Are you going to the Sydney Search Marketing Expo 2012?

SMX Sydney 2012Long term readers of this blog will know that I’m a regular attendee of the Search Marketing Expo conference series. The Sydney show always draws a big crowd and impressive speakers and I love having the opportunity to mingle with fellow SEO geeks who understand what I’m talking about when I mention things like URL canonicalization.

Due to the earthquake here in Christchurch last February and the following work/life upheaval, I missed out on attending last year’s Sydney conference. But it’s almost that time of year again and I’m very much looking forward to being part of this year’s event.

Whether you are new to search marketing or a veteran, if you live in Australia or New Zealand, the Search Marketing Expo 2012 is well worth the attendance fee. Now in its sixth year, the event covers all levels, from newbies right up to experienced search marketers, with several events running at the same time under the umbrella banner of the Online Marketer Expo & Conference Series. Here’s a run-down of the individual events:

SMX Sydney is the main event, designed for online marketer practitioners with mid to high level experience (no basics sessions!). This event is designed to help you learn how to measure and increase website value and online marketing results. SMX Sydney requires a skill level in SEO or PPC o at least 2-3 years on the job experience.

The SEO Marketer Workshop (SEO Elite) is designed for persons with at least 5 years experience in SEO. The content in these sessions is of a highly advanced and technical nature and is suitable for hard core SEO practitioners.

Online Marketer Bootcamp is designed for newbies and those with an entry level knowledge. At Online Marketer Boot Camp, you’ll learn the fundamentals of search engine optimisation, pay per click advertising, social media and email marketing.

eMetrics Marketing Summit is designed to help you learn about the techniques and tools to guide your Marketing departments efforts to streamline customer acquisition, conversion and retention to make more, spend less and increase customer satisfaction.about the optimisation of marketing, NOT how to do marketing. eMetrics is primarily for Marketing Managers, Web Analyst or Business Intelligence experts.

The Mobile Marketer Workshop is suited to persons with at least 1-2 years experience in online marketing looking to increase their skill levels in mobile and tablet based marketing. The content in this event is of an intermediate level and not suitable for beginners.

The Email Marketer Workshop is a new addition to the conference line up for 2012. This workshop is suited to persons with at least 1-2 years experience in online marketing looking to increase their skill levels in email marketing. The content in this event is of an intermediate level and not suitable for beginners.

The Social Marketer Workshop is another new addition to the conference line up for 2012. This workshop is suited to persons with at least 1-2 years experience in online marketing looking to increase their skill levels in social media marketing. The content in these sessions is of an intermediate level and not suitable for beginners.

As well as all these amazing sessions, there’s a harbour cruise on the Tuesday night. So if you haven’t already got your pass, better get in quick and choose your pass option.

See you there!

Q and A: How Do I Convince an SEO Client to Start from Scratch?

QuestionHello Kalena,

I don’t know if you remember me or not from last year, but I’m a graduate of Search Engine College and I’ve now launched my own SEO business, though it’s going very slow, just out of the gate. Great potential in my small town within Colorado USA, but still trying to gain momentum being a new business.

Anyway, here’s my dilemma and subsequent question.

Recently when talking with a potential client, he informed me that he wanted to give one my business cards to his wife. He said she would definitely contact me regarding her own website which is in need of SEO. He was right, she did contact me and I met with her for an initial visit to discuss matters. I’m not quite sure how to break it to her that she might be better just scrapping her site and starting over! On her site I’ve found aspx, iframes, javascript, tables, nested tables, php, hidden items as well as excessive and duplicate code bloat on every single page, which I think is due to a .dll pulling from another site for her search field feature! Please help, because her husband is the executive director of another company in our town who could be a potential huge client for me.

I don’t want to offend her and be the recipient of a trickle effect for lost work. I typically don’t divulge my clients or the issues involved, but this case requires professional input and therefore I must provide you the info: http://www.clientsite.com [Actual URL hidden for privacy reasons]. My suggestion would be to design a new, optimized site using WordPress and then use a robot.txt file for her Products page and only have the search field on that page since she has over 800 products, am I right? How would you handle this client tactfully and would you use the same remedy? Any suggestions would be immensely appreciated, thank you in advance Kalena.

Sincerely,

Angela

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Hi Angela

Lovely to hear fom you and congrats on launching your SEO business.

Regarding your question, it can be a bit tricky giving advice to potential clients when you’ve looked at their site and it’s a SEO nightmare. Often, you know it is going to be easier for them to wipe the slate and start again, but convincing them of this can be extremely difficult!

With SEO, what I recommend you do is to ALWAYS go with your gut. If you are performing a site analysis and there are more ticks in the *negative* column than the *positive* one, you should absolutely not fear recommending a new start to a client – whether they are a big or small potential client, they are asking for your advice and you should give it to them honestly, without fear. If you explain to them the reasoning behind your recommendation and they trust you, they should have no problem taking your advice. If they baulk at the idea or refuse to discuss it as an option, they are probably not a good match for you as a SEO client anyway. You want to take on clients who trust you to know what you are doing, welcome your advice and encourage you to educate them along the way.

Here are a couple of tips you can use to help convince a potential new client to start over:

1) A site analysis or SWOT report that points out the many negatives of the current design and the many positives of shifting to a new design.
2) A graphical mock up of the new site you have in mind (e.g. using a WordPress theme or similar)
3) A ranking report that shows how poorly they rank for target keywords against their major competitors.
4) Take them through Google’s Webmaster Guidelines – a list of recommendations as to the best way to design pages so they are found more easily.

It’s hard to argue with someone when the truth is staring them in the face!

Now, in the specific site you are referring to – there are quite a few SEO issues to be addressed, including the many you brought up yourself. There is also huge SEO potential in the site that is not being utilized. For example:

  • All your client’s product categories are database driven *dynamic* pages generated on the fly based on multiple search parameters instead of stand-alone hard coded pages. So while humans see the pages: http://www.clientsite.com/search.php?product=ducks&catnum=291 and http://www.clientsite.com/search.php?product=caps&catnum=143 as separate pages, search engines will usually only index http://www.clientsite.com/search.php and ignore the parameters following.
  • Best case scenario, Google might index URLs containing single parameters, but your client’s pages are stuffed with multiple parameters. Google highlights multiple parameters as problematic in their Webmaster Guidelines. This means that hundreds of pages of product content are likely not being indexed by search engines. I see your client has a XML sitemap that consists of a number of those dynamic pages, but that’s pointless if they are ignored or can’t be indexed.
  • If you conduct a site search in Google for the URL: site:http://www.clientsite.com, you’ll see that – as suspected – only about 12 pages on your client’s site are indexed. What a lost opportunity! Imagine if all product category pages were stand-alone, keyword-optimized pages such as http://www.clientsite.com/products/rubber-ducks/ and http://www.clientsite.com/products/caps-hats/ etc? To address this, your client could use WordPress to create static product pages or, at the very least, implement a parameter work-around to turn the dynamic pages into static URLs and add them to her sitemap, which will encourage deep content indexing.
  • Another major issue is that when you click on some product types within a category page, you are taken to a completely different web site (the dll issue you found). On second look, it seems that much of the product content for this site is actually being fetched from http://www.thirdpartysite.com and presented in iframes on the http://www.clientsite.com site. If the third party product company own the product content, it may be problematic for your potential client to re-design their site from scratch. But it would certainly be worth looking into. Product specific content on your client’s site would make great SEO content if optimized well. Sadly, the way the content is currently being presented means that the third party site gets all the benefit of link popularity, TrustRank and SEO while your client’s site gets none.

Anyway, those are just a couple of major issues I spotted. You sound like you know exactly the best way forward for this client so all that remains is for you to convince her.

Good luck and let us know what happens.

Kalena

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Search Industry Job of the Week – Marketing Campaign Strategist

Job Title: Marketing Campaign Strategist
Job Reference #: Unknown
Position Type: full time
Name of employer: Telogis
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Date Posted: 2 April 2012
Position description:

Telogis is one of the fastest growing tech companies in the world operating in a fast-paced and exciting industry. But they need help spreading the word, and letting everyone know about the green technology they provide mobile workforces around the globe. As the Campaign Marketer you’ll be creating and publishing finely-crafted messages through various online and offline channels to raise awareness of Telogis technology to their target markets. This is ‘feel-good’ marketing, knowing that you’re helping fleets around the world reduce their carbon footprint, increase efficiency, and helping the mobile economy work smarter, and with less impact on the environment.

This full-time position is based in their Christchurch, New Zealand office. This modern building is home to their thriving R&D centre and enjoys all the perks one would expect in a Web 2.0 company including multiple coffee machines, free food and catered lunches on Monday, along with a competitive remuneration package. Sounds like you? Don’t delay get your application in today!

What will you be doing?

Good question! They’ve listed a few tasks you’ll be responsible for, but there may be other assignments arising from time to time (they like to keep things interesting!).

  • Copywriting – Creating new content for web or print, or fine-tuning existing text
  • SEO tasks to help bring visibility to Telogis solutions world wide
  • PPC management
  • Blog posts on various topics related to their industry
  • Social media monitor & feed
  • Bonus points if you have a feel for great design

What superpowers will I need?

None. While they think superpowers are cool, they know they don’t exist in the real world. There are some special skills that will be very handy however.

I can write – This is one skill they need to be razor sharp. It’s not just about forming complete sentences; it’s about using words to do amazing things. Craft succinct messages for different audiences using different channels. Use your word-arranging powers to inform, entertain, and persuade. Write to strict specifications including tight word limits for online ads. Your writing is creative, fun but also grammatically accurate.

I’m comfortable using online tools – They’re a SaaS company so it makes sense we use a lot of online tools. Whether it’s Google Docs or AgileZen we work in the cloud so hopefully you’re not afraid of heights!

I can happily edit in HTML – they edit their websites in HTML. While you don’t need to be a qualified web developer, having a knowledge of HTML tags and how they work is a definite advantage.

I’m passionate about guarding the “brand” – A key cornerstone of effective marketing is brand consistency. Their marketing team is built on understanding their core messages and values, as well as design aesthetics. They need people who are passionate about making sure everything they publish meets those high standards.

I understand how SEO works – How much do you know about SEO? They employ fundamental SEO principles to make sure their web marketing is effectively promoted and gains maximum exposure in all the main search engines.

I’m happy to learn new skills – They work in a fast-paced environment that changes quickly and raises new challenges that need to be tackled – can you adapt and learn new skills in a snap?

I can put in 110% when I need to – Their world is dynamic and they need team players who can work in with the natural ebb and flow of moving deadlines or tight timeframes. They’re flexible and their staff are too.

If you think you tick all the boxes, then don’t hang about – they want to hear from you!

Salary range: Unknown
Closing date: Unknown
More info from: http://careers.telogis.com/jobs/marketing-campaign-specialist/
Contact: Send resumes via online form: http://careers.telogis.com/jobs/apply/985/

For more search industry job vacancies, or to post a vacancy, visit Search Engine College Jobs Board.

2012 Social Media Demographics: An Infographic

I know not everyone is a fan of infographics, but I love them. Sure, they’ve been done to death at conferences and meetings, but nothing beats an eye-catching graphic to quickly highlight important data within complex statistics.

Today I was searching online for the latest social media usage statistics to incorporate into a presentation I am giving and I stumbled upon this brilliant infographic put together by OnlineMBA.com.

Click on the image for a larger view:

Here are the highlights:

Social Media Usage:

  • More than 66%of adults online in America are connected to one or more social media platforms.
  • 67% of Americans use social media to stay in touch with their friends.
  • 64% of Americans use social media to stay in touch with family.
  • 50% of Americans use social media to reconnect with old friends.

Facebook:

  • Facebook has 845 million active users.
  • The average Facebook user has 130 friends.
  • The average Facebook visit lasts 23 minutes.
  • 46% of Facebook users are over the age of 45.
  • 57% of Facebook users are female (43% male).
  • 57% of Facebook users report having been to “some college” (24% bachelors or graduate degree).
  • 47% of Facebook users report making between $50,000 – $99,000 annually (33% between $25,000 – $49,999).

Twitter:

  • Twitter has 127 million active users.
  • 13% of Internet users also use Twitter.
  • 33% of Twitter users are over the age of 45.
  • 54% of Twitter users use Twitter on their mobile devices.
  • 36% of Twitter users tweet at least once a day.
  • The average visit on Twitter lasts for 14 minutes.
  • 59% of Twitter users are female (41% male).

Google+:

  • Google+ has had 90 million unique visitors.
  • Google+ users are 71% male.
  • The most common occupation of a Google+ user is an engineer.
  • 44% of Google+ users are “single”.

Pinterest:

  • Pinterest has had 21 million unique visits.
  • The top two locations for Pinterest users are Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee.
  • The top interests of Pinterest users are crafts, hobbies, interior design and fashion.
  • 82% of Pinterest users are female (18% male).
  • The average Pinterest visit lasts 17 minutes.

LinkedIn:

  • LinkedIn has 150 million registered users.
  • 75% of LinkedIn users use it for business purposes.
  • There are 2 million companies on LinkedIn.
  • 50% of LinkedIn users have a bachelors or graduate degree.

So as suspected, Facebook users are the biggest time wasters. Puts a new perspective on the value of Facebook advertising though, doesn’t it?