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Showing posts from September, 2009

5 Painfully Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid For Better Results

Every company wants their website to show up well in search engines, and their marketing teams understand the importance of search engine optimization. And after the thousands of articles and blog posts written about search engine optimization, SEO is no longer the black art it once was. It's still a blend of art and science, but the basics should be well understood at this point by web marketers and designers. To their credit, many have integrated this basic knowledge.

Yet there are still a surprising number of sites that violate some of the most basic principles of SEO, and pay a penalty in poor search position. Here are a few still-common mistakes that are easy to avoid.

Header Tag Abuse: Although header tags have declined somewhat in SEO importance, they still have somewhat of an impact on rankings—and they are an easy thing to get right. Sites that use words and phrases like "Overview," "About Us" and "Our Services" in their h1, h2 and h3 headers …

Looking Back at 400: Top 10 Posts

As I recently passed 400 posts on this blog, here is a look back at the 10 most popular items here of all time. The list has changed considerably since the last look back after 300 posts.

#10: Best of 2007: Website Design, February 4, 2008

Reviews of articles and tools on website design, including a couple of pieces from the brilliant and frequently cited Stoney deGeyter. Not sure exactly why this one remain so popular, but here it is at #10.

#9: How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy, March 4, 2009

A summary of research from MarketingSherpa, Eloqua's Steve Woods, and green marketer Lorna Li on how marketers should approach social media strategically. As the old saying from the financial world goes, no one plans to fail—but many people fail to plan.

#8: Web 2.0 Social Tagging Sites, Part 4: B2B Traffic Building, May 15, 2007

Original research on the quantitative impact of social bookmarking on b2b site traffic. Much has changed since then, and social media is now an integral pa…

A Better Way to Launch New Products - Rolling Thunder

Get Higher Ratings: SEO Best Practices To Follow

In SEO `Best Practices' Are Bunk, Adam Audette rants about the supposed uselessness of these tactics, and by extension the concept of best practices in any realm. Audette writes that "`Best practice' is a stale buzzphrase that offers zero competitive advantage...best practice in the enterprise? To me, that is nothing but useless marketing-speak. It doesn’t say anything about creating a competitive advantage."

The larger point of this article is spot on, namely that adherence to any set of static practices will, over time, erode the competitiveness of any enterprise. But, with no disrespect to Mr. Audette, who is a very smart guy, he sets up somewhat of a strawman definition of best practices when he writes:
By definition, a best practice:
is a static rulesetis a standard to be followedhas worked in the past (read: is old)has been popularized (read: is average)limits judgement, evaluation, and strategy (cornerstones of quality search marketing) That is, at best, a part…

Best of 2008: Cool Web Tools, Part 3

3 Reasons to Love PitchEngine for Social Media Releases

For anyone doing interactive PR, PitchEngine has become a vital tool for creating, distributing and promoting social media releases. It's simple, fast, powerful and gets results. Here are three more specific reasons to love it:

Features—it's all there, the ability to easily add social networking links; links to other resources such as white papers, product sheets and webinars; branding elements; keywords; images; and online video.

Exposure—even for clients in very niche b2b markets (e.g. high-volume automated web publishing), these social media releases often get 100+ views in just the first few hours.

Search—based on experience, it can take weeks for Google to pick up a press release posted on a client website. PitchEngine releases are typically picked up with half an hour of posting.

PitchEngine is the most no-brainer, must-have PR investment my clients make. (And no, Jason Kintzler didn't pay me to write that! But I will let him quote me.)

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7 Ways NOT to Select an SEO Consultant

The importance of search engine optimization—helping websites stand out in an increasingly cluttered online world amid rapid growth in global search volume—combined with the fact that search is one of the few growing areas in an otherwise brutal economy has led to an influx of new providers in the space. Nothing wrong with that, competition is good! (Particularly for buyers.)

The problem is that any business area or profession that experiences unusual growth (think ad-supported "free" online services in 1999, or real estate from 2002-2008) inevitably attracts, along with some very bright people committed to their new craft, a less savory crowd of opportunistic, incompetent or even unscrupulous entrants as well.

Here are seven characteristics to help avoid hiring one of those types for your next SEO project.

Irrelevant experience. Given the still relative newness of SEO as a profession, any SEO practitioner over the age of 30 probably did something else before SEO. Most of the …

Social Media, Email and Search: The "Elite Trio" of Online Marketing?

MarketingSherpa recently published this chart revealing marketers' opinions of where social media fits among what the publication calls the "elite trio" of Internet marketing: social media, search and email. While it's hard to disagree with the 97% of marketers who believe that social media will complement (not "compliment" — a rare MarketingSherpa word usage error!) email and search marketing, the position of the 49% who state that social media will never become as important as the other tactics is more questionable.


The confusion stems from where social media fits in the marketing mix. Except in rare cases like Dell, which uses tools like Twitter for revenue generation, social media is primarily a PR-type activity rather than direct marketing.

The three tools have much different purposes. Specifically:
Social media is primarily a tool for exposure and credibility-building. Like traditional PR, it is a "top of funnel" tool. It's as much about …

SEM: How To Keep Your Google Content Network Campaigns Clean

Google's content network can be a valuable addition to any AdWords search marketing program. It gives you the opportunity to very cost-effectively display text or graphical ads across Google's network of AdSense partner sites, many of them industry-specific online publications and blogs. These ads have both branding and direct response value. The click-through rate is typically lower (as it is for display ads in general, as prospects see your ads while reading content rather than specifically searching for your product or service), but conversion rates are generally similar.

However, to avoid meaningless impressions, unproductive clicks and bogus conversions, it's critical to monitor which sites your ads are appearing on and keep the list clean. For whatever reason, Google doesn't seem to apply the same rigor to AdSense ad placements as it does to it's primary search algorithm.

Case in point: among my SEM clients are two B2B software companies. Without revealing an…