Barry Schwartz is Snooping for SMX Israel

November 18, 2008

smx-israel-2009
Last year it was the first time “evar” for the sphinncon session in Israel and it was great. Now it looks like good old Barry Schwartz is snooping around for some real SMX conference in Israel.
So, for all of you who are a little bit like me and would like to be apart of this event,
check this link, answer the small list of questions (positively) and then hold your fingers tights we’ll all get together sometime around January near Tel Aviv. ūüôā

**The short survey can be answered anonymously.**
** The event is somehow already announced, as can be seen here, but I guess it won’t happen unless enough people will demonstrate their enthusiasm**


International Social Bookmarking Can do the Job

June 17, 2008

No doubt that social bookmarking is just a tiny part of SMM (social media marketing) and that SMM is just a small part of SEO or SEM, but you know what people say – All (big) things are amde of small pieces.
As far as I see it, if you work alone (with no SEO expert by your side) or have limited budget for your international marketing efforts (assuming, off course, your project suits the global market) – some international social bookmarking can give you the global exposure you are looking for, both in terms of relevant traffic and in terms of search engine positions.

First step is to know your other languages strong keywords
For this you need to have a healthy logic, more than a couple of hours and if you are lucky enough – some friends who speak the languages of the international markets you wish to target.
Sure, you can use some automatic translating tools like Yahoo babel Fish or Free Translations, but most chances are that you’d miss some important terms as well as distort others. If you got the money – get some expert translator or even better – an expert SEO who speak the language of the foreign market you are trying to reach.

Second step is to build your international bookmarking database
In order to find relevant bookmarking sites in your targeted languages, you need to know the translation of at least two important¬†terms: “bookmarks” and “favorites”. Type these keywords in the search box of relevant search engines (google.de if you look for bookmarking sites in German or¬†Yahoo.fr if you look for bookmarking sites in French and so on) and check the results. Most bookmarking sites look and behave the same, so you shouldn’t have any difficulties in understanding how to register as well as how to submit a site.

In addition, you can search for some blogs in your targeted markets (using google blog search or technorati) and check the bookmarking buttons at the buttom of their posts.
In any case, for your cnvenience, you can find some bookmarking sites in French and German at the end of this post.
Third step is bookmarking and socializing on a regular basis
Don’t just submit all your website’s pages under relevant kewords and then disappear. Submit other URLs (that aren’t yours but from the same niche and language), vote for others’ submissions and so on.¬† Remember – you can’t talk social bookmarking and do only one of the two. They go together so you must do them both if you want to succeed.

A list of Social Bookmarking Sites in French and German:
Bookmarks.fr (FR bookmarks)
Mesfavoris (FR bookmarks)
Excite (FR bookmarks)
Bookmarks Sites (FR bookmarks)
Plpage (FR bookmarks)
Bookeet (FR bookmarks)
Scoopeo (FR bookmarks)
Bluegger (FR bookmarks)
Yigg (DE bookamrks)
Webnews (DE bookamrks)
Folkd.de (DE bookamrks)
Bonitrust (DE bookamrks)
Kledy.eu (DE bookamrks)
Linksilo (DE bookamrks)
Lufee (DE bookamrks)
Minota (DE bookamrks)
Weblinkr (DE bookamrks)

Anything to add?
Feel free to comment or even bookmark… ūüôā

p.s
Check this fine video by common craft if you’d like more basic info on social bookmarking:


Blended Search Celebrates its first Birthday

April 29, 2008

I have just finished listening to Chris Sherman on the SMN webcast, talking about the advantages of blended search ( a year after it was launched) and I thought “What the hack? Why not summarizing it for you guys?”
so here it goes:

Blended Search – Definition
Blended search, also known by the name of “Universal Search” or “Search 3.0”, is incorporating results from non-web sources (like books, videos and images) into the regular web search results.

What is it Good For?
The sources that we use to get information from are just the same, but we use them more than we did before the launch of blended search. Searchers no longer need to use the search engine’s different tabs (news, images, etc) – they get the relevant results for their search inquiry directly on the web results page. In other words – if “Vertical Search” was alive somewhere in the past, I guess there’s no doubt it’s starting to die now. ūüė¶

Search marketers and businesses’ websites have more seats on first results page to “fight over”. Before “blended search” was born, websites could be shown on only 2 out of 10 results per page. Today, one can be shown on the same two seats from the past (seats that are reserved for the website’s pages, usually the homepage and some inner page) but also on other seats taken for social sites such as youtube (video results) or news sites (press releases).
Basically,¬†one can be shown on most if not all of first pages’ results (take Britney Spears for example).

Searchers are open to more sources of information otherwise they might not know about. Think about your old uncle – if not for the blended search, will he still be sending you funny YouTube videos? Moreover, the blended search makes the all process of searching much easier. looked for an IPhone and got a video result among others? With Google’s “Universal Search” results you don’t need to jump to the video site in order to¬†watch it – Just click on the “Watch video” link (marked in red at the following example):

What is it Sad for? 
Less precision: Vertical search resulted in better search results, since it was focused on specific search field (video, news, images etc). Blended search returns a wide range of results that are more speculative than accurate (in terms of what the searcher was searching for). This is clearly demonstrated by¬† the following screen shot taken from Chris Sherman’s webcast:

No more “good old only web results”:¬† Google is no longer showing only web results. Even if you use the “web” tab in the search process,¬†you’ll get the blended search results which means web sites, videos, images, news sources and alike. This¬†lost of “only web feature” is quite sad, since there are still lots of people who’d like to get these results with no extras…¬†

Bad blogs and products results: Search engines don’t index these two very well, so blended search in this term is quite poor.¬†

So what will Blended Search bring?
Better and much more sophisticated statistic tools to track conversion rates out of different search results, such as video which is un-trackable at the moment.
РBetter and much more sophisticated SEM efforts: Traditional SEO will be nothing but complemental, while search marketing will focus on viral video, creating juicy (and highly optimized) press releases and so on.

What do you say?
Do you see the future of blended search differently?

Feel like reading more about blended search? I bet you’ll enjoy the following:
Blended search increases your visibility ( April 2008 )
Blended search results study by iprospect ( April 2008 )
Google’s ranking advice in blended search¬†( February 2008 )
Optimizing for blended search ( January 2008 )
Search 3.0 by SearchEngineLand ( Nov 2007 )


My 3 Reasons to Use Sphinn

April 5, 2008

I can’t imagine search marketers and SEO specialists that haven’t heard about Sphinn yet (it was launched by Danny Sullivan on July 2007) but you know what they say – “never say never”… Any way, since lately I become quite an addict of this social¬†news site, mainly as a source of information about the SEM industry, I feel like a few words won’t hurt no one (maybe even the opposite). These are my¬†3 reasons to use Sphinn:

1. Stay Up To Date & Diverse
Sphinn allows you to get¬†the latest news from the SEM industry using not a single source but a diversity of sources,¬†including¬†some that aren’t very popular (yet). I don’t know what about you, but if you’re anything like me, I guess you got used to¬†get your SEM reading mainly from one big source, such as search engine land for example. With Shpinn you can get a lot of worthy news items from different sources which is more than just refreshing.

2. Network Yourself
Sphinn community is built on people like you, who are in the business of SEM, SEO, SMO and so on. Visiting Sphinn on a regular basis allows you to get to know important others as well as to get your self known by them. Sphinn users can visit your profile and they’ll probably do that if you sphinn-up their submitted stories or submit an interesting story yourself. Since the users profile include plenty of communicating channels such as email or skipe address, facebook profile, linkedin, twitter and much more you can’t complaint you can’t reach others…

3. Win Traffic (for free)
Assuming you‚Äôre not one of those who live by the ‚Äútime is money‚ÄĚ phrase, by participating in Sphinn, especially via submitting news stories you wrote yourself, there‚Äôs a big chance you can get some free (and quite targeted) traffic to your blog or business site. Submitted stories at Sphinn can get to the ‚Äúhot topics‚ÄĚ (thus presented at the main page) list even with just a few votes such as a little bit higher than twenty.

 

 

 

Check what others had to say about Sphinn:
Sphinns (Positive)

The social news site every search marketer should be using (SEOmoz)
Confessions of a sphinn vote begging whore (Aim Clear Blog)
How to dominate Sphinn in 4 easy steps (Huomah)
XMCP’s Guide to Frontpaging Sphinn.com (Slightly Shady Seo)
Sphinning Sphinn (Search Engine Guide)
Is Sphinn bad for the industry (Bruce Clay)
Are You the Underdog in Sphinn? (Learning Seo Basics.com)
 

 

Desphinns (Negative)
Goodbye Sphinn (Andy Beard)
Sphinn is basically a popularity contest (Internet Hunger)
Sphinn spammers (Blogstorm)
 

 


SMO Panel on Sphinncon Israel 2008

February 6, 2008

To make things short, you can find the main SMO presentation by Eli Feldblum (CEO of Rank Above) on the following link: http://www.rankabove.com/sphinncon. 
It is called “Should You Social?” and as far as I see it, the answer, in most cases,¬†is YES.

The SMO panel was the last one on the sphinncon event and I’m getting older and older so I droped my pen and just listened. Sorry.
In any case, if you read my first post on the shpinncon event, you must remember that most of the speakers made me a little bit sick. Apparently, I’m alergic to¬†over-righteousness. ūüôā

Just for your knowledge, the SMO panel participants were Eli Feldblum (Rank Above), Tzvika Avnery (Tagadam), Roi Carthy (TechCrunch) and Lior Hener (Yedda).

Most of what was said on the panel can be summarized by the following:

РSMO is not about getting more quality links but about approaching people (Lior).
– SMO and SMM both can be used effectively for branding purposes.
– At the end of the day, positions on SE are nothing comparing to an interesting product.
– One shouldn’t do SMO, as well as SEO, for a new “just launched” product. You should wait at least 6 monthsso you can learn your product, its audience, etc, and only after that you can start with the SSS (SEM, SEO, SMO) stuff¬†(Roi).


Sphinncon Israel 2008 ‚Äď PPC panel Summary

February 6, 2008

Keyword Inflation

The PPC panel was called ‚ÄúWill the PPC model hold up as click prices rise?‚ÄĚ. Avi Wilensky (CEO of Promedia Corp) had a few words on the keywords inflation, saying it has to do with more advertisers appreciating the PPC market, click fraud and ‚ÄúROI Blind Bidders‚ÄĚ (those who bid on any possible keyword no matter if it is or isn‚Äôt convertible).
Speaking of which, he mentioned ‚ÄúMicroHoo!‚ÄĚ ‚Äď the possibility of Yahoo and Microsoft ad center to merge, an act that will definitely lead to a greater keywords inflation (less keywords supply).

PPC vs PPA (CPA)

Avi defined the PPA (Pay Per acquisition) as an affiliation model of revenue sharing and said that in this model the risk is on the publisher and that is why search engines prefer the PPC way.
The PPC model is the most common and profitable one,. Especially for Google and Yahoo! (their other services don’t get them so much money as the PPC advertising does).

10 Tips to Fighting Keywords Inflation and Staying ahead of the Competition:

10. Buy text link ads via brokers such as TLA (Text Link Ads) and TLB (Text Link Brokers). There are ads acquisition possibilities other than Yahoo and Google adwords.

9. Invest in the ‚ÄúShvartz‚ÄĚ (tail). Long tail keywords are cheaper and can still get you traffic and / or sales.

8. Geo targeting. If you aim to a local market don’t forget to geo-targeting your campaign. There are less players on the local market.

7. Landing Page Optimization for conversion purposes. Check what version of your landing page has the best conversion ratio, check the effectiveness of different areas on you landing page, etc.

6. Don’t ignore usability.

5. Write some kick-ass creatives.

4. Diversification. There are search engines other than Google…

3. Demographic Targeting. Target your campaign to the appropriate age, gender, etc.

2. Experiment with Dayparting. Check the effectiveness of you campaign on different hours of the day.

1. It’s OK not to be on the 1st spot. Your goal is to be on positions with higher ROI!

The PPC Q&A section mentioned the negative keywords that can be used on PPC campaign to make it a better more targeted one, as well as the possibility of buying ads directly from the buyer (and not via google) as long as you are a big advertiser.

Read about the SEO panel on Sphinncon


Sphinncon Israel 2008

February 5, 2008

This post about the “first sphinncon evar”¬†was supposed to be a live one but, unfortunately, there was no wireless connection at the conference in Jerusalem, so I’ll just write down my impressions and a detailed review of only the first panel for now. (The others will be covered on the next couple of days).
In any case – Lot’s of thanks to Barry Schwartz and the rest of the organizers as well as the generous sponsors, for giving birth to this first “sphinnconiada”.

“The Good, The Bad and the Ugly One” but with a Smile On

To put it in one sentence, I felt this first shpinncon was a small-but-very-friendly-rival between three groups: the SEO people, the PPC people and the SMO ones.

As a human-being who holds S’ for SEO and¬†takes it as a compliment, I really enjoyed the SEO panel, noded off at the PPC one and quite resented most of the SMO one, only because¬†its speakers (excluding sweet Eli Feldblum) couldn’t stop the¬†righteous slogan of¬†“Just have a good product”. But maybe I was just a little bit too tierd, since it was the last panel? Who knows…

So, what did we have there, on the first sphinncon event?

SEO Panel – Paid Links & Penalties
The SEO panel began with an inspiring presentation plus a lecture by Branko Rihtman, an SEO specialist from Tens Technology. He talked about the importance of links in Google algorithm and the penalties by Google for buying advertisements (which are not adwords) Рan old strategy known as FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt).

The Q&A part of the SEO panel
Just to make it clear, none of the following is a direct quote. I wrote some comments while the speakers spoke and that’s it. Don’t hold no one for nothing, including myself and forgive me for the questions (or answers) I missed.

* What about linking strategies (such as “link farms”) that work good in Israel but not in other markets?¬†(by Ben Pines¬† from SEOIsrael):
– Branko: Everything comes to Israel in a delay of 3 years (comparing to the US market).¬† I’m in favor of doing the stuff that works good in the US in the present, meaning – don’t use linking strategies (such as link farms) that work good on your market but not in the US even if they do good today since experience tells us it won’t last for long…
– Sam Michelson (Five Blocks): In other wrds – Don’t Spam…
– Ophir Cohen (Compucall): As far as I see it, the user experience is the most important thing, meaning your site should be popular based on what it offers to the user and not the link bating acts you did.

* Is user behaviour on search engines and outside them a part of the SE ranking considerations?
– Branko: Sure it is, at least as far as the tool bar most of us use. That’s why I turn mine off when I do some stuff I don’t want to be tracked by Google or any other search engine.
– Gilad Sasson (Nekuda + Algoholic): Even if search engines won’t admit it, everything is being measured and saved and it obviously influences both the user and the sites he visits.
– Sam: It’s not just the tool bar. There are other tools who gather data about you, Google analytics for example…
– Barry: Don’t forget web history and the personalization Google runs…

* What about getting links manually vs. automatically? Is there a better option?
РSam: In order to be popular you should act like one in any measure, meaning you need to dress up accordingly, have a nice car etc. In search terminology that means you should have lots of links, almost everywhere Рjust keep them far from spam.
– Gilad: If it is a new site we’re talking about, it is all a matter of risk. If your site is old and has enough quality links from authority sites, a couple, even tens, of louzy links won’t hurt you.
– Branko: This is why I said earlier that links have¬†two values – the fresh value and the real value. A link from a not competitive area can boost the ranking of the site but in time we’ll see a drop down, while good quality links bring on a stable increase in ranking (take a post on sphinn for example).

* How do you handle the universal search results?
– Ophir: SEO is not what it was a couple of years ago, today there’s more SMO into it…
– Sam: I don’t mind not being in the first positions as long as my title and description are catchy and creative enough to attract the searcher (using numbers and symbols on title, for example).
– Barry: It is easy to get to the first position as long as you keep researching (see “iPhone Popcorn Trick” video on¬†YouTube by Barry).
– Sam: I’d like to buy an advertisement at the end of this video…. ūüôā

* What can you say about multi-lingual search optimization?
– Gilad: All markets are alike in terms of algorithms, it’s just easier on some (like Israel). In any case, if you want to promote your product in different markets you should find relevant content partners on these markets.
Google Sets, by the way, is a keyword tool that can help you spam find related pages and industries to be linked from.
РBranko: Advertising on the content network can help you to get ahead with terms that google think are best for your industry. If google gives them to you, according to your keyword of course, no doubt it perceives them as legitimate and relevant.

* What should you do when important keyword you had a great SERP position for is vanished from top results?
– Branko: First thing – wait. Just wait. It could be nothing but a glitch… while waiting you can check your positions in other data centers, other keywords and so on.
If nothing changes over time – get a new domain and start all over again. From my experience it’s the best thing to do.

Hungry for some images?

Sphinncon Israel 2008 Preparations Sphinncon Preparations

Sphinncon Israel - SEO panel Barry Schwartz, Branko Rihtman, Sam Michelson, Ophir Cohen and Gilad Sasson (from left to right) on the SEO pannel.

First Sphinncon Evar¬†T-Shirt¬†“first Sphinncon EVAR” T-Shirt.

Sphinncon Israel Summaries on the web:
SMO.co.il – For Hebrew readers only (1st panel + 2nd panel, 3rd and summary).
Event summary by Ophir Cohen.
Jobis afourletterword says it was a Big Success

Feel Free to¬†Sphinn Me Up¬†ūüôā