Off to Sydney

Hi gang

Light blogging this week as I’m off to Sydney tomorrow in preparation for the SMX Sydney conference Thurs/Fri, where I’ll be live-blogging sessions for SiteProNews. If time allows, I’ll also post some coverage on this site.

Word has apparently spread about the impromptu Tweet Up I organized for tomorrow night and it looks like we’ll have close to 20 Twitterers coming along. If you’re going to be in North Sydney, feel free to join us!

If you want to track all the conference action, make sure you follow @smxsydney, @neerav and me (@kalena) on Twitter. I probably won’t have time to blog now until conference time, so catch you then.

Q and A: I want a career in SEM. Where should I start?

QuestionHello Kalena

I enjoyed reading your web site and blog today. I was recently laid off and am interested in pursuing the SEM field. Where would you recommend I start?

I have 30 years of marketing, public relations, broadcast production, journalism (newspaper columnist), publishing (owner/editor of niche market magazine)… plenty of transferable skills I think. I also developed two web sites, produced several radio and TV shows and through it all I have excellent copywriting and proofreader skills.

Thanks much! Wish I could meet you in Sydney!

Susan

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Hi Susan

First up, I think your idea to start a career in Search Engine Marketing is timely and sensible given the current economy and global demand for search marketing staff. Reading my article 11 Reasons Why You Should Consider a Job in Search Engine Marketing should get you fired up even more about the idea.

It sounds like you have a lot of skills that would translate nicely to a job in the Search Engine Marketing field. Journalism and copywriting especially will come in handy for writing blog posts and optimized page copy or PPC ads. But there is quite a technical side to SEO and PPC that you will need to study and gain experience in before you’re ready to take on client projects or apply for a job in the field.

There are plenty of SEM training options to get you prepared for the industry, including *cough* Search Engine College *cough*, but you should also start practising on your own sites and others as soon as possible. Hands-on experience is essential to competency in the field.

Best of luck and do pop back and let us know how you get on. If you do happen to get to SMX Sydney, make sure you say hello.

Congratulations Search Engine College Graduates

On behalf of the tutors and staff at Search Engine College, I’d like to offer congratulations to our most recent graduates:

Search Engine Optimization 101

  • Dennis Estrella
  • Kristen Panice
  • Richard Kempthorne
  • Cheryl Ambruch
  • Willy Yao
  • Shaila Jaffer
  • Kasi Ehlers
  • Daniel Brackett
  • Nancy Morton
  • Paul Bloomer
  • Tracy Wood
  • Cy Khormaee
  • Neil Murtagh
  • Brant Reed
  • Kimberly Miller
  • Julie Chaloner

Search Engine Optimization 201

  • Jim Gardiner
  • Rabeyya Imran
  • Willy Yao
  • Cheryl Ambruch
  • Joy Agorh
  • Dennis Estrella
  • Daniel Brackett
  • Cy Khormaee
  • Kasi Ehlers
  • Richard Kempthorne
  • Brant Reed
  • Carel Meyer
  • Gabby Melchiorre
  • Julie Chaloner
  • Tracy Wood
  • Adrian Hibbs


Pay Per Click Advertising 101

  • Heather Winthrop
  • Kasi Ehlers
  • Jena Pittmon
  • Cheryl Ambruch
  • Rabeyya Imran
  • Daniel Brackett
  • Brant Reed
  • Cy Khormaee


Pay Per Click Advertising 201

  • Sin Kuen Cheng
  • Dennis Estrella
  • Heather Winthrop
  • Jena Pittmon

Web Site Copywriting 101

  • Jena Pittmon
  • Willy Yao
  • Courtney Gager
  • Heather Winthrop
  • Kimberly Miller


Article Marketing & Distribution 101

  • Svetlana Timareva
  • Lily Popova
  • Cy Khormaee

Certified Search Engine Optimizer

  • Willy Yao
  • Sin Kuen Cheng
  • Dennis Estrella
  • Daniel Brackett

Certified Search Engine Marketer

  • Heather Winthrop
  • Jena Pittmon

Well done everyone! Please contact your tutor if you have completed your certification course but don’t see your name above, or if you haven’t yet received your hard copy certificate, Status Page or certification seal.

Also, don’t forget to join the Search Engine College Alumni on Facebook and follow our Twitter profile @secollege for College announcements such as lesson updates, press releases, new courses, events and milestones.

Dumbass of the Week: Google

At first, I was delighted to see Google’s new logo (pictured) when I logged into Google New Zealand today. After all, the logo is designed by Eric Carle, author of my son’s favorite book The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

I thought maybe the logo was in celebration of the book’s 40th anniversary. But instead the logo IMG Attribute reads “First Day of Fall” and links to a Google search results page for that phrase.

Nothing wrong with that you say? Sure. If you happen to live in North America where the term *Fall* is almost exclusively used. Here in the Southern Hemisphere and other parts of the world, we use the term *Autumn* to describe the season that transitions Summer to Winter. Heck, even if you look up the term Fall on Wikipedia it takes you to their definition of Autumn.

If you look at the actual search results that the logo links to, they’re not even relevant to the Southern Hemisphere. They all discuss the first day of Fall as it applies to North America or else the March Equinox. According to Twitter buddy Roy Britten, they didn’t even get the Autumn Equinox date right. As Massey University states, Autumn Equinox occurs tomorrow, March 21.

Now if today had been the first day of *Fall* in the Northern Hemisphere and Google had used that logo, I would have overlooked the matter. But to produce a special logo for their regional sites that has no relevance to persons who actually use those sites screams cultural insensitivity to me. Am I wrong?

For a company that boasts so many employees with MBAs and PhDs, this is an embarrassment. That’s why I’m crowning Google: DUMBASS OF THE WEEK.

From the corporate page of Google New Zealand:

“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

I think they left two words off the end of that sentence: “to Americans”.

Update 1: According to Twitter buddy Alan Perkins, Google.co.uk is also sporting a Eric Carle logo, with the alt text reading “First day of Spring”. Click on the logo and you’ll be taken to Google search results for that phrase, with the first listing announcing March 1 being the first day of Spring. Huh? Seems there is some confusion over the official date that Spring starts and Vernal Equinox. But don’t worry, Google has overuled that.

Update 2: I must have more influence than I thought. Mike Cochrane just informed me that Google New Zealand has CHANGED their alt tag to read “First Day of Autumn”. Good onya Google! Would be nice to see a “we were wrong” post though.

Update 3: Apparently, Google New Zealand made the change after noticing the error early this morning (see comments below left by Annie Baxter of Google NZ). Riiigggghhht. Well I’m just glad it’s fixed.

Update 4: Just spotted by Twitter user RiddlerMusic, the caterpillar logo used on Google.co.uk now links to search results for Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar instead of “First day of Spring”. The logo alt text remains the same and other regional domains still link to the Spring/Autumn SERPs. Perhaps this is due to the confusion over the official start date of the Vernal Equinox as mentioned above. Coincidence? Hmmmm

Q and A: I heard you gave Jesus advice about target keywords?

QuestionDear Kalena

I must say that I do enjoy your blogs very much. As a fairly new Web Marketer, it really helps me. My question is with regards to attributing keywords to each page on my website. Since my site is international, it makes it a little more difficult. Actually, I have a few questions for you:

1) What is the best way for me to go about generating these keywords?

2) Is there a limit to the number of keywords to be introduced on each web-page?

3) Is it wise to optimize each web-page with keywords?

4) Are there any good tools you would recommend?

Kindest regards

Anandi

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Hi Anandi

I’m glad I could help. Answers to your questions are below:

1) Come up with an initial seed list of keywords and phrases that you think your target market would type into a search engine to find your product or service. Then ask your friends, your family, your customers, your work colleagues and complete strangers what *they* would type in. Then add plurals, contractions, similes, misspellings and regional qualifying terms, if relevant. Build up that seed list until you have at least 100 keywords/phrases and variations. Then use a keyword research tool (see 4) to dig for more and streamline your list to include only those that will bring you worthwhile traffic.

2) This depends on a lot of factors, many of which are covered in this post. I generally aim for 3 or 4 keywords/phrases per page.

3) Yes, absolutely.

4) Please see the advice I gave to Jesus (how often do you get to say *that*?) regarding the best keyword research tools.