Case Study: REI

REI logo

  • 200% gain from overall natural search sales
  • More than a 250% gain in “non-branded” keyword natural search sales
  • Achieved full indexing in Google
  • Measurable natural search traffic and natural search sales increase
  • Website visibility increased by 1000%.
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Case Study: logo

  • 40% increase in natural search traffic
  • Page 1 Google Rankings for their 3 most important keywords
  • Indexation has risen over 15% across Google, Yahoo, and MSN
  • More than doubled number of back-links
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Newspapers Search for Web Headline Magic

February 2nd, 2007


Originally published in CNET News

Elinor Mills, author for CNET discusses the effect of SEO on Newspapers and the websites those newspapers maintain. It may not be a new concept to us but those folks working with the print medium have not had to worry about SEO, until now.

Headlines are a primary focus for print marketers. “Good” headlines can catch the readerâ??s attention and pull them into the article. However, “good” happens to be in the eye of the beholder. Clever and witty headlines may catch readerâ??s attention but search engines are not so easily persuaded.

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Interview with web content guru Gerry McGovern

October 4th, 2006


Web content guru Gerry McGovern, author of “Killer Content” – one of the best books on writing copy for the web – says that one of the biggest mistakes companies make in regards to their website content is thinking that customers care one little bit about the company. “Customers care about themselves (their loved ones and their community),” he said in an interview with founder and president of Netconcepts, Stephan Spencer. He went on to add that organizations need to be customer-centric, talk about benefits, and speak the language of the customer.

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Success with Email Marketing Campaigns: 10 Campaigns Critiqued for Best and Worst Practices

MarketingProfs virtual seminar series — online

August 24th, 2006

Webcast by

For many of you, your email campaign lost the race even before it got out of the gate. Spam filters and email firewalls silently and unceremoniously junk your emails. Research has shown that fully one-third of permission-based emails don’t get delivered.

Even if your message gets past the filters, it doesn’t mean your email will be opened. Your recipients are brutal when it comes to slashing through the commercial messages clogging their inboxes. A split second decision will decide your email’s fate, based squarely on your From line and Subject line, and to a smaller extent, what’s visible in the Preview pane. After navigating these deliverability and openability hazards, you still have to get the recipient to comprehend and act on your message. A pretty tall order nowadays.

This virtual seminar is going to get “hands on” with reviews of actual email campaigns submitted by seminar attendees. Not all will be chosen, so give yourself the best chance of having your campaign critiqued: submit your entry early. Stephan is one of the most popularly and highly acclaimed MarketingProfs seminar leaders.

If you’ve ever wondered what you were doing wrong with your email marketing, or wondered what you could be doing better, then this is the seminar for you.

You will learn:

  • How to write messages that are opened and read
  • How to create subject lines that are the best they can be
  • Best practices for your call-to-action and value proposition
  • How to balance text and images
  • When to use Text or HTML
  • Whether your email is compliant with CAN-SPAM legislation
  • Whether your messages will get past spam filters

The 90-minute seminar will include an extended Q&A.

Search Engine Optimization: Writing Effectively

December 1st, 2005


Originally published in Practical Ecommerce

In order to achieve maximum search engine visibility, you need to think a bit like a search engine when writing the copy for your website.

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Killer Content

July 1st, 2005


Originally published in Unlimited

In real estate, itâ??s “location, location, location”. In web marketing, itâ??s “content, content, content”. Your web content is the single most important factor for your website’s success

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PR in the blogosphere

April 21st, 2005


Public relations in the blogosphere seems to operate under a new set of rules than traditional PR. With traditional PR you hire a PR firm that has relationships with various journalists and media. With the new PR, you start your own blog (assuming of course you have something worthwhile to say) and you work to become one of the blogging elite. The goal is to get the more influential bloggers to notice you and blog about you. You wouldn’t just leave this to chance; you’d help the process along. If, for example, you want to catch Scoble’s eye, then you would say something interesting that somehow relates to Scoble and work in a mention of his name. Scoble, like many other bloggers, follows what’s being said about him in the blogosphere by subscribing to a PubSub search results feed for the word “scoble.” If Scoble likes your post, you could end up with a mention on Scoble’s link blog or, better still, on the Scobleizer blog.

Imagine telling a PR person 10 years ago that, in the future, the way to catch the eye of various journalists is to become a journalist yourself and then write about THEM, that PR person would think you were off your rocker. My, how times have changed!

As an up-and-coming blogger, you might be tempted to brown-nose the A-List bloggers. Don’t kiss up to them, but don’t denigrate them either. This isn’t necessarily a hard-and-fast rule, just a suggested guideline. Some bloggers are quite open to being taken to task. They even encourage it.

There is a line of course that shouldn’t be crossed. Always act in good taste. Scoble himself described, during our MarketingProfs Thought Leaders Summit last month on business blogging, how it really isn’t a “line,” it is more like a “membrane.” There is give-and-take, and flexibility with what’s ok to say in your blog and what’s not, particularly as you build rapport with different bloggers in the blogosphere and you build up your reputation. But don’t push too hard or too often, or that “membrane” may rupture!

Now I wonder if Scoble will blog about this post…

Embrace and extend, courtesy of Yahoo’s Creative Commons Search

April 7th, 2005


Yahoo Creative Commons Search home page screenshotYahoo’s just released a very cool new search engine called Yahoo! Creative Commons Search. With it you can search all the Creative Commons licenced content on the web. For those not familiar with Creative Commons, I’ve blogged about it before. In summary, it is an alternative to copyright, where some rights are reserved by the author, but not all. It’s as quick and painless as can be for the author: you simply fill out this form that specifies how you want your material used out in the marketplace and the license is generated to place on your site. For example, your license can require attribution, restrict to only noncommercial use, allow for the creation of derivative works, etc.

There is a wealth of content out there under a liberal Creative Commons licence that will allow you to reuse and repurpose that content in your own projects. But finding that content used to be hard work. (Actually there was previously another way to search, but it wasn’t as comprehensive, and it wasn’t from a major search engine). Now it’s just a search query away, thanks to Yahoo!

I can hear you asking yourself: “That’s all fine and good, but what use will I have with it?” Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  1. Collect interesting articles on a particular topic from different authors, write your own overview/summary to go with it, then assemble it all into an ebook and offer it on your site as a free download.
  2. Take information relating to a particular company that you would like to land as a customer and arrange it into a scrapbook, then post it on your blog and ask readers to contribute to it further. Hopefully the prospective customer will take notice of your initiative and of your interest in them. If not, bring it to their attention. (What a great, new spin on the standard “cold call”!)
  3. Augment your articles, white papers, etc. with excerpted content relevant to the topic you’re covering. For example, if you wrote a white paper about “How Google Works,” add Creative Commons-licensed photos and text descriptions describing their data centers.
  4. Identify keywords that you want to rank well for and create a mini library of Creative Commons-licensed content about that keyword.

These are just a few ideas, and of course you have to abide by the terms of each content-owner’s license. Idea #4, for example, would be considered commercial use if that library of pages were serving as landing pages to get searchers who find you to buy something. IMPORTANT: Don’t just assume that because it showed up in the search results, it’s licensed under Creative Commons. Some plain ol’ copyrighted material will have undoubtedly snuck into the index. No search engine is 100% perfect. I didn’t have time to test it out much myself, but it seems to pass muster with Tara at ResearchBuzz, so it must be pretty good!

An insightful reader on Slashdot commented that it would be brilliant if Yahoo! took the next step and launched a Bittorrent tracker that was limited to Creative Commons licensed content, with a centralized directory-style index. Bittorrent, if you aren’t familiar with it, offers super-fast de-centralized file sharing on a file-by-file basis. It can be used to download legitimate files, like a trial version of a software program or music under a Creative Commons license. To get started, you need to have the Bittorrent software installed on your computer, and you’ll need to have somehow obtained a Torrent file for a particular big file that you want. This Torrent file is tiny, and it contains information about how to connect with others who have parts of the file you want. But where do you find these Torrent files? That’s where a tracker comes in. More on Bittorent later, in a separate post.

With that, I’ll let you get on with using this new Yahoo! engine to “embrace and extend” to your heart’s content.

Oh, by the way… If you want to learn more the fascinating story of copyright law (no, I’m not kidding! The way Larry Lessig tells it, it really IS interesting!), check out Larry Lessig’s speech at OSCON, with audio syncronized with his Powerpoint slides. Larry is the brains behind the Creative Commons and an overall brilliant lawyer/author/blogger/Stanford professor.

Maximizing Your “Natural Search” Channel: SEO That Really Works

MarketingProfs virtual seminar series — online (webcast)

November 18th, 2004

Webcast by

Imagine an online ad that costs you nothing per impression, guarantees both a local and worldwide audience actively seeking your products and services, and offers 6 times the click-through rate of a banner ad… a search engine listing.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the ultimate targeted, low cost and high return weapon in the e-marketer’s promotional arsenal.

Learn how to maximize your reach through the “organic” (unpaid) results in the search engines:

  • Which search engines to target
  • Keyword research tools and tactics
  • Writing copy that “sings” to the search engines
  • Benchmarking against your competitors
  • Link building strategies that work
  • Optimal search engine architecture
  • Best practices to emulate
  • Scams exposed
  • Case studies – including the “inside scoop” on what worked and what didn’t
  • Making your e-commerce or database-driven site “search engine friendly”
  • Measuring the return on your search engine marketing investment
  • Developing a search engine marketing plan
  • Criteria for selecting a search engine marketing agency
  • Online tools and resources