Left Bay’s Musings on the Media

Searching for answers in sales and marketing

Archive for June, 2007

Small business looking into SEO? What NOT to do.

This post came from Search Engine Land’s Small is Beautiful weekly column for small businesses. In it, Matt McGee of Marchex, Inc., lists 20 DON’TS for Small Businesses looking into SEO. I’m not usually a fan of these “list” posts, but his tips were surprisingly relevant and helpful. Some highlights:

2. Don’t wait too long to implement SEO. Matt notes here that SEO should be a part of your business’ web strategy from day one, but moreover, being involved in SEO sooner will help assure that it won’t become a problem later.

5. Don’t spread your content over several domains. I don’t know what it is about duplicate content lately, but I’ve been seeing it come up a lot recently. Be wary about buying multiple domains and creating the same or similar content – it will affect the rankings of both sites and how robots will view them (spam?). Permanent redirects are the way to go when attempting to migrate a site to a new domain.

8. Don’t target overly general keywords. Mistake number one for PPC first-timers. It leaves them wondering “Why do my bids cost me over $5 each?” and “How come my clicks are so low compared to my impressions?” I strongly encourage small businesses to heed this advice especially, because small businesses benefit way more from long-tail marketing than trying to compete amongst the big guys.

11. Don’t have the same title element on every page. With keyword, meta, and alt tags practically obsolete, there’s little outside of GREAT CONTENT that will help, except for your (relevant and keyword-targeted) h1 tags and title elements.

17. Don’t plaster your link all over blog comments, guestbooks, etc. Besides being greatly annoying, cheap link placing all over forums and blogs is just spam, and will reflect badly on your business.

Next Tuesday they’re going to post the Do’s of Small Business SEO. Hopefully we’ll see some more good tips, and not just the “do” versions of these.

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Chicks With Swords: An Ask.com Update

I originally wrote that audiences were “waiting for more” of the Ask campaign, and that we “can’t not talk about it” and “want the rest of the story.”

Well, we got more, and are (still!) furrowing our brows.

The latest ad from Ask.com has aired in due time for the launch of Ask 3D (which, weird advertising aside, is actually pretty cool. The ad features a thirtysomething, run-of-the-mill business guy getting what he’s looking for, which in this case is chicks with swords.

The concept is simple enough: A guy found what he was looking for with Ask.com. The execution, however, is not as easily understood. First of all, I don’t understand the big stage production. I think it worked well for Goodby’s eBay campaign, when it hadn’t been done as humorously before, and that this Ask ad is a blatant rip-off. The eBay ads at least put the stage show into some sort of context that viewers could identify with. Our Ask.com guy? He’s relishing out some sexual fantasy after a “chicks with swords” search on the internet by singing on stage? Jordan McCollum of Marketing Pilgrim notes CP+B’s historical “ubermale” portrayal. So, am I now supposed to equate business dudes searching for weird sex fetishes with Ask.com? Is the next commercial going to be a different guy singing “I got what I was looking for” in front of equestrienne line dancers? Maybe I don’t get it because I’m not a guy, nor do I have a Babes With Blades fetish.

But it still raises questions about The Algorithm I thought Ask.com was trying to push. The ad only alludes to it at the end of the commercial when it is displayed on the screen. And still, a search on Ask for “chicks with swords” is less than exciting.

CP+B has done creepy successfully before. Remember this one? Really though, I think they just have a weird obsession with broadway stage productions.

I await the next Ask.com chapter with some unsettling mixed feelings. I’m ready for some answers (ironic, huh?) to this Algorithm question, but I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if I saw some women who ride horses performing the Electric Slide, either.

The New Internet Time-Killer: Google’s Street View

How many hours have I lost to YouTube? We’ve all been magnetized – going to the site to watch just one video, but finding ourselves 20 videos later with an hour lost. Or lost in a string of MySpace pages trying to find someone you thought you used to know. Or immersed in Flickr photo albums that somehow got you trying to figure out why the chicken crossed the road.

I’ve found my latest time-killer: Google’s Street View. I’ve been perusing the streets of Fremont, looking for people in the streets I may know, browsing blogs for funny images while trying to find some on my own, and finding myself like I was after a click frenzy on YouTube: hungry, and an hour behind on my work.

Last week Google announced its new street-level map view, allowing users to zoom in to the maps at street-level. Currently the feature includes the San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, Miami, and Denver areas. With the launch, many privacy issues arose. Many opponents think the images are too close and too private, which I agree with to a point, because some are legitimately creepy. And legible license plates? Too close for me.

I’m mostly amused. Yes, I do think it’s eerie that a Google van is driving around mysteriously somewhere (is it marked?) snapping photos and possibly catching private moments that will be published on the web for all to see. But, through my browse of the images today, it would seem that these private moments are mostly just being used on top 15 lists to humor the viral sphere temporarily. As Street View expands, I’m sure new privacy issues will come to light, but the future I envision is of people browsing the streets to find themselves or people they know doing funny things and plenty more Vote on the Best Urban Images blog posts.