martes, 4 de diciembre de 2012

| StuntDuBL

| StuntDuBL
Hit by traffic…not cars.
Interview with Aaron Wall aka SEOBook
Nov 29th 2012, 21:02

1. You've proved seo isn't dead (repeatedly) – what is the future of it ?

SEOBook - Aaron Wall and Jim BoykinSearch is becoming a big money game & the barrier to entry (particularly of building out your own site rather than riding on a 3rd party platform site) keeps being lifted.  For nearly a decade search was a game where being small and nimble was a huge competitive advantage over big business. In many (most?) cases, that is no longer the case as the algorithms are biased toward promoting big brands. The thinnest page on a large trusted site (YouTube infomercials or Facebook notes spam) is generally trusted far more than a far higher quality new page on a smaller site. And if smaller sites create too much content without using aggressive push marketing they are guilty until proven innocent with algorithms like Panda.

Ultimately what we see with Google’s various vertical paid inclusion offerings is they went from supporting an open ecosystem to trying to build their own closed ecosystem.

Where Google pushes too far in some directions they will arbitrarily destroy some companies. But, at the same time, the more the search results become a series of ads & scraped/repurposed facts, the easier it is for people to distinguish the difference between passion driven projects and the factually correct (sometimes?) but soulless flotsam offered in the SERPs. Another way of saying this is that with AI Google will be able to easily pass the Turing test long before they will be able to understand emotion & convey the sense of a true & unique experience. Facts are increasingly commodities where the value of experience keeps increasing.

In the past SEO started with keywords & researching markets, then creating relevant content around addressing those demands & opportunities. I think on the way forward SEO is becoming more about understanding markets THEN using opportunities found in the market (like personal friction points) to build non-search exposure & then using that momentum to establish a strong base (with a mix of old school SEO over the top to give it an extra bump).

People gravitate toward passion. Knowing what you are talking about is nowhere near as important as being seen everywhere. If enough people syndicate a message (even one that is not true) then it wins.

Popularity = quality = rank. Popularity is often driven by ad budget.

That works well for society so long as one has never looked at ads for asbestos aprons or watched the movie Idiocracy.

For nearly a decade Google was against the establishment. Now they are firmly aligned with it.”

Whoa.  Pretty serious allegations there, but I have to agree to an extent that there is definitely some big brand bias going on. What do you think were the biggest shifts in company culture?  Do you think they can ever revert to catering to “little guys”

When the US home mortgage fraud bubble imploded that caused Google’s revenue growth rates to slow dramatically. With that, they likely felt like they were coming closer to the peak of direct marketing (at least in the intermediate term) & that if they were to keep growing they would likely need to target those branded ad Dollars. And as their philosophy toward ads changed some of that bled into the organic results as well. They will of course maintain that there is a strict wall, but you don’t have to be very smart to tie together some of the details. As a particularly absurd example, even after Google rolled out the top heavy ad algorithm they later launched what they described as a “brand friendly” 300 by 600 AdSense ad unit size.

Can Google cater to the little guys? In many ways they still do (in terms of offering free(ish) utilities like Gmail & web analytics). They also make video hosting cheap, offer free blog hosting & so on. However, over time we see them pull back in areas where they find pulling back convenient … like keyword “not provided.”

Their Android ecosystem will likely work out great for a number of independent developers too, especially as long as Google has competition from Amazon and Apple and Microsoft.

That said, if Google deems themselves to have monopoly control of a market we can expect them to extract larger rents. Google overplayed maps when they tried to juice their API rates & were later forced to drop them after others called them out on it. Those same maps sometimes include an ad for directly competing businesses inside the business location information area…that is a signal that they care every bit as much (maybe moreso?) to redirect users as deliver a useful product.

Back onto the broader topic of publishing…if you look at the economics of publishing & how publishing business models work, we see Google striking deals with many large, powerful players while leaving smaller folks in the cold. Some examples…

  • non-public deal with the AP & other similar news organizations
  • book scanning deal with publishers, but not a similar one with book authors
  • YouTube revenue shares can’t be disclosed publicly, they pay some larger publishers higher revenue shares than smaller ones, and they also invest in some of these publishers (while some of the said publishers have shady contract terms that soak the content creators)

Google will often support smaller independent operations only so that they may use that as a point of leverage in negotiating a deal with big business, but when those deals are in place the roll of small business is largely/primarily to exist in the background as part of Google’s “credible threat” option as a point of leverage for negotiating better contract terms with big media companies.

“Vertical creep” has been an ongoing issue with google and commercial intent queries for those trying to compete in organic search.  Which verticals do you think they are MOST crossing the line?

Without a doubt it is hotels.

  • adwords ads with sitelinks
  • maps (where if you click into it you get ads)
  • hotel finder ads with prices (though if you click on a price you go to that star category & are not sorted by price…you need to sort again in order to find said prices…this is a paid inclusion offering with another layer of ppc ads over the top)
  • local listings in the SERPs also have a price on them which opens up a drop down with ads in it
In addition to the above “monetize everything” approach, the leaked Google remote rater documents suggest that HELPFUL hotel affiliate sites should be labeled as spam for no reason other than being affiliate sites.

I already see a bit of your “jaded marketer” coming through :).  I’ve struggled with this myself at times after nearly 10 years of marketing it’s hard not to get mad at the scumbags.  I know you’ve always been a fan of the “little guys” and underdogs, as I have as well.  Running a true small business myself this year has forced me to understand what it’s like to be a small business owner with a very limited marketing budget.  Beyond “jaded marketer”, I know you’ve helped hundreds if not thousands of small business owners make that limited budget go much further.  If you could offer advice to the “good little guys” on their own marketing – where do you think they are best served spending those limited budgets?

I think it really comes down to knowing the individual market. If you know your market you can see some of the friction points & opportunities.
Generally speaking, the returns you should be able toe get when you do things that are aligned with knowing your market well & building around the interests of your market should generally be able to outperform more general baseline across the board stuff.
That said, it is worth spending what it takes to know at least a bit about each of the following topics
  • branding
  • publicity
  • domain names
  • link building
  • keyword research
  • information architecture
  • usability
  • web analytics
  • adwords
Businesses that succeed typically don’t do everything great (strengths are often tied to weaknesses). But those who try a variety of things & then keep reinvesting where they see signs of momentum and/or a positive ROI are more likely to succeed than those who do not.

2.     How would you conduct competitive research in a new industry?

If it is something I am really passionate about I would read about a half-dozen to dozen books on the topic while also setting up RSS subscriptions to a number of blogs, a Google News alert, join a few niche online communities, and perhaps even attend offline events. One could consider this a full immersion sort of approach, but as Google keeps lifting the barrier to entry to markets, if you don’t have the ad budget to compete on that front you need to be better in numerous other aspects to win on a sustainable basis.

If it is more opportunistic of a play then I would look for a market entry option (old site, strong domain, area where a weak site is ranking, etc.). But on this sort of stuff you are also testing performance of minor investments & reinvesting where there is a good response in building momentum.

And either of these categories can become the other too…

  • a well trusted site can bolt on some opportunistic bits to enhance monetization
  • an opportunistic play that is well received can be rebuilt & aggressively invested into in order turn it into something more serious

Lastly I would say one also needs to get their head out of the spreadsheets and competitive research tools & look at the actual search results too. A keyword that isn’t too competitive (inside a market research tool) might not be too valuable when you look at the search results and see that extended AdWords ads & various vertical search offerings essentially displace the organic search result set.

 What do you prefer for a blog reader and why?  Have you tried others?

Over the years I have tried a number of blog readers. Currently I sometimes look at iGoogle on the weekend, but I do must of my day to day scanning via looking at TechMeme + SEL daily email + Twitter.

More recently I have been reading more about finance, economics & investing. I wouldn’t describe myself as an active investor, but I find the parallels to search somewhat interesting. Just like marketing techniques rise & fall in efficacy so do prices of commodities, companies & even entire categories. I tend to read iTulip & Market-ticker.org a lot, while also sometimes reading Ritholtz.com too.

3.     What are the best ways to build links in 2013?

Have a strong non-search distribution channel to leverage that magnifies the efficacy of all your other SEO-based & link building marketing efforts.

The problem with not having that sort of distribution channel is that the mainstream media is dying & already was pretty sleazy before their revenues collapsed. Quite often they will shag your story, not link to the source, & become the canonical source for your story. Google’s “size = quality” only feeds into that sort of garbage.

Google talks about the importance of adding value, but when they pay the mainstream media to pull a glorified Demand Media strategy on your expensive featured content they end up destroying the economic incentive to invest for the creators while working with larger publishing entities to ensure the work gets aggressively monetized by others. This approach is not a surprise to anyone who has seen…

  • how they quickly worked with book publishers on the illegal book scanning, but have refused to work directly with authors & want the author class action thrown out of court
  • how  their YouTube contracts that prohibit you from publicly stating your revenue share & Google invests in some of the larger video “publishers” that put some dirty crap in their contracts
  • how Google’s CPA product ads were available to big merchants for a long time without being available to smaller advertisers
  • how affiliates are often seen as unneeded duplication in the ecosystem, but Google will allow them to participate until they can strike a direct deal with Amazon
  • how AdSense publishers can get penalized for following Google’s case studies, yet even after rolling out such penalities Google created a 300×600 “brand friendly” AdSense ad unit size
  • how Google couldn’t stop piracy in any way until they wanted to sign deals with big media for Google Play & then copyright became a big issue overnight, with Google promising to penalize sites like YouTube (excluding YouTube) for their overt support of piracy
  • etc.

For nearly a decade Google was against the establishment. Now they are firmly aligned with it.

In most cases, among the people reading this, Google would prefer you to work at Wal-Mart rather than to run a small business.

If the company you work for is worth under a billion Dollars you are likely unneeded duplication in the search ecosystem.

Something like half of Wal Mart’s profits (and thus market capitalization) come from food stamps & other subsidies. If you don’t have those subsidies as a tailwind & compete against those that do, they are your headwind. Brand bias in the “relevancy” algorithms is just another familiar headwind.

The brand bias will remain a headwind for smaller businesses until Google realizes they are over-subsidizing direct competitors, at which point in time they will use some faux altruistic justification for dialing the algorithms back in the other direction.

4.     Your competitive research tool is probably my favorite seo tool in recent memory.  What are your favorite seo tools (other than your own of course)?

Hate to plug our own tools, especially as many of them are lightweight extensions for Firefox, but if I go to use a new computer & it doesn’t have them installed I feel like I am swimming naked or such :D

SEM Rush ( http://www.semrush.com/ ) was the clear cut leader in the competitive research area, but Ahrefs ( http://ahrefs.com/ ) has come a long way in a short time (on both the link data & competitive research fronts). SearchMetrics Essentials ( http://suite.searchmetrics.com/en/essentials ) has some nice historical data when trying to find any animal-based issues with a particular website.

There are so many great SEO tools out there now that it is hard to highlight them all though. This is part of the reason why we finally decided to launch SEOTools.net ( http://www.seotools.net/ ). Currently that site is a work in progress, but we intend to dive deeper into that space soon.

5.     What do you think are the most important social signals to SEO currently?

Having enough scale that Google may fear you have the ear of regulators if they torch your site.

That sounds like a ridiculous or cynical take, but SERoundtable recently mentioned a person disavowed all their links & Google stated that wasn’t enough because they didn’t show they put in enough effort (other ways of viewing that statement are that they didn’t waste enough of their lives or go through enough pain yet).

What makes that “you must eat a crap sandwich to play in our park” game so outrageous is not only the monopolistic bundlings & purchasing of default search placement in browsers and computers and so on, but also the fact that someone else might buy links for your site to try to harm you. One of Google’s past posts about link spam cited an example that was rather egregiously bad. What Google didn’t realize when they posted that example publicly was that they were highlighting competitive sabotage rather than the efforts of the person who owned that website. Such details are uninteresting footnotes when pushing polarized righteous views (along with ads for Mexican druglord steroids).

You can learn a lot from Google’s steroid ads: get big or die trying. ;) 

Okay – I’m gonna pull you back off your google rant here.  Which social networks and signals that we DO have some influence over should search marketers be trying to use for distribution?

I think anything that provides strong distribution invariably creates some of the other relevancy signals: links, strong user engagement, brand-related searches, repeat visitors, etc. And as Google collects more data over time (see Chrome, Android, Gmail, search user experience, user account history, their Kansas City broadband & their potential deal with Dish on creating a wireless service) they will increasingly be able to move away from the random surfer more toward actively monitoring the specific surfer.

6.     Define Quality, value, authority, and relevance as they apply to search.

I think one can almost do a double definition for each of these.

Quality:

(historical/theoretical): how much effort & investment was put into the content + how original the information is + how well it satisfies the user’s goals

(current/practical): the market capitalization, brand awareness & ad budget of the company creating the content

Value

(historical/theoretical): how much friction the content removes from the marketplace & how much it helps people & how it helps them achieve the desired result with minimal risk and/or cost

(current/practical):  the market capitalization, brand awareness & ad budget of the company creating the content

Authority

(historical/theoretical): the expertise of the author on the specific topic & peer recomendations from other acknowledged experts and trusted sources

(current/practical): the market capitalization, brand awareness & ad budget of the company creating the content

Relevancy

(historical/theoretical): how well the content is aligned with the goals of the user & how much it helps them achieve said goals relevancy

(current/practical): the market capitalization, brand awareness & ad budget of the company creating the content

I think this is the philosophical question that drives search marketers bonkers.  We’re looking into a crystal ball trying to predict the mathematical and algorithmic concepts of “relevant” from a black box.  This box defines our strategies which are also built on shifting sands.

How about trying to define these concepts based on criteria that influence them.  What can the AVERAGE (or any) webmaster do to improve their site in regards to these criteria?
1.page quality, 2. offsite value, 3. site authority, and 4. keyword relevancy

page quality: the effort & investment that was put into the content & formatting of said content
what they can do:
  • share original insights not offered elsewhere
  • spend greater time creating fewer pages
  • read Don’t Make Me Think & implement some of the usability best practices
offsite value: the link authority & link repuation of a site
what they can do:
  • engage in a wide variety of marketing efforts & keep reinvesting in whatever ones seem to be working best
  • look at their analytics data in order to find areas where they have more momentum than they would expect & reinvest in those areas
site authority: same as above, but also includes things like brand awareness and user engagement metrics
what they can do:
  • the above sorts of link building & focused content efforts
  • advertise (especially with Google) & use retargeted ads
  • various other brand related marketing strategies
keyword relevancy: how well the page fits the intent of the search.
what they can do:
  • include a variety of related modifiers to help the page be seen as relevant for a broader basket of keywords
  • include multiple information formats in the page (like video & images) so that they may show up in a variety of search verticals
  • create significantly deeper content than what a scrape-n-mash bot or a human-powered scraper site could do
  • use numerous subheadings and other structural elements throughout the page in order to help make it easier to scan

Finally, what do you love most about SEO, and what keeps you doing it?

First of all, one should never aim to be average in business. Those who are below average but aggressive & exploitative have a cost structure advantage, while those who are way above average have strong distribution advantages. Therefore, in many cases one shouldn’t try to be average unless there are some other obvious market barriers (eg: location).

page quality: the effort & investment that was put into the content & formatting of said content

what they can do:

  • share original insights not offered elsewhere
  • spend greater time creating fewer pages
  • read Don’t Make Me Think & implement some of the usability best practices
offsite value: the link authority & link repuation of a site
what they can do:
  • engage in a wide variety of marketing efforts & keep reinvesting in whatever ones seem to be working best
  • look at their analytics data in order to find areas where they have more momentum than they would expect & reinvest in those areas
site authority: same as above, but also includes things like brand awareness and user engagement metrics
what they can do:
  • the above sorts of link building & focused content efforts
  • advertise (especially with Google) & use retargeted ads
  • various other brand related marketing strategies
keyword relevancy: how well the page fits the intent of the search.
what they can do:
  • include a variety of related modifiers to help the page be seen as relevant for a broader basket of keywords
  • include multiple information formats in the page (like video & images) so that they may show up in a variety of search verticals
  • create significantly deeper content than what a scrape-n-mash bot or a human-powered scraper site could do
  • use numerous subheadings and other structural elements throughout the page in order to help make it easier to scan

I think a lot of my current interest in SEO is in watching the collision between various models & markets. Marc Andreessen wrote an article about how software is eating the world. In many ways search is a baseline operating system for that.

Not to use the sort of faux transparency some that some advocate, but I am not sure if “love” is the right word for my current state of being with SEO. Some of it comes down to momentum I guess…the do what you know bit. Ironically, I don’t think I have made a blog post in a month or so right as you are about to relaunch your site.

Certainly if you went back 5 or 10 years there was a load of love for the ability to help anyone no matter how small spread their thoughts. That the barrier to entry has risen isn’t surprising (it is the direction of markets generally that when they are new small players can win but then later they get gobbled up/consolidated). It has come pretty swiftly over the past few years though. I think the sad part is that the shifts haven’t largely been about increasing quality, but rather about increasing cashflow & displacing a higher quality page/site with a lower quality bit of scraped junk monetized by the home team. Again, that shouldn’t be particularly surprising, but it is more common than many optimists had hoped for out of Google.

Thanks Aaron!

The post Interview with Aaron Wall aka SEOBook appeared first on | StuntDuBL.

16 Things That Give SEO a Bad Name
Nov 27th 2012, 18:04

16 things that are wrecking the “SEO Community”

I’ve been putting this post off for quite a long time, but I figured it is a great way to start off a new run of blogging, and is still pretty much as accurate as when I wrote it over 2 years ago (I’ve taken out some of the spite and angst in the meantime).I’ve spent the last 7 years speaking at search marketing conferences and training sessions, and met literally thousands of search marketers. As with all of humanity, there’s good and bad things. Here’s the things that I have not been a huge fan of to date.

1. Selective enforcement

selective enforcement It’s okay for a big brand, but not for an affiliate or small mom and pop ecom shop. The barrier to entry for certain acceptable practices has gotten higher and higher.  The blurry lines of “good and bad linking” and “over-optimization” are muddying the already ambiguous waters.  There’s lots of examples. Google could have killed paid linking 3 years ago, but decided timing and execution was very important to proper enforcement of their laws guidelines.

I guess propaganda is part of the game, but if you could keep it to a minimum, that would be great.

2. Sucking up to google

google kiss ass

Yes, you can get your competitors banned and rank your site higher. Yes, your ethics are still twisted thinking that destroying someone’s income is okay because they violated google’s terms of service. Way to go you corporate sociopath, you shut down someone else’s job and probably got some people laid off.  The world is a competitive place, but just remember you might run into that person who’s site you torched one day at a conference and have to explain why you thought policing the web was your job.

3. Thinking lying and cheating is okay

seo cheatingIt’s not – Cheating on your wife, girlfriend, homework or taxes, or lying to friends, family, vendors, or even most strangers.  If there’s one thing just about any religion can agree on it’s these tenants. When you realize that “all marketer’s are liars”, it should make you wonder a little about the lies you’ve been telling yourself.  Bending the rules is one thing, but it becomes a slippery slope. Cheating and lying are entirely different. We have we all cheated on something or other – yes. Does that make it okay? Probably not. For some the lines have become all to blurry.  People that lie to themselves, and cheat their friends are the absolute worst.

4. Conference douchery

seo douchery

Just because you travel the world, and tell people what airport you’re in on twitter does not make you cool or a good person. People may love your confidence on stage, but they recognize your arrogance in the bar when you start demonstrating your entitlement mentality, and telling stories that make you sound like you think you’re better than everyone else. I’m sorry your parents didn’t hug you. In case you missed it – here is a guide on being a conference douchebag.

5. Spreading misinformation

josh made cash!Everyone can NOT make $1000 a week on the internet. Well – they can if they are willing to sell magic acai berries at a 10 million percent markup over what GNC sells them for.  Really all they need is business skills, legal skills, design skills, development and IT skills.  From there, all they should need is several thousand dollars in startup and administrative expenses.  Lastly, they’ll just have to get rid of that pesky conscience.  Just set up a massive spam network that includes “scorched earth” tactics to any websites in your path that you may be able to benefit from, and burn it all to the ground once someone figures out what you’re doing. Sell out your friends and family in your MLM scheme and you will make $1k a week for a few weeks.  Don’t worry your lawyer will still have your back.

6. Rebills

Josh made cash, but now my family,friends, and NIFS (non-internet friends – hat tip to the Bosers), think they can make a living in their pajamas too, and they have three monthly $19.95 rebill charges that will last an eternity if they don’t watch they’re statement close. Thanks for confusing everyone further as to what SEO and online marketing professionals really “do” dickheads.

7. Blog celebrities

Has there ever been a bigger oxymoron? There’s a very fine line between being an “expert”, and selling your soul for cash. There are SOME bloggers with some level of ethics who have managed to not cross the line, but plenty of others who need to stop googling themselves and drinking their own kool-aid.  Yes you made money – you can rock out with the other poor bastards who sold their soul for the cash.  If you start referring to yourself as an “expert” you should probably rethink your life a bit.

8. Egobaiting

egobaiting

I’ve been a proponent of this myself. I really like links, ranking, and money. There’s a point where you realize it makes you feel pretty dirty.

Pandering to someone’s ego, or trying to start a shallow discussion just to drum up some attention for yourself is a pretty poor way to try to make a living.  There’s nothing wrong with a healthy level of ego and confidence, but again, it’s a very fine line.

9. Hatorade

seo hatorade If Rand (or any other SEO blogger) spends weeks or months testing a theory, you don’t get to hate on the process without at least offering a compliment on the work first.

If you have to argue with someone who has contributed so much to a community as a whole, at least try to do so with intelligence and some dignity.  No one pays attention to your opinion because you suck at life. I hope you enjoy your miserable basement dwelling existence you hate-filled little emo-trolls.

10. Hypebeasts

Hey hypebeasts – I don’t want your “personalized” email every week. I used to think you were my friend who liked to talk search honestly over a few beers – now you’re just trying to sell me your latest ebook from a mailing list I can’t seem to remove myself from.

I’m not planning to out specific examples anytime soon, because, frankly, I’ve met a lot of bullshitters that I liked as people. It doesn’t mean i’ll sit by and promote overhyped affiliate programs (just so i can get a second tier rip), ebooks filled with recycled information, products that simply don’t work, or things that take advantage of people. You can’t really think selling magical tonics and vaporware traffic is okay just because everyone else is doing it. The only people who get rich quick, are the people selling the dream and those that learn to work hard through failures until they succeed.. You can make money and maintain your integrity by working your ass off over time, and learning from other credible people who don’t take the shortcuts.

11. Politics

Search is big business these days. We’ve went from conferences in smoke filled, booze drenched pubs to exibit halls at the Hilton, and Google lobbying the government. Personally, I prefer wearing t-shirts over a suit, but either way, there’s no doubt that there is plenty of political posturing going on in the world of SEO, and it isn’t going away anytime soon.  It was difficult to watch the idealistic little search engine morph into a multinational powerhouse corporation over just a few years for anyone who paid close attention to the ride.  Search has become one of the most powerful channels to distribute a message for mass consumption.    Conversations about Google these days inevitably spiral into discussions of power and politics these days when you discuss the different divisions and goals of the company.

12. What have you done for me lately?

It’s a shame how quickly favors are sometimes forgotten. It’s also a shame we always have to keep track. It’s hard to want to give things away when people always just want more.  SEO is a community that relies heavily on the sharing of information.  The level of what you share directly impacts how others treat and respect you.  It’s difficult to share information without sharing TOO much information – or knowing the appropriate venues for sharing information.  It’s easy to forget being given good information, and tough to forget getting bad information.  Just don’t start to think that you’re entitled to have people share with you if you’ve never done anything but lurk on a forum.

13. The “in crowd”

It wasn’t that fun in high school. It’s not that much more fun when it feels like high school with money. I’m a much bigger fan of geeks that are proud like lewis skolnick or rj berger. I respect people who treat others with respect at the detriment of being “popular”. Underdogs and Anti-heros generally end up leading more fulfilling lives, and ultimately living well is the best revenge.

14. Treating outsourced laborers like monkeys

You shouldn’t really need to be told that outsourced laborers are people too. Even in jest, it doesn’t make it okay to call a human being a monkey or treat them like one. I hope when India, China, and the Philippines wage their revolution on the US, (or just stop working and steal all the IP) – they’ll consider me one of the good guys, and not one of the criminal capitalists).

15. Twitter Narcissism

Blogs used to be fun too, then everyone turned into self absorbed twitter freaks that can’t spend more than 140 characters in a stream of conciousness on a thoughtful comment on a thoughtful post. No wonder people mainly write self-serving puff pieces built on regurgitated information. Yes, I can appreciate the irony that I use it myself. I’ve always been a self-loathing blogger as well. (thanks to Darowski.com for the great image)

16. Stinginess

I suppose greed and arrogance breeds stinginess, but having someone complain about spending $40 to get into a charity party that took weeks to plan definitely made me grumpy for a little while. Don’t be a stingy asshat – give something back if you are successful, and not just because it’s a write-off, or marketing ploy.

Time to let it go.

It’s taken several years where I didn’t want to contribute anymore.  I kept all the things I’ve learned about marketing behind the wall at MarketMotive or for conversations in person.  I was jaded.  Very jaded.  I was hurt, I was angry, and I was downright pissed off.  My idealism had left me entirely.  I doubt my jaded marketer anger will go away completely, but fishing helps ;)  I won’t, however, act like it’s okay anymore to not say something about the BS that goes on at least a little bit.  I’ll embrace the rage, and let it go.  I’ll talk about it when I feel like it.  You’ve been warned.

If you’ve worked at home, or in marketing for more than 5 years – you can probably relate.  You NEED balance.  You need hobbies the way I need a weekly (at worst monthly) fishing trip.  Find balance, and find something you enjoy doing.

I still love SEO.  I love learning about search engines, marketing, and building a better website.  It doesn’t mean I can’t stay a little pissed about the bullshit that often gets passed around in the name of “expertise”.

Yes, internet marketing is a very capitalist industry filled with people that like money. I like money too – but I also miss the open-hearted camaraderie that really made the seo community once so fun and attractive to me. Believe it or not, it wasn’t all about the money.

**Author’s note: It’s been over two years since I first wrote (and started) this post. It was so full of piss and vinegar that I decided not to post until I was in a better place (like the sun of Miami:). I thought a lot of this still applied though, and was worth putting up. I’m not this jaded anymore, but I’ve hit points where I have been because lack of balance and burnout which is easy to do working from home for 7 years. There are also LOTS of good things about online marketing communities, and SEO has been a life changing endeavor for me personally that I am very thankful for everyday.

The post 16 Things That Give SEO a Bad Name appeared first on | StuntDuBL.

test post
Oct 12th 2012, 06:57

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Praesent aliquam, justo convallis luctus rutrum, erat nulla fermentum diam, at

  • nonummy quam ante ac quam.
  • Maecenas urna purus, fermentum id,
    • molestie in, commodo porttitor, felis.
    • Nam blandit quam ut lacus.
  • Maecenas urna purus, “italic for voice change” fermentum id,
  • molestie in, commodo porttitor, felis.
  • Nam blandit quam ut lacus.
    • Strong urna purus, fermentum id,
    • molestie in, commodo porttitor, felis.
  • Nam blandit quam ut lacus.
    • Maecenas urna purus, fermentum id,
  • molestie in, commodo porttitor, felis.
  • Nam blandit quam ut emphasis.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet

Consectetuer adipiscing elit. Praesent aliquam, justo convallis luctus rutrum, erat nulla fat text diam, at just bold quam ante ac quam. Emphasis shouldn’t makes a weak “italic” but a fat bold text purus, fermentum id, molestie in, commodo porttitor, felis. Nam blandit quam ut lacus. Emphasis will really make emphasis, ornare risus quis ligula. Phasellus tristique purus a augue condimentum adipiscing. Aenean sagittis. Etiam leo pede, rhoncus venenatis, tristique in, vulputate at, Google.

  1. Warning text to keep reds under control alltogether.
  2. Maecenas urna purus, fermentum id,
  3. molestie in, commodo porttitor, felis.
  4. Nam blandit quam ut lacus.
Add a DANGER LEGEND

Quisque ornare risus quis ligula. Phasellus tristique purus a augue condimentum adipiscing. Aenean sagittis. Etiam leo pede, rhoncus venenatis, tristique in, vulputate at, odio. Donec et ipsum et sapien vehicula. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Praesent aliquam, justo convallis luctus rutrum, erat nulla fermentum diam, at nonummy quam ante ac quam. Maecenas urna purus, fermentum id, molestie in, commodo porttitor, felis. Nam blandit quam ut lacus. Quisque ornare risus quis ligula. Phasellus tristique purus a augue condimentum adipiscing. Aenean sagittis. Etiam leo pede, rhoncus venenatis, tristique in, vulputate at, odio.

  • Fonummy. •Suspendisse potenti. Fusce varius urna id quam. Sed neque mi, varius eget, tincidunt nec, suscipit id, libero. In eget purus. Vestibulum ut nisl.
  • Donec eu mi sed turpis feugiat feugiat. Integer turpis arcu, pellentesque eget, cursus et, fermentum ut, sapien. Fusce metus mi, eleifend sollicitudin, molestie id, varius et, nibh. Donec nec libero.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. P
  • raesent aliquam, justo convallis luctus rutrum, erat nulla fermentum diam, at nonummy quam ante ac quam. Maecenas urna purus, fermentum id, molestie in, commodo porttitor, felis. Nam blandit quam ut lacus. Quisque ornare risus quis ligula.
  • Phasellus tristique purus a augue condimentum adipiscing. Aenean sagittis. Etiam leo pede, rhoncus venenatis, tristique in, vulputate at, odio.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Praesent aliquam, justo convallis luctus rutrum, erat nulla fermentum diam, at nonummy quam ante ac quam. Maecenas urna purus, fermentum id, molestie in, commodo porttitor, felis. Nam blandit quam ut lacus. Quisque ornare risus quis ligula. Phasellus tristique purus a augue condimentum adipiscing. Aenean sagittis. Etiam leo pede, rhoncus venenatis, tristique in, vulputate at, odio.

  1. nonummy. Suspendisse potenti. Fusce varius urna id quam. Sed neque mi, varius eget, tincidunt nec, suscipit id, libero. In eget purus. Vestibulum ut nisl.
  2. Donec eu mi sed turpis feugiat feugiat. Integer turpis arcu, pellentesque eget, cursus et, fermentum ut, sapien. Fusce metus mi, eleifend sollicitudin, molestie id, varius et, nibh. Donec nec libero.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. P
  3. raesent aliquam, justo convallis luctus rutrum, erat nulla fermentum diam, at nonummy quam ante ac quam. Maecenas urna purus, fermentum id, molestie in, commodo porttitor, felis. Nam blandit quam ut lacus. Quisque ornare risus quis ligula.
  4. Phasellus tristique purus a augue condimentum adipiscing. Aenean sagittis. Etiam leo pede, rhoncus venenatis, tristique in, vulputate at, odio.
Written by such website

H2 level heading

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Praesent aliquam, justo convallis luctus rutrum, erat nulla fermentum diam, at nonummy quam ante ac quam. Maecenas urna purus, fermentum id, molestie in, commodo porttitor, felis. Nam blandit quam ut lacus. Quisque ornare risus quis ligula. Phasellus tristique purus a augue condimentum adipiscing. Aenean sagittis. Etiam leo pede, rhoncus venenatis, tristique in, vulputate at, odio.

H3 level heading

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Praesent aliquam, justo convallis luctus rutrum, erat nulla fermentum diam, at nonummy quam ante ac quam. Maecenas urna purus, fermentum id, molestie in, commodo porttitor, felis. Nam blandit quam ut lacus. Quisque ornare risus quis ligula. Phasellus tristique purus a augue condimentum adipiscing. Aenean sagittis. Etiam leo pede, rhoncus venenatis, tristique in, vulputate at, odio.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Praesent aliquam, justo convallis luctus rutrum, erat nulla fermentum diam, at nonummy quam ante ac quam. Maecenas urna purus, fermentum id, molestie in, commodo porttitor, felis. Nam blandit quam ut lacus. Quisque ornare risus quis ligula. Phasellus tristique purus a augue condimentum adipiscing. Aenean sagittis. Etiam leo pede, rhoncus venenatis, tristique in, vulputate at, odio.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Praesent aliquam, justo convallis luctus rutrum, erat nulla fermentum diam, at nonummy quam ante ac quam. Maecenas urna purus, fermentum id, molestie in, commodo porttitor, felis. Nam blandit quam ut lacus. Quisque ornare risus quis ligula. Phasellus tristique purus a augue condimentum adipiscing. Aenean sagittis. Etiam leo pede, rhoncus venenatis, tristique in, vulputate at, odio.

H3 level heading

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Praesent aliquam, justo convallis luctus rutrum, erat nulla fermentum diam, at nonummy quam ante ac quam. Maecenas urna purus, fermentum id, molestie in, commodo

H4 porttitor, felis.

Nam blandit quam ut lacus. Quisque ornare risus quis ligula. Phasellus tristique purus a augue condimentum adipiscing. Aenean sagittis. Etiam leo pede, rhoncus venenatis, tristique in, vulputate at, odio.

H4 porttitor, felis.

Nam blandit quam ut lacus. Quisque ornare risus quis ligula. Phasellus tristique purus a augue condimentum adipiscing. Aenean sagittis. Etiam leo pede, rhoncus venenatis, tristique in, vulputate at, odio.

Fonummy. •Suspendisse potenti. Fusce varius urna id quam. Sed neque mi, varius eget, tincidunt nec, suscipit id, libero. In eget purus. Vestibulum ut nisl.

Donec eu mi sed turpis feugiat feugiat. Integer turpis arcu, pellentesque eget, cursus et, fermentum ut, sapien. Fusce metus mi, eleifend sollicitudin, molestie id, varius et, nibh. Donec nec libero.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Author, quoted person’s name

Wrap command-line code, HTML code, Fax text, and any other text whose spaces and line-breaks you want to keep as-is (HTML ignores tabs, multiple-spaces, so your space-delimited or blocks/columns simulated with spaces get broken).  justo convallis luctus rutrum, erat   nulla fermentum diam, at nonummy quam  ante ac quam. Maecenas  Urna purus, fermentum id, molestie in, commodo  porttitor, felis. Nam blandit quam ut lacus. Quisque ornare risus quis  ligula. Phasellus tristique purus a augue condimentum adipiscing. Aenean  sagittis. Etiam leo pede, rhoncus venenatis, tristique in, vulputate at, odio.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Praesent aliquam, justo convallis luctus rutrum, erat nulla fermentum diam, at nonummy quam ante ac quam. Maecenas urna purus, fermentum id, molestie in, commodo porttitor, felis. Nam blandit quam ut lacus. Quisque ornare risus quis ligula. Phasellus tristique purus a augue condimentum adipiscing. Aenean sagittis. Etiam leo pede, rhoncus venenatis, tristique in, vulputate at, odio.

The post test post appeared first on | StuntDuBL.

More on Competitive Analysis Using Keyword Opposition to Benefit Score
Jan 31st 2011, 18:23

Last week I got some great feedback on the post about Using KOB Analysis to plan SEO Campaigns. Here’s a few more links – a mini-interview with Todd Mintz about the upcoming presentation on KOB Analysis at SEMPDX. In addition, I did a video with the world-renowned Mike McDonald on KOB Analysis and Market Motive Internet Marketing Certification at Pubcon Vegas. I’ll be speaking more on competitive analysis and KOB score at the upcoming Pubcon Austin as well. Video is embedded below.


More WebProNews Videos

The post More on Competitive Analysis Using Keyword Opposition to Benefit Score appeared first on | StuntDuBL.

Competitive Intelligence: Using KOB Analysis for Planning SEO Campaigns
Jan 26th 2011, 20:17

KOB Analysis stands for Keyword Opposition to Benefit Analysis. It’s the process I’ve used for the past several years to determine which projects have the most opportunity. It helps to determine which keywords to target so that resources will be used most efficiently for maximum benefit. KOB analysis is essentially a way of creating a cost benefit analysis on a specific keyword (or set of keywords). It is designed to answer the most important questions in any search marketing campaign:

—What is the opposition?
(how strong is the SERP competition?)

—What is the benefit?
(how much new business can we generate?)

Teaching at MarketMotive has forced me to take a look at how I conducted my research in several years as a search marketing consultant, and document a formal process that could be taught to someone.  It made me realize that to effectively judge the potential of a SEO campaign — you really have to do your keyword research and competitive analysis in unison.

The idea of KOB Analysis originally started in the form of a morphing powerpoint and outline, the way I often suss out my ideas these days. (Which is very similar to Rand's process).  KOB Analysis stands for Keyword Opposition to Benefit Analysis (or ratio).  This ratio provides us with the "sweet spot" for conducting an SEO campaign based on the allocated resources (labor, existing links, budget, etc.).

It's certainly not an exact science, but the tools to evaluate the value and opposition of specific keyword results are evolving quickly. (As a quick aside, if you are developing competitive analysis tools, I will gladly give you my algorithm and methodology for "The KOB Tool" in return for a link and credit for the term – drop me a line)

The "low hanging fruit"

low hanging fruitSEO folks have always looked for the mythical "low hanging fruit", It seems the barrier to entry in most industries and keyword sets is rising by the day, and the fruit is growing much higher on the trees these days.  Fortunately, our tools for establishing the best opportunities are improving as well. The KOB tool will exist shortly from someone – and some variation is no doubt available in some of the high end agency toolsets.

KOB analysis allows you to find the best opportunities for conducting an SEO campaign, and thus allocate your resources in an efficient manner.  Aaron has a somewhat similar idea built into his competitive analysis tool (one of my VERY favorite tools of all time), which he deems "upside potential" that helps you to choose which keywords potentially offer the most return for the least amount of effort.  Upside potential doesn't take into account opposition score, but it does look at the opportunity posed by marginal improvements in existing ranking. 

 

So how do we calculate KOB Analysis?

KOB Analysis - Keyword Opposition to Benefit RatioKeyword opposition refers to the competition level of a search result.  In the past, wordtracker had used KEI (or keyword effectiveness index) as a similar metric to KOB, but it was flawed by the way the opposition levels are calculated (by number of competing pages).  Rand talks about the flaws in their opposition score here, and how it’s being changed. The number of pages doesn't matter nearly as much as the overall strength of the sites in the top 10 spots (where you need to be to receive the valuable search traffic).

Opposition can be calculated with a few factors:

  1. Age
  2. Anchor text
  3. Onpage optimization (several sub factors)
  4. Global link popularity
  5. Local Set links
  6. Unique linking domains
  7. Exact match bonus
  8. Social signals

In very rudimentary fashion — we can assign a 1-10 score to each of these areas, and weight them to come up with an opposition score similar to what SEOMoz provides with their keyword difficulty tool (based on some different factors). This could be done much more scientifically with the right program and algorithm (again – tool providers please ping me).

Benefit is much more simple to calculate.  Instead of just using search volume, we are able to get a more meaningful figure for benefit by multiplying search volume times benefit.  While this figure for benefit is not always completely accurate based on adwords projections — it does give us some better insights into which terms have the highest volume AND commercial value. 

High cost per click search queries are currently the best predictive indicator of the commercial intent (and therefore transaction value) of a potential customer arriving from search.  Therefore, combining cost per click and search volume gives us a more meaningful number for the overall benefit to a company's bottom line revenues.  Taking this idea a bit further – You can easily see how specifically targeting relevant messages to these beneficial visitors arriving from organic search with referral targeting would likely be a very good idea as well.

SEO (campaign planning) is a Moving Target

SEO is a moving target

Creating SEO projections is like shooting at a moving target (in a hurricane). I've almost never found projections of anyone with the exception of a select few in house experts to be even remotely reasonable.  Despite the flaws, Projections and budgeting are mandatory for acquiring corporate budgets for actually doing the work. Perhaps this helps to explain the disconnect in PPC and SEO spending.

KOB analysis assists in these projections, and helps to set more reasonable expectations.  As any good SEO consultant will tell you — the key to successful client relationships all starts with setting these reasonable expectations (the same can be said for the success of your career if you're working as an in-house SEO person). The tools for calculating TRUE benefit (and overall value) of organic search traffic are still just evolving (SEMRush and Spyfu lead the charge). The best tool at this point is an understanding of concepts used to create projections.

KOB Analysis in some form is always the foundation for any successful SEO campaign. Unfortunately, SEO is not conducted in a vacuum. There are lots of moving parts involved, and your best competitors are always improving as well. They are learning about how to attract links better. They understand linkbaiting, creating infographics, hiring link ninjas, and they’ve been buying links under the radar for years. They had their onpage optimization tweaked over 5 years ago. They live on the bleeding edge just like you do. They’ll have many more links and a lot more content in 6 months. You need to consider the timeline and moving parts when creating your projections. In some keyword sets it’s just not realistic to expect you will EVER compete in the top

  • Regardless of your mega-budget – the return will not justify the spend for your one-word vanity phrase (why not spend it on some longer tail phrases that offer more benefit?).

    When you determine the resources that you need to rank for a given term, you also have to consider the timeline involved. If you’re shooting at a target 3 months, 6 months, or a year out, you have to budget for your competitors growth as well. If you don’t, you’re going to be very disappointed when you reach some of your link goals and still fall on your face with your ranking and traffic goals. BE CONSERVATIVE with your projections, and always focus on managing expectations when you’re dealing with lots of unknown variables. You’ll be able to better understand your competitors growth patterns with tools like Majestic SEO that show historical data on their link graph growth over time. Don’t underestimate the competition – UNDERSTAND them with KOB and you’ll have better understanding and more respect for the folks you compete with, and more realistic expectations to set for the people around you.

     I think many search marketing folks use similar process for conducting cost benefit analysis for their campaigns, but I haven't really seen much common language used to describe it.  If you know of any great competitive analysis tools, or similar methodologies to run cost/benefit analysis for organic search, I would definitely be interested in checking them out. Want to see examples in action? Well, we have that available over at Market Motive. I’ll also be presenting on KOB analysis (including a case study) on a competitive analysis panel with John Andrews at SEMPDX on Feb. 23rd.

    Some other competitive analysis resources and tools:

    Learn more about KOB Analysis at Market Motive

    Tools

    **My personal favorites

    Resources

  • The post Competitive Intelligence: Using KOB Analysis for Planning SEO Campaigns appeared first on | StuntDuBL.

    Q3 2010 Master Certification Classes Start July 19th
    Jul 13th 2010, 17:46

    Enrollment is now open for you and your team to join our Q2 Master Certification courses in SEO, Social Media, PPC , Landing Page Conversion or Web Analytics at MarketMotive.com

    Master one internet marketing discipline in 90 days by training online with the bestselling authors, authorities, and top speakers in each discipline. You will:

    • Master one internet marketing discipline
    • Boost your value to your organization
    • Empower your marketing team
    • Make authoritative marketing decisions
    • Get the industry recognition you deserve

    Select from individual or group courses in SEO, Social Media, PPC, Landing Page Conversion or Web Analytics that are 100% online* and include:

    • Graded projects and assignments
    • Final dissertation defense for certification
    • On-demand streaming video lessons
    • Weekly interactive training webinars
    • Direct, anytime Q&A with the faculty

    Enroll now and take control of your online marketing.
    Choose Your Online Course Now >>

    * Courses are 100% online, with regular instructor interaction. Login 24×7 to master the latest techniques in internet marketing from the convenience of your own desk.

    Here’s a list of my favorite topics for your previewing pleasure:

    More information about SEO Master Certification, as well as the signup form

    Checkout the SEO Curriculum here

    The post Q3 2010 Master Certification Classes Start July 19th appeared first on | StuntDuBL.

    Website Valuation and Domain Appraisal Myths: A Cautionary Tale for Domainers
    Apr 7th 2010, 16:22

    Firstly, I think domainers are geniuses. They are the only group of people that I know that can work as little as they do, and make as much as they do. Top level domainers are the TRUE optimizers, and saw the biggest gapping hole in the economics of the web ever created, and are now driving trucks of money through it. The true pioneers and geniuses within the community have started to develop an appreciation of what it takes to create successful online properties instead of just making money from parked landing pages. Unfortunately there is still a lot of laziness and blindness to some of the myths their community has helped to perpetuate. The thoughts below are from nearly a decade purchasing ~500 domain names of which I think only 10% at best hold very strong value. The rest are stinkers that I should probably not pay the $6 a year hosting if I was more dilligent with my accounting and renewal tracking.

    I have been a lurker in domain and affiliate communities for years. I think it’s time to point out some of the domainer myths as the world’s of SEO’s and domainers start to collide, and the best domainers realize they need to actually develop their properties to continue to reap the rewards of their investments. Seeing "potential" through to fruition is both rewarding and extremely challenging (for a bit of credibility at this point, I invested, helped develop, and ultimately exited from CollegeDegree.com just over 3 years ago to help fund future projects.)

    A perfect storm is brewing from the climate of need from marketers needing top domains and domainers needing marketing talent. It takes a lot to build a great site – so you might as well do it on a domain that people will remember when you finally put it in front of them. Landing page revenues are decreasing, and users are a bit more saavy, so many of the smart domainers are doing their best to at least develop sites on their domains to hedge their bets on big ticket domain valuations with some base level website monetization. It will definitely only continue to be more difficult to capture the "free traffic" of organic search, only as the myth that it should have ever been "free" in the first place is finally being dispelled.

    We are FINALLY seeing tools to project the value of a site’s organic search traffic (like SEMRush, SpyFu, and Aaron’s awesome competitive analysis tool) to properly quantify at least a ball park range of the value of "free organic traffic", and make projections of bottom line revenue based on these projections accordingly. The really sharp domainers, have been reaching out to folks in the SEO community, and have been attempting to learn about development and driving more traffic. To properly understand the myths, I think we must first take a look at how I appraise potential domain names (primarily for the intention of development).

    1. Search term value (cost per click)
    2. Exact match search term volume
    3. Overall query diversity (is there longtail from the exact match that is valuable?)
    4. Brand-ability (how easy is it to remember and type in)
    5. Domain top level extension (.net/.orgs are still a great deal worth 10 – 20% of .com value – everything else is 2nd tier)
    6. Potential type in traffic (only for very top level keyword.coms in select verticals, and really mainly good for branding)
    7. Ease of future development (How easy is it to realize the "potential" of a brandable domain creating content, software, etc?)
  • Ease of monetization (is the market liquid, or does it have a high barrier to entry?)

    There’s probably some others to add, but these 8 factors pretty much sum up most of the important areas up for consideration when looking at if you can earn a return from purchasing a domain name. For a more in depth guide to website valuation as a whole, you can see my older post on the subject – How to appraise a website – Website Value 101.

    Bargain domains has a good handle on what is important using cpc, volume, competition, ease of monetization. Doing business development for a site that does not have existing affiliate programs is among the most difficult barriers to entry for creating a successful site in a given space, and where a lot of errors from the below myths comes into play. I think a lot of domainers are discounting a lot of their domains – with little or no clue why, other than trying to cover costs. I’ve definitely snagged my fair share of nice ones in what seems to be a pretty good buyer’s market in the right places. I’ve also got a lot of garbage from mistakes like domaining after drinking;) To make the right buys, you definitely can’t fall for the top 11 myths domainers find themselves falling victim to:

  • Myth of the Type in.

    Type in traffic occurs at a very small level that is constantly diminishing. I make no argument that some percentage of people type in Cameras.com when thinking about purchasing a digital camera. However, the impact of this type of traffic, overall is quite minimal. Type in traffic comes through google, bing, yahoo, and your Internet Service Provider. If your ISP decides to serve a 404 page for the domain or country code it will render to their landing page. Richard Kershaw has more about the dangers of the type in traffic myth based on some data he dug up from Sedo, so I’ll defer to his better post to explain this one further:

    "… 0.001% of domains parked with Sedo get double digit per day traffic. Or to put it another way, 99.999% of domains parked with Sedo don’t hit double digits daily."

    Even Kevin Ham’s genius .CM wildcard tld strategy isn’t really working in most places anymore. What really perpetuates this myth is repeat visitors and DIRECT NAVIGATION. Direct navigation is much different from type in traffic. Direct navigation can easily come from other media sources and many times very easily owe it’s true attribution to a specific campaign or general "brand equity" which will likely always remain a somewhat vague metric for analysis and accountability.

    2. Myth of the 1 Word .com

    Just because it’s generic, doesn’t mean it’s good Crap.com is still crap. Yes, you can make an argument, that it is "brandable", but so is Suudl.com or some other random character string of constants and vowels. There’s dozens of startups in Silicon Valley trying to build an awesome product on a garbage domain. Sometimes it actually works (Yoodle to go on and be better things.) Do you know how much money it costs to BUILD a true brand that people actually recognize?

    Sharp entrepreneurs like domainshane.com have some solid 4 and 5 letter domains for web 2.0 startups, but there’s a difference between selling a few domains for 3 figures, and creating a full blown startup company. I will say that I do think any 4 and 5 letter .com value will only continue to rise. There are only a limited number of these and they will often be held by large corporations. A good four letter .com is HIGHLY brandable since it takes up less space for more traditional advertising (print/ radio/ tv).

    The biggest myth with EVERY entrepreneur falls victim to is that it’s easy to build a company. Murphy’s law definitely applies to you, even though you think you’re the exception. You always hear the success stories of Mint.com and the like, but you miss the other 9 startups for every 1 that actually even gets a 2nd round of funding (as well as the thousands that failed to get to that point). You also miss the decades of misery endured by the executives and founders. I can count on less than two hands the number of successful entrepreneurs I know that have maintained their integrity. Any idea how hard it is to get the first round? 3 words: Tech Bubble, Recession

    Having 20 or 30 single word domains may prove to be more of a blessing than a curse to either sell or develop when you look at how much money a startup has to raise to take a company to the next level past several rounds of venture funding, or the difficulty of creating a company that will sustain through a public offering.

  • Myth of the "Category Killer"
    The underestimation of what it actually takes to build a real site that delivers value to real end users, and makes real revenue will be the common thread in most of these points. It’s real easy to say that you understand how to do it, and that you can do it. Even if you did it as a consultant, doesn’t mean you can do it all yourself and successfully pull it off (believe me, I fell victim to this myth for quite some time.)

    Banca.com was a steal in a recent auction, but just because you own Bank.org, doesn’t mean you can build or run one and actualize the potential of such a domain.

    4. Myth of "Revshare"

    This begins with the fallacy that you’ll attract good people by offering them a revenue share of the project. Unfortunately, smart people realize it’s very difficult to craft these agreements, and setting expectations on the same page is a rare commodity. As a consultant, I’ve had lots of "rev-share" offers. Normally, building a long term working relationship works in a handful of ways through smaller projects.

    The person who builds the house isn’t always happy to lease the land it’s built on, even if they get to share in the profits. Normally, they’d prefer to buy some less expensive land, and maintain complete control of the project, until they can be the master developer.

    There are ultimately a few questions that get asked from both sides:

    Domainer:

    We would like to develop a site that makes millions from my genius idea of buying high quality domains in 1994.

    Consultant: Did you live in Vancouver or nearby?

    D: No, but I have been to some conferences around that area.

    C: Cool – the domainer community fascinates me, and I’m a lurker there. I do a bit of domaining myself for myself as well.

    So tell me about your site.

    D: Elaborate beautiful description of properties and potential. Insert unrealistic expectations of marketing miracles.

    C: screenshare examples of success.

    D: More qualification of websites awesomeness.

    C: More examples of wins, and answers to questions.

    D: Sounds awesome, we’ll be in touch.

    C: Okay cool. Have a good one.

    The conversations sometimes go a few phone calls longer. The truth is, the cost of creating an amicable agreement, or in building the trust takes so much efforts, that both sides generally fall flat. The trust needed for such an arragement is generally too big of a gap to bridge in a few phone calls. The domainer opts for the cheap work with less than impressive results, and the consultant continues to consult and develop sites. Generally the domainers learn from the conversation and realize they should continue to further their search and social media marketing understanding.

    A few examples:

    Example #1http://www.namecake.com/venture-partners/
    Some of our names experience a large volume of natural daily traffic. Couple this with their brandability and you have a powerful combination to immediately compete in your chosen field. All that’s needed to turn these domains into successful online destinations is a strong partner with the right resources.

    …our ideal partners will likely have the resources to execute an entire business plan around developing the domain property. All aspects of the business will be the responsibility of the partner. While the preferred relationship is to partner with experienced companies/individuals on these projects, an outright sale of the domain name will also be considered.

    A strong project manager with years of experience will likely always buy the domain outright (or find an alternative to use).

    I understand that the core competency here is acquiring top level domains, but I’m wondering how many properties they have successfully built out to claim just how "easy" it is to immediately compete and make money with a top level domain. I have certainly heard the question before myself of "If you’re so good at this, why don’t you do it for yourself?" In fact, I heard it enough times that I decided I must build my own properties to disprove the naysayers. I’m sure the guys at namecake are super smart, and have made lots of money – but it if it DID come from underestimating the workload, and doing what was easy – they were extremely lucky.

    Example #2 Reinvent, Marchex, and other companies have some amazing domain names, but each individual domain nearly warrants it’s own entire dedicated team to build out properly. I’m not sure some of these domainers have the true knack for creating gameplans for actual site development and launch that actualize the "potential" the domain names hold. Even though some of their large holdings are generic domains – the value in ranking for these phrases (and the business plan and development for monetizing them) often doesn’t justify the effort unfortunately. There are a handful of winners, and a lot of losers still left in these large, diverse portfolios. Focusing on one or two big areas could really do well, but trying to split the workload between a very large and diverse portfolio is spreading the resources very thin on some of the really GOOD domains they have like carfinancing.com, creditrating.com, or cheaptravel.com. By the time they realize this, the barrier to entry to start in these areas may well be much much higher.

    Example #3
    http://www.bigticketdomains.com/
    Treatmentcenters.com – great site (doesn’t work in ff for mac), and awesome domain with the ability to create a great geo based lead generation campaign. Focus on the one site, and sell the others if you can to fund the development.

    Focus on Brideloan.com, Tradeshows.com, NewYork.net, and develop StockMarket.com and MutualFunds.com. Those 4 domains could easily be enough for a lifetime. The rest might sell to an enlightened soul in one of their respective industries for fairly reasonable prices. I don’t imagine it takes lots of homeruns, and offering GOOD reasonable financing deals is a good step towards doing biz dev with saavy individuals and agencies.

    5. Myth of Interlinking sites

    Interlinking Explained by God.com

    The lesson in learned when a large group of sites is wiped off the map in terms of search traffic. This is generally the point where they search around for someone to fix the problem, and claim they did nothing wrong. At the very least – interlinking your domains is NOT doing you any favors. Start splitting them off now, and quit convincing yourself that you’re Barry Diller and you own IAC. His sites have entire enterprise level teams to "co-brand" and "cross-promote) his sites. Until your parent company is worth a billion dollars, you’re still just cross linking (with little to no benefit, and potentially a lot of detriment)

  • Myth of Parking pages (slowly dissolving value)

    I bet it was awesome getting a 40% rip from the overture feed when type in traffic and search traffic was high for high value phrase .coms with little content and a phoney link profile. It’s a shame that things went down hill and everyone had to start working for a living. If it makes you feel better, SEO’s are providing an increasingly more commoditized service whose value at most levels is dimishing as well, and good folks are looking for better opportunities to monetize a skillset that is still not completely easy to build despite all the advances in search marketing training in the last three or four years.

  • Myth of Not Identifying and Underestimating Search and Social Strategy Value

    Search marketing can help build direct cashflow. The tools to project the value of search marketing are still just starting to grow to a point of decent accuracy. 4 years ago before Google Analytics became great, no one had PPC data. It’s hard to understand SEO if you haven’t done PPC. Their are important economic systems in play on both that affect bottom line business. Search marketing is at the core of consumer intent.

    8. Myth of Low Value Services Providing High Value

    Amazingly willing to spend xxx,xxx on domains, but not more than $x,xxx per month on development. A good strategy should probably spend anywhere from 10 – 30% of the budget on the domain. Depending on the project this can seem excessive to some – but I definitely strongly agree with the high value in good domain names. The trouble is that you can only develop a few (not 100′s or 1000′s). I find that I’ve been able to develop about 10 – 12 sites per year at various qualities. That’s about one per month – with about 2-5 coming out very good at the end of a year. This is with a very strong desire to sit at the computer for 40 – 60 hrs per week consistently, and work at your maximum mental capacity.

    9. Myth of Hype and Community Publicity

    Woohoo! Joe the domainer launched motorcyclehelmets.com – It’s sure to be a category killer! I’m not a huge hater, but I’ve seen people fall into the same trap within the SEO and internet marketing community. Just because you’re a big deal in your little niche community does not mean you’ll make money, or that anyone else anywhere will actually care if you do. Most the successful people I know that have maintained their humanity tend to have a great deal of humility (and try to minimize the hype). The hater in me comes from my self loathe of blogging and enjoying using things like foursquare and twitter. For a circle jerk of publicity and drama in a small pondof life, there are many forums and blogs to visit, but perhaps the rise of the fall for the seo community came with Threadwatch.org (I think because it was like a giant sewing circle). It is only by spending time in such a place that you have an appreciation of just how information on the web truly travels (and just how little most things really mean).

    10. Myth of second tier top level domain extensions

    I bought into .info’s too. I feel your pain. I think I even have some .travel, .us, .mobi and some other second tier garbage. Firstly, they’ll never gain acceptance. Secondly, they’ll never rank for anything. Thirdly, no one will remember your extension (and they’ll type in .com), and you’ll lose most of the "type-ins" you were hoping for. Lastly, remember how much it costs to build a brand? It costs even more to get your .com AFTER the fact. The cost of GREAT .coms /.nets /.orgs on the other hand continues to see growth.

    11. Myth that development is EASY

    The owners of MutualFunds.com have a retail price of $5 Million listed. How much more likely are your odds for success buying Mutualfunds.net for $100k, and spending the other $4.9M on product development and marketing? For that matter, why not buy a $6 domain, and redirect it later? Even if you DO have a $10M budget, does it ever really make sense to make this type of purchase? Sure it’s an amazing domain name – no question, but your domain is only one function of your marketing budget. I am a large fan of big ticket domains, but if you are top heavy in terms of percentage of your budget being spent on your domain, and neglect your product and marketing, you will be clamoring about the "potential" until the point your domain goes up to foreclosure auction, and someone else gets it at the price it likely originally should have sold for (far less than you paid).

    So why is it domainers (and most entrepreurs for that matter) underestimate the cost of development?

    The number one reason this happens is because business goals aren’t developed before the project starts. One of the most exclusive problems to a business that fails online is a lack of understanding in execution the marketing and business development strategies. Underestimating the true nature of the project is a realization that nearly always occurs at the end of a failed businesses’ lifecycle.

    In terms of one and two word keyword domains, domainers often forget that while there is a benefit in having an exact match keyword domain, it is still only easy to rank for that single term in the short term. Ranking for all the long tail phrases or other important phrases is an entirely different story. Even ranking for the exact match of a domain can be very difficult if the domain is in a already highly developed industry. To truly understand how difficult it is to rank for something, you must be able to do some competitive intelligence in a search result, and identify:

    • how many links will you need?
    • how much content will you need?
    • what will it take for development of the great ideas you will use to retain users?
    • will you be able to create content that will engage users, or is it highly specialized?

    How many links you will need is often the critical underestimation. While you CAN go out and buy links, there is certainly a level of risk that comes along with this to your precious investment.

    So what’s the moral of the story?

    1. Don’t believe the hype (least of all your own)
    2. No one will buy "potential" $1 worth of revenue is worth more than $100 in potential.
    3. Build a business model first
    4. Spend more money on engineering and strong development than hype and potential.
    5. Cut losses on a project that doesn’t succeed

    I think this is most important. If you REALLY want to make money on the web – follow these rules. Start working in one small corner of a competitive marketplace, and prove to yourself you can make a living at it. Most of the money is made from:

  • telling people how to make money
  • telling people how to improve themselves
  • telling people how to find things
  • comparing things for people in high dollar areas.
  • lead generation in the above mentioned topics with massive scaleable solutions (generally aggregations and user generated content plays).

    I understand that with writing this post, I will likely ostracize myself from a bit of the domainer community, but it is only out of watching and understanding a bit from the fringes that I understand some of the domainer "community" that I have been able to form these observations. It is with a great deal of respect that I have done so, and that I offer my constructive criticism. As mentioned above – I think most good domainers are among the smartest and luckiest folks I’ve ever heard about. I hope some day I get to catch up with some cool domainer folks and swap stories over boat drinks. If you want to train teams in the meantime – I’ll give a shameless promotion for MarketMotive – it’s a great place to train your teams on holistic goals with an understanding of business goals. If you got through this whole post, and got a little upset with some of the observations -it’s probably a great place to start, and I remind you that I criticize with the utmost respect.

    More sites and references:

    Domainer sites I like watching:

  • The post Website Valuation and Domain Appraisal Myths: A Cautionary Tale for Domainers appeared first on | StuntDuBL.

    Q2 2010 Master Certification in SEO is now Open
    Apr 2nd 2010, 00:03

    Enrollment is now open for you and your team to join our Q2 Master Certification courses in SEO, Social Media, PPC , Landing Page Conversion or Web Analytics at MarketMotive.com

    Master one internet marketing discipline in 90 days by training online with the bestselling authors, authorities, and top speakers in each discipline. You will:

    • Master one internet marketing discipline
    • Boost your value to your organization
    • Empower your marketing team
    • Make authoritative marketing decisions
    • Get the industry recognition you deserve

    Select from individual or group courses in SEO, Social Media, PPC, Landing Page Conversion or Web Analytics that are 100% online* and include:

    • Graded projects and assignments
    • Final dissertation defense for certification
    • On-demand streaming video lessons
    • Weekly interactive training webinars
    • Direct, anytime Q&A with the faculty

    Enroll now and take control of your online marketing.
    Choose Your Online Course Now >>

    * Courses are 100% online, with regular instructor interaction. Login 24×7 to master the latest techniques in internet marketing from the convenience of your own desk.

    More information about SEO Master Certification, as well as the signup form

    Checkout the SEO Curriculum here

    The post Q2 2010 Master Certification in SEO is now Open appeared first on | StuntDuBL.

    Write a Non-Profit SEO Marketing Plan & Earn a Scholarship for MarketMotive SEO Master Certification
    Mar 22nd 2010, 22:14

    It’s pretty easy – write a SEO marketing plan for a non-profit of your choice, and you could win a scholarship to learn how to become an even better, more well rounded marketer. Worst case scenario, you will have written a SEO marketing plan for a non-profit that you can share with the people who run your the non-profit for your cause of choice. Pretty cool right?

    MarketMotive, is allowing each faculty member to award a scholarship for certification courses valued at $3500 for the upcoming semester which starts on April 15th. All-star faculty members teach the certification courses: Dave Szetela, Matt Bailey (Fundamentals), Jennifer Laycock (Social Media), John Marshall (Web Analytics), Avinash Kaushik (Web Analytics), Greg Jarboe/Jamie O’Donnell (Online PR and Video marketing), Bryan Eisenberg (Conversion Optimization), Michael Stebbins (Email Marketing) and nailing down PPC Advertising. The goal of the scholarship is to help deserving folks (like you!) to help us in creating something great for a non-profit marketing group. If you already work at a non-profit, feel free to pull double duty, and tell me how you would continue to improve your site, or even someone elses. If you’re already a marketing pro – you’re welcome to enter as well, and donate your prize to the person you deem most worthy. Our goal is to help some deserving folks (like you) attain master certification in their field, and provide a valuable service to non-profit marketers everywhere.

    If you would like to win a scholarship to earn certification in any of the offered topics, pick one non-profit web site of your choice and submit a short SEO marketing plan that you think would help improve the campaign results for your chosen charity. You can choose to publish it on your website and let me know about it, or email to me (todd at this site name.com).

    At the end, each winner gets a complimentary $3,500 course to earn certification. If you are already an expert in SEO, you can donate the course to whoever you feel is most qualified. In addition, each faculty member will link to the plans submitted by other finalists and winners – the sum of which will form a wealth of of information for nonprofit marketers.

    Rules: Submitting a plan means contestants agree that their plan may be be posted (with attribution) and/or sent to the charity. Plans may be edited before being posted at blog owner's discretion. Winning plan (s)will be selected at the discretion of MarketMotive faculty chairs. All entries must be submitted before 12:01 am PST on April 1st, 2010, and the winners will be announced on April 5th.

    The post Write a Non-Profit SEO Marketing Plan & Earn a Scholarship for MarketMotive SEO Master Certification appeared first on | StuntDuBL.

    20 Things You Can Teach a HIPPO to Make Your Website Better.
    Mar 8th 2010, 18:58

    Note: This post is fairly self-serving, but I promise watching the videos will help you make your site better. You can skip all the reading and just watch the totally FREE FULL videos (part I, and part II), or skip to the next paragraph for the details of the awesome video that Avinash (aka the Web Analytics Wizard) and I recorded on how you can “Teach a HIPPO (highest paid person’s opinion) to make your website better”. In just under 3 years, Market Motive Internet Marketing Training has become a pretty amazing resource for training webmasters and internet marketers on a diverse and well rounded skill set. While there are many places that offer great SEO training (SEObook, SEOMoz, SEO Dojo, and many others, I don’t think there is any place that offers the well rounded education solutions that MM now provides. Scott Milrad has helped me develop a pretty awesome curriculum for SEO certification (I can hear the debates starting already), and the rest of the information is really top notch (I occasionally study web analytics, ppc, pr, and other videos myself). As a whole, MM creates a no nonsense HONEST learning experience that I REALLY wish I had a decade ago when I started on the web. You won’t get rich quick, but you will learn a skill set that will aid you for a lifetime. If you’re looking for corporate solutions to training issues, please feel free to drop me a line, and I’ll be happy to answer your MM questions, or see about putting together a walk through demo of the site.

    So what’s all this hoopla about?

    Avinash and I decided to do a video on how to make a website better. Fortunately Mr. Kaushik is wonderfully eloquent and makes me look really smart. He is a master of disseminating data, and is helping to dissolve the myths involved with SEO by quantifying potential and results. To me, this is extremely exciting since I have always been a “gut feel” marketer, developing strong instincts that can be occasionally proved wrong with testing and data. Both approaches certainly have merit, but I have to say I love coming up with a hypothesis and seeing Avinash prove or disprove it based on quantifiable data points.

    The topics (of things you can do to make your website better) in the videos include:

    1. Improve the site design (without sacrificing content)
    2. Credibility matters (add credibility indicators)
    3. Research keywords that matter to your site
    4. People can't read computer (make your urls human and bot friendly)
    5. Improve Time on Site (unless you're a directory)
    6. Reduce Bounce Rate
    7. Improve the site Usability
    8. Don't hide content from your users (don't move stuff!) & don't hide links from search engines!
    9. Get a better web host (site speed MATTERS)
    10. Organize your information better

    (IA matters — don't give too many choices means no choice)

  • Make it easy to contact you
  • Make it easy to find out about your company
  • Anchor text is important
    (internal and external — you are what your links say you are)
  • Attract citations (links) is critical (linking thinking)
  • Social media is not your normal user (but can create links)
  • Selectively deliver content (block duplicate content from search engines)
    (robots and humans are unique and your site index quality matters)
  • Organic Search traffic converts (and is 8x higher than PPC)
  • Encourage (or even incentivize) positive off site sentiment
    (degree and kind of engagement)
  • Exact match micro sites for head terms
  • Do we need subdomains or subdirectories?

    We discuss how to take ACTION on these subjects using an understanding of:

  • -Clickstream
  • -Multiple outcomes
  • - Experimentation and testing

    - Voice of customers

  • -Competitive intelligence
  • - Insights

  • -Foundation
  • Your world is one of continuous actions (that is, surveys testing, behavior targeting, keyword optimization) and continuous improvements, where customers not HiPPOS, rule. Enjoy the videos, and definitely let me know if you have an questions, and please comment on anything we missed or you’d like to see in the future.

    Normally, MM videos are for members only, but we liked these videos so much we wanted the world to see them. Hope you enjoy! Part I: Teaching HiPPOS about Better Websites Part I and Part II: 10 More things You can Teach HiPPOS about Building Better Websites.

    The post 20 Things You Can Teach a HIPPO to Make Your Website Better. appeared first on | StuntDuBL.

    You are receiving this email because you subscribed to this feed at blogtrottr.com.

    If you no longer wish to receive these emails, you can unsubscribe from this feed, or manage all your subscriptions

    No hay comentarios:

    Publicar un comentario en la entrada