Tuesday, December 25, 2007

What Happens at PubCon Shouldn't Stay at PubCon

Over a year ago (August 2006 to be exact) I hired a young girl from a Craig's List ad to join my staff at Hostway as an Online Marketing Analyst. She was straight out of college and green with experience related to the search industry. Well recently I received a blog that she wrote for the South Florida Interactive Marketing Association titled, "What Happens at PubConshouldn’t stay at PubCon: The Top 10 Takeaways " She was invited to go to one of the most popular conferences of the year PubCon. I should have been there this year and actually speak on a Pubcon panel but I decided to move my family to a new state for a new and exciting opportunity.

Back to the subject, Stephanie Faskow is her name and she wrote a blog about what happened at PubCon, while I wanted more and hope to soon hear from her all about it in more detail, I thought I would share with you her Top 1o PubCon Takeaways:

10. Some SEOs still use black hat techniques– you shouldn’t.

9. Sub domains will soon be treated the same as sub directories in Google.

8. A directory that provides listings to all websites that submit to the directory is not a one that you want to be in. Human editors are the key to a good directory.

7. Everyone should have a blog. Corporate or personal, just remember that there is a fine line with transparency. How much do you really want people to know about your personal life?

6. According to WebuildpagesJim Boyken the best way to gain entry into DMOZ is prayer…and to closely follow all of the guidelines provided. Don’t spam and use the real title of your website.

5. Do NOT buy links – at least not openly.The ultimate goal of the search engines is to have the results be (or at least look) natural.

4. Find small and relevant directories: they may not bring the most traffic, but they are more likely to convert.

3. The ‘No follow’ tag is one of your best friends.Especially when you are using paid advertising, or feel that one of your links may be connected to a bad neighborhood.

2. Linkbait: Create it. This was one subject that was discussed over and over again throughout many of the sessions. Create articles and contests (or top 10 lists): any sort of content that will attract other users to link to you.

1. Do not expect to be successful on all link bait attempts. If you fail, try try again.
Hint: Diggers are techies; write for them and your target audience.

Well if she passes me more information about this event I will certainly return the favor! Thanks Stephanie you make me proud! :)

Webkinz Problems - Holiday Craze Gone Bust?

I read recently an article that indicated Webkinz was in the top ten of keywords being search on search engines in the last 30 to 60 days. Why you ask? Well Webkinz is the newest young craze these days and the people behind Webkinz is a company called Ganz. What is Webkinz you ask? Well it is a safe virtual world for young children from the ages of about 6 and up. Essentially this company has done a great job marketing to our younger generation, everyone who is anyone wants to purchase a Webkinz which comes with a unique “secret code” in which you can access their website in order for you to “take care of” your newly adopted pet.

Well it is Christmas Day and of course I bought my 9 year old daughter two of these so called Webkinz, the Webkinz Pinto Horse and a Webkinz limited edition Reindeer! Her face just lit up finding those under the Christmas Tree. With all the excitement in her little body she ran upstairs to log on to Webkinz world – mind you she had lost a previous “secret code” to another one of her pets and thought she would NEVER get in again – she gets the site up and proceeds to sign up her new pet and all she got was “I’m sorry all servers are busy right now,” fast forward and try to actually log in and she got “500 Internet Server Error”. WHAT??? Are you kidding me????

My kid is now devastated – Webkinz did an excellent job letting all these children know that they would have some “special” offerings on Christmas Day and now you cannot even get in to the site? Did they not plan for all this traffic? They sure marketed it well enough to boost their sales in the stores. So what do I now tell my 9 year who has tried ALL DAY to simply register her pet and get online with the most popular virtual world for kids under 12? Sorry honey their servers cannot support the overwhelming amount of traffic to their website and maybe their server administrators are all on holiday, try again tomorrow when ALL OF THEIR PROMOS are over and done with!

OMG did they not think about this? I guess not, we are very disappointed in how Ganz and the people at Webkinz world have handled the planning of this Christmas rush, they sure had no problem pushing their toys but they obviously could not support the website well enough so the children could enjoy their toys and that is just sad. The fun of having the pet is taking care of it online not that it sits on your dresser to collect dust! To make matters even worse there is no forum or blog of record to even be able to discuss the problems directly with their staff.

This really is good marketing gone BAD!!! Thumbs down for Webkinz and Ganz! I told my daughter to go back to Club Penguin at least they can support the traffic!!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

SEO Do's and Don't's

I often get caught up in the every day grind that I sometimes forget most small businesses are still doing things they should not be doing to get their site noticed online. It seems that more and more people every day continue to build websites and hope for their site to begin appearing in the search results. Getting traffic to your website once it is built takes time and patience. Many search engines use tiny programs, called spiders, which crawl the Internet in search of new web pages; as such your site appearing does not happen by chance. There is actually a method related to how you get your site noticed by search engines spiders.

I came across a list the other day of “Thou Shalt Not’s” related to optimizing your website. Let’s review them, understand them and follow them for it could be your future rankings at stake:

  • Thou Shalt not repeat keywords over and over in the meta tags
  • Thou Shalt not use the same title and meta description for each page of your site
  • Thou Shalt not link out to a bad neighbor or neighborhood
  • Thou Shalt not copy they neighbor’s content
  • Thou Shalt not hide your content
  • Thou Shalt not make doorway pages
  • Thou Shalt not submit the same pages with different URLs
  • Thou Shalt not use submission services/tools for repetitive submissions
  • Thou Shalt not use frames
  • Thou Shalt not believe people when they say, “we guarantee top ten listings”
  • Thou Shalt not expect to find your brand new site in search engines after launching it just 2 days ago
What things can you do?

  • Do the necessary research to find the best keyword phrases that relate to your business avoid general terms
  • Use unique titles and meta descriptions for each page within your site
  • Create unique content that will entice your visitors to continue visiting your site
  • Ensure there is logical navigation, good site structure and descriptive link text throughout your site
  • Make sure your site is crawlable, stay away from all flash or all graphic sites that search engines can’t or won’t crawl
  • Keep in mind there should only be one address to get to your site, two separate addresses can be www.yourdomain.com or yourdomain.com, to a search engine, that means you have the same content at two addresses in other words – duplicate content.

There are definitely more than what you see here, but you get the hint. The bottom line is do what is right there really are no quick fixes that give you long lasting results when it comes to optimizing your site. Google has quality guidelines take the time to read through them and you will reap the benefits of streamlined free traffic to your site.

The above list was taken from a variety of sources such as Webmaster World’s forum, Search Engine Land, WebPro News, and SEO Chat.