Search Day Roundtables

eTail 2008 — Palm Desert, CA

February 11th, 2008

Moderated by

Table moderator:
Brian Klais, Vice President of Search, Netconcepts

Table topic:
Natural search marketing and analytics

Best Kept Secrets for Search Marketing Success

THE Conference on Marketing — Naples, FL

February 5th, 2008

Seminar by

If you want the “secret sauce” to rocketing past your competitors in the search results, this session is for you.

  • Learn how to gain higher rankings through Web 2.0, “The Long Tail,” blogs, and social networks
  • Obtain the tools and techniques to ‘reverse engineer’ competing sites that outperform yours in Google

Think You’re Successfully Flying Under Google’s Radar? Think Again.

January 24th, 2008


Originally published in Search Engine Land

Have you been trying to “fly under the radar,” engaging in activities outside of Google’s guidelines but subtly so as not to get caught? More and more SEOs are moving into this dangerous territory as the guidelines continue to broaden (prime examples of which being the expanded definition of doorway pages and the addition of link buying to the list of no-nos). Buying links in “stealth” mode still works, as many SEOs will attest. But what if Google is archiving your efforts for future review, to uncover what it can’t right now due to current limitations? Do you really want to be profiled retroactively as a spammer?

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Driving Engagement Through Widgets and Gadgets Strategy and Innovation Forum — Orlando, FL

January 23rd, 2008


iGoogle, Facebook, MySpace, Bebo – social networks are the hottest topic of Web 2.0. Recent developments such as Google’s OpenSocial platform may further accelerate the explosive growth in widget and gadget application users. So what do widgets really mean to your customers and to your bottom line? What monetization strategies should you focus on to ensure widgets are more than just a buzzword to your organization? And how to you prevent your widget from becoming another lost or unused orphan among thousands of other apps? Misty Locke, co-founder and president of Range Online Media, has been working with numerous retailers to determine the most innovative, engaging and measurable approach to web applications. Misty will lead a discussion with other industry experts to answer these questions and to tackle how to succeed with widgets and gadgets today, pitfalls to avoid and emerging opportunities beyond 2008.

Misty Locke, Co-Founder and President, Range Online Media
Stephan Spencer, Founder and President, NetConcepts
Pinny Gniwisch, Founder and EVP Marketing,

The Wonderful World of Widgets

January 16th, 2008


Originally published in ClickZ

Do you know what a widget is? Do you know how to design a widget that is based on SEO “best practices”? PJ Fusco, lead strategist for Netconcepts, shares her expertise on this popular topic.

If you want people to add your widget to their desktops, mobile phones, blogs, or social media applications, such as Facebook or MySpace, keep these commonly held best practices guidelines in mind:

  • Make your widgets useful, contagious, simple, and genuine.
  • Make your widgets easy to use, reliable, and ready to be shared.
  • Make your widgets accessible on multiple frameworks and multiple formats.
  • Make your widgets measurable.
  • Make your widgets a big part of a global SEO campaign.

For more about the wonderful world of widgets, read the article on ClickZ.

Interview with Chris Alan, SEO manager for

January 14th, 2008


Chris Alan is a SEO veteran who currently holds a position at as their search engine optimization manager. Currently, he manages and executes large-scale organic search campaigns and keyword portfolios as well as a number of other on-page and off-page SEO-related items that affect Expedia’s natural search engine placement.

Stephan Spencer, Netconceptsâ?? founder and president, interviewed Chris about his experiences with managing SEO for a large business. Read more about how Chris Alan’s experience working for a large website can help you understand SEO and natural search from a different perspective.

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20 Awesome Images Found in Google Maps

January 14th, 2008


The introduction of satellite images into map search interfaces has excited both virtual sightseers and local app developers. Further innovations like Google’s Street View have caused consternation from privacy advocates while further pumping up the buzz about online mapping. In 2008, we can expect further innovations that stretch the envelope while dynamic map interfaces solidify as basic table-stakes for all local sites. In gearing up for this year in local search, I thought I’d give you a pure entertainment piece—here’s a guide to the top coolest things to see in Google Maps.

Yum! Brands, Inc.’s subsidiary, KFC, built this brilliant ad back in 2006, geared to be viewable by space aliens. It was purposefully built just off Extraterrestrial Highway, near Area 51:

KFC space logo

I pointed out the swastika-shaped building below back in 2006, along with a few other map enthusiasts. In September of 2007, the U.S. Navy bowed to pressure from radio commentators and the Anti-Defamation League and agreed to change the building’s profile at a cost of $600k. In the media feeding-frenzy, I got accused of "costing the taxpayers $600k" on a few blogs and forums, and one or two flamewars broke out in the comments on my Flickr page.

Google Map of Swastika-Shaped Building

Giant thumbprint in a park in Great Britain. This thumbprint is actually a large maze designed by Chris Drury.

Huge Fingerprint in Google Maps

Evidence of drunken parking? This building in the Netherlands sports a Morris Mini parked on its side. The lights on the car turn on at night.

Drunken Parking, Netherlands

Yet more Minis parked on a building—this time the Minis are parked on top of a pub in Great Britain.

Minis on Pub Roof

When all the satellite pics are stitched together to allow users to pan continuously in mapping programs, there are frequently some funky effects which can happen at transition edges. One common phenomenon is when two pics taken at different angles are spliced together, causing tall buildings and other structures to appear to be leaning sharply. This is called the "Escher Effect," and this sample comes from downtown Dallas:

Google Maps Oddity

This is purportedly the largest Coca-Cola logo in the world, created near Arica, Chile, out of something like 70,000 coke bottles to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the company:

Coca Cola Logo in Google Maps

Back in January of 2007, Google publicly announced they were planning to send a plane over locations in Australia to update Google Maps images. Quite a few people attempted to communicate messages by displaying large text on the ground for the "Australia Day Flyover" as it was called, but very few actually accomplished it due to a miscommunication over the date of the flight. However, the Tourism Australia ministry managed it by paying a sand sculptor to form the letters of their domain name on Bondi Beach near Sydney: in Google Maps

“Giant pink bunny,” killed in a drive-by in Italy.

Bunny in Google Maps

People are increasingly trying to get their messages seen in Google Maps satellite view, but most aerial messages already appearing in the pics were originally intended for people viewing from airplanes. For instance, this message written in a field adjacent to Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska:

Sky Message

Some of the best-documented messages found in Google Maps have been marriage proposals like this one:

Will U Marry Me

Another patriotic-themed image is this American flag found on a river bank in Pennsylvania:

American Flag in Google Maps

Street View has raised all sorts of privacy concerns and people have taken great glee at pointing out people captured going into strip clubs, peeing in public, or doing various private activities. In this example, one of the traditionally photo-shy superheroes, the Green Lantern, is the one caught by the roving camera eye, looking out a shop window in Boston:

Green Hornet nabbed in Street View

There are quite a few pictorial mazes that show up in Google Maps, particularly corn mazes and such in the US. This UK maze was built to celebrate the 200th birthday of Brunel, a famous British engineer:

Brunel 200th Birthday Maze

There’s a whole subgenre of art called "Crop Art" that’s rendered in growing plants in patterns to form pictures when viewed from above. This example is a rendering of Da Vinci’s famous Vitruvian Man, located in Italy:

The Vitruvian Man by Da Vinci

Similar to Crop Art, "Earth Art" or "Land Art" is created by moving or scraping soil and rocks to create images. This huge image from a hillside in Mongolia celebrates Ghenghis Khan:

Portrait of Ghenghis Khan in Google Maps

When the early Greek inventor Daedalus’s son, Icarus, plummeted from the sky after his wax-and-feathers wings experiment failed, his body’s impact left this deep indentation crater which subsequently filled with water, leaving this man-shaped lake in Brazil:

Man-Shaped Lake in Brazil

A man with the surname of "Luecke" in Texas decided to write his name big by leaving these trees when he was clear-cutting the land. According to reports, astronauts are able to see these letters from space:

Luecke Trees in Texas

Quite a few companies promote themselves by painting their logos onto their building rooftops. This example is particularly clever, since the Salvation Army apparently realized they could leverage their building’s close proximity to the Seattle Seahawks Stadium and they’ll forever after enjoy free promotion whenever news organizations fly over when covering sporting events.

The Salvation Army rooftop ad, Seattle

One thing that some people spend a whole lot of time doing is looking for UFOs and Crop Circles. Here’s a really great crop circle of the Mozilla Firefox logo – a brilliant piece of promotion and linkbait if there ever was one:

Firefox Logo

Sculpting your PageRank for Maxiumum SEO Impact

December 20th, 2007


Originally published in Search Engine Land

If you are a large online retailer, you’re looking at thousands upon thousands of pages that have the opportunity to get crawled and indexed in the SERPs (search engine results pages). You’re also looking at near infinite choices for how you interlink all those pages. Out of all those permutations, there is one configuration that is the most optimal from an SEO perspective. That’s because it maximizes the flow of link juice (e.g., PageRank if you’re speaking purely in Google terms) to your most important pages and minimizes (or cuts off completely) the flow of link juice to your least important pages. The most important pages are the ones that have the most potential to rank highly for the targeted keyword themes, to compel the searcher to click, and to drive that visitor toward a “conversion event” such as completing a purchase of one or more high-margin products.

Continue reading »

Interview with Matt Cutts, Head of Google’s Anti-Spam Team

December 17th, 2007


In early December, I spoke at the PubCon conference where I had the chance to sit down with Matt Cutts, head of Google’s anti-spam team.

Matt was kind enough to agree to an interview, where he shared invaluable tips about Flash, syndicating content, the change to their supplemental results, and a lot more. His insight and advice is really helpful; he provides clarity on topics that can be really confusing.

If you prefer a written transcript, you can read the interview transcript with Matt Cutts on my blog. I invite you to listen to the podcast interview, which is available now.

Video: SEO Update

December 12th, 2007


Originally published in Practical eCommerce

In September 2007, Spencer revisited the SEO progress of, and reports his findings in the video tutorial below.

This video tutorial requires Flash Player version 8 or above.

Click the link below to launch the tutorial.

Video SEO Tutorial with Stephan Spencer.