A HIPPO Internet Marketing Training blog by Corey Creed

The Jungle Map, your guide through internet marketing

Archive for November, 2006

Improving Your Site’s Conversion Rate

The session on how to improve your conversion rate at PubCon was late in the day of day two.  So I was a little bit burned out.  In fact, Tim was really burned out.  I think he’s ready to go home.  Ty and I are still actively interested, but it does get a little tiring after a while.  So here’s some simple comments from the presenters…

  • If you have an internal search on your site, be sure to (more…)

Local Search Marketing

This session was the best one I attended a few months ago back in Boston.  So I was excited to hear that some of the same speakers would be on the panel.  This session at PubCon 2006 in Las Vegas was incredible.  Local search is hot and (more…)

John Battelle at PubCon 2006 in Vegas

Wednesday morning started with a lecture from John Battelle.  He wrote a book called “The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture” which I have not read yet.  It is a bit of a history lesson of Google and search in general.  He is the owner of a company of Federated Media.

He started out by explaining (more…)

Tips on PPC Advertising and Landing Pages

The 2006 PubCon session on Ad and Landing Page Site Reviews was a classic.  Christine Churchill moderated and Kevin Lee of Did-It, Brad Geddes of LocalLaunch.com and a few others had some great comments.

I made notes on just the things that I was not already familiar with and I’ll pass them along in this post.  I’m sorry that (more…)

Sneak Preview – Yahoo PPC

At PubCon lunch 2006, Yahoo Search Marketing gave a presentation of their new search advertiser program.  This used to be called Overture.  As some of you may know, Yahoo Search Marketing (YSM) is somewhat clunky to use now.  Jason always dreads making the YSM accounts, and greatly prefers Google Adwords and their reporting.

The good news is that this new platform will be much easier to use.  And they threw in some cool tools to go with it.  The presentation was by several Yahoo! employees and they actually demonstrated the creation of an account on the screen.

Here are some new features…

1.  The Geo-Targeting is pretty cool.  You can choose which locations to show your ad in.  They have a real nice visual tool that shows which locations your ad will show in.

2.  They have a new Keyword Suggestion feature that will allow you to enter some keywords and it will make recommendations.  Interestingly, once you mark which keywords you like and don’t like, it will make more suggestions.  It determines this through collaborative methods.  This is similar to how Amazon always makes recommendations on which “other books you might like”.

3.  There is a really cool Bid Estimator tool that graphically shows you about how many clicks/impressions you should expect based on what you want to bid.

4.  There is a cool Budgeting tool that shows you how many potential clicks and impressions your ad may not show for, given your daily budget.

Here are some other comments that were interesting. 

1.  When released, you will be able to upload via a spreadsheet.  This is something not everyone had access to before.

2.  There will be a new API coming out.

3.  The new multi-account home page/dashboard wall come out later.

4.  Early next year, they will have a new method of determining ranking.  It will be calculated not only by what you are willing to bid, but by a “Quality Index”.  This is somewhat similar to Google, but they are not revealing exactly what “Quality Index” means.  The already admitted that it is not just the Click Thru Rate (CTR).  They take other things into consideration as well.

5.  Automated bid monitoring tools will probably need to change somewhat.  For example, we use www.PPCManagement.com to update our bids.  They may need to make some adjustments.

6.  The new YSM interface is rolling out in US right now.  They will add other countries after.

NOTE:  I sat in the front row next to a guy from Yahoo and talked to him a little bit after.  He mentioned that a new “Home Page Dashboard” which will show pertinent details of several accounts at the same time will come out later.  However, the current method of logging in once and accessing different accounts will still be available. 

I also asked him how we can get in to start using the new interface.  He said that if you have already submitted and requested to be “in the pool”, that is your best chance.  My guess is we will move our stuff over to the next platform within the next month or so.  We requested it a while back.  However, he also hinted that if you have several accounts, you should register to be upgraded with your master account name.

 ALSO NOTE:  The new interface is rolling out starting now and incrementally over the next few months.  But the new ranking method will not come out until early next year.  Smart move.  Wait until the holiday season is over.

NOTE TO JASON:  This is cool.  You’ll like it way better than the current YSM.  It seems a lot easier to use.

(I usually develop the concepts of how we use PPC, but Jason actually makes the campaigns themselves.  Thank goodness I have him.  He’s actually quite good at it.)

Search Engine Tools You Can Use

This was one of the more interesting sessions I went to on the first day of PubCon Vegas 2006.  They listed a ton of tools that might be a good idea.  I’ll list them below with my comments. 

With so many “SEO Tools” out there, it’s hard to know what’s good and what’s not.  Personally, we like Web CEO, XSitePro, and ClickTracks.  They are our three primary tools.

The tools talked about in this session were more like online tools that you can use to learn more detailed information specifically about your website, your clients’ websites, or competitors.

As such, they focused on “SEO Swiss Army Knifes”.  In other words, tools that can get multiple pieces of information at once…

Rankquest (Toolbar for Firefox) – This is pretty cool.  It is a toolbar that includes a series of tools that includes how to learn more about any site, such as Keyword density, Code to text ratio, and Web speed report.  Any SEO has got to check this out.  Everything at your fingertips.

SearchStatus (loads in the status bar of FireFox or Mozilla) – Includes website information such as inbound link analysis, Robots.txt reviewer, link to Wayback Machine, and Alexa information.  It seems to focus more on performance of the site.

DomainTools.com (web based) – Gives domain information, server data, reverse IP lookup, etc.  NOTE:  This is the old www.Whois.sc.

XENU’s Link Sleuth (downloadable software) – Crawls your site and brings back lots of information.  It was recommended that you could run this program on your competitors to learn more about what you could do for your site.

Alertra and Googspy were also recommended for website monitoring.  Hitwise was also recommended to gain information on your competitors.  However, I had to laugh when one audience member asked if Hitwise was free.  Not hardly.

By the way, www.HostMySite.com was recommended as a web host that has good customer service for a good price.

Overall, a good session.  The first two tools seem to be the most interesting.  Something else that is interesting is that most everyone here is using FireFox.  Looks like IE is losing some serious ground with this group.  I’ve noticed that already in the search engine community comments online.  But it’s especially apparant here.

Blogs and Feeds – What you should know

I spent the morning at PubCon today (after the keynote by Guy) learning about Blogs and Feeds and how to optimize them.  As you know, this blog is fairly new and I feel strongly that blogging is the future of the Internet.  I almost think of this site as a learning opportunity for helping my clients to take advantage of the full benefits of blogging.

The first session on this subject was “Feeds, Blogs, News, and Social Search”.  I’ll try to just give the highlights and action points on this posting.

Niall Kennedy used to work for Technorati.  He gave some basic comments on feeds and blogging.  Some good ideas included:

  • Be sure to subscribe to your own feed using My Yahoo, Google Reader, and Bloglines.
  • Claim your feed by creating a Google Sitemap, Yahoo Sitemap, and a feed of some sort for Technorati.  (I need to do this, so I’m not real familiar with the Technorati one.)
  • Validate your feed at FeedValidator.org.
  • When you publish, be sure to ping Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Bloglines, NewsGator, and Technorati.

Rick Klau is the VP of FeedBurner.  He noted that there are 45K radio stations in the world, but they monitor 70K podcasts.  Pretty amazing.  He mentioned checking out blog search engines such as Sphere.  It’s important to submit to blog search engines.  (NOTE:  I sat next to a guy that is running a site called Blog Digger also.  It seems like another decent blog search engine.)  He also noted that IE 7.0 and Firefox 2 now have a method of viewing feeds.  This means the future of feeds is about to take off. 

Owen Bryne is the cofounder of Digg.com.  He showed how in just a few years, Digg has taken off.  Digg is a website that allows people to “submit a page” and “vote for” that page.  Therefore, the most popular posts end up on the home page of Digg.  Go visit the site and you will understand it pretty quickly. 

NOTE:  Getting on the top page of Digg is not easy, but will generate tremendous traffic.  Therefore, everyone wants to be there.  But how?  You have to have something that everyone votes for.  You are at the mercy of the public opinion.  Start by voting for it yourself and getting your friends to do so.  But it has to take off on its own after that.

Chris Tolles is the VP of Marketing at Topix.net.  Topix launched in 2004 and they take 25,000 blogs and try to categorize all of them.  Fresh content tends to rank well.  He encourages writing content, but even more importantly, getting people to add content to your site.  He also encourages commenting on local matters.  They have technical ways to semantically determine what locality a page is about.  This means it’s a good idea to mention local places, zip codes, and area codes on your site from time to time.

Good session.  Good points to keep in mind about blogging.

Guy Kawasaki – Starting off PubCon Vegas 2006

The three of us finally made it to PubCon.  We got here an hour early because we wanted to get registered early.  However, the line had about 600 people in it already.  So when the conference was to start, they just let us in anyway.  We just need to register sometime this morning.

At any rate, the opening keynote address is by Guy Kawasaki.  He is the owner of a VC company.  He also has a background in getting Macs off the ground for Apple.  He has written a couple books that I have read.  His one book is called “The Art of the Start”.  He is an expert in starting businesses and knowing if they will succeed or fail.

His format was a top ten list.  “The Art of Innovation”.  Much of what he stated below is also in his books.  It’s basically a top ten list of things you should do if you are starting a business. 

I think it was helpful to Tim who came with me.  But it was also helpful to me because I’m always changing my business.  I have some big changes in mind for 2007.

1.  Make Meaning – Don’t just try to make money.  Have a true purpose.

2.  Make a Mantra – Have a guiding light and principle.  Not a mission statement.  For example:

    • Wendy’s – “Healthy Fast Food:
    • Nike – “Authentic athletic performance”
    • FedEx – “Peace of Mind”

3.  Jump to the Next Curve.  Don’t just try to do what you do better.  Start something new.  Think about doing something in your industry, but in a completely different way.

4.  Roll the DICEE

    • D = Depth (Has plenty of use)
    • I = Intelligent (Make something that takes brains to think of)
    • C = Completeness (Support, add-ons, etc.)
    • E = Elegance (Simple and beautiful)
    • E = Emotive (Strikes at the emotions)

5.  Don’t Worry, be Crappy.  Send your first products out.  Get started, don’t bother with detailed testing.  Use your customer service as testing.  Ship it and get started.  Test the most important things and let it ride.

NOTE:  This is something that I advocate in my classes.  I say don’t do “Ready, Aim, Fire”.  Do “Ready, Fire, Aim”.

6.  Polarize People.  Don’t expect everyone to use what you have.  Cater to certain groups.  Look at the Scion car.  It only appeals to certain types.

7.  Let a Hundred Flowers Blossom.  At the start of innovation, your customers may not be the intended customers.  Work with it.  Plant “fields of flowers” so that any of them may work.  “Flowers” may take root in areas you don’t expect.

There are two theories after starting something new:

1.  Ask the people that aren’t buying your products why.
2.  Ask the people that are buying your products why.

8.  Churn, Baby, Churn – Create new versions of your product.  Don’t just give up after starting. 

NOTE:  My favorite comment from one of his books is to not give up just because you are bored with it.  It is the one thing that benefited me the most.  I don’t like working on things that are boring.  But sometimes you need to.

9.  Be valuable and unique  (Pretty obvious, but true)

10.  Follow the 10/20/30 rule.  When you start anything new, you need to pitch it.  But you need to handle these pitches correctly. 

Use 10 slides
Do it in 20 minutes
Use 30 point font

11.  Don’t let the Bozos try to grind you down.

Overall, it was a great presentation if you are starting a business or taking your business in a different direction.  I had to leave a little early because I wanted to register to get in while everyone else was in there listening to him.

Look out Vegas! Here comes Ty and Corey!

Sorry that I didn’t have much to say this week.  I’ve had some stomach problems that left me a little under the weather.  Also, I will be spending all week next week in Las Vegas at PubCon.

PubCon is a search engine marketing conference that is held by Brett Tabke of Webmaster World.  I went earlier in the year (April) to the one in Boston with my brother-in-law.  The Vegas conference will be larger and better.  I’m going with a long time friend and colleague, Ty Downing.  His brother Tim Moore is joining us as well.

Search engine conferences are incredible experiences for a search engine marketer.  They allow you to put a face to the names of the people you read about on the web.  They also have incredible sessions that provide incredibly useful information.  Back in April, I especially appreciated the information on Local Search and Public Relations.

Next week, I will especially be on the lookout for information and products that can assist my various clients.  I’m working with some very interesting clients right now that have some very unique needs.  I try to stay on the cutting edge for them.  I’m sure I will be bringing back many tidbits of Internet marketing gold for them.

Going with Ty will be fun.  He is a seasoned Internet and search engine marketer.  We will generally go to different sessions and compare notes with each other at the end of the day – probably by the pool.  But having his brother with us should be fun too.  Tim has just started marketing a brand new site and is just beginning learning.  I’m very curious to see what he thinks of the whole experience.

I’ll try to add comments to this blog as I attend the conference.  Stay tuned!

Hippo aligns with ClickTracks Agency Program

Hippo Internet Marketing is happy to have invested in becoming a partner in the ClickTracks Agency Program.  ClickTracks is an amazingly powerful analytics tool that enables us to monitor our websites and the websites of select clients. 

ClickTracks Agency Program

We’ve been using ClickTracks Pro Hosted for several years now and found that it is now time to invest fully in this amazing analytics tool by becoming a part of their agency program.

Upgrading to the ClickTracks Agency Program will now further enable us to monitor PPC and SEO campaigns while also tracking the search engine robots.  We are also especially excited about the Click Fraud detection that comes with this new version.

ClickTracks has been winning awards now for several years, including 2005 ClickZ Marketing Excellence Award for Best Web Site Analytics Tool edging out both WebTrends and Omniture.

We look forward to putting this new tool to use.

Please let me know if you would like to learn more about what ClickTracks can do for your website.

PLEASE NOTE:  For our smaller clients and even for some of our own sites, we will continue to work with Google Analytics and even simple cPanel stats.