I know some of the top SEO consultants in the United States, he confided that he makes up to $500 an hour for his service, and clients are paying for it. The return? A website that is easier to find in Google and other search engine results. Previously, there has been challenges to this emerging industry, and the SEO industry stood back up and declared legitmacy.
I realize the benefits of being found quickly and easily through keywords that you’re tied to, I watch my logs and am able to see which keywords are yielding new visitors.
Oh, and if your corporation is launching a new product, I highly recommend you buy the keywords associated with the product, or optimize your product and get it crawled quickly. Why? Because at my previous company, when our competitor launched a new product, we blogged about it, and was in the top search results –above the competitor.
Where should you put your dollars? Paid or organic? At this session, I learned the most effective campaigns use a combination of both.
Not sure what to pay? read this report on SEO Pricing & Costs – What Should You Charge / How Much Should You Pay?
Neil Patel or Pronet Advertising has been helping me optimize my site, he’s shown me how to look at incoming keyword traffic and how to match and optimize my site to achieve maximum results. If you’ve questions, his blog is a good place to start.
Recommended reading from the last 7 days:
Marshall gives out some great ideas on how to launch a product using social media
Plenty of wallflowers: extension from Forrester’s research on Technographics
The impacts of Citizen Journalism in a recent bridge collapse
Online ad budgets to overtake newspaper budgets by 2011
Social Interaction Design White Papers by Adrian Chan
Stats: Usage of Social Networks by continent
Case study on Dell’s blog warrior
Search Engine optimization of WordPress (be sure to see PPT)
Pew: Men are from Google, Women are from Yahoo
Dennis Howlett suggests data can be pulled out of Facebook
Ian from Conversation Marketing has a great video and “how to” on understanding what users want on your website.
What could you do with this data? Find out what users content they want, how they phrase their terms, what content is missing. Also analyze from where and when they used the search bar, it could provide some clues on what they’re looking for.
[Analyzing search logs right on one's site is a an easy way to understand what users are looking for]
Yes another way to evaluate the user experience. Louis Rosenfeld has a speech, research, and a book on the same topic.
The following is live blogging while listening to the the Best Promo Show radio show.
John Meloche and Jim Turner on a live Talk Radio Show deidicated to Marketing and Making Money on the Internet it’s called The Best Promo Sohw
They’ve giving a series of questions to ask an SEO you plan to hire, be a savvy and armed consumer and know what to look for.
Question to ask SEOs during interview process:
How long have you been in business?If someone tells you they’ve been doing it for 10 years, likely it didn’t exist then. So they may be a fraud
What is your background? Do you have a background in marketing or sales?
Do you have long terms clients? Are they satisfied? Ask them to prove it with case studies and references, and even tried keyword searches
What made your competition get the first seaerch results, what made them get the top search results?
What’s a realistic traffic uptake I can expect? Ask them to provide a breakdown of previous keywords and projected ones in the future.
Finding a good SEO
A good test is to find an SEO that comes up top when you type SEO. Duh!
Getting banned, not good
Tip: Getting banned is horrible for your domain, and you may want to consider shutting it down. Getting into the sandbox is not so bad.
Pricing SEO, what are market prices?
It varies on keywords that you’re aiming for
What really matters?
Organic is what matters, content is king
Great show, great resource
Patricia Hursh of SmartSearch Corporation is our presenter, a veteran of search for nine years, I’m here at the Frost and Sullivan conference in Alexandria Virginia, a few miles from the White House. It was interesting to note that when I did a search for “smartsearch” a PPC ad came up, I clicked on it and it went to a unique homepage with a unique URL, they’re certainly practicing best practices.
[The ROI of doing both PPC and SEO in tandem is very high, a balanced Search Strategy uses both tactics]
Getting crawled and submitting to Search
What’s a great way for content to be found? Crawlers are effective, but the savvy web manager should be submitting their site map to Google webmaster. I did a review of these tools, when I covered Google Developer day. Properly optimized sites will get crawled, just a single link to you will help the process.
Link Building (aka linkbaiting)
Many vendors require their partners and customers to link to them, this can aid the overall effect. Engines look at over 50 different attributes to measure the quality of a link, so there’s a variety of factors.
A healthy organic search strategy is to create a process that encourages companies, partners, within their network.
Audience suggested that engines that see a lot of heavy linking from one server IP area may be frowned upon.
Also consider what content really belongs behind registration, by putting them behind a login they won’t be crawled.
Online and offline strategies? Case Study of Oprah mentioning a product on her show will result in large search queries the next day.
As you launch a product (or your competitor) there’s clever ways to drive traffic your way.
User Behavior on Google results
Drop off points, users are more likely to click on results that appear high in results. More results can be found from eye tracking
There’s a few major drop off points:
Below the fold of page one is a big drop of
Followed by page 2
After page 3 is virtually none
What do users click on?
Within search results, in B2B user clicks were the following:
Paid Ads 19%
Why do users prefer organic over paid? Specific content types and perhaps trust. We don’t have the numbers for B2C, but the numbers aren’t as dramatic. Others in the audience suggested that PPC outperforms their Organic.
PPC vs SEO
Factors in determining your resource allocation
Type of Attribute: PPC vs SEO
Budget: Media budget | SEO is not free, requires resources
Speed to Market: Fast | SEO may take longer
Control over message: Lots of control | Less control
Flexibility: Strong | Less flexible
Longevity: Depends on budget | Longer term
Credibility: These may be co-dependent
Branding: These may be co-dependent
Competitive Market: Understanding how customers find your competitiors –leverage that to your benefit
Lee has session notes, be sure to check those out.
Google is growing, and folks are concernced it will favor it’s own tools and data over that of others
Dave Winer audaciously claims that Google will prefer and favor it’s own tools and applications than other third-party applications.
Dave Winer puts fear in my heart for a world where Google won’t support feeds from other than it’s recent acquisition, Feedburner:
“It could end up meaning “doesn’t work at all.” It’s quite possible in the second or third iteration that Google drops support for non-Feedburner feeds. It wouldn’t be unprecedented, far from it. Google Blogoscoped created a long list of Google products that “prefer” other Google products. I’ve never seen Google not do this when they had the chance.”
Dave also gives an example of Blogger, which was acquired by Google:
“The instant they bought Blogger they tied it to their toolbar. If they had used an open API the toolbar would have worked with all blogging tools. Google just doesn’t think that way, sorry to say.”
I’ve got my own findings: My previous blog was on blogspot, which I stopped publishing to over a year ago, it’s technorati Authority is 56 compared my current wordpress with 1356. This wordpress blog has 24 times that authority (incoming links) of my Blogspot site.
Yet, when I do a Google search on “Web Strategy” the blogspot URL comes up top.
When I try Yahoo, I get significantly different results, this domain comes up top
[Google is favoring it's own blogspot domain over my generic domain, although Yahoo does not. This incestuous behavior will likely continue, is it right or wrong?]
The same thing will likely happen for videos published on all networks. Google will start to favor it’s YouTube videos before any other network, I mean why wouldn’t they?
As Google continues to acquire more and more applications, the web becomes somewhat less democratized and those who align with Google products are more likely to succeed.
Dave’s not so audacious as it may first seem, he’s right, this will only continue as Google continues to grow.
Is this Right or Wrong? Should Google favor it’s own applications?
1) Wrong: standards or a governing body should impartially cleanse this, this is a vicious cycle, stop being Gevil.
2) Right: Google is building the best software network the world’s ever seen, the more power to them.
3) Indifferent: Laissez-faire, it’s what happens in free markets, let’s let it happen naturally.
4) Other thoughts: Leave a comment below
Update: Adam from Google has responded in my comments, be sure to read his perspective.
Small business’s realize that what happens on the web may impact customers. For example, restaurants that don’t create their own website will often have a review site (like yelp, chowhound, or yahoo reviews) be the top listed site for their business.
Here’s a few resources:
Make sure your website shows exactly what you site does, address information, contact info. Download Squad has 10 tips for small businesses. I’ve also suggested to friends with restaurants to consider using pictures of their restaurant and food. But again, contact info should go right up on first page, as users are often seeking how to get to your establishment.
SF Gate has some suggestions on search strategies, well narrow ones at that. By staying focused, your small business may have an opportunity in beating out larger companies in your region.
I’ve also started to notice that there are more cafe’s and restaurants live streaming their establishment. Often, these bustling small companies may benefit from showing the world they are hub’s of energy and activity.
Small businesses may also benefit from finding other online communities and connecting with peers, partners, or customers. I’ve heard some several folks that Intuit’s Quickbooks has a thriving online community for small businesses.
Lastly, check out Duct Tape Marketing blog, which has a constant stream of high quality content.
Leave a comment if you can suggest some other links.
I’m watching Andy Beal’s live show that he recorded live a few hours ago with Ustream, I was particularly glad when I saw he was going to do this, as I’ve been advising Ustream, they know how to reach the top bloggers. If you don’t know who Andy is, he’s pretty influential in the search space, Google and Yahoo employees read his blog.
If you’re short on time, and you want to find out what’s happening in the Internet Marketing space, you can turn on Andy’s show, Marketing Pilgrim Live turn up the volume and multi-task. I asked Andy about his show, and he said it’s:
“Marketing Pilgrim Live: Internet marketing consultant Andy Beal shares his thoughts on the week’s recent internet marketing news. In this week’s show, Andy discusses Facebook, Google’s law suits, web metrics and much more. “
What’s really interesting is that he said he’s giving up podcasting, because now he doesn’t have to edit. He wishes that Ustream would have a timer, to show how long they’ve been broadcasting. He also thinks it’s amazing that there’s 80 people watching Chris Pirillo’s live show, even when he’s doing nothing. He asks “Chris, what do you do when you want to pick your nose?”
Good stuff Andy, I’m really caught up now.
(Update: Other interesting video shows? Check out this wrapup show from Techno Marketer of all things social media and web)
Facebook is a closed garden with one-way doors.
This means that data comes in, but it’s not coming out –yet. I predict that Facebook will continue to have mass user adoption at the consumer level, when they get smart, they’ll use their online identity system as a widget, and it will be what Microsoft Passport never was.
In this following post from Inside Facebook, they suggests that Google is not relevant in Facebook, Facebook has it’s own news and feed ranking indexes and systems. Facebook has it’s own search tool, it’s own social network to find information.
[Future information finding systems will evolve to use data from your social network, yielding results based upon your trusted peers]
If search evolves, will we rely on personal social network features (what do my friends think and recommend) over search? Will we evolve to smaller network based searches? In many ways, this is what Mahalo was trying to overcome, the problem with that is that I don’t know (and therefore don’t trust) the editors creating the Mahalo data. This is why so many thought leaders are already thinking about their Facebook strategy.
Although Google continues to evolve it’s AI to build better search tools, trust continues to be the leading factor in finding information, that’s why I think that Google search results have much to be desired: popular is not the same as correct.
The future of search will contain human elements in addition to algorithms.
When I met Neil Patel at Searchnomics, I knew he was something special. Check out this podcast interview of Neil on Marketing Voices with Jennifer Jones.
Who’s Neil? He’s one of the top Social Media Optimizers and Search Engine Optimizers, in fact he’s even offered to help improve my blog, and we’ll demonstrate a change by making my analytics public. I’ll let you know more as I get closer to that project.
In any case, listen in and learn from Neil, he’s helped TechCrunch, Guy Kawasaki, and Jason Calcanis (after Jason said that SEO was a fraud, Neil took on the challenge and showed a 30% increase from organic traffic) What’s the secret to being a top blogger? Neil says it’s about having great content.