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Recap: Speaking at WordCamp Chicago 2009

Truly an outstanding weekend! Thanks again to Brain Gardner and Lisa Sabin-Wilson for organizing an outstanding event event! Other than venue issues with Wifi access, it went as smooth as glass.

It was also nice to meet Matt Mullenweg and Jim Turner in person for the first time.  Having all of my great friend from the Chicago SEO friendly meetup group was awesome as well.

It was fun to be part of a late afternoon speaking trio that put myself in between Kevin Palmer and Micah Baldwin. My talk was about the lessons of social media and search engine marketing measurement and how the driver is truly becoming web analytics management consulting to determine the proper course of action in the content strategy revolution. On your domain and blog you own your terms of service, on a social network you do not – this has major implications that need to be considered deciding what is the right path for your content. The talk got some nice reactions both offline and online…


All in all, it was an outstanding weekend and I made some great new friends.  I’m looking forward to Wordcamp Chicago 2010!

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Professor Eric Clemons: Time for Some New Senior Vice Presidents?

Danny Sullivan made a great reply to this Eric Clemons’ previous post on TechCrunch today. As you know, I’ve been pretty quiet here on my blog lately. I’ve been busy on the phone, organizing speaking, planning a book and talking to people about really changing the world either as an executive and/or as a consultant while quietly executing some search projects.

In the “cage match” post, there is one phrase that got me out of my silence because the ignorance was too much for me to hold my tongue… Eric Clemons said:

“Mr. Sullivan argues that in all his years thinking through and working through issues in internet advertising he has never heard any company or any individual complain about paid search. In contrast, I have been hearing this complaint from senior vice presidents in travel companies for years, and this year the chorus has been joined by retailers and manufacturers”

Dear Mr. Clemons,

Continue reading Professor Eric Clemons: Time for Some New Senior Vice Presidents?

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Barney Harford Now Orbitz CEO – Welcome to Chicago

For the past few years, I thought that there might be a new entrant to Chicago’s Internet scene. It was exciting to me because Chicago could certainly use some geographic diversity in it’s leadership. For a long time, it looked like that person would be Mark Cuban, but it now appears that he will not be the high bidder for the Chicago Cubs. That is kind of a bummer as it would have probably made Wrigley Field a playground for the who’s who of the Internet people like Michael Arrington, Jason Calacanis, Gabe Rivera and many venture capitalists. BTW, you are still welcome guests irregardless.

They say that when one door closes another one opens and apparently Barney Harford is the gentleman that was actually meant to darken the doorway. He’s had extensive experiences in Asia and elsewhere for Expedia and more recently as an advisor to and eLong. As mentioned in the article linked to above, I strongly believe that geographical diversity is important to high performing corporate cultures and I praise the Board of Directors for this choice. It is my hope that this will effect Chicago’s landscape in a positive way far beyond Orbitz. Time will tell.

Continue reading Barney Harford Now Orbitz CEO – Welcome to Chicago

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Search Engine Strategies Chicago 2008: The Convergence Combo: Advertisers, Agencies, Automation… Oh My!

Greg Jarboe, President & Co-founder, SEO-PR

Craig Macdonald, VP of Marketing & Product Development, Covario Inc.
Ellen Watson, Relationship Marketing Manager for Child Care Brands, Kimberly-Clark Corp.

This is a live session blog from Search Engine Strategies Chicago 2008, please excuse any typos and/or fragments. Thank you!

Ellen Watson – Kimberly Clark:

Paid search strategy requires balance:
Budget, Volume and Traffic Quality

2007 Strategy at Kimberly Clark was like this:
Fixed Budget
Max CPC set
Campaigns optimized for conversions

Impression share
Average position
Branded terms vulnerable

2008 Strategy now looks like this:
Maximize impressions share
Compete aggressively for top terms
Maintained good conversion

Increased budget
Regular monitoring

Agency partner priorities:
Forecast annual budget
Managed bids daily
Changed reporting to include new metrics
Adjusted match type, ad copy, landing pages to maintain performace

Global Search Lessons Learned:
US engines sufficient for North American campaigns
Server location is a big issue for international and localized sites – ip address of the site should be in the same country as the address of the server, but local may require a large investment in IT infrastructure

Craig McDonald, Covario:

The New (economic) Reality:
PPC growth at 5-10% level (down from 35%+ growth)
Need to get more from SEO
NO headcount increases in foreseeable future
Squeeze 15% cost improvements out of programs
3 month payback periods, max

The Role of Technology
Paid Search – campaign management automation
Natural Search – automation of audits and tracking and performance
Comprehensive Search Management – SEO/ content convergence, Automation PPC program impact on natural search results

There was then a lively question and answer session on spending in organizations.

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Search Engine Strategies Chicago 2008: Universal & Blended Search Engine Conversation

Kevin Ryan, SES Advisory Board Chair & CEO, Motivity Marketing

Dr. Larry Cornett, VP, Consumer Products, Yahoo! Search
Mike Grehan, Global KDM Officer, Acronym Media
Chris Blakely, Director, Client Services, comScore, Inc.
Todd Schwartz, Group Product Manager, Live Search, Microsoft Corporation
Jack Menzel, Senior Product Manager, Google

This is a live session blog from Search Engine Strategies Chicago 2008, please excuse any typos and/or fragments. Thank you!

Mike Grehan:

You need to think differently.

Vertical creep is pushing organic results down the page.

Eye Tracking shows that people are not scrolling the way that they used to.

This creates a problem, you need to be at the top of the listings.

Local business center creates opportunities for local businesses.

New paid search results like paid results.

Chris Blakely – comScore:

Leverage comScore search data shows traction of universal search efforts.

Feature sets of search expanding. 48% of searchers are seeing different types of blended search results from their queries.

Lower clicks on sponsored links with the exception of ecommerce and travel.

Organic search strategies need to evolve from that standpoint.

Jack Menzel – Google Product Manager Universal Search:

Universal search has the following elements:
Comprehensiveness – Images, Maps, News, Products, Video, Books and more
Relevance – Run every query against every index, decide what to show only after we collect all of the data
Presentation – Summarize the content in the most efficient way possible.

Recently, there have been made into search results pages.

Better Ranking – Universal search is just a subset of ranking.

What’s next?
Keep improving relevance
Help users explore
Improved results summary

What does this mean for web masters?
– Publish the best and high quality content that you have.
– Take advantage of prominent new verticals

Todd Schwartz – Group Product Manager – Microsoft Live Search:

Evolution of Search:
Search – Directories, Keyword Trends, Rich Semantics, User Experience
Market – Immature, Closed Trends, Open Item????
Consumer – Search, Keyword Trends, Actions

Deliver, Simplify, Implement

Showed Samsung lcd tv model – showed elements of a shopping review, rating and engine – an interesting change

Showed weather and Barack Obama examples

More engagement
Better reach
Higher ROI
Update Product and Business Info

Larry Cornett – Yahoo! Search:

Transformed from a static experience to a complete information in one search

Showed several Blended examples using Yahoo! Search:
Kyle Orton – Chicago Bears fantasy sports
Movies – including times and local listings
Beyonce – music videos on the search page
Sushi in San Jose
Barack Obama

Richer, more relevant links…

Searchmonkey – publishers collaborate, meaning behind the link, richer experience, relevant and personal, etc.

Yelp is a Searchmonkey partner. (How does this affect Yahoo! Local?)

The infobar – Steve Jobs example

Share structured data: Publishers > Searchmonkey > Tell your users

Why is blended search important?
Unmatched opportunities and control for publishers
Key step for building a smarter search engine with structured data

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Barack Obama Google Link Bomb, New Facebook URL Glitches or ????

Check this out! Facebook is not consistently ranking #1 for the navigational search “Facebook” on Google. While it’s not happening on every Google data center, I’m sure that based on past posts, Danny Sullivan might find this interesting and worth monitoring.

So this could mean one of a few things are the culprit here…

1. Barack Obama Google Link Bomb – While it doesn’t rank #1, the fact that there is an indent entry after the Barack Obama entry is an indication that Google is seeing that page as important or having a link spike. Recently, Barack Obama had also recently been ranking highly for the term “Linkedin” so it appears that the Obama campaign is trying to utilize search engine optimization techniques on social media sites to compete with John McCain and Sarah Palin.

2. The pages when mixed with old Facebook pages is confusing the Googlebot? – It wouldn’t be out of the question. It could be that it looks like a regular domain and a subdomain.

3. Other parts of Facebook are being opened up to search and these pages are causing issues somehow – several sites reported this. Facebook’s continuing inconsistently about what is public and not public to search is frustrating and is inviting an unnecessary future firestorm. They should really be more clear and communicative, have they forgot the previous lessons of the past?

4. None of the above – What is your theory?

While I’m at it – Dear Facebook – you have not solved the problem I submitted in August to your help desk. After waiting a week you sent me a message which did not even address the issue or indicate that a human has read it. I’d appreciate professional resolution of this request.

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Open Question for SES San Jose Day 1- Facebook Internal Search Optimization

For those in attendance at SES San Jose and SEOmoz PRO Training this week, does anyone know anyone who has done any detailed testing on optimizing Facebook for people doing internal searches on Facebook?

Please feel free to comment or reply if you have figured this arena out yet. As Facebook continues to grow in usage this is an area I’m seeking out information. Thanks.