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Halloween at Enquiro
Friday, October 31, 2008
Earlier today at Enquiro, we decided to have our monthly potluck lunch (where half of the company prepares a dish for the entire company). The theme this year was a spooky Halloween theme and featured some great dishes including Ryan's Monster Mashed Potatoes, Angie's Deviled Eggs, Tracy's Rotten Worms in Coagulated Blood, Jason's Ghoulash, Mystery Meat Chili, Doug's snake-wiches Karl's RIP Rice Krispy Square Tombstones and more.

We had some great costumes this years including Petar as Foxy CleoPetra, Barb as the Web Spinner, Tracy as the classic cut-out-two-eyes-from a bedsheet ghost, Andrew as Paul McCartney, Chris as Spiderman, Doug as the excellent Incredible Hulk, Lisa as Sarah Palin, Ryan as an original Ghostbuster, Jason as the "Mad Google Engineer" and John as the Techno Pink Pumpkin. There were more including myself. What did I dress up you ask?

I came dressed as a Google SERP (Searh Engine Results Page) of a vanity search for myself. I will be posting pictures over the weekend. Stay tuned and have a scary Halloween.

Picture Update:


posted by Jody @ Friday, October 31, 2008  
How Much is Your NHL Team Worth? Forbes Lists Top NHL Teams
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Yesterday, Forbes releases a special report on the Business of Hockey. For those of us in Canada, we know that hockey is big business... actually it's more of a way of life. Well according to the Forbes report, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the prized possession of the NHL (even though they have not won a Stanley Cup since 1967). With an estimated worth of nearly $450 million, followed by the New York Rangers with a worth of $411 million. For my fellow Oilers fans out there, Forbes listed the worth of the Edmonton Oilers as being about $175 million, the lowest of the six Canadian teams and 20th overall. This might explain why new owner Daryl Katz was making these huge offers to the likes of Jaromir Jagr and Marian Hossa in the off season.

Here is the list from Forbes. There are some interesting rankings, like the Washington Capitals at #26? ?I would have thought them to be a little higher. According to TSN, the biggest increase in value was made by the Pittsburgh Penguins who are now valued at $195 million an increase of 26%. Phoenix ranked 3oth of the 30 teams appears to be a bargain with a value of $142 million. With all of those kids there and coach Wayne Gretzky, you'd have to think that the Coyotes are on the rise.

  1. Toronto Maple Leafs
  2. New York Rangers
  3. Montreal Canadiens
  4. Detroit Red Wings
  5. Philadelphia Flyers
  6. Dallas Stars
  7. Boston Bruins
  8. Vancouver Canucks
  9. Colorado Avalanche
  10. New Jersey Devils
  11. Minnesota Wild
  12. Los Angeles Kings
  13. Ottawa Senators
  14. Chicago Blackhawks
  15. Calgary Flames
  16. Anaheim Ducks
  17. Tampa Bay Lightning
  18. Pittsburgh Penguins
  19. San Jose Sharks
  20. Edmonton Oilers
  21. Buffalo Sabres
  22. Carolina Hurricanes
  23. Nashville Predators
  24. Florida Panthers
  25. St Louis Blues
  26. Washington Capitals
  27. Atlanta Thrashers
  28. Columbus Blue Jackets
  29. New York Islanders
  30. Phoenix Coyotes

Here is a comparison of the top teams worth by major sport:

Baseball: New York Yankees - $1.3 billion

: Dallas Cowboys - $1.6 billion

: Manchester United - $1.8 billion

: New York Knicks - $608 million

Hockey: Toronto Maple Leafs
- $448 million

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, October 30, 2008  
SEO vs PPC in the Time of a Recession
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
So I'm watching the news and reading the blogs and getting my fill out of how the recession is affecting online marketing efforts. Bloggers and folks in the industry are trying to take a stand on what the effects of the economy will have on online marketing namely SEO and PPC.

Being from Canada, I ask myself are we in a recession? While I would argue that the Canadian dollar is highly undervalued, Canada is in better shape than most economies in the world. That's not to say we're not prone to what is happening in other parts of the world (see the United States for more), Canada is a hard working nation that continues to enjoy success in many of its provinces and territories.

The question de jour then is how do these so called recessions or economic hardships affect online marketing? Well, if you think about it, it depends on the business. Perhaps if you are an early adopter of SEO and PPC maybe you are not affected as much. Why? Because you see the value in it. Specifically about SEO. For those who leverage sound SEO strategies, you understand the fact that SEO can provide the greatest return for the cost associated. To this day I scratch my head when I hear of companies, whether B2C or B2B who have these massive budgets that they blow on PPC or sponsored advertising. They exhaust their budget and see a nice modest return and sometimes even an exceptional return, but fail to realize the return on investment that they could have experienced had they put more budget into SEO.

The way I see it, is that the current economics situation will affect online marketing in this manner.
  1. Advertisers will need to trim budget and therefore may cut back on PPC spend not SEO as SEO simply does not receive the budget allocations that paid spend does.

  2. Advertisers will turn to SEO - In terms of advertising and marketing dollars, SEO is cheap, cheap, cheap. Really think about your SEO costs? You hire an SEO firm to the tune of $20-200K per year to receive a return, if we think conservatively of what 15-50%. A number of clients that we have worked on have recorded returns not in the ten or hundreds of per cent increase, but in the thousands.

  3. More SEO Success Stories - we'll begin to hear more about SEO success stories and as a result we may finally see SEO get the recognition it deserves.

  4. Budget Shift from PPC to SEO - while we may see smaller online marketing budgets, we'll most likely see some budget shift from sponsored advertising towards SEO.
I love the fact that people say SEO is dead. In recent months I've used SEO to help clients:
  • Drop bounce rates from over 80% to 35%
  • Increase average time spent from mere seconds to minutes
  • Improve rankings in the search engines from oblivion to top 10
  • Drive qualified traffic to deeper solution pages of their web properties
  • Successfully complete website redesigns and not only preserve traffic but increase traffic immediately post launch
  • Return traffic and post rankings after an unsuccessful launch of a redesign using another vendor
  • Increase traffic from organic search from 9% to over 50%
  • Increase the quality of non-branded traffic to their web properties
SEO is not dead, it's simply overlooked. Until people start to understand the power and benefit of SEO, they will continue to plug money into PPC budgets and be happy with that return. They will continue to miss out on an affordable means of marketing their brand and their web properties. In this time of economic turmoil. SEO might just be the answer.

Remember that SEO:
  • Is cheap when compared to other advertising mediums
  • Is long lasting if done properly
  • Can be done in-house, out-sourced or both!
  • Does take time, but in the end can provide tremendous ROI
  • Can be learned
  • Can provide a positive user experience on your web properties
I've written numerous pieces on the value of SEO, frankly if you are experiencing a budget crunch you might want to take a serious look at developing a strong SEO strategy.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, October 28, 2008  
Microsoft Announce 3rd Quarter Financials
Friday, October 24, 2008
Yesterday, Microsoft (MSFT) annonced results for the third quarter. In short, the takeaways were:
  • Overall revenues for the quarter came in at $15 billion, an increase of 9 percent annually
  • Net profits of $4.37 billion were reported; an increase of 1.9 percent
  • The company’s online revenues, (including MSN, search and its advertising networks) grew 15 percent to $770 million in the quarter.
  • The online business segment posted an operating loss of $480 million, which is almost double the $267 million loss it posted a year ago
  • Interestingly enough, Microsoft will be taking $400 to $500 million out of costs by slowing its hiring and cutting back on marketing and travel expenses.

Although reporting better-than-expected results for its latest quarter, Microsoft gave a fairly cautious outlook. Microsoft issued downside guidance for its second quarter and fiscal year 2009 based on the current economic situation in the US.

Microsoft Earnings Call, Q3 2008
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: earnings microsoft)


posted by Jody @ Friday, October 24, 2008  
comScore Introduces Media Planner
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Introducing comScore Media Planner

In line with their continuous efforts to provide more reliable and actionable data and tools for digital media measurement, comScore is happy to announce that a new tool, comScore Media Planner, is now available to support your day to day media planning needs.

Media Planner combines comScore's various data sources into one simple and comprehensive planning interface, enabling you to analyze audiences and build online campaigns based on various targeting criteria, including:

• Demographics
• Product ownership, Purchase Intent
• Offline/lifestyle Attributes
• Online behavior
• Buying power
• and 3rd party / proprietary segmentation schemes (Claritas Prizm, Acxiom PersonicX etc)

Beta testers have been invited to a demonstration of Media Planner on Thursday, October 30th at 1:30 pm Eastern.


posted by Jody @ Thursday, October 23, 2008  
Ted Leonsis: The Man Knows Hockey AND Online Marketing
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I have just become inspired by Ted Leonsis. I have known him as the owner of the NHL's Washington Capitals. Over recent years I have seen interviews with Mr. Leonsis as he talks about his exciting hockey club. This is how I became a fan of Mr. Leonsis. Earlier today I was reading an article in this weeks Hockey News about how the Washington Capitals are the most exciting team in hockey. The article written by Ken Campbell is entitled "Dangerous and Compelling" prefaced by Washington D.C.

Some of you may know Mr. Leonsis as a long standing executive with AOL. I had learned that in the past year or so and this is what made the article in the Hockey News so great. What's the significance you may ask? Well reading the article tied two of my passions together hockey and Search. After reading the article, I felt compelled to post a comment on Mr. Leonsis' blog. http://www.tedstake.com.
My fascination with Mr. Leonsis was heightened when I learned that in 1983 he survived a plane crash and created his list of 101 things to do before he dies. You can view the list here:
http://espn.go.com/page2/wash/s/020312leonsis.html. He has completed about 71% of the list. The list itself is very impressive.
The article in the Hockey News was about how exciting the Capitals are. I would argue that the Oilers are the most exciting team in all of hockey, but the Capitals are right there with them. They have quickly become my first or second favorite US based team. I love what Mr. Leonsis has done with the team. Capitals fans are a lucky group to be able to watch the team that he has assembled.

The article written by Ken Campbell was exciting to read as he discusses that the "coolness of the Capitals goes beyond Ovechkin's Dolce & Gabbana wardrobe. The Capitals are also on the cutting edge of technology... The Caps have three full-time employees devoted to singularly to provide video content for their website. They have 25 bloggers who have full access to the team and run numerous promotions and fan clubs on Facebook..." This is great stuff. Ted Leonsis is a maverick (oops sorry Mrs. Palin)when it comes to NHL owners. As I mentioned in my comment, if the Capitals ever need a 26th blogger to blog from afar here in western Canada, I would be honored to do so. I think that it's cool how Mr. Leonsis embraces online marketing and things such as blogging and social networking to promote the Washington Capitals. For you hockey fans, you have to admit that the Capitals are extremely exciting to watch. Alexander Ovechkin is the GREATEST player in the game today. This team is electric.

Mr. Leonsis from what I've read and seen from your interviews, the World needs more people like you. Keep up the great work. I'll be reading your blog regularly. If you're ever in Kelowna, look me up, maybe we can do lunch.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, October 22, 2008  
Planning a Website Redesign: Thinking About SEO
Last week I recorded a webinar on planning for Web site redesigns. When considering a site redesign, the planning process is the most important step in the redesign. Failure to properly plan your website redesign can result in your site losing rankings, traffic and ultimately conversions.

Here is the Webinar in its entirety. (It is about 16 minutes long.)

Juggling SEO with a Website Redesign
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: search usability)

For more information on how to plan a website redesign or to inquire about search engine optimization solutions for web site redesigns, visit Enquiro.com.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, October 22, 2008  
Blog Rap: We Don't Care About Your Blog
I thought that I would share this amusing little rap about how some feel about blogging.

Too funny, but too true.


posted by Jody @ Wednesday, October 22, 2008  
Top 7 Search Stories October 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Well after a two month hiatus our top 7 search stories of the month are back this month. We had taken a bit if a break in the summer, here's a look at some of the top search stories that took place in July.

With the economy the way it is, the world of Search has been somewhat quiet, but we managed to come up with some of the more noticeable tech/search stories of October.

#7. Microsoft prepares to re-brand "Live Search" Again - well Microsoft's search product has undergone what seems dozens of name changes from being known originally as MSN to MSN Search, to Live Search, to Live to MSN Live and the list goes on and on. Well it appears that the Microsoft Search product will be re-branded as "Windows Live Search". Changing their name for the zillionth time will not help their Search product. Why is time being wasted in re-branding yet again? How about taking a long hard look at your search product and provide users with a decent search tool?

#6. Google Exec Slams Google's In-House Search - We thought that this was newsworthy as reports from internetnews.com suggest that even though Google is the undisputed leader in Search, they have issues with sifting through all of the data that they have compiled. Udi Manber, a vice president of engineering at Google (GOOG) and the head of its core search, outlined a few of the obstacles that even Google is working to overcome.

#5. MapQuest Now Optimized for the iPhone - I love the iPhone. I wish that I had one, but the rates here in Canada are just a little too outrageous for me to swallow. While the iPhone comes standard with Google Maps, Mapquest has now been optimized for the iPhone. The accuracy of MapQuest results will be a nice addition for users of the iPhone.... sigh. More on this announcement here.

#4. Google Announces Above Anticipated Third Quarter Earnings - well Google reported that earnings rose 26% last quarter. So despite the soft economy, Google continues to roll. There was a lot of commentary on this as can be found here, here, and here. Google's official announcement can be found here.

#3. Social Media Companies, Online Sites and Tech Layoffs - with the struggling economy, a number of noticeable companies have been laying off large percentages of their teams. A few notables names include: SearchMe, Hi5, AdBrite, Zillow, Lulu, and Zivity just to name a few. TechCrunch has created a "layoff tracker" to help us keep track of all of the movement taking place. It looks like the unemployment offices are about to get a lot busier.

#2. ASK Moves Away from 3-D Experience - Just when you thought it was safe to try out a search on ASK... Well ASK which we feel had the coolest looking SERP in the business decided to simplify and has reverted back to a more Google-like search engine results page. Not sure why, although the folks at ASK suggest it is trying to streamline the search process. Ask changing the search experience may be simply a move to generate more revenue for sponsored advertising as there are no as many as nine, yes 9, sponsored ads appearing on a results page. ASK 3-D was unique, it was visual and it was innovative. For now, all of that is lost.

#1. Yahoo Prepares to Announce Major Layoffs - the folks over at TechCrunch are reporting that Yahoo is preparing to announce major layoffs this week. In addition, operating expenses are being said to be cut by 15%. Poor Yahoo, where did they go wrong? We're still happy that they did not cut a deal with Yahoo, because we still feel that the offers presented under-valued Yahoo, still one of the most visited destinations on the Web.

Interesting month dominated by the economy and there is still over a week to go.


posted by Jody @ Tuesday, October 21, 2008  
Less Than a Month Until PubCon
Sunday, October 19, 2008
WebmasterWorld's Search & Internet Marketing Conference (PubCon) will be held Nov 11-14 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada located at 3150 Paradise Rd, in Las Vegas, NV. Topics to be discussed include:
  • Search
  • Web 2.0
  • Net Marketing
  • Affiliates
  • Domainers
  • Video and Multimedia
Keynote speakers announced thus far include:

George Wright - VP Marketing & Sales for Blendtec
Satya Nadella - Senior Vice President, Search, MSN Portal & Advertising Platform Group

I had the pleasure of seeing Satya at San Jose this summer and he is a very interesting man with a lot of ideas of where Search is heading.

The problem with Pubcon as it is right now is that they tend to have a lot of great sessions taking place at the same time and it's difficult to be in two places at once. They offer six or seven tracks with a number of interesting sessions featuring some of the top minds in the world of Search. We'll have more on Pubcon as the event draws near. For now here is a quick peek at some of the sessions that are planned.



posted by Jody @ Sunday, October 19, 2008  
BC Gas Prices Still Too High - Especially in Kelowna
Friday, October 17, 2008
So we have been seeing oil prices plummet and as go the oil prices goes the Canadian dollar. Living in Kelowna, BC is tough. The housing market has been over inflated for the past 10 years, the cost of living is expensive and the low wages make it difficult to earn a good living.

Now as gas prices drop across the country and in the province of BC, in Kelowna nothing has changed. We are still paying $1.20 for a litre of gasoline. I was in Calgary last week and the cost to fill up was $20 cheaper than here in Kelowna. (For the record gas was $1.06 in Calgary at that time.) So what gives? Why does Kelowna continue to have high gas prices whn compared to other parts of Canada? It feels like Kelowna drivers are subidising those locations where the gas price are in the low 90 cents range.

Here's an interesting trend over the past year that compares BC gas prices and the price of oil.

Looking at this graph we see that although oil has dropped to below where it was a year ago, the gas prices remain 20% higher in BC. On average, especially in Kelowna we are paying bare minimum 20 cents/litre than we should be. In fact we really should be paying less than a dollar per litre. If we compare this to our neighbors to the south in the US, I heard a report that suggest that by this weekend the average price of gasoline when translated into litres would be about $0.83/litre. That's almost 40 cents cheaper than here in Kelowna.

The gasoline prices are out to lunch here in Kelowna and in British Columbia. Something needs to be done about this. We've all tries to stay away from gas stations on a given day, but I urge people to think about their transportation needs. Consider:
  • Car-pooling
  • Taking Public Transit
  • Walking or biking to school or work
  • Avoid driving as much and fill up less. Hit the fuel companies where it matters most, the pumps.
The consumer should be in control for it's you and I who help these companies earn the billions that they do. The consumer needs to experience a longer term windfall.

To compare gas prices in your town or city visit:



posted by Jody @ Friday, October 17, 2008  
Times They Are a Changing at Twitter
We don't usually talk about Twitter, but since everyone else appears to be in love with Twitter, we thought that we would make mention of the fact that there is a changing of the guard (so-to-speak) over at Twitter. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has stepped down, and co-founder Evan Williams moves from the Chairman role to CEO.

Twitter has experienced tremendous growth over recent months so it is interesting that they have made such a move in changing CEOs. Ah but such is life in the tech world. I do not think that it was necessarily a lack of confidence in Jack Dorsey's abilities, I think it was more about Williams being the right person to lead Twitter where they need to go. It seems as though people either love Twitter or they hate it. The beauty in Twitter is it's Simplicity... that and that alone may be the reason why some of the "great minds" think that Twitter is a general waste of time. It seems that these "great minds" feel that Twitter is a time waster and does not serve a purpose for the greater good.

So while it may be too simple for these "great minds", remember this, at the end of the day when it comes down to it, we all strive for simplicity. Google is a simple search engine with a simple interface and as a result largest market share in the world of search. Twitter is a "simple site" that allows people to follow the sources most relevant to them and access information via Twitter as it happens—from breaking world news to updates from friends. That's it, plain and simple.

For more information about the move, visit the Twitter blog.


posted by Jody @ Friday, October 17, 2008  
Google Webmaster Tools Update: API Updated with Site Settings
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The team at Google Webmaster Central yesterday announced an update to Google Webmaster Tools. Specifically the Google Webmaster Tools GData API has been updated. The Webmaster Tools GData API already allows you to add and verify sites for your account and to submit Sitemaps programmatically. Now you can also access and update site-specific information. Here is a breakdown of some of the new features:
  • Crawl Rate: You can request that Googlebot crawl your site slower or faster than it normally would (the details can be found in our Help Center article about crawl rate control). If many of your sites are hosted on the same server and you know your server's capacity, you may want to update all sites at the same time. This now a trivial task using the Webmaster Tools GData API.

  • Geographic Location: If your site is targeted towards a particular geographic location but your domain doesn't reflect that (for example with a .com domain), you can provide information to help us determine where your target users are located.

  • Preferred Domain: You can select which is the canonical domain to use to index your pages. For example, if you have a site like www.example.com, you can set either example.com or www.example.com as the preferred domain to use. This avoids the risk of treating both sites differently.

  • Enhanced Image Search: Tools like the Google Image Labeler allow users to tag images in order to improve Image Search results. Now you can opt in or out for all your sites in a breeze using the Webmaster Tools API.
For more information, the main page for the Webmaster Tools GData API explains all the details of the API.


posted by Jody @ Tuesday, October 14, 2008  
Ten Areas Where SEO and PPC Should Work Together
Monday, October 13, 2008
SEO or SEM (PPC), organic vs. sponsored? Where should your online marketing budgets go? Well the answer is both. SEO and PPC can work very nicely together depending on where you are with your online marketing efforts. We came up with ten instances where SEO and PPC should be used together as an effective online marketing campaign.
  1. Preparing for a Site Redesign - when planning a redesign and making sure that all of the SEO best practice are being put in place as you prepare to launch, you'll want to bolster your online campaign with sponsored efforts as you transition your site from the old site to the new. Once the SEO efforts kick in post launch, you can reduce your PPC spend and focus your sponsored efforts elsewhere.
  2. Preparing to Launch a Microsite - Microsites allow you to try out a more targeted online strategy. For quick traffic generation to your new microsite, you'll want to utilize an well planned sponsored startegy. At the same time your SEO efforts can be geared towards a focus on long-tail, and less competitive keywords to drive additonal traffic to the microsite.
  3. Launching a new Sub-Domain - Similar to launching a microsite, sponsored efforts can be used to direct traffic to the new sub-domain while an SEO strategy can be developed to obtain long term rankings for the sub-domain.
  4. Launching a new Website - Anytime you launch a new website, you should have both an SEO and SEM strategy working together to help obtain traffic to your new web property. Initially your sponosred startegy might be the only means of driving traffic to your new site, until you can improve your visibility in the natural search results of the search engines.
  5. Marketing Your Website on a Shoestring Budget - If you have a tight budget, you can focus efforts on SEO and compliment that with a smaller PPC strategy where you bid on phrases that are less expensive. You may want to focus your PPC spend for local search while you concentrate your SEO efforts for more genreal search engines rankings. As you develop content through SEO and on-page optimization the only cost you incur is time.
  6. Company Mergers & Merging Web Properties - In the dynamic economic environment that we have experienced in recent years, it's not uncommon to see companies merge. Quite often startups are bought out and you are left with multiple web properties at your disposal. This is another great example of when you should be using SEO and PPC simultaneously to educate your target audience of your recent merger or acquisition. You may want to phase the old company out, as a resul you may want to move some content from that companies website to your own. Developing an SEO transition strategy that is backed up by a solid PPC strategy can be an effective way to educate your existing consumers as well as any new prospects who may be looking for your solution.
  7. Releasing a New Product Line - PPC can be used in conjunction with SEO to promote your new product or solution line. Chances are that your new product name will be easy to rank for orgnically, backing that up with some non-branded traffic from sponsored efforts and you can quickly acheive some additional branded and non-branded traffic that will convert on your site with the proper type of messaging and promotion.
  8. Online Reputation Management Camapaigns - Experienced some negative press? Use SEO and sponosred solutions to protect your brand in the online space. From an SEO point of view, you'll want to ensure that any negative organic listings are pushed to page two of the search results page, by optimizing your site for blended search, and leveraging social networks to dominant the SERP landscape. Furthermore you will want to protect your branded via PPC efforts so that negative or "questionable" listings do not appear within the sponsored results.
  9. Entering New Markets - If your company is large enough to go global or is entering new regional markets, you might want to use SEO and PPC to target these geographic demographics. Depending on your expansion, you might want to try a GEO-targeted sponsored campaign, backed up with content development for organic rankings in the natural search results of the search engines.
  10. Plateauing Search Engine Traffic - Seen your website traffic start to plateau? Maybe you need to modify or add a sponsored strategy to your SEO strategy or vice versa. Revisit both your SEO and PPC efforts and get creative with some new messaging to drive more traffic to your site.

While many companies are doing SEM or are developing SEO strategies, there are still a number that are not leveraging SEO and PPC efforts together. If your company is experiencing any of the ten issues above, you may want to establish a co-existing SEO and SEM strategy to ensure that you effectively intercept your target audience and that you continue to drive qualified traffic to your site. Search engine optimization and sponsored search marketing efforts can work together to provide you with optimal results. The more effective you become with your online marketing efforts, the less spend it will take to drive more business. While it takes time and is subject to the changing nature of the Internet, realizing when to use SEO and PPC together can return tremendous results.

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posted by Jody @ Monday, October 13, 2008  
Rambling Thoughts...
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Wow it feels like I haven't blogged forever. I've been on vacation, was in Las Vegas, am preparing for hockey season and frankly just very busy with clients et al. It feels like I have been out of the loop in the world of search lately.

One of the items that I have been interested in, is the endeavors or ASK.com. I liked their ASK 3-D experience, but now they have reverted back to a more Google-like SERP. However it appears that ASK is looking to improve results become a leader in semantic search through their new Q&A feature. Here's an example based on a search for Enquiro.

I still think that they are on the right track, but I wish that they would have kept their cool looking SERPs. I'll have more on this later in the week. I just wanted to apologize to my readers for not posting as much as usual as of late. There's more to come I promise.

One thing that I did want to mention was the release of Yahoo Web Analytics. Manoj Jasra at Web Analytics World has a post all about this that you can find here:

Oh and by the way it's hockey season so blog posts may become more sparse..... just kidding.
posted by Jody @ Thursday, October 09, 2008  
Edmonton Oilers Unveil Third Jersey as they Start Their 30th Season in the NHL
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Ah the Mighty Oil are back. In the past hour the team has unveiled their new third jersey for the upcoming NHL season. This season marks the Oilers' 30th in the NHL. The Oilers were the powerhouse of the 80's and into the 90's winning 5 Stanley Cup Championships within their first ten years of existence in the National Hockey League.

Here is a look at the unveiling of the new retro jersey. Great job! Visit www.edmontonoilers.com for more info.


posted by Jody @ Tuesday, October 07, 2008  
What Happened to ASK 3-D?
Monday, October 06, 2008
So this morning ASK changed their Search Engine Results Page from the cool ASK 3-D experience to a more simplified Google-like appearance. What gives? Where has the innovation gone? OK I understand the need for more relevant results, but the drastic changes to the SERP? ASK had the the best SERP in the business and now it is just plain boring.

ASK is trying to streamline the Search process. You can now search for things like local TV schedules, concert and event info, health inquiries, jobs, and generic reference-type questions and get your answer at the top of the result listings without ever having to click into a site. Depending on the type of query that you perform, you may be presented with the information that you were looking for without ever clicking through to a site.

A search for "Las Vegas" returns 9 sponsored results, four up top and 5 below. Yup I'm pretty sure that's what users wanted to see. In all fairness, near the top of the page, users also have the option of searching for maps of Las Vegas, jobs, current weather, local time, local results through ASK City, facts, school information etc. In terms of blended results, you will see news results near the top of the organic results (this is similar to what Google does), some TV listings and ticketmaster (another IACI company) event listings. There is also a wikipedia listing with a thumbnail of the LAs Vegas Strip listed. More text... hmm is that going to improve user engagement with their search engine? There is a new ASK Q&A section which is in beta to provide semantic answers to questions about your query.

While some efforts were made to improve the relevancy, I must say that I am extremely disappointed in their attempts to make their results page similar to a Google SERP. They had an innovative SERP experience. They needed to improve relevancy, not both.

Related Stories:

ASK Testing New Interface - Search with ASK X

ASK.com The Second Coming of Search Means Personalization

ASK Morphs Into the Future

ASK X – Prelude to Personalized Search?

ASK X Leading the Way with User Experience


posted by Jody @ Monday, October 06, 2008  
More on URL Structure: Dynamic URLs vs Static URLs
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Last week, Google posted about their thoughts about re-writing URLs. Previously it had been communicated to Webmasters, site owners, search marketers and the general online public that Google preferred the use of static URLs as opposed to long dynamic URLs. Now Google is telling everyone that in essence there is no need to rewrite dynamic URLs to appear static. This has caused mass confusion in the online world. First there wasd an understanding that static URLs were the way to go and now Google says that dynamic URLs are cool.

I would suggest that there is nothing wrong with rewriting your URLs if you do it properly. The fact of the matter is that while Google may now appreciate dynamic URLs, for the user or the Searcher, static URLs will ALWAYS be preferred. Static URLs are cleaner and easier to remember. Not to mention an effectively created URL can be a great indicator of the subject matter of a web page. Let's say that you sell widgets and that you have a page on how ro repair red widgets. As a searcher looking to find information about repairing red widgets, would you prefer to find a nice static appearing URL in the search results of Googleo or Yahoo or ASK?

Maybe something like:
http://www.yourwidgetsite.com/repairing-red-widgets.html vs an ugly looking dynamic URL with a long query string? http://yourwidgetssite.com/widgets/12345?lang=en/2008?id-77000561/bin_2905GY/6789_YIY

Frankly if presented with the choice, most users will click the shorter, cleaner static URL.
Google's comments about not rewriting URLs is most likely geared towards those not familiar with URL rewriting. For a novice site owner or Webmaster, URL rewriting can be tricky and if done incorrectly can make a mess of your URLs and site architecture.

So what should you do? Well let's remember one thing. As cool as Google is, they are not the Gospel when it comes to web design, site architecture and search. While they are adominant player in Search, they're not the only game in town. Communicating to the masses that "dynamic URLs are fine" and "avoid rewriting URLs..." simply because Google can handle dynamic URLs is one thing, but what about the other search engine crawlers out there? What about Yahoo or MSN Live Search or ASK or AOL?

When planning out your site architecture here are four items to consider:
  1. Think of a logical structure for your site content. Translate this into your URLs.
  2. Think of scalability - create a system where you can easily add pages (URLs) to your website.
  3. Shorter is better - shorter URLs tend to resonate better with users and searchers
  4. Static URLs will generate more click throughs - Isn't this what you want? You want your pages to rank in the search engines so that they show up in the search results for a given query. From there you want the user to click on your result over that of your competitor or any of the other results that are ranking.
So while Google has changed their stance on dynamic URLs, we would suggest that any time you have an opportunity to make your URLs static as opposed to dynamic, do it. The other search engine spiders will thank you. More importantly the Searcher will thank you.

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posted by Jody @ Saturday, October 04, 2008  
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Name: Jody
Home: Kelowna, BC, Canada
About Me: SEO guy by day, family man 24/7.
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