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Keyword Research: Words of Wisdom
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
If you have learned anything about online marketing and promoting your website via search, you know that keyword research forms the foundation of your strategy.  The fact is keyword research is a strategy unto itself.  Depending on your industry and the nature of your business, there are a number of approaches that you can take with your keyword research strategy.  Finding the right keywords to focus on is critical for the success of your online campaigns. 

Keyword research is an iterative and on-going process.  Performing an organic keyword analysis should be well planned and thought out.  Your SEO/online marketing team can plug in at different stages of this process, but for site owners, it is important that other internal teams such as creative and marketing are aware of the keywords being focused on and have the ability and opportunity to participate in the keyword research process as required.  A typical keyword research process might look something like this:

Keyword Research:  Words of Wisdom

There are some key fundamentals that you should be aware of as you conduct your keyword research and work through your keyword research process.

  1. You are not going to hit the ball out of the park every time - there is no such thing as a "perfect" keyword basket.  Keyword development takes work.  Expect to revisit your keyword basket(s) on a regular basis.  How your target audience search for something today will be different than how they search for that same something tomorrow.  Each and everyone of us have a different semantic map in our mind and this semantic map continues to evolve.  Realize that you will not create the perfect keyword list your first time out.  The fact is you may never create the "perfect" keyword list.

  2. You cannot be an expert on everything - strictly speaking about organic keyword research, avoid having "gi-normous" keyword baskets.  Remember that when optimizing site pages, ideally a single page should be optimized around a single topic.  There should be a central or primary key phrase that you are optimizing for.  Do not try to optimize for five or six different key phrases on a single page.  Focus on one, maybe two phrases and support with relevant content.  If people find this information useful, they will link to it and you should experience success with your search optimization efforts.

  3. Times they change and so will your keyword baskets - you cannot simply generate a keyword basket and leave it at that.  You need to conduct keyword research throughout your campaign.  Frankly you should be revisiting your keywords on a monthly basis to ensure that you are focusing on the phrases that your audience is using.  There are a lot of buzzwords that come up and while I am not suggesting that you chase after all of those, you need to realize that the keywords people search for today are different that what will be searched for tomorrow.

  4. What's old is new again - ever notice that what's old often becomes new again?  Trending happens and will continue to happen.  Sometimes it takes generations, but what was popular once can be popular again.  With regards to keywords, just because search volume has dropped for a key phrase does not mean that you should necessarily abandon that phrase.  Instead build authority around it and support that phrase with what's hot.  Pay attention to keyword trends, but do not abandon phrases that you have had success with in the past.

  5. Focus on your content - your keyword selection and optimization process should focus around what you know and in part focus on the content themes that are currently featured on your site.  Of course you will be creating new content, but when conducting your keyword research, the keywords you select need to be relevant to your business and to the messaging that you have (or will have) on your website.  Just because a phrase has high search volume and tremendous traffic potential, does not mean that it is relevant to your site or that your site has the ability to be relevant for that phrase.
A successful  keyword research strategy means that you continue to refine your keyword baskets.  It means that you need to listen to your audience, review your business objectives, review your messaging (both online and offline) and it means experimenting and testing.  Do not be afraid to fail with your keyword research, but if you do make sure you learn from it.  Keyword selection is too important to neglect.  Take your time with it and identify the phrases that will bring your desired audience to your content.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, November 30, 2010   0 comments
Top 5 SEO Lists: Week of November 22, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
What a week it has been with a bitter Arctic cold front chilling the western provinces of Canada and northwest region of the US.  Well if you are looking for something to warm you up, check out this week's top 5 SEO Lists of the week.  And in case you missed last week's top 5, you can find them at:  Top 5 SEO Lists:  Week of November 15, 2010.

Top SEO Lists:  Week of November 22, 2010

#5.  7 Non-SEO Tactics That Will Make You a Better SEO - Whiteboard Friday - SEOmoz.  Danny Dover had a good little post/video about 7 Non-SEO Tactics That Will Make You a Better SEO.  We especially like points number two and three; prioritize SEO tasks before starting your day and dedicate time on your calendar for researching SEO.  SEO research is something that should really happen on a daily basis as there are new developments regularly.

#4.  How to Find and Keep a Good Copywriter - John Lancaster had a great post on Search Engine Journal on how to find and keep a good copywriter.  John offered six tips for keeping great copywriters.  A couple of thes tips include:
  • Find out what they like to write
  • Open communication is essential
  • Recognize that writing is a process

#3.  Google's This Week in search 11/19/10
- great little updates from Google on search experience topic's.  You can subscribe to Google's this week in search by going to http://googleblog.blogspot.com/search/label/This%20Week%20in%20Search

#2.  Everything I Know About SEO I Learned in the 80's - OMG, Stoney totally stole my idea for a post.  I am still going to do one, but he totally beat me to it.  Stoney outlines some SEO tips to the various tunes of 80's glam rock songs. (While linking to the respective video on YouTube - I was simply going to link to the artists website.  This post is one of my favorites. 

#1. 30 Ways to Use Blekko for Search & SEO from SEOptimize.com.  We're really starting to like Blekko more and more.  If you have not yet tried Blekko or are still new, this post is a must read.  There are a whack of great types on how to  use Blekko and how to use this search engine for SEO.  From simple things such as Follow slashtags (to get noticed and added to one) to Check actual backlinks by clicking “links” below search results or adding the /links slashtag behind your URL.  This list makes it to our top of our weekly SEO resource list.

See you next week, and as the Grey Cup is taking place in Edmonton on Sunday, Go Riders!!!

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posted by Jody @ Friday, November 26, 2010   0 comments
Blekko Search: 25 Days Later
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
It has been a busy autumn in the Search world.  As summer drew to a close we saw Yahoo Search become replaced with Bing search results.  In September we saw Google release their search prediction technology with Google Instant and as the days of October ended we saw the launch of the world's newest search engine Blekko.

Just What is a Blekko?

Blekko is a search engine designed to eliminate spam search results, allowing users to search via a subset of the web through its proprietary slashtag technology. 

Who: Rich Skrenta, co-founder and chief executive.
What: Blekko Search Engine http://blekko.com
Where:  Redwood Shores on the San Francisco Peninsula in California.
When: Launched October 31, 2010.  Official launch November 1, 2010.
Why:  To eliminate spam search results and provide more relevant results based on a user's search query.
Web Crawler:  Blekko's web crawler is known as  ScoutJet - http://www.scoutjet.com/

Slashtags search means searching only the sites you want and cutting out the spam sites. Blekko expects you to use friends, experts, community or your own slashtags to slash in what you want and slash out what you don't.  Blekko has created a pretty cool Web Bill of Rights which we have reproduced here:
  1. Search shall be open
  2. Search results shall involve people
  3. Ranking data shall not be kept secret
  4. Web data shall be readily available
  5. There is no one-size-fits-all for search
  6. Advanced search shall be accessible
  7. Search engine tools shall be open to all
  8. Search & community go hand-in-hand
  9. Spam does not belong in search results
  10. Privacy of searchers shall not be violated

Well it has been twenty five days since their launch and from those who have used Blekko that I have spoken with, seem to think that Blekko is not just another flavor of the week.  I myself have just started using Blekko and I think that it is pretty cool.  I love the idea of "slashing the web" and cleaning up search results.  I have discussed the fact that I think link popularity has run its course and that the sites with the most links or with the most quality links do not always return the most relevant information that I may be looking for.  Blekko allows me to determine the sources of my information and weed out what I deem irrelevant results.  I do not have to worry about a dynamic search results page, I do not have to be overloaded with paid/sponsored ads and I do not have to be presented solely with large brands who outrank more relevant, smaller resources.

Blekko is a breath of fresh air.  The more slashes and words you add, the narrower the search results become. Users can create their own tags, choose tags of others or select one of the pre-built tags that have been listed.  I can tailor the search results the way that I want them.

We hope to bring you an interview with Blekko co-founder Rich Skrenta in upcoming weeks.  If you get a chance, check out Blekko today. 

Blekko Site: http://blekko.com
Blekko on Twitter: http://twitter.com/blekko
Blekko Slashtags

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, November 24, 2010   1 comments
4 Ways to Use Twitter as a Keyword Research Resource
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I know that there are a ton of great keyword tools out there.  It seems as though there are new tools for keyword research released every week.  Sometimes there are creative ways to use some of the most obvious resources for keyword research.  Take Twitter for example.  A very popular service used by a lot of people.

I should state that we are not suggesting that Twitter is the definitive keyword research tool.  We are saying that Twitter can be a creative way of conducting some additional keyword research to help identify phrases that you may have overlooked with your regular research.  Remember that keyword research is an iterative process that needs to be ongoing.  Your target audience change their semantic map regularly, you should do the same with your keyword baskets.  What better way to understand what your audience is saying and which terms they are using than by monitoring social environments that they frequent?  Twitter is such a place.

4 Ways to Use Twitter as a Keyword Research Resource
  1. Using Twitter Trends - this is the obvious one as Twitter Trends shows the phrases that are currently trending on Twitter.  This might be good for e-commerce sites, news site or for advertisers looking to take advabtage of some quick optimization to gain some additional traffic based on trending topics.  The trending topics really provides a brief snapshot as to what many on Twitter are discussing and tweeting about.  You can actually set the trends to a desired geographic area to see what is trending in various locals around the world.

    You can select a country or choose a city to see what is trending in that particular area.  For example if my Trends are set to Canada, I see that today some of the top trending topics include Korea Peace, Tim Horton (the hockey player or perhaps the restaurant) and the Grey Cup (which is Canada's equivalence to the SuperBowl which is taking place this Sunday, Go Riders).  Regardless, you can hone in on phrases or topics that are currently popular in Twitter.  This can be a great resource to use as part of your keyword research efforts. 
  2. Reviewing your listed categories - if you have been listed by others in their Twitter lists, you can go in and click on the lists to see the topic and see others who are on the list.  For example, if I look at some of the lists that Marketing Jive has been added to, I see terms such as "SEO", "marketing", "Twitter users from Kelowna" etc.  While this may not provide a lot of detailed keyword data, you can still identify key topic areas that you may or may not be targeting as part of your keyword strategy.

  3. Reviewing the profiles of Twitter accounts of those in your industry - by simply clicking on the profile of other people that you are following in your industry, you can identify topics or terms that you might want to factor into your keyword research.   Let' say that I am in the education industry and I want to quickly gain some insight into which keywords that others in my network are using in their profiles, by simply clicking on "Following" from my own profile, I can review any related search terms that others might be using in their profiles.  Typically they are sorted by the most recent people that you have followed, so you may have to scroll the list.
  4. Reviewing your competitor's profiles and Twitter accounts - similar to the previous item, you can view the profiles of your competitors to see which phrases they are using to describe their business and their Twitter profile.  Whether you follow them or not, you can take a quick peek at their profile and compile search terms that you may not have been previously leveraging.  Again this is just a quick way to identify some key phrases that are relevant to your industry and to your own business.
Twitter is a pretty cool little environment (as much as I hate to admit it), but it can be a great tool to see which topics are trending and what others in your network are discussing (this can be especially important if they are discussing your brand or your business).  While you would not want to use Twitter as your sole keyword reasearch tool, Twitter can be a great way to quickly identify keywords that your audience may be using that you are not currently optimizing for or speaking to.  Remember everyone has a different semantic map, so the more insight we can gain into the language of our audeince, the better.

Follow Marketing Jive on Twitter at: @marketing_jive

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, November 23, 2010   1 comments
Google Still Has 66.3% Market Share in US
Monday, November 22, 2010
Google is still the leading search engine of choice in North America by far.  ComScore released their US Search Engine Rankings for October and to no surprise, Google has more market share than the Yahoo (now Bing results), Bing, ASK and AOL combined.

With over 16.6 billion "core searches" conducted in October, Google saw 11 billion of those while Yahoo saw 2.7 billion and Bing 1.9 billion.  You can see a further breakdown here:
According to comScore, "Total Core Search” is based on the five major search engines, including
partner searches, cross-channel searches and contextual searches. Searches

for mapping, local directory, and user-generated video sites that are not on the
core domain of the five search engines are not included in these numbers. "
The full release can be found here.
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posted by Jody @ Monday, November 22, 2010   0 comments
Top 5 SEO Lists: Week of November 15th, 2010
Previous top 5 SEO Lists.

This week we have yet another diverse list of SEO related lists with some great reminders and SEO tips. 

#5. 5 Ways you Can Use Blog Comments to Obtain Organic Links - Search Engine Guide.  Some pretty basic but perhaps often overlooked tips for leveraging blog commenting. http://www.searchengineguide.com/stone-reuning/5-ways-you-can-use-blog-comments-to-obta.php

#4.  Cliff Notes Version of #PubCon 2010 - Dana Lookadoo from YO YO SEO had a review of Pubcon with her Cliff notes version of Pubcon 2010.  She includes lots of greart tips from various sessions.  All in all a nie recap.  http://yoyoseo.com/conferences/pubcon-cliff-notes/

#3.  7 Social Link Building Tips - Eric Enge via Search Engine Watch.  Eric identifies seven types of social activity that can help build relationships and assist with your link building efforts.  http://searchenginewatch.com/3641552

#2.  12 Tips For Using Twitter to Grow Your Business - Search Engine Journal. While not SEO specific, this is a great list for folks looking to leverage Twitter to boost the visibility of their business.  Many of the tips seem straight forward, but they are beneficial none-the-less.

#1.  10 Steps to Better Content Marketing & SEO - Online Marketing Blog.  A tremendous post be Lee Odden where he identified tn steps to be more effective at content marketing.  These steps include:
  • Establishing Goals
  • Leveraging Buyer Personas
  • Identifying properKeywords
  • Leveraging Content & Assets
  • Creating an Editorial Plan
  • Operationalize SEO
  • Development of Off-Site Content
  • Socialize
  • Promote
  • Measure & Refine

If you get a chance to catch Lee speak at any of the various Searh conferences, be sure to do so, he has a great presentation on content marketing optimization.  See you next week with five new SEO lists.

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posted by Jody @ Monday, November 22, 2010   0 comments
Lots Going on With Google These Days
Thursday, November 18, 2010
You know the key to being a successful organization can stem from innovation.  Google is considered one of the more innovative companies out there.  Sure they are large and have office across the globe, but they never stop innovating, upgrading, acquiring, and providing information to the world.

Case in point, I was going through my feed reader looking for the latest search, marketing and tech news and I noticed that over the course of the past week, Google has been busy, busy, busy.  Here is but a sample of some of the things that Google has been involveds in over the past couple of weeks.

Google Indexing Text In Flash Files - Google recently announced that it is now able to index text within a Flash (.swf) file. The latest update means that any text that a user interacts with in your SWF file can be indexed by Googlebot and used to match queries and generate snippets for results in Google searches.

Google Removes 3 Advanced Search Options, Google Operating Systemhttp://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2010/11/google-removes-3-advanced-search.html

Beyond Instant results: Instant Previews - Official Google Blog

Son of SEO is Undead (Google Caffeine and New Product Refinements) - SEO by the Sea

Key Takeaways From Google’s Matt Cutts Talk At PubConhttp://searchengineland.com/key-takeaways-from-googles-matt-cutts-talk-at-pubcon-55457

Google's Eric Schmidt from the Web 2.0 Summit - Search Engine Land

Improvements to Product Search for this holiday season - Official Google Blog

Four Listings Now Magic Number In Google Page One Results - Search Engine Watch

Googles 4-Pack For Branded Searches: A Subtle Penalty For RipOff Report? - Marketing Pilgrim

Google Launches A Recommendation Engine - ResearchBuzz

Google's Newest Q&A Service: 'Baraza' - Google Blogoscoped

Google Creates “Source” Meta Tags To Help ID Original News Sources - Search Engine Land

Google Enters Toolbar Deal With AVG - Web Pro News

Editing your Google Docs on the go - Google Docs Blog

Within Google Docs, the new documents editor now supports editing on your mobile browser.   This feature will now allow us to work on that important memo...while on the bus or train to work, if you’re behind on a group proposal, but really want to make it to the ball game tonight, your whole team can work on it from the bleacher seats, or you can take minute-by-minute notes at a concert so you’ll always remember the setlist.

SEOs Should Focus On Where Google Is Heading - SEO Book

It is items like this that set Google apart from other organizations, some organizations are all talk, the difference with Google is that they do.  And while they don't always get it right, they are not afraid to fail, thye learn from their mistakes.  They know when to hold them and when to fold them.  Google does not believe in complacency and neither should you.  There is a lot going on at Google these days.  Just look at all of the infrastructure and algorithm updates they have released this year.

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, November 18, 2010   1 comments
Yahoo Clues: Another Keyword Tool to Add to Your Repertoire
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Here is something new and kind of cool from Yahoo.  Enter Yahoo Clues, a new tool that provides insight into the types of people searching for specific keyword phrases and shows related terms based on those searches and searchers. http://clues.yahoo.com/

The tool allows you to plug in one or two keyword phrases and it then plots the search trends of those keywords on the page. It shows you keyword popularity over time, searches by age and gender, income level, geographic location, “search flow” and related searches.

Yahoo! Clues lets you explore how people are using Yahoo! Search. When you enter a word or phrase in the "Search Term" field and click Discover, you’ll see information about that search term’s popularity over time, across demographic groups, and in different locations.  You can also enter a second search term in the "Compare With" field. This will show you information on both search terms, side by side.

To use Yahoo Clues, simply type a single word or phrase into the "Find Trends" box and click Discover to start your Yahoo! Clues search. The resulting information is displayed to the right in an information card.  To compare more than one search trend, type your second word or phrase into the "Compare With" box to see comparative information displayed on each searched word or phrase.

According to Yahoo, the following categories of information are available in Yahoo! Clues:

Searches Over Time – This chart provides search volume trends over time, and corresponds to the Time filter selection under the "Find Trends" box. Choosing any filter in the Time section will update the Yahoo! Clues information card. See What is the Time Filter?
          o The search volume displayed in this graph is based on a 100-point scale, with 100 representing the time over the past month or current Time Filter selection with the highest search volume, and 0 representing the time over the past month with the lowest search volume

By Demographic – This section provides a demographic breakdown of Age, Gender, or a combined Both view (default) for your search term.
          o Yahoo! Clues aggregates age and gender information across Yahoo! Search.

By Income – This section provides a breakdown of income distribution for your search term.
          o Yahoo! Clues calculates this category using anonymous aggregated zip code information from Yahoo! Search matched against per capita income data from the US Census Bureau.

By Location – This map shows where the greatest concentrations of searches originated. Currently, only Yahoo! Search information originating from the United States is available. Click on the list of states to get detailed information on where searches are coming from within that state.
          o To avoid the most populated states always claiming top spots, Yahoo! Clues factors out relative population differences between states and shows a ranked list of the top 10. A 100-point scale is to represent the data, with 100 representing the highest concentration of searches, and 0 representing the lowest.

Search Flow – This section provides a list of the most probable previous and next user searches from an analysis of aggregated search patterns across Yahoo! Search. The top item under "Previous Queries" represents the most probable search term people tried before your search term. Similarly, the top item under "Next Queries" represents the most probable search term people tried after your search term.
          o Click on links in the "Previous Queries" or "Next Queries" to update the Yahoo! Clues information card. The selected query is displayed in the center column in bold.

Related Searches – This section provides a list of the most common related search terms across Yahoo! Search and is not limited to the user search patterns displayed in "Search Flow". Click the links to update the information displayed in the Yahoo! Clues information cards.

Barry Schwartz over at Search Engine Land had a great review of Yahoo Clues

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, November 17, 2010   0 comments
Ten Things I Learned at Pubcon 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Last week I had the pleasure of going to Las Vegas and attending the annual Pubcon conference.  The strange thing for me is that I have been going to search conferences for years and this was my very first Pubcon.  I have been wanting to attend Pubcon for years and it seemed liked something always came
up.  I was fortunate enough this year that my employer Beeline Web.com was good enough to send me down for the show, and the show did not disappoint.

Some may have complained about the lineups for lunch or that the food was not the greatest, but as Brett Tabke stated, "if that is the worst complaint that we are getting then we must be doing something right.  Quite honestly I liked the tone of the conference, the quality of speakers was fantastic and I actually learned a few things along the way.  Not to mention some of the great reminders that were shared by many of the knowledgeable speakers.  In a future post, I will share some of my favorite moments of Pubcon, but for now here are ten things I learned (or was reminded about) from Pubcon 2010.

Ten Things I Learned at Pubcon

These items are in random order and are not based on specific criteria or priority.
  1. There are lots of cool tools that keep springing up.  I learned about some cool tools that I had not yet used one of which was Soovle - http://www.soovle.com/.  So what is Soovle?  Soovle is basically a search suggestion tool across various search engines and sites.  Soovle describe themselves as  a number of things including:
    • A customizable engine that provides the suggestion services from all the major providers in one place. Soovle does not crawl the net - all services and their content are the property of the respective providers.
    • A keyword research tool. Be sure to master the draggable Saved Suggestions feature.
    • A way to look spiffy when performing a web search. Be sure to hit the right-arrow a couple of times while showing it off.
  2. Google clusters results.  Well I know that ASK's Teoma technology but it never occured to me that Google does this.  According to Craig Paddock from Boost Search Marketing who illustrated that Google clusters results, if for example if you had a number one ranking in Google and a number nine ranking in Google, Google will display them as #1 and #2.  This does not work if you have results on subsequent pages (i.e. a number 14 ranking and a #1 ranking).
  3. Canonical tags do not work with relative links.  This was mentioned by a couple of different speakers on a couple of different occassions.  I actually did not kow this.  It makes total sense, but I just never really paid attention to this little tidbit about canonical tags before.
  4. Tweet Management for the purpose of retweeting your stuff - Managing your tweet to consist of 115-120 characters, leaving room for other to retweet your tweets.  Even Matt Cutts from Google suggested this tip.  I never really thought of it before, but it makes total sense.  This wasa good little tip that I simply never practiced beofre.
  5. Google is working on better penalty notifications - Speaking of Matt Cutts, we learned from his presentation that Google is working on better penalty notifications and that there are currently about 25 of them that exist.
  6.  Google Insights is a cool tool - I learned that I need to use Google Insights more often and more regularly.  http://www.google.com/insights/search/#.  Especially as a tool to look into seasonality for various terms and phrases.
  7. Search Query Fine Tuning - I learned some additional query functions that can be benficial in gathering link information.  When looking for great linking resources, use the following queries:
    • site:edu intitle:<insert keyword here>
    • site:gov intitle:<insert keyword here>
    • site:gov intitle:culinary
  8. Retro Tweets are in - I learned that it can be a good idea to tweet old articles and prior blog posts from time to time.  This makes sense.  Just think about all of the people who may have missed your initial tweet. 
  9. I learned that Universal Ranking Reports (i.e. blended results) are coming soon from Raven.  If I understood correctly this is just around the corner.  Quite honestly I did put in a request for a "blended search ranking notification" into Raven back in May.  It could be that others had the same request.  It would be nice to see if a given keyword has a universal search reslt appearing on the first page, second page, third page etc.
  10. Learning about Mobile Apps - I learned what a "Launcher App" was.  Bascally a launcher app is a mobile app that simply opens your web page.  Seems simple enough and makes sense for all sites to have one.

As mentoned, Pubcon was a fantastic show.  Top notch speakers who actually shared their knowledge.  Dare I say this is the best search conference out there?  Great job  by Brett Tabke and his team for pulling off a top notch show.  I hope to be back next year.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, November 16, 2010   0 comments
Pubcon Day Three Session of the Day
Friday, November 12, 2010
Pubcon Day Three Session of the Day was Linkfluence:  Buying Links with Maximum Juice

The session was interesting as all speakers suggested that you do not purchase links, yet the title of the session was on buying links.  The fact is buying links does not serve any long term benefit as the speakers pointed out.  Great session.  Here is is in a nutshell:

Jamie Steven – VP Marketing SEOmozWhy do SEOs buy links?
    • To get KW rich anchor text
    • For rankings
    • To link to a specific page
    • To diversify link inventory
  • Do NOT buy links – while beneficial in the short term, buying links is too risky
  • There are better ways to acquire links (i.e. through business development and partnerships)
  • Buying links does work as Jamie showed with a test conducted by SEOmoz where rankings went from 458 in Google to #30 in eight days.
  • Too risky as reconsideration can take months or years.  Can your site afford it?
  • If competitors are buying links, they are twice as likely to report you if you start buying links.
  • Google is refocusing efforts on Web-spam
  • Ways to obtain legitimate links:
    • Through business development/partnerships
    • Political and nonprofit donations
    • Sponsoring events or tweet-ups
    • Buying existing content from other sites / blogs (note this is grey hat) where you pay these sites to use the cross domain rel=canonical
    • Corporate scholarships – get links in colleges and high school sites. – SEO Tip:  this might be something that we can pursue.
    • Target influencers on Facebook – target employees of a specific company
Jim Boykin - slide deck is available here: http://www.webuildpages.com/pubcon/ UN: pubcon PW: ninja
  • Buying links is  risk/reward thing
  • Use the query link:www.trade-schools.net –www.trade-schools.net
  • Avoid link brokers
  • Do Not buy links
Todd Malicoatno longer recommends buying links anymore
  • avoid link brokers
  • mentioned the Blink test
    • total unique domains linking
    • total unique links
    • total special links (.edu/.gov)
    • placement of links
    • age of the site that is providing the link
  • listed 10 major factors that makes a quality link a quality link
    • the # of unique linking domains that you have pointing to a given page
  • SEO Tip:  study your competitor link profiles.  Use tools such as Open Site Explorer

Calum MacLeod – Link InfluenceDifficult speaker to understand
  • Discussed the need to diversify your link profile
  • Avoid bad neighborhoods on same IP blocks
Overall not bad, sure seen a change in opinikn from some of these speakers from like a year ago or so.

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posted by Jody @ Friday, November 12, 2010   0 comments
Pubcon 2010: Day Two Session of the Day: Google MayDay & Caffeine
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Day one was tremendous as I discussed in my Pubcon session of the day post yesterday.  Could day two live up the the highly set bar from the previous day?   Well there were again some great sessions. Probably one of my favorite sessions of the day was the session on Google Caffeine and   MayDay.  The super session with Matt Cutts expects to be a highlight as well.

Interesting session that include a diverse set of speakers who discussed Google Caffeine, Google MayDay, and the increased importance of page speed.  Up first was one of my favourite speakers in Bruce Clay.  Bruce discussed  Google Caffeine and what it may mean for site owners and webmasters.

Bruce started out by suggesting that Caffeine is next gen architecture for Google.  It was created to support real-time and instant performance.  Bruce added that there is a much deeper and broader content capacity with Caffeine.  Some of the other points that Bruce mentioned:
  • Caffeine means different crawling requirements
  • Stale content will be crawled less often
  • More links detected means more crawling
  • It is estimated that only 2% of pages are seen in Google’s index (there are over a trillion pages that are out on the Web, Google only knows about a trillion of these.)
  • Caffeine may mean that more local targeting may be on the Horizon
  • On-page quality is gaining as a ranking factor
  • Trust scores for link networks will become more important
  • More spidered pages leads to adding lower quality pages
  • Bruce feels, and I agree, that links are going to change.  The quality score of links will become even more important.  Sites that have a lot of low quality links may receive permanent damage (in terms of search engine rankings)
  • Caffeine may mean that additional ranking factors (as many as 128-200) have been turned on
  • “Likes” may become the new links.
  • Video is now significant content
  • Engagement is an increasingly important factor from a ranking perspective
  • With recent changes to Google’s SERPs, with 30% of the queries, the top organic listing is now below the fold.  This will get worse.
  • Siloing of content matters
Stoyan Stefanov from Yahoo discussed web performance optimization and had a pretty technical presentation but shared some great information.  Some of the key points and tools that Stoyan shared:

  • He mentioned to understand and know the waterfall of your page load times
  • Focus on the front end with optimization of things such as html, css, images etc.
  • It is important to reduce the number of requests on a page.
    • Combine all JS
    • Combine all CSS
    • Combine images into CSS sprites which basically creates one image that contains all of your images.  He mentioned the tools www.csssprites.com
  • Reduce component size with things like compression, minification and lossless image optimization
Some additional tools Stoyan shared included:
  • YSlow
  • YUI Compressor
  • Closure Compiler
  • Firebug Next Panel
Brian Ussery was up next discussing the Google MayDay update.  His thoughts included:
  • The MayDay update had an impact on sites “aggregated” sitewide
  • Crawl to index time is 50% faster with Caffeine
  • Use PUSH (Pubsubhuibbub) which is a tool that tells Google when you have content ready
  • Use things such as RDFa, Microdata, Microformat
  • MayDay raises the bar for long-tail content
  • Quality content is important when addressing issues suffered from the Google MayDay update
  • It is important to leverage unique content

So far, Pubcon has been a good experience.  More from Marketing Jive on Google Caffeine and Google's MayDay update.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, November 10, 2010   0 comments
Pubcon 2010: Session of the Day
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Well Pubcon 2010 is in full swing as Day One kicked off with a highly entertaining keynote by David Pogue from the New York times.  From there I attended an In-House SEO session, but the session of the day, well at least the one that I enjoyed the most was the Smart Organic Keyword Research session.

This session featured some great speakers who discussed various keyword research practices from fundamentals to leveraging more advanced tools and practices.  Up first was Carolyn Shelby who talked us through a bunch of the fundamentals and emphasized the importance of brainstorming as part of your keyword compilation process.  She also provided a valuable reminder in the benefit of having an editorial calendar.

Wil Reynolds was up next and with a lot of energy went through a number of great tools that he uses as part of his keyword research process.  Wil is definitely passionate about keyword research and about tools such as
  • Google Insights of which he shared a couple of great tips: use Google Insights for examining seasonality of keywords
  • be sure to use proper filtering when using Google Insights
  • leverage phrases that are rising searches in Google
Wil mentioned a number of other great tools including:
  • Quintura http://www.quintura.com/
  • Google Wonder Wheel (remember you need to turn Google Instant off to use this) http://www.googlewonderwheel.com/
  • Soovle http://soovle.com/
  • Delicious
  • Google Suggest (kickin' it old school as Wil stated)
  • Google Trends for Websites http://www.google.com/trends
  • asking questions in Google
  • searching for keyword vs other keywords
All in all some great resources for adding to your keyword research repertoire.

Craig Paddock was up next with his presentation on keyword research and selection.  He discussed some tools that he likes to use for keyword research including the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, Microsoft's Ad Intelligence Tool and the YouTube key phrase tool.  Craig added some good tips and reminders including:
  • key phrase modifiers tend to have better conversation rate.  These are terms such as "discount", "cheap", "best", "online" etc.
  • the easiest way to gain rankings is improving your existing rankings
  • Google clusters results from the same website if they exist on the same page.  If you have a number one ranking in Google and a number nine ranking in Google, Google will display them as #1 and #2.  I actually did not know this, so this was interesting to myself.  He went on to add that if your site is number one in Google and number fourteen in Google, the results are not clustered.  You will need to work hard to bump that number fourteen placement into the top 10 to benefit from the clustering.
Mark Jackson was the final speaker and he discussed the keyword research process.  Mark led off by stating that keyword research forms the foundation for future SEO success.  He couldn't be more correct.  Keyword research is critical for SEO success.  Mark went through the process that he typically uses:
  1. Create the initial keyword list (leverage brainstorming as part of this step)
  2. Gather data (look at search volume and traffic potential, competitiveness, seasonality etc)
  3. Filter and Sort
  4. Review and Refresh
Mark mentioned some of the tools that are useful for conducting keyword research including Wordtracker and their keyword question tool, SEM Rush and Open Site Explorer.

Day one at Pubcon was great.  There were some great site clinics and all of the speakers on the Twitter & Social Media from the PR Experts panel including Sara Evans, Lisa Buyer and Victoria Harres were tremendous.  This was actually my second favorite session of the day.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, November 09, 2010   2 comments
Off to Pubcon
Monday, November 08, 2010

So I’m just sitting in Vancouver waiting to catch my connecting flight to Las Vegas for Pubcon.  I am really excited about going to Pubcon.  With all of my years attending search conferences, I am almost embarrassed to say that this is my first time attending Pubcon.  Yes I am a Pubcon rookie.  I have been wanting to attend Pubcon for quite some time, but have simply been unable to attend in the past.  From those that I talk to, Pubcon is one of the better search conferences to check out.

What to Expect at Pubcon

So there are a number of things that I expect to learn at Pubcon.  I am going to vary the sessions that I attend to include everything from keyword research and link building to social media, content development and site clinics.  I am looking for advanced information.  I’m not going there to see any SEO rockstars (I’m probably more of an SEO rockstar than a lot of the self-professed SEO veterans are).  Dare I say that I have attended many a conference in the past only to walk away rolling my eyes thinking, I probably should be up there speaking.  I do not consider myself a great public speaker so I prefer to let other people do the talking.  I just expect them to talk about and more importantly communicate things that I (and others in the audience) do not know about.  I expect to learn from the so called experts.

I’m not one to be in the spotlight, perhaps in my younger days (not that I’m old) but as I always say I’d rather be the one behind the camera than the one in front of it.  So here is what I personally am looking to get out of attending Pubcon:
  • I am expecting to be inspired by the various keynotes.  I have been really impressed with Tim Mayer over the years having heard him speak a number of times.  I was pretty excited when they announced him as one of the keynotes.  I cannot wait to hear his keynote.
  •  I am expecting to learn more about recent search engine algorithm updates.  I know the search engines do not always share a lot of information, but at conferences such as Pubcon, there is always an opportunity to learn more about the “backend” of the search engines.
  • I’m hoping to learn about some cool new tools that others in the industry are using.  There are a lot of tools out there, but I like to learn about the best of the best.  I don’t want some sales pitch, I don’t want fluff, and I don’t want to learn about tools that already exist in other suites.  I’m looking for tools that provide value and make my job easier.  ‘Nuff said.  Raven I will be checking you out as well.
  •  I am hoping to network and bump into some old clients.  It’s always nice to see some familiar faces.  For those of you who subscribe to my blog, be sure to look for me and at least stop by and say hello.
  •  I am looking to learn some advanced techniques.  I’m looking for the speakers to be transparent with their practices and especially the practices that they have had the greatest success with.
  •  I am looking to talk strategy (not tactics) with industry leaders.  While you might not want to share all of your secrets, I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.  
  • I am looking to win a door prize.  True story a few years back a company drew my name as the winner of a Nintendo Wii.  I was just entering the conference hall and missed the announcement by like 2 minutes.  By the time I got to their booth, like another two minutes, they already drew another persons name.  They said that the draw would be at 2:45, I was there at 2:45.  They drew at like 2:40.  I guess timing is everything in the world of Search.  
  •  Finally I am looking to talk organic search with anyone and everyone.  I’m passionate about white hate organic search marketing.  I love discussing keyword research or content management.  If you like conversing about the same thing, let’s meet up.

As I mentioned I am excited about attending Pubcon.  Brett Tabke and his team have from what I hear, done a tremendous job of putting this show on over the years.  Let;s see if Pubcon can live up to the hype.  The fact that Pubcon is taking place in one of my favourite cities in Las Vegas is an added plus.
For those attending, enjoy.  I will see you there.
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posted by Jody @ Monday, November 08, 2010   0 comments
What’s the Best Way to Deal with a Search Engine Algorithm Update - 2010 Edition
This year, we have seen our share of search engine algorithm updates and changes.  The most discussed update was undoubtedly what the industry referred to as the Google MayDay update.  Ah major algorithm updates.  If you want to see webmasters, SEO's or site owners cringe, just ask them about search engine algorithm updates.  Seven years ago this month, site owners were left scratching their heads with Google's Florida Update.  The fact is that is you deal with search engine optimization or organic search, you are at the mercy of the almighty search algorithms.  Should you fear algorithm updates?  Well only if you do not know what you are doing with your site in terms of architecture, the optimization of your content and with regards to links (both internal and external linking).

The search engines, including Google, are always making updates to their algorithms but many site owners feel it when the engines perform a major search algorithm update.  Usually when Google performs a major algo update, there are a number of theories that people come up with to try and decipher how they can improve their rankings in Google’s index or more importantly preserve their existing rankings from dropping in the results.

(Image courtesy of http://summer.twingly.com/2008/06/23/weeeha-graph-drawing-algorithm-check/)

Remember Google’s Florida Update?  It happened in November 2003 and caused Webmaster and site owners panic across the online universe.  The Florida Update caused millions of pages and sites to be dropped from Google’s results.  Danny Sullivan had a good review of the Florida Update only weeks after it occurred.  Looking back it was an obvious effort to improve relevancy for the sites that were being listed.  Or was it?  A number of commercial sites suffered.  These are sites that you would expect to see when doing generic "head-type" keyword searches.  In the end however, the Florida Update was necessary for the progress of the Google Search Engine.  Just like the "Big Daddy" update was in early 2006, Google, and all search engines for that matter, need to continue to have major (and minor) algorithm updates to improve their search products.  Improving the relevancy of the results is not something that will just happen.  It takes continuous tweaking and improvement to serve up the results that are of relevance to the searcher.  Factor in the fact that what’s relevant to me may not be relevant for you, and you see how the algorithms need to be adjusted accordingly.  The search engine algorithms cannot remain status quo.  Change is required.  Just because you have ranked in the number one position in Google for <insert keyword here> for five years does not mean that you are entitled to that ranking for eternity.  Nothing lasts forever… including search engine rankings.  Unless that is that your web page or site remains the most relevant for that given term or topic.

Dealing With a Search Engine Algorithm Update

As we move into 2011, you know that there are going to be major algorithm updates coming.  In fact we are more often seeing regular smaller algorithm updates more frequently.  So how does one prepare for a major search engine algorithm update?  Well in truth, depending on the search engine and depending on the update, you may be unable to do anything.  However here are some tips that you should follow when dealing for or preparing for a major search engine algorithm update.
  1. Don’t Panic – many site owners and Webmasters feel that they can control the situation.  The fact is you cannot.  You’re better served to ride out the storm and deal with the pieces that are left once the storm passes.  More often than not, as time passes you, the sites that are relevant and useful re-surface in the index and in the rankings where they are supposed to be.  (That is unless they have been penalized by the search engines due to some blackhat techniques, such as artificially inflated link inventories etc.)
  2. Keep Your Site Well Optimized - take care of SEO and SEO will take care of you. Ensuring that your site has well optimized titles, meta data, on page copy, and sufficient external link inventory can go a long way in weathering the storm of a major search engine algorithm update.
  3. Pay Attention to the Search Engines - Quite often the search engines will communicate (in a roundabout way) if your site has indexing issues.  Using tools like Google Webmaster Tools can help you ensure that your site is in good standing with Google.  If you’re in good with Google, chances are you’ll be in good with the other search engines such as Yahoo and Live Search.
  4. Continue to Refresh Your Keyword Basket(s) - just because you may be ranking for a core group of keywords today, doesn’t mean that you will be ranking for them forever.  You should always be refining your keywords to ensure that you are focusing on phrases that are relevant and that you can rank for in the search engines and more importantly that your audience are using when they complete a search query.
  5. Be Patient - Similar to point number one, you really need to be patient when a major search algorithm update has a negative impact on your site.  Prepare for updates, you know they are coming, so sticking to the basics and ensuring that you have well optimized, fresh content on your site, that you are continuing to build your link inventory and have a technically sound site will help you when dealing with algorithm updates.  Be aware of your major competitors.  If they were not affected by the algorithm update, determine why?  After an algorithm update, it can take days or weeks for the dust to settle.  Do not worry about being reactive immediately.  If changes are required, wait until all of the algorithm changes have been deployed.  There is nothing worse than overreacting to an algorithm change, making site-wide changes and then have the algorithm change to be temporary or revert back to previous indexing standards.  You can do more damage by overreacting to an algorithm change than by simply doing nothing at all.
Search Engine Algorithm updates are not always fun to deal with from a Webmaster’s point of view.  Ensuring that your site consists of a search engine friendly design with proper site architecture, is technically sound and is well optimized can be a great way to prepare for search algorithm updates.  The fact of the matter is,  that when it comes to an algorithm update, as site owners we’re at the "mercy" of the search engines.  I suggest that we name the next major algorithm update from Google the "California Update" in celebration of the Florida update that took place seven years ago.  Regardless, coming soon to the search results near you, the next search engine algorithm update.

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posted by Jody @ Monday, November 08, 2010   2 comments
Retro Post: What is a Canonical URL?
Saturday, November 06, 2010
Lots of discussion about canonicalization and canonical URLs lately.  I’ve discussed URLs and URL structure a few times in the past.  We thought that we would help illustrate the idea of canonical URLs.  From an SEO point of view here is the definition of a canonical URL:

Canonical URL: the search engine friendly URL that you want the search engines to treat as authoritative.  In other words, a canonical URL is the URL that you want visitors to see.

Quite often canonical URLs were used to describe the homepage.  The typical example used is that most people treat the following URLs as the same:


The fact is that these are all different URLs.  From a search engine perspective, this can cause a bit of an issue.  Hence the idea of canonicalization.  Canonicalization is the process of picking the best URL (to present to the search engines) when there are multiple choices available.  Typically a search engine, such as Google will attempt to pick the best URL that they feel is the authority for that page.  However, sometimes they may in fact select the wrong one.  Now let’s suggest that you have product pages that depending on how the user navigated to the pager returns a different URL… same page but different URL, now we have a duplicate content issue.  Not to mention the nightmare for interlinking and external link inventories.

The easiest way to avoid this is to let the Search engines and the users know which is your “preferred URL” a.k.a canonical URL.  One suggestion is to redirect all of the variations to your canonical URL (the URL that you want to be the authority).  In February, the major search engines announced another solution with the canonical tag.  This tag gives you control of the content that you want the engines (and users) to see.
Matt Cutts of Google fame has discussed duplicate content and canonical tags a number of times.  One of the questions that he was asked included:

Q: So when you say www vs. non-www, you’re talking about a type of canonicalization. Are there other ways that urls get canonicalized?

A: Yes, there can be a lot, but most people never notice (or need to notice) them. Search engines can do things like keeping or removing trailing slashes, trying to convert urls with upper case to lower case, or removing session IDs from bulletin board or other software (many bulletin board software packages will work fine if you omit the session ID).

We have seen sites that have upwards of 15 versions of the same page but with different URLs.  The simplest solution is to have one final destination URL.  An easy way to do this is through the canonical tag or by redirecting all of these pages to one authoritative page.  The canonical tag is simple to use, all you need to do is add this tag to specify your preferred version of a URL inside the (head) section of the duplicate content URLs.

Canonical simply means relating to or belonging.  It also means reduced to the simplest and most significant form.  Just remember that a canonical URL is the simplest and most significant (authoritative) version of the URL that you want to be seen.

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posted by Jody @ Saturday, November 06, 2010   0 comments
Top 5 SEO Lists - Week of November 1, 2010
Friday, November 05, 2010
In case you missed last week's list, you can find it here: http://www.marketing-jive.com/2010/11/top-5-seo-lists-week-of-october-25th.html.  This week we include, of all things, an infographic and a list from Marketing Sherpa's 2011 SEO and Social Media Benchmarking report.
#5.  7 Crude Links — If Link Building Was Oil Drilling (Infographic) - Apparently links are like crude oil.  Who knew? Regardless we liked this infographic that highlights the various type of links that can be readily available. For the record, anyone eles sick of infographics yet?
#4.  November 2010 Google Webmaster Report - SEO Roundtable has a nice summary of an ongoing WebmasterWorld thread specifically designed to track Google changes. They also provide links to the most interesting Google SEO related topics covered in the past month
#3.  MarketingSherpa 2011 SEO & Social Media Benchmark Report - Top Rank's Online Marketing Blog.  While not technically a list per se, this post did include a screenshot of a chart from the Marketing Sherpa Marketing Benchmark survey about the effectiveness of SEO tactics from an agency perspective.  We found that very interesting and in fact would agree with the majority of the dat conveyed in that table. 

#2.  7 Reasons Your Site Doesn't Convert - a great piece that suggests you focus on amping up the trust factors of your site.  As well as making the conversion process clear with direction. Think of things like clear information scent, ensuring that important content is easily found, clear conversion paths etc.

#1.  9 Sure-Fire SEO Tips - SEO Journal.  While Zeke's post does not contain a lot of new practices, it does set fourth some good reminders of some SEO practices that you may want to leverage as part of your SEO practices.  Some of the better tips included on this list include:
  • Evaluating (and using) the keywords that your competitors may be targeting.
  • Use Google Webmaster Tools - we recommend using GWT regularly.
  • Understand exactly what a quality link is.  This can be one of the single most important statements in all of SEO.  Work to get quality links and do not simply focus on the quantity of your external links.
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posted by Jody @ Friday, November 05, 2010   0 comments
The Difference Between a Dashboard and a Report
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Ahh reporting… marketers live and die by reports, business live and die by reports, coaches live and get fired by reports. At some point in your life you will have measured and communicated success (or failure) in the form of a report or dashboard. We all use them, heck in the online marketing world we use them each an every day. So why then is there confusion by the masses over dashboards vs. reports? For whatever reason, there seems to be a lot of confusion over what a dashboard is and should consist of compared to that of which a report should consist of.

I think that we can agree that both dashboards and reports are used to communicate data and information. Yet dashboards and reports are and should be very different from one another. To understand this difference, let’s look at some of the definitions of each.

Definition of a Dashboard
According to Google, a dashboard is a two column webpage with four placeholder gadgets to make it easy to get started creating an overview of information.

Wikipedia”s definition for dashboard (construct) is a set of indicators that relate to the observable environment.

Perhaps one of the best definitions of a dashboard is from Stephen Few author of Information Dashboard Design - “A dashboard is a visual display of the most important information needed to achieve one or more objectives which fits entirely on a single computer screen so it can be monitored at a glance.”
Web analytics master Avinash Kaushik suggests that 80% of Web Analytics dashboards are these excessive excel sheets that really do not tell us anything. They are not actionable. As Enquiro’s own web analytics expert John Yuill reminds us:
dashboards empower a rapid understanding of business performance by tracking the critical business data in an easy to understand manner. Effective dashboards can be a very powerful communication medium and greatly accretive to driving actions. – Avinash Kaushik
There are some key components to this statement:
  1. easy to understand
  2. critical business data
  3. driving actions
Dashboards are meant to provide a quick indication as to the status of what is being measures.  In an automobile a dashboard provides information on how much fuel you have left, or if there is anything mechanically wrong  or how many bars of electricity you have left etc.  The dame goes for online marketing dashboards, a dashboard should isolate key metrics, be simple and be visually appealing incorporating appropriate charts where necessary.

There are numerous examples of dashboards out there:
Dashboard – definition, examples
Definitions of Reports
Reports on the other hand are more detailed in nature.  Reports tend to tell more  of a story and as a result are more detailed in nature.  Reports also take time to digest whereas a dashboard is meant to offer information in a quick manner.  Reports can be used to communicate a number of items including:
  • findings of a study or test
  • representation of an account
  • informing of an action or result caused by an action
  • sharing of news
  • filing of a complaint
  • a composition for the purposes of education
Some common definitions of reports include:
From Princeton – a written document describing the findings of some individual or group
An account presented usually in detail. – Free Dictionary.com
a document characterized by information or other content reflective of inquiry or investigation – Wikipedia
So what are the main differences between a report and a dashboard?
  • Dashboards are short and concise. Reports can be but are usually longer in nature.
  • Dashboards are visual.  Reports have visual components.
  • Dashboards focus on specific KPIs.  Reports include more background and data.
  • Dashboards are meant to be monitored at a glance.  Reports require more in-depth attention (i.e. require reading through)
  • Dashboards communicate specifics. Reports often tell more of a story.
  • Reports can include dashboards.  Dashboards cannot or at least should not include a true report.
  • Dashboards are simple.  Reports tend to be more complex in nature.
  • Dashboards are actionable.  Reports can have actionable components.
From a number of  “dashboards” and “reports” that I have seen out there, in the world of SEO and online marketing, there appears to be a disconnect with regards to reporting and dashboards.  Quite often a new client comes to us and we ask to see some historical data,  the client presents us with a plethora of data and lengthily reports.   To gain an immediate understanding of how the client is performing all we need is to review simple and concise dashboards.  The additional information in the form of the various reports can be beneficial, but we aim to get up to speed as soon as possible and do not always have the luxury of time to review all the minutiae of the reports.  Dashboards can provide a great deal of information in a short period of time.

If you are concerned with the time it takes to complete your monthly, weekly or daily reporting, effective dashboards can help improve lean initiatives.  Examine your dashboards and continue to revisit them.  Are they concise, simple to digest and are they actionable?  If not you probably have some work to do.
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posted by Jody @ Thursday, November 04, 2010   0 comments
5 Keys to Interlinking Success
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Lately, there has been a lot of discussion about interlinking and what is the best approach to take when interlinking your website pages. This is a great discussion and so earlier this year I thought that I would share some interlinking tips that you might find useful.  In the past, I’ve discussed interlinking benefits for B2B websites, but really interlinking is something that all site owners should take seriously.  I have reproduced my post on five keys for interlinking success below.

Before we dive right into the tips though, let’s make sure that we are on the same page when we refer to interlinking. Interlinking as it is being referred to here is simply the process of linking from one of your website pages to another of your own website pages. The purpose of interlinking at the heart of it all is really in terms of navigation, to take the user from one page to another relevant page. So as an example, if you are a website that sells hockey skates, you might have a page on how to properly tie your hockey skates, it then makes sense to link to a page about skate laces. Relevancy is a key factor when it comes to interlinking.

Of course there are those out there who are going to tell you that interlinking has to be a complex web sculpted in such a manner to maximize the linking that is taking place… blah, blah, blah. We are not going to get into things like PageRank sculpting and such.  I, personally, have never been entirely sold on the whole PageRank sculpting thing anyway.  Interlinking does not have to be complicated to be successful, it just has to make sense. The following tips can help you make sense of your interlinking strategy and the means to which you effectively interlink your site’s pages.

5 Keys to Interlinking Success

  1. Take Inventory of Your Web Pages – the first thing that you need to do before you even start interlinking is to take an inventory of your site pages.  This becomes difficult for all of you large dynamic site owners out there, but really you should have some sort of idea as to the size and structure of your site.  If you do not, you may have made some mistakes with your site redesign.  Regardless, taking inventory of your site’s page is a good first step in planning your interlinking strategy.  In fact, taking inventory of your site pages is a necessary step when planning your interlinking strategy.
  2. Determine Areas of Strength & Areas for Improvement – evaluate your current internal linking structure.  This is important to determine which areas of your site are currently well interlinked and which areas are not.  Again, let’s keep it simple, no need to complicate things here.
  3. Map Out Your Interlinking Ideas - once you have taken inventory of your webpages and you have determined which areas of your site need some help, you can map out an initial plan for interlinking your site pages.  Is there a section of your site that the focus needs to be on?  Or perhaps there are certain product pages that require some lift?  Wherever the issue, mapping out a few interlinking scenarios can help illustrate where you can get the best bang for your buck when it comes to interlinking your site.
  4. Leverage Proper Tools – there are a number of free and inexpensive tools that can be of great assistance when evaluating your current internal linking structure.  For starters I recommend using Google Webmaster Tools.  This is a great tool for performing link analysis (both internal and external).  Be prepared to review your internal links regularly with GWT.  Want to check for broken links, use tools such as XENU to determine where you need to tidy up and update some of your existing links.  Another tool that can come in quite handy is SEOmoz’s LinkScape tool.  While, we’re not big fans of MozRank and such, this tool can be used to gain some insight into your own interlinking status as well as that of your competition.
  5. Remember the things that make a “good link” a “good link” – As a reminder, link quality is what we are all looking for.  A quality link from an SEO perspective is one that comes from a relevant page that features relevant keywords in the page title, in the linking text (anchor text) and in the page copy from the page that is linking.  When interlinking your own site pages, keep this in mind so that you can improve the quality of your interlinking practices.
Interlinking is an important part of optimizing your website, not just for search engines, but for your site visitors.  A link is like a teleportation device that can take your user from page A to page B with but a simple click.  Make that click meaningful.  Planning and mapping out an interlinking strategy can provide your site visitors with a cleaner and more efficient site experience.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, November 03, 2010   0 comments
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