The 12 Days of Christmas Online Scavenger Hunt

santa-sackIt’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And what better way to kick off the holiday season than by receiving a Christmas present from Search Engine College?

All last week, we were tossing about ideas for how to gift our blog readers and members at Search Engine College in a fun and unique way this holiday season. We could have sent out an animated snowman card; we could have given out a boring discount coupon; or we could have had a one-day Black Friday sale that many people would have missed out on.

But this year, we’ve come up with something completely different. Presenting: the 12 Days of Christmas Online Scavenger Hunt!

How to Win

Every day for the first 12 days of December, we are giving away a 6 month subscription to Search Engine College. Each subscription includes access to ALL our online courses and training videos, as well as our exclusive discussion forums and industry discounts area. Each 6 month subscription is worth USD 594. That’s over $7,100 in prizes to be won!

All you have to do to win is be the first person to find the Christmas icon hidden somewhere on our web site at www.searchenginecollege.com. The icon will change daily and will look like one of the following:

xmas-icons-hunt
As soon as you spot the Christmas icon, simply tweet the page URL to us @secollege so we can verify and send you your prize. Make sure you follow us and use the hashtag #xmasscavengerhunt in your tweet. If you don’t have a Twitter account, simply post the URL and hashtag to our Facebook Wall, or our Google+ Page, or you can email the URL to us study [at] searchenginecollege [dot] com.

We will have a countdown banner at the top of every page on Search Engine College reminding you which icon you are looking for and how many hours/minutes/seconds you have left to find it. When someone has found the icon, the banner image will change to WINNER FOUND and the clock stopped until the next icon is posted. And NO, the banner icon does not count as a find – it must be within the page body ;-) . Also, category or tag archive pages don’t count. We need the individual post/page URL please.

There will be 12 winners in total (1 each day) and if the icon isn’t found one day, it will carry over to the next day until all prizes are won. If you win and are an existing paid member of Search Engine College, your free 6 month subscription will be tacked on to the end of your existing subscription.

We will send out clues to the icon’s location and announce our winners each day via Twitter, Facebook and Google+. If you are already on our mailing list, we will also email you a picture of the day’s icon in advance to give you a headstart.

Starts 1st December

As this competition is a global one, we have tried to plan the daily start time to suit as many timezones as possible. The fun kicks off at the following times:

  • New York (U.S.A.)  Sunday, 1 December 2013 at 5:00 p.m   EST  UTC-5 hours
  • Los Angeles (U.S.A.)  Sunday, 1 December 2013 at 2:00 p.m   PST  UTC-8 hours
  • London (United Kingdom)  Sunday, 1 December 2013 at 10:00 p.m   GMT  UTC
  • Sydney (Australia)  Monday, 2 December 2013 at 9:00 a.m   AEDT  UTC+11 hours
  • Wellington (New Zealand)  Monday, 2 December 2013 at 11:00 a.m   NZDT UTC+13 hours

So don’t miss out, – make sure you brush up on your searching skills in advance and join us for the scavenger hunt fun from December 1st.

Happy Holidays from Search Engine College!

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5 Must-Have Spreadsheets For Online Marketing Professionals

I_love_spreadsheets_hatAs an online marketing consultant and trainer for the past 15 years, I have used a LOT of online tools to help me do my job.

I’ve seen time-saving tools come and go in crazy peaks and troughs. I’ve also seen a few that have ridden the waves of consumer fascination to become permanent fixtures in the online marketer’s toolbox.

Below are 5 spreadsheet-based tools that I use myself or recommend on a regular basis:

1) Distilled’s MS Excel for SEOs – This Excel-based workbook is like a detailed instruction manual for SEOs on how to manipulate bulky data into logical form using Microsoft Excel. If you are an Excel wizard, you’ll love this tool. If not, you’ll probably need a week to wrap your head around the analysis, but it will be worth it – I promise.

2) HubSpot’s Blog Editorial Calendar Template – If you are a content curator or social media marketer, this template will save your life. It simplifies calendar-based content allocation and helps you prioritize content deadlines and build an annual strategy to meet multiple marketing campaign objectives.

3) Shimon Sandler’s PPC Campaign Kick-Off Template – this Excel template is quite a few years old now, but I still use it as a starting point when kicking off a new AdWords or Bing Ads campaign for a client. It helps you and your client to focus on the big picture objectives and build a unique campaign to suit specific requirements rather than implementing a cookie-cutter PPC campaign that needs tweaking to fit.

4) Google SEO Rank Checker Spreadsheet – a recent discovery, this customizable Google Docs template is all kinds of awesome. It includes a clever integration of ImportXML that allows you to collect at-a-glance keyword rankings on Google in real time.

5) Outspoken Media’s Link Building Spreadsheet – another Google Drive shared doc, this is a customizable template consisting of a gigantic list of link building strategies collated by Rhea Drysdale and her team at Outspoken Media.
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Search Industry Job of the Week – Creative Editor – Paid SEM Media

Job Title: Creative Editor – Paid SEM Media
Job Reference: Unknown
Position Type: full time
Name of employer: The Search Agency
Location: Los Angeles
Date Posted: 31 October 2013
Position description:

The SEM Creative Editor will be a company leader in creating, testing, and optimizing keywords and messaging for top-tier clients with the goal of maximizing reach, awareness, and new customer acquisition. They will be responsible for building organized account structures for top companies to ensure relevant ad copy appears for all available SERP queries. The Creative Editor is responsible for writing, testing, and reporting on all new SEM initiatives and taking charge of keyword development, organization, and analysis as it relates to the structure for presenting clients’ ads online.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Work closely with Account Managers, web experts, etc. to create unique and optimized search and display campaigns.
  • Develop and organize keywords into a strategic campaign structure that puts client ads in front of highly relevant online searchers.
  • Work creatively and analytically to change underperforming SEM initiatives by addressing issues with landing page relevance, quality score, and account structure.
  • Actively participate in meetings, training, and create tools to help optimize client SEM campaigns.
  • Ability to act quickly and proactively for client success in a deadline-driven environment.

Requirements:

The successfull candidate must have:

  • Recent SEM experience in an active online marketing environment.
  • Familiarity with AdWords Editor and UI as well as Bing UI and desktop tool.
  • Excellent knowledge of Microsoft Word and Excel as it relates to SEM account builds and optimization.
  • Knowledge of Enhanced Campaigns.
  • Great attention to detail and organization.
  • Intuitive/creative thinker.
  • Outstanding computer and online search skills.
  • Ability to function independently and as part of a team.
  • Adaptability to a changing environment quickly and easily.
  • Manage multiple assignments and prioritize work while meeting deadlines.
  • Resolve complex editorial challenges in a professional and timely manner.
  • Fun, smart, energetic people will move to the top of the candidate list.

Desired Skill Include:

  • Comfortable participating in meetings/trainings to improve account performance across multiple clients and services teams.
  • Excel template and tool creation to improve account structure and performance.
  • Excellent knowledge of third party industry tools used for tracking and reporting on key client metrics.
  • Experience with the Google DoubleClick management platform.

Compensation:

Market competitive salary
Equity opportunities

To Apply please send your resume and salary history to hr(at)thesearchagency(dot)com with “SEM Editor” in the subject line. Please no telephone calls or faxes. The Search Agency, Inc. is a EOE.

Salary range: Unknown
Closing date: Unknown
More info from: http://www.thesearchagency.com/join/careers.html
Contact: Send resumes via online form to: hr(at)thesearchagency(dot)com

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

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Students in 60 Countries Taught by Search Engine College

SEC-smiley-150x178Staff at Search Engine College did their own version of the Harlem Shake this week to celebrate reaching students in 60 countries worldwide.

The 60 country milestone was reached when a new student from Columbia took up our $99 subscription this week.

Since its inception in 2004, Search Engine College has set new industry standards for online training in the field of Search Engine Marketing and we are very proud to have produced over 1,500 happy graduates.

Here’s a list of countries / regions where our students to date are located :

USA
Australia
Germany
Finland
Italy
England (UK)
South Africa
Portugal
India
Sri Lanka
Iceland
West Africa
Canada
Jordan
Belgium
France
Philippines
Ireland
Austria
China
New Zealand
Argentina
Netherlands
Russian Federation
Hong Kong (China)
Czech Republic
Singapore
Vietnam
Greece
Barbados
Brazil
Croatia
Trinidad and Tobago
Mauritius
United Arab Emirates
Malta
Turkey
Sweden
Latvia
Kuwait
Norway
Dominican Republic
Montenegro
Spain
The Netherlands
Israel
Romania
Pakistan
Bulgaria
Mexico
Slovenia
Uraguay
Thailand
Scotland
Costa Rica
Cayman Islands (UK)
Syrian Arab Republic (Syria)
Egypt
Cyprus
Slovakia
Columbia

I wonder which country will be next?

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Google Targets Article Marketing, Guest Blogging & Press Releases in Link Scheme Definition Update

article-marketing-newIf you don’t pay regular attention to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, you might have overlooked it, but last month, Google made a significant change to their definition of link schemes.

The revised link scheme wording now cites the following as violating Google’s guidelines:

  •     Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links.
  •     Advertorials or native advertising where payment is received for articles that include links that pass PageRank.
  •     Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites.

Google also removed these examples from the link scheme guidelines:

  •     Linking to web spammers or unrelated sites with the intent to manipulate PageRank.
  •     Links that are inserted into articles with little coherence.

The changes are important in SEO circles, because article marketing, guest blog posts, advertorials and press release syndication are often key components of holistic SEO campaigns. Note in particular that “links with optimized anchor text” are mentioned specifically for the first time. Until fairly recently, the use of anchor text was considered a standard component of effective article writing and any on-page optimization.

With these changes, article syndication and press release optimization – unless implemented extremely carefully – may end up having a negative SEO impact on the very web sites they were intended to help.

In the wake of the changes, we took our Search Engine College Article Marketing course offline temporarily to check lesson content against the new guidelines and re-write any sections that may have been ambiguous.

If your SEO strategy uses any of these initiatives, I suggest taking a very close look at the revised Google Webmaster Guidelines and ensuring your implementation adheres to the revised policy.

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