November 14th, 2007 · No Comments
Given my affinity for the interweb and my current career path, I am constantly correcting people when they say that they “assume” I Google.
In fact, I don’t Google.
Compete.com has compiled their latest search engine market share data from October and even though Google still dominates when it comes to usage, it isn’t my favorite by a long shot. This surprises people.
Their second guess is usually Yahoo!, but I shake my head “no” for that answer as well.
MSN? I baffle them again.
Ask?? Like Ask Jeeves? The one with the butler guy? Indeed. While it’s true that I never once entertained their search engine as AskJeeves, after their re-branding they piqued my curiosity. I increased my usage of it by at least 600% within the last two years and have watched it grow from something so-so, to my favorite. I would venture to say that Ask.com is one of my BFF’s at this point.
Why? Because it is hands down- the most humanly intuitive search engine. I know that from an SEO standpoint it’s all about formulas of this that and the other. I know. I do it. Every day of life. Some folks have a hard time optimizing sites for Ask and they ask me how I can get the results that I do. It’s easy. I optimize for humans. I use human logic and search psychology and apply it to the content and layouts of my sites, and Ask eats it up.
Their universal search is laid out well from a usability standpoint. Well, hello roll-over thumbnail image and video previews! Hello dictionary with audio sample. Their “Narrow Your Search” function on the left is beautifully thought out and I believe is based partly on lateral search patterns of past users and partly popularity of content. From an SEO standpoint, you can start your negative keyword research right there. Right down to the limited selection (but at least available) custom interface skin. PS - their mapping function is pretty rad too.
If you want to do well in Ask’s search results, you need to only optimize as LOGICALLY as possible.
So, given my fascination with human psychology, specifically as it relates to search, I think that Ask has done a great job with covering their bases. Will they ever be #1? No. Why? Look how many people are still using AOL as their internet provider!
But they are my search engine of choice, and I’m making as many converts as possible.
Written by b - Visit Website
Tags: Weekly Topic
November 10th, 2007 · No Comments
Ah, networking. The social media blitz has taken the linear baby blue columns of familiar SERPs to a new level with exciting UIs that grab at our attention in ways more contributory to live interaction. We decide collectively what’s hot and what’s not by promoting based on our natural affinities. We don’t have to slog through pages of what we asked for. We are told in a heartbeat what’s best, relevant, unbelievable, and absolutely must see. What’s important to this median is targeted buzz and being able to channel traffic in a method that allows you to maximize the value of your website regardless if you are promoting a political candidate or selling prosthetic limbs. In the human network if you can capture interest, your peers will promote your pages for you.
Mechanically you should carve out a predetermined path to funnel traffic through. Landing pages should be a baseboard. Exciting content is nothing more than a flash in the pan for a web surfer so developing quick paths to discourage bounce increases the odds that they will be lured to the reason you created the site in the first place; they may even find something compelling to link to.
Think of your site holistically. If you were a salesman you wouldn’t just walk up to someone and say, “Buy my product!” You would need to have an introduction, build rapport and credibility, introduce the consumer to the options and finally offer a solution. Sometimes there are shortcuts and sometimes there are not.
The Will it Blend site by Blendtec is a brilliant example of leveraging social media for SEO. One of many targeted buzz bits is a hilarious Chuck Norris rip where Tom Dickson, who happens to be the Founder of Blendtec, appears in a short blending an assortment of rubber dolls in the likeness of thugs and our hero, Chuck Norris. My God you would never put these rock hard rubber figurines in a new blender, but he does! The industrial blender seems to pulverize the obviously stressful load with ease. After which Chuck emerges from the rubber dust unscathed. At the conclusion of the short, while they still have our attention, we are shown where to see more crazy stuff being blended (willitblend.com) and a listing of vendors where to obtain the blender. Below the clip there are a series of similar shorts blending everything from iPhones to tiki torches. To the left we see well placed navigation that allows us quick access to the company blog for more information, or a direct link to the product lineup if we’re ready to shop.
On a social media site like Digg we are captivated by buzzwords like ‘iPhone’ or ‘Chuck Norris’ connected with the radical thought of blending or destroying them! Diggers will promote on the basis of humor while incidentally encouraging links and traffic generation to a page with access to direct sales.
I would consider the Blendtec example a shortcut because it simultaneously satisfies rapport, credibility, an option, in the form of the model used, and you are a single click away from the full product offerings. Awesome!
Written by Nicholas Ramirez - Visit Website
October 31st, 2007 · No Comments
Social Media websites are popping up all over the place recently. The public is now in the drivers seat allowing Real People to talk about their real lives on the web. New dot.coms rolling out self-publishing models for users is demanding more from web technology and website usability. Is this a trend? Let’s check Alexa.
Top 500 Websites The Alexa.org 10/28/07 results. Here are the top 10:
- You Tube *
- MySpace *
- FaceBook *
- Orkut *
- Hi5 *
The results are interesting some old and new. The “Social Web” constituents above cover 50% of the Top 10 suprise you? I am sure it doesn’t. How many of you and your friends communicate thru your MySpace page? Ahh got ya!
Let’s get practical and see how we can use the Trend data to meet our Search Marketing objectives. Let’s look at some rules defined by some popular authors of SMO Social Media Optimizers as old as 2006 like Rohit Bhargava describes the 5 Rules:
- Increase your Linkability
- Make tagging and bookmarking easy
- Reward inbound links
- Help your content travel
- Encourage the mashup
Rohit has been quoted since 2006 and entered in “till we are blue in the face” blog entries. Other angles played by other SEO’s such as Cameron Olthius expanded his original works by saying:
6. Be a user resource, even if it doesnt help you.
7. Reward helpful and valuable users
Let’s add a few more:
8. Participate. Join the conversation
9. Know how to target your audience
10. Create content
11. Be Real
Number eleven is what I would emphasize the most just Be Real. In conclusion, the trend is social media is more than a trend it is now our new best-friend.
Written by Gene Tapang - Visit Website
Be a User — Of Social Media
October 29th, 2007 · No Comments
With the advent of social media came a thousand new on-ramps to the information highway with a major benefit — giving users the ability to interact with your brand.
I admit it. I’m a social networking site junkie. I am always looking forward to that next hit. First it was friendster. Then I got into youtube. Then myspace. Then livejournal. Then facebook.
When you consider the internal capabilities of joining micro communities of groups with similar interests (the mullet review, anyone?), allowing people a little personal perspective on who you are via your profile, tagging the pictures you post, and your emoticon of the day - what you have is the ability of networking you, your services, and/or your business.
When it comes to viral marketing, my favorite is video. You can use video to push your own product or opinion, as well as share your ‘favorites’ with people by emailing them the link, or embedding the video in your own social media site profile. Even if the site you’re posting on has instituted a rel=”nofollow” to discourage higher-ranking attempts, traffic still will be sent to the intended site.
The following statistics show that over 40% of viewers of videos online follow through with some action. If you want a slice of that action, you have to be willing to put the work into creating and distributing the video. Once up, it’s a matter of measuring its success.
“eMarketer projects that by 2011, 86.6% of the US Internet population will consume online video, up from 62.8% in 2006.
In raw numbers, that means the number of viewers will rise from 114 million in 2006 to 183 million in 2011.”
With numbers like that, you can’t afford not to utilize video to your advantage.
A great example of this is when FlowCorp had OCC (Orange County Choppers) create a Flow Bike for them. With the grouping by category/topic that youtube does, it pushes tons of traffic to the flowcorp.com site. They not only have videos on youtube about their metal fabrication equipment that stand alone, but they also have videos of the OCC staff discussing the Flow Corp machines and showing the bike itself. This allows users to become educated about FlowCorp whether they are searching for metal fabrication, OCC, or custom motorcycles. They used their video pages to
- Engage/entertain their user
- Inform users about their product line
- Link back to their site
With video-sharing sites giving users the ability to copy and paste embed code into various social media platforms, viral marketing is something that can and should be utilized by anyone who is serious about marketing themselves or their brand. Be creative, be funny, be informative, and get your brand out there.
Written by b - Visit Website
Intuitive Keyword Research = Topical Insight
October 16th, 2007 · No Comments
Let’s begin by saying, “keyword research is analogy for topical insight“. I recommend building a foundation of knowledge starting with an intuitive understanding of the topic. This process doesn’t have to be a long arduous process but consider it more of an adventure into topical insight. We start with what we know, what other people are saying and any available facts we can find. So we can really drive our insight and perform effective keyword research and ultimately build a keyword profile.
Topical Insight Formula for keyword research:
- Choose a topic for understanding
- Research the chosen topic
- Establish a foundation of topical insight
- Start keyword research
- Finish with a keyword profile
Being a wanna-be dog lover, I chose Dogs as our topic and more specifically the breed known as Basenjis. I have a strong personal affinity for those little canines but weak topical insight into the subject matter let’s begin our research with:
What we know?
- They are cute, small, smart, and loyal
- Cool looking and would-be designer dog
- Easily trainable
- They don’t bark, they Yodel! Sweet!
This pretty much sums up my personal knowledge of this breed.
What people are saying? Let’s Google it. Ahh, here is a nice link: The Basenji FAQ this is a nice find. Now we have medium-strength topical insight.
- They are one of the oldest breeds still in existence
- The dogs have been found in Egyptian art
- It’s confirmed. The number one thing everyone is saying is “…they are the bark-less dog”.
What available facts? Is there a formal organization for everything about Basenjis? Let’s try Google again. Here is an association Basenji Club of America this might help. Now we have Godzilla-strength topical insight
- An extensive list about Basenjis from:
- Breeder Directory
- Rescue Contacts
- Basenji Pictures
- Basenji Sounds
- Is a basenji right for me? An Basenji interactive guide.
Wow. We accomplished a lot.
Our process of choosing a topic and researching with three simple questions has established Godzilla-strength profile of “Topical Insight” or may I say SEOzilla strength profile. Now we have Power!
All this intuitive understanding can be applied towards our keyword research. Let’s dive in. Our voyage into keyword research starts with tools. I get strong insight into Google’s keyword relevancy system by just using Adwords. It’s an easy sandbox tool to start your keyword research. After our topical insight tour the number one concept that follows the Basenji it is known as the “Bark-less Dog”.
The Google Adwords keyword tool offers a couple of query function to generate our results:
- Keyword variation query
- Site-related keyword query
Let’s try keyword option one keyword variation query. We will sort keywords by relevance, search volume and possible advertiser competition here are the results.
- Barkless dog
- Barkless dogs
- African barkless dog
Additional keywords to consider:
- barkless basenji
- basenji dog
- basenjis dogs
- basenjis dog
- basengi dog
What we can learn is that Google agrees with our topical insight conclusion. Not surprising. We also learn that singular, plural and misspellings are variations worth incorporating into our keyword search.
Let’s try the site related query function and see how it matches to our The Basenji FAQ. Keywords related to basenji sorted by relevance, search volume and potential advertising competition here are the results:
- Basenji training
- Basenji breeders
- Basenji puppies
- Basenji shirt
- Basenji puppy
- Basenji breed
- Basenji pups
- Basenji puppies for sale
- Basenji for sale
Whats different about this function is Google algorithmically matches keywords related to the site contents. What we can learn and build on our 1stquery keyword variations points towards more to an economic perspective. I mean how the site can be monetized. Our primary topic of Basenjis can be expanded into the world of E-Commerce which makes sense from a PPC perspective.
Let’s key on the secondary topics generated from our site-related keywords:
- Training (Coaching & Consulting)
- Breeders (Pet Inventory)
- Shirt (Apparel Industry)
- For Sale (Sellers of Pets)
At this point, I am certain we understand more than we ever wanted to know about the topic of Basenjis. Let’s recap.
Keyword Research Outline:
- Topical Insight – An intuitive understanding of the topic
- Topic Research – The process:
- Simple Formula: What do we know, What does everyone know, and those who get paid to know
- Choose the topic, the primary keyword driver, the core of your research
- Use Google Adwords tools to build related keyword list
- Understand and document keyword variations
- Related Topics
- By utilizing Google Adwords tools we can find secondary topics. In this case we see an economic tangent connected to our primary research of basenjis.
- Lastly, choose wisely and use as appropriate.
In conclusion, keyword research follows a process of discovery of the topic, related topics and cannot be singled out without recognizing its connected relationships to the economy, social communities, even to individual and public knowledge bases. As a way of confirming our intuition or hunch, we use the available Google adwords tools to confirm and expand our findings. At the end of the day, you can successfully attain “Topical Insight” of any subject and be on your way to being a search engine expert in keyword research in the 1stquery or the second. :>
Written by Gene Tapang - Visit Website
Tags: Keyword Research · Weekly Topic
My take on keyword research
October 16th, 2007 · No Comments
I always start my keyword research in the same fashion. I look over the client’s website and other collateral to get a basic understanding of what the client offers in the way of products or services. I ask the client what they believe people are using to find their product or services. I then ask them what they would like people to find their product or services under. Exit stage left for now.
Now comes research time in the mad scientist’s laboratory. Okay – so it’s more like a workstation at a desk in my office. Picking the right keywords involves weighing several factors. The keywords must be relevant to the products/services offered and one should also be cognizant of geographic location (mold vs. mould and also targeting geographic areas ie: Seattle Tea Distributor), should it apply, lateral search terms (a tea merchant would benefit from terms such as “Earl Gray”, and “loose tea”), and misspellings. For clients who are on the edge of a new technology or product, I find it prudent to invest in specific ugly ducklings before they become swans to stake ground before the internet starts buzzing with these new terms and everyone is rushing for prime real estate. I also do research on whether people tend to search for a phrase using singular or plural variations (tea vs. teas), the order which people search for words (buy chai tea vs. chai tea buy), and the vocabulary which trends show users to search (buy loose tea vs. purchase loose tea).
Another important factor is competition. If you are trying to compete in a market that is dominated by big-name players who have a long-standing history on the web, and subsequently a lot of inbound links assisting their maintaining high rankings, consider more specific phrases that relate directly to your products and services. Where the broad term “tea” has a competition of over 60M and is dominated by established tea companies, a less established tea merchant may want to work on optimizing for wholesale tea (440K) or buy tea wholesale (265K) which will allow them to not only reap the benefits of users who are further along in their research and purposely narrowing their focus but also allow them to increase business while their link strength improves.
Finally, after the keywords have been selected and the SEO campaign is underway, it is vital to assess the successes of the selected keywords and make adjustments as needed. This can take the form of choosing different keywords, adding copy to the site to emphasize current keywords or, as is usually the case for me, both.
There is no such thing as being too thorough in your initial research, or too mindful of the post-implementation analysis. As search trends change, new words enter our vocabulary catalog (ask your grandparents/parents what Apple Widgets or PSP wallpapers are) and the competition grows, staying ahead is the name of the game.
Written by b - Visit Website
Tags: Keyword Research · Weekly Topic
Welcome the 1st Query Web Blog!
September 27th, 2007 · No Comments
The 1st Query SEM team will be blogging here twice a week, starting in October, giving our perspective on the latest in search engine marketing tactics, the tried and true techniques, and a plethora of geeky outbursts as they occur. Feel free to comment or suggest topics that you would like to know more about.
Written by - Visit Website