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July 15, 2008

Online Marketing Tips Video: 5 Easy SEO Tips to Optimize a Website

By Li Evans

This week, it's back to basics with our online marketing tips video. 

For this week's video, there's 5 easy to use, and implement, tips that webmasters, web site owners and marketers can implement to get the basics of search engine optimization (SEO).


Full transcript after the jump ....

Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: 5 Easy SEO Tips to Optimize a Website" »

July 14, 2008

Social News - Is It Really Social?

By Li Evans

Digg Party Sign, by Scott Beal - LaughingSquid.comOver the past week, I've been thinking about Social News sites, and wondering truly are they "social", in the way that can benefit building true relationships with an audience or customer base?

Social News tends to be very transactional in that,  you ask and you get something.  You submit a story, you get people to "vote" (Digg, Mixx, Sphinn or Kirtsy "it up"), and then what?  What's the gain?  What's the return?  Where's the building of relationships or trust?  What comes next?

The gain is for the individual users to attain fame and status of being a "top" user.  With that fame and status, also comes a little bit of power on some of these Social News sites that base their algorithms off of the status of the people who submit or vote (up or down) on a submission. The other gain is perhaps you might (big might) attain traffic and a "butload" of links, as I heard it explained once - I'm still waiting for a measurement value on "buttload" btw. ;)

Looking more at the gaining of traffic and links though, again, where's the value social media wise?  There's certainly value SEO wise, links are valuable and so is traffic.  I find it tough to see a true in-depth social media return here.  How can you form a relationship with the community or audience from social news sites?  It's really tough to do it when you probably don't even know who's reading your article or blog post, let alone what they thought of it or how they reacted to it beyond the link, or the vote.

Sure there are comments, but on sites like digg comments consist of "Way cool man", "I agree", "Great article", or the dreaded "Buried because its spam".  There's not much opportunity to really start a conversation, especially when you consider how much most of these social news sites, hate marketers.

Social News sites aren't alone here, social bookmarking sites (del.icio.us, furl, diigo, etc.) also can fall into this realm of "non-opportunity" to really build a social relationship.  However, some of these sites are upgrading and enhancing their user interfaces to allow communities to build and be more interactive with one another.

With social networking sites, the gain is in building relationships and communicating, the same with forums and even microblogging sites like Twitter and Plurk.  In these social media sites, the communities seem to be the biggest benefactors.  With social news sites, the owners of the sites seem to be the biggest beneficiaries.  The users submit the stories, and promote them, to attain "fame", but it's few and far between that these top users, actually get rewarded by the site itself for generating all the content, traffic and revenue.  As David Harry discussed with me, it's tough to even get a "Thank you, Great Job" from these social news sites, for all the time spent generating the content that makes their sites work.

So where's the social in these Social News sites.  Well I guess it comes from perspective.  If you think asking for a Digg, Sphinn or a Mixx is being social and you receive it, then heck that's it.  But if you think social media's a bit deeper than that, Social News might not be the place to start your strategy.

So, I'm curious, what say you?

*Photo Credit: Scott Beale, Laughing Squid

July 13, 2008

Taking Time Out To Thank My Friends in the Search Industry

By Li Evans

You'll have to forgive this post, as is has nothing at all to do with online marketing, but everything to do with the people within the industry.

Sometimes in life, we have to just stop.  Stop and realize what's important, and what really matters in a person's life.  Drama of any kind, is a distraction, especially when dealing with true life and death struggles brought on by medical situation, that aren't your own. 

This past December one word made my whole world stop.  Cancer.

My Dad, Dave EvansMy father is my inspiration for a lot of the things in my life.  I thank him for encouraging my curiousness in computers and love of electronic gadgets and classic cars.  When I got the call, I'm sure you can just imagine the fear and the worry that went through my mind in those seconds. Everything flew by so fast. 

We soon found out my father's condition was limited to a tumor in his esophagus.  He was very lucky because it was found in a very early stage.  But now what was he to do?  Chemo, radiation?  Some of you know my dad's lungs ad heart aren't the greatest, so enduring that would have been a considerable strain on him.  It was decided that he would have an operation that would remove part of his esophagus and attach his stomach up to the end of the area that was removed.  The doctors felt he was strong enough to endure the operation and what came after, rather than what the chemo and radiation would do to his body.

The operation happened on February 4th of this year.  It took 3 hours longer than the 7 hours they originally told us it would take.  In my own mind, that was a signal that this was not going to be an easy road for my family.  That signal was right.  My dad's weak lungs were working against him, although the surgery itself seemed a success, he had to be put on a ventilator.

We soon found out the hospital he was in did not specialize in getting him weaned off the vent.  We had to send him to another hospital.  He was there for over 2 months, and lets just say, his stay at this place was rather horrible (to they point where they told us he wouldn't ever get off the vent nor eat on his own again, which they were wrong about).  Soon the insurance demanded that he be moved to another specialized facility.  Third facility did start to help, but my father fell a few times and the last time he fell, it was likely one of the better things that happened in this whole ordeal.

This 3rd hospital truly helped my dad, they aggressively weaned him from the vent.  They figured out what was really the culprit of why he wasn't progressing.  Not surprisingly, it was what my sister had brought up at the 2nd hospital and the doctor poo-poo'd her, telling us that what my sister suggested looking at wasn't the culprit at all (and they knew better than us).  This 3rd hospital kept us in constant contact and finally we felt we were getting somewhere, and finally, my Dad could go back to the hospital he started off in to finish up his rehabilitation.  Communication, is one heck of a comforting thing.

Five months and 4 days after the operation (as well as 4 hospitals and 1 rehab facility) my dad came home last Tuesday and we celebrated that home coming yesterday.  He's still not ready to run marathons, that'll take time, but my dad is alive, my dad is home and he's cancer free.  I'm very thankful for that, and I'm very aware, not as many families have these types of outcomes.

Thankyouballoon The reason why I'm telling this story, is to show you how most of the industry is so very giving and caring. 

From Dazzlin' Donna, Mike, Deb, Matt, Robert, Julie, Jenn, Simon, Greg, Donna, Diane, Brian, Elizabeth and Kim who'd check in on me and how I was doing emotionally - especially when I seemed a bit more stressed out than usual through email and IM, to MarySue and Beau who'd come over to my apartment or call, I appreciated the support more than you'll ever know. 

My wonderful friend Christine (who happens to be my boss) and her husband Mike and my coworker Jim, helped me deal with this in other ways, and a person couldn't have a more supportive, understanding and caring employer and co-worker than me.  I'm extremely lucky, and thankful to work for KeyRelevace.  Having a support system like this to get me through these truly extraordinary, extenuating circumstances was a blessing I'm so thankful someone bestowed upon me.

As children we all tend to think our parents are indestructible.  Its really tough when you realize, that's not so true.  You become very thankful for those blessings in your life like your family, and friends like I have here in the search industry.  If I didn't have you all for support to bring me back to center while I was traveling to London, Santa Clara, New York, San Francisco and elsewhere or even to the many, many trips to the hospitals, I would have truly broken down.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to those sent the emails, the im's and the thoughts and prayers to my family.  I hope this gives you an idea of the true depth of my appreciation, and gratitude for the caring hands you extended.  Without all of you, this would have been a lot rougher journey than it was.

July 11, 2008

Fun Photo Fridays: Tamar Weinberg & Barry Schwartz at SMX West

By Li Evans

Deciding to search on back to the beginning of the year, I found this great photo of Tamar Weinberg (Mashable, Lifehacker & SE Roundtable) and Barry Schwartz (RustyBrick, SE Roundtable & Search Engine Land) from SMX West, taken back in February.  This was right before I noticed that Gabe Riveria of Techmeme was standing close by and snagged a picture of these two with him.  I think this might be one of the only pictures I have of Barry where he's not typing on his laptop!

Fun Photo Fridays: Tamar Weinberg & Barry Schwartz at SMX West

If you like this photo of Tamar Weinberg & Barry Schwartz at SMX West, feel free to comment and favorite it on Flickr, Sphinn or Fetch this photo as that's how we'll be judging the photos at the end of the year! Check out the rest of the fun at SMX West Conference, there's over 300 photos to view.

July 09, 2008

YouTube Backsteps - May Go With Pre-Roll Ads

By Li Evans

Youtube_logo Apparently YouTube is in a crunch, a big money crunch that is.

YouTube took the stance not to add pre-roll or post-roll advertising to its videos that users upload, play and share, when it first came into existence and then subsequently became the online video sharing powerhouse on the internet.  When Google bought them, questions began to surface about monetization.  Of course Google in its usual fashion slapped its Adsense network on there, and claimed that as it's monetization.  It's all about the eyeballs right? 

Trouble is, apparently not as many people are clicking on those ads, otherwise, why would Google go to such a dreaded format?  Even after their own research showed that 70% of users hated the pre-roll or post-roll formats.

Advertisers though, apparently love it.  I guess, for as much as Google claims its all about the users, in the end it's about the dollar.  If advertisers are willing to pay for it, apparently Google's going to rethink its stance.

My only question is, will the users go elsewhere when they are forced to watch pre-roll on their own videos they've uploaded on YouTube?  Will sites like Revver, Metacafe, Vimeo and DailyMotion be able to capitalize on the fact they don't have pre-roll ads if and when YouTube implements them?  I have a feeling who ever takes advantage in a way that appeals to YouTube users who hate the pre-roll ads, will end up being the big winner in all of this, not YouTube.  Sorry Google!

Video Interviews with Search Professionals at SES Toronto

By Li Evans

Li_evans_andy_renieris_yahoo_canada Rather than live blogging at SES Toronto, I decided to take a different spin on things and interview a few of the speakers about SES Toronto, as well as what is going on in the industry, what they are doing and where things are going.

In all there's 13 interviews, including the interview with Brian Eisenberg about the launch of his new book, which I posted about earlier today.  We got to interview Ken Jurina of Epiar, Amanda Watlington of Searching for Profit, Motoko Hunt who's the chair for SES Tokyo and 9 other search professionals.

I've taken the time to put each of these interviews on their own page, since they do hold a ton of great information and insights, so check out each and every one of these video interviews for some great tidbits, and tips from everything dealing with scams, tools and even accessibility issues.

Bryan Eisenberg to Launch His New Google Book at SES San Jose

By Li Evans

While at SES Toronto Beau and I did a bunch of interviews with folks, I'll be posting links to those later today.  The one interview that has me really excited about attending and speaking at SES San Jose this year was the interview I did with Future Now's Bryan Eisenberg.

Bryan's the co-author of "Waiting For Your Cat to Bark" and also "Call To Action" with his brother Jeff.  I loved Waiting for Your Cat To Bark, it was really one of those books I started to read and couldn't put down until I finished it.  If you haven't read either one of these books, put them on your list and read them, because they give invaluable insight into online marketing and what you are doing with your website.

Bryan was the 2nd day keynote at SES Toronto.  His keynote was just as lively and informative as Frederick Marckini's on the first day.  This was Bryan's first time as a keynote at an SES Conference, and from my perspective, he should do more!

Right after the keynote, I got the opportunity to interview Bryan and ask him about his keynote.  Bryan also gave me some other news.  His new book "Always Be Testing:  The Complete Guide to Google Website Optimizer", will be launching the week that SES San Jose takes place.  So that means, if you are planning, or hadn't made up your mind yet, or need one more reason to go, Bryan's book is a big reason to go to SES San Jose.  Bryan even says he'll sign some books.

Bryan discusses what his new book is all about in our interview, so see for yourself, maybe all of us should start thinking about PPC and SEO in the ways that Bryan suggests.


Full Video Transcript: Bryan Eisenberg's Interview

July 08, 2008

Online Marketing Tips Video: Affiliate Marketing - Network Client Services verses Outsourced Program Management

By Li Evans

This week's Tuesday's Tips in Online Marketing is from SMG's Affiliate Marketing writer, Donna McCarthy

Donna's tackling the subject of whether companies should look to network client services or perhaps taking a deeper look at outsourced program management firms.  Donna discusses the pros and cons of each and what companies who are considering running an affiliate program to sell their products or promote their brands should look at when making their decisions about who should run their affiliate marketing program.


Full video transcript after the jump...

Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: Affiliate Marketing - Network Client Services verses Outsourced Program Management" »

July 07, 2008

Minor Maintenance on SMG

By Li Evans

You might experience some minor interruption in reaching searchmarketinggurus.com while we go through a DNS change.  I'm hoping it will be minor, but one never knows!

No fear though, we're still here and not going anywhere, just make sure to stop back if you get any kind of funky errors.

Hope everyone in the U.S. had a great holiday!

July 05, 2008

Fun Photo Fridays: Jim & David Hanging Out at SES Toronto

By Li Evans

Due to the July 4th Holiday yesterday here in the states, I took the day off from most things search related.  So other than searching for a place to stay in Ocean City, Maryland, it was all grilling steaks, hanging out with friends and watching fireworks in the rain for me!  Today though, before I head south to hang out on the beach and traverse the boardwalk, I bring you this week's Fun Friday Photo.

Another picture straight from the expo hall floor of SES Toronto.  In this picture, I managed to catch two of the savviest guys in search hanging out and just enjoying the networking event that evening.  Jim Hedger of Metamend (and WebmasterRadio fame!) and David Szetela of Clix Marketing obliged this roaming shutterbug, long enough for me to get this great image, thanks guys! 

Fun Photo Fridays: Jim & David Hanging Out at SES Toronto

If you like this photo of Jim & David Hanging Out at SES Toronto, feel free to comment and favorite it on Flickr, Sphinn or Fetch this photo as that's how we'll be judging the photos at the end of the year! Check out the rest of the fun at SES Toronto Conference, there's over 90 photos to view.

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