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In this issue:

FEATURE:
Balancing Usability and Search Engine Optimization

BACK TO BASICS:
The Importance of Keyword–Rich, Relevant Content

THE USUAL: Coverage of this month's
hot topics, shuffles, shindigs, attaboys and word on the wire.

FEATURE: Balancing Usability and Search Engine Optimization
Every few months, a familiar discussion resurfaces in the forums, blogs and newsgroups. When you are designing your Web site, who should you be targeting, the search engines or the humans? Which should take precedence in your site design and how do you serve both? Luckily, the truth of the matter is not as complicated as many try to make it. Search engine optimization and usability can work hand in hand. In fact, many of the things that are good for search engines will benefit human visitors as well.


BACK TO BASICS: The Importance of Keyword–Rich, Relevant Content

The goal of search engine optimization is to make it as easy as possible for the search engines spiders to discover what a Web site is about. Search engines will return search results in the order of their believed relevance in relation to the search word or phrase requested. The more relevant the site is for a particular query, the higher the site’s listing will appear in the search results. Contrary to popular belief, this process is much more involved than simply repeating a keyword phrase several times in different ways. Sites must have targeted, expert information to prove to the search engines that they are worthy of a particular ranking.


Hot Topics

In the era of social networks, social communities, and social profiles, being a successful Internet marketer rests on your ability to brand yourself, as well as your company. You have to show customers that you're trustworthy and authentic by reaching out to them and being part of a greater online community. You can't expect your customers to come to you anymore. In this day and age, Internet marketers must be proactive about their own branding and extending their personal networks.

Extending Your Personal Brand

This week, the Blog Herald hit the nail on the head calling networking the most important skill for your blog. They were right, and the power of networking goes far beyond blogging, reaching out to your entire Internet marketing campaign. The greater your ability to intertwine your personal brand with your customers everyday life, the more likely it is that your customers will trust what you have to offer, remain loyal to your brand and increase your conversions by recommending you to their friends.

But you can't just rest on the customers that have already discovered you. To be successful you have to be consistent about growing your brand. To that end, Problogger asked, "Are You Preaching to the Converted or Are You Reaching Out to New Readers", challenging readers to expand their social networks in order to attract additional eyeballs. Bruce Clay's Lisa Barone also echoed this sentiment in her BlogWorld Recap post, highlighting the importance of stepping out of your own social network to meet those residing in the networks running parallel to yours.

Shortly after Lisa's post, social media expert Neil Patel echoed a similar feeling, arguing that when it comes to social networking, it's not who you know, it's who they know. Just because your friends may not be able to help you increase conversions and reach customers doesn't mean they're not connected to people who can.

Being Authentic

Creating an authentic persona on the Web is no easy task. You have to find your voice, build relationships with other bloggers, build an online community and, over time, build an authentic online reputation that supports what you're doing on your site. And you can't fake it. If you're not being real with your customers, they'll know and you'll never get them to stick around.

Site owners often find their voice when they've hit the point where they don't know what else to write or how else to promote their brand. It's at that point when you're less likely to filter yourself and allow your true blogger personality to come out. Scott Monty wrote about teaching marketers to be authentic, hailing that it was time to turn off the corporate speak and break out of the traditional templates. If you want to engage consumers, you have to talk to them like real people. A novel concept.

Going Social

The concept of building a personal brand and creating an authentic reflects the obvious change happening on the Web where everything is becoming increasingly more social. Today, more and more companies are fighting to build a coherent social media strategy. The New York Times made headlines when they added BlogRunner headlines to their Technology page. The Wall Street Journal followed suit recently, adding Digg buttons to their news articles and giving users free access to any article that is Dugg. The big brands are realizing that the only way they're going to reach today's consumer is to open up and play by their terms.


Shuffles

In people shufflings, Vanessa Fox and Rebecca Kelley took on editor positions at Search Engine Land, Vanessa also announced she was leaving Zillow, Andy Baio left Yahoo and Upcoming, Microsoft decided it was time to say goodbye to Chief Information Officer Stuart Scott and John Battelle said RIP, Searchmob.

In corporate shufflings:

  • Google launched OpenSocial, released an updated version of Gmail, brought Google Maps to the gas pumps, bought the G.cn domain name, acquired real estate site Zillow and paired up with GoDaddy for Webmaster tools.
  • Yahoo released Fireeagle, a service for obtaining, storing and using geo-location information, launched social network Kickstart, and paired up with Rogers to expand their mobile presence.
  • Microsoft acquired assets from Global Care Solutions, a healthcare technology firm.
  • AOL bought question/answer site Yedda and contextual ad company Quigo.
  • Ask.com's parent company IAC split into five companies and announced that it would be renewing its advertising deal with Google.
  • Ask.com released the Bloglines Top 1000 list.
  • Joost partnered with Meebo.
  • Facebook launched its new, and much hyped, three-part Facebook Ads program.
  • MySpace launched a self serve hyper targeted advertising network to allow advertisers to target ads based on geography, demographics and user interests.
  • PayPerPost changed its name to IZEA.

Shindigs

Bruce Clay's Lisa Barone attended the first-ever BlogWord & New Media Expo last week, providing complete coverage for 17 sessions.

Looking ahead, SMX London starts today and runs through 16 November. The event will be keynoted by Mario Queiroz. East Coast search marketers should try to hit TechCrunch's Meetup 11 in Boston, while bloggers down under can look forward to Melbourne WordCamp on 17 November.

The Kelsey Group's Interactive Local Media conference will be held November 28-30, 2007 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles and will be moderated by Search Engine Watch's Kevin Newcomb.

As we mentioned last month, SES Chicago and WebmasterWorld Pubcon will go head-to-head in December this year. SES will run from Dec. 3-7th, while Pubcon will start a day later on the 4th and continue through December 7th. If you're heading to PubCon, you'll be able to catch Bruce speaking on the SEO 101 - The Timeless and Classic Hits panel, as well as the recently announced Matt Cutts keynote. Lisa Barone and Susan Esparza will also be in town providing tag-team blog coverage of the event.

If you're instead heading to SES Chicago, Search Engine Strategies recently announced that they'll be offering search training classes on Dec. 7 at the Chicago Hilton. As mentioned in our last SEO Newsletter, we won't be covering SES Chicago this time around, but we will be posting past coverage to help conference goers better plan their session schedule. Keep your eyes on the blog for more details regarding both PubCon and SES Chicago.

Search marketers will close out 2007 with a one SEO day workshop being held for public relations professionals in New York on December 14.

If you're looking to get a head start on next year, Bruce Clay will be bringing its UK SEO training course back to London on 31 March - 4 April. Make your travel plans accordingly. Stateside, we're taking a break from training for December, look for your next training opportunity in January 2008.


Attaboys

It's the season for giving and Bruce Clay, Inc. has been doing our part. In October, we supported the America Cancer Society's Relay for Life. On October 26, it was our privilege to participate in sponsoring the NAPD Golf Tournament. The tournament raised $18,000 for developmentally disabled clients in Kern County.

Google stock reached and surpassed the $700 a share barrier this month. Google also account the winners of their 2007 United Negro College Fund Scholarship.

Microsoft partnered with SEMPO to create an educational alliance that will give MSN affiliates access to SEMPO Institute's online learning program, which is designed to provide in-depth knowledge of best-practices in search engine marketing.

Ask.com teamed up with Dell to create custom, energy saving servers to help Ask cut their power usage by 30 percent.

Flickr celebrated its two billionth photo upload on November 13.

And lastly, a big congratulations to Google founder Larry Page who will marry his long-time girlfriend Lucy Southworth on December 8.


Word on the Wire

Google was once again the king of rumors and speculation this month. One of this month's biggest rumors we've heard so far this month was that Google was gearing up to released its plan for a Google Phone. However, when the launch date came and went, Google surprised search marketers with the arrival of Android, an open mobile platform capable of running mobile Google applications.

TMCnet shared the story that Google may buy Sprint Nextel to complement the Open Handset Alliance and boost their presence in the mobile space.

We also heard that Google was in talks with Spice Girl creator Simon Fuller to create a television platform that will compete with iTunes and change the way TV is viewed over the Internet.

Gary Price noticed that Google had recently moved the MyGoogleDrive.com and MyGoogleStorage.com domains onto Google servers and speculated that this could be a sign that they're about to release the long-rumored GDrive.

In non-Google rumors, TechCrunch reported that Automattic is set to take another $50 million in investment money from Polaris.


If you have any questions or comments on any of the articles above or if you would like to suggest topics for future search engine optimization articles, please contact us at Bruce Clay, Inc.