Search Engine College fee increase delayed by 48 hours

Just a quickie – due to time constraints with the updating of our 2Checkout shopping cart with the new course fees, our course pricing increase has been delayed for 48 hours until midnight on January 31. The shopping cart will reflect new pricing as of 12.01am on Feb 1.

So  this means that for the next 48 hours, you can enroll at Search Engine College for 2008 prices!

It seems word has spread via Twitter too, we’ve had a record number of enrollments this month – more than in any previous months since we launched Search Engine College back in 2004.

Don’t be left out! Join the cool kids, enroll today and save.

Short Blog Break

Hey gang

Just a short post to let you know there’ll be a break in blog transmission for the next week. I’m off on a short vacation to Australia so won’t get much time to blog or even to get online (oh the horror!)

Keep the fires burning and I’ll be back in the big chair on January 30 with news of my travels.


Design our 2009 Search Engine College T-Shirt, win big!

What will Search Engine Colleges 2009 t-shirt look like?

Ok, so our 2008 Search Engine College t-shirts were somewhat, um… uninspiring. I blame the fact that I had only two hours to get a design in to our printing company in order to get the order filled before SMX Sydney.

Unfortunately, it showed. The free tees weren’t exactly jumping off the booth counter at the conference. Apart from the design being *yawn* boring, part of the problem was that conference attendees are either industry vets or skilled SEO staff who felt that wearing a “class of 2008” t-shirt might make them seem like industry newbies.

Now I’ve seen lots of witty and irreverent conference tshirt designs around the place and I know we can do better.  So this is where you guys come in. We are looking for some inspirational designs for our 2009 Search Engine College t-shirt. You can suggest a design within the comments of this blog and I’ll set up a poll for readers to vote for the winner some time next month.

The person behind the winning design will be announced on this blog and receive enrollment in a Certification Pathway of their choice at Search Engine College, plus a t-shirt sporting their design [plus a pass to SMX Sydney if they happen to be based in Oz – see below].

The winning design will be printed on our t-shirts scheduled for distribution to all attendees at SMX Sydney 2009. Any leftover shirts will be issued to students who graduate from our Certification Pathways in 2009.

Grab the blank tshirt front / back and the SEC logo and go play.

Competition rules are as follows:

1) Your design or slogan should be suggested within the comments of this blog. You can link to a design on your own site or simply suggest a slogan in your comment.

2) Designs need to work on a white tshirt and should be no more than 2 colors.

3) The SEC logo and/or URL should appear somewhere in the design (on the back is fine)

4) Keep it clean. Unfortunately, some conference attendees and some of our students, may be offended by the use of curse words. If you need to curse, use an asterisk to censor your design somewhat. (Grrrr, I know I know).

5) Apart from the restriction of 4) your design can be as witty and creative as you like.

6) Entries close on Friday 6 February 2009.

7) 5 finalists will be chosen by staff of Search Engine College and blog readers will be given the opportunity to vote for their favorite finalists via a poll to be announced the week commencing 9 February 2009.

8 ) The final design winner will be announced on Monday 16 February 2009.

Good luck all!

STOP PRESS : If the winner of the t-shirt design competition happens to live in Australia, the very generous Barry Smyth has kindly donated a free conference pass to SMX Sydney 2009 for her/him (see comments on this post). Thanks Barry!

STOP PRESS 2 : Because some people have expressed an interest in submitting a t-shirt design but need a little more time, we’ve decided to extend the design submission deadline until EDT midnight on Monday 9 February.

Nominated for a SEMMY

I’m feeling pretty chuffed today. I logged into WordPress this morning to learn that one of my posts on this blog has been nominated by my peers for a SEMMY. What the heck’s that you ask? The SEMMYS are annual awards honoring great content produced across the search and online marketing industry.

Yep, it seems enough of the judges liked my rant about MSNBC columnist Gene Marks to nominate it in the *rants* category. Sure, I wish some of my posts had made it to the more serious categories like SEO, PPC and stuff, but as Matt states on the About the SEMMYs page, they are really just for fun.

Anyway, if you like my rant and think it deserves to win the category, please vote for it when they open the voting next week. I’ll give you a heads up how and when you can do that. In the meantime, make sure you browse all the categories – it truly is a fantastic collection of the best blog posts in Search Engine Marketing from the past 12 months. And it’s an awesome resource for Search Engine College students so thanks Matt and team for putting it together.

Congrats to all my fellow SEMMY nominees!

Q and A: What are the search engine preferred limits for keyword density?

QuestionDear Kalena

I have been following you for some time now; your articles are awesome and I usually find in them the necessary info to boost my website. It has now a PR of 5 and is very reputed in its niche. We do not do business through it (only Google Adsense but it does not pay the rent); it is only an information service, but we are very happy with its performance.

The question is, I have been reading lately about keyword density, and I find the information a bit messy. In some articles a KD of 1-2% is recommended, while others advise for a KD of 8-12%, with anything in between (1-3%, 3-7%…). I reckon that Google has a narrower margin for this factor, and it does not like it to be higher than 4%.

I have been optimizing my pages for a KD of 1-5%, but if some authors recommend it to be between 8% and 12%, I feel that my entire work is useless!

You are one of the most reputable SEO specialists I read, and I have looked for your opinion on KD in previous articles but could not find a fringe you recommended. So I am asking desperately: Which are the preferred limits?

Oh, btw, I am buying you a cup of coffee. A big one!

Warm regards from snowy Spain,



Hi Marcela

Thanks for the generous donation to my coffee fund.

Regarding your question, you won’t find much from me about keyword density percentages, because I don’t place much faith in KD at all. I tend to go by my gut, but having been in this biz for 12 years I have a pretty good sense for what’s going to work and what isn’t. I have a benchmark of no more than 3 repetitions of a keyword or keyword phrase per optimized page, not including contractions or variations.

That said, I held a poll on Twitter to see what my peers do and many have the same attitude to KD that I do. Percentage responses ranged between 3 and 8 percent. Others said that it depends on:

  • the site niche
  • the search engine
  • the competition
  • the number of words on the page
  • the number of other pages optimized
  • keyword proximity and prominence

Personally, if I was you I would develop a few versions of your page that contains different density levels of your target keywords and run each one for a test period to see which one ranks better in Google.

Don’t forget that keyword density may impact the usability of your site and your conversion rate as well as your site’s search engine ranking. You could run an experiment using Google Website Optimizer to test which page version gets the best reaction from your target audience.