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February 18, 2008

Optimization Weekend Update

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Screwing Up Good Ideas

Today saw some sad examples of companies that just don’t get this whole "pleasing customers on the Internet" thing. First, Michael Gray issues a wrist slapping to my favorite punching bag – USAToday (you were thinking Susan, weren’t you?) – calling out the newspaper site for screwing up a good idea by giving page views more importance than their responsibility to give users they want. I know this is shocking, but when you tout a headline like "Hottest Shows in Vegas", people actually expect you to tell them what said shows are when they click through. They don’t want to be forced into clicking again and then sit through an ad-ridden slide show. Lame.

Another big company screwing up a potentially awesome idea: Yahoo. Yes, as NewTeeVee accurately takes them to task for, the relaunch of Yahoo’s video portal succinctly illustrates Yahoo’s fatal flaw – their complete inability to leverage the Yahoo brand. It’s just so frustrating. If you’re Yahoo, you have all these strong verticals at your fingertips. Why the hell aren’t you leveraging them and creating a cohesive experience for users? What sense does it make to spend the time relaunching your video portal only to hide the differentiators (Jumpcut, Delicious, The 9, video-inspired Yahoo Groups, etc.) 3 football fields down at the bottom of the page? The portals are your strong suit. They’re one of the few things you have going for you. Use them.

It’s just sad at this point. You want to see Yahoo succeed on its own, without getting gobbled up by someone else, but can they? Will they ever be able to get their act together and start working like one big company and not 20 smaller, totally inefficient ones?

Be Useful; Ignore The Famous

Lee Odden had a thought-provoking post today entitled The Fallacy of the SEO Celebrity where he talks about the alarming increase in people who are more focused on becoming SEO celebrities than being useful. I’m exactly sure what qualifies one as an "SEO Celebrity" but his point is pretty well taken.

Obviously being a branded figure in the space can help you attract clients and maybe some respect, but I wouldn’t set that as my goal. Personally, I’d really encourage you to forget the fame aspect and concentrate on being useful – useful to your company, your clients, and to your community. If you do all that, you’ll eventually work up the name recognition anyway. Only this time people will know and look at you as a respected, knowledgeable member of the community, not just as a personality. And really, isn’t that what you’re after? As Lee Odden has now so famously said, "it’ll be tough to pay the bills with a wallet full of famous". Greatest. Line. Ever.

There’s some interesting debate about Lee’s article over on Sphinn that I’d encourage you to check out. iBrian commented that those who blog about SEO are typically lacking any hard experience, which is why they have time to blog in the first place. Thoughts? Looking at the names in my feed reader, I’m inclined to disagree. I don’t think it’s hard experience well known SEO bloggers are lacking; it’s time for sleep!

SES London

(Not that you need one) but just a reminder that SES London officially kicks off on Tuesday. Bruce will be making the rounds as he gears up for the My SEM Toolbox session on Tuesday. Make sure you find him and give him a sandwich. Also keep an eye out for Bruce Clay Europe’s Rory and Marie. They’re two of our favorites.

Fun Finds

Guestwhore Week is back in action over at Sugarrae. You know what that means, right? It means posters are going to get uncontrollably obnoxious and potty-mouthed in an attempt to please Rae and avoid a spoon eye gauging. Huzzah! Today TheMatHat is in control with 58 Reasons Why Sugarrae Is Paying For My Rehab. Look for Susan’s post on Wednesday. No, seriously. [I’m not really sure I’m up to this. –Susan] – They’re going to eat you alive.

Risa Borsykowsy’s. shares her frustrations with social media in a Cre8asite Forums thread entitled Why Am I So Intimidated By Social Media. I am also apparently blamed for getting her to try Facebook, which she was not so impressed with. Sorry, Risa!

Down with the mobile Web! A new study says heavy mobile use gives you cancer. How do you feel about that iPhone now?

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