February 18, 2009

SES London 2009 - SEO Through Blogs and Feeds

By SEOidiot

Moderator: Andy Atkins-Krüger, Managing Director, WebCertain Europe Ltd

Speakers: David Naylor, SEO, Bronco
Sante Achille, Consultant, Sante J Achille
Maile Ohye, Senior Developer Programs Engineer, Google



Lead for the webmaster central blog Blogs
Think about Blogsearch as a way of adding opinionated content to the search results

Triggered by hot topics

  • Entertainment
  • Tech
  • Politics

Publish > ping > indexed (typically less than 10 minutes)
If you aren't using a service like blogger or wordpress you can ping the service manually

SEO faqs

Publish full content or snippet?

It doesnt make that much of a difference but its mildly better for Google to get the full (only makes a few minutes difference)

Can I robots.txt some of my categories etc to avoid dupe content

If you are confident with robots.txt yes but google will try to sort it at their end

What about tweets?
Not currently in the ping service, crawled if linked to on the web.

Security, blogger and webmaster tools

Receive 'hackable software' notification in webmaster tools message centre
Blogs seem especially vunerable
Up-to-date software software can prevent attacks
Verify your site with webmaster tools

Feeds for product search

Back end is Google Base
Submit your products through feeds, text, xml, api or even manual submission

Product feeds appear in universal search via the onebox
Extended Product pages show in uk (electronics) and us for (electronics, books, dvds etc)

Best practices for feeds

Strive for accurate information
Good attributes to include in your base feed.

  • UPC (unique product code)
  • MPN (manu part number)
  • Brand
  • Accurate description
  • Image

In the US there is a data quality tab that will help verify UPC's and checks if titles are correct lengths

Google base discussion group is a good resource More of these features coming to the UK


How to optimise your blogs architecture

Avoid starting on free portals
By starting on a free service and growing there its hard to take all that work with you.

Showed an example of a site that moved from moveable type to wordpress and gave up due to the work involved in trying to migrate so many inbound links

Make the urls better

Recommended www.domain.com/category/title-keywords

Custom structure in wordpress /%catgory%/%postname%/

Should I change to keywords from ?=
If its working well now then leave it

Theme templates
Choose a theme that privileges your content so the content is prominent rather than the sidebar being first in the code.

Move the get_sidebar to below the content loop

Be cautious to avoid problems and badly written plugins
Check the number of downloads
Research who is using it and whether there have been problems
Mine your content to identify keywords that help you create new content

Wordpress as a multi lingual platform
Blogslot (Plugin to help group content by language)
Group your categories into languages

Dave Naylor;

It starts with what software to use Wordress, Drupal, Movable Type, Blogger etc....
Wordpress is the best to choose

The fact that wordpress pings google blogsearch
Its a solid CMS

Check the plugins carefully as there are many out there that can cause problems

Considerations for the blog Root sub dom or subfolder

Tend to put them in subs for clients Hosting - put the subs on different servers and therefore ip's so you get a gain from google thinking they are external rather than internal links

Making the blog SEO friendly

  • Make the title of the post count
  • Make use of heading tags - H1's H2's etc
  • Change the url structure to be your-doamin.com/your-post-page/

Blog linking

If you dofollow (eg using the do follow plugin) you have to be sure to spend the time moderating
Link to relevant sites Social networking
Add the relevant buttons to your blog posts (Dont go crazy, just add the relevant ones)
Submit your stuff to digg, stumble etc

RSS feeds

Snippets tend to help bring people to your site and see your ads etc but full feeds make people more likely to subscribe
Use Joost's (http://www.yoast.com) RSS-Footer plugin to add a link to you in your feeds
If someone is using your feeds and not linking back email them and give them a deadline to remove or add a followed link.

January 05, 2009

What Jury Commissioners & Judges Could Learn by Taking a SouthWest Flight

By Li Evans

Jury-duty-box Yes, I know a rather bizarre blog post title, but bare with me and it will all make sense in just a short time.  This post, btw, is all owed to my ever creative buddy Donna Fontenot.  Always in the most bizarre situations Donna manages to challenge me to find a story out of my most bizarre situations.

So today, I had Jury Duty.

I was a grump, total absolute grump (ask my friend with the beautful hair).  I didn't sleep well, because I kept having dreams I missed Jury Duty and the Sheriffs were after me to come and serve.  So with lack of sleep, and a total lack of desire to do my civic duty, I headed down to the opposite end of my county.  I even managed to avoid some rather annoying traffic, so at least I didn't have road rage to add to my list.

After getting through security and checking my coat to some lady who was way to cheery for that early in the morning, I sat with about 50 other people in what I can only compare to a holding cell, with amenities and lots of "Don't Do This" signs.  We sat there for about 20 minutes till they "marshaled" us into the Jury Marshaling room.  There we got scanned in like produce, and told to go sit and wait some more.  Soon enough the Jury Comissioner came to the front of the room, gave a speech about this and that (very boring), showed us a video (very boring), then had a judge preach to us, finally wrapping up with more do's and don'ts.  It reminded me of the normal airline safety speech.

I've never heard the "speech" from the Jury Commissioner before.  I've never saw the video they showed before.  I never heard the speech from the judge that came to spoke to us before.  I'll never remember any of them either.  It all translated to me as "Blah Blah Blah".

After Donna challenged me, I got to thinking, wouldn't it be interesting to put the Judge and the Jury Comissioner on a Southwest flight and ask them to learn from it?  How can they get their potential jurors to not only really pay attention to the job at hand, but to CARE about what they are about to be entrusted to do?

How could they make the experience more beneficial not just for the jurors, but for all parties involved (I'm talking about lawyers, plaintiffs, defendants, etc.).  How can they make the experience seem like less of an inconvenience and a lot more tolerable?  Of course Government workers aren't marketers, and of course I know enough to be realistic that thinking like this from Government entities like this would not happen in my lifetime (but I could wish right? Obama did use Social Media, so there is SOME hope).

I also understand budgets are limited, and rules and regulations must be followed, but with what I expereinced this Jury Selection / Jury Duty process is more of a disservice to all parties involved and an actual civic duty. 

So I turn this around to marketing.  How do you get a totally disinterested audience, a grumpy audience, an annoyed audience to pay attention, listen, and most of all care?

Judge I wrote about Getting Your Audience to Listen  by relating my with my flight on SouthWest story to you all.  You start by doing the unordinary.  That gets their attention, and it gets them to listen.  So instead of the Judge droning on about this being a privelege so you can have your driver's license and so you can vote, perhaps he should have likened the situation we were presently in to Law & Order .... and then stopped and said "that's really not how it works".  It would have gotten a lot more people to relate and understand, rather than a judge preaching/droning on.

How do you get them to react?  On my Southwest flight people actually applauded the the man who gave the safety speech.  Talk about an unusual reaction.  So how do you get your uninvolved, grumpy, uninterested audience to react.  Again, it goes back to doing the unordinary and unexpected.  In this case, the judge could have been more interactive, we expected him to "speak AT us", not hold a conversation with us.  Had he held a coversation, it would have been totally unexpected and more engaging and not been interrepted as "Blah Blah Blah" by 75% of the audience.

In this case it all starts with the Judge and the Jury Comissioner.  If they have a passion for the judicial process, they should express that!  The judge, by all accounts has a passion for the law, he wouldn't have ran for Judge if he didn't love it.  Instead of preaching, he should be demonstrating his passion.  Instead of thinking he has to be locked into this stoic and reserved personna, wouldn't it be of more value to say "this is why I love the law, this is why each and every day I'm amazed by what you as jurors can do to help ensure our judicial process keeps in check"?

If you love what you do, don't be afraid to share it, express it and turn that mundane "civic duty" your audience is being tortured with, into something extraordinary.

Think about it, are you expressing the passion for what you love to do (your business), with your audience?  Maybe that's why they aren't listening!

December 16, 2008

Online Marketing Tips Video: Turning Your Friends Into Fans

By Li Evans

Due to SES Chicago and traveling last week, there wasn't a Tuesday's Tips video last week.  This week though we've got a new Tuesday's Tips in Online Marketing Video and it's all about turning those friends you've accumulated into Fans or evangelists.  From giving up some control to asking your friends to help, there's three tips in this video that can help you reach out, interact and turn those acquaintances into your biggest customer advocates.

Full Turning Your Friends Into Fans Video Transcript after the jump....

Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: Turning Your Friends Into Fans" »

December 03, 2008

Online Marketing Tips Video: Engaging Your Audience

By Li Evans

I know it'd Wednesday, but still working on fixing the kinks with my software.  Let me tell you, Adobe CS4 Premiere Pro is a memory hog!  More so than CS3 - big difference.  I wrestled with things till very late last night and decided to finish it up today. 

This week we've got 3 tips on how to Engage Your Audience.  Whether its your blog, your community or even MySpace or Facebook, these 3 tips if put into a social media strategy can help you interact, and engage the members of your audience and maybe even turn them into evangelists!

Full "Engaging Your Audience" Video Transcript After The Jump...

Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: Engaging Your Audience" »

October 05, 2008

Getting Your Audience to Listen - Turning the Mundane Into Extraordinary

By Li Evans

Airlinestewardess "Attention ladies and gentleman, if you would reach forward into the pocket in front of you and pull out the safety instructions card, we will now go over the safety features of this aircraft....."

How many times have you heard that?  How many times do you tune it out?  How many times have you put your headphones on and turn up your iPod (if you're still sitting at the jetway), concentrate more on chapter 4 of the book you brought on board to read, put the ear plugs in and drift off to sleep as soon as that steward picks up that telephone intercom and starts reciting that safety speech on any major airline that you travel today?

"In the event of a water landing, your seat cushion can be used as a flotation device...."

Continue reading "Getting Your Audience to Listen - Turning the Mundane Into Extraordinary" »

September 23, 2008

5 Ways to Chase Away Writers' Block

By Li Evans

Dealing with writer's block, out and out right sucks.  I don't think I'm alone, I'm sure many of you who are fellow bloggers have been here at least once, right?

You've probably notice the sparse writing here for the last two weeks.  While there are other writers here on SMG, I tend to be the constant here and the voice most heard.  Sometimes I feel like there's too much of "my voice", and it makes me feel like I need to step back.

The past two weeks, I come to the page to write a post and I just stop, blocked, waiting for the idea to pour into my fingers, trying to force it to magically appear here on the screen in front of me, yet, it doesn't.  It gets frustrating, completely and utterly frustrating.

So what's a person to do to stimulate the ideas, find enlightenment, or search our inspiration?   There's many suggested ways of dealing with writers block, but perhaps some of these suggestions I just feel they aren't for me.  For the past two weeks, I've been trying different things that pull me out of my regular elements, of day to day thinking to start to look at things from different angles.  I've been jotting down notes, making post-its and trying to keep those ideas fresh, so here's 5 of my better attempts that have generated some new creative ideas for me.

  1. Watch Your Parents or Grandparents Use the Internet
    Yeah, yeah - maybe we need a break from it to start with?  Maybe not, maybe what we need is a different perspective.  Sit and show your parents, aunts, uncles, or grandparents how to use the internet.  You, yourself will probably become amazed at what you take for granted as "knowledge".  You also might be inspired to find a particular angle to write about something.
  2. PA Ren Faire - Jester PlayerGo to a Ren Faire
    OK, probably not so far out of my own element, as August through October I'm at the PA Ren Faire for a lot of weekends.  I find it refreshes my creativeness.  Watching the "players" in character, never breaking, and seeing how it's all about the Renaissance period, and not my own time period gets my creative juices flowing.
  3. Take a Hike
    Literally!  Get out of your house, away from a computer and take a hike.  When I need to "recharge", I head to Hawk Mountain Bird SanctuaryThis is my own sanctuary.  Sitting on top of a mountain, the towns below looking so small and picturesque, the wind blowing, the sun shining tends to let my mind go drifting to things and places I normally don't during my hectic days of client calls and projects.  It also helps when you see a few bald eagles making their migration southward, too.
  4. Sign Up For Something New
    Last year, I signed up to be on a bowling league.  I also signed up for flight lessons.  The bowling lasted longer than the flight lessons (small planes/claustrophic don't mix well).  Bowling may sound corny, but I find that it gives me time away to look at things through others eyes.  I'm contemplating taking dance classes - ballroom, salsa, foxtrot, and no, Dancing with the Stars isn't on my TiVO list.  When you take yourself out of the norm, and place yourself into an entirely new situation, you cannot help but look at things differently - and it can inspire you.
  5. Help Out in Your Community
    Whether it's volunteering at the Library, putting up new garbage cans on the main street, volunteering to coach a girl's softball team, by giving of yourself, I feel it gives back tenfold.  You can always find an anecdote, a lesson to be taught, a cute story, a fun photo or even hilarious video that can be shared, or written about in a way that relates to your audience.

Have they helped me?  Well, we'll see, in the next couple of days, there should be a bit more blogging going on coming from my fingers.

How about you?  Have any suggestions for stimulating those creative juices?

August 13, 2008

When Blogging & Reviewing Can Get You Banned from a Cruise Line

By Li Evans

Biggest WhinerHave you ever been on a cruise where someone complains about every little thing?  Maybe the ice cubes aren't cold enough?  They didn't like the free gift they got each night, or maybe those towels weren't properly folded into a perfect swan?  Maybe the captain's bow tie wasn't tied right at dinner?

In search, we all know the power of the written word.  As bloggers we know the value and the impact a review can have.  Just look at how tech companies bow at Michael Arrington's feet to have him review their products, services or websites for TechCrunch, as an example.  TechCrunch's opinion can make or break a website or service.

But what about those customers who never seem happy, never easy to please, and always seem to complain just to get the next freebie, percentage off or deep discounted vacation?  What about those customers who always use the written review as a "weapon"?  Do business have the right to fight back?  Can they?  How in the world do you fight back from a customer who seems like a "troll", who's word jeopardizes your business?

Continue reading "When Blogging & Reviewing Can Get You Banned from a Cruise Line" »

July 22, 2008

Online Marketing Tips Video: What Does It Take To Start A Blog?

By Li Evans

A few weeks ago I did one of our Online Marketing Tips Videos about "Why You Shouldn't Blog".  This week I wanted to come back and circle around and cover some tips on "What It Take To Start A Blog".  These factors are somewhat similar in nature to why you shouldn't blog, however it's covering different factors to consider when you are deciding whether to take that plunge into the blogosphere.

Are you dedicating enough resources for your bloggers to interact with the community?  Are you considering letting your CEO blog?  What if your blog's main voice leaves for greener pastures?  That's all discussed in the video for today's episode.


Full Transcript After The Jump....

Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: What Does It Take To Start A Blog?" »

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.

July 01, 2008

Online Marketing Tips Video: Why You Shouldn't Blog

By Li Evans

Last week's video was all about blog promotion.  This week I decided to take a bit of a different spin and offer of 4 tips on why you shouldn't start a blog.  There is a lot of excitement around launching a blog or the idea of a blog, but sometimes companies need a bit of a reality check before setting foot into the blogosphere. 


Full transcript after the jump....

Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: Why You Shouldn't Blog" »

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