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SES New York: SEO Through Blogs and Feeds

cross-posted with InsideGoogle

SES blog SEO panelSES blog SEO panel Hosted on Zooomr

Stephan Spencer, Founder and President, Netconcepts
Rick Klau, Vice President of Publisher Services, Feedburner
Sally Falkow, President, Expansion Plus
Greg Jarboe, President and Co-Founder, SEO-PR

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First up is Stephan, who talks about RSS. Says you want to go full-text, embed tracking bugs so you know how many readers you have. Notes that most blogs have a ton of feeds, ones for posts, comments, categories, comments on posts, all sorts of things, and you should definitely make sure users know you have that. Says you should make sure to customize things in the feed, especially the description of the blog (otherwise it might be “Just another WordPress blog”).

Make sure your blog is optimized. Use tags so that your blog software will have a page for that tag and rank in search engines for that tag. You should try to have a cool title, but an SEO-perfect title tag. There’s an “SEO Title Tag” plugin for WordPress that lets you customize those, which is great (must install!), you can assign any unique URL a unique title tag.

Already, most useful SES session I’ve ever attended.

You can create tag conjunction pages, combining multiple tags for great SEO. Says you should do what ProBlogger does, putting featured posts in blocks at the top of the page. Don’t use “permalink” to link to your post, use the title (unless you want to rank well for permalink, dope). Try sticky posts, which always appear at the top of your category page to introduce it (WordPress plugin: Adhesive).

Says this is effective, his 15-year old daughter got up to the first page on Neopets related terms in just a few weeks, just by listening to her dad’s tips.

SES blog SEO panel - feedburnerSES blog SEO panel – feedburner Hosted on Zooomr

Next up is Rick from FeedBurner. He talks about redirects, which are important because search engines are now consuming feeds, too. Auto-discovery must be well-implemented on your site so readers can find it. Says that Feedburner lets publishers style their feeds in spite of the browser trying to do so. Mentions Yahoo Pipes, which lets you mix feeds.

Talks about Feedburner using clickthrough URLs to track feed actions. Also, Feedburner lets you choose the kinds of redirects you use for your feeds, a 302 or 301. They recommend you don’t use a 301 permanent redirect, in case you don’t like them (honest guy), and that Feedburner will actually 301 the feed back to you if you ask.

Talks about how feeds are coming from more than just blogs; they’re coming from stores/retailers, search engines, many broad ways. Says full-text vs. excerpt should not be an issue of publishers vs. readers, but just a question of usefulness. If you have an excerpt feed, TechMeme can’t see what posts are linking to others, and you might not get on TechMeme. Says we will only see more sites like TechMeme in the future, and keeping them out will hurt you.

If you don’t want to see your feed in search engine, the noindex tag will be honored by Google and Yahoo, and Feedburner includes an option for that. Rick says you need to effectively advertise your feed, which is easy, and so many people do it wrong. Not including an autodiscovery tag is stupid. Point to all relevant feeds. Pinging is important, because waiting for spiders to get to your site can take a long time.

Adding rich media to the feed is important, especially if you are producing podcast/video blogs. And for gods sake, give the show a title and notes, not just an episode number, or else no one is going to find your podcast in a search engine.

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Next up comes Sally from ExpansionPlus. She talks about how producing content about a topic/brand, making sure it has a feed, and submitting it to feed search engines, it will be found by interested people and get you traffic and awareness. Ultimately, you will get to good positions for your top terms, and lots of terms you deal with and didn’t even realize you were targeting.

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Last up is Greg Jarboe of SEO-PR, and he asks how many bloggers started a blog and started seeing it in the search engines relatively quickly. They did SEO for StubHub, a ticket marketplace, creating 15 blogs around the categories they deal tickets in. Few people want to read a blog talking about your company; they want a blog about news, and you need to use your companies position to create blogs you have an expertise in.

Focusing on the content builds a relationship with readers, turning you into a publisher that happens to drive customers, but you don’t shove it down their throats. You give the consumer useful, actionable information they can’t get anywhere else. In StubHub’s case, they have info from their marketplace that is of interest to all fans, even those not buying.

They targeted terms fans would use, as opposed to terms a ticket buyer would be interested in. They would up with posts about hot tickets. You don’t want unimportant blogs linking to you; you want real people caring about your real information, and that gets you real links.

SEO-PR is beta testing a tool called Buzz Logic, showing you who the top bloggers are, but also who they are using for sources, and who uses them for sources. This identifies the real opinion makers, and they added them to their blogrolls. Mentions the recent patent applications for Google Blog Search, which includes analyzing blogrolls.

Says that the way blogs work is that you need rankings before you get visitors. Interesting theory, could be absolutely right.

April 11th, 2007 Posted by | General | no comments

SES New York: Meet The Search Ad Networks

cross-posted from InsideGoogle

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Just got out of the search ad session, and here’s my liveblog (on tape delay, I guess; no wifi). The panel listed at the beginning is the expected panel, but things didn’t quite turn out that way (and I’m not sure if I heard everyone’s name right).

Doug Stotland, Director, Microsoft AdCenter
Gretchen Howard, Online Sales and Operations Manager, Google
Dan Boberg, Senior Director, Sales Technology and Programs, Yahoo! Search Marketing
Amit Kumar, Engineering Manager, Yahoo! Search
Rebecca Lieb, Moderator

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Dan from Yahoo gets up to talk Panama. Says Panama is the worst code name ever, especially since everybody knows it and uses it. Says advertisers really like Panama so far, especially the features. They like geotargeting, and a feature that lets you pull sliders and see how that change will effect your campaign and your results.

Talks about some new research. The research talks about advocates, people who are very loyal, use search a lot, do a lot of research, and tend to be extremely loyal once they choose something. Statistically, advocates are more open to influence than non-advocates, you just have to put a lot of work into it, but the results are worth it.

They are committed to traffic quality, including appointing Reggie Davis to VP of Marketplace Quality. They are now revealing that 12-15% of clicks (on average across all clicks) are not billed for, in the interest of quality. Not all are click fraud, but are removed because they are not quality in one way or another, and thus should not be billed.

They are announcing today a multi-year deal to exclusively provide contextual ads to Viacom sites, including BET, VH1, MTV, and Comedy Central.

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Doug from Microsoft is introduced as not having Ms. Dewey’s neckline (apparently she made quite the impression at the keynote. Doug is talking AdCenter. Announced that yesterday AdCenter finished first in a Rock N’ Sock ‘Em robots deathmatch, beating Google and Yahoo, which proves Microsoft can win in the search game (see trophy in photo).

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AdCenter has had a lot of work, releasing in new countries, upgrades and features. Advertisers say their clicks are of very high quality, but there aren’t enough of them, and the interface needs to be easier. Clicks from AdCenter tend to convert higher (see slide in photo). They do better in most categories, but not financial services.

They are working on doing content ads on content sites in order to provide more ad inventory for their advertisers. For now, the pilot is only on Microsoft sites, they are not ready for publishers yet, but it is planned. They are working to make AdCenter easier to use, so there’s a beta site at (it even supports Firefox). They know there are issues, but they are knocking out problems one at a time, based on user feedback. You can now import campaigns easily from other companies, faster and more automated.

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Jim Spear from Ask gets up (not listed in program guide). He says it is unfortunate that Ask wasn’t asked to participate in the robot deathmatch. ASL (IAC’s ad division) is the 3rd largest search network, reaching 35% of all searchers (Google reaches 58%), and Ask is only 20% of the network. They continue to diversify and pick up new small search engines.

SES search ad panel representation of IAC networkSES search ad panel representation of IAC network Hosted on Zooomr

They do some cool things by tracking advertiser conversions, and standardize the cost per click so that the cost per action is even across different advertisers. It’s a really interesting idea, and I’d love to hear more about it. They also develop pacing rules for all advertisers, so they get a broad selection of ads, and advertisers don’t max out their campaigns too early in the day/month, and they are working on ways for advertisers to customize their pacing rules.

They are announcing today more control over their campaigns, including a new way to completely block certain referrers for a campaign. Advertisers can see certain referrers that don’t work for them, and just block it. Customers testing it say their click rate dropped 4%, and their sales per click rose 50%, an obviously successful feature. Good for them.

SES search ad panel googleSES search ad panel google Hosted on Zooomr

Next up is Brian Schmidt from Google (again, not in the guide, guess they are changing on everybody). Says Google has two parts, connecting customers to their information and “more important” (his words) connecting marketers with those customers. They are working on increasing control and providing more inventory.

They have Google Analytics to help see what is going on, and now also the new website optimizer tab to do testing at see what changes to their web pages that will improve conversions. Says the Google ad network is the largest ad network in the world. Talks about their new ad options: Pay Per Action ads, and Cost Per Click for site targeting. Also mentions offline efforts like Google Audio Ads, print and television ads should bring increased efficiency, relevancy and accountability to offline advertising.

With Audio Ads, you can actually go in the interface and hear your ad as it played on the radio, to make sure it actually happened.

SES search ad panel google notions of innovationSES search ad panel google notions of innovation Hosted on Zooomr

Google has nine notions of innovation (see photo).

SES search ad panel aolSES search ad panel aol Hosted on Zooomr

Next up is John Kannapell from AOL Search (again, the guide fails me). He says if you have any questions, just ask Valleywag after the presentation. Says they have the second-fastest growing ad network. Says advertisers are looking to take advantage of brand advertising from other channels.

Says that the Google logo on their search engine is a big plus, letting users see the trusted brand.

Says AOL users convert better, and are higher quality users, than from any of their major competitors. A study of conversion rates put AOL at 6.17%, MSN at 6.03%, and Yahoo at 4.07%. They are announcing the AOL Search Marketplace, a brand within the Google paid search network, letting advertisers advertise at the AOL segment of the Google network, targeting their ads to a more specific and higher quality segment than they might get with Google.

They are also talking about a behavioral targeting technique that sounds interesting, and I will make sure to check out.

SES search ad panel 2SES search ad panel 2 Hosted on Zooomr

Asked by moderator why advertisers should choose them. Answers:

AdCenter: Highest quality clicks, and things you can learn on AdCenter to understand your audience, things you learn and can apply to campaigns on other platforms.

Yahoo: Says it isn’t a competition between the people on the panel, but online and traditional media, that online is proving a superior product.

AOL: Consistent message, highest quality clicks of all

Ask: It is not a zero-sum game, people are buying clicks from everyone, and they all provide something useful, but IAC does provide better support and guidance.

Google: Reach (large audience), innovation and options, and support and usability (they put users first).

Fun fact: You see a lot of computers around me rebooting, a lot of Windows XP startup screens. Why does everyone have to reboot right not?

Question: It is crippling to do ad campaigns in AdCenter, because you have to deal with a dedicated account rep. Is Microsoft doing anything to fix that? Answer is that they are working on improving the UI, nothing specific.

April 11th, 2007 Posted by | General | one comment

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Charles Simonyi… In Space!

Charles Simonyi, former Microsoft developer who oversaw the development of Microsoft Word and Excel among his 21 years at the software company, is currently orbiting the Earth in the International Space Station, having hitched a ride thanks to some Russian cosmonauts. Simonyi launched April 6, (after paying about $20 million) and should return late next week, hanging around (well, floating) while crew members perform radiation experiments.

Hopefully Simonyi will find some fun Microsoft-related things to do up there. Perhaps he could throw some floppy disks of software he worked on into the void of space, or just be the first person to boot up Vista outside the atmosphere. I’m just comically imagining him trying to find a wifi network on the space station.

I gotta thank Charles. I’m linked on his Wikipedia page (I reported that he is dating Martha Stewart) and have been getting a lot of traffic from that link.

April 11th, 2007 Posted by | Corporate | no comments

Windows Live Hotmail Plus Gets 4 Gigs, MSN Premium Still Out In Cold

LiveSide is reporting that Microsoft is indeed offering a premium level of service for Windows Live Hotmail users (Windows Live Mail accounts should have all by now switched to the new branding), and that Windows Live Hotmail Plus accounts get 4 gigabytes of email storage space. MSN Hotmail users don’t get the bigger storage, so they will need to upgrade to Windows Live to double their inbox space.

Annoyingly, they still won’t let MSN Premium users, who have Hotmail Plus accounts as part of their service, upgrade to Windows Live Hotmail and get the bigger inboxes and much improved interface. My wife has been enjoying Windows Live Hotmail for almost a year now, completely free, and I can’t get it because I’ve actually contributed revenue to MSN. Ridiculous!

April 11th, 2007 Posted by | Hotmail, Live, MSN, Windows | 76 comments

Windows Vista Coffee (WOWfee!), For When You Need A Jolt Of Aero

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Yeah, this is probably the stupidest Vista tie-in: Windows Vista WOWfee.

Check it out full-size, with info on where to buy and for how much, at the Inquirer.
(via Digg)

April 11th, 2007 Posted by | General, Humor, Vista, Windows | no comments