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January 26, 2009

Six Questions with Greg Jarboe

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Just around the corner and across the pond, Search Engine Strategies is gearing up for its 2009 London conference and exhibition, taking place February 17-20. In anticipation of SES London we’re pleased to bring you a series of Q&As with a few of the speakers. Starting us off is Greg Jarboe, president and co-founder of SEO-PR.

You may know Greg from his video interviews on behalf of SES, or maybe from his articles on Search Engine Watch. Greg is considered an expert on everything from news search to video search to linkbait and beyond. If you don’t know him, your introduction is long overdue because Greg has his fingers on the pulse of the Internet marketing industry. So without further ado, here’s our interview!

1. You’ll be speaking at the panel Online Video Update – The Next Wave. Do you think there will ever be industry standards on how to tag, organize, and find videos? What are the benefits and drawbacks of such standards?

Yes, there are already de facto industry standards. They are YouTube’s. According to comScore Video Metrix, YouTube has over 40% market share of the online video market and MySpace, which ranks #2, has less than 3%. So, whatever YouTube says about how to title, describe, tag, and otherwise optimize videos is the de facto industry standard. And YouTube says quite a bit, although it’s often in Googlespeak, so you need a secret decoding ring to translate it. Nevertheless, the benefits of following YouTube’s general recommendations means you have a better shot at getting found in the roughly 2.9 billion search queries a month that are conducted on YouTube, according to comScore Media Metrix. By the way, that means there are more search queries conducted on YouTube than there are on Yahoo! — although Google itself is still king of the hill.

Now, are there any drawbacks? Of course there are. Once the de facto industry standards get out and everyone start using them, then YouTube will change them. Hey, that’s been the SEO’s lot in life since Google was called BackRub.

2. Along with search engine optimization and public relations services, your company also does video production. What are some of the key tactics for video search optimization?

There are nine of them. And I’m spelling all nine out in a book that I’m writing for Wiley entitled, “YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour A Day,” which will be published in September 2009. But at SES London 2009, I’ll be sharing one of these key tactics: Encourage online publishers and bloggers to embed your videos in their websites and blogs. This may come as a surprise to some, but the number of hits a video gets is one of dozens of aspects that impacts its search result rankings in YouTube. So, the views an embedded YouTube video gets are added to its overall total.

I’ll be sharing a case study of what SEO-PR has done for SES, which is a client — by letting you customize the SES Video Player Widget for the audience on your website or blog. You can customize you header, playlist, and format. For example, if you wanted videos of everyone interviewed at SES events — but wanted any videos of Bruce Clay to appear first — our widget lets you do that. You can find the SES Video Player Widget at http://videowidget.searchenginestrategies.com and you can see how we use the widget on our own website at http://www.seo-pr.com/. All of this helps these videos’ search result rankings in YouTube.

3. Another panel you’re speaking on is News Search SEO. What are a few things SEOs need to know to fully utilize news search?

A lot of SEOs have learned how to optimize a press release since I started sharing case studies at SES conferences in 2003. But a lot of journalists started learning how to optimize their articles back in 2006. I wrote about “The Crowded World of Press Release SEO” in Search Engine Watch a year-and-a-half ago. In that article, I said, “It is getting over 100 times harder to get top ranking in the major news search engines. So, both PR and SEO copywriters need to go beyond basic press release optimization, or they need to learn other, more sophisticated search engine promotion tactics.”

At SES London 2009, I’ll be sharing some new case studies of the measurable results you can get by combining press release optimization with blog outreach. This combination not only boosted the number of entries to a Parents magazine baby photo contest from 4,000 to over 88,000, it also boosted traffic to Parents.com by 21% year over year. Then, we were surprised when the client told us that queries for Parents, Parents magazine and Parents.com were up almost 39%. So, there is still a lot to learn to fully utilize news search.

4. The panel Beyond Linkbait: Getting Authoritative Mentions Online is going to be a good one. In the industry we talk about how linkbait tactics that worked now may not be as effective a year from now. What are the underlying characteristics of linkbait that lasts?

I will tackle this question head-on during my presentation at SES London 2009 by showing not only a successful linkbait campaign for Harlequin Romance in 2007, but also how the same linkbait campaign was even more successful for Harlequin Romance in 2008. They key is not the new fangled “linkbait.” It’s the old fashioned “news hook.” Or, as the session description says, “This session focuses on the underlying quality as well as ingenuity needed to get other websites to link to you early and often. It will also explain how you should approach journalists, bloggers and other authoritative sources to enhance your company’s online reputation, whether or not you get links.”

5. You’re known for being on the cutting edge of online marketing, which is reflected in your company’s video production services. What are some of the other upcoming online marketing tactics that companies should be preparing for?

My business partner, Jamie O’Donnell, keeps asking me the same question. But this is the other reason why I’m going to SES London 2009. I’ll only be speaking at three sessions. But, I’ll be sitting in the audience at 14 other sessions trying to figure out what the other upcoming online marketing tactics are that SEO-PR should be preparing for.

I sat in the audience at a Video Search session at SES Chicago in December 2005 — and wrote about this upcoming online marketing tactic for Search Engine Watch in January 2006. My article was entitled “Video Search: Still ‘Early Days’“. With 20/20 hindsight, I’m pretty happy that I wrote three years ago, “While it is still ‘early days’ for video search, this is the perfect time to start creating and optimizing content for this emerging category.” So, if I’m known for being on the cutting edge of online marketing it’s because I spend less than 20% of my time at conferences speaking and more than 80% of my time at conferences listening. It’s a pretty healthy ratio.

6. Are there any SES London sessions (other than the ones you’re speaking at) that you don’t want to miss? Where can people catch up with you?

Yes, I’m really looking forward to the Orion Panel, “SEO: Where to Next?” It will be moderated by Mike Grehan, Global KDM Officer of Acronym Media, and the speakers include: Kevin Ryan, SES Advisory Board Chair & CEO of Motivity Marketing; Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz.org; Brett Tabke, CEO of WebmasterWorld.com; Chris Sherman, Executive Editor of Search Engine Land; and Jill Whalen, CEO of High Rankings. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that the other upcoming online marketing tactics that you asked about will surface at this session.

In addition, I don’t want to miss the other Orion Panel, “Measuring Success in a 2.0 World.” It will also be moderated by Mike Grehan, and the speakers include: Richard Zwicky, Founder & CEO of Enquisite; John Middlebrook, Global Director of Web and Creative Design Strategy at Allegis Group, Inc.; John Marshall, CTO of Market Motive; and Miles Bennett, Director of TargetStone Limited.

And finally, I don’t want to miss the session, “Time Out London: A Case Study.” It includes an introduction by Stewart Quealy, VP of Content Development for Incisive Media, and the speaker is Neil Stickells, Head of Search and Media at Steak.

As for where people can catch up with me, that’s easy. I’ll be one of the guys with an online video crew interviewing speakers following sessions for the SESConferenceExpo’s Channel on YouTube. Or, as one industry observer observed at SES New York back in 2004, I’m “the bearded guy you’d vote least-likely-to-be-in-public relations.”

Thanks, Greg, for this sneak peak into SES London 2009 and the future of Internet marketing. We’ll be sure to check out the SES YouTube channel and all the great interviews that are sure to come!

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