October 04, 2010

Tapping Into Google's Freshness

By Li Evans

Reporting from Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East

This panel was a lot more interesting than I had anticipated it would be. The speakers on this panel shared a lot of insight into just what it is that Google likes in the way of freshness in content, links, and mentions when they are looking at content and applying the algorithm and displaying results to searchers.

Danny Sullivan was the panel's moderator and added a lot of personal insight from his experiences with running Search Engine Land that also brought a lot to the session. Janet Driscol Miller, Kenny Hyde and Joe Shehata were presenting on this panel and each had a unique perspective as to what they see in the way of relevance in the manner of "freshness" in Google.

Janet Driscol Miller of Search Mojo, led off the panel discussing "Query Deserves Freshness" factor of the Google Algorythm. The QDF has been around since 2007, but has really been brought to the forefront with Google's launch of Caffiene earlier this year. The QDF is used to determine what searches are "hot" and looks for the most recent information available for those trending queries.

Janet went into some great detail about the different Google tools that you can use to help keep up to date on trends and also if the keywords your marketing campaigns are focused on are also spiking for certain reasons. She went on to show the audience how Google insights can be embedded in a page and how marketers can leverage this tool to their advantage by writing relevant blog content around the insight that is spiking.

After Janet concluded her really informative presentation, Kenny Hyde took to the podium and focused on the three primary things that he has seen make fast changes in Google's search results. These three factors also allow the more authoratative sites remain pretty stable in the results, where sites who are not strong in these three areas tend to fluctuate a lot more.

The three areas that Kenny focused on were links, brand mentions and fresh content. He started off with pointing out that with links it's not just quantity and not just quality, it was both. Along with that the variety of the links and where they come from matter. The final piece of the linking puzzle that Kenny discussed was consistency in link building, that once you start building links, you have to continue at the same rate (or increase) if you want to remain "fresh" to Google.

The second area, brand mentions, isn't just using the keyword in the link as many would think, but more to the point that if there is a link you've attained, it's just as important to make sure that on that page there are other mentions of your brand. The sentiment of the brand mention is also an important factor as well.

When it comes to fresh content, Kenny pointed out a few things. The content itself doesn't have to be on a high ranking page, blog posts and syndicated content work well too. It also doesn't have to be on your site, where content such as press releases and reviews are perfect for this type of freshness factor.

The last speaker to round out the panel was John Shehata. John took a look at the freshness factor of Google and what matters in the perspective of Twitter and how it affects the search results. Getting your content retreated is probably one of the most important factors here. Google looks to this as an indicator of relevance. Some things to avoid though is using too many hash tags in your tweets, as the search engines have confirmed that they view this as a spam my tactic.

John also highlighted that not just the quantity but the quality of who is following you and retreating your content is rather important to the "Freshness" factor in Google. Getting influencers to rewet your content is taken as a sign to the search engines that this content is relevant more so when more people rewet it. John rounded out his information by saying it's just as important to encourage family, friends and followers to post your content in other social communities to further the relevance of the content.

This panel had a lot of great tidbits, advice and tips that I came away with some great information to apply here at SMG. Overall,if you can pick the brain of Janet, Kenny or John, I'd say do it!

September 30, 2010

Moving on From Serengeti Communications & The Social Media Marketing Book

By Li Evans

Life in the online marketing world can get quite busy, pretty fast.  Before you know it, they hobbies that you love fall to the wayside, or take different forms into full time positions or work themselves into a book.  For the past year or so that is what happened to me and to a lot of the Search Marketing Gurus group of writers.  Many of the writers here have moved on to new positions from when they started with SMG or have even started their own businesses which take up a major amount of their time.

Smm-book-cover-300h For me it was writing the social media marketing book, Social Media Marketing:  Engaging Strategies for Facebook, Twitter & other Social Media.  It was a true labor of love - sharing my knowledge of this industry and how companies can effectively utilize social media as a true online marketing tool.  

I also threw my heart and soul into my client work at Serengeti Communications.  Nan Dawkins is one of the best bosses anyone could wish to have.  She kind, caring and so willing to share.  Her generous nature and willingness to be a great mentor is something I not only greatly respect, but am honored to have been able to have in my life.  It's also what made my decision to move on from Serengeti Communications so difficult. 

Friday, will be my last day with my awesome co-workers John Lynch, Kevin Olson, Nate Linnell and Stacy Moren who I was with from the start.  They are really great people and another reason why its tough to leave.

So, where am I going?  What am I about to venture out on?  Well stay tuned, there's a lot to come, a lot of exciting stuff - especially with SMG.  We've got a bunch of writers coming back to help kick up some great ideas, tips and insights and Julie will be keeping up with the Women of Internet Marketing Interviews.  We'll also have conference coverage and photos again starting with Search Marketing Expo (SMX) and eConsultancy next week and Search Engine Strategies in Chicago in mid-October and AffCon in December.  SMG will also be going through both a platform and design change as we'll be moving from Typepad to Wordpress over the month of October.

We're back folks, so stay tuned - more to come! :)

September 15, 2010

Women's Internet Marketing Interview with Carla Marshall

By Julie Joyce

Hi everyone!

Women-of-Internet-MarketingI know it's been a long time since the last installment but we're picking up again, this time with Sorbet Digital's lovely, lovely Carla Marshall! You may know Carla from Bronco as well, or maybe a Roxy Music fan club site.  In any case, here she is in all her glory. Did I mention that she's lovely?


Q. Please tell us about your background and how you got into the SEO industry.

A: To cut a v
CarlaMarshallery long story short, I'd been working in a full service digital agency for a few years on the admin side but wasn't happy at all in that role. Rather than leave and waste all that experience I decided to pick up as many digital skills as I could while I was still there. The search team looked like they were the most innovative department in the agency, and to be honest, they were the ones having the most fun too. I tried my hand at basic SEO, loved it, knew I was good at it and it all snowballed from there. Just wish I'd done it years ago to be honest. In terms of my background, I studied English at Oxford but have done everything from being a nanny in Paris to being a shop assistant in Harrods.

Q. How do you manage to work for Bronco and run your own agency? Have you experienced any conflicts with the two?

A: I’m very lucky to be in the position where I’m part of one of the best SEO teams in the UK but I also get to run my own company. Sorbet Digital had been going for about a year when a post became available at Bronco and I didn’t think I’d be much of an SEO if I didn’t at least apply for it. I’ve always been upfront and honest with Dave & Becky about Sorbet and there hasn’t been any conflict between the two agencies - when I’m working for Bronco, all my efforts are focused on those clients and vice versa for my Sorbet accounts. I’ve always been good at organising and compartmentalising my workload so that helps a great deal of course.

Q. I know that you do SEO and PPC both. Which area is most enjoyable for you, and which is most beneficial based on what you've seen with your clients?

A: Although I totally appreciate the benefit that a PPC campaign can bring to a client, it's SEO that really fires me up. There's no doubt that for a new site, or one that has little to no presence in the rankings, a good paid search campaign can make all the difference in the early days. However, organic rankings stay around long after the PPC budget has run out or been turned off so for
a long term business strategy, excellent organic rankings are the goal for me.

Q. If a client had number one organic rankings for his top ten keywords and his brand, would this affect your PPC strategy? If so, how? If not, why not?

A: It would absolutely affect it, yes. In that situation it becomes all about the conversion rates, the effectiveness of specific landing pages and the ROI of one type of campaign over another. If a PPC campaign was bringing in converting traffic then I’d be certainly recommend continuing with it and use the data for the SEO campaign.

Q. Let's talk about social media, something that is usually fairly tricky to measure. Do you think that all websites should be marketed on social media platforms? It seems that everyone is rushing to get a Facebook page even when they aren't measuring the ROI and may not have many fans.

A: I think that many people hugely underestimate the time and effort it takes to run a really effective social media campaign and think they can fling a Twitter account or Facebook page up and be done with it. I’ve advised more clients NOT to do that then I have to go ahead because it simply wasn’t appropriate or they just didn’t have the resources to maintain the momentum. Instead, I’ve tried to convey what social media is, as opposed to what tools can be used, and build up the understanding and enthusiasm that way. Social media is important but it’s just a huge bag of nothing if the client doesn’t buy in to it or understand the long term implications.

Q. Does your typical strategy for inheriting a client differ from the one you employ when a client is starting from scratch?

A: Yes, it has to really – but surprisingly not that much. For me, there’s as much of a learning curve with an established site as there is with a new one and I tend to do the same kind of keyword research, competitor analysis and on and off page review with both. You can get much more information from an established site of course (well, hopefully) which can be super useful but I’ll still tend to approach new accounts from roughly the same starting point.

Q. I've seen some pretty messed up link profiles from clients who come to us, and while I'd love to clean them up, sometimes the client says no. As you know, clients don't always take our advice. Would you agree to keep working with a client who rarely, if ever, listened to your advice and wanted to do something that you thought would be harmful for him or her?

A: It’s very, very difficult because I’ve seen the kind of damage that can be done and my conscious won’t let me stay quiet. Empowering the client with some SEO knowledge can be a very beneficial thing for both parties but conversely, a little knowledge is also a dangerous thing and it’s in this situation that it becomes a problem. I’ve reluctantly parted company with one client because they absolutely refused to believe that duplicate content and deleting pages with decent TBPR was an issue....

Q. If I came to you with $5000 and a shiny new website with 5 pages of decent, but not exciting, content, how would you have me invest that money in order to get started?

A: More great content, more pages to hold that great content, inbound links from guest posting and elsewhere, a PPC campaign if appropriate, content generation for article placements......whatever it takes.

Q. Any thoughts on how the UK and US SEO industries are different from each other? What about differences between the UK and Europe?

A: When I first started in the industry I think that the US was a couple of years ahead in terms of knowledge but the UK seems to have caught up – or perhaps that’s just because I work with Dave Naylor who’s pretty much the first one to know what’s going on anyway LOL

Q. Are there clients that you would refuse to work with for whatever reason? When I first started I thought everyone deserved a shot, but then I encountered someone marketing something so truly distasteful that I couldn't do it.

A: There *are* one or two things that I'd really rather not work on to be honest. I'm a pretty strict veggie so I couldn't really see myself putting long hours or much enthusiasm into finding links for meat and I'm a bit claustrophobic too so even the thought of optimising a pot- holing or caving website has me hyperventilating.

Fun ones finally...so stop pretending to be bored.

Q. Has Dave Naylor ever really, really scared you? How much does he curse at work anyway?

A:Dave is a big pussycat, the only time I've ever been really scared is when I thought he was going to drive Bob the Campervan through the office wall one morning. As for cursing at work, it's pretty compulsory in the Bronco office. All in context of course. 

Q. Roxy Music is touring and you've said you don't want to see them in case they suck. What other bands from that era would you see? And don't say none, damn you.

A: My first memories of Roxy are from the early 80's so we're really talking Duran Duran, Japan, Scritti Politti, Soft Cell, Heaven  17, ABC, The Human League, New Order and other stuff that was coming out of Factory plus indie pop like Aztec Camera. Thank God for Spotify so I can listen to these bands on a continuous loop..:-)

Q. If you had to pick 5 SEO mates to be stuck in a pub with on a rainy day, who would they be and what would you argue most about?

A: There are far too many industry people I want to meet, or meet again, that there’s no way I could narrow it down to 5. That’s such a lame answer isn’t it? Haha

Q. What non-SEO blogs do you read?

A: Oh my God, I read loads. I’m obsessed with conspiracy theories, the crazier the better, and anything on cryptozoology so I usually treat myself to a couple of hours of searching for that type of stuff on Stumbleupon for a couple of hours a week. Otherwise it’s mostly blogs about pop culture, cupcakes, New York and the iPad.

Well that concludes Carla's part but I'd like to point out two things.

1. Carla refused to write my SEO haiku. For that I respect her.

2. In order to annoy an English major at Oxford, I decided to use a period after the Q and a SEMI-COLON after the A in this interview. Take that!!

We're Back!

By Li Evans

It truly has been a while for postings here on Search Marketing Gurus.  The writers here at SMG do this out of love of sharing and education, so as it seems, time is hard to find when it's not a paying gig.

Everyone's lives have been quite busy and changing, but a few of our stalwarts are going to be back contributing, some have moved on and we'll be introducing some new bloggers as well.  Over the next few weeks keep your eyes here.  While we won't be daily in posting, we're hoping to be back to 2-3 posts per week.

We also might have some contests, reviews, and other exciting stuff in store.

Later today though, make sure you stop back to read Julie's new interview with Carla Marshall - it's definitely a great treat! :)

Thanks for hanging in there with us - much more to come!


December 16, 2009

Women of Internet Marketing Series: Interview with Sarah Goodwin

By Julie Joyce


Welcome to the latest installment in the Women of Internet Marketing Series, where I talk to Sarah Goodwin, otherwise known as Yoshimi_S. Whether she's making Lisa D. Myers speechless, rescuing homeless rats, or smoking one of those weird USB-ish cigarettes whilst wearing a giant shawl she knitted herself, she is truly one of the most fascinating Brits you'll ever meet.Sarah Goodwin

Q: Give us your background, if you'd be so kind.

A: I'm a university drop out (which is easily explained when I say I was studying accounting) who wandered into sales and then carried on wandering until I fell into SEO about three years ago. Last year I started sticking my head out of the trenches & participating in the SEO community, giving me some great opportunities such as writing for LeedsSEO, and best of all SEO Chicks, and most recently going to work with the wonderful folks at Bloom Media!

Q: How did you find yourself working in the SEO industry?

A: Completely by accident. I was working in sales, doing HR consultancy. One of my clients was an SEO company and they asked me to help them develop a job spec for a sales manager they wanted to take on. Well after I left the meeting I thought, "I've just described my perfect job" so I called them the next day and asked if they would mind if I applied. I started a week later. From there I learnt about SEO and moved from just the sales and account management side to managing the SEO campaigns, and that was that really.


Q: You've just begun a new gig at Bloom Media. What will you be doing there? Any differences in responsibility from the previous job?

A: It's very different. In all my previous roles my main focus has been strategy and account management, here I'm getting the opportunity to get a lot more involved in the link building, and while I'm still going to be working on a lot of the strategy, I'm going to have a lot less client involvement and a lot more hands on work to do. I get the feeling that that's back to front from how most people do things, but I'm really looking forward to getting my hands dirty!

Q: You've recently joined us at the SEO Chicks, and we're thrilled to have you! What can we expect to see from you there, in the coming months?

A: Being the ridiculously organised person that I am I actually already have my next three or four posts planned, and one already written (I'm a freak I know). I'm going to be doing a lot on the new SEO 101 series, and a lot of, what I think of as culture commentary. The culture of the SEO industry fascinates me, as it's so full of big personalities it works differently to any industry I've worked in or with before. So it's my favourite thing to write about.

Q: What are your must-read industry sites? Who are your must-read bloggers? Other than the Chicks, naturally...

A: Oh lord, where to start. there are so many great blogs and bloggers in our industry, I think it goes back to that big personality thing again. For astute observations and industry predictions I love seobook.com, I think SEOmoz is great for beginners & networking, searchcowboys.com is fantastic for news, and I love Huomah.com for really juicy technical information.

Q: What, exactly, is Leeds SEO?

A: We're not really sure at the moment. Stu & Stephen started the blog about 9 months ago, and it's not really settled into it's own niche yet. I think for now it's just a place for the three of us (and a few others who blog there occasionally) to say the things that are too long for twitter, whether that's actual blog posts or just random made up songs. It's a fun place for us to hang out I guess.

Q: How have you found the industry to be, in terms of welcoming you as a relative newcomer? I ask this because I read a lot of people saying it's an unfriendly industry for newbies, but I never felt that myself.

A: I never found the industry to be unwelcoming at all. There were a few comments at times that you couldn't be a real SEO unless you were around since the birth of Lycos, but I disagree with that, and I've never been scared to say so. I think I maybe found it easier than others because I watched the blogs & forums for so long before joining in. I only joined SEOMoz a year ago, so for two and a half years I was watching and learning. But I think that's the key to joining any community. You would have to be stupid to join a new art class and tell people they're doing it wrong, but people do that online all the time. That's where the animosity to newbies comes from I think, rather than the fact that they're new.

Q: Where do you see us heading with social media in the next year? Do you think that microblogging platforms like Twitter have the potential to change the entire landscape of presenting information to the public?

A: They would if the public were on them. I think as an industry we overestimate the effect that things like twitter have on the general public. A perfect example is wave, I posted on facebook to offer out invites and all I got was questions about what it was, with most people just thinking it sounded really complicated. I think we need to be careful not to mistake the uptake of our peers, for the uptake of the "public". There is a long way to go yet before social media use becomes truly mainstream.

Q: What are your thoughts on attempts to label certain SEO practices as unethical?

A: I don't really have any. When I do my campaigns I want them to be useful and relevant for the end user, I want them to generate income for the client. Those two things drive what is ethical for me, what's ethical to do for one client may not be for another. If someone else's line in the sand is drawn differently from mine then that's their business (literally). There are some things that I do find unethical, but they're not restricted to SEO, taking advantage of clients, taking advantage of customers, not providing what's promised, I think those are far more pressing issues than what counts as a paid link.


Q: Link buying seems to be the big bad target right now with Google. Any thoughts on what they (or other engines) will try to crack down on next?

A: I'm kind of hoping they go back to making more on page judgements. To my mind there are too many sites that are providing a crap user experience, or providing dud or copied or regurgitated content, that are ranking well because of the links. I'd like to see them crack down on poor usability and poor informational content. It may be wishful thinking on my part, but the increase in people using no follow, and going to content through social media may (I'm crossing fingers and toes) force them to re-assess how they look at on page factors and assign them more importance.

Q: Have you noticed any differences between SEO in the UK vs. the US? I know you're an active participant in several online communities...anything stand out as being vastly different?

A: Not really, I think that Americans tend a little more towards the dramatic, but that's what makes the forums so interesting. I also get the impression that there's less general SEO awareness with small US businesses, but that really could just be a size thing

Q: Speaking of online communities, which ones have been most valuable to you?

 A: The ones that aren't about SEO. Seriously I would recommend to anyone wanting to work in social media in any way, and even to SEO's go and join a community that's about something other than SEO. See the people in the forum help areas asking how they send a message, see how people really communicate online (and by that I mean people who don't spend their lives thinking about the internet). Some people in the industry seem like they have only ever seen customers in the zoo, they need to get out there and see how they behave in their natural habitat.

Q: Ever been involved in any ethical dilemmas in the industry?

A: I don't think so, although I may have, and just steamed on ahead on my own course without noticing.


Now, the fun questions...

Q: You're given a free pass to spam the ever-living heck out of one social media platform like Twitter,  Digg, etc. for a client. Which do you choose, and why? Put on your black hat, maybe even one that you've knitted.

A: Ha, I never knit in black, too difficult to see the stitches! You know even with my blackest hat on I can't think of any reason to spam other than to irritate a whole lot of people, so I think I would spam 4chan, because they always like an excuse to be outraged about something.

Q: At the risk of stereotyping anyone here, with whom would you rather have dinner (and pick his brain in a non-zombie fashion): Matt Cutts or Fantomaster?

A: Fantomaster, no Matt Cutts, no Fantomaster...this is the hardest question yet. Don't make me choose, how about I take them both out together, we'd make a cute threesome.

Interviewer's note: I can guarantee you Ralph has better taste in music.

Q: Tell us about the rats. Do you knit them sweaters? How many do you have? Do you give them silly names or proper names like Reginald? Do you knit them hammocks? Do they ever bite you? Do you cook for them?

A: Woah there, one question at a time! I have 8 pet rats, Freya, Hnoss, Saga, Sagatoo (they're twins) Dita, Bullet, Strike & Hel (mostly names of norse goddess Dita was named by her first owner, after Dita Von Teese, and bullet & strike are maniacs, so norse godesses didn't seem appropriate). I don't knit them hammocks, because they might get their little feet stuck, but both Hubs & I sew them hammocks with pretty fleece. I've been bitten quite a few times, but only by 2 of the 15 rats I've owned. I like taking on "problem rats" and rehabilitating them, so the bites were my own fault really. And finally, yes I do cook for them, often they get a little of what we're having or some fresh greens, I did once make little individual lasagnes for them which was quite fun!

Q: Favorite zombie movie, and why? Also, do you really think zombies would move as quickly as they do in certain films? I picture them moving about quite slowly, not darting about.

A: Now you see, you're opening up a whole zombie debate there. George Romero, the king of zombie films says no, they couldn't move that fast, and I would have to agree with him, all that rotting flesh couldn't support that kind of impact (ok I know I take this far too seriously, I'm just glad you didn't ask me about zombie attack plans or I would have been here all day). As for favourite zombie film, I'm going to have to go top 5, because there's no way I can narrow it down to just one, so in ascending order it's, Resident evil, 28 days later, Diary of the dead, Dawn of the dead, and Day of the dead.

Q: You did a truly amazing Southern accent when you were mimicking me. Damn you for that. OK seriously, have you either used it since then, or do you plan to? Like to explain something stupid you've done, or pick up a jockey? Usually works for me.

A: I've tried doing it since and I failed miserably, so either it's something I can only do with you or something I can only do when drunk. So my plan is to come over to visit you and spend the whole time pissed and talking with a southern accent.

December 10, 2009

What Do You Want From Google for Christmas? (#SESCHI)

By Li Evans

Search Engine Strategies Chicago 2009 wrapped up yesterday, as usual we had the snow to deal with, but I have to say, this year's conference really rocked content and keynote wise.

I've got some coverage to put up on SMG about the Wednesday keynote and if you are interested in reading Jeff Jarvis' thoughts on Media (Newspapers) & Google from Monday's keynote, check out my coverage over on Social Conversations.

In the meantime, I'll leave our viewers with the video they put together, and yes that's me (Li) who leads off the video by totally cracking up at being asked "and what's your name little girl".  I know, it wasn't that difficult of a question.... but ... but .... ok yeah I really don't have an excuse for it! LOL

October 20, 2009

eMetrics: Accelerated Darwinism Online & the Evolution of Web Metrics

By Li Evans

I've gotten the opportunity to attend the eMetrics conference in the Washington, DC area this year and already the first two presentations have really impressed me.  The first was Jim Sterne's which I'll be blogging about a bit later over on Social Conversations, but the one I wanted to tell SMG readers about was the presentation given by Foresee Results.

It was all about the evolution of web metrics in comparison to what customers are doing online.  How did we really get here?  So much data, but yet so little true meaning for a lot of companies.  So little actionable data because of the data overload web managers are stuck under.

Larry Freed of ForSee Results gave a great presentation.  He started off with defining "Darwinism" and how its change over time that makes only the strong survive.  We see it in humans, we have seen it in animals and now we even see it with online businesses.

 With online shopping the evolution started with pre-technology, back when you had to travel to the store by foot or horse, or cart to purchase your wears. Retailers relied on manual ways of stocking, restocking and accounting for sales. Eventually technology came into play giving us real time inventory.  Then came the internet which allowed even the smallest mom and pop store to reach a global audience.  Now we have mobile where with a few touches of a screen and a minute amount of time you can have something you want delivered to your doorstep.

Along with this evolutionary cDSC_2891hange, there's another one going on it's one where we're moving from a push message to a pull message.  Where the customer is in control, rather than the business.  The internet has enable so many things, the cost of "Switching" has gone down, the barriers to entry have nearly gone to zero, and customer are now more informed than ever.

Only a few years ago our economy on the internet was basically "build it and they will come".  That no longer holds true with these new changes.  It's now becoming a lot more like the traditional business environment where only the strong will survive.  The results of this evolution is that we are now in one of the most ultra competitive environments, ever.

But how does this impact web metrics?

It makes us a lot more accountable for the changes that need to be made to improve and keep the business alive.  You cannot manage your company if you don't measure, and measuring is what you need to do if you want to improve the bottom line.

Customer satisfaction at the end of the day is a huge piece of the measuring puzzle but it's really tough to accurately measure.  Very few plans or measurement strategies that tie in measuring customer satisfaction tie that measurement to the bottom dollar.  The American Customer Satisfaction Index is likely the most reliable source to look at when looking to measure sanctification.

Metrics Must Have:  Accuracy & Precision, Validity, Sensitivity, Realiabitiy, & Credibility

DSC_2893 Freed goes on to explain the "Ecosystem of Metrics"

  • Measure What Happens - key performance indication - behavioral data (looking backwards) - clickstream, financial, tasks
  • Satisfaction - predicts what will happen
  • Observation - tells us how it happens
  • At the center is the customer

At the end of the day, it's the customer satisfaction that rules.  Satisfaction = What you get + What you Expect (what did you think they were going to do compared to what they really did).  If your customers aren't satisfied, then your business is not going to survive.

Freed leaves us with 10 tips:

  1. You cannot manage what you cannot measure
  2. What you measure will determine what you do
  3. Measure what matters most - your customers
  4. Knowledge is power - the customer is now in charge
  5. Turn data into information and information into intelligence
  6. Satisfaction will drive conversion, loyalty, retention and word of mouth
  7. It only takes two things to survice, satisfying your customers and be fiscally responsble
  8. Measurement is hard, don't fall for gimmicks
  9. Integration of web metrics magnifies the value
  10. You are in the fight of your life, if you satisfy your customers you'll be around to fight the fight!

September 08, 2009

Online Marketing Tips Video: Twitter Tips - URL Shorteners, Blogging & ReTweeting

By Li Evans

This week for our Tuesday's Tips in Online Marketing Video, I'm discussing some Twitter Tool that you can integrate into your strategy to get a better handle on what's happening with all those URL's you are tweeting out.

Full Twitter Tips Video Transcript after the jump....

Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: Twitter Tips - URL Shorteners, Blogging & ReTweeting" »

September 02, 2009

Women of Internet Marketing: An Interview with Ayima's Jane Copland

By Julie Joyce

JaneCopland Q: In the unlikely event that anyone reading this doesn't know who you are, can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you're currently doing, workwise?

A: The short version is that I'm a twenty-five year old SEO consultant, relatively fresh off the boat from the United States, living in London. I began my career in SEO at SEOmoz in Seattle and I now work for Ayima Search Marketing here in the UK. I'm 100% organic-SEO focused (PPC sounds like something people take at the club around the corner from my flat) and I'd far rather chase down a stellar link profile than attempt to converse with people and engage in the "conversation". The technical aspects of SEO interest me far more than the social, which is odd since the social side was what I first worked on.

Q: Your entry into the world of SEOmoz is a fascinating story. Can you tell us a bit about how you came to work at Ayima?

A: My road to working at SEOmoz was literally the result of replying to a job listing on Craigslist that wanted a junior SEO, experience not a factor. I almost didn't click on the ad: it was about midnight and I'd been replying to job ads for hours. The title of the ad, however, was "Do you use your powers for good or for awesome", a Homestar Runner reference, and I couldn't really go past that, even though I wanted to go to sleep. I read the job description and decided it sounded like something I could do. I was always meticulous with cover letters and resumes, so I was up for another few hours making sure the application was right. Three interviews, a public blogging contest and a lot of hoping later, I had the job.

I came to work at Ayima after deciding to leave Seattle in the winter of 2008. It was time for a lot of changes, and Rob Kerry and I basically came to the conclusion that me moving to work at Ayima might work. It turned out that Rob's partners at Ayima weren't adverse to the idea either. It took me exactly a month from deciding to move to leaving Seattle. I've actually been in the UK for seven months today.

Q: What is your role at Ayima?  

A: I'm a search marketing consultant, meaning that I work almost exclusively on client-facing projects, managing / completing both on and off site work. We focus on traditional organic SEO. I love this. There is so much less bullshit in SEO than there is in this buzzy world of back-patting called social media. I can't even stand the term anymore. It makes me wince, it's such a fluffy catch-phrase.

Q: Describe a typical day for you. Leave out the part about living near my favorite pub please. No one likes a braggart. 

A: I get up at 4:50am and run six miles. I do this at this time because I like to run in an area of London that is packed with morning commuters come 6:30 or 7am. If I get this done before the day really begins, I also get to take another nap before work. I live very close to Ayima's Clerkenwell office: it takes me less than five minutes to walk to work. I unfortunately have to sit next to Dean all day, which results in a constant battle as to whose computer / keys / mobile phone / glass of water is on whose section of the desk. It's making for an incredibly hostile work environment ;)

As oppposed to when I worked in Seattle, all of my clients are based in the London area, so I travel across town for meetings far more now than I did in Seattle. However, it's still pretty much your standard nine-to-five day. After fighting off requests to go to the pub after work (unless it's Friday, at which point it's game on), I go swimming after work at a pool five minutes in the other direction from where I live. I'll be there for a couple of hours, go home, eat dinner, maybe do some contract work and go to bed. It sounds like a lot of activity and not much downtown, but it makes me happy and I have learned in the last seven months that it's very necessary to do things that make you happy, even if they involve constant activity.

Q: You've done a lot over the past few months... moved from Seattle to London, moved from working at SEOmoz to working at Ayima, etc. How have all these changes affected your perception of the industry? Have you seen that there are any notable differences between the US and the UK?

A: I do notice the difference in culture between having consultants and companies spread over a huge country, and having a lot of them in a select few towns. If there is competition for a contract, you likely know the other companies pitching for it. You likely know the people who worked with a client before you did, and you likely know who's doing the SEO for your clients' competitors. This presented the UK industry with the option to become very nasty and childish, or for its members to develop a mature level of mutual respect for each other. Due to the calibre of people we have working over here, the vast majority chose the second option. Business is business and a LondonSEO piss-up, a birthday party, a dinner date with industry friends or whatever, is just that. That isn't to say that nastiness doesn't occur, but it appears to be less of a problem than it can be elsewhere.

The practice of SEO isn't terribly much different, although of course you need to put yourself through a crash course in a country's culture when you arrive in it to practice marketing. Imagine walking into a meeting about getting some entertainment-niche website ranking, but never having seen the magazine or television show or pop group that they're most interested in at that time. I had to learn a lot fast about a myriad of small cultural nuances of British society. You don't know what you know about a place until you're required to use it in everyday marketing decision making. On the flip side, I come in handy when United States culture needs to be referenced, as I lived there for seven years.

Q: In addition to all of this, you're also an amazing swimmer and you've recently gotten back into it on a fairly big level it seems. That seems to be a very competitive sport. Notice any similarities between it and the SEO industry? 

A: There are certainly some, but the differences are becoming more interesting. In SEO, all of our work relies on a third party--usually Google--agreeing that that work was worthwhile. In swimming, standards are made a lot clearer than they are in search. If you have a qualifying time you must meet, you know what that time is before you attempt to achieve it. Rarely (although it does happen) does someone decide after the fact whether your work or performance was good enough. I like the differences more than the similarities, in fact. SEO is a bit of a cat-and-mouse game where we're always trying to be one step ahead of a third party. That's fun. In swimming, the responsibility for a positive outcome is far more within my control, especially now that my attitude towards it is so different to what it was when I was younger. I used to swim for a range of reasons: to get out of my town in New Zealand and to the US, to pay for college, and sometimes because I didn't value myself terribly much if it wasn't backed up by some achievement in a pool. Now, I truly do it because I want to. There is no other motivation, and that has been very freeing.

Q: You and I have talked privately about the current trend of bully blogging. What are your thoughts on that? Is it becoming fashionable to establish yourself in the industry by being mouthy? Sometimes I think some people never got out of high school when I see the fights on Twitter. 

A: There is currently a false perception in this industry that it's okay to badmouth people directly, and that if you do not agree with the loudest bloggers, they could end you in one way or another. This perception has been created entirely by the bloggers themselves. A few of them actually find it acceptable to call people whores, fat, ugly, and a range of insults on Twitter and on their websites. The worst (best?) example of this is someone who literally went on a mission to destroy the reputation of a woman he'd apparently never met. It stuns me that collectively, we don't turn around and say "You are acting in an objectionable, horrible way. We don't tolerate that sort of behaviour, let alone celebrate those who engage in it." And these same people are asked to speak at conferences and are heralded as industry leaders.

I used to blog fairly often, but I do not believe I engaged in the nasty bullying that passes for 'snark' and wit right now. If I did, I have definitely learned a lot about respect and humility and I would never be as downright rude, either directly or indirectly, in writing anymore. Can we please finally stand up and say "no, it's not all right to take a snotty, snide tone and be celebrated as clever. It's not okay to bash people you don't like in posts or comments or tweets. You can keep doing it; that's your prerogative. But we will no longer squeal "Great post!" when it's nothing short of bullying."

I know that I'm far from alone in thinking this. Many people recently emailed me and told me that they fully agree. All it would take for this trend to no longer pass as acceptable and popular is for all of us who find it objectionable to say so when we see it in action. Because inaction is what currently allows it to continue, and it only makes all of us look as childish as some of us.

Q: There is always the argument about what background best prepares one for doing SEO. You and I have the much-maligned English degrees, yet I can say for myself that it's served me very well so far. Based on what you've learned so far, what type of skills do you think people need to be successful in this industry?

A: I think too much effort goes into analysing who has what degree, or who has no degree, and talking the abovementioned smack about it. Two of the most successful, brilliant people I know in search didn't finish university. I have a degree in English, as do you. I could have used some more computer science knowledge when I began, but most of the really important skills I've learned, I couldn't have been taught in a classroom. I could have spent those four years learning what I've learned on the job as an adult, but then again, there are many things I learned in college, in and out of the classroom that help me daily.

To do well here, you have to be willing to accept that what you knew to be true a short time ago isn't true anymore. That can be more difficult than it sounds. You have to love learning, but be prepared to learn things over and over again as they present themselves in different ways. And I believe you have to love the technical side of SEO because if you don't understand it, or aren't willing to learn everything you can about it, you're at a severe disadvantage.

Q: Since this is the Women in Marketing series, I need to ask a girl question here. How do you think women are viewed in the industry overall? Any really good or really bad personal experiences? 

A: Well, aside from the usual comments about being young and female and working in tech, I have certainly not found it to be a disadvantage or an advantage, save for the fact that women writers in this field get more attention than their male counterparts overall. That's an advantage.

There are one or two gross problems in SEO that revolve around gender and sex, but this isn't the time or place to get into them. That's a battle for a different day.

Now the fun ones: 

Q: How do you tolerate working with Rob Kerry every day? 

A: Sound canceling headphones ;)  (inserted Li comment her - Jane -- I do have a karaoke video of Rob singing the Spice Girls somewhere!)

(I adore Rob.)

Q: If you could get snowed in at the Fox and Anchor with any 5 SEOs, who would they be and what drinks would they all be having? Since I am the interviewer, make sure you mention me here please. 

A: Ugh, I'm going to end up NOT naming people I love in this industry if I'm reduced to five!

  • Ciaran Norris, who'd be drinking Guinness and still looking posh about it.

  • Lisa and Jon Myers. Lisa would've bought a bottle of wine becasue there's no way we'd not get through it, and Jon would be drinking Peroni.

  • Rob Kerry and Mike Nott who'd be drinking London Pride

  • Dean Chew, who'd be drinking what we tell him is Foster's, but is in fact just some regular, awful lager.

  • Kate Morris and Kalena Jordan, who'd be drinking Sauvignon Blanc.

  • Stephen Pavlovich and Michael Motherwell, who'd be drunk and asleep in the corner.

  • Rand Fishkin, who'd be talking too much to drink.

  • You, Julie Joyce, and you'd be having a Bakewell Tart martini from the bar next door.

Q: Favorite ridiculous conference anecdotes? 
 A: 1) Walking back to Liverpool Street station during SMX London last year, while I still lived in Seattle and had no thoughts of leaving, right past the building I now live in, the supermarket I now shop at and the pool at which I now swim.

2) Trying desperately to hold in laughter on stage during SMX Sydney last year as Rand and Geraldine abused the text-in-a-question feature, asking Ciaran "Is that a tie or did a monkey die on your shirt?"

3) Being dragged to an establishment in Vegas by you, Julie Joyce, whom I had only really just met, called "Slots A Fun". They had 99c hotdogs and similarly-priced margaritas. The carpet was appalling. The bartender appeared to know you all very well, and his name was Blaze. The lights were too bright and I was scared. Where have these nutty North Carolinians taken us? Ciaran and I made our way back to the plush comfort of the Wynn before something terrible could happen.

September 01, 2009

Online Marketing Tips Video: Free Blogging Tools

By Li Evans

It's been a few weeks without a Tuesday's Tips in Online Marketing Video so I pulled one that I hadn't yet posted to SMG.  This week its all about tools, free tools for Bloggers and their blogs.  Google's got three really great tools that any blogger can integrate into their blog to take it to the next level.

In today's video we'll discuss Google's Feedburner, Google Analytics and Google Website Optimizer.  It's quick and to the point, and maybe it'll help you to decide to install one of these free tools to help improve your blog.

Free Blogging Tool Tips Video Transcript after the jump....

Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: Free Blogging Tools" »

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