Search Engine Marketing | Unskippable - Marketing Keynote Speaker - Jim Kukral - Part 3

Category Archives for "Search Engine Marketing"

Seth Gets Google, Do You?

sethgoding.gifSeth Godin gets Google. Ok, it’s not just me saying this, you realize that right? Bold emphasis is mine.

In reference to this piece from the NYTimes.

The big takeaway for me is that there are [x] number of people, where x is a large number, working in a secret building at Google constantly changing the algorithms that they use to rank sites.

Being first in the Google rankings is more important than it ever was. And getting there is now more straightforward (but not easier) than ever.

It seems to me that in the SEO arms race, shortcuts have a shorter shelf-life than ever before. Building 43 is obsessed with them, and they outnumber whoever you might hire to beat the system. Organic success, on the other hand, is a clear path. If you want to be on the front page of matches for “White Plains Lawyer”, then the best choice is to build a series of pages (on your site, on social sites, etc.) that give people really useful information. Not just boilerplate information you stole from a legal website, but really useful stuff about you, the local courts, the forms people need… the things you’d want to find if you were doing that search.

Once you’ve done everything you can… once you’ve built a web of information and once you’ve given the ability to do this to your best clients and your partners and colleagues, then by all means apply the best SEO thinking in the world to your efforts. Hire the best consultants and use the resources you’ve got left to be sure you’re playing by the right rules.

Betting against Building 43 doesn’t seem nearly as smart as betting on them.

Search Engine Marketing Just Got A Bit More Complicated Thanks To Google

It is happening sooner than I expected, and on a bigger scale, but I was right.

Google universal search is here, and that means that video is going to start ranking in the regular search results.

After years of people ignoring tabs and links designed to get them to do specialized searches, Google is taking the plunge to push the right buttons behind the scenes and make specialized or vertical search results part of the “normal” experience.

Check out Danny Sullivan’s extensive coverage.

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What could this mean for your business?

It means that search optimization just got bigger. No longer will you need to worry about optimizing your web pages, you’re going to have to worry about videos and everything else. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that all of this “new” stuff is new, so it’s going to be like 2000 all over again. There simply isn’t a ton of content out there that is optimized, so the people who do it now will reap the rewards and get higher “rankings” sooner.

Still don’t want to mess with video yet? Not sure how much more I can convince you?

More good links on the matter.

Aaron Wall says publishing video is easy money, he’s right.

Scott Karp says Google is an even bigger gatekeeper now.

The official Google blog coverage.

Landing Page Resources

Is your landing page optimized? Do you use landing pages? Need to learn how? Here’s a few landing page resources I can recommend.

Landing Page Expert Analysis
Check out this free landing page analysis from MarketingExperiments. This shouldn’t be free, but it is.

Also look at Mark Widawer’s Landing page cash machine resource. I know Mark, good product, good guy.

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Need A Landing Page? Don’t Know How To Design One?

Become Certified in Landing Page Optimization.

Here’s two companies that do very, very inexpensive landing page designs. I have used them myself on this page.

http://www.getlandingpages.com/ – This is the one I used to build this.

http://www.buylandingpages.com/ – Never used them, but similar in concept to above link.

Landing Page Contests
Brian Clark, the Copyblogger, is running a great contest about developing effective landing pages, with $10k in prizes. Check it out.

Note: I know there are more resources than this. If you want to have your company listed, please contact me.

Why Do My Search Engine Rankings Vary From Search Engine To Search Engine?

Ever wonder how your blog or website ranks on different search engines? Ever wonder why there is a difference?

I recently noticed a lot of traffic coming in from MSN.com, so I investigated further and noticed I was doing quite well on terms that I had never really spent any time optimizing for.

Case in point, I recently discovered that JimKukral.com shows up as…

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#2 result in MSN.com for “online consulting“.

I’m also #5 for “online consulting services“.

And #3 for “online marketing consulting services“.

Each of those searches is bringing back close to a 2 million result average. Not too shabby, right?

Ok, so let’s go over to Google and see where I am for the same key phrases, and let’s see how different the results are. You would think that they’d be way off, especially since Google has a much bigger database of indexed sites. But alas, it wasn’t that far off.

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Online Marketing Consulting Services = #5 listing (out of 82 million results). Wow, that’s great, and only 2 spots lower than the MSN listing.

Online Consulting = #13 on second page (out of 138 million results).

Online Consulting Services = #4 result (111 million results total).

I didn’t even look to see how Yahoo! fit into this mix. Perhaps in a future entry.

The bottom line is, if you write good quality content and work with a reputable search engine marketing firm, you’re going to start seeing consistent results from your blog or website, across all the big search engines.

Why Don’t Businesses Invest In Search Engine Optimization?

Riddle me this. Why doesn’t a company like American Greetings have search engine optimized websites? Case in point, take a look on Google for “party invitations“. The AG site comes up as a result on page two, halfway down (go figure eh?). And upon further inspection, there’s not even a well written title tag on the result page that showed up… or on ANY of the pages on the rest of the site.

You gotta love it. Go to the birthday invitations page. Title tag: AmericanGreetings.com. Go to any other page in the “invites” section, same thing.

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Curiously, however, if you go to the ecards section, you see some title tags appearing. Yet, if you continue around to other parts of the site, you’ll see that probably only 10% of AmericanGreetings.com is actually optimized.

So what does this mean? Does it mean that a big company like AG is simply slacking? Does it mean that they know something we don’t? Their rankings certainly don’t show that to me they even care about it.

What bothers me the most about this is that even a big company like American Greetings probably doesn’t feel they need to hire an seo firm because they A.) Think they don’t need it, or B.) Think it’s a waste of time, or a combination of those things.

What A Waste!

What they aren’t realizing is how much money they are leaving on the table by not optimizing their site, especially considering the huge brand name they have and amount of dollars they could be spending. Heh, they only have about 1200 backlinks pointing to them from what I can tell.

I would guess that spending 20-30k on a professional seo firm to work on just that one domain would/could increase their traffic and/or sales double or more. I’m perplexed. Anyone tell me what I”m missing?

Is SEO simply too scary for big companies to invest in?

What Is Social Search & Why Does It Matter?

searchguy.jpgSearchengineland nails “what is social search” with a piece today entitled ‘The Impending Social Search Inflection Point‘. This is probably the best piece on this topic I have read yet. A bit technical and high-level, yet still very readable for the masses. I admit I had to read it twice, heh.

A few highlights I pulled out below.

According to Jupiter, 41.2 percent of users report that general search results are often not directly relevant to queries, and 18 percent leave a search engine without having found the information they were seeking.

So who’s fault is this? Spammers who clog up the rankings or the engines? I say both?

As articulated by Chris Sherman, social search is information retrieval, way finding tools informed by human judgment. Social search is people helping people find stuff using plain-language questions and answers, collaborative content harvesting, directory building, voting and ranking, sharing, tagging, commenting on bookmarks, Web pages, news, images, videos and podcasts.

It’s not rocket surgery. It’s “helping people find stuff” at its core, using newer tools and techniques.

According to a Pew Internet and American Life report, 44 percent of Internet users are content creators. A significant ratio of the top 100 results for more queries are consumer-generated media such as blogs and social networks, which sounds like an invitation for social media marketers to seed more content.

Wow. 44% create content? That’s higher than I thought. As it gets easier and easier to do, how high will that number grow?

Web 2.0 innovations are disruptive. The emergence of open standards, richer user experiences, content portability, social networks and communities are quite disruptive to traditional algorithmic search, and are converging toward social search. Information retrieval is changing in real time. Web 2.0 open standards have in essence separated the content we search from its format and dedicated application. More and more frequently, information is being pushed to consumers before they even have a chance to use a search engine to pull it from the Web. AJAX and Flash are turning web pages into applications, themselves becoming platform-independent mashups of RSS feeds, smart widgets, badges, and modules.

Possibly the best paragraph explanation and analysis I’ve read in a long time on any particular subject.

Social search levels the economics. The explosion of consumer-generated media, the emergence of social search and the rise of the net’s culture of participation will eventually force a democratization of the web’s economics. Content-generating users, driving traffic and eyeballs, will increasingly share the wealth. The web is slowly but surely leveling the playing field for the rest of us in the tail. More and more personal blogs, MySpace profiles, and other communities display advertising and widgets wrapped around democratization of revenue share including payment. Consumers will eventually share the wealth in a more democratic way.

The time is now. What are you doing to stake your place as a new entrepreneurial type content producer in this new marketplace?

Search Engine Marketing Firms Are Stupid

stupid.jpgThe search engine marketing industry has a big problem. A BIG problem. And as far as I can tell, there are only a very few seo firms or seo “gurus” out there who address this problem, or who position themselves to fix this problem… correct me if I’m wrong.

So what’s the big problem Jim?

99% of SEO firms fail to help their customers solve the right problems.

Rather, they focus on selling their customers “more traffic”. This is the wrong way to approach selling search services, and I believe that search firms are losing millions of dollars in service fees because of it.

Look, if you’re a search guru, or seo firm, you need to stop talking about “the first page of Google”, and “higher rankings, and “getting more links”, and instead start talking about things like “increasing sales”, and “conversions”, and in general things that show a return on investment.

But you guys don’t do that, and I can’t figure out why not? It makes no sense to me. It’s almost is if you’re trying to make search so confusing so that your customer just throws up their hands, hands you a check and says “Ugh, I know I have to do it, and it’s so hard to do, I hope it works. Get me on Google.”

Do you understand your customers? Do you really? I don’t think you do.

Because in my experience as someone who’s been in the online industry for 10+ years, that is exactly what those customers are doing and thinking. Your customers hate you, and they love you. They hate you because they have to cough up a lot of money for you to do your “magic”, and they love you when you return “results”.

But those “results” are all wrong, and therin lies your failure to really do what your customer needed, which was to solve their problems.

No, SEO isn’t bullshit as Jason says, but you know what? SEO firms sell it like it is.

You guys have a better product than that. Start selling it in terms that your customers understand. Start solving your customers problems with search (no, getting on Google’s first page is not a problem to solve).

Quit being stupid.

Do You Play By Google’s Rules?

google-girl-780952.jpgSomeone said something to me last week that really hit home. We were chatting about search engine marketing over IM. I was talking about how I disliked that business and why I got out of it years and years ago. Then he said…

“You know why you hate search? Because you play by the rules.”

It was as if he dropped a bomb on my head. Dead on right. Bingo! He continued…

“I stopped playing by the white-hat rules a long time ago, and I hated search too before that. When I started playing by my own rules instead of Google’s, it became fun again.”

Do You Play By Google’s Rules?

I’m not sure you would admit it if you don’t, so I’m not expecting an answer. It’s more of rhetorical question. Think about it though. There are lots of implications for your choices.

I Chose To Play By The Rules

My friend was dead-on right on why I hated search, because it was/is really hard to dominate like I used too (pre-Florida update years ago). It was back then I decided to leave the search business on a conscious decision that “I’m not going to base my income on the whims of a search engine ranking.” I moved on.

In other words, I hated search because it became too hard. The easy way out would have been to stop playing by the rules and go toward the dark side, or gray/black hat search techniques. I refused, and I’m pretty darn sure I’m not as rich as I would have been if I decided to go that route.

As for who was the person who said that to me. I won’t expose them, but they can come forward and leave a comment and claim it if they wish.

How to Monetize Your Blog – The Entrepreneur Magazine eBiz Show

I had the pleasure of appearing on the air with Chris Malta and Robin Cowie of the Entrepreneur Magazine eBiz Show the other day. We talked about how to monetize you blog. The show was broken up into three segments, which can be listened to here.

Segment 1 – Mp3 or read transcript.
Segment 2 – Mp3 or read transcript.
Segment 3 – Mp3 or read transcript.

Blogging is one of the biggest trends on the internet right now, but a blog can do more than give you an online voice. It can also generate significant revenue for your ebusiness. Joining us today is Jim Kukral, founder of BlogKits.com, to share different ways you can turn your blog into a serious income stream.

It was a huge honor to be on this show for so many reasons. First off, Chris Malta (CEO) and Robin Cowie (President) of Worldwide Brands are amazingly smart people who I admire. Secondly, I am an avid read of Entrepreneur magazine.

If you haven’t heard of WorldwideBrands.com, it’s The Internet’s recognized leader in EBiz Product Sourcing. They connect online sellers with highly qualified wholesale suppliers. They have a great product that I need to blog about soon as well.

Blogs Will Evolve & Integrate Into Google Search Results, Eventually

Cleveland recruiting & blogging guru Joel Cheesman points out that blog results are beginning to show up in the regular Google results.

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Yeah, they’re probably testing, but I argue it’s going to go further as time goes by. Look, there are now 63 million blogs out there according to Technorati. These blogs are like little tadpoles right now, but watch out, some are going to grow up.

And what happens when a blog grows up? It turns into a frog? No, it stops being a blog!

That’s right. In my opinion, and I’m betting that in Google’s opinion as well, a blog is only a blog when it’s small and young. However, as time goes by, and the information becomes more relevant and “high-quality”, Google begins to view it as not a blog, but a valuable resource to be indexed.

So what I’m saying is that eventually, as bloggers “grow up” and become better content producers and gain strength, etc… Eventually those blogs will be “good enough” to be in Google’s index.

Give it time, and watch out. In 3-5 years, how many trillions of blog content pages will be good enough to integrate. Still think blogs aren’t relevant?