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Anna Nicole BabyDaddy Drama A Good SEO Lesson
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The Anna Nicole Smith drama is about to go into its third act as a Bahamian court reveals DNA test result showing that Larry Birkhead is the father of Dannielynn. There’s a reason I told you that on this e-business site: when it comes to traffic, timing is essential.

It’s not a cheap trick if you have legitimate reasons for covering something, right? Regardless of the sketchy ethics, part of search marketing and optimization involves following the trends and being able to predict future trends, as related to your subject matter.

Must Reads in Search Marketing for This Week

Tomorrow is Good Friday and therefore a stat holiday so I am wrapping up this short work week with the most interesting stories I have read in the Industry:

SEO All-Stars Rank Top 10 Algorithm Factors
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This isn’t reverse engineering, says SEOMoz’s Rand Fishkin, who called a virtual quorum of the top 37 minds in the SEO business. It’s a list of 35 factors that make up, in Fishkin’s estimation, 90-95 percent of what Google’s algorithm is looking for when determining rankings.

Is Linkbait On Its Last Legs?
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Many popular optimization strategies center on the practice of link baiting, which is SEO slang for developing content with the express purpose of luring in a large number of inbound links. As companies like Google continually tweak their algorithm to prevent the system from being gamed, analysts are beginning to wonder if linkbaiting has much of a future.

Beyond the SEM Bells and Whistles

There’s a lot more to search engine marketing than examining the pros and cons of all the hot new Google AdWords services. 

SEM’s Future: What WILL and WILL NOT Matter

The SEM Industry is rapidly changing, this includes the search engines (their SERP algorithms and spiders), SEO Tactics, and SEM Strategies. Off the top of my head I have come up with 5 things that WILL NOT matter in SEM in the future and 5 things that marketers should stay on top of.

SEM – Beyond the Popularity Contest

In my last article I wrote about how search marketing is currently like a giant popularity contest. This begs the question of what’s going to come next as Google’s and the other engines’ algorithms keep evolving and take into account more and more data. What will this mean for search marketers?

SEM – The World’s Largest Popularity Contest

Currently, search engine marketing is best described by the phrase “popular.” This may change in the future, but right now, to rank in a competitive search term, you have to be popular; you know, like way back in high school where there was a division between the “cool kids” and everyone else.

Wisdom of Crowds Is Dead
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The problem with the human condition is that it involves humans. Bringing that condition online, fostering it with the Wisdom of Crowds philosophy, is slowly but surely proving what philosophers have said since humans first learned to write: the anonymous mob is powerful and passionate, but no more rational than an angry swarm of bees.

SEM Includes Giving The People What They Want
My friends at digital-telepathy passed something along to me for a look and a laugh. Turns out, it’s an interesting illustration of search engine optimization and a web design shooting blanks. The site is optimized but someone forgot to consider how to target it for customers, not just search engines. In addition, the design isn’t responding to one of the most popular reasons someone would go to the site.

In the writeup, called Search+ :: It’s All In The Grinds, the story goes that, upon hearing the office call for a Starbucks run, an office employee decided to order something different from Starbucks. He went to search for the Starbucks website to see what he could order differently. He writes,

Around the SEM World – Personalized Search

"Around the SEM World" is a new monthly series I am starting in which I will ask professionals around the SEM Industry their thoughts on the hottest topics during the given month.

Usability and SEM Virtual Education Opportunities
Learn from your living room or heck, just stay in bed. The following are some educational and information opportunties coming up in the user centered design, human factors and search marketing industries.

Human Factors

Travelocity: 96% Of ROI From Branded SEM

Travelocity’s chief marketing officer Jeffrey Glueck recently spilled out some ROI numbers on paid search that has the industry buzzing. Glueck said 96 percent of Travelocity’s conversions came from branded keywords used for paid search.

SEM for Those You Know and Those You Don’t

Avinash Kaushik has a thought-provoking post on how to optimize your search marketing budget. He is right on in his assertion that most search marketing programs are far too heavily skewed to popular brand keywords—the words people who already know you use.

Search Spam Comes From Few Places
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Microsoft researchers teamed up with University of California, Davis researchers to pinpoint exactly where "the bottleneck" of Web spam occurs and how legitimate advertisers inadvertently end up in bad neighborhoods. The majority of spam, they found out, comes from the same few places, and the middlemen are some names you might recognize.

High Rankings SEM Seminar Pictures
Day one of the Minneapolis High Rankings seminar went well and I think the presentations were well received. One thing I think I did not emphasize is that the speakers are not only subject matter experts, but they’re skilled at instruction as well

Is Linkbait The Web’s Paparazzi?
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SEOmoz’s Rand Fishkin wonders if the unsavory real world of celebrity photographers has an online equivalent in linkbaited content.

The Real Goal of Search Marketing

Great post by Melissa Burdon at grokdotcom on the real goal of search marketing—conversions. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know how much I agree.

Ten Steps You Missed In Marketing Your Site

A handful (ok, two handfuls) of tactics could separate the lackluster domain from the one that enables its owner to brag about business.

Easy SEM Advice That Really Isn

I read more search engine marketing blogs than you would probably ever want to. One thing that continually re-appears, even amongst the industry leaders, are endless lists of easy-sounding advice usually with a DIY (Do it Yourself) slant. They include things like:

Know Thy Market: Beyond The Click-Through
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In marketing, with few exceptions, there’s no umbrella or blanket model that can be applied. Even if Coca-Cola’s omnipresent branding has worked over the decades because soft drinks are for everybody, most products are intended for select groups of buyers, target markets, with different motivations.

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