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  FEATURE:
Search Marketing Education: Critical for Business Success
BACK TO BASICS:
The Three-Pronged Approach to Local SEO
INTERNATIONAL:
Search, Soul, Shape and Seasonality - Copywriting for SEO
THE USUAL: Coverage of this month's
hot topics, shuffles, sound bytes, shindigs, attaboys and word on the wire.
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  FEATURE:
Search Marketing Education: Critical for Business Success

Author: Jessica Lee
 

As we move into the fourth quarter of 2010, businesses begin to plan marketing strategy and budget for 2011. Investing in SEO training is a small price to pay for the potentially massive ROI a company can receive from it. For many businesses, Internet marketing and search are the only hope for marketing success until America pulls out of the recession.

With the right SEO training and tools, businesses can triumph and even be ahead of the curve when their competition finally jumps on board with Internet marketing. And it's inevitable that Internet marketing and search engine optimization will become the primary focus in the future of business marketing.

And investing in SEO training isn't just beneficial to businesses; professionals looking to make a career change or add additional skill sets find that training in search engine optimization is an attractive addition to their resume. And with the unemployment rate still at an incredible high, the jobless look to promising industries that, against all odds, continue to see success.

One such industry is search and Internet marketing, which continues to grow while others are shrinking. The demand for professionals who understand how to immediately apply digital marketing strategies to help ensure a business stays afloat and even grows in these times is extremely high. For some, SEO training may just be their ticket to a full-time career.

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  BACK TO BASICS:
The Three-Pronged Approach to Local SEO

Author: Virginia Nussey
 

Searches that include a location stand at 20 percent of all Google searches. And the proportion of Google results pages that display a map was at 1 in 13 at the beginning of the year. The U.S. Small Business Administration says that in 2008 there were 29.6 million small businesses across the country, and just 4 million business listings on Google have been claimed by business owners. It's clear that local SEO represents both an opportunity and an imperative at this point. Smart businesses are poised to overtake any lagging competition, however local SEO doesn't simply give an edge to brick-and-mortar businesses today - it's a requirement. Today, if you can't be found online, there's a good chance you won't be found on the street.

With many small business owners busy running day-to-day operations, there's a need for streamlined instruction on the straight-forward tasks that can improve the chances of being discovered by consumers online. So here we approach local SEO as an achievable three-pronged strategy: on-site SEO for local search and discovery, off-page SEO to aid local search rankings, and optimized business listings across the Web.

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  INTERNATIONAL:
Search, Soul, Shape and Seasonality - Copywriting for SEO

Author: Kate Gamble, Bruce Clay Australia
 

When I was a little girl I would often come home from school and cry to mum that so-and-so had better something-or-others, or prettier thing-a-me-bobs, or cooler what's-a-ma-doodles. And I wanted to get some too! As with all school-aged girls, I was desperate just to fit in. A point of difference was a point of punishment, and school girls are an authority on condemnation. But mum used to say "you can't be so-and-so, they are taken. You can only be you" and so eventually (after many tough school years) I learnt that there is beauty in individuality.

Google now estimates 1 trillion URLs on the big wide Web. That's a lot of content, and if you are doing SEO your job is to compete against that mountain of mark-up. The search engine algorithms have the ability to filter duplicate content, so if you want your content to rank you have to be individual - and with that, mum's words of wisdom prevail. But, on the other hand, there is that critical factor of being normal; search engines need to see your pages as "normal" for the population. Too short and you're not informative enough, too long and you may look like you're trying to spam the system. Are you starting to see the paradox?

So what makes a winning page of written content? In a recent client meeting, we were discussing the content for a new website, some of the articles are going to be more search-orientated and some are going to be more soul-orientated.

Some topics are only relevant at certain times of the year - and so was born seasonality.

When faced with one big block of text (the barcode effect) a user can be put off, so the shape of your article--yes, just like your hips--can catch a user's eye (or cause them to glaze over). So what are we talking about here?

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  SPECIAL OFFERS:
Bruce Clay, Inc. SEO Training and Industry Conferences Discounts
 

Conferences and SEO training are an important part of both continuing education for those already in the industry, and fast-track education for those who are ramping up their SEO and Internet marketing efforts in the coming year.

Now more than ever before, we are seeing a shift in the consciousness of businesses across the United States, moving away from traditional marketing and focusing on Internet marketing, with SEO absorbing a huge portion of marketing spend.

The shift in focus is also evident in the growth of SEO-focused topics at conferences tailored to all types of industries, and the general growth of search-specific conferences and events. These conferences show that SEO is going mainstream, and prove that SEO and Internet marketing are at the forefront of any business' survival in these digital times.

Discounts at-a-Glance

Student Loyalty Program for SEOToolSet® Training Discounts
Returning students receive 25 percent off standard and advanced training. Those signing up with the returning student (friends, colleagues, etc.) receive $300 off training.

SMX East 2010 Registration
Receive 20 percent off registration for SMX East 2010 with the discount code smx10bruceclay.

PubCon Las Vegas 2010 Registration
Receive 10 percent off registration for PubCon Las Vegas 2010 with the discount code rc-2736015.

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  Hot Topics

Google debuted a new search interface with the release of Google Instant. The new search implementation allows for faster results and predictive queries using the Google Suggest feature. Google estimates that using Google Instant saves two to five seconds on every search, saving up to 11 hours every second worldwide.

SEO in Peril?

The reception to the change was fractured, with some observing that it was similar to search experiments by Yahoo! and Altavista in years past, and others taking the opportunity to declare that SEO was impossible given the rapidly shifting results. TechCrunch claimed that SEOs would need to start optimizing to random series of letters (not true) and the long-tail was declared dead, shortened into just head terms or perhaps the long-tail is more important than ever. Overall, the SEO community did not regard Google Instant as much of a threat, many considering it an opportunity. Danny Sullivan broke out the many reasons why there was no reason to worry.

Censorship and Safe Searches

Meanwhile, testing revealed apparent censorship in the suggested results. Adult terms return no suggestions and some spam terms received the same treatment. Adult-oriented queries that show up in the normal Suggest also appear to be removed from Google Instant's suggestions. However, image searches on popular women's names can still trigger somewhat eyebrow-raising suggestions. ([Kim] suggests [Kim Kardashian], for example, and many of the images displayed are only partially clothed.)

Another Boost for Brands

Google Instant also seems to continue Google's recent trend toward favoring brands over small businesses, leading to concerns that small companies would need to bid on and compete for trademarked brand names when they were avoiding it previously.

 
  Shuffles

In late August, Bing officially took over 100% of Yahoo!'s organic search. Early September saw paid search starting the transition from Yahoo!'s Panama to Bing's adCenter-sponsored listings program. Support hours will be extended for adCenter during the transition.

Google has acquired Like.com, a visual search engine, at a valuation rumored to be upwards of $100 million. Google tried to acquire Like in its previous incarnation as Riya in 2005, but backed away from the deal.

Internet marketing social news site Sphinn announced that it would be moving away from a social voting model to become a collection of important industry news stories selected by an editorial team. The decision sparked controversy and discussion around the industry.

Ask.com will be closing its feedreading service, Bloglines, on October 1. Ask bought Bloglines in 2005. The service has seen declining popularity in recent years and the shutdown will allow Ask to focus more on its question-and-answer engine.

Google updated many of its services this month. In addition to the changes brought about by Google Instant, YouTube introduced live-streaming and Google AdWords' My Client Center (MCC) received a new interface for the Client Reporting tab. The search engine also recently updated its News portal, adding a collapsible right rail with recent and local news.

 
  Sound Bytes

If you like what you've read in the SEO Newsletter, there's more Internet marketing expertise where that came from. Check out SEM Synergy every Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern and noon Pacific on WebmasterRadio.fm.

Bruce Clay and the other hosts discuss industry news, SEO tactics and marketing trends, while expert guests share their insights on methods, best practices and upcoming events. Check out the show schedule below for a look at recent shows and upcoming topics.

Air Date

Segment One

Segment Two

Segment Three

September 1
(Listen Now)

Yahoo & Bing

Brent Rangen

Brands Update

September 8
(Listen Now)

Google Beat

Google Instant

Video SEO Cautions

September 15
(Listen Now

LocalPack

Chris Travers

SEO Newsletter

September 22
(Coming Soon)

History of SEO & Conferences

Mark Robertson

Industry News

Got something to say? Contact the SEM Synergy team by email or on Twitter @SEMSynergy and share your thoughts, comments and questions. You might even hear your question answered on the show.

 
  Shindigs

If you find yourself in Virginia Beach this September 29, consider attending the Local Marketing Expo. The conference promises to be just eight short hours to local marketing excellence.

Bend WebCAM, focusing on technical and creative requirements of a range of Internet marketing disciplines, takes place in Bend, OR September 30 to October 1.

SMX East returns to New York City October 4 to 6. Search marketers who have not yet registered can get a discount using the code smx10bruceclay. Bruce Clay will be once again offering the popular one-day SEO training seminar on October 7. This class sold out at SMX Advanced in Seattle, so register early if you're considering it.

PR and social media marketers can look forward to Inbound Marketing Summit in Boston coming up October 6 to 7.

Promoting thought leadership on topics related to Internet economy, the 3rd Annual Internet Summit occurs November 17 and 18 in Raleigh, NC.

In the U.S., the newly updated SEOToolSet® standard and advanced training and certification dates are as follows:

Simi Valley, California

  • October 11-15 (Standard & Advanced)
  • November 15-19 (Standard & Advanced)

Long Island, New York

  • October 18-22 (Standard & Advanced)

Bruce Clay Australia will present two training courses for the second half of this year.

Copywriting for the Web and SEO:

  • October 12 in Sydney

One-day SEO training:

  • November 17 in Sydney
 
  Attaboys

Google launched its Family Safety Center this month. The new service is designed to help parents keep their children safe online and educate them about the modern dangers of the Internet.

Yahoo! is standing up to cancer. The company pledged to donate $1 for every "Like" on its fan page, OMG Yahoo!, received between September 10 to 19, up to $100,000 for the Stand Up To Cancer fundraiser.

For the fourth year running, Bruce Clay, Inc. has landed a place on Inc. magazine's Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the U.S. The Inc. 5000 list annually profiles the nation's top privately held, for profit, and independent companies.

Social media continues to impress. A recent case study by an organ donor effort showed success in raising awareness to their cause through the use of the "Twibbons" service. By the numbers: 350 people visited the Twibbon campaign, More than 140 people added a Twibbon to their Facebook or Twitter pictures. There were 94 unique tweets to the Twibbon page, and 17 people posted Facebook comments on the Twibbon page.

 
  Word on the Wire

Google Webmaster Tools has improved its rich snippets testing tool, making error reporting more robust. The update also allows for better display for breadcrumbs in SERPs. There is still no way to prevent breadcrumbs from showing on a search result.

Numbers released recently by Twitter execs tout the service recently reached 145 million accounts created. The usage of the site continues to rise as well, showing those accounts are not merely dead space.

Recently launched is a whole new Twitter, complete with updated design, showing mentions, retweets, searches and lists above the timeline on the left of the screen.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt made claims this month that YouTube is "nearing profitability", matching earlier industry predictions that YouTube would reach that mark in third or fourth quarter 2010.

Facebook adds social endorsement stats to ads,, thus adding an element of peer pressure to the social community's day-to-day interaction.

Nielsen released data based on a recent survey of mobile users that Facebook is the most popular app , followed by weather and maps/search.

 

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

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