Monday, January 18, 2010

10 Professional Development Tips to Boost Your SEO Career

Image representing SEOMoz as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase

So it's a new year (doesn't 2010 feel like the future?!) and it's a new you. As Pete blogged last week plenty of new year's resolutions are being set. For many this may involve getting a better or job or getting paid more money. This post is for you. Hopefully by the time you've read this post you'll have some ideas to turbocharge your career.

First, I present you with a brief personal history. There was some interest in reading this on twitter so hopefully it's useful to you.

How I Became Head of Search at Distilled

I started out a few years ago stuck in a pretty mundane job working as a project manager. Actually, I wasn't even a project manager I was a project assistant. My alternative job title may as well have been project manager's tea-boy. It was reasonably well paid but mentally about as stimulating as being punched in the eye.

About this time Will & Duncan were just setting up the company that would eventually become Distilled and obviously Will was raving to me about this thing called the internet. Believing this to be the future, I decided to get a job working for the internet.

Account Executive is a good entry level job for those wanting to get into SEO.

At this time, I didn't really have any internet skills except hanging out in forums and playing poker online. Thankfully that seemed to be enough for me to get a job as a Digital Account Executive at a digital agency. This role involved doing account management for both web build projects but also SEO and PPC projects. Although I wasn't actually doing any SEO, speaking to clients every day about their SEO and PPC campaigns quickly got me interested in what SEO was and how one did it. As I'm sure a lot of you can relate to, once bitten by the SEO bug there was no turning back. I started reading SEOmoz and other blogs and, if I'm honest, got a little bit obsessed.

This was a good thing for the company I was working for however as I started actively becoming involved in running the SEO projects for some quite big name clients. This was fun but ultimately I was still doing a fair amount of account management and my aim was to concentrate on doing SEO so I started looking around. By this time Distilled had taken shape, Will and Duncan had hired their first employee and had even got themselves some nice offices so it was (with hindsight) quite a natural time for them to start think about offering SEO. I jumped ship from my old agency and came to work for Distilled. Tally ho!

Now, technically, at this point I became Head of Search for Distilled, but with only 4 employees and a handful of small clients this wasn't really too much to brag about. Still, I was able to immerse myself in SEO which was what I wanted and I was enjoying myself.

There was still much to learn at this stage - and although my job title hasn't changed over the years my job role has changed quite dramatically and I feel like I've actually had several different jobs at Distilled as my role has evolved.

As Distilled grew up we hired Rob and Lucy to be SEOs alongside myself. Along with a little bit of hands-on work from Will and Duncan we functioned well as a close-knit team and we all managed our own SEO projects within Distilled, working together but as a pretty flat team. At this point, my

Although my job title hasn't changed my role has changed several times since I've been working at Distilled.

role as "Head of SEO" didn't involve doing anything much different from Rob and Lucy. That said, the whole company was growing and we started to get on board bigger clients and do more consulting rather than just hands-on SEO for small businesses. This naturally involved more formal reporting, delivering client-side training sessions and putting together high-level reports that our clients could take to their board to influence decisions regarding their online strategy. Good times. Around this time I started to attend a few industry conferences and shortly after I started speaking at industry conferences.

So already my role has changed from managing small-time SEO projects to doing consulting for large companies. Recently, my role has changed again within Distilled - we've hired some more staff for our SEO team and I've started spending more time on managing a team as well as doing hands-on SEO and consulting.

Anyway, that's my (far too long) personal story. Hopefully it's helpful to get a glimpse at how to make the progression within this industry. Although I've been lucky that Distilled has provided a new role for me at every step of my career I could easily have taken those 3 separate roles within different companies.

10 Tips To Boost Your SEO Career

And now, without further ado, I present my 10 tips for professional development within the SEO industry. Note that I'm assuming you're already working in SEO at some level. If you're not, then I suggest you read Danny's posts on learning SEO.

While you're reading through this list you might want to motivate yourself by reminding yourself what you can earn at different job levels within the SEO indsutry.

1) Get Qualified

Although I'm not a huge fan of qualifications generally and certainly in the SEO industry they're few and far between, but nevertheless - getting either GAIQ or Adwords qualified will look good on a CV and give you some valuable skills. Not to mention they're pretty easy and cheap so totally learnable in your spare time!

2) Learn Some Secondary Skills

SEO, or more broadly internet marketing, covers such a wide range of topics, skills and industries that it never hurts to have more strings to your bow than just linkbuilding. Try teaching yourself some PHP or CSS. I recently learned a few CSS bits and pieces and they come in handy for styling blog posts (Rob gives a good intro to learning CSS for styling blog posts here).

A side project is a great way of polishing up all your secondary skills, in fact a side project looks great on a CV too as Judith demonstrates here: if your SEO is not moonlighting, fire them.

3) Craft a Kick-Ass CV

When thinking about applying for a job it's crucial to create an astounding CV, but SEO doesn't offer too many transferable skills does it? Think again. Instead of putting things like "linkbuilding" on your CV, take a look at Rand's post on skills that have served him well. All those skills would stand out on a CV. Also worth taking a look at is Rand's whiteboard friday on how to get an SEO job.

4) Do Some Agency Time

If you're working in-house then that's great and I'm in no way trying to suggest that SEOs who work at agencies are better at SEO. But, it has to be said that working agency side you get to work on many more industries than you would otherwise. You can work on news websites, ecommerce websites, lead gen websites and a whole lot more! Getting experience working on a broad range of sites can really help make sure you're up to speed on all the different niches of SEO - whether it's local, image search, video search or product search.

On the flip-side, if you're working agency side then consider working in-house for a bit. You'll get experience in reporting to a board as well as having to experience first-hand the challenges of getting buy-in from other departments. All useful experience.

5) Immerse Yourself in Excel

I've raved about Excel a lot in the past so I won't do so again here. That said, there are two crucial skills that will help you get a better job and Excel can help both of them. They are reporting and data analysis. Reporting is essential whether you're working at an agency and need to report to clients or are working in-house and need to report to a board or your boss. Data analysis is essential to ensure that your report is always positive (I'm only half joking here...!).

In summary, if you don't know how to put graphs and charts into your reports then you won't get very far, as this chart shows:

Figure 1

6) Present At A Conference

Presenting at conferences is good for so many different reasons. Networking, making friends, having fun, experience in public speaking etc etc. I really love speaking at conferences and you should too. Having it on your CV can really make you look like an expert. And actually speaking is easy - just watch out for the speaker submission forms at SES, SMX, Adtech and all the rest of the conferences and come up with an appealing pitch.

If that's too daunting, then consider speaking at a smaller conference. I spoke at the first ThinkVisibility in the UK last year and it was only small but lots of fun. This year I'm speaking again and it's going to be a fair size bigger! How did I get to speak? Simple, I saw Dom twitter about wanting speakers for his conference and sent him a DM. If you apply yourself it's that simple.

Once you've been accepted to speak you'll want to take a look at these presentation skills for SEO.

7) Make Friends (aka Networking)

Networking used to be something I hated doing. The idea of making small talk with others in your industry filled me with dread. Then I realised what an awesome bunch of people the SEO industry is and decided that actually it was fun to hang around them, swap emails, twitter etc etc and before I knew it I was networking. So get involved in the local SEO scene wherever you are. In London, that means getting yourself down to LondonSEO. By networking you'll get to know who's hiring, and more importantly whether they're worth working for!

If you want to network slightly more officially then check out LinkedIn - you'll be able to see upcoming job opportunities as well as raising your personal profile. Which brings me neatly to:

8) Build A Personal Brand

Building a personal brand is essential to getting a decent job, especially in the SEO industry. This xkcd sums it perfectly. There's some great blog posts on this topic:
In summary, get twittering and blogging with a username that's recognisable and consistent.

9) Get Some Management Experience

Here's where you might want to take your career to the next level. If you're looking at trying to transition from an SEO consultant to someone who manages a team you'll need to get some management experience. If there's no opportunity for managing a team where you are right now then a great way to get a bit of experience is to get an intern. It's an easy sell to your boss since you don't need to pay them and it can look great on your CV.

For anyone who's looking to try and up their game as an SEO manager then these two posts from Rich Baxter are essential reading:
10) Add More ROI To Every Project You Work On

As the internet grows and as the industry evolves we're all moving towards becoming "online marketers" rather than just "SEO"s. Many of the skills that we know and love from SEO are applicable to other areas that can bring a client ROI. Two classic examples are email marketing and conversion rate optimisation. Get proficient at both of these and you'll make yourself an all-round expert and hard to turn down for any kind of online marketing position. Here's a few primers:


In conclusion I just thought I'd mention two things. Firstly, I'm not looking for a job so please hold the recruitment calls - I love working at Distilled and am extremely grateful to Will and Duncan for giving me the opportunity to make it through several iterations of "head of search", here's to the next iteration! Secondly, everyone's different but I strongly believe that it's not all about the money. If you're applying for a new job then please please try and work for a fun company and make sure that you'll enjoy it. Your own enjoyment is far more important than just the $$/££ you'll get paid. Seriously.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Of PPC and PBJ: Comparing PPC and SEO Effectively, Part 2

Posted by Herndon Hasty on 11 Aug 2009

In part one, we discussed some practical implications of combining your SEO and PPC efforts in ways that make the most of the strengths of each, layered together rather than mixed, like the perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Further research has shown the existence of peanut butter and jelly mixed together in the same jar, but I hold that, much like the pre-packaged, frozen PB&J, it's contrary to the laws of nature and, thus, my metaphor still holds.

More important than combining the two efforts, effective (or tasty) as it could be, the way the two are measured together and separately can be far more important than getting the two to work together. This is especially true given that the way they're measured determines the way they're combined.

Why Combine?

Measuring PPC and SEO together is most important for monitoring big changes in your PPC or SEO results, magnified tenfold for efforts around your brand and another tenfold for established brands. For example, buying branded keywords for the first time or making SEO changes that will allow your brand to have a more prominent place in search results is likely going to cause a massive swing on the other side. High-traffic non-brand terms can also cause this, but it's your brand that often holds the key to massive, mysterious changes.

Outside of catastrophic changes, ongoing comparisons can provide critical insights into how shifts in your paid spend or improving rankings are feeding your total search presence. Did that bump in spending on a group of high-traffic non-brand keywords push more visits to the site, or did it largely steal from natural? And what must you do to get both?

The Key: Combine and Compare

Obviously, watching them both means monitoring paid and natural traffic and -- as applicable -- orders, units, leads, revenue, signups, etc. Two columns of data alone, however, still won't paint a complete picture.

Start by combining the two into a 'total search' metric. Now you can look at how all search engine traffic grew year over year and how each segment has grown in relation to the other by comparing it:

  • Versus Itself: Do the two combined add up to positive growth (or, if you're having a tough year, at least a higher growth rate than before)? This can be checked with a simple year-over-year comparison of the figures, and lets you know if your combined search presence is at least moving in the right direction as a result of your efforts.
  • Versus Total Search: Did intentional changes in one result in actual growth for that sector versus a lift for search as a whole? This can be seen by dividing natural and paid search each by total search to find its share or contribution, and comparing that figure to the previous week, month, or year.

If the growth was strictly for your paid or natural segment, its share should increase. If your search program as a whole experienced growth (products coming into season, changes made to the other side, etc.), this number will remain close to the original figure.

Good Month for Search, or Just a Good Month?

Even more importantly, compare this growth to how your site as a whole grew for the same time period, either by placing the two growth percentages side by side, or by measuring search's total share or contribution to your total site metric. Many times, individuals leading your advertising channels like search will lay claim to stratospheric growth for a given time period, without knowing that the site as a whole might have driven a similar level of growth because of completely separate efforts, and thus shouldn't necessarily get the knee-jerk reaction of increased budget.

Most of the time (and especially with agencies, who are very easy to leave out of the loop), this particular error is committed without malice, as the search team doesn't necessarily have access to the big picture. You can avoid this issue and get a more accurate analysis of results by sharing all of your data and results across your entire team.

Similarly, a low growth or flat month might actually be light years ahead of where the site as a whole finished -- meaning that further investment would be wise.

Everything You Can Learn

Watching these two channels together helps you make good decisions, be it about PPC budget allocation or about long-term SEO strategies and how to truly combine your efforts. Siloing them destroys their context and can quickly leave you with soggy bread or an overly sticky bite -- one way or another, a ruined sandwich.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

PPC Integration, Part 1: Integrating PPC with E-mail

Posted by Melissa Mackey on 6 Aug 2009

Pay-per-click ads are a great marketing tool all by themselves. They can be used to generate significant amounts of new traffic and leads. However, PPC doesn't need to be a standalone channel.

This three-part series will cover ways to integrate PPC with other marketing channels. Integrated marketing is nothing new, but in online marketing we often find ourselves working in silos. Integrating PPC with other marketing will create efficiencies across channels and make your marketing dollars work smarter. One channel that works especially well with PPC is e-mail.

It's well known that e-mail marketing is one of the most effective ways to retain customers and increase lifetime value. While that's absolutely true, building a sizeable and profitable e-mail database can be challenging.

Enter PPC. But before you run off and open up that AdWords account, you'll need to do some homework.

Step 1: Define Your Goals

While this may seem obvious, I'm often surprised by how many clients put the cart before the horse. They hear that PPC gets great ROI, so they decide to start doing PPC. But without a clear goal, you won't find great ROI -- especially if your goal is generating e-mail leads.

Anyone can put up PPC ads with a few minutes and a credit card, but it takes planning and forethought to craft an effective lead-generation campaign. Be patient, and take the time to figure out what you really want.

Answer these questions first: Do you want to use PPC to generate new leads for your e-mail program? Is your goal to supplement an existing e-mail marketing program with PPC? Or are you trying to generate sales, and then add the new customers to your ongoing e-mail program?

Step 2: Begin With the End in Mind: the Landing Page

The next step is to decide which page of your Web site will best help you accomplish your goals.

If you want to use PPC for generating leads for your database, the best landing page will almost always be your contact form or "contact us" page. If your primary goal is to generate sales, then the best landing page is the page where the searcher can buy your product or service without additional clicks.

And if you just want to use PPC to reinforce an existing message, send them to a page they'll recognize: a replica of your e-mail marketing message, complete with graphics and a call to action.

Step 3: Develop Your PPC Ad Copy and Keywords

Once you've figured out what you want your PPC campaign to do and where you want visitors to go, it's time to think about the message. In PPC, your ad copy and the keywords you bid on are equally important. Choose keywords that are relevant to your product or service, as well as to your goals.

For example, if your goal is to increase e-mail signups, and your e-mail program involves coupons or deals, then you'll want to bid on coupon-related keywords. If you're a B2B marketer offering a service, find out what keywords they're searching for and bid on them.

If customer acquisition is one of your goals, and your budget permits, consider bidding on "conquest" or competitive keywords. While the debate continues to rage on whether it's a good idea to bid on competitors' trademarks, it often makes sense to bid on related products or services. Compelling ad copy can effectively create awareness and acquire new leads.

Speaking of compelling ad copy: The right copy is crucial to generating quality e-mail signups. The last thing you want is to pay for clicks to your site via PPC, and then end up with few signups to your e-mail database, and/or a high unsubscribe rate.

Use your ad copy to attract the right leads and filter out the wrong ones. Make it clear that you're offering a product, service, or item of value in exchange for their permission to contact them via e-mail.

Now isn't the time for clever or quirky PPC ad copy. You have 70 characters to show people what you've got -- make them count by spelling out the benefits of signing up for e-mail as clearly as you can in your PPC ads.

With the right goals, landing page, and messaging, PPC can be an effective and cost-efficient means for quickly growing your e-mail database.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Paid Search PPC Lessons From The Catalog Industry

Posted The direct mail industry is enormously sophisticated. They’ve been on the leading edge of data modeling since the 1970s, and smart PPC advertisers and agencies would do well to study them.

RKG is in the midst of a research collaboration with Digital Element and Kevin Hillstrom of MineThatData to determine if some well-known truths from the catalog industry also apply to the world of paid search, namely that geography matters.

Catalogers have known for 50 years or more that people in rural areas respond to offers at a significantly higher rate than those in urban areas. Indeed, postal zones C & D, corresponding to semi-rural and rural areas, have always outperformed zones A & B. Is the same true in Paid Search?

The early answer appears to be: “Absolutely!” Just looking at low population density states like Wyoming, Montana, Alaska, etc, the quality of the traffic appears to be more than 60% higher than that of more urban states. We’re going to take a look deeper along the lines of postal codes to see if this trend is as clear in PPC as it is in catalog mailings.

Another factor catalog mailers have always known: the presence of retail stores matters. Not surprisingly, if you send a catalog full of terrific products to someone who lives near a physical store selling similar products, you’ll drive a lot of sales to that store. If that store is part of your retail chain, great, if not…

Our study will take a look at the impact of having a retail chain store in the same zip code as the searcher. Indeed, this might allow us some insight into the elusive store spillover effect. By comparing the quality of traffic in similar zip codes with and without a physical store presence, we might conjecture that the difference is a pretty good proxy for the amount of spillover.

Kevin Hillstrom has done pioneering work in the field for catalogers. We hope to find out whether the same notions hold true for retail chains and online pure-plays that don’t mail books.

What’s the point? Measuring the phenomena doesn’t necessarily mean we can act on it. Who wants to set up complete campaigns for each zip code?!? No one, and indeed, slicing that thin would leave you with no data to model.

However, we hope that armed with data, we can convince the engines to give us two additional tools—er, beyond the one’s I already asked for—that would allow us to manage programs at the next level.

  1. Population density settings. Maybe just 4 levels, corresponding to the postal zones. This would allow us to create at most 5 variants that would capture the benefits, and we might not need that many.
  2. Zip Code list tagging. Let us set up a list of zip codes representing anything (our client’s stores, their competitor’s stores, whatever). That tagged group (”my stores”) could be applied to campaigns to either establish different efficiency targets—if I know 20% of the sales happen in my brick and mortar store rather than online I can target a different efficiency threshold for that campaign—or simply suppress ad service to avoid driving traffic to a competitor’s store.

Sophisticated marketing techniques allow retailers to generate more sales for their marketing dollars, and the more sophisticated the tools the more retailers can spend cost effectively. That’s good for the retailer, the engines, and the agencies that handle complex accounts well.


Friday, July 31, 2009

Re-Thinking Link Building Commentary

Posted by Sage Lewis on 30 July 2009

There is little more gratifying in the blogging world than when people take the time to comment on something you've written. That's especially the case when the comments are kind and thoughtful.

I was fortunate enough to have that experience with my last column, "Re-Thinking Link Building." People took a great deal of time to offer their thoughts and opinions on what it means to be a link builder.

I'd like to highlight some of the thoughts that came out of the comments from that article.

On outsourced link building, Christine wrote:

Couldn't agree more -- leaving this important task to people who don't care about your business or your site is not a good idea. I tried it once -- what we got were 200 links of such poor quality I was so embarrassed that we were being linked to from such rubbish. That was the first and last time we tried something like that. And guess what? None of those links exist anymore! So not only is it not worth the links you get, they do not last either (because spammy, poor-quality sites don't stick around for the long haul). I would rather spend my time and effort getting 1 quality link than paying for 200 poor links. Be warned -- it is not worth the risk of being "associated" with poor quality sites.

I liked the point that the links don't exist anymore. The longevity of the work here definitely should play a role.

Gerry wrote about his experience with a link building contract:

I was disgusted with the quality of links being submitted to me, including sites whose link pages weren't even in Google's indexes.

If a page that you get a link on doesn't have any value in the eyes of the search engines, then you're really wasting your money.

Jim's view of outsourced link builders is this:

They are adept at buying up the expired domains of websites with page rank, uploading a free template and filling it full of links. In many cases if you view the cached page you will still see the original webpage of the expired site. In a number of cases they haven't even bothered to replace the 'Lorem ipsum ...' holding text from the template!

Arun Gangwar correctly pointed out that we can't blanket an entire country as universally bad:

Lewis, I totally agree with you, though I am India but I believe in each and every word of you. Companies are using interns for developing links. They are not contributing to our website. Some companies submit at 200 places with in day or two. Curse!

ldpk is a link builder and wrote:

I have tried unsuccessfully in the past to hire someone to help me link build, but the skill set is very unique and when done well actually requires a lot more creativity and skill than given credit for. I have been successful in competing with much larger companies, and much larger budgets by emphasizing quality, relevant links and applying best SEO practices on the sites themselves (good copy, clean sites)... It is MAJORLY time consuming.

He also pointed out that small companies simply can't afford this kind of detail.

Spencer Rose made a similar point saying:

Seems to me like much of the internet is losing its "field leveling" quality and link building is directly responsible for that. Are ldpk and Spencer correct in this? Does quality link building only get done for companies with big budgets?

Eric Ward, one of the leading, if not the leading link building expert, had a thought on this:

99 of every 100 clients I work with are little guys. Little guys are who I prefer to work with... the little sites are what make the web great, and the little sites are the ones that can change lives. Big brands rock, but small brands are how I roll :)

Eric offers a $1,000 linking strategy session, co-citation analysis, link analytics, and recommendations report. This includes competitive citation and linking analytics for your site and up to 20 competitor or industry sites, delivery of two custom link strategy reports created for your site, and two hours by phone with live screen sharing to personally go over findings and suggestions.

That might seem like a plug for Eric. I don't know him other than what I've followed of his online. The point: $1,000 isn't a lot of money for two hours on the phone and a custom report. All of his services actually seem quite reasonable and doable for a business of any size.

I'll give the last word to Eric, who focuses on merit-based link building:

Love it when others express that link building is public relations... I still call it link building because sadly that's still what everyone is looking for. The terminology may still be evolving, but a merit based approach never goes out of style, and is all I do, year after year. I suggest we all do.


45 Creative, Clever And Effective Blog Taglines

Posted by Adam Singer on Jul 27th, 2009

Taglines are perhaps the most underrated and underused elements of personal and business blogs, yet they serve a huge function.

The social web has conditioned us to move through content-based sites quickly, and if we reach a site with an unclear thesis we’re likely to click to the next thing. You also can’t count on visitors to read your “about” page. In a world that increasingly moves at 140 characters or less, having a hook such as a clever tagline can make all the difference.

Taglines are your brand’s elevator pitch and help people get a quick snapshot of who you are. It’s your opportunity to be descriptive, catchy, memorable and create a unique brand for your blog. They also present a great opportunity for keyword inclusion, but not at the sacrifice of stickiness. Ideally you can combine something catchy and SEO friendly.

To help inspire you the next time you launch a blog – or any type of web publication – I pulled together what I think are some of the more creative, clever and effective taglines from around the blogosphere:

1. How To Change The World: A practical blog for impractical people

2. Successful Blog: You’re only a stranger once

3. Conversation Agent: Connecting ideas and people – how talk can change our lives

4. Sugarrae: Never mess with a woman who can pull rank

5. Boing Boing: A directory of wonderful things

6. PR Squared: It may be the future but you still gotta eat

7. The Consumerist: Shoppers bite back

8. Zen Habits: Simple Productivity

9. Yoast: Tweaking Websites

10. PR 2.0: The future of communication starts here

11. CopyBlogger: Copywriting tips for online marketing success

12. /Film: Blogging the reel world

13. Broadcasting Brain: Harvesting cognitive surplus for uncanny content

14. Psyblog: Understand your mind

15. Lifehacker: Tips and downloads for getting things done

16. Think Simple Now: Creativity, Clarity, Happiness

17. Violent Acres: Like you, but with poor impulse control

18. Bacon Today: Daily updates on the world of sweet, sweet bacon

19. Shoemoney: Skills to pay the bills

20. Techno Theory: Technical…Practical…Theoretically Interesting

21. Publishing 2.0: The (r)Evolution of media

22. Geek Sugar: Geek is chic.

23. Smashing Magazine: We smash you with the information that will make your life easier. Really.

24. A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

25. Steve Pavlina: Personal development for smart people

26. Simply Fired: If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.

27. So Good: An absurd look at the world of food

28. Get Rich Slowly: Personal finance that makes cents

29. Personal Branding Blog: Navigating YOU to future success

30. SEO Book: Learn. Rank. Dominate.

31. The Impulsive Buy: Putting the “ew” in product reviews

32. PluginID: Plugin to your identity

33. Kottke: Home of fine hypertext products

34. Freakonomics: The hidden side of everything (also a book, but a great tagline none-the-less)

35. Web Worker Daily: Rebooting the workforce

36. Online Marketer Blog: If Copyblogger and JaffeJuice had a bad-ass baby

37. Auto Blog: We obsessively cover the auto industry

38. Advergirl: …yeah, I have an opinion about that

39. TwiTip: Twitter tips in 140 characters or more

40. Duct Tape Marketing: Simple, effective and affordable small business marketing

41. Apartment Therapy: Saving the world, one room at a time

42. TechCult: Technology, Twisted

43. Illuminated Mind: The less boring side of personal development

44. Don’t Drink The Kool-aid: Join the conversations. Just don’t drink the Kool-aid.

45. Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters

A few quick observations noted while compiling this:

  • It was easy to get quite a few of these as the catchier taglines are sticky enough to recall without even visiting the site
  • Only a few of these taglines are conscious of SEO, but it is an opportunity
  • Many taglines were part of the image instead of as HTML text on the page, so if you’re going to include keywords be sure that they are text-based or at a minimum, include them as alt text to the image
  • Many blogs have no tagline at all, relying purely on their name to tell the story
  • Strong taglines make a great first impression
  • Descriptive taglines work just fine too if they match the content
  • Taglines can work in conjunction with the name of the blog itself – the two support each other
  • Simply reading the taglines of sites you already know can provide a mental image of the site
  • For blogs with non-descriptive names, taglines become even more important

This is of course an incomplete list, so we’ll turn it over you. Share your favorite blog taglines in the comments that you think are creative, clever or effective.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Top 10 Things the Microsoft/Yahoo! Deal Changes for SEO

Posted by randfish on July 29th, 2009

The search landscape is changing significantly this morning, and SEOs of all stripes need to pay close attention. I'm going to do my best to summarize the impact of these changes based on what we already know and interpret what's going to change for the field of search engine optimization and what we, as representatives of our clients and our companies, need to know and do.

Background on the Deal

First off, a few background snippets from several of the sources on this topic - SearchEngineLand's Live Blogging Coverage; TechCrunch; ReadWriteWeb; and the new MS/Yahoo! website Choice, Value, Innovation.

  • The term of the agreement is 10 years
  • Microsoft will acquire an exclusive 10 year license to Yahoo!'s core search technologies, and Microsoft will have the ability to integrate Yahoo! search technologies into its existing web search platforms
  • Yahoo! will continue to syndicate its existing search affiliate partnerships.
  • Microsoft's Bing will be the exclusive algorithmic search and paid search platform for Yahoo! sites. Yahoo! will continue to use its technology and data in other areas of its business such as enhancing display advertising technology.
  • Each company will maintain its own separate display advertising business and sales force.
  • Yahoo! will become the exclusive worldwide relationship sales force for both companies' premium search advertisers. Self-serve advertising for both companies will be fulfilled by Microsoft's AdCenter platform, and prices for all search ads will continue to be set by AdCenter's automated auction process.

In case that wasn't quite clear, the big takeaway is that Bing will now power search on Yahoo! and Yahoo!'s salesforce will sell the premium (non-self service) search advertising for Yahoo!/Bing. Bing also gets access to Yahoo!'s core search technology and can, at its option, leverage that to help create more relevant results.

  • Google has 78% of market share of paid search (direct quote on SELand from Microsoft)
  • Bartz: Yes there are many Yahoo search employees who will be asked to take jobs at Microsoft. There will also be search employees who we look to help us on the display side. And then unfortunately there will be some redundancy in Yahoo. (Just a quick note; if you work in Yahoo! search, please email me - - we're hiring on the engineering team!)
  • Bartz: Notes that when it comes to paid search, Panama is the provider in most international marketplaces for Microsoft already.
  • Danny Sullivan: What happens to other things search like at Yahoo? What powered Yahoo News? What happens to the Yahoo Directory? Is Delicious search? And what happens to Yahoo paid inclusion?
    Bartz: We have full flexibility on what to do within our own sites. Paid inclusion, we’ll decide on that later.

  • AdAge reports that ComScore shows Bing will now have a 28% market share when combined with Yahoo! search, though.
  • ReadWriteWeb worried about this large list of services from Yahoo! that are under "search services." Yahoo! PR called them to say that "this is a consumer facing list of search-related services, like News Search and Map Search, but most of those are not or are no longer formally part of the Search Department." So, probably at least some of them are safe.