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In this issue:

Search 2006: The Year in Review

Writing for Search Engines

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


FEATURE: Search 2006: The Year in Review

When Bruce issued our Year in Preview way back in January he predicted several things for the industry: a strengthened focus on local search, legal action brought to the forefront, a new demographic-focus for PPC and a myriad of other issues that would ultimately affect search in 2006. Looking back at the year and all that has happened; I realize why Bruce's name is on the door.

BACK TO BASICS: Writing for Search Engines

Much of the time when we take on a new client, one of our recommendations is that they increase the amount of unique, keyword-targeted, text content on their site. We generally recommend having at least 250 words of content per page, a number that continues to grow as the years go by. Ten years ago our minimum was 75 words. However, as competition on the Web becomes greater, the barrier to entry gets higher as well. Search Engines are seeking even more expert content as a way to determine the most relevant sites for a particular keyword.

Hot Topics

SES Chicago Wrap Up

SES Chicago was all we could talk about in December. Before the show the industry was all aflutter figuring out which sessions they would attend, who was making the trek to Chicago, and what parties were happening when. During the show, we compared session notes, gossiped about the night before, whispered about the mysterious "French Connection" and piled into Kitty O'Sheas for some good 'ole industry "knowledge transfer".

A smaller show known for working under fourth quarter rules with first quarter projections, a number of themes emerge from the snow in Chicago.

  • Doing things right from the beginning: During the Organic Listings Forum and the Big Ideas for Small Sites & Small Businesses panel, attendees were focused on doing things right and doing them differently. The Working with Clients panel highlighted the trend of marketers now being held accountable for their actions. It's not just about rankings anymore. If you use spammy techniques and your company's site gets booted from the engines, it is you who will have to do the explaining. Marketers came intent on learning how to create an expert site that would rank for the right reasons.
  • Search Marketing Includes Web 2.0: Community sites have received a whirlwind of exposure this year and that growth was in full effect in Chicago. Even the most traditional marketers attended panels like Social Media Optimization panel, Link Baiting and Viral Search Success and the Social Search Overview to learn about the benefits of tagging, video optimization, mobile search and sites like Flickr, Reddit and TechMeme. Search marketing is more than just search engine optimization. It's also about creating brand loyalty, reaching out to consumers and finding ways to bring unprecedented levels of traffic to your site.
  • Strategizing your efforts: Theme number three focused on combining your search marketing campaigns to get the most bang for your buck and avoid stepping on internal toes. The In House: Big PPC session specifically discussed what to do when you discover your campaigns are engaging in competitive bidding wars with each other.
  • Will You Be at Kitty O'Sheas?: If you were in Chicago you spent four solid days asking those six little words, because when the sessions ended, the parties began. Whether it was another packed night at Kitty O'Sheas with the industry's A-list, a lavish gathering hosted by Google or Yahoo, or just a Chicago pizza party, the fire and craziness inside more than made up for the below freezing Chicago temperatures outside. Much documentation of this madness can be found on Flickr.

If you're looking for session recaps, stop by our Chicago Session Archive or take a look through Search Engine Roundtables' SES Chicago coverage.


This month Jason Calacanis announced he had joined Sequoia Capital, Marshall Kirkpatrick became part of SplashCast, Tim Converse left Yahoo!, Jordan McCollum joined Marketing Pilgrim, and Search Engine Watch welcomed Rebecca Lieb as its new Editor-in-Chief and Kevin Newcomb as one of its new correspondents.

Jonathan Simon joined the Google Webmaster Team, Randall Rothenberg was named CEO of IAB, and Microsoft hired Jon Udell to be the next Robert Scoble.

AOL laid off nearly another 450 employees, Yahoo! announced a major reorganization as Chief Operating Officer Dan Rosensweig, Yahoo! executive David Katz and media group head Lloyd Braun announced they were leaving.

Jake Baillie announced that he will be leaving TrueLocal. He and "several employees" will be forming STN Labs, a company which will "manage a small internet fund that incubates and provides funding to seed-stage new media and technology companies." We wish him and his team the very best.

In international shuffles, both Google China Co-President Johnny Chou and AOL Europe President Carlo d'Asaro Biondo resigned and Sam Sethi was forced out of TechCrunch UK after he found himself on the losing side of a political battle

In mergers, acquisitions and new births:

  • Danny Sullivan launched his new conference series nicknamed Search Engine Expo or SMX, which will kick off June 4-5 in Seattle. (Bruce Clay, Inc. will be a premier sponsor of the event.)
  • Bigmouthmedia merged with Global Media
  • WebTrends acquired ClickShift
  • Yahoo! teamed up with IBM for enterprise search, as well as with a New Zealand Telecom
  • Ingenio partnered with JumpTap to increase its PPC network
  • Google joined Eclipse and signed a television advertising deal with British Sky Broadcasting


As we mentioned earlier, all of search's top players gathered in Chicago this month for another round of Search Engine Strategies. Bruce spoke at the Organic Listings Forum with a stellar panel that included experts Mike Grehan, Dave Naylor, Todd Friesen, and Detlev Johnson. Again, if you weren't able to make it to Chicago this year, or if you want to relive it all again, there are full session recaps in our SES Chicago Session Archive.

Looking ahead to 2007, Bruce Clay's SEOToolSet training course will land in the UK on 8-9 January 2007, while the Australian course will hit on 12-14 February 2007. If you haven't registered yet, the time to do it is now: UK Training and AU training.

Also hitting Australia will be Ad:Tech Sydney on 7-8 February, and SES travels across the pond to London 13-15 February.


December turned out to be a month of birthdays: Yahoo Answers celebrated its first year, Digg turned two, and Search Engine Roundtable turned three. Congrats to everyone!

Other attaboys include Google partnering with Teach For America and using its RED effort to help raise money for AIDS research.

Lastly, congrats to social site MySpace for becoming the most viewed site on the Web and to you for being named Time's person of the year.

Word on the Wire

The world on the wire is that Bill Gates is unofficially gaining support for a possible presidential run.

Rumors also spread that Yahoo was in talks to buy Metacafe for $200 million, Hitwise is up for sale for a reported £180 million and that Facebook rejected a mid-year $1 billion offer to be acquired by Yahoo!

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.