Wednesday, May 23, 2007

WebMama's Best of Optimized Site Award: SEO at its Best.

I really, really enjoy finding a website that employs SEO best practices. On a regular basis I plan on awarding these sites the WebMama True SEO Merit Award. The first recipient of the WebMama True SEO Site Merit Award is a rare find; they are in the travel business where SEO spam abounds.

The winner is: WWW.IRISHTOURISM.COM

The TITLE tag says it all - Ireland Tours - Vacations in Ireland - Escorted Coach Tours - Ireland Packages. Short and to the point. Other SEO Best Practices: superb internal linking, text-based content and links, sitemap, relevant linking out, a visually pleasing and easy to navigate user interface, clean URLs, unique TITLE tags, and I could go on and on. If someone would like to take credit for this excellent job I will post your name here.

And what a surprise! They show up #1 on Google.com for: vacations in ireland, and tours of ireland - with 4 extra links and a second result. Quite outstanding.

Off to Ireland we go this summer - with guess who as our vacation planners?

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 4:06 PM     Permanent Link

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Small PPC Budget? What To Do?

There are a myriad of companies spending somewhere in the range of $3000-$10000 a month on paid search marketing. The smart ones are realizing that managing PPC in-house is hard and they are afraid (and rightly so in most cases) that they are not spending their company's money wisely. They decide it is time to get some outside help. They call WebMama.com. I can't help them!

Why? Because I can't justify the resources it takes to come up to speed on a company's mission, figure out their marketing strategy, figure out where search fits in their marketing strategy, learn their product line, relationships with the search engines, do the keyword analysis, fix or create creatives, work on destination pages and put tracking in place, all for $450-1500/per month. [That is our fee for our smaller clients - 15% of media buys.] That just isn't enough money to cover the hours it takes to 'do' search.

Other than saying NO as nicely as I can, I try to steer them towards some educational courses at SEMPO so that they are more knowledgeable (ie will learn to stop burning money on broad match, single words). But really, they don't have the time to do the day-to-day management of search marketing themselves. There are companies that will manage your search campaigns for that small of an amount of money, but I am suspect that they will be managing the campaigns in a black box with no regard to company strategy, the competitive search landscape, and the best ROI for the customer's bucks. And don't tell me tools are the solution to this problem (I will be covering this topic further at Searchnomics in June). It is a niche that I don't see being filled and I am not sure how it should be filled.

Comments?



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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 3:57 PM     Permanent Link

Monday, May 21, 2007

Beware the CEO EGO!

Keyword Analysis is probably the most important and difficult part of any Search Engine Marketing project - whether SEO or Paid Search. Tony Wright's article "
Ego Bidding Gone Wild" reminded me of a slide I have in my presentation deck when talking about B2B Search Engine Marketing; the one called 'BEWARE the CEO EGO'!! The CEO EGO manifests itself in three ways:
  • The desire to show up ahead of the competition (as mentioned in Tony's article)
  • The desire to show up for the cool words that are in the company mission statement
  • Their desire to be #1 for their own name - in every country, language and time zone
I wanted to expand on #2 a bit. Most of the companies in the valley where I live are trying to break into a 'new' market or create a 'new' industry category. The words they use in their press releases and company profiles are words that no searchers would be caught dead entering into a search box. The searchers use the legacy words; the exact words the company wants to see replaced with their new, cool keywords. It is also possible, and I have seen this happen, that the CEO is in complete denial that there is a legacy world that they are playing into. This is a similar disease to the one that has the executives of the company believing that they don't have any competition.

Convincing the CEO that they should use the legacy words on their website or in their ad copy is a tough sell. If the CEO decides 'NO WAY', then the lead flow volume will be lower and the quality of the leads will be lower. WebMama.com has lost clients over the fact that we spent $10K of their money to develop their keyword strategy, and the results tell them they should put the very words they seek to replace in prominent locations online. Oh well...

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 3:30 PM     Permanent Link