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What's New on Facebook?
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Facebook continues to be the latest Internet "darling" and remains the talk of many. With rumors swirling of Microsoft making an offer to acquire a small stake in the company to full fledged reports of Microsoft actually acquiring the popular social network for an estimated $10 billion Facebook is the latest rage.

So what's new with Facebook? Well here are a few items that Facebook has been working on as of late:
  • Facebook PHP Embed - in order to make embedding PHP truly simple for Facebook developers, the Facebook team has developed the PHPEmbed library which is just a more accessible and simplified API built on top of the PHP SAPI.

  • Facebook for iPhone - Take your iPhone to iphone.facebook.com. Don't have an iPhone? No problem. Use m.facebook.com from any mobile browser.

  • Sort Your Friends into Groups - organize your list of friends into groups so you can decide more specifically who sees what. TechCrunch recently had a great post on this feature.

  • Now you can send messages to email addresses - No more switching back and forth between email and Facebook. When you are writing a message, simply enter any emails you like into the “To:” field.
With all of the numerous Facebook applications that are popping up, advertisers are beginning to take note. It's no wonder that Facebook is currently one of the hottest web properties out there right now. Many are suggesting that Facebook might even be a threat to Google. While they are two entirely different products, there are many similarities between the two. It will be interesting to see how the next few months play out.

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posted by Jody @ Sunday, September 30, 2007   0 comments
Update from Microsoft's Searchification Day
Friday, September 28, 2007
As we reported last week, Wednesday, September 26th, 2007 was to be the inaugural Microsoft Searchification Day where Microsoft would take the time to discuss where they are going in Search. Vanessa Fox was at Searchification and Greg Sterling over at Search Engine Land had great reviews about Microsoft Searchification.

According to Vanessa Fox, the three main areas being focused on by Live Search are:
  • Web Search Improvements - finally. We have actually noticed more relevant results in Live Search recently. Microsoft states that they have made improvements with things like stop words, punctuation, acronyms, spaces between words, and plurals and that this has improved 30% of the worst results and 10% of overall queries.

  • Vertical Enhancements - This is Live's answer to Google's Universal Search. Microsoft is looking to improve things such as Maps and their Local Search offering including some 3-D stuff and upgrades to their Virtual Earth products. They are also looking to improve their mobile search functionality and working on things such as voice activated search. They are also focusing on the Health vertical where they feel privacy becomes more important for the search user.

  • Webmaster Tools - we are really excited about this one as this is something that is long overdue from Microsoft. In August, Microsoft announced their new Webmaster Portal to address issues such as:

    • Troubleshooting tools to ensure MSNBot is effectively crawling and indexing your site
    • Sitemap creation, submission and ping tools
    • Statistics about your website
    • Consolidation of content submission resources
    • New content and community resources
For a more detailed review of the topics of Microsoft's Searchification Day, check out the excellent post from Vanessa Fox courtesy of Search Engine Land.

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posted by Jody @ Friday, September 28, 2007   1 comments
7 Forgotten Sources of Free Online Competitive Intelligence
Thursday, September 27, 2007

When you’re on top everyone is always gunnin’ for you. Whether it is in business, sports entertainment or online in the Search Engine Results Pages, if you are on top you can expect to find your competition working to knock you off of your perch. Remember in Rocky III when Clubber Lang wanted a title shot to take on the Heavyweight Champion of the World Rocky Balboa? Clubber (played by a young Mr.T) made the most of his opportunity and knocked out Balboa. Rocky lost his manager, his confidence and his competitive edge. He wasn’t prepared for the fight. He goes on to enlist the help of former champ Apollo Creed. (Cue the “Eye of the Tiger” theme music). Creed goes on to train Balboa and Rocky goes on to defeat Clubber to regain his title. The competitive edge was back.

In the online world, competition for keyword visibility and clicks from Search users is fierce. One day you’re at the top of the SERPs for your main keywords the next day your on page two of results. The vastness of the Internet and ease of creating content through a blog or a website makes online competition even more intense. The need to keep on top of your competition becomes all that more important.

Of course there are a lot of tools that companies can spend a lot of money and resources on to track their competition, but there are also a number of free resources that you can use to gain competitive intelligence. Here’s a look at seven forgotten sources of free online competitive intelligence.

7 Forgotten Sources of Free Online Competitive Intelligence

1. Google Alerts setting up Google Alerts for your competitors can provide you with competitor insights that you may have otherwise overlooked and not been aware of.

2. Yahoo Alerts – ditto with Yahoo Alerts.

3. Google Finance – if your competitor is publicly traded, you can perform a search in Google Finance, where you can review income statements, latest news stories and blog posts about the competitor.

4. Yahoo Finance – ditto with Yahoo Finance.

5. The Free Library - http://www.thefreelibrary.com/ is a great source for articles and information on your competitors. You can browse by date, author, category and name.

6. Wikipedia – while not as trusted as other resources, Wikipedia can be a great place to acquire competitive information.

7. Comparison Shopping Sites – sites like Price Grabber can be a great source of competitive intelligence for retailers and B2C business owners.

Think about Microsoft (MSFT) and their attempts to learn more about Google’s (GOOG) attempt to acquire ad firm DoubleClick. A great source of competitive information for the Microsoft folks would be the Google Finance page itself. Microsoft could then set up Google and Yahoo Alerts on Google and DoubleClick to monitor the latest activity and news stories.

I am a firm believer that you cannot have too much information about your competition. In this day and age you really need to establish a unique online competitive advantage over your competition. Leveraging the free tools and resources that we mentioned above is a great way to monitor your competitors some of whom may be online or offline. In time, you may want to pursue more robust competitive tracking tools, but as a starting point places such as Google Finance or Wikipedia can provide additional insight that you may have otherwise overlooked.

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, September 27, 2007   1 comments
Happy 9th Birthday Google
Wow can you believe that it has been nine years already? The Search Giant continues to be as innovative in year nine as they were in the early days. Founded by the now billionaires, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google really is a tremendous success story.

For all of you Google-haters out there, tell me that you don't think Google has made a difference n the world. Google has changed the way millions... actually billions of people act when they go online. Google is the dominant force in search and has allowed its users access to a wealth of knowledge that would have taken endless amounts of time to compile.

Let's hope the next nine years are as interesting as the first nine. Think Google will be around in nine years? Will there always be Google? They probably said the same thing about the telephone when it first came out.

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, September 27, 2007   0 comments
How to Improve Keyword Density on Your Site
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
The search engines use a number of factors when ranking a page within their index. They use a series of on-page and off-page factors. Of the on-page factors, Keyword Density becomes a key component.

A well optimized page will benefit both the user and the search engine spiders. Keyword density is one of the main contributors as to how users and search engines use your website. Keyword density is measured by taking key phrases and measuring the ratio of the phrases to the total number of search engine indexable words in a page. This includes the “invisible” content such as meta tags and image alt tags. Ideally pages should be between 400 and 600 words and have at least one important phrase on the page, repeated throughout, while keeping the page intelligible to readers.

When writing copy for your website, there are a number of ways to ensure that you utilize proper keyword density throughout your web pages.

Seven Ways to Improve Keyword Density
  1. Insert Keywords Into Page Titles – this pertains to the title tag that is commonly associated with the meta data of your site pages. You page titles should include keywords preferably near the beginning of the title for optimal effect. This helps communicate the subject matter of the page to the search engines and more importantly your users. The title also appears in the results pages of the search engines and is often bolded depending on the user’s search query.

  2. Insert Keywords into Headings – Include keywords in the heading of the page copy itself. Ensure that the main heading of your page uses heading tags with the "h1" heading tag considered to be the most important.

  3. Place Keywords in ALT Text – if you have images on your web pages, ensure that you place descriptive alt text on the image that is key word rich. Do not spam your ALT Tags.

  4. Add Keyword Rich Anchor Text throughout your pages – when interlining your site pages, you should link from keywords as the destination page with receive better Inbound Linking (IBL) merit from the search engines.

  5. Incorporate Keywords into Page URLs – helps convey the theme of the page and is one of the many factors that search engines will use to rank a web page.

  6. Add Keywords to your Copy – make use of your important keywords in the actual copy of your site pages. If you want to be found in the search engines for “green widgets” you better make sure that your page copy features the phrase “green widgets”.

  7. Incorporate the Use of a Keyword Rich Footer – ensure that your footer appears on all pages. Include links to important product pages using keyword rich anchor text. For example if your site sells widgets make sure that you include important keywords in the footer. Blue Widgets | Green Widgets | Large Widgets | Small Widgets | Widget Information | Widget Resources |
From an SEO point of view, without being spammy, pages such as the home page should have a keyword density of about 6-12 % based on 400 words of content, with an emphasis on your most important key phrases. A well optimized page should have a keyword density of about 6-12% based on 400-500 on-page words of copy. We have seen top ranking sites with a KW density of as high as 20% on their homepage without being penalized by the search engines.

Benefits of Improving Keyword Density Throughout Your Site
  • Helps the site become more authoritative for related keywords that can help drive qualified traffic to your site.

  • Helps communicate the topic of your site pages

  • Helps convey a theme around your sites content

  • Acts as an interception point in keyword searches so that users have an easier time finding your site when searching for non-branded key phrases that are descriptive of your business.

  • Maintaining a keyword density of 6-12% throughout the site can improve organic search rankings which in turn can result in the site being able to rank higher for traffic driving phrases.

  • Is a cost efficient way of increasing your organic/natural search ranking in the search engines. Increased Visibility = Higher Rankings. Higher Rankings = More Site Traffic. More Site Traffic Leads to More Conversions. More conversions lead to Better ROI. Better ROI leads to on-going success.
Each of the search engines treats keyword density in different manners as it pertains to their ranking algorithms. The main things to keep in mind with keyword density is to think about relevancy for the user and avoid being spammy. The use of too many keyword occurrences can make the copy read poorly and can detract from the purpose of the page.

Useful Resources on Keyword Density

Keyword Density Defined on Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyword_density

Keyword Density Analyzer:
http://tools.seobook.com/general/keyword-density

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, September 26, 2007   4 comments
Dean McAmmond Injured by Dirty Hit: News Breaks on Yahoo & Google
Most people who know me, know that I have a passion for hockey. Always have always will. Since I was seven years old, my favorite team has been the Edmonton Oilers. I grew up in a small town in Alberta where one of the local heroes is a friend of mine and a friend to many who live in Grande Cache. Yesterday evening as I was checking some of my sports feeds, I came across the story that my friend Dean (McAmmond) who now plays for the Ottawa Senators was seriously injured on a "questionable"hit ... actually I would change that to a downright dirty hit by Philadelphia Flyers hopeful Steve Downie. (A player who has already earned the rep for being a dirty player).

I have posted my thoughts on the Downie hit on Dean McAmmond over at PlanetNim. The fact of the matter is that the hit was gross. It made me feel ill when I saw the highlights. This could possibly be a career ending injury for Dean.

Only minutes after the game was completed, I was able to go online (not knowing about the incident) and through my various sports feeds was able to get up-to-date news about the incident that happened only an hour earlier. That is what I call relevant results. Surprisingly they came from Yahoo. YouTube also had a clip of the incident although the clip does not contain the fisticuffs that ensued after the hit from Downie. I was surprised at the coverage by the search engines. Of course bloggers would be picking up on the story, but the time in which the engines were able to disperse the various results amazed me. Google News for example featured a ton of posts and articles about the incident. It is easy to see why the search engines are the first place a reporter goes to get up to date information when writing a story.

To Steve Downie. You're a joke. This wasn't the first time that you have used lack of judgement. Hopefully it will be the last. In the past, you've fought with your own teammates, you've thrown a number of dirty hits. Maybe hockey just isn't for you.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, September 26, 2007   0 comments
Open Directory Project Releases DMOZ Blog
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The Open Directory Project is the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. Over the past year, many have wondered about the status of the directory. We have posted about the status of DMOZ last winter when they were not accepting new submissions to the human-edited directory.

So it was interesting to see the release of the DMOZ Blog. The blog will act as the official resource for news, insights and updates about the Open Directory Project. According to the first official blog post, DMOZ is not dead.
Thousands of new sites are added and updated every week, and we continue to receive hundreds of editor applications and suggested sites every day.
The blog will act as a feedback mechanism for users to:
  • Let the ODP folks know what you think about DMOZ
  • Communicate why you use the directory
  • Communicate your thoughts as to if there something you would like to see fixed
  • Find more information about becoming an editor
I know one thing that I would like to know and that is why SEO-Space has not been included in the Open Directory? I have submitted SEO-Space a couple of times and have not had any feedback as to why we're still not listed there. None-the-less I like the idea of the DMOZ blog. At least it shows that there is still a heartbeat in one of the most trusted directories out there.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, September 25, 2007   0 comments
Content is King - Just Ask the New York Times
If you have worked with an SEO over the years you have no doubt heard the expression that "Content is King". While one can argue the importance of SEO factors such URL structures, links, meta data etc, everything in SEO revolves around content. Without content, the search engines have nothing to index. Think about why people search. They search to acquire information, they in essence, seek content. We have stated before that even in the Web 2.0 world with SEO 2.0, content will still be king.

So it was with eager anticipation as we were informed that the New York Times was opening up its archives for free! From 1851 to present, entire articles from the New York Times can now be searched from NYTimes.com. That is over 13 million articles in all. That is a lot of content that will drive a lot of visitors to the site. According to SEOmoz.org:
...certainly a driving force behind the questioning of the paid content strategy is Marshall Simmonds, chief search strategist for the New York Times and About.com, and the CEO & Co-Founder of Define Search Strategies.
Rand over at SEOmoz has a great interview with Marshall Simmonds.

Last week the New York Times made the announcement that they would be no longer charging for access to parts of their website (ie. the article archives). From the official NY Times announcement:

The move comes two years to the day after The Times began the subscription program, TimesSelect, which has charged $49.95 a year, or $7.95 a month, for online access to the work of its columnists and to the newspaper’s archives. TimesSelect has been free to print subscribers to The Times and to some students and educators.

In addition to opening the entire site to all readers, The Times will also make available its archives from 1987 to the present without charge, as well as those from 1851 to 1922, which are in the public domain. There will be charges for some material from the period 1923 to 1986, and some will be free.

I understand the reasoning for subscription based content, but with all of the news sources, discussion forums and blogs out there, the content is bound to turn up somewhere. The New York Times is doing a great service by freeing up some of their content. This is a great step for SEO. In fact Danny Sullivan over at Search Engine Land said it best:

The next time you're reading something for free at the New York Times, remember it was SEO that made that possible.
Kudos to Marshall Simmonds and the New York Times.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, September 25, 2007   0 comments
SEO-Space Celebrates 300th Post
Monday, September 24, 2007
Well it's been about 11 months since SEO-Space was launched. (Although I have been posting for a lot longer on that on ASK Enquiro and Search Engine Position) Can you believe that this is our 300th post? It wasn't all that long ago that we experienced our 200th SEO-Space post. It's been amazing. Blogging is so addicting and I've really developed a passion for it. I hope that our little blog has made a slight difference for you our readers.

We try to bring you a sample of the latest search engine news along with financials and some SEO tips that can be applied for B2B marketers. We welcome your feedback and any SEO questions that you may have. Curious about a certain SEO topic? Let us know via comments or and we will try to accommodate.

Here's to our first 300 posts as we look forward to the next 300.

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posted by Jody @ Monday, September 24, 2007   0 comments
Forbes Releases Richest Americans List
Last week, Forbes released their list of the Top 400 Richest Americans. This is one list that I will not be on, not because I am not rich, (although not motivated by money, I strive to be and will be) but I won't be on this list because I am Canadian ;) ... on that note we should point out that it's been a strong year for the Canadian dollar as we have reached par with the US dollar.

Interesting to note that the Google Guys enter the list in spots #5 and #6 with an estimated worth of $18.5 billion each. Here's a look at the creme de la creme in the US of A.

Rank Name Net Worth ($bil) Age Residence Source
1 William Gates III 59.0 51 Medina, WA Microsoft
2 Warren Buffett 52.0 77 Omaha, NE Berkshire Hathaway
3 Sheldon Adelson 28.0 74 Las Vegas, NV casinos, hotels
4 Lawrence Ellison 26.0 63 Redwood City, CA Oracle
5 Sergey Brin 18.5 34 Palo Alto, CA Google
5 Larry Page 18.5 34 San Francisco, CA Google
7 Kirk Kerkorian 18.0 90 Los Angeles, CA investments, casinos
8 Michael Dell 17.2 42 Austin, TX Dell
9 Charles Koch 17.0 71 Wichita, KS oil, commodities
9 David Koch 17.0 67 New York, NY oil, commodities
11 Paul Allen 16.8 54 Mercer Island, WA Microsoft, investments
12 Christy Walton & family 16.3 52 Jackson, WY Wal-Mart inheritance
12 Jim Walton 16.3 59 Bentonville, AR Wal-Mart
12 S Robson Walton 16.3 63 Bentonville, AR Wal-Mart
15 Alice Walton 16.1 58 Fort Worth, TX Wal-Mart
16 Steven Ballmer 15.2 51 Hunts Point, WA Microsoft
17 Abigail Johnson 15.0 45 Boston, MA Fidelity
18 Carl Icahn 14.5 71 New York, NY leveraged buyouts
19 Forrest Mars Jr 14.0 76 McLean, VA candy, pet food
19 Jacqueline Mars 14.0 67 Bedminster, NJ candy, pet food
19 John Mars 14.0 71 Arlington, VA candy, pet food
19 Jack Taylor & family 14.0 85 St Louis, MO Enterprise Rent-A-Car
23 Donald Bren 13.0 75 Newport Beach, CA real estate
24 Anne Cox Chambers 12.6 87 Atlanta, GA Cox Enterprises
25 Michael Bloomberg 11.5 65 New York, NY Bloomberg
Rank Name Net Worth ($bil) Age Residence Source
26 George Kaiser 11.0 65 Tulsa, OK oil & gas, banking
27 Charles Ergen 10.2 54 Denver, CO EchoStar
28 Edward Johnson III 10.0 77 Boston, MA Fidelity
28 Ronald Perelman 10.0 64 New York, NY leveraged buyouts
30 Philip Knight 9.8 69 Beaverton, OR Nike
31 John Kluge 9.5 93 Palm Beach, FL Metromedia
32 Pierre Omidyar 8.9 40 Henderson, NV Ebay
33 Rupert Murdoch 8.8 76 New York, NY News Corp
33 George Soros 8.8 77 Westchester, NY hedge funds
35 Jeffrey Bezos 8.7 43 Seattle, WA Amazon
35 James Goodnight 8.7 64 Cary, NC SAS Institute
37 Donald Newhouse 8.5 77 Somerset County, NJ publishing
37 Samuel Newhouse Jr 8.5 79 New York, NY publishing
39 Dan Duncan 8.2 74 Houston, TX energy
40 Stephen Schwarzman 7.8 60 New York, NY investments
41 Philip Anschutz 7.6 67 Denver, CO investments
41 Sumner Redstone 7.6 84 Beverly Hills, CA Viacom
43 Harold Simmons 7.4 76 Dallas, TX investments
44 John Menard Jr 7.3 67 Eau Claire, WI home improvement stores
45 Leonard Blavatnik 7.2 50 New York, NY Access Industries
46 Eli Broad 7.0 74 Los Angeles, CA investments
47 Steven Cohen 6.8 51 Greenwich, CT hedge funds
48 Eric Schmidt 6.5 52 Atherton, CA Google
49 Robert Rowling 6.4 54 Dallas, TX oil & gas, investments
50 James Kennedy 6.3 59 Atlanta, GA Cox Enterprises

It's a pretty impressive list.

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posted by Jody @ Monday, September 24, 2007   0 comments
Top Search Stories September 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007

With Search Engine Strategies San Jose taking place last month, there was a lot going on in the world of search. SES San Jose was our top Search story of August, this month has been a little quieter on the search front, but then again the month is not over yet. Here are the Top 7 Search Stories of the month for September 2007.

Top 7 Search Stories of September 2007

#7. Google Guys Enter Forbes Richest American List - Forbes released their richest Americans list and the Google Guys are at number 5 and number six with an estimated worth of $18.5 billion each.
#6. Microsoft Searchification - this week Microsoft will be conducting their first ever Searchification Day to discuss their latest search endeavors.
#5. Google Phone Rumors Continue to Circulate - possibly the world's worst secret is Google's plan to release their own phone. Rumors are getting stronger that Google will be announcing the release of their Google Phone product shortly. Google (GOOG) continues to downplay the rumors, but Google is all about innovation and the "Google Phone" has the potential to be a very innovative product
#4. Yahoo Begins Testing Yahoo Mash Social Networking Site- we have mentioned that both Google and Yahoo are planning to release their own social networks. This month, Yahoo began testing their new Mash Social Network. We reported on a potential product from Yahoo entitled Yahoo Mosh which may try to become Yahoo's answer to Facebook.
#3. Google Updates Webmaster Tools Again - Google Webmaster Tools continues to get better with more updates including some changes to the interface.
#2. Google to Distribute Ads in Widgets - Google Gadget Ads will enable advertisers and agencies to engage audiences on the Internet's largest ad network with a rich and interactive new ad format.
#1. Facebook to Make Profiles Indexable in the Search Engines - Facebook announced that user profiles will be searchable through the popular social network site with the profiles turning up in Google, Yahoo and MSN/Live search results pages.

Google dominated the list this month, we'll see what happens in October. See you next month.

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posted by Jody @ Sunday, September 23, 2007   0 comments
SEO 101: What Would You Like to Know?
Friday, September 21, 2007
For online marketers, there is an abundance of tools, news, and other resources that you can use to aid you with your SEO campaigns. In fact there might be too much information out there. Or maybe it's just a case of not being enough of the "right stuff" out there. I was curious as to what online marketers and site owners are looking for in terms of SEO 101? What are the topics that you would like specific information on? It could be best practices, it could be search engine stats, identifying SEO key performance indicators and such. Over the next few weeks, I would like to hear for you, the readers of SEO-Space, as to what information you would like to have access to that will help you with your online marketing campaign.

I'm not going to set up a poll or a feedback form, I want to keep it simple. I would simply like to hear from you via comments to this post, or by dropping us an .

Here is a partial list to get you thinking:
  1. How to Leverage RSS
  2. How to setup a blog
  3. How to build links through blogging
  4. How to identify proper KPIs for search
  5. How to optimize Video
  6. How to set up Google and Yahoo Alerts
  7. How to use Google Webmaster Tools
  8. How to externalize scripting
  9. How to identify proper keywords
  10. Tools that you can use to identify up and coming online competitors
  11. How to write proper meta data
  12. Best practices for local search optimization
  13. SEO best practices for Google
  14. SEO best practices for Yahoo
  15. Why is link building important?
  16. How do I sell SEO to my boss?
  17. What are the benefits of SEO?
  18. Why should we use SEO?
  19. Tools for finding stats on the search engines
  20. What is better sub-domains or sub folders?
  21. Which analytics package should I use?
  22. How to create an optimized sitemap
  23. How to leverage widgets
  24. What are the best SEO blogs out there?
  25. How do I implement a URL re-writer?
We could go on and on, but you get the idea. We want to know what you would like to see as part of an SEO 101 offering. If you have questions about SEO, chances are someone else will have the same question as well. Tell us what you would like to know about SEO.

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posted by Jody @ Friday, September 21, 2007   0 comments
Google Gadget Ads: Google to Distrubute Ads in Widgets
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Widgets continue to be all the rage on the Internet. The popularity of them is pretty amazing and the viral spread of widgets is pretty impressive as well. For me, widgets are like Gremlins, you don't want to get water on them or feed them after midnight... For those who don't know what a widget is, a widget is simply a piece of embeddable code that can be found on one site, and embedded in another that can be used to promote your own site, blog or brand. We have discussed widget marketing a number of times in the past. We've touched on the fascination with widgets and the importance of widget marketing in the near future if not already.

So we knew that it was only a matter of time until Google would be trying to branch out and distribute ads into widgets. Yesterday was that day as Google (GOOG) announced that it will begin distributing ads within "widgets". Google's statement as to what are Google Gadget Ads?
Gadget ads enable advertisers and agencies to engage audiences on the Internet's largest ad network with a rich and interactive new ad format.
The announcement of the "Gadget Ads" has been well received in the financial arena as Google's share price has jumped nicely since the announcement as it is currently near the $554/share mark. (Google's all-time high was around the $558 mark)

What Are Google Gadget Ads?

So just what are Google Gadget Ads? Google describes them as "applications incorporating data feeds, maps, images, audio, video, Flash, HTML or JavaScript in a single creative". This new ad format will allow advertisers to create these interactive ads within widgets that can be spread virally across the Internet. Widgets as you know are simply pieces of software that can include video, images, and dynamically updated data feeds. Advertisers looking for more "pizzazz and flash" will find the use of widget advertising somewhat pleasing as they make use of display advertising over text based ads.

According to Google, benefits of Gadget Ads for Advertisers include:

    • The Google content network comprises thousands of high-quality websites that partner with Google to display targeted ads.
    • As an advertiser, you can select sites or let Google's ad targeting display your ads on the most relevant pages.
    • Analyze performance by selecting from dozens of predefined interactions and optimize based on those results.
    • Gadget ads are built with the same technology as gadgets on iGoogle, which currently has tens of millions of users.
    • Use gadget ads to drive significant traffic to your iGoogle gadgets to maintain an ongoing conversation with your target audience.
    • In fact, gadgets are being adopted by numerous products from the likes of AOL, IBM and thousands of websites
There is growing use of RSS feeds and widgets that many are using to syndicate their content our there to the masses. You can bet that Google advertising competitors such as Yahoo and Microsoft are also working on similar platforms.

Here is a look at some existing ads from the Google Gadget Ads Gallery.

Official Google Gadget Ads Links

About Google Gadget Ads
Benefits of Google Gadget Ads
Features of Google Gadget Ads
Success Stories Using Google Gadget Ads
Tutorial on Google Gadget Ads
Google Gadget Ads Help

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, September 20, 2007   0 comments
Microsoft Searchification - Windows Live 2.0? WTF
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Right around this time roughly a year ago Microsoft launched their new search product, Windows Live. The launch was a tremendous.... flop. The only thing Windows Live did was confuse users of search into wondering if they were supposed to use MSN or Windows Live or Live Search etc etc. The point is, is that the search team at Microsoft dropped the ball.

This is not the first time that Microsoft has dropped the ball on search, and it probably won't be the last. Frankly for users of search engines, Microsoft's search offering sucks. It is terrible. It's not even a good copycat of another search engine. The results are well... not usually relevant (depending on what you are looking for.) The search experience is boring. I don't know maybe it's just me. How many of you use MSN or Windows Live on a regular basis? For those that like the engine, why? We've discussed issues with MSN/Windows Live before, but normally we don't give it the time of day, for the simple reason that it is just not useful for search.

So earlier today I read a post from Danny Sullivan on how next week Microsoft will be conducting a special day to talk about it's search efforts ( they need a whole day for this? Actually it is only a half day, but 10 minutes would probably do it...). They have dubbed this joyous occasion "Searchification". In fact today is the last day to complete your registration for Live Search's Searchification. The event will take place in Mountain View, Ca at Microsoft's SVC Campus. Here's what attendees can look forward to:
Time Item
8:30 - 9:00 Check-in Open/ Continental Breakfast Galileo Lobby
9:00 - 9:30 Welcome & Overview Galileo Auditorium
9:30 - 10:15 Live Search Product Update Galileo Auditorium
10:15 - 10:30 Break Galileo Lobby
10:15 - 12:00 Live Search Demos Galileo Auditorium
12:00 - 1:00 Lunch Saturn and Jupiter
1:00 - 2:00 Webmaster Tools Mercury

* Schedule not final, content subject to change (LOL yeah just like the Windows Live product, subject to change.)

Well I will say this, I am excited to see what they have come up with for their "Webmaster Tools" product offering. I am a big fan of Google Webmaster Tools so if the folks at Microsoft can make it half as good, then it's a step in the right direction.

As for Searchification, well I hope that something actually comes out of this. Windows Live needs to step up to the plate. I think that ASK, Yahoo and Google are all much better products, in fact I would guess that is what most people think judging by the stagnant search engine market share that is being experienced by MSN/Windows Live.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, September 19, 2007   1 comments
The Economy Effect on Online Marketing
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
The economy is what makes the world turn. This is very true in North America. I am proud to say that I live in Canada as Canadians are hard working and honest people. We have a strong economy and our dollar is about to surpass the weaker American dollar. The economy in Canada is somewhat stable. So as I was reading an article about a stalled housing market to our neighbors to the south, I wondered how much the overall economy has on online marketing?

When an economy slumps, usually one of the first cutbacks in the budget for many organizations is the marketing budget. As a result when looking at the marketing budget, you can be sure that one of the first items that will be affected is online marketing. In fact I've seen this happen with some of my clients, where the first thing that happens is that their SEO budget is reduced followed by their amount of sponsored spend. This is interesting to me as search engine marketing as a whole is on average less expensive than traditional forms of media such as television advertising and print ads.

So what can an online marketer do when faced with a slumping economy and budget cuts? How can online marketing remain effective when overall marketing budgets are being slashed?
  1. Provide Value - show value from your online marketing campaign. Dollarize your success so that when marketing budgets are cut, your manager will think twice about cutting the online marketing budget.

  2. Sell SEO - similar to the first point, you should always work to sell SEO to the various departments in your organization. This includes getting buy in from the C-Suite, and backing from the IT and sales departments.

  3. Train Staff to do Online Marketing In-house - it is a good idea to train members of your team in SEO and Sponsored strategies. At a bare minimum learn it yourself so that you can do the fundamentals and necessary tasks that will keep your company competitive in the online world.

  4. Plan for the Economy Effect - Be aware of your industry and forecasts of where your industry is going. If you see signs that your industry might begin to fall on difficult times, plan for the leaner times. Prepare your online campaigns to shoulder the load of declines in the economy. This is where effective search engine optimization and SEO comes in handy as a site that is well optimized and ranking well in the search engines should remain there for a long period of time. Unlike the sponsored listings where you are only there until your budget runs out. Having a sound SEO strategy in place now may carry you through some of the leaner times in the future.
Online marketing is an effective way, not only to promote your brand, but to generate leads and business for your organization. Even during down times in the economy, an effective online campaign directed at the proper target audience will provide your business with an opportunity for success.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, September 18, 2007   0 comments
Google Webmaster Tools Gets Even Better
Monday, September 17, 2007
I didn't see much posted on this, but Google has made some more updates to their Google Webmaster Tools product. subscriber stats feature which is now available. Webmaster Tools now show feed publishers the number of aggregated subscribers you have from Google services such as Google Reader, iGoogle, and Orkut. I also love the "Choose Search Type" feature from the Top Search Queries statistics. This feature allows you to see your top search queries from a variety of source including Web Search, Mobile Search, Directory Search and Blog Search. I guess this is Google's method for reporting on Universal search stats. Well not exactly but you get the point.
the new sidebar

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posted by Jody @ Monday, September 17, 2007   1 comments
Why Doesn't Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Get a Fair Shake?
Riddle me this, why is it that online advertisers continue to spend their budgets on PPC (sponsored ads) over organic search engine optimization? In fact according to reports about sponsored spend, over 90% of US paid search ad spending will go to Google and Yahoo! in 2007.

There is the age old question of which works better, paid search advertising or search engine optimization? That is difficult to measure as online advertising budgets are almost always directed towards PPC and not search engine optimization. So right off the bat, it's difficult top compare the success of each as the budget spent on each is not equivalent to begin with. Yet the user and yes your potential consumer tend to click on organic listings 70-80% of the time. So why then do you not spend more time, energy and funding on improving your SEO and organic visibility presence in the search engines? Why the focus (and spend) on PPC? Why do you insist on ignoring the fact that the majority of users click on natural (organic) listings before (if) they click on PPC listings?

At Enquiro, we have done countless amounts of research including a number of eye tracking studies and whitepapers that communicate that fact that the masses click on organic listings 7 out of 8 times. We've even gone further and discussed reasons as to why users click how they do when they visit a search engine results page. We've discussed factors such as:
  • Information Scent
  • Semantic Mapping
  • Area of Great Promise
  • Pre-Mapping
  • Banner Blindness
  • Impact of Bolded Search Queries, Icons and Indented Results
  • Perceived Relevance
  • Interactions with Sponsored Results
  • Interactions with Organic Results
  • Interaction with Top Organic
  • Interaction with Lower Organic
  • Impact of Top Sponsored Ads
  • Interaction with Side Sponsored
  • How we scan a listing
  • Pogo Sticking Cannibalization of Campaigns
  • Purchase vs Research Intent
So we have a pretty good idea as to how users interact with a search engine and their results page. Yet SEO still takes a backseat to PPC marketing every time. I've written a series on Organic Search: What's In it For You describing the benefit of SEO.

Which works better, paid search advertising or search engine optimization? Well the true answer is that for the best ROI you need to do both as each compliment each other. With sponsored ads you can get quick results as your ad may appear immediately if you have the highest bid on that particular key phrase. With a prime organic listing you will receive more long term traffic. I know that SEO is more difficult to measure but the return your can receive is unmatched by any other medium. So I would like to hear from business owners, web marketers, and really anyone who is trying to promote a brand or product as to why you don't give SEO a fair shake. Why is your online focus not on search engine optimization? What are the alternatives that are currently providing you more online leads?

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posted by Jody @ Monday, September 17, 2007   0 comments
O.J. Simpson, Britney Spears and Google News
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Where is the first place you can expect to find news about celebrities, celebrity scandal and celebrity downfall? Why Google of course... or to be more specific, the search engines. Is it just me or did we not hear so much gossip and news about celebrities before there was search engines? Or maybe we just tuned it out more. On my Google homepage, I have a variety of tabs each consisting of a number of feeds. Everything from SEO to hockey, sports and finance. I will usually click on something that catches my eye.

So earlier today I wanted to check out the latest SEO news, so on my iGoogle page, I look at my section on Google News and what do I see?

Britney Bombshell: Custody of Kids Imperiled - FOX News

So then I go to the Google Finance page for Google (GOOG) and what do I see under the blog section?

OJ Simpson Arrested

It's no wonder why people get distracted when trying to find information via a search engine. You have sponsored listings vying for your attention, you have news stories, video footage, organic search results, blogs, RSS feeds and more all trying to capture your click.

I wasn't looking for the latest on Britney Spears or O.J. Simpson yet I clicked on the results. Why? Curiosity? Or is it just human nature to be distracted to alternate images, conversation or text? So Britney is going to lose her kids.... O.J. is arrested in Las Vegas (don't even get me started...), why do we care? Or do we? Factor in personalized results and personalized search, and is this what we are going to get? News stories on celebrities. Relevancy is a topic that I've discussed on numerous occassions, but when will the search engines make it happen? My iGoogle page should contain the information that I want to see.... in fact it should contain the most relevant information that I expect to see.

So with all due respect to Britney Spears (Britney, I truly hope that you get your life together.) and to other celebrities in the news, no offence but unless I search for information about you, I really don't want to hear about your lives all that much. I don't want to see news stories about your lives occupying positions from within my feeds on my personalized Google page. I don't even want to hear about you on the news and I don't wanted to be distracted by you when I do a search in a search engine. Entertainers are over-rated and over paid. Why do news resources including Google news insist on pushing all of this celebrity crap out to us? Why? The answer is because you, the general public eat this stuff up. It must be relevant to you in some manner. Me, I could care less nine times out of ten.

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posted by Jody @ Sunday, September 16, 2007   1 comments
Veoh Rising in Prominence as Online Video Provider
Friday, September 14, 2007
In July, we did a brief review of VEOH, and questioned whether Veoh will become the new YouTube, the new ABC or the new Google. Well it's probably too early to tell, but the video hosting and sharing site is continuing to gain traction with users. According to Nielsen NetRatings the video sites to keep an eye on are Veoh and Yahoo who have experienced steady growth of 346% and 101% in terms of traffic.

With all of the competition for market share with all of these video sites, it is becoming more and more important to ensure that your videos are optimized for SEO. Sites like Veoh will continue to gain popularity as users look for options to YouTube and the like. Traditional TV networks will need to seriously look at their online strategies if they are to remain competitive for viewers attention and ad dollars. Veoh is just one of the many players in the web video platform, where competition will just increase and before you know it the big four networks will no longer be ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX, they will now be destinations such as Google YouTube, MySpace Video, Yahoo Video, Joost and perhaps even Veoh.

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posted by Jody @ Friday, September 14, 2007   0 comments
Duplicate Content: Thoughts from Google Webmaster Central
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Talking to a number of clients and others in the industry, there appears to still be some confusion on duplicate content issues. Well yesterday there was a fantastic post over at the Google Webmaster Central Blog on Duplicate Content. The post is so great that I thought that I would reproduce it here in its entirety (creating more duplicate content?)

Google, duplicate content caused by URL parameters, and you

Wednesday, September 12, 2007 at 1:13 AM



How can URL parameters, like session IDs or tracking IDs, cause duplicate content?
When user and/or tracking information is stored through URL parameters, duplicate content can arise because the same page is accessible through numerous URLs. It's what Adam Lasnik referred to in "Deftly Dealing with Duplicate Content" as "store items shown (and -- worse yet -- linked) via multiple distinct URLs." In the example below, URL parameters create three URLs which access the same product page.

Why should you care?
When search engines crawl identical content through varied URLs, there may be several negative effects:

1. Having multiple URLs can dilute link popularity. For example, in the diagram above, rather than 50 links to your intended display URL, the 50 links may be divided three ways among the three distinct URLs.

2. Search results may display user-unfriendly URLs (long URLs with tracking IDs, session IDs)
* Decreases chances of user selecting the listing
* Offsets branding efforts

How we help users and webmasters with duplicate content
We've designed algorithms to help prevent duplicate content from negatively affecting webmasters and the user experience.

1. When we detect duplicate content, such as through variations caused by URL parameters, we group the duplicate URLs into one cluster.

2. We select what we think is the "best" URL to represent the cluster in search results.

3. We then consolidate properties of the URLs in the cluster, such as link popularity, to the representative URL.

Consolidating properties from duplicates into one representative URL often provides users with more accurate search results.

If you find you have duplicate content as mentioned above, can you help search engines understand your site?
First, no worries, there are many sites on the web that utilize URL parameters and for valid reasons. But yes, you can help reduce potential problems for search engines by:

1. Removing unnecessary URL parameters -- keep the URL as clean as possible.

2. Submitting a Sitemap with the canonical (i.e. representative) version of each URL. While we can't guarantee that our algorithms will display the Sitemap's URL in search results, it's helpful to indicate the canonical preference.


How can you design your site to reduce duplicate content?
Because of the way Google handles duplicate content, webmasters need not be overly concerned with the loss of link popularity or loss of PageRank due to duplication. However, to reduce duplicate content more broadly, we suggest:

1. When tracking visitor information, use 301 redirects to redirect URLs with parameters such as affiliateID, trackingID, etc. to the canonical version.

2. Use a cookie to set the affiliateID and trackingID values.

If you follow this guideline, your webserver logs could appear as:

127.0.0.1 - - [19/Jun/2007:14:40:45 -0700] "GET /product.php?category=gummy-candy&item=swedish-fish&affiliateid=ABCD HTTP/1.1" 301 -

127.0.0.1 - - [19/Jun/2007:14:40:45 -0700] "GET /product.php?item=swedish-fish HTTP/1.1" 200 74

And the session file storing the raw cookie information may look like:

category|s:11:"gummy-candy";affiliateid|s:4:"ABCD";

Please be aware that if your site uses cookies, your content (such as product pages) should remain accessible with cookies disabled.

How can we better assist you in the future?
We recently published ideas from SMX Advanced on how search engines can help webmasters with duplicate content. If you have an opinion on the topic, please join our conversation in the Webmaster Help Group (we've already started the thread).
There are some pretty good tips here from one of the engines themselves. They are emphatically saying that multiple URLs of the same content can dilute link popularity. Well if you have ever wondered why you may not be ranking as high as you should be, start by checking your URL structure. Curious if your site has duplicate content issues? There are various tools that you can use to quickly check to see if your site has duplicate content issues. Well all is said and done (and this is not always easy to accomplish) the best way to deal with duplicate content is to avoid it in the first place.
  • Create unique content pages
  • Be smart about planning out your URL structure
  • Use proper tracking mechanisms to track your visitors (as opposed to having multiple URLs that goes to the same destination page. or use 301 redirects to redirect URLs with parameters as mentioned above.)
Thanks to the team at Google Webmaster Central for this fantastic information.

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, September 13, 2007   0 comments
Remarkable Value: Is There Remarkable Value in Online Marketing? Part One
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Hmm, remarkable value... what do those two words mean to you? I guess that it's open to interpretation. For me remarkable value means something I find value in that is fresh, new and as yet unmatched. In fact I will go on record and define remarkable value as:
*Remarkable Value* - finding extraordinary worth in something.
Remarkable value can mean different things to different people. In everyday life, something that is of remarkable value to me today may not ever be of remarkable value to you. Take for example blogs. I read a lot of different blogs each consisting of a lot of different subject matter. While there is value in most of them, I'm not so sure that I find remarkable value in them all of the time. Someone else on the other habd might actually find remarkable value in the same blog(s). For me, that tells me that remarkable value should be consistent. Or should it? Is it that lack of consistency that helps define remarkable value because as a society we are not used to it?

In your everyday routine, do you experience remarkable value on a regular basis? When you turn the TV on and watch CNN, do you find remarkable value? When you try a new restaurant out, do you find remarkable value in the experience? How about when you make a purchase, do you find remarkable value in the purchase that you make? The point that I am trying to get across is that remarkable value is open to interpretation and is difficult to find. It takes a special set of circumstances to provide remarkable value.

Things I find remarkable value in:
  • Knowledge - not just any knowledge, but knowledge that sincerely satisfies my need to seek out an answer to something.
  • Timing - Owning a house in an over-inflated real estate market when it was originally purchased for a quarter of what it is worth now.
  • Exceptional Customer Service - having someone take the time to solve my dilemma in manner in which I would like the dilemma solved.
  • Unconditional Love - this is not easy to find by all people, but when you experience it, there is remarkable value that you feel.
Those are four very diverse items that I find remarkable value in. For the most part it takes a special set of circumstances to provide and experience remarkable value. Which brings me to the topic of this post and this series; Is there remarkable value in online marketing? In part two of this series, we will look closer at this interesting and potentially elusive topic. For all of the webmasters, site owners, SEO's, prospects, online marketers, marketers in general who may be reading this I would like to hear examples of remarkable value that you have experienced in terms of online marketing and SEO. Simply leave a comment or and maybe I will include some of the examples later on in this series on Remarkable Value in Online Marketing.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, September 12, 2007   0 comments
Will Google Stock Become the Most Valued Ever?
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
We all know that Google stock is somewhat of a solid investment. Google (GOOG) shares initially went on sale at around $85/share and are currently valued at around the $520 mark. Many analysts suggest that Google's share price could reach as high as $650 within the next year. So does Google stock have what it takes to become the most valued stock ever?

Google is an innovative company and continues to push the limit with the release of new services and technologies, but is that enough? Considering that Google's share price all-time high was $558.58, Google has a long way to go to become the most valued stock in the US. Google is not even close to being the most valued stock ever. You see there is a man named Warren Buffet (maybe you've heard of him?) who is the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A). Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is currently the most valued stock in the US. On Tuesday, shares of Berkshire closed at around $119,000 per share.

So to answer the question will Google's share price become the most valued ever, the answer is of course no. That's not to share that the stock is week, it's not. Google is a unique company and the value of its shares will continue to increase.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, September 11, 2007   0 comments
14 Best Practices and Tips for Video Optimization SEO
Monday, September 10, 2007
Video optimization as part of your search engine optimization efforts can be a great way for you to expose your brand to users who may have otherwise not been familar with your brand, your product(s) or your service(s). With the launch of Universal Search from Google, you can expect to see more and more video results occupying the search engine results that are served up by Google.

Marketers and site owners are continuing to experiment with video as a means of intercepting their target markets. As a result, we are seeing more video driven content surface on the Web. Just how popular is video content on the Web? Well depending on the study or data you review, the results vary.

The thing is, as is the case with a lot of the content on the Web, a lot of the video out there is useless and lacking in informative content. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of great "How To" video's out there, but there are a lot of video footage that is really just noise and an interruption to those of use looking for useful, relevant information. According to websiteoptimization.com, the growth of online video has been quite explosive.




Site Unique Visitors (1000s)
(June 2007)
Year-over-year growth
1. YouTube 51,378 162%
2. Google Video 17,759 137%
3. AOL Video 15,687 114%
4. Yahoo! Video 15,473 405%
5. vids.myspace.com 15,281 69%
6. MSN Video 11,967 8%

With this type of growth, the need for online video optimization is a must. As a result, we have compiled a few best practices that you should consider when looking to optimize your online video.

Video Optimization
Best Practices and Tips
  1. Make sure that your video clips are relevant and informative - For starters, ensure that your video provides useful and informative information. Videos that demonstrate step by step procedures are great, videos that express an opinion about a specific topic can be useful too. Videos that have nothing to do with your brand or service offering or are general or vague in nature will just confuse your audience. Save the viewer the trouble and don't just upload a video for the sake of uploading a video.

  2. SEO Video Optimization Fundamental Tip #1: Give your video a Catchy Title - Video can be used to bring visitors to your site. One way to get users to view your video is to give it a catchy title that contains a related key phrase that is relevant to your product, service or brand.

  3. Use Video as a Portal to other Content on Your Site - Upload a couple of videos to portals like YouTube and provide links back to related content and other videos on your site.

  4. SEO Video Optimization Fundamental Tip #2: Optimize your video for Important Key Phrases - You might want to optimize your video for terms users are likely to be searching for. Tag your video with these terms, consider naming the file name of the video with these terms in mind.

  5. Provide Transcripts of your Videos - Good old HTML content is still a favorite with the search engines. If you want your video to rank well, you need to give the search engines something to index and rank. Surround your videos with onpage copy that can be indexed by the search engines.

  6. Keep Your Videos to five minutes or less - there is nothing worse than a boring video that goes on an on. If you have video content that is of long duration, consider breaking it up into smaller pieces and tag each accordingly. Not only does this make for better viewing pleasure, it also keeps the user looking for more.

  7. Make use of a Video Sitemap - For video that is native to your own website, make sure that users and search engine spiders can find your video content. The easiest way to do this is through the use of a video sitemap on your site. Use important keywords in the anchor text links to your videos featured on your video sitemap.

  8. SEO Video Optimization Fundamental Tip #3: Tag Your Videos - tag your videos with key phrases that are reflective of the content.

  9. Brand your Video with your Logo - Video is a great tool to generate brand awareness with your prospects. Take advantage of this by incorporating your brand in your videos.

  10. SEO Video Optimization Fundamental Tip #4: Remember Inbound Linking Factors - Link to videos using important keywords in anchor text.

  11. Offer the Option to Embed Your Video - allow other users access to the coding that will allow them to embed your video on their website or their blog. Think viral marketing

  12. SEO Video Optimization Fundamental Tip #5: Add Descriptive Meta Data - optimize your video for relevant keywords and include a keyword rich description of your video content.

  13. Allow Users to Rate your Video - videos that receive higher ratings from users are the ones that users tend to favorite and save. You can bet that the search engines will pay attention to this when ranking these videos.

  14. Syndicate Your Video - Submit your video to RSS.
Video optimization is becoming more important as mainstream aspect to search engine optimization. The best way to optimize your video content is to think about the user and who you want to engage with your video. Be smart about it, don't just post a video for the sake of posting a video. Consider your audience, their language and their needs.

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posted by Jody @ Monday, September 10, 2007   47 comments
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Name: Jody
Home: Kelowna, BC, Canada
About Me: SEO guy by day, family man 24/7.
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