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December 19, 2006

Tim Converse to Leave Yahoo!

By Li Evans

Timconverse Yesterday, Tim Converse of Yahoo! announced he was leaving Yahoo! to persue other interests.  Tim's pretty much the Yahoo! version of Matt Cutts, but doesn't have the "Cuttletts" (I think he's probably thankful for that) who follow him around from conference to conference.

There's probably a lot of webmasters and SEO/SEM professionals scratching their head right now wondering who's going to replace him, and likely "Who's Next?" to leave Yahoo!?  It's a tough role to fill, people are comfortable and don't like change too much, so whoever does step into Tim's shoes has a big job in front of them.

Tim's new gig?  He's moving onto a startup (which he says he'll explain about later).  I can totally relate with his feelings there.  Big companies just don't offer the creative opportunities and foster that "lets work together" attitude that small start ups do, I've been there and known it's a tough feeling to find anywhere in a large corporation. 

Congrats Tim!  Yahoo!'s certainly loosing a great guy.

December 18, 2006

All This Link Worry, For Naught

By Li Evans

Nofreak Wow, one post on the Google's Webmaster Central blog and it sends the SEO/SEM World into a tizzy!  I think Danny's definitely got it right, everyone really needs to Stop The Freak Out!

Google's not out to cut down the small webmaster, or retailer who might exchange links with the Chamber of Commerce, or a retailer organization they belong to.  That would be just a bit too much to believe, even for the biggest "conspiracy thinkers".

The point of Google's post, wasn't to send people into a frenzy and to get worked up about those links you get from family and friends or business colleagues.  It was to say "Hey, don't think you can buy a bunch of links and fool us."  Accumulating links in an unnatural way, is just going to make Google take a good hard long look at a lot of things related to how you got those links.

Freakout It's great that Google's communicating with webmasters.  Unfortunately everything they put into their blogs is looked at with such a minutia, analyzed, interpreted and regurgitated back to the masses, that by the time it comes back around, it isn't even close to what was originally stated.  We have mass hysteria on forums about what "it really means."  Analysis about every little thing that Matt Cutts, Vannessa Fox or Adam Lasnik says gets dissected to the upteenth degree that it's really a wonder that these great folks continue to talk to all of us!

Basically, if you are trying to trick the search engines, eventually its going to come back to bite you in the rear.  But, if you are honest about your efforts and aren't just concerned with where the links are coming from, but focus more on providing great content, you won't have to worry about those links - they will come. 

Isn't that what Steve McQueen did in that Ford Mustang/Track in the Middle of the Cornfield commercial a year or two ago? :)

December 16, 2006

Not Using Analytics? Here's Why You Should.

By Li Evans

I work for one of the most knowledgeable and smartest professionals in the industry that most people don't know about, his name is Craig Danuloff and he's the founder of Commerce 360.  The one major thing I've learned from Craig is that without web analytics for websites, what's the point?  It doesn't matter what your hunch is, or your theory, if you cannot prove to the client it works - it's worthless.  Craig writes a lot about analytics (and other important things) and shares his extensive knowledge with the community quite often.

Webanalytics Without analytics, you are flying blind.  How can you measure if a landing page is doing well?  How can you know if something you did affected the conversion rate?  Which keywords are driving the most traffic?  Where is your traffic coming from?  If you don't have any form of analytics, on your website, you cannot answer any of these questions.

Even the smallest and newest sites can afford website analytics.  How?  There are packages from companies that are free to use and rather simple to install.  If your webmaster is coding your website, or you are the webmaster, most of these free packages are just a simple snippet of code that should be applied to all the pages of your website.  Here's just three (there are a few more out there) packages you can try:

As your site grows, or if you have a much bigger site than a smaller retailer would, you need to move into the higher level analytics.  There is an investment involved, however, it will return data to you that will be many times worth the initial investment.  Here's just a few (off the top of my head):

Some of these packages also have bid management built into their systems, so if you are a retailer with a wide bucket of keywords that are being managed, an all in one package might be for you.

With all the fuss about Google's click fraud rate in recent days, I think it makes the point more than ever why you should be tracking and analyzing all of the traffic coming into to your site.  If those articles aren't enough - here's one from the folks at Pepperjam, who had issues with Yahoo! Search Marketing and apparent click fraud

Because they had analytics in place for their clients, they were able to track down issues with keywords that normally were pretty "quiet", that overnight experienced a tremendous amount of inbound traffic from the Yahoo! content network.  Although never admitting to click fraud being the problem - without the analytics to back them up, Pepperjam would have never received the courtesy credit from Yahoo! for their clients.

Flying_blind There are so many reason for having analytics, that I can't really find a reason, NOT to have it on any website.  Especially if you can get a small package for free.  Some webmasters fear the Google analytics package, since they feel Google could use the data against them.  I say, if that's what you are concerned with just use the analytics, don't integrate your Adwords with it, or use a different package all together.  The point is, by not having an analytics package applied to your site, your company is the only one loosing out.

December 15, 2006

Speculation: No Yahoo! Facebook Deal

By Li Evans

Facebook Bloomberg is reporting that the speculation swirling around an impending Yahoo! acquisition of Facebook, is likely NOT to happen.  Yahoo! supposedly offered $1 billion for the social networking site that is aimed at the college aged student market.  It seems that Mark Zuckerberg and the board have decided to turn down the offer in lieu of building out the company.

In their estimates, Facebook is likely worth closer to $8 billion.  Speculation of an imposing deal from Yahoo! began to gain steam back in September of this year, but cooled off.  Then last weekend apparently it started up again, but board member Peter Theil says "The plan is to actually build it, maybe at some point take it public, but definitely not to sell it."

Five Things You Don't Know About Liana "Li" Evans

By Li Evans

So Ms. Lisa over at Bruce Clay tagged me (updated: cctech from Technology, SEO & Web Design tagged me too) for this 5 Things Blog Tag Tree Meme.  I guess I'll have to oblige, although I'm not so sure ya'll care too much about me, and would much rather the stories I dig up. :)

Anyway.... here's some things you didn't know about me.
Appleii 1.  I'm a geek girl, been programming since I was in 6th grade back when our elementary school got a few computers (Tandy TRS 80, Commodore 64 and Apple IIe *yes, I know it dates me!*). 
2.  I'm so much of a geek girl, I named my dog after the the tech book publisher with all the animals on the covers "O'Reilly", I lopped off the "O" ... my rescue greyhound's name is Reilly.  However, I'm also a huge Buffy & Angel fan, and when I named him Reilly, people thought I named him after the character on that show.
3.  I've made it a goal this coming year to run a 5k race with my sister.  This is quite a feat for me, a year ago I looked like this, now, I look like this (and still working on loosing).
4.  When I was a child/teen I had 6 broken arms - 3 on the left, 3 on the right. Started in kindergarden until I was a senior in high school.  As a result my left arm is slightly shorter than my right.
5.  I collect anything to do with pirates, I have for nearly 15 years now.  I use to roleplay online (and sometimes still do)  as a pirate - Captain Treasure MacDugan.  My license plate even says "TREASUR".

OK now to tag 5 others:  David Wallace,Eric Enge, Debra Mastaler, Joe Dolson and since no one tagged him yet - Danny Sullivan, however if I missed that someone has, I'll tag my fellow Eagles fan AussieWebmaster :)

December 14, 2006

The SES Chicago Comic!

By Li Evans

Leave it to the "Kings of Linkbait" - and I mean that in total absolute praise and adoration, the folks at SEOMoz.org - in particularly, Rebecca Kelley & Rand Fishkin have put together the most HILARIOUS cartoon strip of SES Chicago!

Kudos to Rebecca & Rand, this had me just rolling with laughter!  Below is just 3 panels, you really need to check out the rest!  Rebecca included some of the pictures I took from SES Chicago and some Barry Schwartz took too.  I certainly hope this returns in London and NYC!

Comicstrip3  Comicstrip1   Comicstrip2

Images & Search Engines

By Li Evans

While out at Chicago SES I got to speak on two panels.  One of those panels was Images & Search Engines, and I even came away learning a few new things from my fellow panelists Shari Thurow, from Grantastic Designs, Vanessa Fox from Google, and Chris "Silver" Smith from Superpages.com.  Danny Sullivan moderated our panel (he was a last minute sub, but very welcomed!).

Flikrlogo I learned the most from Chris' presentation on how to utilize Flikr for search engine optimization.  He had a lot of great useful information in his presentation.  If you didn't know you can even place content and links within the description of all of your pictures in your Flikr account.

Shari covered the design aspects and how images affect usability.  I covered all the opportunities retailers can find with Images and using it to drive traffic to their websites, looking at major retailers, niche retailers, comparison search and even how images are incorporated into contextual search.

Googleimagelabeler Vanessa just posted some great information about Google's new Image Labeler and opting into Google's enhanced image search.  Danny even pulled up the Image Labeler and demonstrated it for the audience, it was great to get the audience involved.

If you'd like to a copy of my presentation, drop a comment here and I'll get it out to you.

December 13, 2006

Niel Patel - The Princess of SMO

By Li Evans

How many of you know who Neil Patel is?  I had heard of Neil before, but hadn't had the opportunity to meet him.  I met his partner "in crime" Cameron Olthuis out in San Jose (i referred to him as "the hot guy" I took pictures of in San Jose), but not Neil.

Well Chicago was different, right out of the gate the first night, I got to meet Neil.  What a terrific guy.  He's a wizard at Social Media Optimization and is Cameron's LinkBaiting/Buzzing counterpart at ProNet Advertising.  Both were speakers at SES - Neil's presentation was just awesome.

Also if you didn't know Neil and Cameron are offering to "Pimp Your Links", they are going to choose a site a week to help out with viral, buzz and smo marketing ideas.

Lastly though, I really wanted to join in the fun of introducing you to Princess = Neil Patel.  I think the light up wand really makes his eyes twinkle!  Just ask Kim, Andy, Debra & Todd, they all agree!  I'm just glad that Neil had fun at SES, it was great to finally meet him.

Princess Neil Patel

HatBait - All For Fun, & Fun For All - We Have a Winner

By Li Evans

So after some later day votes came in, we have a winner who pulled ahead out of the 3 man race.  *Drum Rolls*

Karl Ribas with 18 votes!

I don't know how many of you know Karl, I didn't before Chicago SES, but I'm very delighted to have met him.  Karl works for allWebPromotion, and his boss Michael Reobuck is most responsible for him winning Hatbait.  Michael sent out the link to both employees and clients and encouraged them to help Karl out by voting for him.

I got to talking to Karl while at SES over the few days we were there, he's got this pretty neat blog you should all check out, he calls it the "Klog" blog.  Like those garden gnomes that go traveling and get pictures taken lots of places - the Klog does the same.  It's pretty neat to see the where the Klog's been!

I also have a quote from him .... one I got a chuckle out of.  Karl noticed who all voted for him and said this "Oh… there’s one from Lisa Barone! wooohhhiiieee!"

We had a great runner up - Neil Patel (the princess), the SMO Guru from Crazy Egg and Pronet Advertising, but I have a really special post coming up a little later on just for him.  He was just so cute with that crown and light up wand!

I'll be doing a wrap up post about all this.  There's been controversy, but I hope above all everyone had FUN with this, that was the point - FUN.  The hats were silly for a purpose - not only did it get a conversation started with each and every one of you, but it made people have a bit of fun in a really silly way and everyone one needs to be silly once and a while!  Again - congrats to Karl!!

And go learn more about him at his blog! :)

December 12, 2006

Women of Internet Marketing Wednesday

By Li Evans

WomenofinternetmarketingI was inspired a few weeks ago when Kim Krause-Berg blogged about "Where are the Technical Industries Women Bloggers", to start a series of small articles (which I hope will turn into a larger article) to introduce the Internet Marketing world to some really great women bloggers in our industry.

These women will come from all areas of the Internet Marketing world.  From bloggers, SEO gurus, PPC gurus, Copywriters, Link Experts, SMO gurus, Search Engine Reps, Customer Evangelism Experts, Reputation Management Professionals to Web Public Relations Handlers, I hope to keep the mix interesting and upbeat.  I will feature 2-3 different women each Wednesday depending on the information I get back from the women I hope to interview.

So first up, let me introduce you to two wonderful women in the realm of Internet Marketing:  Kim Krause-Berg, and Rebecca Kelley.

Kimkrauseberg_1 Kim Krause-Berg of Cre8pc , has been around the Internet Marketing arena for quite a while, probably longer than most people.  For the past 11 years, Kim has been focusing on SEO & Usability for websites.  She found her way into this space as a webmaster for a high tech magazine in 1995, in which it was her job to get the websites ranked.  From there she got "plucked and dumped" into software Q&A testing, however after the "Dot Com" crash in 2000, she decided to take things into her own hands and started her own consulting business focusing on Usability & SEO, over the years she's gone strictly to usability and partners with SEO/M firms.

Kim is probably best known as the creator and administrator of Cre8asiteForums.  This is probably a stop for almost everybody in the SEO/SEM/Usability world, as Kim and her troop of top notch moderators help answer all sorts of questions to forum participants.  Kim also has a great blog you can read called Cre8pc on Usability & Holistic SEO.

Here's a few other things I asked Kim and her answers:
Q.  What Do You Love About the industry? 
A.   The people in the SEO/SEM industry are warmer and more approachable. On the usability side, there's less of a sense of global community. They tend to be found in smaller groups, either locally or by segment in the industry and are more serious (i.e., less likely to be caught joking around than SEO's do so effortlessly).
Q.  What aggravates you most about this industry?
A.  For SEO/M, the continued spread of bad information, poor practices and companies that are complete rip-offs.
Q.  Who do you feel is a leader in this industry and why?
A.  I look to leaders who believe in educating, so that the industry remains credible.  Danny Sullivan, of course.  Ammon Johns is the leader in the "M" (marketing) of SEO/M, while Jill Whalen is the top gun for the "O" (organic) side. They all have been doing this since Day One and keep striving to reach out to newcomers who want to learn.  It's not easy to stick with this for ten years and longer, so I credit them for not walking away from a sometimes combative industry.

I favor Jared Spool and his team and Kathy Sierra as my personal choices for the usability side because they never get stuck on one practice. They would be the first to admit the need to revisit something and question its value to end users.
Q.  Who's your favorite blogger to read?
A.  I'm a huge fan of the Bruce Clay blog and SEOMoz because of Lisa Barone and Rebecca Kelley and their ability to make me laugh out loud, even on a bad day.

That last answer is a perfect segway into our next lady - Rebecca Kelley of SEOmoz.org.

Rebeccakelley Rebecca Kelley does what she likes to call "light to moderate" SEO, since she's still new to the industry and forever learning. At this point she does link building, keyword research, site reviews, content creation/copy-writing, and, because she works for Rand, linkbait generation.  She is also developing a presence on SEOMoz''s blog and in the SEO "sphere" in general.

Most recently, Rebecca finished up an internship at Fresh Egg over in the UK.  While over there, not only did she study under the tutelage of Ammon Johns (aka Black Knight), she also got a tour from Danny Sullivan and enjoyed the other wonderful sites of London.

Rebecca's relatively new to the SEO industry, but I for one am glad she's here!  She's got this amazing spirit and spunk that is contagious (in a good way).  From the moment I actually got to meet her, I knew she was going to become one of the search industry's leaders - working for Rand Fishkin, cements that even more.

So here are Rebecca's Q&A's:   
Q.  Right now, how many women bloggers/writers/journalists do you read blogs/columns from?
A.  In SEO I regularly read Kim Krause Berg's Cre8pc blog, DazzlinDonna's SEO Scoop, and Jen Slegg's JenSense blog. I also enjoy the Creating Passionate Users blog.

I also admire Vanessa Fox, Amanda Camp, Anne Kennedy, Jennifer Laycock, and Jessie Stricchiola, because of their confidence in speaking at conferences and their provision of great, interesting presentations and information. I hope to speak at a conference one day, so I've been paying a lot of attention to female presenters.
Q.  What made you get involved in this industry?
A.  Honestly, I was close to graduating and was looking for a career that would allow me to utilize writing, communication, and creativity. I found a job opening posted by SEOmoz and thought the position sounded awesome. I applied and didn't get hired (I was later told they feared I wasn't "geeky" enough, so go figure), but I persuaded Rand to let me on as an intern, which he did.  After that, I must have grown on SEOmoz like a fungus because they took a liking to me and hired me on full-time.
Q:  Where do you see this industry going in the next 5 years?
A:  Hopefully not down the toilet, because then I'd be out of a job! In all seriousness, the industry will adapt to whatever the web will be like in five years. There will always be a need for SEO, just as there has always been a need for traditional marketing. Five years from now SEOs may not claim that it's all about links, but rather a new strategy that reflects what the state of the Internet will be at that time.

I'd like to say "Thank-You" to both Rebecca & Kim for letting me interview them.  Tune in next Wednesday - we'll have 2 or 3 more Women of Internet Marketing for you to meet!

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