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The Best Kept Secrets to Search

  • By calcoastwebdesign
  • 1 Tags
  • 19 Sep 2008

In this session we learned about some of the secrets of paid and organic search.

First we heard from Katee Crawford from the California Chamber of Commerce and Jamie Smith from Engine Ready.

Katee got things started by giving us a little insight into what goes on at the California Chamber of Commerce. She explained how the California Chamber of Commerce is not about tourism which a lot of people tend to think.

She explained how they are large business advocates and provide affordable and easy to use services. Some of those services included

  • Labor law compliance info
  • Catalogs
  • Direct mails and email campaigns

After a brief introduction, Katee gave us some tips on how to improve your ROI (return on investment).

She spoke about the importance of educating the company who is handling your Search Engine Marketing on all of your materials and products. This helps increase efforts from both ends, which in turn will help deliver better results.

How about implementing promotional offers into your marketing campaign? Katee said that they gave away Starbucks gift cards as a promotion they ran.

Jamie spoke a little on some very useful and easy-to-do tips for PPC. Here are some of the tips Jamie had for us.

  • Don’t change your bid more than once every couple of days – when you run the reports, it skews your conclusions when you change your bids, and it defeats the purpose of testing
  • Test special characters in your ad, like TM
  • Exact match all combinations of exact matched terms
  • Test no spaces between words in a multiple word phrase
  • Test placing phone numbers in ads – local numbers vs. 800 numbers improve the call-in rate
  • Test placing .com at the end of some keywords.

Eric Enge from Stone Temple Consulting was next!

Eric mentioned that syndicating content is an excellent way to get links since there are so many websites that don’t have quality content. This is a great solution for those websites, and it helps you get links at the same time. It’s a win-win situation for the most part.

The bad part is that when you do syndicate content, the engines will pick up duplicate content and that means they will almost always recognize the original authors, with a few exceptions.

There is a simple solution though. Try taking the article to a writer and see what other variations you and the writer can come up with. You might surprise yourself with some positive results!

Local search and one of the challenges it faces, which was obtaining accurate data, was brought up.

This is another problem that has an easy fix, or at least an easy way to improve and work around it.

The top 3 search engines all use the same basic methods. They use many sources, such as Yellow Page sites, syndicators such as LocalEze and local news sites.

Be sure to give them accurate data and do it directly. All 3 major search engines give you a way to give them authenticated data directly.

Google Local allows you to enter locations individually or by feed. The feed comes in handy when you are dealing with a large numbers of locations. The individual submissions are verified by Google.

Keyhole Markup Language or KML was another topic of discussion. KML is an XML-based language for expressing geographic annotation and visualization on an existing or future Web-based browser that is using 2-dimensional maps and 3-dimensional Earth browsers.

Being listed in many places is a good thing and it will help increases the accuracy of the data related to your business. It’s very important to spend time making sure this data is accurate and correct.

Also, utilize Google Webmaster Tools to get free links.

– If you don’t have an account, get one!

– Add to your .htaccess file a 301 redirect from the incorrect to the right one.

– Look for malformed URLs.

– Look for the Not Found Report in the Web Crawl Errors section.

Another great tip is finding lost links! Sometimes sites list URLs but won’t like them. Media especially is very bad at this. Try discovering these situations and ask people to help you fix them.

MSN Search Funnels is another item to utilize. It shows what a users intent was when conducting a search and what they searched next. You can even go see what they had searched first.

Finally we had Richard Zwicky from Enquisite.

Richard gave us a statistic that was pretty interesting and very vital to know, which was that only 1.8% of traffic comes from page 2 of search results. Everything else comes from page 1. So spend some time on the pages that are on page 2 and you will increase your traffic.

Find out exactly what the customers are trying to get from your site. Don’t just focus on getting the traffic, but what do to do with that traffic.

The importance of links came up again. Links are probably the most relevant, non-page factor you can implement into your SEO. You need to know about what’s coming to your site and what’s coming to your competitions sites. Also, find sites that are citing you but not linking to you.

Richard really encouraged learning as much as possible and once you learn that, learn some more. There’s no magic. You’re competitors are probably lazier than you are. Take an active interest in continuing education.

The next topic was really interesting and very clever to say the least. Also something that should be done at your own risk…

Black Hat SEO… A technique used to harm search engine user experience and basically hurt the relevance of a site… Why would you want to use this technique.

Let’s say someone is talking bad about you or your business. They do it anonymously to hide their identity.

  • Do this at your own risk!!!

    Go buy a domain. Don’t touch your own. Do NOT use your own name!
  • Get a UPS mailbox or MailBoxes Etc, mailbox close to your opponent’s address.
  • Go buy another domain. Don’t use your own name! Put your opponent’s address on your site.
  • Go buy another domain name with your opponents address. Go to the post office and pay for a mail redirect to your mailbox!!
  • Lather, rinse, repeat.
  • Do it again, host your sites all over the place. Never use your name.
  • Make sure none of your sites link to each other.
  • Start optimizing these sites and get good links. Link out to the same sites as your opponent.
  • Get yourself in the same neighborhood as far as the search engines are concerned.
  • Link to your opponent, ask them for a link. Get indexed and do some SEO work.
  • Start showing up in the SERPs.
  • Add more content, anyway you can!!!
  • Have a bunch of orphaned pages in your sitemap.
  • Submit the site map.
  • Now go out and start messing with all of these sites. Do everything bad you can think of. Go copy your opponent’s content! Do it as fast as possible as soon as the content is posted and submit it as fast as possible!
  • Start messing up. Start copying their sitemap into your own. Remember, you look like them according to your registration info. You kind of look them as a website. It’s confusing to the engines.
  • Keep doing more Black Hat and work really hard to get your site banned.

    Just after you have pulled every stunt you can, and you know these sites are going to get banned, redirect to your opponent!

Now your opponent will get thrown out and everything you have done looks like them so they will have to take the heat for it.

It’s a bit petty and seems like it would exhaust some effort in my opinion, but very smart and an extremely clever method of dealing with someone who didn’t want to play nice in the first place.