Mandi

Ok, not really… maybe. I have seen people joke about starting an uproar in the SEO community as  method for getting good ranking by baiting SEO’s into reacting to you and writing posts about how terrible you are for saying what you said. Not that making people angry is necessarily a good business practice, but anger can equal links, which is good in the eyes of the all mighty Google now isn’t it?

Case in point, New York Times recently wrote an article about the owner of DecorMyEyes that discovered that bad business was good business (to the point that he stalks and threatens his customers to get a reaction out of them). He discovered that the more complaints he got, the higher his search engine ranking, the higher his search engine ranking the more sales he made. He openly states that he doesn’t want the customers that may research reviews and see that he doesn’t have the best reputation online, only those that search the brand name and buy the sunglasses.

So, essentially, Google is rewarding bad business over good business. Although there isn’t a statement out about whether or not Google takes sentiment into account, online chatter improves rankings because it gets you more links. It is viewed by the search engines that the more people are “talking about” or linking to your company, the more valuable your company is to searchers  and the higher it shows up in the organic search engine results.

Anyone who has ever worked in customer service has heard the old adage that someone who has had a bad customer experience will tell 10 people and a satisfied customer will tell 1 person.  So it seems that making people angry is going to earn you a lot more links than making people happy (maybe 10 to 1, let me know if you dare test it out 😉 ).

So why strategically piss off SEO’s? The optimize their own sites and make sure that they get crawled (your angry SEO links will quickly be indexed) and they also make sure that their websites have good authority in Google (so the links will carry a little more juice). I believe that the biggest reaction I have every seen within the community was a situation involving certifying SEO’s, and the community felt like the person setting it up didn’t have enough authority to do this… I wish I could remember the site now to look at the back links!

So… SEO is dead or whatever it is that baits the link extravaganza this week…

Update: 12/1/10 – Google updated their index to resolve this issue, bad business is no longer good business (or so they say). Which means this post could now be called “Why You Should Make Every SEO Super Happy.”

Now the question is whether or not sentiment should impact your search rankings and whether or not it can be tracked appropriately to do so.

If you are one of the good guys, I have some great notes from Pubcon about managing your brand reputation online..

Everyone is on Facebook, most likely your mom and your grandmother are too (mine are). People seem to forget basic interpersonal skills in their management of their Facebook feed, and rather than hurting their feelings by deleting them, here are the top five people you like to hide:

1. The Politician –  Facebook isn’t your political soap box. Your mom taught you that religion and politics need to stay out of the boardroom, why are you insisting on 10 posts a day with your personal political agenda. Whether it is right wing, left wing or they are pretty sure that the government is out to get us save that soapbox for the people that you know are interested in discussing your political values.Political discussions have a time and a place, but take a break from the constant barrage of political discourse.

2. The Pessimist – Everyday the world is out to get them and you get a play by play of every bad thing that has happened to them and that is probably going to happen to them. Everyone has a bad day, but you are going to influence how people view you personally if everything in the world is sour apples.

3. The Drunk – Hey, life can be a party, but does it have to be every day? They aren’t afraid to post constant photos of them intoxicated at one party and then the next. It may be your cousin or coworker, but this person tarnishes their image by filling their feed with nothing but photos of them with a drink in their hand.

4. The Gamer – Farmville, YoVille, Mafia Wars, you name it this person seems to have time to play them all and they aren’t afraid to fill up your feed with those annoying game announcements. These days the games let you control what you show in your feed, share what everyone wants to see, stuff about you. Skip the game info, keep the fun family photos.

5. The Band – Everyone got used to band announcements on MySpace, but Facebook is a little less music centric. An invitation to your show here and there is fine, but if the only thing that you do on your personal profile is talk about your band, you may earn yourself a hide..

Presentation by Krista Neher CEO of Bootcamp Digital at Pubcon 2010.

Like it or not you, have a brand. How is what you are doing different from other people? It is not what you  think your company is about, it is about how you are seen in the eyes of the consumer. Successful branding is that when you walk away your consumer can say I know company X and they do Y.  A singular message that people can recall is important. Keep it clear and concise.

Myth: Brand Building Doesn’t Matter Online

The online space is more cluttered than the offline space. 109 million domains registered and 2.5 million trademarks registered.

Search is the initial online engagement for your brand, typically before your website. You have control of some of the content on the web, but some you don’t.

Social results are showing up in searches and may or may not be accurate, and Twitter is included now also.

Consumers Control Your Brand, Not You. Sorry.

Three steps to online brand reputation management

Step 1: Manage and determine what you want to communicate

Step 2: Monitor your brand.

Tools to monitor your brand

Start with search

  • For your brand
  • Terms associates with your brand
  • You competitors
  • Hot news topics
  • How do you rank
  • Where does your name show up

What terms do you want to rank for and which ones do you not want to work for? Giving the example of what you don’t want to show up for, Fisher Price showing up for “toy recall.”

Tools for monitoring:

  • Keotag
  • Trackur
  • Radian 6

Step 3: Respond: to mentions or positive comments

  • Say thanks
  • To negative comments – don’t oppress or try to censor people – convey a clear, gentle and friendly image.
  • Respond directly about the issues so that whomever complained so that they know they have been heard. Address the root issue.

Six tips for dealing with negativity about your brand online:

  1. Humanize your brand – it is easier to hate a company than a person
  2. Listen and try to understand and respond directly to the issues
  3. Thank them for caring
  4. Be transparent and explain
  5. Build a community of passionate brand defenders, they will defend your brand for you
  6. Know when to walk away

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The Google Caffeine session at Pubcon Vegas 2010 did a great session Google Caffeine. Looking at what it is, what it means to your business and what you can do about it.

What is Google Caffeine?

Google caffeine was major update to Google’s indexing system that officially launched in June 2010. Google increased the speed at which Google indexed content and the amount of content that it indexed. According to Bruce Clay this means that that there are different crawler requirements:

  • Fresh content is crawled more often
  • Stale content crawled less often
  • More crawling leads to deeper content (we only see about 2% of the total web now)
  • More capacity allows for more domains which particularly opens up  room for local sites

This means that the Google index is faster and enabled Google instant which saves seconds of time wasted  by searcher and it means that the latest news and trends are more likely to appear in the search results.

What Does This Mean to Website Owners and Advertisers

In Bruce Clay’s presentation he discussed that “likes” will most likely become the new links, and that we need to pat attention to how social media may impact your website ranking in time. There have been discussions that a tweet with a link in it with retweets is likely to get indexed immediately. Google is indexing and grabbing content at a greater rate than ever before.

Bruce Clay noted that it also means

  • Frequency and rate of change matters
  • Depth of theme content matters
  • Index allows for rapid relationships to be used
  • Branding/authority more important
  • Behaviors results in long tail searches
  • Intent dynamically changes algorithm

What Should You do About It?

Pay attention to site speed. Check your site speed on tools such as http://webpagetest.org and start looking for opportunities to improve your site speed. The most likely culprits for slowing your website down according to Daniel Shulman are:

  • Technical constraints (bandwidth, CPU, Db)
  • Problems with design and page coding
  • Third party apps such as ads or JavaScript widgets like Share This

The benefits of speeding up  your website go beyond SEO. The main benefits of improving your website speed according to Daniel Shulman include:

  • Decreased bandwidth / hardware requirements
  • Decreased Adwords cost per clicks (I would love to see the data on this one)
  • Increased conversion rates
  • Increases search rankings

Increasing site speed improves the user experience on your website, which does increase conversion rates. Some data that was represented during the session related to improved website speed and conversion rates was:

  • A/B test Firefox increased downloads by 15.4% by speeding up page by 2.2 seconds
  • Google test with 30 instead of 10 search results increased page load by half a second and decreased first searches by 25%

What to do about site speed issues for Google Caffeine (from Stoyan Stefanov <- great site speed for SEO advice on his blog by the way)

1. Reduce the number of requests (or number of components on the page) How:

  • Combine JavaScript into one file (preferably at the bottom of the pages)
  • Combine CSS files

2. Reduce component sizes. How:

  • Compression – flip gzip on for 70% savings on JS, CSS, HTML, XML, JSON…
  • Minimification (+gzip = 80-85% off size)
  • Lossless image optimization

A list of items to check off from Brian Ussery of Search Discovery were:

  • Focus on performance (webmaster tools)
  • XML site map including news, images and video (Google webmaster tools)
  • RSS feed/s (Feedburner)
  • Product data feed/s (product search /merchant center)
  • Google places aka Google Local Business center
  • Use PUSH (pubsubhubbub)
  • RDFa, microdata, microformat

May Day was a release by Google in May to improve Google’s capability to manage duplicate content. With Google Caffeine focusing on grabbing more content and May Day policing quality content you should be focusing on offering unique quality content, use editorial discretion and offer authoritative content.

You should avoid:

  • Duplicating manufacturer’s descriptions
  • Faceted navigation resulting in duplicate/canonical product pages
  • Content farminess
  • Mad libs style content
  • Automatically generated content
  • Scraped content

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I feel a little behind when it comes to the Google Broad Match Modifier Google Adwords match type that has recently rolled out for paid search (but not so recent that I had caught that it was out, or I have literally seen absolutely no buzz about the product). My Google team explained this newer option to me recently, I think it is a win because it resolves some concerns I have had lately about keeping up with negative keywords and that Google broad match continues to seem to get broader (but don’t get me started on MSN broad match…). In researching on what is going on I discovered the announcement on the Google Adwords blog (which I am now signed up to regularly receive updates!).

Google’s explanation of the newer broad match modifier is:

The broad match modifier is a new AdWords targeting feature that lets you create keywords which have greater reach than phrase match and more control than broad match. Adding modified broad match keywords to your campaign can help you get more clicks and conversions at an attractive ROI, especially if you mainly use exact and phrase match keywords today.

To implement the modifier, just put a plus symbol (+) directly in front of one or more words in a broad match keyword. Each word preceded by a + has to appear in your potential customer’s search exactly or as a close variant. Close variants include misspellings, singular/plural forms, abbreviations and acronyms, and stemmings (like “floor” and “flooring”). Synonyms (like “quick” and “fast”) and related searches (like “flowers” and “tulips”) aren’t considered close variants.

Broad Match Modifier
Bringing back my recent post about Google paid search match types, with a metaphor of milk chocolate, the new broad match modifier would look like: +milk +chocolate (Be sure there are no spaces between the + and modified words, but do leave spaces between words. Correct usage: +milk +chocolate. Incorrect usage: +milk+chocolate.)

You would show up for keywords like:

  • Milky chocolate
  • Milk chocolates
  • Box of milk chocolates
  • Milk chocolate tshirt
  • Milk chcolate (misspellings)

I really don’t see much buzz or discussion about this newer PPC product out there? I think it is awesome and I am already rolling out multiple ROI tests. Does anyone out there use this? Thoughts?

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