Marketing at WebmasterWorld

So day 2... I slept through a good bit of it due to Bourbon Street blues. Lots of fun down there, but the smell is sorta weird.

Barry apparently was blogging all day while I took a nap. I was thinking of some of the non SEO marketing that was going on.

Size of Conference:
I think I overheard Brett Tabke say there are about 1,100 people at the conference. I believe there were around 800 people at the last one. Some of my friends have booths and said the conference is slow and some said the conference is going good. Food at the booths is key.

PR Web has buttons with numbers on them. There are three matching sets out of a ton of buttons. If you find your matching number you win a few hundred dollars. Fairly cheap good viral type marketing there.

Lots of that going on.

as a big eater :) I notice food often. Nobody at any of the booths had any food. They might just be feeding tire kickers, but someone should have food at their booths for those hungover people who have not yet ate.

I think DaveN had different spam shirts on each of the 1st two days.

Where to Spam: Meet the Engineers:
Google had a meet the engineers session. A different engineer sat at each table and fielded various questions. People were on some of them like hawks and the accoustics in the room were not good. Demand sorta outstripped supply, but some of the engineers also took time to chat in the bar afterwords, which was good on them.

I got 3 sites manually reviewed and booted from Google while asking questions. I am joking, but one of my buddies said some people were asking specific questions about their own casino URLs. Not a good idea IMHO. Those of my friends who did talk to the engineers said the SEO answers were usually a bit generic.

As time passes Google is making SEO harder and harder and advertising easier and easier. If you heard any cool nuggets today you would want to share please post them in the comments.

Collectors Item:
Google had good food and gave away huricane glasses that change color when you hit the bottom of them. So long as I do not break it before I get home I will give one away on this blog soon.

Google AdWords coupon status:
They appear to be a bit harder to get than in the past. I have grabbed one $100 coupon so far. I will continue to try to grab more as time passes. Here is the redemption code of the first one: 304555452508. It is for new accounts only. Of course whoever reads this first and redeems it first wins it, and if you tried it and it was already redeemed please comment on the blog.

Name Tags:
Most name tags say

mine says
Aaron Wall
Aaron Wall
Aaron Wall

I can't tell you how many people have loudly asked me why I was not putting SEO on my name tag. I like not taking myself seriously, and when people ask that they help market my site. hehehe.

I also liked Shak's dot communist tag :)

I am usually a bit quiet and reserved in person (perhaps due to a bit of social anxiety from not leaving the house as much as I should). I find it cool how many people have said hi and chatted with me.

It is also interesting meeting people in person. Sometimes you guess them perfectly, and sometimes people are way different on and off the web.

Test Sites:
Many of the best SEOs use a variety of sites to collect algorithmic feedback. By running your own sites of various size and quality you can help grab a ton of market research data about what the search engines are doing, of course some people tend to find facts that match what they want to prove.

Converging Business Models:
It is interesting to talk to various people and learn how business models at different companies are converging.

Peaceful Coexistence - Writing for the Engines & the Web

Brief review of WebmasterWorld conference writing for engines and the web session.

Ted Ulle:
He stated that many websites fail because they are not built in a focused order. He likes to focus on each of these issues,
in this order

  • business goals & seo strategy

  • get a pile of raw content - get rough content groups
  • tracking system - define success and build a system to track how well you are doing
  • information architecture - sorts using ideas on index cards. make it easy for people to do what you want them to. do not give more than 5 equavalent choices because it gets to be hard to chose. He also recommended the book Information Architecture.
  • graphics & design
  • tweak content - especially the calls to action

he said navigation is an important part of content and advancing algorithms such as latent semantic indexing means there is no neeed to
over focus on a phrase

he recommends checking server headers monthly to ensure nothing has changed

Jennifer Slegg:
She spoke mainly about duplicate content problems.

The main ways to check are to copy and past a chunk of text from the middle of your page copy into a search engine or use a tool like
CopyScape. If your content has been copied you could send a cease & decist or send a DMCA to
Google, Yahoo!, and their hosting company.

Ted said that pages which added at least 1 outbound link to related pages on other sites on each page tended to rank far better than
sites which were greedy with their link popularity.

Duplication filters are working down to paragraph level. Original duplicant content filter for Google was made by an intern who placed his
thesis online about 3 yrs ago...its no longer online.

Theme Master is a tool for looking at LSI related information.

WebmasterWorld Competitive Intelligence

Brief review of Webmasterworld Competitive Analysis panel. Bill Tancer:
from HitWise

Went through traffic interception and search seasonality information using HitWise.

HitWise starts at about $20,000 a year. Keyword Intelligence is a cool tool they are coming out with that is cheaper.

Joseph Morlin:
SEO trivia nugget: he was a private investigator for 12 years

write scripts to discount affiliate links if their affiliate codes URLs are ranking where your site would be


new webmasters use real WhoIs information
intermediate uses an anonymizer
advanced fake some of their WhoIs


goes through social engineering...

  • pose as someone fake (like internet fraud prevention / survey / panel)

  • ask a confusing question or a question that does not matter (do you do online transactions for over $100,000)
  • ask the real questions (do you have any other sites)

track and log weird referals that might be competitors

  • link: visitors

  • visitors from WhoIs source
  • people searching for allinanchor:
  • people from sites on known open proxies
  • etc

screwing with competitors

  • serve them a 403

  • serve them their own site
  • serve them porn or annoying midi's

It is worth learning programming, and anything that is publicly available may not be worth using for one reason or another.

also someone mentioned BlogPulse

Niche Marketing: One-Page Wonders and Microsites

Brief coverage of the webmasterworld conference niche marketing panel.
Ted Ulle:
The power of long copy...people either leave with a back button or a buy button. Direct mail showed longer copy works better.

split test your niche sites
80% to your historical best
20% to your test version

  • The people who are actually going to put the effort into reading long copy are the most qualified prospects.

  • You should write to your BEST prospect, not necissarily to the largest audience. (My sales letter is lacking, and out of guilt I will make it much better soon.)
  • As you widen your targets you lose your best prospects.
  • Talks about The Tipping Point, and the effects of viral marketing by targeting your most targeted leads
  • Talks abut how targeted the copywriting on the MailLoop salesletter is.
  • Telling a story in first person is a strong sales technique. You want prospects to visualize the happiness and enjoyment your product will bring them.
  • Typeset is important (For example I know I should change the font type on my testimonials to something like Courier New or a newspaper looking )
  • create a rhythem of small agreements, and then the final agreement or purchase is much easier to make.

recommended books & authors:

Chris Raimondi:
Where to get ideas for niches:
don't throw away junk mail
look at one of the search sites that shows searches as they happen

for small niches sometimes the best way to test is just to put a page up and see what happens

control your visitors before they see your site

asx (I need to find a link) is free software which lets you check your site visitors in real time. customize your content to match their setup focusing on the selling points that work well for them

after people visit an adult site he gives them a popunder, using how would your boss feel about you looking at adult sites during the day and how would your family feel about you looking at adult sites during the night is a good resource

Talks about eye tracking. Usually people ignore things that look like a banner or the top banner area. back when Chris ran banner farms the second banner position would bet more clicks than the top one.

Jeff Libert:
buys many long targeted domain names for type in traffic. may put sites on them down the road. buys various versions of a URL. they are cheap, and in expensive categories a few clicks a year pays for the cost of it.

pay attention to related areas and emerging technologies to make your business model futre proof

do inventory of things you enjoy.

don't register trademark domains.

recommeds Moniker

type in traffic also shields you from algorithm shifts

ChrisR gave the example of hearing a person on TV say something like bring back the porn and registered the domain. it pays for itself daily.

lawsuits can be in other areas. the privacy of a hidden domain registration does not protect you against laws. it also might be held against you to make you look even more suspicious or troubling if you are sued for the site.

for search engine love register domains for at least 3 years. use real information on your domains. even if it is not your own details make sure that the phone number and related data work.

Webmaster World New Orleans Pubcon - John Battelle Keynote

John helped found Wired. In 1994 the first comercial banner ad was placed on Wired. He also founded The Industry Standard. Went back to Berkley after the Industry Standard business model stopped working in 2001. While the market was doing bad he noticed Google and Overture was doing well and started SearchBlog. He started Web 2.0 conference. About a year and a half ago became the ban manager of Boing Boing. Publishing Costs at Blogs vs Magazines:
Boing Boing most linked to blog. 600,000 monthly unique visitors. Only cost about $1,200 in marketing to get to that level. The Industry Standard cost about $25 million to get to 500,000.

Web 2.0 vs Web 1.0:
More potential now than in the past with a Web OS.

Great Web 2.0 companies...

  • are build on the architecture of participation &

  • leverage work of other people and run lightweight business

Search & Web 2.0

  • Talked about the power of the tail.

  • Search drives most of the action in Web 2.0.
  • Search has large cultural impact which most of us do not yet appreciate.
  • Cited Piper Jaffrey data on growth of search and how the cost per lead was less than half of any other channel.
  • 59% of money in search comes from other marketing budgets
  • CTR on paid search ads increases on longer search terms.
  • New media models were not that new. Get subscribers and attach ads to it.
  • Where search is different than most web publishing is that audience places intent before content with search, instead of buying a proxy of intent with normal ad purchases.
  • Talks about the Point to economy. If people point at you, your site ranks better and people find your site.
  • Publishers thought search was bad because they viewed search as stealing their content.
  • a while ago on his blog he posted From Pull to Point: How to Save The Economist and The Journal from Irrelevance
  • Defamer has much more linkage data than since it is easier to link to, and thus is growing faster.
  • Business models that do not accept the new point to economy will continue to fall behind.

Old vs New:
He compared old media to new media, saying newer media has lower customer acqisition costs, healthy profits, and minimal lockin. The lack of lockin makes people have to keep working hard to keep their visitors.

Publishing Synergy:
Publications have three main things:

  • publishers

  • marketer
  • audience

A good marketer adds to the conversation. The synergy of the conversation between the three are what drive the success of a publishing business.

A Market Opportunity:
The authors of well known blogs are industry leaders because people decide to give them their attention. A good blogger is an editor / filter. The biggest difference between blogs and most media is a more direct connection with the audience. Technorati tracks over 10,000,000 blogs.

Many of the best blogs are not the best publishers. Many are created around interest, and not necissarily profit driven.

He talked about Google site targeted branding AdSense ads. Mine are showing on SearchBlog when I just checked :)

AdBrite allows publishers to chose to accept ads prior to listing them. He feels that is important and something the AdSense model missed out on.

John's new Federated Media publishing funded last week.

He wants his new FM Publishing idea to help be an independant fourth item between marketers, authors, and audience. Their goal is to get 10 to 20 high quality publishing partners in each industry.

A while ago I remember writing a few posts about why I did not think something like scaled well, which is the same way John thinks. By not owning the content, it can scale, since FM are partners with the channels, and make the channels easy to buy without needing to worry about the editorial scaling inhouse. To me this is the exact reason why being independant is a better SEO business model than getting wrapped up in a large company, and resonates well with Seth Godin's recent small is the new big.

The Plane Takes Off in Less than an Hour... Need to Pack, Quick

I am going to WMW New Orleans conference. So is Yahoo! Search. They just issued a weather report saying there will be a major Yahoo! Search index change tonight and that it is going to be humid in New Orleans.

I may do some review stuff or I may not. Depends on the motivation factor and how much time I spend in the speech areas. I want to maybe set aside a bit of time to interview a few people if I can while I am down there.

I think one thing my ebook is lacking is that it is all wrote from my opinion or perspective, this is a good thing in that it means it is not huckster upsell upsell lock-in upsell upsell, but it is also bad because others have experiences I could / should be sharing. My experience is somewhat diverse, but I have only been in the game for a few years. Interviewing a few key SEO players could make the voice of my ebook much more diverse. And so I will. More on that later. :)

ThreadWatch Stansted Pics & Edinburgh SEO Roadshow Reminder

Stansted Pics:
Watch Aaron sleep, & many other pics. I am very photogentic while tired, or maybe not.

In London I got to enjoy eating some pan king, and as Mick G can attest, thats not something everyone gets to do.

It was cool getting to meet everyone.

It has to be said:
yuck. Lots0 is once again right on the money.

Hopefully he will be attending Edinburgh, although a friend has warned me that the town sucks.

2005 SEO Conferences, Gatherings, & Bar Meetings

ThreadWatch in 6 weeks, weekend of the 28th May, in Stansted. Right before SES London.

DG's First Annual Backyard Bash is August 20-21st, in Prospect, Tennessee

WMW World of Search is June 21-24, in New Orleans

SEO Roadshow is Saturday 10th of September, in Edinburgh

Apparently SES is going to be held nearly everywhere.

We are tentatively planning a French edition of SES for Paris this fall. We already run SES in Sweden (October), England (June) and Germany (April). Plans are also afoot to run a one-day mini-SES in Milan in the fall.

We had tentatively announced a Beijing, China show in June, but we could not line up all the pieces to run the event this year. However, we have a plan for a new effort for May 2006.

I just returned from 9 days in Europe and leave on Monday for Tokyo, Japan and Sydney, Australia. I will be working on JupiterImage projects in both countries, but will take in the SES Japan show on April 20th.

For the true tech geek you may also want to look at the Document Space Workshop At Ucla's Ipam being held next January

Lots of Various Links

Spainish Ask Jeeves

Lycos to use AlmondNet to target contextual ads

Who Owns Culture?
Webcast at 7pm Eastern tonight. Steven Berlin Johnson is one of my favorite writers, and he will be chatting with Jeff Tweedy and Lawrence Lessig.

Like Search Research?
DG's Desk links to a bunch of research papers.

this looks like a cool new blog about eBay, but why not spend the $8 /yr to buy a static domain name?

also, Gawker media lagunched Sploid. I think they come up with some pretty cool names.

Try Again:
Google alternate searches being tested? that or spyware...

Gel Conference:
April 28-29, 2005 New York City. Looks pretty cool.

of MSN Search.

Across the Ocean:
apparently in the UK Online ad spend trumps airwaves

A Good Blog:
about social, legal, and economic issues.

Dirty Words:
Marcia. hehehe

Paris Hilton:
still looking for that video? view the Paris Hilton porncast podcast. you KNOW stuff is overhyped when a megacorp has Paris doing something.

Yahoo! Shopping:
rss feeds

AOL tries to be undead, launching a VoIP service. pricing structure hosed from the word go?

Newspapers Invest into, BlowSearch, Google Bomb for Sale, Blog Spammer Letter, SEO Chat SEO Conference?

In the News:
Knight Ridder, Tribune and Gannett take a stake in With NYT recently purchasing it is clear that newspapers are starting to wake up to the online world.

May have launched a new product that "blows"?

You have to respect how quickly they commented on it though. I wonder why more of the small PPC search engines are not actively monitoring their brands and replying to what people say about them.

I'm Feeling Lucky:
Google Bomb for sale. so many creative ideas come to mind.
found on SE Roundtable.

Dear Diary:
Letter from a blog spammer. As long as the algorithms require it people will do it.

SEO Conferences to become the new SEO forum?
SEO Chat is thinking about holding an SEO conference. I can't see the conference medium becoming as saturated as the forum medium with all the associated costs and constraints, but there surely are a good number of conferences.