When people think about the best way for their website to be found online they typically say something like, “I want my website be ranked #1 on Google for terms x, y, and z.” An SEOs natural reaction is to set the expectation that there are no guarantees to be ranked #1, but if we can rank for those terms, and a host of other long tail terms, that we will discover through keyword research, your website will likely receive a significant amount of continuous qualified traffic that we can measure through onsite analytics. That’s all well and good, but there are a lot of questions that come to mind regarding the impact of search on your company that goes beyond the measurement of traffic from Google searches:
This year I’ve been able to finagle my way into going to three full days of Search Engine Strategies Conference & Expo in NY (March 24th – 26th). Here is a rundown of the sessions I am most looking forward to:
- Thinking Outside Your Website: Branding Without Borders – With the popularity of sites like YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook, brands increasingly need to engage with their customers outside their website. The portability of content and viral connectivity that occurs online requires a new approach to branding. Participants will learn strategies for increasing brand awareness and protecting brand equity in today’s socially connected web as well as tactics that can be implemented in today’s resource and budget constrained environment.
- Key Points in Launching a Global Website – As the world becomes smaller and search marketing becomes more complex, the era of “ranking well in Google” is over. This is especially true for companies who are targeting multiple markets or countries. This new opportunity also brings many new complexities to be considered other than standard SEO. This session tackles these key issues critical to successfully developing, optimizing, and launching the Global Websites that would meet those next generation marketing goals, without losing control or your mind ( I was even lucky enough to have interviewed one of the speakers that will be at this session. Marjorie Madfis, Interactive Marketing Manager and Web Editor at IBM. Check out the interview over at the Ogilvy PR 360 Digital Influence blog: SES NY Interview Series: Key Points in Launching a Global Website)
- Video Search Engine Optimization: 2009 and Beyond – According to comScore, nearly 139 million U.S. Internet users watched an average of 83 videos per viewer in March 2008, viewing a total of 11.5 billion online videos during the month. However, the average YouTube video receives only 100 views a year. This makes optimizing video for YouTube one of the biggest opportunities in the fast-changing and complex world of search. This session will look at how video search engine optimization (VSEO) has become the most important new use of search engine optimization today.
- Facebook Workshop: Harnessing the Social Graph – Are you wondering how to effectively advertise on Facebook? Kasey Galang, Product Marketing Manager and Rebecca Sawyer, Online Sales Operations Manager at Facebook will guide you through the social graph and provide tips and tricks for leveraging and optimizing your advertising on Facebook.
- SEO Through Blogs & Feeds – Not yet running a blog? Not syndicating your content through web feeds? Then you’re missing out on an important area that can help your overall SEO efforts. Learn more about the unique advantages blogs and feeds offer to search engine optimization.
- News Search SEO – News search engines offer a great way to receive targeted traffic related to breaking topics or to help with a public relations launch. In this session, we look at how to make use of press releases and news content to tap into the power of news search.
- Online Communities: A Bonanza of Content for Searchers and Search Engines – All the basic SEO best practices should come into play when developing a community based site. This session will discuss techniques for getting your community and review sites indexed, including Google webmaster tools usage, minimizing duplicate content, technical issues that may arise, and tagging. Attendees will learn how to use communities and review sites as part of an internal linking campaign to help the engines understand what pages on your site are important for displaying in search results. Two case studies – 1 B2B and 1 consumer – will be used as examples of well-indexed, well-linked communities.
What sessions / speakers are you most looking forward to?
SEO in the Web 2.0 Era – Johns Hopkins University Guest Lecture @ “Public Relations in the Age of Digital Influence”
Since I joined the 360° Digital Influence team at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide about 10 months ago I have gained direct access to world-renowned thought leaders in the field of social media and word of mouth marketing, and had numerous opportunities to further my career in the realm of Internet marketing. The latest of such opportunities was presented to me last week by John Bell, Managing Director of the Global 360° Digital Influence practice, who also somehow finds time to teach a graduate level course at Johns Hopkins University (oh…and be the President of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association – WOMMA)…crazy right?!?…. Anyways, he offered me the chance to give a guest lecture on search engine optimization at his class “Public Relations in the Age of Digital Influence.” Needless to say I jumped at the opportunity. Below you will find the PowerPoint deck I presented as well as a rough outline of what we covered in the class.
A little unsure of the class’s level of knowledge regarding search, the presentation runs the gambit from very basic concepts to more advanced strategies. On the class wiki Bell teed me up as “A search expert coming to share some SEO secrets…” so I wanted to provide information on some advanced tactics, but from my experience in dealing with public relations professionals I knew that even taking some time to explain the differences between search engine optimization and search engine marketing (or paid search), would be helpful distinction to make.
After about an hour lecture the class broke into their respective teams to apply what they learned to their two clients, PBS and Seeds of Peace, who they are developing a digital influence solution for over the 14 week course. All in all being Professor Fleiss for 2 hours was an incredible experience that gave me a new found respect for a teacher’s ability to not only get through to their students, but also ignite and fuel an individual’s passion to learn.
Public Relations in the Age of Digital Influence
Monday’s Class: SEO in the Web 2.0 Era
III. Off-page Optimization
a. Inbound Linking
i. Google PageRank Explained
1. Google PageRank Toolbar
2. Significance of rel=“nofollow”
ii. What is a Quality Inbound Link and How to Find Them
iii. Link Bait
b. Universal Search
i. Content Distribution Strategy
ii. Image Optimization
iii. Video Optimization
IV. Personalized Search & Google’s SearchWiki
V. Search Exercises
a. Keyword Research – Using Google’s Keyword Research Tool (https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal) come up with 10 head of tail and 10 long tail keywords to target in your SEO campaign
b. Domain Names – Using your list of keywords and a Whois Domain Name Look up tool (http://whois.domaintools.com/) come up with 5 potential domain names for your client’s website.
c. Inbound Link Research – Download Google’s PageRank Toolbar (http://www.google.com/tools/firefox/toolbar/FT3/intl/en/index.html). Find 5 different web pages where your client’s website would benefit by obtaining a link from that page.
Have you ever taught a class or just explained a search concept? What has been your experience in communicating this type of information? What methods have been especially successful for you?
I found a great list of social media sites beyond the obvious ones. Check out my post about them over at the Ogilvy PR Blog. Social Networks will continue to pop up on every topic you can think of. Eventually something like Google’s OpenSocial will link them all together, and social networks will be like air.
I just returned from a 10 day vacation in Israel with my girlfriend. While traveling I met a guy named Elazar Heim, who is a Product Manager for Sightix. Sightix is a social search platform offered as a service for social networks that returns personalized relevant results to their users. Google has been trying to improve the relevancy of search results via personalized search for a while now. There is no question in my mind that this type of technology is the next step in the evolution of search. As social networks become a ubiquitous feature of being on the internet, Sightix social search will become more practical. Could Facebook’s implementation of this type of social search engine be the real Google Killer?
I was surprised to see that a Squidoo lense for FriendFeed did not already exist, so I went ahead and created one. The lense is currently fairly basic. It has a brief description of what FriendFeed is, pulls in blog posts about FriendFeed from Google’s Blog Search, pulls in content from del.icio.us that is tagged with the keyword “friendfeed”, and finally has a list of all the social sharing sites with a short description that can be pulled into your friendfeed. I learned about some pretty cool social sites like Disqus, Tumblr, Jaiku, and Goodreads. Go check it out and tell me what you think. Definitely sign up for FriendFeed if you haven’t already.
Hitwise reports search engine traffic breakdown… Google is Killin’ it!
Google – 67.9%; Yahoo – 20.3%; Microsoft – 6.3%; Ask – 4.2%; Other – 1.4%
Fresh targeted content and links are the two most important components of search engine optimization. Do the following and you will kill two birds with one stone:
- Write as many tidbits of advice / words of wisdom / how to’s / fun facts etc… as you can think of that are geared towards the topic of your website. They should be no more than a couple sentences each, a small paragraph at most (try to get at least a few hundred to start – this is why you may want to hire a copywriter for this. I recommend LifeTips. Make sure to do your keyword research so you know what keywords to target. I use Keyword Discovery.
- Create a page on your site called “Daily ____ Tips” ( or “knowledge nuggets” or “how to’s”, etc…)
- Create an RSS feed that will present your tips as you upload them daily (How to create an RSS feed)
By creating an RSS feed of daily tips related to your website you provide fresh content for the search engine spiders to crawl daily. Having this information in a feed allows others to syndicate this content on their sites, which will always link back to your site. In my opinion this is the best SEO tip in the book. What’s your best SEO tip?
Michael Arrington of Techcrunch has reported that Google will launch Friend Connect on Monday. Like Myspace’s Data Availability and Facebook Connect this will allow users to bring their social profiles, friend lists, and away messages with them as they visit different sites. The “walled gardens” of social networks are breaking down. Social networks will become ubiquitous with launching your internet browser. Who will be the first to provide the service that is most conducive to allowing this social internet to thrive? My money is on Google? What do you think?
I just came across a great post by Chris Silver Smith, lead Search Strategist at NetConcepts, about the benefits of Flickr for search engine optimization. This is a strategy I considered about a year ago for a casino hotel account I worked on at BKV, but never did anything about. Now that I’m working with leaders of the social media space on Ogilvy PR’s 360 Digital Influence team, I’m excited to present this strategy. If you’ve had any experience using Flickr for SEO please share…