine. The client can be lazy in their review—they feel they’ve covered the bases by seeing something on the screen or in print. But you can’t “demo” SEM results—there is no way to “beta” a Google rank. Outcomes are often dependent on product and presentation factors over which we have no control. So I’ve struggled, like you, with each unique, impatient and demanding client while learning things each time that make the next time a little easier. Here are a few that might help you. 1. Help the client understand how results will be measured. Unfortunately, some clients will begin asking you why they are not ranking a week or so after signing a contract. Even if you’ve carefully screened your clients, someone you’ve never met before, such as the CFO, will come “out of the woodwork” and start to scrutinize your efforts in an unpredictable fashion. Be ready to re-explain. 2. Talk with clients about “frames of reference.” Many times the client will use a different language from their customers, and therefore in their assessment of an SEM effort. Educated surfers use better-constructed queries than others with less experience. You can use search data and a lot of careful listening to help clarify the vocabulary of the searcher and understand the disparities. 3. Help the client think about real-world searching. I think businesses often think about their customers as sitting at a quiet, clean desk, lots of time, a super-fast computer, a big 24” monitor and a T1 line all to themselves. This is rarely the case, of course, so it’s good to dirty up the lens a bit and see what customers are seeing. Take them down the hallway to a PC, and ask them to look something up. Interrupt them a few times, call their cell phone, and generally make yourself annoying. 4. Introduce the client to the concept of split testing. Almost every client I say “split testing” to nods, but few understand the concept. A handout and a five minute explanation make it clear how keywords, ads, landing pages, and navigation flows can be tested and retested to improve site performance. A burst of confidence in my experience and the technique usually follows. You just showed that you’re not trying stuff at random. 5. Show the client how the customer is, really, the best designer. Even when hurting from writing a large check to a Web designer for their current site, you must explain how split testing
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and other findings are to be folded into the site once proven effective, and why. Sometimes it’s good to show them the numbers so they can make the call. 6. Introduce your client to the eye-tracking concept and landing page design. Even if you don’t use eyetracking reports, talk through some of the recent data. Let them get the feel for how people truly look at sites. The concept of the golden triangle, inverted pyramid and Fshaped scanning are not black magic, and clients find it both fascinating and comforting to know real-world testing has been done. This kind of a-ha moment relaxes the relationship even more. 7. Keep the client thinking about what’s going on. SEO can be a lonely road. Sometimes it’s like riding fences. Often we need to wait for data accumulation or for time to pass before executing a new phase in a link building campaign. But during these delays, we must still communicate. A quick email seems to do nicely. I have some automated systems that crank out some very, very simple PDF reports weekly. 8. Help your client keep true goals in mind. We often get absorbed with bringing people to the landing page and spend too little time and money optimizing call to action and conversion goals. A 95% exit rate is a very bad thing indeed, especially if you’re paying for clicks, yet many forget it’s happening. It’s better to have fewer, better converting visitors in many cases, but some clients are initially obsessed with the visitor count. Sometimes introducing a simple grading system can take the focus away from “hits” and let you discuss quality of visitor more frequently. 9. Talk about the multi-visit sale. It’s amazing to me, but almost every client I speak with thinks of SEM in terms of the one-visit, one-sale mindset. Few consider the proven fact that many items require multiple visits to convert and your analytics and SEM success factors must take this into account. Not only must measurements allow for it, but the entire design process needs to consider this “fourth dimension.” People coming back to the site have a very different mindset than initial visitors. Help your client think in these terms too. 10. Set expectations—SEM is not easy. I’ve found that some of the best clients are those who’ve tried other methods first. If their site was not banned from these efforts, they have an appreciation for how hard SEM is. These folks are usually in a listening mood. But for some, who’ve been inundated with spam about $99 SEO from overseas, the 4-6 months’ effort to build strong organic rank can be too much to take. There is no one way to explain this process to clients except to say that it is going to take a while to accomplish and consider what works for different personalities. If they have great difficulty with this, have a PPC package available. You know the drill. 11. Bonus Idea—Explain #1 is often impossible, often not required for incredible success. Don’t go into a SEM project set up for client disappointment. #1 may not be possible, ever. Help clients understand that an across-the-board five-position improvement for their 40 major keywords will quadruple their traffic, even if the improvement is further down on the SERPs. Focus on the business results, not the ego-driven Google-summit.

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Big SEO Projects—A Strategy To Get Them
by Marios Alexandrou (http:// www.searchgrit.com) Ask ten search engine optimizers if they know the difference between a strategy and a tactic and I bet all ten of them will nod their heads. If you then asked those same ten people to give you an example of a strategy, nine of them would in fact describe tactics instead and not even realize they did so. Pointing out their error would likely elicit a response along the lines of, “It doesn’t matter if I don’t know the difference. I can optimize a site better than anyone!” However, it does matter because one day they’re going to have to compete for the opportunity to work on a very large SEO project and what’s going to really help them land the project is understanding the language that senior management uses. This understanding will help them craft a message that resonates with executives who are then more likely to sign the contract. Vision, Strategy, and Tactics When a big SEO project comes your way, it’s often accompanied by a vision from the project stakeholders that goes beyond the “get me more traffic” requests common of mom-and-pop sites. The vision will probably be something along the lines of “be the leader of such-and-such” or “be the most respected for this-and-that.” The best response to a vision statement is a strategy that describes the overarching approach to achieve the vision. And only when the strategy has been thoroughly examined and received general approval should you dive in to the actual steps, ie the tactics that you’ll use to fulfill the objectives of the strategy. I’ll admit that I once had a hard time wrapping my head around what having a strategy really meant. Yes, I was one of the nine optimizers that would list tactics when asked for a strategy. What actually helped me understand the difference was working backwards. First, I listed all the things I do as a professional SEO such as keyword research, writing keyword-rich titles, removing session IDs from URLs, submitting links to directories, and analyzing Web traffic reports. The list, as you can imagine, ended up being quite long. The light bulb started to brighten when I moved to the second step of marking each item as either being a tactic or a strategy. Much to my chagrin, not one of them qualified as a strategy. It then all came together with one simple question that popped into my head. If I executed a selected set of tactics perfectly and the results were as expected, how would the client’s situation change over a period of 6 to 12 months? The answer to this question is a strategy, which would yield the appropriate list of tactics. Strategy in the Real World The problem is that while this backward approach is helpful for understanding concepts, it can waste time in practice since a lot of thinking can go in to figuring out the tactics that end up leading to a strategy that fails to address the vision. Instead, it is much more effective to start with a strategy and work your way through to the tactics. Are you still unsure of the difference? Here are a couple of generic, but hopefully illustrative examples:
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The client’s vision: The CMO of Company A has been charged with making her company the market share leader for the recently developed Product A. Your analysis of the situation: Company B’s website which sells Product B is such an established authority that Company A’s website will never rank #1 for relevant, high volume keywords. Your SEO strategy v1: Increase the perception of quality of Product A so that more people will buy from Company A. Partial list of tactics v1: Build a comprehensive resource around why Product A is better than Product B and use SEO best practices to obtain first page rankings. Use catchy browser titles to draw attention away from Product B’s #1 ranking. Your SEO strategy v2: Build awareness for Product A with potential customers when they are in the research phase of the buying cycle so that when ready, they’ll buy it instead of Product B. Partial list of tactics v2: Publish an information site that discusses issues and trends in the industry. Apply SEO techniques to the site to obtain search engine traffic. Place banner ads in highly visible locations on the information site to drive buyers to a site where they can purchase Product A. Depending on the scope and budget, you could have multiple strategies and most certainly your list of tactics would be longer than my examples. You might also find that with your SEO projects there is significant overlap between the tactics used for different strategies and visions. Overlap is to be expected given that there’s only a limited set of SEO tactics and many are closely related. The key idea is that a strategy will help you win the backing of senior management in a way that droning on and on about duplicate content, H1 tags, and PageRank will not. In addition, explicitly developing a strategy will help guide your team’s thought processes and decision making throughout the engagement. So, what’s your strategy?

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5 Steps to Streamlining Your SEO Process
by Michael D. Jensen (http://www.soloseo.com) You have your own way of doing SEO, and that’s how it should be. However, streamlining your SEO process will make your life much, much easier. Take it from the Zephyr. The Zephyr was one of the first “Streamliner” trains introduced in the 1930s, designed to be fast, efficient, and sleek. The Zephyr changed the rail industry and brought it from hardship to profitability. Why streamline your SEO process? Because you and your clients benefit when you are faster, more efficient, and yes, even sleek. So, here are five steps you can start doing right now to streamline your SEO process. 1. Define your services Create a list of all services that you can offer, including those you subcontract. Consider services relating to keyword research, content writing and optimization, link building, and site optimization, and categorize your services into these (or other) areas. Services that complement SEO such as marketing, advertising, and website design may also be on your list. Review your website content, marketing material, and advertising campaigns and make sure they reflect your list of services. 2. Create standard checklists You’ve gathered quite a list of SEO do’s and don’ts and now it’s time to materialize this knowledge into checklists. The advantage of checklists is having a structured, consistent, and thorough review of each project to ensure that you remember even the small points of SEO. Each area of your services (keywords, content, link building, etc.) should have its own checklist of items to look for when doing a project review. Each of your services (from step 1) should be represented by at least one item in a checklist, and most services will have multiple items. Items in a checklist can be in the form of questions, points to check for, or tasks to complete. As an example, here are a few items from two of my checklists: Keyword Checklist • Have individual landing pages for each keyword • Run topical keyword analysis tool56 for top keywords • Find competitors’ PPC ad keywords Content Checklist • Landing pages have main keyword in title, header, and body • Client has an active blog and allows comments
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•

Data or pages primarily behind search forms are accessible with text links

Each checklist serves as a starting point for new projects. With each new project, walk through your checklists and mark those items that have been completed. Each item left unchecked then becomes a task on your to do list. 3. Create a set of reports When you first meet with a client, provide at least one report, such as a competitive report or a site analysis report. Reports benefit clients by informing them of what you have found and what you will be doing to address the issues at hand. Attractive, informative, and periodic reports can go a long way in building and maintaining trust with clients. Having an automated report from your website may be a great way to catch the attention of potential clients. Not only are reports for your clients important, but you should have internal reports to gauge your progress (some examples57). Internal reports are more technical and advanced than client reports, as they are meant for you. In addition to tracking progress for your projects, internal reports may point out ways in which you may be underperforming or excelling. 4. Find or develop a set of tools SEO tools allow you to not only perform a function, but to do it faster. You can find better keywords, optimize your content, identify pages needing more backlinks, check rankings, and so much more. Your first step is to try out all the tools you can. Keep a log of the tools that you try out (include the tool’s name and URL). Mark the tools you really like and find informative or useful. As I try out tools, I like to save a screenshot of the tool’s results so I can quickly be reminded of what each tool provides. As you try out various tools, you may find yourself thinking, “They should have added this, then it would be really powerful!” Suggest your idea to the author of the tool, or redesign the tool yourself. Brainstorm ideas for new tools that would complete your “suite” of SEO tools, then build them yourself or partner with someone who can. By establishing a set of tools you regularly use, you can dig deeper into each project while saving time. 5. Create your team of specialists If you’re like me you’re not a master of all things SEO. You might prefer using a specialist for link building or for writing unique content. Start by finding a specialist for each service that you offer but do not perform yourself. These specialists become your “team,” your set of specialists to whom you source out work. If you’re not sure where to start in finding specialists, try recommendations from fellow SEOs (like here58 and here59). In working with your team of specialists, establish a standard communication workflow for each project, from start to finish. Agree beforehand with the provider on a cost and time frame for
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http://www.yourseoplan.com/download-worksheets.html http://www.seomoz.org/article/recommended http://www.stuntdubl.com/partners/

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their services. If the services are based on factors that vary from project to project, try to work out a set cost and time frame for a range of possibilities. Photo copyright Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, www.msichicago.org

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SEOTRIZ
by Shavkat Karimov (http://www.seotriz.com) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a set of internal (on-page) and external (off-page) efforts to bring a website to the top of search engines. The purpose of SEO is not only getting the site to the first page of SERPs (search engine results page) but also keeping it there. SEO is not just a craft; it’s both an art and a science. What is TRIZ? TRIZ is a Russian theory of inventive problem solving. It’s an algorithm as well as a set of methodologies and tools for resolving a given task by breaking its contradictions and providing steps to complete it. TRIZ is a powerful problem solving tool based on the patterns of inventions discovered from decades of study of the world’s most innovative patents. Use search engines to discover more about TRIZ. What is SEOTRIZ? SEOTRIZ is a new approach to SEO powered by the TRIZ methodology. With SEOTRIZ, one is able to solve SEO tasks better and faster with more efficient tactics and strategies. It helps get successful results with less effort and expense. TRIZ tools like “Ideal Final Result,” “Reverse Action,” “9 Screens,” “- 2 +,” or “Cutting the Pie” are applied here for SEO purposes. SEOTRIZ includes: •A set of problem solving principles; •A “shadow algorithm” of ones from search engines; •A database of resources/knowledgebase; •A professional development model. SEOTRIZ allows anyone to be ahead of competition by better understanding SEO tasks and using tools to achieve better results. It’s not just about solving the problem but rather how to choose the most elegant solutions: those that use the most effective means. Here are some samples of major SEO tasks and contradictions and how SEOTRIZ solves them: Problem: Content is a king. No time to write lots of original content. Optimization requires time and knowledge too. Solution: The content is generated by users (wiki) or by a program (auto-content, directory, lists) and is automatically optimized (CMSes, blogs + plugins). Problem: Links are everything. Asking for links is time consuming and not very efficient. Solution: External resources link to you by themselves. Because it: • earns them easy money (affiliate/referral program);

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• •

shows their authority in a field (network member/contests/background checking site/technical support system); or gives their visitors something more on the subject covered (reference resource/useful tools, info or data).

Problem: Keywords are highly competitive. Too costly to compete with major players, and it requires a lot of time. Solution: You “cut the pie” and aim specific parts of the market divided by: •locations (countries, cities, ZIP codes); •industries/products; •time periods (daytime, season, future); •user types (ages, sexes, professions, languages, social groups). And use a “long tail strategy” by competing for a good number of less competitive keywords. The best example of SEOTRIZ is the well-known Wikipedia60. It encompasses everything that SEOTRIZ represents: original, useful, optimized, and self-created content; automated, “heavy,” one-way inbound links; effective vertical Web-wide expansion; amongst others. With SEOTRIZ, you can maximize SEO goals or incorporate the concepts into your own marketing applications. This new powerful methodology SEOTRIZ helps both novice and advanced SEO specialists to maintain their pages at the top of search engine results with a stronger method in their hands. More information is available at SEOTRIZ.com.

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The 7 Deadly Sins That Hurt You as an SEO or SEM
by Daniel Tynski (http://www.voltier.com) 1. Underestimating the intelligence of your viewers. It is not an uncommon mistake for many marketers, both on- and offline, to inaccurately assess the intelligence of their target audience. While it seems that poor assessments run in both directions, it is a grave error to assume you know more about your visitors than you actually do —more than anything, you must not assume your visitors are stupid. It’s easy to clump your visitors into a large nameless blob, to think of them as cattle, susceptible to your clever gimmicks and likely to fall into the traps you’ve set. The reality is that your readers are individuals. If anything, they’re especially single minded on the ‘net. Many people feel empowered by the Web, not only to be who they are, but also to assert themselves, their opinions, and their way of doing things. To this end, your visitors are about as far from a herd of followers as you can get. And while it may be prudent to make certain predictions about their behavior, it is a major mistake to assume too much about those you intend to draw to your website. This is why analytics are so important to your efforts. The following sites can help you get an idea about what your visitors are actually doing on your site. •ClickTracks61 •Google Analytics62 •WebTrends63 •Omniture64 •CrazyEgg65 2. Multitasking too much. Skipping from project to project too frequently can result in ending up with partially finished tasks or projects that are not well thought out or clearly focused. It is essential to productivity to make sure you keep inefficient multitasking to a minimum. The tool I have found most useful in keeping myself on track with projects and time management is Basecamp66. It has great features like to do lists, milestones, and time tracking. Another great tool I use is TimeSnapper67. This tool takes periodic screen shots throughout the day that you can play back later to have a great record of exactly what you did during the day. If you aren’t sure if you have a “multitasking problem,” try this program for a week. Then decide. 3. Obsessing. This is a common pitfall many SEOs run into. It can be exciting to see how traffic is rising or
http://www.clicktracks.com http://analytics.google.com 63 http://www.webtrends.com 64 http://www.omniture.com 65 http://www.crazyegg.com 66 http://www.basecamphq.com/ 67 http://www.timesnapper.com/
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falling, or how your rankings are changing, but “checking your stats” too often can serve as a huge time waster. So how does one overcome compulsive rankings and analytics checking? Simple—limit yourself. One of the best tools I have found can be found at PageAddict68. This nifty tool allows you to see a summary of the time you’ve wasted on each website. 4. Not knowing when to move on (give up). Sometimes we get involved in projects or tasks that take up large amounts of time but produce few results. Many times you may find yourself wasting hours on something trivial. This can be a particularly big problem for perfectionists who have trouble simply letting something be “good enough.” A great technique for determining time wasters goes like this: 1. Make a list of all your tasks and estimations on time spent on each. (This is where the time tracking/task management tools like Basecamp can come in handy.) 2. Next to each task, make a note of the amount of focus that must be devoted to the task. (Is this something that requires a ton of brain power?) 3. Now assign priority to each task. When are your deadlines? Organize by what must be done now, and what can be done later. 4. Reprioritize, moving high priority items to the top and cut as many items as you can that use up a large amount of time and focus but have low priority. 5. Not seeing the whole puzzle (or obsessing over a single piece). It can be difficult to separate your goals as a search marketer from the ultimate goals of your clients or even you. Ultimately what matters are conversions, not traffic, not PageRank, not SERP spot, not creativity, not clean code, not page beauty. All of these may play a factor in conversions but each may also be holding you back. A good search marketer must consider how each piece fits into the larger puzzle. Always ask yourself, “Will this lead to more conversions?” for whatever you have defined as a conversion. 6. Allowing good ideas to be forgotten or left by the wayside. Ever had an idea that seemed like a winner at the time, but that you later forgot? Maybe it came right before falling asleep, or while you were driving, or maybe even while working on a separate project. It has happened to us all; a great idea left behind simply because we forgot about it. Here are some tools to help: 1. A simple Web-based tool for recording ideas quickly and easily: Wridea69. 2. This tool really helps me to organize my ideas, flesh them out, and create the connections between ideas much more easily. Quite simply, a life saver: Mindjet70. 3. A voice recorder (cell phones work great) 7. Believing everything you read. On the Internet anyone can be an “expert” but those who really are can sometimes be a bit difficult to find amongst all the fakers. Usually the top 5 or so in a field can be identified pretty
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http://pageaddict.com/ http://www.wridea.com/ http://www.mindjet.com/us/

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quickly, from here it gets more difficult. Finding reputable niche experts within your field or hidden treasures can take a great deal of time. The absolute fastest and most productive way to find credible sources is to find out what those top 5 or so people in the industry read. Here are some suggestions 1. See what blogs the industry leaders read: MyBlogLog71. 2. Again, see what the industry is reading: Bloglines72. 3. See how popular a blog might be: Technorati73.

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http://mybloglog.com/ http://bloglines.com/ http://technorati.com/

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Two Years Before the Mast: Tales of In-House SEO
by Ian Parker Though I have been online intermittently since 1996, I’ve been semi-computer-literate since the days of Planetfall and Mousepaint. I have been doing SEO for almost 2 years. I can trace the start of my career to SES New York in 2005. I do in-house SEO for a growing company, #1 for our most competitive keyword, and the advice I offer here originates from our own experiences, mistakes, successes and failures. I’m offering this advice so that other companies might not make the same mistakes. Without further ado: 1. If your website is built in PHP, do not pay $100+/month for a blog platform you cannot customize. Use WordPress. If you don’t know how to work with it, ask the guys that built your site. 2. Understand that business blogging is a two way street and the idea is to collect usergenerated content. Your blog is a conduit relaying information between you and your readers, not a platform for pompous pronouncements. Enable comments, but also have a backup plan for solid reputation management. If you’re not comfortable hearing from your customers and making their comments public, reconsider blogging. 3. If you’re planning on outsourcing menial SEO tasks to an offshore company, in India or elsewhere, make sure that their company website actually exists somewhere in Google’s index. 4. Teach your PR team about how the Internet works, especially submitting content to a selfpolicing community. This will come in handy when you begin writing Wikipedia articles. If your PR guys keep submitting vague articles to Wikipedia which read like “Company X is committed to becoming the proven leader in generating actionable solutions for goal-oriented, enterpriselevel providers,” expect a great deal of resistance when you finally send them a real article. 5. Understand coding languages. If you don’t know how to code, at least be able to recognize it in the wild. If you can’t tell the difference between JavaScript and PHP, look for regular expressions. These are common to all languages and you can sometimes figure out what a script does without knowing code. Having an in-house coder is a tremendous help. If you are determined to do this yourself, learn C/C++. It may be challenging but it is probably the best first language to learn because many other languages share the same elements, and you will gain a valuable understanding of programming logic. 6. Invest in strong CSS development and design. Valid XHTML/CSS allows for greater freedom in placing your content within the page source, takes up less room on the server, often improves page load time, scares savvy competitors, looks like a real business website, sets a solid foundation for future development—the list goes on and on. 7. Understand basic netiquette. This can mean the difference between a successful viral marketing campaign with strong return on advertising spend (ROAS) and a zillion deleted forum spams with negative ROAS. 8. Track everything. Use a log file analyzer as well as on-page codes. Consider that using
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cookies for conversion tracking may affect your site’s usability. Also understand that ClickTracks is incredibly resource intensive if you have large log files. You will need to upgrade your computer just to be able to run the client application. You may need to have a ClickTracks server box running locally. Even then you will need to invest considerable time in learning how to integrate this program into the life of your business. Dealing with the quirks of this software requires patience. That having been said I don’t think there’s anything else which provides the same level of reporting and ROI tracking as does ClickTracks. If you need a fast solution, I recommend 123LogAnalyzer. Your tracking should not be limited to just one program—it’s a matter of selecting the right tool for the job. If you use a good PPC bid management software you can often get integrated onpage tracking tools. The importance of Web analytics cannot be understated. This component forms the sensorium of an online business, allowing you to make decisions informed by real data. 9. PageRank is not really a useful metric. There are other factors at work here and PageRank is definitely not equivalent to Google rank. With a bit of investigation one can find other ways to determine the value of a link. Since everyone else is using PageRank as an indicator of a link’s value, you can deal shrewdly in this inflated currency. 10. Set goals. Long-term goals allow your in-house SEO staff to see exactly where you want to go. Try not to deviate from these goals too much. Understand that a lot of strong SEO initiatives are focused on results in the long-term. If you’re concerned about accountability (and you should be), setting short-term goals can help keep your team on target. It sounds basic, but the way a company handles shifting priorities often determines its overall effectiveness in its own particular space. It can mean the difference between being outmaneuvered by a competitor and outmaneuvering him yourself. 11. Understand that SEO is a continuous process, not a “fix-it-once” task. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that we inhabit a parallel universe where search engine ranking algorithms will never change. Even so there will still be a constant need for SEO practitioners/Internet marketers as businesses grow. Entry-level SEO projects creep and metastasize into major initiatives. Lucrative opportunities get oversaturated, necessitating a change in strategy. New opportunities spring up overnight. Growing companies will hire inhouse link moguls, SEO content writers, social media optimizers, bloggers, etc.—promoting from within. Even if every in-house SEO graduates into lucrative self-employment, back at the old firm there’s still plenty of opportunities for the next generation of in-house SEOs, in turn creating demand for SEO consultants and trainers. 12. Go to SES conferences. Identify the speakers that aren’t overly self-promotional, the ones that seem passionate. Read their blogs every day.

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How Much Are We Worth?
by Anonymous I love the Internet. I just celebrated my 22nd birthday last week, and I already make more money than I know what to do with. I’m not trying to win this contest, because I’ll be at SES regardless, I’ve already bought Aaron’s book, and I have plenty of great research tools. Besides that, there is shortage of good SEOs in the industry and I would really like to see someone with great potential but little resources go on to benefit from this contest. I am writing this to the judges as more of a wake up call. You are all worth much more than you selling yourselves for. You have great brands, you are recognized, accomplished, and have a good track record. Fortune 1000 Companies, CEOs, and decision makers all across the country have no idea how we do what we do, but they know that they need it. They need it bad. In my experience, most SEOs come from a background in programming or web design, or something like that. That’s great, but they don’t know business. I went to school for business, sales, and marketing training, then I realized the huge demand for SEM. I work with a real estate company that recently signed a 2-year contract that pays me $55,000 per month, plus a 15% share in the upside. That is good money, and I don’t even have a valuable brand name like all of you have. You need to start charging more, you need to find people with a sales background to learn SEO inside and out, and we all need to stop discounting what we know. In a CEO’s eyes, it’s worth more than you think! On a completely random note, I think one of the best articles I have read on search engine optimization was on “Pull SEO” by Mike Grehan. When I first read that article back in January, I completely changed the way I was approaching SEO, especially for new domains. Offline and online are beginning to mesh more and more. If you can create a strong buzz around a new site it will jump right over the sandbox for sure. Who needs PageRank when you have the weight of the world pushing your site to the top? Link baiting 2.0 is going to get exciting! I love talking about marketing and SEO. All I do is experiment and come up with new ideas that work. That is why people want me to help them, and my sales background is what makes them pay me so much to do so. Feel free to email me any feedback you have on anything I said whether it’s good or bad. Thanks!

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Wishing upon a Star: How the Internet Is Increasing the Ability to Make Our Dreams Come True
by Eric Hebert (http://www.evolvor.com/about-evolvor-media/)

Growing up in a rather lower-middle class household, it seemed obvious after graduating high school where I was headed: go to college, get a good “job” doing something Mommy and Daddy would be proud of, one that has nice benefits and such, and that’s about it. I wanted to produce and direct movies, but really, what were the chances of that happening? I knew right off the bat that if I got my film studies degree I’d probably end up stuck behind some camera at the local ABC affiliate for a living, and that’s if I were lucky. My dream career seemed so out of reach. Soon after, I dropped out of school. I figured the only way I’m going do what I want is if I have the money to pay for it, and that means starting my own business. Sales jobs followed, one after another, as well as my interest in anything business. Get-rich-quick schemes developed (I’m talking about you Don Lupre!) as I ran into walls left and right. I even went as far as receiving phone calls from some guy in Africa who owned a large oil corporation and wanted to transfer the funds—well, you know the rest of that story. Needless to say, I lay in bed sleepless every night, wondering how I could channel my creative juices into something that the world could at least notice. Then maybe I could build that momentum into a business, and someday make my movies. Where was I to turn? It’s been three years since I went to that silly Internet marketing seminar. Another get-rich-quick scheme it may have been, but something happened there, something magical: I realized the awesome power of the Internet and how it was going to change the world: change business, change voices, change governments, and change us as people. “You mean I can advertise on Google and Yahoo for just a couple of dollars?” That was the first big eye-opener. Up until that point, if you wanted to advertise, whether it was on TV, on the radio, or in magazines, you had to have some money. Usually a nice chunk of money. I knew that with targeted advertising on Yahoo or Google I could market a product or service for just a few bucks, even if for only a small period of time. It was liberating to know that even the little guys could compete right there with the big boys. Along came search engine optimization. “You mean if I start a website about making movies, and produce enough content with researched keyword phrases that attracts links for other websites, that I can attract hundreds or thousands of viewers interested in reading my material? With no significant cost?” It was like a minefield in my head, bombs bursting with thought as I realized the potential. I knew that if you built a solid website about a specific topic that got enough people to it, then you could build a business around it. And if you built a business around it, then you could build a brand. And after you made enough money, you could finance a movie, and sell it with the brand name. Eureka. As I dug deeper into Internet marketing in early 2004, the industry was growing immensely, as did my ideas for how these technologies were opening the doors of opportunity for literally anybody who had an interest in anything. Affiliate marketing enables the fashion major to sell clothing, the rock band to showcase their favorite instruments, the budding director to sell his top 100 films. Optimization turned the heavy equipment operator making $25,000 a year into a heavy equipment journalist making twice that. The struggling artist who just wanted to get the
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word out all of a sudden became famous through the social net-o-sphere of My Space and Facebook. Mashups, viral videos, blogging, open source, oh my! Every month a new technology made the world smaller and the opportunity to get a voice heard drew closer than ever before. If there is one thing I’ve learned in five years of business research, it’s that you need one of two things to start a business: time or money. If you don’t have one, you have plenty of the other. Years ago one without any money one had little chance of starting a business and realizing his or her dreams. With the technologies available today, we have the ability to showcase our talents to the world and discuss our passions with anybody who’s interested. We no longer need large sums of money to get the ball rolling, because we all have plenty of time to spend preaching our gospel. Once the world understands the opportunities the Internet has placed in front of them, many things will change, and many will walk down a path that they may have never thought existed—a path to a dream that may finally come true.

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What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?
by Matt O’Brien (http:// www.livemercial.com) Oh, those famous words heard a thousand times by countless kids everyday. What did you say when you were asked? A doctor? A lawyer? What about a search engine marketer? The first two, maybe, but search engine marketer? No way. I wanted to be an archeologist myself (thanks to Indiana Jones of course), but I had never even heard of a search engine marketer. When I graduated from college I was hopelessly lost as to what I wanted to do with my life. Then one fateful day I saw an ad online for a company that was looking for something called a search engine marketer. I was very intrigued by the idea, even though I had no clue what I’d be doing. I always wanted to get a job where I could get to use the Internet a lot and I also wanted to get into marketing or advertising. Boy, did I luck out when I got hired; it was like a dream come true. I don’t know a lot of people who love their job but I can honestly say that I’m one of the lucky ones. I want to be right in the middle of the Internet marketing explosion and I don’t want to leave. I dream about keyword variations & ad testing. I wait in line and think about my online competitors and how I can beat them. Sure, doctors and lawyers usually make more money, but that’s just not for me. When I’m asked what I do for a living, I’m proud to say I’m a search engine marketer. Then the person usually says, “A what?” and then I have to try and explain it to them. But that’s just fine by me. Not a lot of people do what we do, my friends, and that’s what makes the job so special. Thanks to the speed of the Internet, a new world has opened up for the kids that get asked that very question today. Sure they still have the opportunity to save lives and defend the innocent but who wants to do that anymore? Yahoo Panama is live now, why would you want to be stuck in a courtroom at a time like this? The rising search marketing professionals are the kids who get asked that age-old question I mentioned earlier. Lucky for them there is a wealth of information out there nowadays to get them started. My job didn’t even exist when I was young. For these kids, the wonderful world of Internet marketing is out there and waiting for them. Hopefully they won’t still be met with blank stares after they tell someone what they do for a living. It would really make my day if I asked a school kid what they wanted to be when they grew up and they told me a search engine marketer. I would tell them that they made an excellent choice and that they should give me a call if they need some help with the Google Advertising Professionals Exam. The way it looks now, that day might come sooner than I thought; seems like every kid is online these days. If any of you reading this has kids or know somebody that does, don’t forget to mention to them that the world of Internet marketing has a lot to offer them. To be a doctor you have to go to school for like eight years. Do you know how many clients you could have racked up in that time? It’s a no-brainer if you ask me.

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So You Wanna Be a Search Marketer
by Nicole St.Martin (http://HRSearchMarketing.blogspot.com/) The search marketing industry is still in its infancy. Now more than ever, companies are realizing that they need to incorporate aspects of search marketing in order to compete in today’s saturated online marketplace. Search marketers are in demand; there are more available search marketing positions74 than qualified search marketers to fill them. This is great news for those wannabes wishing to join the fascinating and ever-evolving world of search engine marketing. I found search marketing purely by accident. One day I was asked by my then-marketing manager to “figure out how to get our website listed in Google.” From that day forward, I immersed myself in anything and everything related to the SEO industry. I would imagine that’s how many of today’s search marketers learned SEO75. Search marketing requires knowledge in many different areas but if you profile any of today’s successful search marketers, their savvy soft skills are what makes them leaders in the search marketing industry. 5 Must-Have Qualities for a Search Marketer 1. Passion & eagerness to learn Having a marketing background is helpful but certainly isn’t necessary—so please, don’t go taking out student loans when you don’t have to. The beauty of the search marketing industry is that it is full of chatterboxes that love to talk shop. 2. Thinking outside the box It’s unfortunate that people today tend to oversimplify what search marketing is. Regardless of what you’ve probably read online, search marketing is not about meta tags76, keyword stuffing77, hidden text78, or search engine submissions79. Search marketing is about “making your website the best it can be for your website visitors and the search engines, as Jill Whalen of High Rankings80 put it. Search marketing is very strategic in nature and immensely difficult. Search marketers are constantly analyzing information in order to improve search campaigns. Search techniques are never black and white so you must be able to think outside the box.

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http://www.sempo.org/jobs/ http://www.seomoz.org/blog/how-did-you-learn-seo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meta_tag http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyword_stuffing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hidden_text http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_submission http://www.highrankings.com/

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3. Dedication Search marketing requires you to have a massive amount of knowledge and, of course, dedication to keeping up with one of the fastest moving industries around. You absolutely must be up for the challenge of continual growth. Get involved with search marketing associations such as SEMPO81. Attend popular search marketing conferences and seminars; Search Engine Strategies82 is currently the premier search marketing event. Last but not least, never underestimate the power of networking. What else are you going to use your business cards for? 4. Listening skills Be humble, listen and take advice from your peers; they might just have the solution to a problem you’ve been trying to solve for a month. Unlike other snobbish industries, search marketing professionals are happy to share their findings and ideas. 5. Patience Educating others on the “knowns and unknowns” (thanks, Donald Rumsfeld) of search marketing requires a great deal of patience, as well as dealing with the constant natural ups and downs of any search marketing campaign. Last but not least, never be afraid to surround yourself with people who know more then you do. With a little hard work, determination and know-how, you too can become a search marketer.

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SEM Seeks Compatible Organization for Long Term Relationship
by Todd Mintz (http://www.srclarke.com) “I know there just gotta be a better world somewhere.” —B.B. King Over the last several months, I’ve read multiple threads that noted the explosion in the number of SEO job listings. In these postings, people speculated whether this meant Corporate America was finally recognizing that Search Engine Marketing (SEM) has become an essential core competency that needed to be brought “in-house.” I’ve also read a very funny article about the SEO hiring process83 from the employer’s perspective. However, I have yet to see any experienced SEO/SEM veteran write openly about their experiences looking for a new position. So, I figure that I have an opportunity to write one of the few SEO articles that has yet to be written. My previous employer embarked on a new strategic direction and I made the decision not to continue with them. I had talked to others in my “mostly local” search engine marketing network in Portland84 and did not see the right opportunity working with any of these folks. So, like any other person looking for something better, I updated my resume and started my job search. My Background & Job Search Strategy I have six years experience in SEO/SEM. I spent two years doing Internet marketing in a corporate setting and two years in an agency setting. In addition, I have four years experience in affiliate marketing: 2 years full-time and 2 years as a “side gig” to my agency position. Also, I am a frequent contributor to Search Engine Guide85. I relied upon Indeed.com86 as my job metasearch engine. I set up the following search: http://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=search+engine+optimization+jobs&l=&radius I sent my materials to any and all “advanced” SEO positions no matter where they were located. Each day, I received newly posted positions in my inbox and applied to those that met my criteria. I had no intention of relocating from my Beaverton, Oregon home, but I figured that SEO/SEM could easily be performed from my home office and that forward-thinking employers would get that. I also created a “jazzy & memorable” email address just for my job search and used the following (hopefully catchy) subject line in each of my emails: Successful SEO Seeks Superior Situation. Every potential employer got the same cover letter & resume. I felt that if anyone didn’t obviously grasp what I could offer them as an employee, I shouldn’t be working there anyway.

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http://www.seomoz.org/article/seomoz-hiring-process http://www.semportland.com/ http://searchengineguide.com/mintz/ http://www.indeed.com/

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The Results I thought I wouldn’t have a problem getting prospective employers interested in my services. I did not foresee the utter onslaught of interest that my resume generated. I got phone calls and emails: • • • • • From agencies, corporations & executive search firms. From far away places like Cleveland, Memphis and Greensboro. From much bigger locations like Washington DC, New York City and Los Angeles where one would think local SEM talent would be more readily available. Many inquiries from Seattle, though very few from Portland. At night and during the weekend. Even on Memorial Day, I received 3 employer contacts.

Unofficially, I was contacted by 20% of the people to whom I sent my resume and approximately 98% of my resumes were sent outside Portland. Roughly 20% of the non-local employers were open to a telecommuting arrangement. Compensation When people asked for my compensation requirements, I gave them an aggressive number. Almost nobody blinked. What can be learned from my job search experience If you are still a student: LEARN SEM!!! The demand for experienced SEM folks is incredibly intense. While the field is constantly evolving, anybody who can keep up and continually demonstrate tangible results will have guaranteed long-term employment. Plus, monetizing your own websites through affiliate marketing & contextual advertising can make your life as a student much more comfortable. A business or law degree will take 6-7 years of education and could give you six figures of debt. 6-7 years of SEM experience could equate to six figure compensation. What makes more sense? If you are a beginning- to intermediate-level search professional: LOSE YOUR ANONYMITY. My former boss gave me the suggestion that I should write SEM articles. I wrote one, submitted it several places, and got it picked up by Search Engine Guide87 which has continued to publish me. Writing articles (or blogging or forum posting) is an excellent way to establish your professional credibility. Last time I was in contact with Jennifer, she was looking for more writers. If you run an agency that employs search professionals: It’s quite OK to offer entry level
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wages to search newbies. However, once your employees have proven their mettle, you must act proactively with their compensation. For any of your people willing to make a move, Corporate America will offer them enough money to leave your company. If you are a corporation searching for a search professional: Be prepared to offer a nonstandard employment arrangement. The SEM field attracts a lot of maverick personalities and many SEMs would never consider “going corporate” because they learned search in an effort to escape a traditional working arrangement. From talking to prospective corporate employers, I got the feeling that NOBODY answering their ads had my qualifications. So, I still was amazed that so many people were not open to a telecommuting arrangement (and I let everyone know that I was ready and willing to travel as needed). If you are a corporate hiring manager, you should know that most experienced SEMs will perceive your position to be unstable for many different reasons. Will the SEM suggestions be acted upon? Will important people in the organization “buy in” to the Internet marketing efforts? Will the company understand the SEM process and have the necessary patience and budget to implement an effective search strategy? Therefore, you aren’t likely to get somebody to sell their house and move their family just to work for you, especially when any experienced candidate has many other opportunities to choose from. So, you really need to think non-traditionally in order to reel in an experienced employee. If you are a well-networked search professional: Consider getting into SEM Executive Search Placement. A typical executive search fee is 1/4 to 1/3 of a placed candidate’s first year compensation. Even if you are making Shoe-like money88 in search, these are substantial checks. An executive search professional that is also experienced in SEO/SEM has a massive competitive advantage in the marketplace because people without such insider knowledge aren’t really qualified to evaluate the SEO/SEM competency of other potential employees.. When I talked to recruiters, they tended to ask me reasonably superficial questions about search engine rankings and ROI. A “search pretender” with a little bit of knowledge and a lot of guile could have easily duped these folks. However, if an upper echelon search professional such as Graywolf89, Stuntdubl90 or Aaron Wall91 were to chat for 10 minutes with an SEM job candidate, they could evaluate the prospective employee’s search competency with a degree of precision that a non-search professional is incapable of doing. I believe that forward-thinking corporations would pay a premium for a SEO/SEM professional to find them a qualified employee. If this same person is also well-networked within the search community, they could make very large fees from just introducing someone from their SEM network to a prospective employer.
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http://www.shoemoney.com/ http://www.wolf-howl.com/ http://www.stuntdubl.com/ http://www.seobook.com

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Conclusion Where did I end up? With the company where I first learned SEO, a real estate development/residential & commercial construction executive search/recruiting firm92 headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia. I had many opportunities to choose from but the stability of the company and the ability to work with people I had known and liked from my home office outweighed all the other opportunities I received. I also thank God that I am part of an industry that is exciting, dynamic and allows me to support my family quite well.

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http://www.srclarke.com/

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11 Steps to Becoming a Profitable, Self-Employed SEO
by Jeff Carey (http://www.wsiresources.com/page.asp?PId=9845) In my opinion, few events are more exciting than putting a client on page one of the search results. A year ago, when I was just getting started and knew next to nothing about search engines, I discovered how to create basic PPC campaigns that amazed my clients and paid my rent. Equipped with a new marketing tool, one campaign quickly turned into ten. A few months later I was managing nearly 50 campaigns and I made the decision to put aside my web design business and focus entirely on search. These are the eleven steps I took to become a profitable, self-employed SEO. 1. An office and a suit. While it was convenient and affordable to work out of my home, it also felt less than professional. My first step was to look and dress the part of a successful marketer, so I leased a small office in a professional building, and I purchased a nice suit for my client meetings. 2. Fake it till you make it. When I started learning about PPC and SEO, I soon realized that the rules were constantly changing. Rather than wait until I knew it all, I began attending networking events and introducing myself as a search engine marketing consultant. Each sale presented a new challenge that forced me to find a way to be successful. 3. Free site reviews. When business was slow, I spent my time looking for websites that should rank well for local search terms but didn’t. Then I sent brief emails to site owners to explain my findings and asked them for a meeting. This turned into several new projects. 4. Local media coverage. Aside from PPC, I never spent money on newspaper or radio advertising. Instead, I hired someone with a PR background to pitch my search marketing story to our main business publication. When the article hit, it created a lot of buzz and credibility— and it made my phone ring. 5. Working on your own website. In addition to running several PPC campaigns for my own business, I also spent time optimizing my site. My success in outranking my competition marked the real shift from focusing entirely on pay-per-click to the wonderful world of SEO. 6. Always be learning. I purchased every SEO book I could find and began reading several blogs and online articles. Rand, Aaron, Danny, Andy, Joe and so many others—thank you so much for sharing. Someday I hope to buy you each a drink and thank you in person. 7. Say goodbye to driving music. For less than $100, I purchased an iPod Shuffle and a car adapter. To this day, my best kept secret is listening to search marketing podcasts nearly every minute I’m driving. I do miss the 80s music though. 8. Think big. I discovered that my fees were too low when a potential client asked me if the rate I had quoted him was my monthly charge. I told him with great pleasure that it was actually a one-time fee, and it cost me the sale. I highly recommend that you include a big ticket item in your proposals, and don’t be surprised when they buy it.

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9. Target a niche. From an SEO standpoint, targeting a niche helps you become an expert and speak your clients’ language. I learned this from several books by Al Ries and Laura Ries. With their help, I have continued to narrow my focus and position my company. 10. Create partnerships. Of all the Web design firms in my area, only a handful claim to offer search marketing services, and even fewer really know what they are doing. By meeting with these firms and passing them some Web design leads, I now get a nice stream of SEM referrals from them on a regular basis. 11. Attend conferences. This is the next step for me, along with hiring someone who shares my passion for improving rankings. I registered for my first PubCon today and can’t wait to meet the people who have helped me get to this point. If search is your thing, I hope to see you there!

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ERROR 530: We’re Sorry. The Internet Is Fully Optimized. Please Find a New Occupation.
by Nuno Andrade (http://www.lastchanceseo.com) The death of search engine optimization as we know it is inevitable. As more SEO “experts” crowd the industry, the less value each one can provide to companies in search of their expertise. Only a few years ago, it was not uncommon for an SEO specialist to receive six figures for work that, although simple in nature, would bring their client twenty times that amount. Then, the “secret” to ranking well was as simple as making modifications to HTML title and heading tags or copying the code of a competitor site that, by pure happenstance, already ranked well. Today, although these methods have evolved with the help of tools such as Keyword Discovery and WebPosition, they are of far lesser significance. As more and more companies become aware of the importance of search engine rankings, the value of these modifications diminishes. The savvier CEOs become, the more they will demand that their webmasters design their websites to be search engine friendly from initial launch. If you’re still earning six figures for performing on-page tweaks, take a look around—you’re a member of a dying breed. The search engine optimization of today is much different from that of even five years ago. Then, the industry was shrouded in mystery, as its members did all they could to keep their tactics secret. Alas, as with any “black box” industry where the methods and techniques are kept hidden, the reason is likely that those methods are easily replicable. Today, the most recognizable names in the industry are likely those that share their knowledge, thereby building their “expert” status while at the same time adding valuable content to their websites. Moreover, search engine optimization has become more than just about on-page factors. With the advent of PageRank and the subsequent importance of inbound links, the term “search engine optimization” itself no longer truly describes the job of an “SEO Specialist.” With the current emphasis on “linkbait,” the practice by which SEOs build viral content for the explicit purpose of garnering links, the SEO industry has begun to adopt more traditional marketing strategies. This should come as welcome news for both SEOs and the traditional marketing agencies that have at once feared and downplayed the emergence of search engine optimization. For SEOs, the simple question is the one hinted at in the title of this essay: If every website were properly optimized, what would separate one from another? The obvious answer may be “content,” but that is only partly true. More often, it is about the packaging of that content and what others say about that packaging. As Wade Roush recently

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stated in his Technology Review blog93, users of Digg—the object of many an SEO’s link bait campaign—often never get past the packaging (the story’s headline) before “digging” the story or commenting on it. Fortunately for traditional marketing agencies, there is very little today’s SEO experts can say about the importance of headlines that Claude Hopkins, David Ogilvy and John Caples haven’t already taught us. Does this mean that traditional agencies have the upper hand? Are all SEOs doomed to return to their previous day jobs as newspaper editors, copywriters and webmasters? Not in the least. Those who specialize in SEO are in the unique position of understanding the web in a way that no traditional marketing agency can hope to. Those SEO specialists willing to accept the current limits of their industry have the most to benefit from the potential windfall of the synthesis of online and offline marketing. Lest it be forgotten, the Internet is still a medium in its infancy, and it is constantly changing and evolving. The strength of today’s SEO specialists lies in their adaptability and willingness to learn new techniques. Nevertheless, this very strength also qualifies as the industry’s greatest weakness. Whereas traditional marketing depends on tested and proven approaches based on years of painstaking market research and analysis, the very medium in which SEO specialists operate by nature demands a much speedier approach. On the Internet, by the time market research is concluded, the market may have already moved on. The future of Internet marketing will be built by thinkers and innovators rather than by traditional coders or marketers. It will not look like the search engine optimization or traditional marketing of today, but a combination of the adaptability of the former and the proven strategies of the latter.

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Shhhh! The Dirty Little Secret about SEM/SEO Certification
by David Temple (http://semcertification.wordpress.com) Back in the 20th century, Danny Sullivan, a guy who seems to get ‘it’ long before most of us know what ‘it’ is, wrote an article about SEM/SEO certification entitled “Promoters Call For Certification.”94 In that article, he refers to an open letter from Beyond Interactive, Mercury Seven, US Web and Web Ignite to the major search engines. These four firms were calling for the establishment of a certification program for optimization professionals from the search engines. After Danny gave his reasons why he believed certification wouldn’t be viable, he added, “Given this, it may make sense for the major search engines to consider experimenting with the GoTo model and accept paid links, especially for competitive terms.” Tip # 1 — Whenever Danny Sullivan speaks, listen. Whatever he writes, read. Google, Yahoo, MSN and others were listening to the tune of billions of dollars a year in revenue. In fact Google and Yahoo implemented their own certification programs, (Google Advertising Professional95 and Yahoo! Search Marketing Ambassador96, respectively. While these are not SEM/SEO certifications, they do require general industry knowledge. They are in essence pay-per-click certifications and are based on Google and Yahoo’s respective systems. You can’t use one certification for the other. Tip # 2 — With search engine advertising expected to grow 26% in 2006 get one or both of these certifications if you can. So what’s the dirty little secret about SEM/SEO certification? As you’ve probably already guessed, there is no such animal! How can you offer a certification in an industry that doesn’t have any set standards? With that being said, there are some very good training programs out there regardless of whether they offer certification or not. Some SEO/SEM training programs do offer certification like the new Direct Marketing Association (DMA) Certification Program in Search Engine Marketing. Matt Bailey, an instructor, explained that the certification is a DMA “training certification.”97 In my mind that means the DMA certifies that you have successfully completed their training and not that you are SEM/SEO certified. High Rankings Search Engine Marketing Seminar®98 does not offer a certification yet interestingly enough Matt Bailey is also an instructor in that program. Of all the SEO/SEM training out there, only one offers what I consider a certification. It’s Bruce Clay’s and what he offers is an SEOToolSet™99 certification. It’s his toolset so he can offer a certification. Tip # 3 — Certification or not, find a good training program. You’ll definitely learn a thing or two. Finally, why aren’t the SEM/SEO associations like SEMPO, SMA-NA, SMA-UK, SMA-EU and
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http://searchenginewatch.com/showPage.html?page=2166421 https://AdWords.google.com/select/ProfessionalWelcome http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com/af/amb.php http://www.the-dma.org/seminars/searchcertification/ http://www.highrankings.com/fall06-seo-seminar.htm http://www.seotoolset.com/

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others taking a stand on SEM/SEO certification or training? Maybe they should develop their own certification or training programs. Rumor has it some may be in the works. Better yet, perhaps they should endorse other programs like SEOPros did with Search Engine College100 and SEO Research Labs101. Even better, rate or rank some of the programs and perhaps add an experience component to the mix. Whatever they do, let’s hope they do it soon. Tip # 4 — Make your SEM/SEO associations take a stand on certification and training. Want to know more? Simply type SEM/SEO certification into your favorite search engine and mine, Google. Naturally, click on the first organic link but shhhh!…..don’t tell anyone, let’s keep it our dirty little secret.

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http://www.searchenginecollege.com/ http://www.seoresearchlabs.com/

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SEO 2.0: Marketing, Analytics and the Evolution of the Industry
by Scott Woodard (http://www.artisaninteractive.com/scott-woodard.php) In the beginning there were rankings—and rankings were good. Later, there was revenue—and revenue was better. Over the last few years search engine optimization (SEO) has undergone a dramatic yet subtle change—a change not just in the tactical details of how it’s performed, but more importantly, a change in the overall industry. Rather than a singular event, the shift of the industry has been a gradual series of events and changes whose overall impact is rarely noticed. Despite the general overuse of the 2.0 moniker, SEO has reached a point where it is justified—the industry, the strategies and the tools have evolved to a point where I believe we can draw a line in the sand and say, “That is where we were, but this is where we are.” When I think of the early days—for me around the time of the Florida update—and the work that many talented firms and consultants now offer, one of the most significant changes has been the increased integration of traditional marketing. What evolved from the technical changes a webmaster implemented to improve rankings has now become a highly-scrutinized marketing channel. Rankings and traffic, while still obviously important, have become secondary to revenue growth. Many of the same companies who used to only care about being number one on Google for their top keyword now understand how to leverage the long tail. Organic keyword referrals are often tracked just as closely as paid search campaigns, with companies now focusing on each keyword’s revenue value and not just referral count. The methods of on-page optimization have evolved to where they now support and enhance conversion and clickthrough rates, rather than looking out of place or keyword heavy. Overall, marketing has begun to drive the traditionally technical field of SEO. While many of the industry’s best have been including a heavy dose of marketing for some time, the degree and extent has radically shifted over the past three years. Instead of rankings and traffic, conversations now start with discussions of leads, sales, and conversions. The second real differentiating factor of this newer incarnation of SEO, and one of the changes that has facilitated the advent of traditional marketing, is the advancement and availability of analytics packages. While many larger companies have had access to advanced data for a long time, the introduction of Google Analytics has directly lead to broad adoption of more advanced metrics. Three years ago anyone who couldn’t afford a tool like Coremetrics had to rely on inhouse programming, or often even Excel, to correlate various metrics. The cost or legwork required was often too much for many and they relied simply on rough estimates or infrequent analysis. Today Google Analytics allows even the most modest website owner access to great marketing data and analytics. As more and more people have gained access to better data, more and more are also contributing to the industry through forums and blogs. More importantly, the level and tone of the overall conversation has changed as the number of new SEOs with good data, and the occasional insight derived from it, has grown. The adoption of improved analytics packages, and Google Analytics in particular, has lead to a broad base of wellinformed SEOs and a fundamental change in the quantity and quality of contributions to the industry’s communal knowledge. Ultimately the increased importance of marketing and the explosion of analytics are contributing factors to the real change in the industry. What’s truly different now is the community that has evolved around the industry. Three years ago few successful SEOs were willing to share their
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insight and the search engines were far less transparent in their operations. Folks like Rand Fishkin and Jeremy Schoemaker would have never released their traffic stats102. And what about Matt Cutts’s videos103? I remember how excited I used to get from just a little confirmation of a theory by GoogleGuy in WebmasterWorld. Countless great tools that once would have been highly guarded secrets are now flooding the web as linkbait. Search engines now recognize the importance of transparency—Google, Yahoo and MSN each now offer some great tools for SEOs. There are now scores of outstanding SEO conversations going on everyday and the community continues to foster and promote knowledge growth. Quite simply we are all helping each other become better at our jobs. SEO 2.0, just like Web 2.0, draws its strength from the contributions of many. It’s a change in approach that focuses on actual revenue growth, detailed analytics and a shift in the way the industry shares lessons and experiences. While it would be impossible to say exactly when it happened, the cumulative effects of marketing, analytics and the growth of the SEO community have lead to a point where SEO can be correctly labeled 2.0. What a long strange trip it’s been.

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http://www.seomoz.org/blog/comparing-visit-data-for-shoemoney-seomoz-over-12-months http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/type/movies/

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The Psychology of SEO
by Rob Stevens (http://superrob.blogspot.com/) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is kind of a strange world. The entire practice is not much more than a series of web “best practices” and some old wives’ tales about how to increase your search ranking. It’s full of acronyms and colorful personalities104. But it’s not a book of rules —partly because the search engines are constantly changing, but also because people are fickle, and what’s popular one day could be gone the next. In recent discussions about the kind of education someone in the SEO field should have, amongst all the talk of MBAs and on-the-job education105, not once has anyone ever mentioned the one area that would probably be the most useful to a marketer focused on search engine results: Psychology. I’m not saying that companies need to start hiring people with doctorates to run their websites, but a couple of classes in basic psychology (or even some textbooks) would give valuable insight into what makes people tick. Ultimately, the search engines are all about people. They’re trying to create results for any search term that are more like what actual people would be looking for in order of preference. It stands to reason, then, that someone who is an expert in how people think and what motivates them would be an ideal choice for creating a campaign to build search engine ranking106. An excellent example of this is the trend of link “baiting,”107 the process of getting other people and websites to link to you. There are lots of semi- or fully-automated directories108 that will create links on sites that do nothing but link pages. However, most search engine marketers (SEMs) will tell you that links on sites already placed highly in the search engines (for terms you want to improve your rank on) are far more valuable. How do you get those sites to link to you? A little dose of psychology: say something provocative, piss them off, butter them up, make them laugh. The general rule is to get their attention with something that they would want to link to. Frequently, that requires a bit of investigation into the person’s personality and motivation, and that’s where your psychology expert would truly shine. Similarly, the rise of social bookmarking sites (like Digg.com) is an area in which psychologists should do well. Many sites such as these have a “collective personality,” a byproduct of any strong community. Much like with link building, writing and submitting an article to a social bookmarking site designed to appeal to that specific community yields the best results and the most traffic. Of course, the single most important reason is that at the end of the day, you’re building your website for people, not for Google. All of the tricks that most SEMs will teach you (descriptive title and anchor tags, interesting summary text, etc.) usually boil down to one critical concept— build a website that’s interesting and useful for the kinds of people you want to attract—which should be the goal for anyone running a website. Are we on the verge of companies paying to http://www.seobook.com http://www.seomoz.org/blog/whats-the-roi-on-an-mba-when-youre-in-the-seo-industry 106 http://searchenginewatch.com/showPage.html?page=2167961 107 http://www.searchenginejournal.com/link-baiting-effective-link-building/2797/ 108 http://www.dmoz.org
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send their webmasters to classes in psychology? Perhaps not, but it certainly couldn’t hurt.

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Internet Marketing 4 P’s 2.0
by Brian R. Brown (http://www.identitydevelopments.com)

If you ever took a class in marketing, read a book on marketing or watched the movie Jerry Maguire, then you’ve at least been exposed to the 4 P’s of marketing. You may not be able to name them off the top of your head, but that will just make learning the new 4 P’s even easier. The new 4 P’s have grown out of the Internet and search engine marketing, but their influence will surely cross over as the line between online and offline continues to blur. The 4 P’s have served as a foundation of almost all marketing efforts for decades. The 4 P’s aren’t going away, but thanks to the Web, there are 4 new Ps that may be far more instrumental in your success or failure, especially online. Before we compare the old to the new, there are two more Ps that play a pivotal role in understanding the shift from 4 P’s to 4 P’s 2.0. Push-Pull The old world economy, pre-Web that is, was a push market. Manufacturers and retailers controlled the markets. Manufacturers made the products they wanted to make, placed them where they wanted, and they and the retailers priced and promoted as they wanted. Consumers took what they could get—take it or go without was the decree from above. Power was held by the few. Costs were prohibitive in just about any industry for new players to even try to offer an alternative. Even if you overcame the development and production costs, and even if you did create “a better mousetrap,” you still had to get in the stores, where the major manufacturers already “owned” the shelf space. Enter the pull market. The Web suddenly changed markets as we knew them and will surely be seen as another major movement, not unlike the shift from agriculture to manufacturing or manufacturing to information. Even before eCommerce began to take hold, which is still very much in infancy, consumers gained unprecedented access to information and awareness of products and alternatives they never knew existed. The shift of power was beginning. Armed with this knowledge, consumers were asking and demanding these new products from the stores they frequented. Rather than having products pushed at them, consumers were now pulling products through the established channels. “Get it or I’ll find someone who will” is the battle cry of the people. The growth of the Web and eCommerce is only expanding this power. This fundamental shift from push to pull is the foundation that is setting the new 4 P’s into motion. From Product to People The old 4 P’s began with product. Everything started and revolved around that. Without the product, nothing else mattered. But now, even more important than the product is people. People command the pull. Whole industries and new businesses have spawned where the product plays no direct role in the bottom or even top line. When you attract and help connect the people, giving them a way to participate, you can monetize through other means. As they say, it’s all about the list.

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From Price to Purpose Whole sections in bookstores are focused on pricing and price theory. Get price right, and you’ll be a huge success; get it wrong and you’ll go down in flames. Price may still be important, but in a world where businesses whose product is free sell for billions, clearly price isn’t all that. Far more important is having a distinct purpose. Master purpose, you can probably charge just about anything you want. Of course, your purpose may be to help people find the lowest prices, but ultimately it comes down to getting your purpose right and serving the needs of the people better than anyone else. From Placement to Position Placement refers to where your products are, in other words, where people go to get them. Obviously this is still important, but less critical in today’s world where products may be on the shelf at your corner store, available through popular websites or only available from the product provider themselves. What is more important is position, specifically, search engine position. Being found in key search engines for key searches and ultimately, the position within those results will have a much more profound impact. Those who rule the results will have a powerful advantage over those who don’t. From Promotion to Passion The old 4 P’s relied on promotion, which again was controlled by the manufacturers and retailers. Those who could control the advertising channels and PR (as in public relations, not PageRank) were able to control mindshare with branding and catchy jingles. Promotion will still play a role, but more powerful is passion. Passion not only rounds out the new 4 P’s but completes the circle back to people. When people get passionate about your products, services and your company, they can help promote and build your brand faster and stronger than any kind of promotion you could create on your own. The challenge is that passion can’t be manufactured. It has to come from the people. It helps and may inspire people if you are passionate about what you are doing and driving to fulfill a great purpose though. Marketing 4 P’s 2.0 There is a thought, that given the choice between a mediocre product with a great team or a great product with a mediocre team, the smart person would chose the former to be successful. Similarly, while the old 4 P’s are still valid and important, maximizing the new 4 P’s will be the new mark of success—securing and dominating search position to attract people who are passionate about your purpose. What will prove most challenging and frightening to businesses in this new world is that they have the least amount of control over the most important elements for success. Usher in the brave new Web world and the new marketing mix.

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New Archenemies? SEO and ROI—Say It Ain’t So, Joe
by Michael Murray (http://www.fathomseo.com) Marketers: wise up and stop treating search engine optimization (SEO) and return on investment (ROI) like they should be on separate planets. Obviously ROI can work well with many marketing options. Search engine optimization can still deliver the goods even if people are horrible at tracking the buying cycle. More website promoters should view search engine optimization and ROI as friends, not as a not-so-funny oxymoron. They’re not sports rivals and they don’t snarl behind demilitarized zone fences. Search engine optimization can start the race and ROI can finish it. SEO determines how to run in the next contest (e.g., ongoing updates and keyword refinement). Yes, search engine optimization has credibility issues. Marketers also prove daily that they lack the brainpower, time or cash to do a thorough job. Some people dismiss SEO as a one-time task or hardly “rocket science.” A new Search Marketing Expo session in June will explore whether SEO is Bull. Additionally, many websites with slivers of SEO still lack ROI signals (visible phone numbers and clear calls to action would be nice). Ignorance and the lack of accountability are the biggest culprits. Without pressure to measure, what can you expect? You’ve got IT staffers with little or no marketing backgrounds overseeing websites. Companies let zealous marketers run amok amid a minefield of design and architecture flaws. Owners try to personally bridge both the technical side with lame content because they won’t or can’t pay experts. Search engine optimization can help with conversions. (Different studies indicate SEO or paid search as the best converting method.) Among ROI marketing tactics, SEO came out on top for product offerings (68.7%) and lead generation campaigns (69.7%), according to MarketingSherpa’s 2006 Search Marketing Benchmark Survey. Marketers do care. They just need to work on the execution. Here are 10 ways to help ensure that search engine optimization ties in nicely with ROI. Tip: Leave your thin skin and pride at the door; they’re not welcome. 1. Television’s Ugly Betty May Not Be Too Ugly, but What about Your Website? If your website is ugly, don’t pretend otherwise. You can get high rankings, but what good are they if you turn people off with a hideous design? The topic recently was covered in a benchmark hotelier survey from Hospitality eBusiness Strategies (HeBS). Website optimization, including usability, edged out SEO as the option that delivers the best ROI results (71.9%). 2. Take Your Head Out of (Any Hole Will Do). Search engines have been around 13 years or so. In the latest Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization survey (mostly North
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American participants), natural search engine optimization accounted for just over $1 billion of the $9.3 billion spent on search marketing in 2006. Paid search got the bulk of the money. If you put reasonable search engine optimization tactics in motion, you can get more traffic. At Fathom SEO, I speak with B2B and B2C business owners who just won’t make the effort (software and furniture companies come to mind). 3. Don’t Shoot for the Stars (They’re Too Far Away). Do you really want to rank for a broad search term like “gift baskets” and others like it? Maybe you don’t deserve those rankings. Is your website new? Have search engines indexed only a fraction of it? How bad is your link reputation? Go for low-hanging fruit (longer search terms) that aren’t as competitive. They convert well (and seem to taste better too). A good bet may be “executive gift baskets.” 4. Just Say “No” to Greed. If you have five outstanding keywords/phrases ranking on a page, don’t ruin a good scenario by trying to rank for more. 5. What’s in Your Title? Use keywords and phrases in your page titles (near meta descriptions). Decorate titles with cute calls to action and/or your company name after you get a great ranking. If you rank #65 for the perfect page title phrasing, who cares? 6. Overlooked Content. Optimize corporate pages like “Contact Us.” They’re often ignored. The content can help a keyword rank. Once someone reaches the page, they may call or fill out a form. 7. Forms That Shout: “Please Leave My Website!!” If you ask website visitors for data, offer something compelling. Less is more (as in more leads). Someone may just leave if 23 million fields turn them off. 8. Put Your Name in Lights. Fame isn’t evil. Become an expert. Write articles for industry newsletters. Invent and distribute guides and white papers. Conduct a study. Issue news releases. Plug into social search communities. All of this attention may get you some extra links, deliver traffic and may improve your search engine rankings. 9. Make Extra Content (You’re Allowed—Really). Maybe you rank well for singular keywords. But do plural forms that lack visibility make you frown? Me too. Extra content is the “secret” remedy for those blues. Make sure it’s part of the website (internal links and the same look and feel). Add testimonials. Establish a Featured Products section. 10. Learn Web Analytics (MBA Stats Class Not Required). Web analytics can seem a little intimidating. Regardless of the traffic product you use, you really need to understand website visitor behavior—everything from the keywords they enter to the pages they like (or hate). Dedicate resources (or consultants) to the tedious but rewarding work of search engine optimization and ROI. True success depends on a team effort involving multiple skills. Ask yourself (and others) some tough questions: •Is our website design a laughingstock? •Do we bury the phone number on any pages? •Do our forms capture how visitors found the website? •If someone calls about a product, does anyone ask how they discovered the company?
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•If a lead comes in, how do we chart the sale? •Do we have clear calls to action? Do we test them? Care to learn more? Just send an email to mmurray@fathomseo.com and I’ll send you my 40 page white paper on search engine optimization and ROI.

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Damn You, Andy! How to Win Marketing Pilgrim’s Search Marketing Contest
by Eric Hebert (http://www.evolvor.com/about-evolvor-media/)

Before I begin my rants on how to win this contest, I want to give a shout out to Andy Beal, the Marketing Pilgrim, for putting us up to the challenge in the first place. I have never in the threeplus years of watching this industry been offered a better opportunity to make a name for myself amongst a rouges’ gallery of judges, and I think so far that I’ve done a pretty good job. I mean, c’mon, I’m doing great in the article department. My articles have been engaging from the get go by having descriptive titles that not only featured keywords but also featured clever words to entice the reader to read further. These were probably obvious things to be aware of right from the get go. Aside from writing decent articles with proper grammar and paragraph structure, I was set to begin celebrating my victory. Not so fast, bucko. This is an Internet marketing contest. And what do Internet marketers do? Generate traffic. Needless to say, that is the underlying theme to this contest, and I like the fact that Andy waited to come out and say anything about it. Sure, we all knew the contest was about generating the most unique page views, but I’m sure many of us mindlessly walked away from the fact that what we were really supposed to do was use all of our Internet marketing capabilities and resources to get the eyeballs to our article. This means utilizing your social networks: Digg, Technorati, del.icio.us, MySpace, Facebook, and others. As Internet marketers, we all have email lists that we should be sending regular updates to; in this case, send them a letter describing your article and how important it is to win. If you have a website, this means throwing a temporary link in your header on every page so that it’s the first thing a visitor sees when they arrive. Drop some relevant blog comments if you can on popular Internet marketing blogs. Do some quick keyword research and throw a couple of hundred dollars into a PPC campaign, because we all know you have to spend money to make money. I sure would spend two hundred dollars on some cheap Internet marketing related keywords in AdWords and Yahoo if I knew it was going to generate traffic. IM all your friends. Pick up your phone. Utilize your network, your “list” as all the gurus would call it, and make it happen. The point of this exercise was not too see who can write the snazziest title or the world’s best article about SEO. It was too see who was smart enough to properly use the many wonderful ways we have as Internet marketing people to promote and sell our article and ourselves. It was to showcase how the basics of Internet marketing work and to weed out those who get it and those who do not. And the ones who got it understood the very basic underlying principles of Internet marketing better then the rest of us: produce high quality, relevant content and link to this content from other websites, through various channels including search engines, blogs, and social networks. Congratulations on those who won each week, and good luck for the rest of the participants; I hope you have learned a lot and will continue to study this wonderful industry.

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What Studio 60 Can Teach Us About Blogging
by Tom Schmitz (http://www.seocritique.com) Have you watched Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip109? If you want to be inspired with ideas about creating a great blog, watch this show. The lessons from Studio 60 are not about content, but about management and production. Without great management and production, you cannot create and maintain a great blog. The Lessons: 1. Pick a Voice and Stick to It. Part of the premise for Studio 60 is that the fictional comedic television show had lost its edgy voice. A new producer and writer, two people who would refuse to compromise quality, are brought on board to reclaim the show’s past glory. Claim your blog’s voice and stick to it. Don’t treat everyone like your best friend one day and act like you are presenting to the Board of Regents the next. Choose a casual voice or a formal voice. Don’t try to split the middle. Too many corporate blogs read like they were overrun by Standards and Practices. Read each posts aloud, record it and listen to it. If it does not roll off your tongue or sound right it needs rewriting. 2. You Need Lots of Writers Who Write Often The above photo shows one side of a long table filled with writers. Cast members are standing, lining the wall. Everyone in this crowded room desperately wants the producers to select and broadcast their work. This reflects TV reality more than you may realize. (Have you ever seen how many writers Jeopardy has110?) Create a blog team, a core group of people who are officially responsible for creating content. You need a prolific blog, not an exhausted writer. Having more people create content offers you more content, more often without sending any one individual over the edge. Having multiple writers also gives each contributor breathing space to focus on quality. Like having good actors become celebrities, another benefit of having a team is that your best writers will become credible industry personalities that people can latch on to. That creates frequent readers. Why do you think newspapers have regular columns? On Studio 60, the writing is not limited to the writers. Every member of the cast practically crawls over each other to contribute. Open your blog suggestions to all of your employees and even to your business partners. While your blog team carries the formal responsibility, great ideas and writing can come from anywhere in your company. Not only will it benefit your blog, it
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will boost employee morale. Invite your business partners to contribute. Like Studio 60’s guest hosts, outside voices can add credibility to your blog. 3. Plan Ahead Take notice of two things in this photo. First is the countdown clock. Three days, seven hours, twenty-two minutes and forty seconds to show time. Second is the cork board. It displays everything that will be on the next episode of the fictional Studio 60 TV comedy show. When the board is filled with 3×5 cards, the show is complete. Your blog should feature two types of posts: planned posts and posts of opportunity. Planned posts are those subjects that you know you want to write about. These can be product announcements, white paper notices, and subjects or ideas that your blog team wants to share. Hold regular brainstorming sessions to generate topics and assign them to writers. Posts of opportunity are in response to anything that happens to come up that you want to blog about. This could be unexpected company news, a breaking industry news story or recognition of something written on another blog. You never know where a good story will come from. 4. Keep the Content Rolling and Always Have a Backup At Studio 60, the writers are always trying to create new sketches. It’s okay to have too much content but disastrous to have too little. Stuff happens. Product launches get delayed. Mergers fall through. Employees move on. Any story you plan for your blog can get delayed or fall through. Readers do not care about that. They look for frequent content at regular intervals. One of the nice things about blogs is that, unlike a TV show, you are not limited by time and space. If you have an excess of quality content you can still publish it. Select your minimum content interval then always exceed it. An exception: A rare few can create a niche by publishing infrequently if nearly every post is dedicated to exceptional quality111. 5. Not Everything Gets Published Remember those 3×5 cards at Studio 60? Studio 60 always has more cards than will fit on the cork board. If something does not meet your blog’s standard for quality or interest, do not publish it. You might send something back for rewriting or additional work. You may decide that an article does not belong. You might even decide that an article has a bigger future somewhere else on your website, in your printed newsletter or in an industry publication. On Studio 60, one person decides what will be on the show and what will not. The same should be true of your company blog. After all, you are running a business, not a democracy. This person is the gatekeeper and is ultimately responsible for the content and quality of your blog. Not everything gets aired at Studio 60, only the best sketches. This creates a sense of competition among the writers and cast to produce the best comedy possible. Create a sense of competition among your blog writers.
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By approaching your company blog with the same planning, dedication and fervor that the staff of Studio 60 devotes to their (fictional) 90 minutes of television each week you will almost assuredly create a publication that grabs notice and respect. If you do not, your blog will remain lost among the thousands of other lackluster blogs on the Internet and you might as well tell your website administrator to open up the FTP client and hit the delete key. Good luck!

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Free Link Love—To Get It, Give It Up!
by Mary Bowling (http://travel.blizzardemail.com) Those of us who have been in the SEO business for a while tend to want to direct and manipulate the PageRank on our sites. You know the tricks. However, things are very different with blogs and, if you want yours to rank well, you need to let go of that concept. Blogs are all about linking freely, not just to other posts and pages within your own site, but also out to other websites and blogs. Blogs are about sharing information and insight. They are about relationships and communities. None of these can spawn or thrive without interaction. Links are their conduit to interaction and to get links, you have to give links. Here’s how and why: Link Out People usually find out when you link to them, especially other bloggers. This often prompts them come to your blog to find out who you are and what you said about them or about what they said. They may then comment on your blog, link back to you and/or become a member of your community. Using good keywords in your outbound link text will also help to theme your pages. Comment on Other Blogs Because of comment spam, many blogs use nofollowed links. Do not let this deter you from commenting. In the sea of spam, intelligent, thought-provoking commentary really stands out and it encourages the blogger and his or her readers to not only respond to your thoughts, but to visit your website, leave their own comments and to link to you. Use a Blogroll Find and read other blogs on your topic. Then, point links at those you respect with your blogroll. Those bloggers will be alerted to your interest and may respond in kind. There’s also been talk lately, notably by Bill Slawski of SEO by the Sea, that Google may somewhat reward blogs using blogrolls. Use Trackbacks Where enabled, trackbacks allow you to go to other blogs and link back to posts on your blog as related stories. They essentially say, “If this post interests you, you might like this one, too.” These links are valuable, even if they are nofollowed, because they may draw the blogger and his readership to your blog and into your community. This may result in links and traffic. Do Follow Some blog platforms come standard with “nofollow” tags on links in the comments. While leaving these enabled does deter some spammers, it will not keep most of them away. I prefer to reward readers who leave good comments with a link, so they will return and become part of
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my blog community and, perhaps, link to me. If your blog links are nofollowed by default, search for appropriate “do follow” plugins to disable this feature. Use Good Internal Linking Strategies Links between your own posts and pages should use good keywords to lead the search engines to related posts within your blog. Placing your posts into proper categories also helps to theme your post pages and your links. As your pages gain PageRank, they then share it with other pages on your blog using good link reputation. Spread your link love around and it will come back to you. Now, get out there and give it up!

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DaveN Goes White Hat
by Ryan C. Madden If you listened to Strikepoint the other day, you may have heard Dave say, “Maybe I should just go white hat.” Is it true? Could David Naylor112 possibly go white hat? Of course not, but that’s not the point. The point is that you clicked on this article. Linkbaiting: it works, and if you have a blog or post articles and are not using linkbaiting tactics now, you are missing out on potential readers, and more importantly, on permanent links. This article is about developing creative, engaging linkbaiting articles that will provide an increase in deep links to your site, and ultimately, a jump in the SERPS. I’ll even give away one of my own linkbaiting title ideas towards the end of this article. For some, creating great linkbaiting titles is second nature. It simply comes to them. For the rest of us, it takes a combination of discipline and creativity to provide something truly original. Let’s take a look at how to develop good linkbaiting titles. Let’s say you sell wool. First, step away from your world of wool. Don’t think about your industry at all. In fact, print this article, step away from your desk, walk outside, and get some fresh air. Now, get into the heads of your potential readers or clients. Think about their lifestyle. What piques their interest? What do they like to read about online? Write down a list of topics if it helps. Depending on your customer profiles, your topics might include politics, gardening, reality TV shows, Linux, or Hollywood gossip. For your buyers of sheep’s wool, perhaps their interests include the latest fashions, sewing machines, or labor laws. Or if you’re going after it purely for the linking benefit, you can target about any site that will generate links. Only after you have developed this list of topics are you ready to step back into your world of wool. Think of different ways you might be able to relate your world to their topics. This is where the discipline comes in. It’s easy to spend 30 seconds on this and give up. That’s what your competitors will do, but not you. Think. Think some more. Harder. Keep working at it until you find it. Using our example, that could be finding a forum on fashion trends and posting an article entitled, “Ten Sure Signs that Wool is Back”, or “Paris Hilton Sporting a Wool Sweater.” Focusing back on the link building approach, look at Digg. As many of you know, most Digg users have an IT background. No problem—simply cater to their interests. How about, “Three Easy Steps to Fixing Product Paging Issues using PHP,” and use any example retail site with wool clothing. Of course, include your own links within the article with your desired anchor text. While we are focusing on titles here, this is not to say that the content of the article is unimportant. Despite the fact that some of today’s popular social networking sites have too many users who Digg or vote for articles based solely on the title, the content of the article must be relevant and useful. Too much linkbaiting without providing interesting or useful content will get old with your audience real quick, and the value of your linkbaiting tactics will quickly whither
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away. I’ll give away one of my linkbaiting titles that I was going to use for an article I drafted recently. The title is “How to Launch RPGs from Your Cell Phone.” Now, many people (not all) would recognize the term ‘RPGs’ as a rather unpleasant weapon often referred to in the news. The article actually talks about a different kind of RPG: Role Playing Games available on mobile phones. There are certainly better examples out there, and it’s not rocket science, but this stuff is sure to generate some link love from the social networking sites. Now that I’ve given away the title, I’d encourage anyone so inclined to go ahead and use it and let Andy and friends know how it does for you. Still need more ideas? If you have not listened to Michael Gray as the guest on SEO Rockstars113 the other day, go download it now. For other great examples, simply browse the titles on Shoemoney’s114 or Rand’s115 blogs. Stuntdubl116 also provides some great tips on linkbaiting. Gleam some useful nuggets of wisdom from these and other experts, as they are sure to get those creative, linkbaiting juices flowing. If we can do it for wool, you can do it for your niche.

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http://seorockstars.com/ http://www.shoemoney.com/ http://www.seomoz.org/blog http://www.stuntdubl.com/

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Linkbait 2.0: The Soul of Linkbait (Part 2)
by Todd Mintz (http://www.srclarke.com) “Heard it from a friend who…heard it from a friend who…heard it from another…” —REO Speedwagon Part 2 won´t make much sense if you haven´t read part 1117. In part 1, I chronicled my “failed” attempt to linkbait my personal reminiscence of Marvin Gaye´s 1983 NBA All-Star Game National Anthem118. At the end of that story, I wrote that I vowed to start the linkbaiting process anew—to use different forms of social media to gain attention for what I´ve written. I´d like to report on the progress that I´ve made: First, I Wrote a Story about Writing a Story Publishing my original linkbaiting article119 at Search Engine Guide launched my current linkbaiting campaign. Search Engine Guide120 is one of the most prominent SEM websites in existence and I knew that any story published there would be very visible not only in our industry but on the Web as a whole. However, there was another powerful reason why I shared my experiences at Search Engine Guide. I Needed to Appear Credible with People That Could Further My Goals In my linkbait strategizing, I identified one particular blogger that clearly had to be the top target of my efforts. I was sure that he got lots of requests of links from people he didn´t know, so I knew that in order to be successful, I had to be: •Extremely nice and polite •Knowledgeable about him and his blog •Authoritative Linking to my original Search Engine Guide story (along with my name-dropping of the folks at ESPN.com and The Sporting News that I had been in contact with) made it much more likely that he would consider my request. To a potential link partner, the fact that Search Engine Guide, a well-respected industry website, would publish a story about my experiences gave me a tremendous amount of credibility. Thank You Henry Abbott, ESPN´s NBA Blogger Henry´s freelance TrueHoop blog121 was of such high quality that ESPN hired him to continue blogging the NBA under the ESPN banner. My email to Henry successfully got me the following
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http://www.searchengineguide.com/mintz/009582.html http://www.toddmintz.com/index.htm http://www.searchengineguide.com/mintz/009582.html http://www.searchengineguide.com/ http://myespn.go.com/nba/truehoop

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TrueHoop mention122 (though better link text would have been nice). In my email, I made sure to mention prominently that we were both huge Portland Trailblazer fans. I wonder if that helped. I had awesome traffic the day Henry´s column ran. Others Followed Henry´s Lead Soon after Henry linked to me, others (Bumpshack.com123, Cantstopthebleeding.com124) did as well—folks that clearly found me through the TrueHoop link. Both of these sites continue to generate traffic for my story. Other Techniques I´ve Been Using PPC: Minimum bids for the relevant long tail keywords keep me on the first page of Google/Yahoo/MSN SERPs and generate several visitors each day. Wikipedia: Even though no link juice is being passed to my site, I´m still getting 5-10 visitors a day from Wikipedia. Reciprocal linking/leaving relevant blog comments: I´ve done a little bit of both and continue to look for more applicable opportunities in these areas. I use Google News Alerts to find new link opportunities. MyBlogLog: I created the following MBL Profile125 just for marketing my story. All I´ve done is slap the code on the page and forget about it. However, I know that MBL could help me build links if I take the time to work with it. Answering email: Several people have emailed me asking about the event and I´ve answered their questions to the best of my ability. Results So Far Currently, I´m on page 2 of Google and page 1 of MSN for the search “Marvin Gaye National Anthem” (no quotes). I´m getting steady if unspectacular traffic for the story and am slowly but surely generating links from relevant people. I´ve decided that the endgame for my story will be to attempt an exercise in predictive search engine optimization126. February 2008 will mark the 25th anniversary of Marvin´s Anthem and at some point prior to that date, the number of people searching for information about the event will spike greatly. If I can position my story on page1 of the SERPs (natural & paid) and get the relevant “linkerati” to acknowledge what I wrote, perhaps my reminiscence can become part of the collective societal reevaluation of that special moment. If I fail in my goal, at least I can take solace that I enjoyed my experience and made friends with like-minded people on the trip.

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http://www.truehoop.com/international-basketball-75812-tuesday-bullets.html http://bumpshack.com/2007/03/15/marvin-gayes-national-anthem/ http://www.cantstopthebleeding.com/?p=9483 http://www.mybloglog.com/buzz/members/meandmarvin/ http://www.seomoz.org/blog/predicting-search-queries-before-demand-arrives

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I never thought I would write on the same topic as Thomas Dolby127.

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http://blog.thomasdolby.com/?p=381

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5 Ways Jesus Would Promote Himself in the 21st Century
by Eric Hebert (http://www.evolvor.com/about-evolvor-media/)

If Jesus began his earthly ministry in the 21st century instead of the first, he probably would have done things a little differently. If I were helping him spread his message today, the campaign would run like this: 1. Set up a blog The first thing Jesus would have to do is set up that blog. I’d have him get started using Wordpress128 and hacking an open-source theme129, tweaking the CSS and adding a custom header with his logo. After setting up the proper categories and options (for instance fixing the permalinks option), we’d have to install several plugins to ensure his new site gets indexed properly by the search engines and acts a little more user friendly: •Making sure his title tags130 and meta descriptions131 are being generated properly. •Avoiding any duplicate content issues with a teaser plugin132. •Configuring his anti-spam plugin by signing up for his Akismet key133. •Adding a contact form134. •Displaying his most popular posts135 in the sidebar (Jesus likes three columns, like the Holy Trinity). •A site map generator136, to help those who are lost, or just seeking a little guidance. Some other things would be required before we’d get going, like blogrolling his disciples, burning his RSS feed137 to syndicate his blog all over the Web, adding a Flickr138 widget, and maybe a Paypal button139 so followers can give to the poor right on the site. After spending some significant amount of time “Sunday schooling” the Son of God on how to blog140 effectively, the next step would be getting the word out about his new website. 2. Social Media & Networking The Lord knows he’s got to tap into communities to spread the good word, and with the power of today’s online communities, he’ll be able to cover much more territory than he could
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http://wordpress.org/ http://themes.wordpress.net http://www.netconcepts.com/seo-title-tag-plugin/ http://www.g-loaded.eu/2006/01/05/add-meta-tags-wordpress-plugin/ http://dev.wp-plugins.org/wiki/PostTeaser http://akismet.com/commercial/ http://chip.cuccio.us/projects/contact-form-ii/ http://alexking.org/projects/wordpress http://www.dagondesign.com/articles/sitemap-generator-plugin-for-wordpress/ http://www.feedburner.com/fb/a/home http://www.flickr.com/ https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_merchant-get-started-outside http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/02/14/blogging-for-beginners-2/

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have 2,000 years ago (back in the early AD days). The first and most obvious place to start would have to be MySpace141, where he’d have to compete with many impersonators. However, in order to really make a connection, he’ll have to apply these tactics to bring the traffic in: •Adding Digg142, del.icio.us143 and Reddit144 buttons to his site. •Inviting his Facebook145 network to all his events (they tend to pay more attention here than on MySpace). •Join MyBlogLog146 and show his face around other blogs (as well as showcasing his own visitors). •Create a Second Life147 avatar and preach in the virtual world. •Make sure he’s LinkedIn148 with the right people. •Create a Ning149 network for all his followers. 3. Content Development & Link Baiting If Jesus wants to keep visitors coming back, he’s got to preach the good word. He’d have to spend a good amount of time developing the content for his website, which is a lot more than just writing a short little blog post once a day. To really build up his website as the premier place to hear the good word of the Lord, he’ll have to work with some of these content development ideas: •Write good “linkbait” articles150—maybe providing tips on how to win God’s favor—that would gain popularity through those social networks. •Maybe do interviews151 with other important religious figures. •Create online videos of his most famous miracles to share on YouTube152, Metacafe153, and Revver154 (I’d love to see the one where he walks on water!). •Give away prizes like sandals and crosses in his monthly “most comments” contest155. •Create polls156 to see how followers feel about things—maybe a socially-generated Ten Commandments? 4. Digital Downloads and eCommerce
http://www.myspace.com/ http://digg.com/tools/buttons http://blog.del.icio.us/blog/2006/12/the_new_and_tag.html http://reddit.com/buttons http://www.facebook.com/ http://www.mybloglog.com/ http://secondlife.com/whatis/ http://www.linkedin.com http://www.ning.com/ http://tropicalseo.com/2007/andy-hagans-ultimate-guide-to-link-baiting-and-social-media-marketing/ http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/08/08/how-to-use-interviews-on-your-blog/ http://www.youtube.com/ http://www.metacafe.com/ http://one.revver.com/revver http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2007/02/testing-new-plugin-to-reward-top-commentators.html http://www.vizu.com/

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Now not everyone has the time to read his blog everyday or attend every sermon he gives. That’s why you’ll be able to download his weekly podcast157 right onto your iPod, in addition to purchasing any of his spoken word albums right from iTunes158 (don’t worry: Christ made a deal with Apple and all his work is DRM free!). He’s a big fan of music and you can also buy some of the mashups he worked on with some of the industry’s best. In addition to selling audio to pay the rent and taxes, Jesus would have to implement some other methods of monetization: •Running an Amazon aStore159 to sell different versions of the Old Testament. •Create a Zazzle160 store and sell his namesake T-shirts, hats, and stickers. •Create a “fan club” that charges a monthly fee for premium content161 and other exclusives. •Sell his carpentry work through his eBay store162. •Run banner ads for partner churches (he’d try AdSense163, but the ads would never be relevant enough for his liking!). 5. Branding and Reputation Management By now Jesus should be experiencing some decent volumes of traffic to his site. He’s gotten Dugg a few times, and every blogger under the sun has mentioned him at least once, getting him enough links to the site to boost his search engine rankings. He earned enough money to grab the jc.com domain (he originally started with the .net extension and had to redirect his old URLs to the new ones), which helps solidify his brand. He’s started Google AdWords164 and Yahoo! Search Marketing165 campaigns to make sure he’s found for any related search keywords (even if he already ranks high for them), and stays on top of who’s saying what by subscribing to Google Alerts166 and using Google News, Google Blog Search, and Technorati167 to keep tabs on other bloggers. With his online presence solidified, Jesus is now primed for Internet superstardom.

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http://www.podcastingnews.com/articles/How-to-Podcast.html http://www.tunecore.com/ http://astore.amazon.com http://www.zazzle.com/ http://www.seomoz.org/users/premium http://stores.ebay.com/ https://www.google.com/AdSense/login3?gsessionid=iqPjcScarNY http://AdWords.google.com/select/Login http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com/ http://www.google.com/alerts http://technorati.com/

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10 Biggest Master Baiters in the Search Industry
by Dustin Woodard (http://www.webconnoisseur.com/blog/) Linkbaiting is all the buzz these days in the SEO industry. It’s really nothing new, people have been baiting for years. In fact, I’d say 98% of us would admit to baiting from time to time—and the other 2% are lying. What does it take to be a master baiter? Besides hands and a keyboard, a master baiter should have a creative mind, marketing skills and, obviously, Web savvy. I also believe link baiting should be intentional—none of this my-hand-slipped-and-I-got-lucky crap. Below is a list of people I think are the biggest Master Baiters in the search industry. These are the people who seem to be able to hook even those who know they are baiting them. I’m sure there are other private baiters out there, hidden under a corporate brand that might be able to rival these guys, but they don’t bait in public like these guys do. I admit that I’ve been baiting in private until this post. The 10 Biggest Master Baiters in Search are: 1. Rand Fishkin168 2. Michael Gray169 3. Nick Wilson170 4. Andy Haggans171 5. Todd Malicoat172 6. Andy Beal173 7. Neil Patel174 8. Shoemoney175 9. Brian Clark176 10. Lyndon Antcliff177 You may have noticed there are no women on the list. It’s not that women don’t bait—I think they’re just a bit more secretive about it. Want to become a Master Link Baiter? Here are some tips: •Study viral marketing techniques. Don’t worry, you’ll never catch a virus from baiting.
168 169 170 171

http://www.seomoz.org/ http://www.wolf-howl.com/ http://clickinfluence.com/ http://tropicalseo.com/

172
173 174

http://www.stuntdubl.com/
http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/ http://www.pronetadvertising.com/

175
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http://www.shoemoney.com/
http://www.copyblogger.com http://www.cornwallseo.com/search/

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•Become friends with other master baiters. You know the saying that sales people are the easiest to sell to? Well, baiters can’t help but appreciate your creative baiting session and they can’t help but blog about it. •Be creative and don’t give up. No matter how boring a site or industry may seem, there’s always at least one linkbait waiting to happen. I once worked for a company that sold legal compliance manuals to human resource professionals (can’t get much more boring then that), but by creating a tax savings calculator and flexing my marketing muscles, we found link love from the WSJ, BusinessWeek, a number of HR magazines, hundreds of company intranets, and the top sites in the industry. •Try different baiting techniques. Some baiters break news, others share research and some use humor. Also experiment with the medium. Some prefer to bait with videos, some do it in person (Guy Kayawsaki), some use books (Aaron Wall), some hold contests, and some bait with photos. So give baiting a try, but be realistic. Not everybody can be a master baiter.

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AIDS Clickathon—A Viral Marketing Strategy to Fight the HIV/AIDS Virus in Africa
by Paul Steinbrueck (http://www.ourchurch.com) There are many Internet marketing strategies these days, but by far the most powerful and explosive is viral marketing. What is Viral Marketing? Viral marketing, also sometimes referred to as buzz marketing or word of mouth marketing, is a category of marketing where the strategy is to spread the message by word of mouth, so awareness spreads exponentially like a virus. People tell their friends, who tell their friends, who tell their friends, and so on. While viral marketing has existed for decades, the Internet has expanded the reach and rate a viral campaign can spread, and Web 2.0 technologies like blogs, MySpace, YouTube, and Digg have taken viral marketing to a whole new level. To demonstrate the power of viral marketing, my company, OurChurch.Com, launched the AIDS Clickathon178 viral marketing campaign in conjunction with this article to serve as a case study. The Goal Two good friends of mine, Joseph and Molly Bail, are moving to Kenya this year to start a home for AIDS-orphaned children. They need to raise $50,000 to build the orphanage. I want to help raise money for that, their living expenses, and other AIDS-related efforts. Viral Marketing Concept: Concept is Everything 95% of a viral marketing campaign’s success is determined by the concept. If the idea was to simply tell people what Joseph and Molly are doing and ask for a donation, I could leverage every social networking site on the Web and the results would probably be minimal. For a viral marketing campaign to work, it has to be something cool, interesting, or unusual enough that when people see it they immediately want to tell their friends about it. The AIDS Clickathon is just such an idea. What if just by your clicking, money would be donated to help children in Africa orphaned by AIDS? No donation necessary. Wouldn’t you click? And wouldn’t you tell your friends to go there? I would. Involving other companies and nonprofits as sponsors and doing the clickathon in conjunction
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http://www.ourchurch.com/aids-clickathon.php

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with the Marketing Pilgrim Search Engine Marketing Scholarship Competition179 will further propagate the viral marketing campaign. There are many influential bloggers in the search marketing community who share my compassion for children affected by the AIDS pandemic in Africa and I hope some of them find this campaign worth blogging about. Viral Marketing Strategies: Launching the Viral With an innovative concept in place, most of the remainder of a viral marketing campaign is a matter of facilitating the spread of the message through as many avenues as possible. Here are some of the viral marketing strategies we employed. 1. Search engines. Search engines are a great source of visitors. We did keyword research on the main Web page of the campaign as well as this article and optimized the text for both pages. 2. Campaign blog. We thought people might be interested to read about the details as the AIDS Clickathon progresses, so we created an AIDS Clickathon blog180 for that purpose. It’s integrated with an RSS feed, social bookmarking links, Technorati, and MyBlogLog. 3. MySpace. MySpace is the largest social networking site in the world, so we created a MySpace profile181 for the campaign. 4. YouTube. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million, so we created a short video182, uploaded it to YouTube, embedded it in our main campaign page, and asked people to watch, rate, and comment on it. 5. Digg & social bookmarking. We encourage readers of this article to scroll down to the bottom of the page and next to where it says “social bookmarking” select “Digg It” from the drop down list. We also added a Digg and social bookmarking links to the Clickathon page. 6. Directory submissions. Directory listings can bring visitors as well as help with search rankings, so we submitted the article and the AIDS Clickathon page to directories. 7. Press release. Getting the press to write about the AIDS clickathon would really help to spread the word, so we wrote a press release and submitted it through several online press release services. 8. Friend release. We wrote a friendly, informal email sent to friends and family, which they can forward to their friends. This makes it easy for them and thus more likely they’ll tell others. Plus it gives us the opportunity to shape the message going out. 9. Our website. The OurChurch.Com website gets thousands of hits each day, so we placed links to the AIDS Clickathon in prominent places on our site. 10. Our blog. OurChurch.Com publishes the Christian Web Trends blog183 that focuses on utilizing Internet technology in Christian ministry. The clickathon and this article will make great
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http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/search-engine-marketing-scholarship/ http://www.ourchurch.com/aids-clickathon-blog/ http://www.myspace.com/aidsclickathon http://www.aidsclickathon.com/youtube-video.php http://blog.ourchurch.com/

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blog topics. 11. Related websites, blogs, and forums. We searched for and contacted influential websites, blogs, and forums that are already working to bring attention and relief to the AIDS pandemic in Africa. 12. Tell people how they can help. We specifically listed 9 ways people could help spread the word on the AIDS Clickathon page. Some of these things may seem like no-brainers, but the reality is most people would only think of a few of them on their own. Ongoing Viral Marketing Strategies Once the viral marketing tools are in place and the campaign has been launched, the rest of the campaign is out of your hands—almost. You never know who might contact you, write about the campaign, or contribute in some other way. A good viral campaign manager keeps his or her eyes open for unexpected opportunities to build on the campaign’s momentum. It’s these opportunities that are the focus of the AIDS Clickathon blog184. Proof is in the Pudding Finally, one nice thing about this article is we don’t have to resort to speculative arguments about the effectiveness of the techniques described. When the SEM contest and AIDS Clickathon are over the results will speak for themselves.

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http://www.ourchurch.com/aids-clickathon-blog/

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Five Pillars of Social Media Marketing
by Ben Wills (http://www.benwills.com) So, in the late, late nights that I’ve spent making sense of and organizing Social Media Marketing185, I’ve been able to find nothing that outlines strategies or fundamentals of Social Media Marketing. Yes, Rohit Bhargava created a post that kicked into gear the “5 Rules of Social Media Optimization (SMO).”186 After 20 days and much buzz in the blogosphere, it was expanded into 17 rules187, with additions from all over the online marketing and business community’s thought leaders. And yet, while it’s an absolute must-read, there’s still no strategy outlining the fundamental strategies or tactics of Social Media Marketing. That’s what I’ve racked my brain to figure out and this is what I define as the Five Pillars of Social Media Marketing: The Five Pillars of Social Media Marketing Any and all forms of Social Media Marketing tactics fall under at least one of these five forms of action. Often the same channel will incorporate two or more of these: 1. Declaration of Identity 2. Identity through Association 3. User-initiated Conversation 4. Provider-initiated Conversation 5. In-person Interaction Identity-based interaction is your declaration of your value, who you are, and where you can be found. Your customer happens upon your online identity that you, as a provider, define and declare. This is anything from your About Us pages on your blog or website, to your MySpace profile, to your Naymz profile. Here, there is very little interaction outside of your own declaration, but this becomes critical in defining how you can benefit your marketplace. There has been a recent outcrop of websites created purely for this function. An expanded business card, if you will. Most also include the opportunity to link to your other forms of presence online, bringing together your presence in one place—well, kind of. They include: • • • •
185 186

Naymz188 Ziki189 ClaimID190 SuprGlu191

http://www.benwills.com http://rohitbhargava.typepad.com/weblog/2006/08/5_rules_of_soci.html 187 http://rohitbhargava.typepad.com/weblog/2006/08/adding_the_17th.html 188 http://www.naymz.com/ 189 http://www.ziki.com/ 190 http://claimid.com 191 http://www.suprglu.com/ Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License

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•

LinkedIn192

Association-based interaction is your customers’ opportunity to associate themselves with you and you with your customers. Most obviously, this is accomplished through things like becoming “Friends” on MySpace, you and your customers’ blogroll, or through their social bookmarking. This is your customer wearing your company’s logo proudly—like Andy wears his Beatles shirts. The most explicit form of association-based interaction is through social bookmarking sites. I chose this, and not social networking sites, because this is the sole funciton of these sites. Make it easy for your customers to bookmark your site, blog posts, etc. with their favorite tool. • • • • • • del.icio.us193 Furl194 blummy195 Ma.gnolia196 StumbleUpon197 BlinkList198

User-initiated conversation is your users’ opportunity to create their own declarations or questions, and your opportunity to respond. This is your opportunity to be there and cater to them. Here, you serve your customers. Perhaps the most cut-and-dried examples of this lie in messageboards, forums and “groups” sites such as Google Groups, Yahoo! Groups, community sites, etc. So, how do you find these conversations? [link]Andy Beal’s Online Reputation Monitoring Beginner’s Guide. Here, he walks you through, step-by-step, how to find out what conversations are being initiated by others online. The most well-known example of this is “GoogleGuy” on the WebmasterWorld forums. To get directly involved with your customers, utilize your users’ forums, and sites such as: • • • • •
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Yahoo Groups199 Google Groups200 AOL Groups201 MSN Groups202 Topica EMail Lists203

http://www.linkedin.com http://del.icio.us http://www.furl.net/

195
196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203

http://blummy.com/
http://ma.gnolia.com http://www.stumbleupon.com http://www.blinklist.com/ http://groups.yahoo.com http://groups.google.com http://groups.aol.com/ http://groups.msn.com/ http://lists.topica.com/

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• • • •

Kaboodle Groups204 Eurekster205 tribe.net206 Ning207

Provider-initiated conversation is your chance to find out what your customers think, feel, love and hate about your product. Ask them. Challenge them. Present yourself to them, but do so respectfully. As much as it’s an opportunity for them to tell you what they love and hate about your product, it’s also their choice whether to do so or not. Be kind. Be respectful. Appreciate their time. Although it’s not a primarily online company, there is one company that has made this their cultur, seeking feedback and input from its customers 24/7/265. And it is: Current TV <http://www.current.tv>. There’s little to no format, except for about half of the content is contributed by its users. If you haven’t seen it or don’t have digital cable, find someone who does and watch it. Do that this week, you won’t regret it. Social networking strategies for connecting with your customers can certainly be complex, tricky and cumbersome, so I’ll be writing up strategies in the very near future to hopefully assist on those fronts. In the meantime, find your customers and interact with them here: • • • • MySpace208 Bebo209 Friendster210 Consumating211

In-person interaction is the pinnacle form of interaction with your customers. You’re interacting with them online, why not in person? Does it get better than that? This is where you build relationships and have authentic conversations with so much more input, feedback, collaboration and communication. I had a seven-hour conversation with a good friend last night. It was one of the best conversations I’ve ever had about so many things, and I could have never had that quality of a conversation online. Nothing beats face to face. Get out there. Meet your customers. Let them interact with other customers. Build your community. Go to conferences. Better yet, organize your own gatherings. To help this along, coordinating, managing attendee status, etc, there have been several sites that can help in either finding local events or coordinating your own: •
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Meetup212

http://www.kaboodle.com/gp/browse/ http://www.eurekster.com/ 206 http://tribe.net/ 207 http://www.ning.com 208 http://www.myspace.com 209 http://www.bebo.com/ 210 http://www.friendster.com/ 211 http://www.consumating.com/ 212 http://www.meetup.com Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License

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• • • •

BarCamp213 Evite Upcoming214 Eventful215

Final Thoughts Social media marketing is complicated for two reasons: no one has created a structure to work from, and there’s so much overlap in functionality of different sites, that it can be quite confusing as to a site’s single purpose because, well, there usually isn’t a single purpose. Don’t let this hold you back. Get out there. Spend time with these sites. Sign up, Use them, meet your customers, talk to your customers, and LOVE THEM. But wait! There’s More! Feel free to use my Social Media Marketing Tactics chart (on BenWills.com) to make sure your next campaign is a success.

213 214 215

http://barcamp.org http://upcoming.org http://eventful.com

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My Tips
by Paul Nagel As I feel anyone reading this probably has a basic understanding of SEO I’ll skip the basics such as title tags, description tag (since it’s sometimes used by the search engines for the description in their listings), sprinkling your keywords throughout the article without overdoing it, etc. SEO In my opinion, if you optimize for Google, you’re not hurting yourself with the other two, MSN and Yahoo. The Google search engine in my opinion hasn’t changed at all. The same techniques that worked years ago can still optimize a page for Google. You simply identify what the page is about using the title tag and obtain incoming links. However, considering that the Web has grown substantially in the last few years, the competition is much greater so there could be the appearance of techniques no longer working. The things that have changed, however, are pre-filtering such as domain age as well as people actually checking pages that are in the index to ensure a human element of quality. One way to get around this is to search the Web and find obscure websites that have been around since about 2001. Email the owner and ask him if he’d be willing to sell the domain to you. Once you’ve reached an agreement—and this is important—have him transfer the domain without a change of ownership. You now have a domain that’s been around for a while that you can link to your new ones giving them a trust factor. In other words, you get past the prefiltering. Think of a search engine spider as a very simple browser. Whatever your browser can see, that’s what it sees. It technically can’t pick up anything else. It doesn’t somehow stay connected to your Web server. It simply queries it by following a link and takes what the server gives it, same as the browser you’re using to read this. For those that feel on-page optimization is a factor worth spending time on, using CSS to move the content to the top of the HTML will move the content you want the spiders to see up to the top of the page. AdSense If you have AdSense on your page, use the medium rectangle with white background and no border on a white web page, placed in the upper left corner (the first place people look when reading left to right) and you’ll raise your CTR—sometimes to levels that will astonish you. The other factor—and this is also important—is to make sure that the words your visitors are using to reach your page are repeated in the ads. These two factors can make you a lot of money with the right listings. Don’t go overboard with “high paying keywords.” I’ve personally found high traffic keywords that pay 20 to 30 cents generate far, far more. I think traffic and tweaking your ads to fit the traffic are far more important than going after some word that will pay you $5. That’s just me though.
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A good example would be having a listing for the keyword “dog kennels.” It doesn’t matter whether it’s pay-per-click or organic; pay-per-click is just much easier to control. Make sure those ads are all about “dog kennels,” placed upper left corner and blended into the page as much as possible. They will stand out simply by their placement. You want the visitor to reach your page and think, “That’s what I was looking for!” If you always just keep that last sentence in mind while constructing your site, you really can’t go wrong. As far as making money on the Web, the most important factors are really simple. Whatever keywords people are using to visit your pages, whether through pay-per-click or through SEO, make sure either your AdSense ads or the affiliate program you are promoting matches those keywords as closely as possible. PPC Being no expert in pay-per-click, I have, however, found a few things that work for me. These are tips I’ve picked up simply trying to make AdWords work. (Until they have the option to opt out of their partner listings, Overture will not get my recommendation). One way that works is to take the most obvious sets of words for the thing you’re promoting. Let’s say it’s a shoe store affiliate program and you want to sell Nike tennis shoes. Let’s say you’re lazy like me and just want to get something profitable and move on. Enter some basic keywords into AdWords using broad match like “nike,” “nike tennis shoes,” “buy nike shoes,” etc. Make a list of words you don’t want to pay for like “nikes suck,” “nike commercial,” “tiger woods nike contract,” etc. Enter these into the negative keyword list so they won’t show up and cost you money. In order to get on the front page—and you really do kind of have to be there to get any clicks— you’ll have to bid high starting out. You have to establish a click-through history for each keyword and it needs to be pretty good—say over 1% minimum. This should be your first focus, tweaking your ads until you have good CTRs. Bidding high to get a high placement is kind of necessary to get those high CTRs. Realize at this point it’s an investment in the future—you’re probably not going to make money straight out of the gate with those words. Once you have a nice CTR, every two days lower the price by 10% until you reach a compromise between click costs and profits. Once you’ve been running your ads for a week or so, look in your log files to see what people are actually typing in to get to your site. Start another Ad Group and enter these as phrase and exact match. You should be able to get a higher listing for the same or even a cheaper price. Make a list of all the words from your logs that aren’t related or helping you make any sales and add them to the negative keyword list. You don’t want to pay for someone typing in “nike phone number” when you’re trying to sell shoes. Once you’re making a profit, rinse and repeat. Don’t become too focused on one thing and get stuck. If it goes south for whatever reason—and trust me, it can and you probably won’t see it coming—it’s much, much better to have multiple sources of income than a single great one by far! That’s it, those are my tips. Hope you enjoyed them and will find them useful.
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The Ultimate Internet Marketing Article
by Ben Fremer (http://www.webandgraphicsolutions.com) The following are some of my best trade secrets. Please only use them for good. This article has been developed as an Internet marketing how to for entrepreneurs and small businesses—who make up 95% of businesses, yet are currently underserved by the professional search marketing industry, and are often poorly self-served due to lack of expertise and time. A successful Internet marketing program almost always beings with: Keyword research. It’s important to find out which of your services people are looking for, and how many people are searching for them. One of the most popular free tools to see how many searches per month are performed for your keywords is Yahoo’s Keyword Selector Tool216. Remember that as Yahoo only holds about 25% of the market share for total searches (Google is about 55% and MSN is about 15%) so the actual number of searches for most terms is really about four times the numbers you will see. There are many search terms that you can appear in search engines for that are less competitive and costly than others (usually the less obvious terms that other optimizers haven’t found), although they are just as likely to convert the searcher into your customer. The more of these terms you can find for your keyword list, the better your whole search marketing campaign will be in cost and effectiveness. While developing your list of terms and search volume, it is important to note that many search volume numbers given are “above the radar”—the real number of searches is much lower. It is important to have accurate numbers so you can proportionately distribute your efforts to appearing for search terms, rather than spending hours trying to show up for a term that very few people are actually looking for. To find more accurate data, you can either keep multiple months of data on hand and compare for discrepancies, or you can use MSN AdCenter’s daily search volume tool to also see unnatural spikes in search volume. It is also important to note that some terms are “under the radar” on Yahoo’s Keyword Selector Tool. Anything under 25 searches per month doesn’t show up, and there is often a huge potential market under the radar. This is particularly true with local searches—usually the keyword + major metropolitan area will show up, but adding up all of the other local cities and suburbs often yields just as many total searches, and very few people think to try to show up for the individual cities. Another technique for converting searchers is finding “indirect keywords,” i.e., someone who is searching for one thing, though not what you are offering as a product or service, but would still be interested in your product—for instance, someone is looking up how to fix a dent in their car
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http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/

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themselves, and you can offer them professional dent removal services. Another great tactic here is running ads for the names of your competitors. As people look up their services, they will then also be able to see your offerings. Next, convert your keyword list into an effective pay-per-click campaign to drive targeted traffic to your website. You should have at least these three subdivisions in your keyword list. If you offer services nationwide, you can just go ahead and run only national ads using these keyword lists. If you have a local geographic area that you service, more advanced techniques should be used. You should have a generic list of all of the services which you offer—for example, accounting— which may include your non-competitor-name indirect keywords. If you only serve a local market, these should be put into a geotargeted campaign to keep people you outside of your market from seeing your ads, clicking them, and costing you money. You should have a list of all of the cities you service, multiplied by the services you offer (i.e. Chicago accountant, Naperville accountant, Elmhurst accountant, etc.). This should be run as a national or global campaign, using the ad to disambiguate the location of your offerings from other cities in the world with the same name. You should have a list of the names of all of your competitors. This can be run as a geotargeted ad if you service only a particular area—especially when you have national companies listed as your competitors. These campaigns should be run in at least the major 3 search engines—Google, Yahoo & MSN. An important point to make is that Yahoo and MSN usually have a better ROI because there are fewer people bidding against you on pay-per-click in these search engines, which thus reduces the cost-per-acquisition. The bottom line is that it is important to run ads in all three search engines. Finally, take over the natural (nonsponsored/non-pay-per-click) results to drive more targeted traffic to your website. For small businesses, there are a couple approaches which work well. To show up for searches in the keyword list of all of the cities you serve, multiplied by the services you offer, making a page listing all of the services you offer and then all of the cities you serve will get you to show up well in the search engine results for many of these searches. To show up for the more competitive terms, due to search engine algorithms, you are going to need links to your website. We have a pre-sorted list of directories (www.WebAndGraphicSolutions.com/link-directories.html) you can submit your site to in order to build inbound links to your website (be sure to list the keywords you want to show up for as the title), and going through this list is usually enough to get on the first page for any major profession in most major metropolitan areas. Well done—you have now covered your keyword universe and beyond with an effective Internet marketing campaign.

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The (Alleged) Miracle of Pay-per-Click Marketing
by Meredith Smith (http://www.roirevolution.com) Online store not selling so well? No problem! Just slap together a pay-per-click campaign and you’ll be sure to sell out in no time! Not getting as many online leads as you would like? PPC can fix that too! Clients skipping out on their bill? PPC can fix ANYTHING! At least, these are the sentiments that seem to be floating around the virtual water cooler. PPC marketing is often approached as a magic wand that can make all of your marketing woes disappear with a flick of the wrist and a theatrical “poof” of smoke. Wouldn’t that be great? No wonder people like to believe that all-too-tempting idea! I’ve seen instances where pay-per-click campaigns really do seem to work magic for clients, but in every case these clients were willing to work at it. They were willing to build a really great PPC campaign and support it with other efforts. And trust me, it was hard work. Don’t get me wrong—I’m all for PPC! In the end, though, PPC is just another piece of the marketing puzzle, and when you hope against hope that a lone PPC campaign will prop up a failing business or product then it’s bound to come crashing down like a flimsy house of cards. So what steps can you take to make sure that your PPC campaign has the best chances for success? 1. The first step is to know what is going on with your marketing efforts, offline and online. When I say “know what is going on,” I mean having solid, factual data on what is going on behind the scenes—proof about what works and what doesn’t. For this, you need a web analytics package. There are a lot of solutions available in every price range. Of course, Google Analytics217 is a popular choice considering that it is free (always a great selling point!), easy to use, and powerful. I work for ROI Revolution, which offers a pretty neat free 60 minute informational webinar on Google Analytics if it just so happens that you are interested in exploring that web analytics solution. Once you have web analytics up and running you will be gathering important information on what is going on with your marketing efforts. When you know what is going on, you’re in control!
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2. The next step is to work like a dog and try everything your mind can feverishly conceive to get your marketing to work better. Doesn’t sound like a day at the beach, does it? Maybe not, but in the end it really pays off! When you use your PPC campaign with your web analytics to test, test, test different variables, options, and price points you will find things that you can prove work better than others. That’s extremely satisfying, and it’s the best way to claw your way to the top. It has been said “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” With a little “luck” maybe you can turn that PPC campaign into a magic wand, after all.

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Instant PPC Success for the Hometown Hero
by Ryan Bell (http://www.untouchablemarketing.com) Google AdWords is the heart of many marketing campaigns. Ebooks, legal advice, Amazon products, electronics and ringtones have all been tremendously influenced by AdWords advertising. But what about Ma & Pa’s Oak Furniture from Montreal? Or Joe Investor’s real estate company from Phoenix? Sure, they could benefit from national exposure, but homegrown clients are their bread and butter. Can they benefit from PPC exposure? At a recent PPC conference in Chicago, I was shocked to discover that many folks would answer ‘No’ to this question. I was especially surprised when these answers came from the marketing directors of firms like Ma & Pa’s, and Joe Investor’s. “Sure,” they told me, “We could put an ad on AdWords and hope for some new business. But by the time we got one sale within our delivery (or rental) area, we’ve already paid for 500 other clicks from people in places we’ve never even heard of, let alone deliver to.” This is the part of the conversation where the resident “guru” jumps in with a bunch of noise about geotargeting. It’s a sad truth: most of the marketers in this situation didn’t know much about it, and when they heard it was as easy as clicking a check box, they looked relieved. But what I told them next resulted in a pile of business cards being pushed my way at every round table and lunch session I attended. The real trick to successful leveraging of local PPC is in the most obvious (yet overlooked place): your keyword list. For example, let’s say Joe Investor is selling houses in Phoenix. He comes up with some PPC ads to show for the keywords “homes for sale,” “real estate” and “houses for sale.” He sets up his account and in 5 minutes his ads are up and running. Unfortunately, people in Maryland searching for real estate in D.C. are seeing his ads. They click through, see the desert landscape, and click back out. Joe Investor gets stuck with a huge bill and no leads to show for it. So he does his homework, reads some “guru” articles on the Internet, and learns all about geo-targeting. “A-ha,” he thinks, “Now I can cut costs and get relevant leads!” He runs the ads again, this time with geo-targeting on. A month later, he’s spent next to nothing on clicks to his website. He’s gotten one rotten lead, and traffic is down to nothing. The real success comes not from relying on a third party search engine to generate traffic using a variable such as geo-targeting, but by avoiding the middleman, and acquiring our targeted market using the market itself. Here’s how to do it: Open a new Excel workbook. In column A, starting at row 2, type out all of your
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keywords/phrases, one per cell. For Joe Investor, it looks like this:

In column B, row 1, put the name of your main city (‘Phoenix’ in this case). In column C, begin by adding the name of a suburb in your area (in my example, we’d put ‘Scottsdale’ or ‘Mesa’) and then put each suburb name in its own column, row 1. Now we have:

Continuing in the next column, begin putting in all the ZIP codes in the area you service. That would look like:

Now in cell B2, input the following: =$B$1&” “&A2 This gives you the result:

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Drag this formula all the way down to the last row of your original keywords. Do the same for each column in your sheet, replacing the ‘B’ in the equation with each column header (so for ‘Scottsdale’ the formula would be =$C$1&” “&A2) In my small example above, I just created over 150 new, locally-targeted keywords from just 7 original keywords. They are all broken up by broad, exact, and phrase match. And it only took my 10 minutes to create them all using Excel. Why does this work so well? Think about our original problem: using words like “real estate” shows our ads to everyone on Earth searching for real estate. But when we turn on geo-targeting, we get very few leads. What I have effectively done is created 162 individual keywords which target the geographic area we service, without restricting the searchers to just people within that area! What does that mean? It means that someone looking for a house in Phoenix, isn’t always searching from within Phoenix! So what I’ve done is made it possible for anyone looking for a house in Phoenix to find a house in Phoenix, no matter where they’re searching from, or what word (or zip code) they use to refer to Phoenix. How can I give away such a valuable secret? A truly talented SEO or SEM doesn’t rely on one secret method to carry his career. The true talent is creativity and adaptation. I am not afraid of giving this strategy away because I can invent 15 others to build on it which would turn any campaign into a huge success.

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Excuse My French: How to Choose Keywords for Your Regional Market
by Anne-Marie Castonguay As the Spanish-speaking market grows online in the US, as the borders in Europe disappear, as China is on the verge of becoming the biggest world market, we are confronted more and more with particular challenges concerning our target market’s real language. It gets even more difficult in smaller geographic regions such as the very distinct French-speaking Québec in Canada. While we, SEO specialists, know the door to traffic heaven is using the right words, tools available are less than useful for regional markets, and they can lead you down a path that is downright wrong. Forget the costly services that will give you an “unbiased” trend of keywords’ demand; due to their gathering methods, they will most likely underrepresent your market. You are stuck looking through a database of keywords that might never have been used by your potential clients, even though it’s the right “language.” If you choose those words, you can end up with irrelevant keywords in the heart of your SEO efforts. Keyword suggestion tools such as those offered by YSM (Overture) and Google AdWords allow for regional settings. However, these are based on flawed settings that could make you miss your target market. Here are some of the problems with current regional keyword suggestion tools: • Local settings in many keyword suggestion tools are based on user segmentation by IP address, or the regional/linguistic version of the search engine accessed. Some Internet service providers (such as AOL) are located in other countries, thus changing the results based on IP addresses. • Language is set by the country/language version you are accessing when using most search engines. If I’m using Google in English, but I type in French queries, where is it recorded? • Overture gives me a French Canada specific tool, but less than 20% of people in Québec use Yahoo (according to Mediametrix). How accurate can it be? For example, a search for “ordinateur” (the French word meaning computer) in Overture Canada will give 831 searches last month. The same search in Overture US will give 1035 searches. How is it possible that a US database contains more queries for a widely used French term? It’s possible because the market is underrepresented in Overture. With Google AdWords, the estimated traffic for “ordinateur” in the US is almost 2 times the estimate for Canada, even though Google is widely used in Québec and Canada. I came upon this issue specifically with sites targeting Québec visitors (Canada), where the majority of the population speaks French (in their very own way). The methods used to choose the right keywords in Québec would apply to any smaller regionally and linguistically different market. But, even if it requires more work, nothing stops you from creating a great SEO job in your regional market.

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Here are the steps to choose your regional keywords: 1. Start with your own keyword list and your keywords’ synonyms. 2. Search your subject and filter for country-specific results. Take note of the way keywords are used. 3. Read blogs from people in your market. Take note of the way keywords are used. 4. Read local forums or review sites. Subjects that bring along passion (sports, cars, politics, etc.) will have tons of people commenting on them using a very personal language. The keywords used are most likely what they will look for in searches. 5. Take this new list of keywords and go back to your keyword traffic suggestion tools. Start with the local version, whether it’s Google AdWords, Overture or another regional service. Start building your list from there, with the same “caution” you would use for any language. 6. Go to the other tools (KeywordDiscovery, Wordtracker, etc.) and compare the suggestions. Your market is currently under-represented using those tools, so don’t be discouraged by what seems to be a low demand. However, if the demand is suddenly significantly higher, it might be because another market is tapping in to the results (ex: France results would show up while you are looking for keywords used in Québec). 7. Check Google Trends to see if your country/surrounding cities are represented when researching your keywords. 8. Check the relevancy factor for your keywords (Thank you, Dan Thies218). 9. If the suggestion tools numbers are very low, it could also mean your subject is “referred to” differently from person to person, with a wide range of variations in the keywords. Be inventive in your copywriting and use the variations and synonyms. 10. Always use the most “semantically inclusive” keywords as your title tag and link building hypertext strategy, unless you are sure there is absolutely no demand on those words. At the end of the day, you might never get the set of high traffic keywords you were looking for in your regional market. However, with a wider semantic optimization, you will end up with traffic from 30 related terms generating 200 visits each (6000 visits), rather than one main keyword generating 1000 visits. Et voilà!

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Strategize Your Pay-per-Click Campaign for Maximum Profits in 7 Easy Steps
by Saravanan S Pay-per-click is what that got me started in search marketing back in Aug 2004. Being so new to the field I started reading any articles I could find about PPC, downloading ebooks, and playing a bit with keyword suggestion tools and my newfound knowledge about keyword demand, supply, competition, KEI, ads, landing pages, and conversion. It took me a couple of weeks to learn these concepts, prepare a keyword list, write some ads and launch a Google AdWords campaign. And the first time I saw my ad show up for the targeted keyword in the top position among 15 other competitors, I had a great feeling. But then the next day a good number of keywords, which were supposed to be top performers by analysis I had done, were slowed and disabled by Google. That brought up the discrepancies with keyword volume estimation tools, be it the Overture Keyword Suggestion Tool, Google AdWords Traffic Estimator, KEI calculations and the like. There was a lesson to learn every time and it was a struggle until that first sale. So over the course of the last 2 years with the good support from my CEO who is passionate about search, we were able to build a great search marketing team. Here is our team’s strategic approach to PPC profits: 1. Mining the keywords—keywords are the key when it comes to pay-per-click. The choice of keywords can make or break your campaigns. So where do you start? a. Ask the client for a brief description of their product or service, get to know the target audience profile, and note industry-specific terminologies. b. Go through the client’s website and look for keywords in the page content, the product description, customer testimonials, customer discussions and reviews. You will find keywords that you wouldn’t have ever come up with. c. Look for referring keywords in the client’s website log files or analytics program. You can find keywords that customers are using to reach the client’s website. d. People normally search on a website when they are unable to find what they are looking for browsing through the site navigation. If the client has a website search utility, that is a treasure trove of keywords. e. Time to sneak into the keywords on your competitor’s site and find keywords they are bidding on; use free tools like Googspy, paid ones like Adgooroo or competition tracking tools like Trellian. f. Let’s not forget the keyword suggestion tools like Overture, Wordtracker and KeywordDiscovery. 2. Multiplying the keywords—If you have followed the above steps, by now you should have aggregated a ton of keywords. And as if it weren’t enough, I am going to show you how to add
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another ton. a. Misspellings—Everyone is in a hurry searching for something, so there will always be typos that you can take advantage of. b. Geographic modifiers—What better way to bring down the competition than just by adding the location you cater to? c. Buying cycle modifiers—Depending on the phase of the buying cycle, the potential customer might use different modifiers like free, article, download, checklist, buy, cheap and so on. Close to 40% of Google searches every month are said to be unique searches, and there is a very high chance that these modifiers play a role in that. 3. Organizing the keywords—Okay, now you have a ton of keywords plus a ton more. Doesn’t that drive you crazy? How do you make sense of the huge list that you have generated? How do you prioritize the keywords? Categorize your keywords into five categories: Brand, Industry, Theme, Service and Seasonal Keywords. This will help you in refining your targeting for your campaigns. 4. Meta maps—A picture is worth a thousand words, so here are some maps that will put in context the whole concept detailed above: a. Keyword map—You can handle this with a simple spreadsheet with the following column headers: keywords, multipliers and categories. With this spreadsheet you can sort out the keywords that you want to target first, next and so on. b. Message map—Though going into details of writing ads, designing landing pages and developing the right offers/calls-to-action are beyond the scope of this article, I like to just point out that you need to have a map for this purpose.

5. Spot the trends—Accurately timing the market is one of the things that is essential to reaching maximum profits. You need to understand search behaviors as to what phase in the buying cycle is the customer at this time of the year. So where do you get this data from? Look for industry reports; you can get some good information from ClickZ, Hitwise, Trellian and others. Best of all, look at your own sales history (online and offline as well) and create a trend map like the one below.

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6. Launch, track and optimize—All right, you’ve done your homework and finally launched your campaign. Is that it? Well we have only set it up—there is more to be done. First, you need to use a good analytics program that will track your conversions and not just clicks. If you aren’t too concerned about the privacy concerns people raise with Google Analytics, go for it. Here are some tips to optimize your campaigns: a. Depending on the volume of keywords and competition, you may want to use bid management tools. b. Use dynamic keyword insertion in your ads to increase the potential click through and to help your quality score, bringing down your costs. c. Use broad match (with caution) and go through your log files to pick out the actual keywords visitors click on. This will help you identify more targeted keywords to use for exact match and identify negative keywords to remove from the campaigns. d. Refer to your meta maps to time your seasonal keywords and categorize keywords for the maximum profits. 7. Show me the profit—Time to count the money, don’t you think? There two important numbers that will show your profits at any given point: a. Cost per acquisition—$1.65 billion may acquire a company but it’s a bit much to acquire a customer. You aren’t Google, are you? Fun aside, you need to know how much it costs to acquire one customer. b. Customer lifetime value—You should be sure how the acquisition will impact your profits. After all, isn’t that why you are in business? While the customer lifetime value by itself is a huge topic, for simplicity’s sake, it’s the total dollar value that a customer spends with your company. Why are these two numbers so important? The difference of these two numbers will tell you if you are making money or losing money. In fact you should have a fair idea of what the difference would look like even before you start your campaign and your basis for bids should be based on this number. Side note: In case of B2B campaigns where there is a long buying cycle, create intermediate conversion points. Anything that results in initiating customer interaction is a good conversion point. You always have the map to look at so you know which step you are in and if you are doing the right thing. Hope this article helps you strategize your PPC campaigns and maximize your profits.

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Are You Making These Costly Mistakes with Your Search Marketing?
by Y.M. Ousley (http://www.exponetial.com/) Every day, lots of search marketers make easily correctible mistakes that cost them time, traffic and conversions. This mistake is usually summed up in one of two ways: “I don’t bother with _____” or “______ is too expensive/time consuming/difficult to understand.” Depending on your area of preference, that statement might conclude with PPC, SEO or Social Media. If you’re a whiz at managing paid search campaigns, an expert at obtaining top rankings in natural search results, or a MySpace marketing maverick, I’m not suggesting you change your primary focus—that would just be foolish. Even more of a mistake than abandoning your area of expertise for the hot new marketing trend, though, is developing tunnel vision and ignoring the impact other marketing trends can have on your work. The PPC mistake There are some people who swear by the power of paid search for good reason. As far as ROI is concerned, there are few media types that can hold a candle to the conversions a properly optimized paid search campaign delivers. Once you figure out which keywords convert best and which ads attract the most clicks, you’re often looking at customer acquisition costs that are significantly lower than those of banner advertising, pop-up ads or other paid placement options. “But I get all the free targeted traffic I can shake a stick at through natural SEO,” you may say. Here’s why you should still bother with paid search listings: they can improve your natural results and bring even more free traffic. “There’s no relationship between paid ads and organic listings though—the search engines told me so!” I’m telling you that’s not completely true. Correcting the mistake: Many SEO campaigns start with a visit to Overture’s Keyword Suggestion Tool, or Wordtracker or Keyword Discovery when more extensive reports are needed. For a few savvy search optimizers, that’s not where keyword research ends. Before you start creating content or begging, borrowing and stealing ideas for getting more links, set up a PPC campaign in Google AdWords. Yahoo campaigns take longer to set up and don’t allow for the amount of testing that AdWords does, and while they have promising tools, right now MSN doesn’t have the volume to get results quickly. The first step towards improving your SEO campaigns with PPC is to take your keyword list and create ads based around them. Let’s say I’m optimizing JohnsOranges.com, a site that sells a wide variety of oranges. So far my keyword research has shown that Florida oranges, California oranges, organic oranges and blood oranges are popular search terms. I create ads for each term that look something like this: Fresh Florida Oranges Juicy, ripe Florida oranges in stock and ready to ship www.JohnsOranges.com

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Cheap Florida Oranges Only 10 cents for the freshest Florida oranges online www.JohnsOranges.com John’s Florida Oranges Delicious oranges online with free shipping www.JohnsOranges.com The next step is to include the conversion tracking code AdWords provides on your confirmation page. In this case it could be a sales confirmation page. For sites that don’t utilize a shopping cart, it could be a confirmation page someone receives after signing up for a newsletter or updates. If your landing page doesn’t have an action for a visitor to take, create one. Once that’s in place, and bids have been set, it’s time to let the ads loose. Twenty-four hours is usually enough time to get initial results in, 3 to 5 days generally gives enough information to draw conclusions. Which keywords are receiving the most clicks? Which ads are most popular? These can all provide valuable insight for your natural SEO campaign. Let’s say according to our initial keyword research, Florida oranges were more popular than California oranges. After running an AdWords campaign for a few days though, we saw that people who clicked on ads for California oranges ads were more likely to actually make a purchase. Further investigation shows that the Fresh California Oranges ad received more conversions than any of the other ads. From this test, we’ve learned a little bit more about John’s target market. They’re more interested in freshness than price, and more likely to look for California oranges. While there’s no harm in targeting other phrases (unless the traffic, clicks and conversion stunk), it helps to prioritize the phrases you focus on. From this PPC test, you would know that time would be best spent creating content around California oranges, and linking to that content, since that’s where you received the best conversion rate. You’d also know that the content should focus on the quality of the oranges, rather than pricing or John’s website. When writing your meta descriptions, you could include a statement about how fresh John’s Florida oranges are. So even if you end up at #4 instead of #1, your description that pinpoints the customers you want could be more valuable than that site at number one that gets every Tom, Dick and Mary looking for Florida oranges. Thus your optimization efforts go beyond increased traffic, to increased traffic that converts well. For social media campaigns, you now have proprietary information on what people are searching for, what they click on, and what prompts them to take action. Instead of chasing the bargain hunters that don’t buy anything, why not organize a group on your favorite social networking site for Fresh Orange Fanatics? Or maybe an article abut keeping oranges fresh during shipment would get bookmarked and attract new visitors. How about a competition for the best Fresh Orange recipe, where the winner is selected by traffic or votes? Think of the time you’d be wasting if you were going after the Cheap Orange crowd. Try this for your next SEO or SMO campaign and discover what a few marketers already know: PPC can and should help your organic listings and social marketing.

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The SEO Mistake To read this portion of the article, please visit http://7daychallenge.blogspot.com

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LSSQTFCP (Local Site Seeks Quality Traffic for Conversion Purposes)
by Simon Heseltine Hi, I’m a fairly new website. I’ve been in the area for about 6 months (okay, if you want to check out my registration date, 7 months). My primary interests are sign ups to my newsletter and sales of multicolored sprockets (I have over 700 colors in my inventory). I’m looking for quality traffic, but am also interested in casual linking, although I’m not really into reciprocal. I’ve ‘dipped my pages’ in a couple of the social sites, and while I had fun (especially with that article on weasels and phlegm), I didn’t get a warm glow in my bottom line. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve paid for traffic in the past, in fact at one point I was paying for as much as I could get, with my goal then being to maximize my CTR. Now that I’ve matured and know more of what I want out of life, my focus has switched over to conversions. So if you’re interested in finding out more about multicolored sprockets in the local area, give me a click and we’ll take it from there. The above paragraph is 978 characters, quite a bit more than the 2 lines of 35 characters allowed by Google AdWords, the 75 characters soon to be allowed by Yahoo (heck, even more than the current max limit of 190), or even the blurb that displays below your organic listing in any of the engines. Obviously when you have these limits, you have to try to be as concise and targeted as you possibly can (okay, I could tighten it up a tad by taking out the weasels bit). So, assuming you’ve done the appropriate keyword research for your site, what can you do to push your PPC ad over those of your competition, and maximize those conversions? Dynamic Keyword Insertion For PPC you really want to make sure that your ad resonates with the search phrase entered by the user. The easiest way to do this is with dynamic keyword insertion. Each of the 3 main engines supports the {KeyWord:default} tag. This tag inserts the keyword entered by the user where the tag appears. If the phrase would cause the line to exceed the character limit, then the default text is used. How does this help? Well, the search engines tend to make any word in the ad that was entered in the search box bold. This makes it stand out to the user. If they typed in chartreuse sprockets, and that exact text is in bold in the header of your ad, that’s a big selling point, and makes them more likely to click through to your site. Now you don’t want to overdo it, and you need to make sure that any other text around it would make contextual sense with the dynamic text there, e.g. trying to force a location in the heading may result in a strange-looking heading should the user search with that location “Duluth {KeyWord:Multicolored Sprockets}” would result in “Duluth Duluth Sprockets” for the search “Duluth Sprockets.” Geotargeting If you’re doing PPC for a local business, you need to make sure that you geotarget your campaigns appropriately (see this post for an overview of available geotargeting options in the big three engines219). What else can you do? Well, it makes sense to reinforce your geotargeting in your ad copy. The majority of users are unaware that geotargeting is happening in front of their eyes, so for you to be able to state your location in the ad really makes them take notice that this is a local firm. Don’t forget to make sure you mention your location on your website,
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while it’s nice to show up for multicolored sprockets in general, it’s not much use if you can’t ship them across state lines due to some arcane federal regulation. By getting your location featured on your website you’re reinforcing the relationship between your location and your product for both the spiders and the users. Now that you’re nicely geotargeted, there’s no need to add keywords for “Duluth Sprockets,” right? The geotargeting will take care of that for you, won’t it? Well, depending on the level of competition for the keyword it may, but in my experience it’s good practice to have the location in with the keywords as well as without. As I mentioned before, people don’t realize that geotargeting is happening, especially if they’re looking primarily at the organic/national PPC ads (which tend to be near the top), so they’ll frequently narrow their search down by adding in their location. If you have the location as one of your keywords, you’ll get a nice position. The Right Landing Page You’ve done it! They’ve clicked on the site, so you’ve taken them to the right landing page for their query, right? No? Well, for specific product searches you should take them to the product page, for informational queries you may want to drop them on your main page, or an ‘about sprockets’ page, etc. The more the landing page resonates with the user, the greater the chance they’re not going to quickly click that back button and go to your competitor. If you can pull through the search phrase from the referrer and place it in a prominent place for the user, for example “You searched for ‘Maroon Sprockets’, here’s our XJ9 Maroon wonder sprocket,” then they’ll be reassured by the continuity of relevance from their original query. There are many other ways to increase your conversion rate, but these few should get you thinking on ways to improve your PPC campaigns and improve the quality of the traffic that they send to your site, because after all, you don’t want your site to hook up with just anyone.

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The First 100 Impressions: What Your Paid Keywords Can Tell You
by Stephanie M. Cockerl (http://www.nextsteph.com) How often do you check the status of your search engine marketing (SEM) and/or pay-per-click (PPC) keywords? Do you check them every month, every week or every day? What about checking the status of your keywords after the first 100 impressions or ad views? What if there are no clicks for a keyword after 100 impressions? This could also apply if the click-through rate (CTR) for a particular keyword is below 1%. Since the likelihood of having direct contact with the users who viewed the ads is nil, the next best thing is to deduce why searchers have not clicked. 1. The text ad did not speak directly to the searcher. It is possible that the content of the text ad did not correlate with the keyword. This can be explained because when most PPC campaigns are set up, there are often a few ads to cover as many as 30+ keywords. One tactic is to create and optimize ads for targeted keywords that have received more than 100 impressions, but have a CTR of less than 1%. Most PPC providers have an automatic keyword insertion tool for the headline text. It is also a good idea to customize the ad copy to relate to the keyword. The more the ad speaks to the keyword, the more the searcher would be likely to click. 2. The average position is low. The ad could be not appearing on page one. A sponsored text ad does not have to be in the top position in order to have a decent CTR. 1. Look at where you are targeting—If you are targeting nationally, target a campaign to specific regions, key cities, metropolitan areas or specific states instead. 2. Increase the maximum cost-per-click (CPC) for that particular keyword, not the entire ad group. 3. Ad text relevance is growing to be a significant factor in determining paid search rank for some search engines By optimizing the ad for the keyword, the quality of the ad would be likely to increase, regardless of whether the paid position increases. 3. Search volume is low. In spite having a position of 1 or 2, the amount of searchers looking for information about a specific keyword may be low. The recommendation for this instance is to do keyword research for related terms and synonyms. A free tool for keyword research includes the Yahoo Keyword Selector Tool220. 4. Campaign CTR is low. Create separate campaigns, one search based and one content network based. By separating the campaigns, you can get a clearer view on how keywords are performing in the search environment, as opposed to a content network, where ads are in a passive mode as opposed to an active role in search engines. By revisiting these tips every 100 impressions (or more, depending on your keyword campaign
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http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/

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goals), you will not only be able to optimize text ads, but also be readily proactive about PPC campaigns as they are running.

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Bob and Weave Click Fraud Thieves
by Neal A. Rodriguez I clicked the “Edit times and bids” link in the “Edit Campaign Settings” page in the Google AdWords interface to experiment with dayparting, as click fraud kept exhausting my client’s PPC budget while leaving conversion results unchanged. Some days I opened Outlook and see only one to three inquiries that counted as conversions on my AdWords account; while AdWords showed my campaign cost at or above the $100 daily budget. Mike Moran and Bill Hunt write about dayparting in Chapter 14 of their book, “Search Engine Marketing Inc.” I never used it, and barely anyone writes content on it when you search for “dayparting,” so I figured it may be one of the new secret ingredients in a PPC guru’s sauce that they don’t want the competition to know about. I searched my inbox for inquiries that arrived for the past month, and I noticed there were time periods when people submitted inquiries most on the site every week. For instance, I noticed that the first inquiry would land in my inbox a little after midnight on Saturdays, and more inquiries would fill my inbox for a period of about four to eight hours thereafter. Thus I clicked the radio button next to my active campaign, and I clicked “Edit Campaign Settings.” I clicked “Edit times and bids,” and the Advanced Ad Scheduling page in my Google AdWords interface had a stack of green bars with checks in them. I clicked “Edit” next to the Saturday time bar and out came a drop down menu with each hour of the day listed. The first was set to “12:00 am (Midnight),” so I just changed the second one to “8:00 am,” when my inquiry influx would stop for about four hours. I configured the next time period by clicking “Add,” and out came the field with the drop down menu. I set the next time period to start at 2:00 pm and end at 5:00 pm, when I would get consecutive inquiries for the three hours. I set another time period up for the evening, and logged into AdWords later that evening. I received about 3 more inquiries than I typically would on a Saturday. On Sunday, I switched the Ad Scheduling page to Advanced Mode, and I dayparted every day, so my ad could be shown during time periods where I generally received most inquiries. I even changed the percentage of my bid that should be used when showing it. I finished adding time periods for each day of the week, and the stack of green bars on the Advanced Ad Scheduling page looked like a crossword puzzle when I was done; the dark green checks in the green boxes turned into dark gray X’s in light gray boxes, in between the shrunken green boxes that graphed the time periods when my ads were scheduled to show. I thought the advanced configuration would use a percentage of my budget I specified, not my cost per click, so I set the time periods to percentages to add up to 100% of what I thought was my budget; e.g. Midnight - 7:00 AM 40%; 11:00am - 1:00pm 20%; 7:00pm - Midnight 40%. I set my daily budget to $100, instead of setting the budget to $40-$70 in the beginning of the day and then to $100 at the end of the day like I usually did; I would start the day with a partial amount of the budget because cyber-leeches would execute invalid clicks on select time periods too. I had my ads stop when I stopped receiving conversions, setting the daily budget low, and resumed my ads, increasing the daily budget, during the next high-conversion time period. I received 40 inquiries the first week I parted the day for a 42% increase of the 28 inquiries the week before. The next week I received 42 inquiries, and the week before Labor Day I received a 107% increase in inquiries—to 58—of the control week’s 28 inquiries. I have been leveraging
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dayparting since, adjusting the bid percentages, time period lengths, and daily budgets each day maintaining a weekly inquiry count within the high forties and low fifties. At this time I don’t account for any sample distortion effects that can deviate my results by working with low conversion volumes; nor did I split-test to compress the time between the presentation of my control strategy to have AdWords show my ads intermittently throughout a day’s entirety and dayparting. I can say, however, that these inquiries have generated about $50K in revenue in a month’s time as opposed to less than $5K a month before. And for a startup, every revenue hike counts.

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Is Google Really Listening?
by Al Scillitani A few months ago, I wrote an article221 about Google’s AdWords new features and tools giving me a headache. I wrote, My head hurts. Almost everytime I log into an AdWords account something has changed. How is a single AdWords account owner supposed to keep up with all your changes? It is hard enough for a full team of specialists, nevermind the small business owner that is maintaining their own AdWords account. Just when I think I am all caught up, more news comes out about another new feature, tool, format, etc. They responded by sending me headache medicine. This demonstrated to me that employees of Google (1) have a sense of humor and (2) were interested in their customers’ opinions. The problem is that it appears the Google employees’ knowledge is not making it up to the top executive team. A recent article from the LA Times222 states co-founder Sergey Brin is leading a company-wide initiative called “Features, not products.” Mr. Brin and other Google executives realized that myriad product releases were confusing their users. They are now going to focus on product features. Well here we go again! I can see it happening already. All current Google products are going to be changed, updated, “improved,” expanded, integrated, merged, and upgraded on a weekly basis. Now instead of being confused with all their new products, we will be confused with all their current products. Google needs to slow down. They need to take a look at each product one at a time, have a team of Googlers and customers look at the product, and get ideas for improvements. Some of the “improvements” I have seen so far with AdWords didn’t do anything but add an additional step to get to the area I want. They need to look at the big picture of each product with a team of actual users. Gather all the feedback all at once, eliminate the features or upgrades are not needed or too costly and then work on the new features to add. Do it all at once and test, test, test, again using actual users. Each update should include several features and should not be conducted more than once a quarter. Give us time to learn and use the new features. Of course Google doesn’t have to listen to my recommendations. Maybe they will realize I am right when the executives ask why their acetaminophen costs have dramatically increased. Google, please restock my supply in preparation of your upcoming changes. You know the address.

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http://marketingpilgrim.com/2006/07/dr-google-sends-pain-relief.html http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-google6oct06,1,1629177.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

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Google is Evil
by Saravanan S. Who thinks so? Not me! While there is a lot of debate on Google becoming evil, let’s put that aside and see how to use some cool tools from Google. And these are free tools that will help you with your search engine optimization and pay-per-click marketing efforts. Instant visibility—Google AdWords: Though technically not a tool, this is one of the best advertising platforms on the Internet and one which Google has been constantly improving while Yahoo and MSN are playing catch up. Although it takes a while to learn the nuances of Google AdWords, once you do so it gives tremendous leverage for your business. Google Keyword Selector Tool223: As the name indicates, the tool helps you generate keyword lists which you can utilize to advertise on the pay-per-click search engines or you can use it to optimize your website. However, many people don’t realize this tool can be utilized for two critical things: competitor analysis and optimizing your landing page. Improving your Quality Score—Within the Keyword Selector Tool there is an option to input a URL and Google will tell you the keywords that it thinks are relevant to that URL. After entering your URL, you can figure out how well your landing page is optimized and apply changes to your landing page to improve your AdWords quality score Spying on competition—Next, enter your competitors’ URLs to see which keywords their pages are optimized for. You might get some insights into what you are missing and see how aggressive the competitor is at the least. Though I have talked about applying this to pay-perclick, there is nothing stopping you from applying it to your SEO efforts. Increasing your conversion—Google Website Optimizer224— After spending your money on the pay-per-click search engines, you definitely want the people to convert into leads/sales after they land on your website. A Web page features several different sections, and you can present each section in an number of ways, including the message, call-to-action, images, colors and more. The Google Website Optimizer is a multivariate testing tool that allows you to have up to 8 sections and 127 different variations within each section. Now that is some tremendous computing power that can be utilized to cut down the time involved in optimizing your landing page or any page on your site. Google Analytics: This is an enterprise-class Web analytics application that will let you track all your website marketing efforts and find out what works and what doesn’t. One cool trick is to use broad matching on AdWords to find out the actual keywords people used to land on your website. Though you wouldn’t be able to track this information directly with Google Analytics, there is a hack which will let you do just this225.
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https://AdWords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal https://www.google.com/analytics/siteopt/siteopt/help/overvw.html http://www.ga-experts.co.uk/blog/2006/11/how-to-get-detailed-ppc-keyword-data.htm

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This article has mostly focused on utilizing Google tools to optimize your search engine marketing efforts. If you need a strategic framework to handle pay-per-click marketing, you can read through one of my earlier articles226. I wish you best with your website marketing efforts. :)

http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2006/10/strategize-your-pay-per-click-campaign-for-maximum-profitsin-7-easy-steps.html
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Acknowledgments
Marketing Pilgrim thanks the scholarship sponsors and contest judges. 2006 Sponsors Incisive Media and Search Engine Strategies http://www.searchenginestrategies.com/ Search Engine Workshops http://www.searchengineworkshops.com/ Trellian http://www.trellian.com/ Aaron Wall's SEO Book http://www.seobook.com/ YourSEOPlan.com http://yourseoplan.com/ Search Engine College http://www.searchenginecollege.com/ UsabilityEffect.com http://usabilityeffect.com/ WebTrends http://www.webtrends.com/ Search Marketing Standard http://www.searchmarketingstandard.com/ 2006 Judges (full biographies - http://marketingpilgrim.com/sem-contest-judges/) Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz.org http://www.seomoz.org/ Jennifer Grappone & Gradiva Couzin, YourSEOPlan.com http://www.yourseoplan.com Kim Krause Berg, UsabilityEffect.com http://usabilityeffect.com/ Lee Odden, TopRankBlog.com http://www.toprankblog.com/" Robin Nobles, Search Engine Workshops.com http://www.searchengineworkshops.com/ Barry Schwartz, RustyBrick.com http://rustybrick.com Aaron Wall, SEOBook.com http://www.seobook.com/ David Warmuz, Trellian.com - http://www.trellian.com/ 2007 Sponsors Incisive Media and Search Engine Strategies http://www.searchenginestrategies.com/ Search Marketing Standard http://www.searchmarketingstandard.com/ Search Engine College http://www.searchenginecollege.com/ AdWatcher.com http://adwatcher.com/ AdScientist.com http://adscientist.com/ WebmasterWorld.com http://www.webmasterworld.com/ SEOmoz.org http://www.seomoz.org/users/premium CrazyEgg.com http://www.crazyegg.com/ BizResearch.com http://www.bizresearch.com/ SoloSEO.com http://www.soloseo.com/SoloSEO Aaron Wall's SEOBook.com http://www.seobook.com/ SearchEngineGuide.com http://www.searchengineguide.com/ Andrew Goodman UsabilityEffect.com http://www.usabilityeffect.com/ Cre8asiteforums.com http://cre8asiteforums.com/ WeBuildPages.com http://www.webuildpages.com/ SEO Class http://seoclass.com/ Future of Online Advertising http://www.futureofonlineadvertising.com/ 2007 Judges Kim Krause Berg, UsabilityEffect.com http://www.usabilityeffect.com/ Jim Boykin, WeBuildPages.com http://www.webuildpages.com/ Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz.org http://www.seomoz.org/
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Andrew Goodman, Page-Zero.com http://www.page-zero.com/ Michael Jensen, SoloSEO.com http://www.SoloSEO.com Kalena Jordan, SearchEngineCollege.com http://www.searchenginecollege.com/ Jennifer Laycock, SearchEngineGuide.com http://www.searchengineguide.com/ Todd Malicoat, Stuntdubl.com http://www.Stuntdubl.com Boris Mordkovich, SearchMarketingStandard.com http://www.searchmarketingstandard.com/ Lee Odden, TopRankBlog.com http://www.TopRankBlog.com Neil Patel, PronetAdvertising.com http://www.pronetadvertising.com/ Barry Schwartz, RustyBrick.com http://www.rustybrick.com/ Brett Tabke, WebmasterWorld.com http://www.webmasterworld.com/ Aaron Wall, SEOBook.com http://www.seobook.com/

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Index
Accountability........................72 AdSense............................. 136 AdWords................................... features........................... 158 improving quality score/CTR .................................... 137 Alt attributes..........................18 B2B campaign cycle........... 149 Black hat SEO...................... 50 forums............................... 50 versus white hat................ 51 Blogging.................................... building blog popularity... 117 set up.............................. 124 tips...................................114 Books........................................ business............................33 SEO...................................88 Click fraud................................. defeating......................... 156 Click-through rate (CTR)........... definition..............................7 Clients....................................... prescreening..................... 68 setting realistic expectations ...................................... 75 tips for working with.......... 74 Competitive analysis.......11, 47 Content optimization 12, 17, 38, 125 Conversion rate.................... 52 definition..............................7 Google Website Optimizer 55 tips for optimizing.............. 53 Cost-per-action (CPA).............. definition..............................7 Cost-per-click (CPC)...............7 CSS.......................................14 Customer acquisition cost......... definition..............................7 Customer lifetime value...... 149 Directories.............................39 eCommerce........................ 125 Execution.............................. 33 Formulae................................... CPM.................................... 7 Passing PageRank........... 60 Time in supplemental........60 Value of SEO.................... 35 Headers................................ 18 Hit.............................................. definition..............................7 Hybrid model............................. definition..............................8 Impression................................ definition..............................8 In-house SEO....................... 86 Internal links........................118 Karma................................... 28 Keyword research.........11, 147 analysis............................. 64 foreign............................. 145 mapping.......................... 148 tips...................................138 Landing pages...................... 27 Learn SEO............................ 31 attributes........................... 92 self-employment................98 Link building....................12, 16 advice................................39 by linking out................... 117 competitive link analysis... 48 linkbait...............................39 linkbait examples............ 119 linkbait techniques.......... 127 linkbait tips...................... 121 myths.................................25 other techniques............. 122 Local search............................. long tail..............................59 with database, how to....... 59 LSI...........................................6 Meta tags.............................. 17 MySQL..................................59 Networking......................40, 99 Online reputation management ........................................ 126 Page view................................. definition..............................8 Pay-per-lead (PPL)................... definition..............................8 Pay-per-sale (PPS)................... definition..............................8 PPC........................................... AdWords tips...................137 dayparting....................... 156 definition..............................8 dynamic keyword insertion .................................... 152 geotargeting............ 139, 152 geotargeting effectiveness .................................... 142 how to............................. 150 long tail keywords........... 142 optimizing........................154 Predictive SEO................... 122 Press releases...................... 43 finding a company.............45 tips for optimizing.............. 44 Problem solving.................... 20 Promotions............................41 Push/pull marketing............ 108 Rankings................................... valuing...............................35 Results..................................72 Return on advertising spend (ROAS)............................. 86 ROI............................... 65, 110 integrating with SEO....... 110 Search engines......................... Usage statistics.................10 SEM certification.................102 programs.........................102 SEO.......................................... definition............................24 myths.................................27 Niche.................................61 SEO job search.....................94 SEO strategy........................ 20 buying sites............... 37, 136 checklists.......................... 78 focus..................................83 integration with trad. marketing............ 100, 104 niche..................................99 process............................. 78 psychology...................... 106 quick..................................10 reports...............................79 versus tactics.................... 76 SEO Strategy............................ shortcuts........................... 37 Site architecture....................38 problems........................... 69 Site stickiness........................... definition..............................8

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Social media............................. marketing........................ 130 marketing, pillars.............132 use.................................. 124 Spiderability.............. 11, 15, 23 Theory-focused planning...... 70 Title tags................... 15, 17, 37 Tools..................................... 79 from Google.................... 159

Google Website Optimizer 55 (link).................................. 38 TRIZ......................................81 Unique visitors.......................... definition..............................8 URLs...............................15, 37 User accessibility.................. 22 Viral marketing....................129 Web analytics...........................

page analysis.................... 65 visitor tracking................... 64 Web design...........................23 Web design............................... history............................... 14 Website goals....................... 55 Website testing..................... 56 Website traffic........................... definition..............................8

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