Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ask the Search Engines at SMX West 09

Kandi Humpf and Matt Cutts at Ask the Search EnginesThird class of the day!
Moderator: Danny Sullivan, Editor-In-Chief, Search Engine Land
Speakers: Arnab Bhattacharjee, Senior Director of Yahoo! Search Technology & Engineering, Yahoo!; Dude, Microsoft; Keith Hogan, Vice President of Search Technology,; Matt Cutts, Software Engineer Guru, Google.

My notes:
  • I purposely rearranged my schedule so I could attend this session because Matt twitted that he would be making a special announcement. Needlessly to say, it was worth it!
  • <link rel="canonical" value="" />
  • What does this mean? It means that Google, Yahoo and Live Search have all agreed to follow this hint if you include it in your code. It acts as a 301 redirect. It should be used sparingly and with great thought.
  • It can be used for subdomains and for https to http redirects.
  • Yahoo can remove tracking urls (ppc urls) from their index to stop inflating index numbers and allow for faster crawlings.
  • Penalties can be passed from one domain to another.
  • With high enough PageRank, the Googlebot will fill out forms and perform JavaScript to dig deeper into your website.
  • Big threat in 2009 - Hacking websites!!!
  • Matt Cutts said that the Google team watches FriendFeed so it's time to check it out.
  • Check out the Search Engine Land article with useful links
Three main notes:
  1. Canonical link element
  2. Yahoo and Live Search now support nofollow
  3. - The marketing team at Google Japan decided to buy links and they were caught and penalized for it


DJ at SMX West 09

This is Damien James (DJ) Neff with Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land.

I'm missing home and my husband and sister and nephew so I'm pretending like he's here with me!


Matt Cutts is a great guy!

Matt Cutts and Kandi Humpf (Me)! He's a great guy!

Matt Cutts and Julie Kurpiewski!


Ask the SEOs at SMX West 09

Second class of the day! Coffee, coffee, coffee (decaf, decaf, decaf - thanks Julie!!)
Moderator: Danny Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Land
Speakers: Greg Boser, President and CEO, 3 Dog Media; Bruce Clay, President, Bruce Clay, Inc.; Todd Friesen, President, Oilman SEO; Rae Hoffman (sugarrae), Owner, Sugarrae Internet Consulting; Jill Whalen, CEO and Founder, High Rankings.

My notes:
  • When doing a new website, upload the old xml sitemap once the 301s are in place to enable the search engines to find the old pages (with new 301s) quickly.
  • Dashes - not underscores when building page names!!!
  • Don't use the company name in the title tag.
  • WordPress requires a lot of customization to become seo-friendly. Brew a large pot of coffee per Greg Boser.
    • First step, permalink plugin, then seo plugin, then redirect plugin (SuperCache) per Todd Friesen.
  • Don't go crazy with nofollow links. What BC said way back when is true - link juice is like love, you have to give some to get some!
  • Links, links, links - anchor text, anchor text, anchor text. Authority links first.
  • It is normal for a new website to rank high in the beginning and then drop - this is not a penalty, it's a "testing" ground.
  • Here's what I'm going to tell you, now I'm telling you, now I'm reviewing what I told you - go Brian Bluff!
  • Question: What is the ideal keyword density? Answer: Yes - go Bruce Clay!
My questions:
  • Here's my question -Which option is the best scenario?
    1. Get the website up and live and then implement seo - or
    2. Wait on launch until all seo is in place
    Case in point, we were waiting for some changes to be made to a cms in order to implement the seo so we had the client delay their website launch by six weeks and I'm wondering if that was the right decision.
  • True or false - no commas in the keyword tag allows the search engines to put together their own phrases whenever possible.
  • We've all heard that the PageRank reported in the Google Toolbar is not always an accurate representation. Because we know that PageRank needs to be at least considered, what is the best way to get this data?
Three main points:
  1. Dashes - not underscores when building page names!!!
  2. Don't use the company name in the title tag - except for the About Us page. Include it in the meta description.
  3. Don't go crazy with nofollow links.


Up Close with Google AdWords Quality Score at SMX West 09

First class of the day. Really tired today. Really, really tired today.
Moderator: Matt Van Wagner, President of Find Me Faster - Awesome moderator!
Speakers: Nick Fox, Business Product Management Director at AdWords at Google, Craig Danuloff, President of ClickEquations Inc., and Addie Conner, Director of Search Marketing at Course Advisor Inc.

My notes:
  • First and foremost - relevant
  • Then reputable
  • Then trustworthy and fast
  • Formula - CTR (50%), Other Relevant Factors (25%), Landing Page Quality (25%)
  • Quality score and max cpc bid determines eligibility, ad rank, top slot, and price
  • Keep keywords to 2-4 words
  • Invite the user to do something
  • Don't make users work once they get to the landing page
  • Match types do not effect quality score
  • Ad position does impact quality score
  • Quality score does not suffer when your ads are not showing
  • Ad conversion rates do impact quality score
  • Work on quality score before raising your bid
  • Quality score is computed in real-time during a search
  • Quality score quick fixes
    • Re-organize campaigns and ad groups
    • Kill the losers
    • Isolate the questionable
    • Execute text-ad tests to drive higher CTRs
  • Quality score seven and below is in a penalty phase; higher than seven is the goal
  • CPM and CPC each use a different algorithm for determining quality score
Three main points:
  1. Don't make users work once they get to the landing page
  3. Work on quality score before raising your bid


Webmaster Radio Party at SMX West 09

Video includes: Julie Kurpiewski - All-Spec Industries, Gareth Davies - Marketing Pilgrim, Mark Knowles - Pixelsilk, Brad Harbert - Pixelsilk, Dante Monteverde - Spiderbait, Andromeda Edison - Internet Image Management, Charli Jessup - Internet Image Management, Arun Mehta - MindSOL, Emily PeGan - OneTime, Joe Lyons - OneTime, Ron Cousins - NowX, Peter Fiasco -, William Donovan - Alorad, Joshua Herbison - Joshua Herbison Web Services, Brent Jordan - RevenueWire, Robert Schneider - Acquisio, Bill Leake - Apogee Search, Aaron Kahlow - BusinessOL, Kandi Humpf - Site-Seeker, Inc.

You can subscribe to my YouTube channel or just check out the video!


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

301 Redirect, How Do I Love You? Let Me Count The Ways at SMX West 09

Why is a 301 redirect (renamed to 301 reach-around courtesy of John Marini) so important? Wow, Stephan Spencer, Founder & President of Netconcepts, absolutely rocks! He's great! I can't add enough exclamation points! Here is a link to his PPT presentation - you must be a part of my network on If you're not, let me know and I'll think about adding you.

  • Don’t respond to garbage (nonsense) URLs with anything but a 404 status code. Googlebot looks for this!
  • Use 301 redirects to mask urls for submitting to social sites, like Bait and switch can be a grey area. Only use it for social sites.
Three main points:
  1. 20% loss in traffic and income when doing a site overhaul that includes 301 redirects is great!
  2. Always use the trailing slash "/", example
  3. Always drop the default.html, index.html, home.html


Tapping Into Image Search at SMX West 09 Blog

The moderator is Matt McGee, Assignment Editor at Search Engine Land.

My notes:
  • Don't forget about slideshare.
  • I really don't get everybody's love story with Flickr.
  • Photo blogging? Use
  • Use the "region" tag whenever possible.
  • Allow people to use your images as long as they give you credit.
  • Commit to never removing your images so people can link directly to them instead of taking a copy of the image.
  • Images transfer PageRank.
  • Start segmenting image searches.
  • Flickr is annoying because there is a monthly limit for the free account. Picasa doesn't limit you nearly as much. Go Google! *Also Flickr nofollows their images.
  • Bookmark images using Delicious.

Three main points:
  1. Use the darn img title="" alt="" src="" width="" Duh!
  2. Enable Google Enhanced Image Search in Google Webmaster Tools.
  3. Start segmenting image searches.


Advanced Landing Page Strategies at SMX West 09

Second class of the day! The moderator is Gordon Hotchkiss, President and CEO of Enquiro. The speakers are Jonathan Mendez, Founder and CEO of RAMP Digital; Scott Brinker, President and CTO of ion interactive; and James Zolman, CEO of semvironment.

Three main points:
  1. Geo-target landing pages based on IP addresses
  2. Second page dynamics based on a simple entry from the first page: zip code, gender, etc.
  3. Do not use dynamic landing pages with broad match keywords or content network ads.


Google's SearchWiki, Customized & Personalized Results at SMX West 09

First class of the day - Google's SearchWiki, Customized & Personalized Results. I was very excited about this class because I strongly believe that rankings are no longer a viable method of evaluating success for your clients. Who cares if they're ranking for "abc" if "abc" isn't sending them any traffic or if that traffic isn't converting? By the way, that's Danny Sullivan, the moderator for this class and Editor-in-Chief for Search Engine Land.

Now, with Google's Personalized Results, you can no longer count on Google results being consistent from one computer to the next.

Google confirmed that they are not using SearchWiki data to influence normal search results yet!

Also, Google started a new experiment using preferred sites. Now you can mark your preferred sites for different types of information which will influence how Google displays results.

Matt Cutts is sitting right behind me but I don't want to bother him by asking for a picture so I tried to take one on the sly but I'm sure that he caught me!

Okay, so three points to walk away with:
  1. Convince clients that rankings don't matter.
  2. Convince the partners to stop reporting to clients on rankings.
  3. Have IMTs enroll in Google Experiments.


Keynote with Vint Cerf from Google at SMX West 09

Hi Everybody,
This morning is the keynote conversation with Vint Cerf from Google. I'm trying to get the pictures from my SD card but my laptop is being stubborn so we'll see. In the meantime, you should check out the live blogging at SERoundtable.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Up Close with YouTube at SMX West 09

Fourth class of the day is Up Close with YouTube. Live coverage is available from Search Engine

Three main points:
  1. Use the description tag (don't try to keep it short and sweet). Use video transcripts.
  2. Allow full participation!
  3. Use YouTube Insight.
My goal is to walk out of each class with three main points to take back to the office and make sure that we implement. Figure 12 classes times three objectives equals 36 tasks multiplied by 45 clients equals one very irritated operations department! Not really, they'll love it - they are the absolute best,!

*Links from YouTube are nofollow links


Search and Reputation Management at SMX West 09

Here I am in my third class of the day, Search and Reputation Management, at SMX West 09.

Biggest lesson learned: negative feedback exists - what you're judged on is how you deal with negative feedback. Dell is the big example.

Also, be proactive at all times. If someone posts something negative about your company, not only respond on the medium that they used. But also respond on all mediums that you are used to: LinkedIn, Twitter, Sphinn, Digg, whatever.

Have a company foundation or plan in place to deal with these situations as soon as they arise. The specific example that they are giving in class is how his response to the complaint actually hit most of the airwaves before the complaint. That is efficient!

Online reputation management case study here

Three main points:
  1. All positive feedback is shady - don't try to hide negative feedback, instead address the situation.
  2. Have an action plan in place in case someone posts something negative about you or your company. Include viral websites.
  3. Purchase all domain names that you can find such as www.abcsuck(s).com, www.abcscam(s).com,


Local Search Marketing Tactics at SMX West 09

Second class of the first day at SMX! Here are my notes:
  • For geo-targeted campaigns, your keywords should not be geo-modified, just geo-target the campaign and the ad copy.
  • Goal should be saturation -> Local, Search and Paid
  • Not having a website can convert better than actual crappy website.
  • Search Monkey came up again
  • Search Monkey does not affect ranking
  • came up again
  • For paid traffic, integrate offers/promotions in ad copy.
  • For Facebook/Google content ads, put the phone number in the ad.
  • Use Yahoo Search Submit Pro
  • Can't afford professional video? Find local journalism students for videos and content.
  • Use free Twitter backgrounds.
  • Hyperlocal blogging
    • Hyper = neighborhood level
  • Don't overdue self-promotion.
  •,, - look at
  • Use Flickr
Three main notes:
  1. Not having a website can convert better than actual crappy website.
  2. For Facebook/Google content ads, put the phone number in the ad.
  3. Post-purchase consumer survey!!!


Up Close with Google Maps & Local at SMX West 09

First class of the first day! WooHoo! Here are my notes:

  • Google frowns on virtual phone numbers in the Google Local listings, such as Kall8.
  • Reviews and videos are a must!!!
  • Reviews will not improve your rankings but will increase your phone calls.
  • Have landing pages that link to references and/or citations, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Google/Yahoo profiles.
  • Free call tracking in Google by setting up an audio campaign in AdWords but you don't have to go all the way through to get access to phone numbers.

Three main points:
  1. Manually verify your listings in Google Local Business Center; don't bulk upload!
  2. Build separate landing pages by location. Include location-specific information such as links to complementary spots. For example, if you are McDonald's in Utica, then link to the local bowling alley or movie theater.
  3. Reviews, reviews, reviews! Collect email addresses and send follow up emails with a link for your clients to post reviews about your products/services.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Just finished the Meet & Greet at SMX West 09

Hi Everybody,
Just coming upstairs from the Pixelsilk Meet & Greet at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara. It was awesome!! When I first got there, I was asked to pick a sticker from the table. I found the one that matched up to me the best - Sadie.

Then I found a bar table and this great-looking girl, Julie, came up to me and asked me if I was alone. So was she! So we teamed up and started making new friends.

One of the SEO Inc. guys grabbed us and showed us this Skype webcam that was running on a laptop. The other end was Pixelsilk employees at a bar in their hometown. We were able to talk back and forth and have a great time. Ed Andrews, Chief Development Officer, from SEO Inc. was great and really engaging.

I also met Dan Kimball, Account Executive, from Omniture. His product sounds pretty interesting and I can't wait to stop by his booth tomorrow and check it out.

Also, Pixelsilk, the sponsor of the Meet & Greet (great food and drinks btw) has a new seo-friendly content management system that I plan to check out while I'm here. They gave us a really cool t-shirt, mints, pin and pen.

Okay, the reason for the sticker - it was a game. If you could put together a team that includes one of each of the six stickers and those team members could memorize what Pixelsilk software does for them, then you each win $50! And thanks to the guys from Kurios, Inc. (hope I spelled it correctly :)), he put together a winning team. From left to right: Chad from Kurios LLC, Julie from All-Spec Industries, Luke from Kurios LLC, Todd from Kurios LLC, Olivier Amar from Compucall Web Marketing and me, Kandi Humpf from Site-Seeker, Inc.

Tomorrow morning - 8 a.m. - I'm meeting Julie for breakfast and the day begins!!


I'm here at SMX West 09 in Santa Clara

Hi Everybody,
I made it! The plane out of Syracuse was the smallest plane I've ever been on (one seat on one side and two sides on the other) but the layover at O'Hare was so easy! There was a lot of turbulence landing at Santa Clara but it went great.

I sat next to one of the speakers and we got talking about our industry. I can't wait to hear what he has to say at the Advanced Keyword Research Strategies session.

The Hyatt Regency is a beautiful hotel.

The first Meet and Greet doesn't start until 6 p.m.

Can you tell I'm excited?!


Sunday, February 8, 2009

SMX West 09 Video

SMX West 2009 Video


Monday, February 2, 2009

Networking at SMX West 09

SMX West 09 Networking Events

In Person Networking At SMX West 09

Meeting your fellow attendees, the speakers and exhibitors is a big part of the value of attending SMX West. We’ve arranged a host of networking activities for All Access and Networking pass attendees.

SMX West 09 Networking Events - Meet & Greet

SMX Meet & Greet

Monday, February 9 - 6PM to 7:30PM

Start your SMX West experience off right! Arrive early and join us at the Santa Clara Convention Center for an informal evening reception with fellow attendees, speakers and invited guests. This event is open to All Access and Networking Pass holders.

Meet & Eat Networking Lunches and Birds-Of-A-Feather Tables

Every day

There are two ways to get more out of lunch at SMX than just hot meals! All lunches are included for SMX West All Access and Networking pass guests. You’re certain to sit with knowledgeable and engaging people.

Like the experience to be a little more structured? Visit SMX Connect (opening soon, we’ll e-mail you when it is) and sign up for a Birds-Of-A-Feather table. These are a great opportunities to continue the conversation with others who share your interests.

SMX West 09 Networking Events - SMX Networking Reception

SMX Networking Reception

Tuesday February 10 - 6PM to 7PM

Trust us, the SMX Networking Reception is the most fun you can have in an Expo hall. Join us to talk, relax, have a drink and snacks while you visit with all of the market leading solutions providers in the Expo Hall.

WebmasterRadio.FM’s Search Bash @ SMX West

Wednesday, February 11 - Evening to night

Webmaster Radio Search Bash events are legendary! And all SMX West All Access and Networking pass attendees - along with speakers, exhibitors and press - are invited to join in the fun.


Saturday, January 31, 2009

Classes at SMX West 2009

SMX West 09 Classes

Tuesday, February 10

9:00 - 9:45AM Keynote Danny Sullivan -- Room A-1
10:45 - 12:00PM Up Close With Google Maps & Local Greg Sterling -- Room A-2
12:00 - 1:15PM SMX Meet & Eat #8: Twitter Talk
1:15 - 2:30PM Local Search Marketing Tactics Greg Sterling -- Room A-2
3:00 - 4:15PM Search & Reputation Management Barry Smyth -- Room A-3
4:30 - 5:30PM Up Close With YouTube Chris Sherman -- Room A-2

Wednesday, February 11

9:00 - 9:45AM Keynote Vint Cerf -- Room A-1
10:30 - 11:45AM Google's SearchWiki, Customized & Personalized Results Danny Sullivan -- Great America J
12:00 - 1:15PM SMX Meet & Eat #2: Flash, AJAX & Other SEO Challenges
1:15 - 2:30PM Advanced Landing Page Strategies Gordon Hotchkiss -- Room A-3
3:00 - 4:15PM Tapping Into Image Search Matt McGee -- Great America J
4:30 - 5:45PM 301 Redirect, How Do I Love You? Let Me Count The Ways Alex Bennert -- Room A-1

Thursday, February 12

9:00 - 9:45AM Keynote John Battelle -- Room A-1
10:00 - 11:15AM Up Close With Google AdWords Quality Score Matt Van Wagner -- Room A-3
11:30 - 12:30PM SEO & Usability Gordon Hotchkiss -- Room A-2
12:00 - 1:15PM SMX Meet & Eat #1: Affiliate Marketing
1:30 - 2:30PM Advanced Keyword Research Tactics Gordon Hotchkiss -- Room A-2
2:45 - 3:45PM In House: Reporting & Scorecarding for Management Jessica Bowman -- Great America K