Search Engine Optimization News, Tips and Information

Information on search engine optimization strategies for business.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

SEO Antics: Rickroll'd On Twitter

Yesterday @Burnsie_SEO posted a tweet linking to images of spiders devouring various animals. I posted a reply tweet in which I said "Spider vs. Human - REAL", with a link in it. Burnsie bit. And got Rickroll'd. Little did I know how conniving Burnsie is. She got me back, and got me back good. Full post.

If you don't know what Rickroll means, it is a bait and switch game that happens when someone posts a hyperlink which leads to something other than what the hyperlink is claimed to be.

Burnsie's first attempt to Rickroll me back was a failure. It was an obvious attempt and I did not fall for it. I gloated on Twitter that I was too smart for ole Burnsie. @EcomBuffet joined in taunting me and a "twalliance" was made with Burnsie and Ecomm ganging up on me and vowing to get me good. I laughed it off, too smart for such banal things.

Later in the day, and in a presumably unrelated development, I received an email which was the result of someone filling out the contact form on my website. When the email came through, my jaw dropped. It was from the White House. Yes, THE White House. Here is what came through:

Here is the information submitted at ArteWorks
Your E-Mail Address:
Your Name: Adam Zapel
Your Phone Number: 202-456-1414
Where Did You Find Us: Google
Your Website:
Age of Website:
Type of Services: Search Engine Consulting
Search engine optimization
Search engine friendly ecommerce
Search engine friendly web design
Natural link building
Search engine copywriting
Marketing copywriting
Other services (graphic design, hosting, etcetera)
Type of Site: Political
Target Audience: The World
Example Keyword Phrases:
Budget: 38,000
Business Goals: Provide current information Provide information to the public Improve image

Okay. So, had I examined this closely, I might have noticed some questionable things. Like the generic email address given, not the address of an actual individual at the White House. Or the target audience: "The World". Or the fact that a government contract would be awarded through a contact form on a website.

But no. I was focused instead on a potential $38,000.00 per month contract with the White House.

I immediately picked up the phone and called the number. An operator answered "The White House, may I help you?" Yes, it was the real White House phone number. I said, "Yes, hello, my name is Matt Foster in Austin, Texas, may I please speak with Adam Zapel?"

"Is that Zapel with a Z as in zebra?"

"Yes, ma'am, Adam Zapel with a Z as in zebra."

"One moment please sir." I hear typing. "I'm sorry sir, I don't have a listing for anyone named Adam Zapel."

"Yes ma'am, well, I'm with a search engine optimization firm, and we just received a request for information from someone over there named Adam Zapel. Could I speak with someone in whatever department handles the White House website?"

"Um...sir..." And then it dawned on me. I had been Rickroll'd. And good.

"Ma'am, I'm very sorry to have bothered you. I think someone has played a joke on me. Thank you so much for your time."

"You're welcome, sir. Have a good day."

I then Googled "Adam Zapel" - and realized, to my dismay, it is a joke name which sounds like "Adam's Apple". Yes, I called the friggin' White House and asked for Adam's Apple.

So Burnsie, you got me. I'm sitting here in my living room, with the door bolted, ready to make my last stand against the Secret Service, whom I expect shall be stopping by for a little visit any time now.

Moral of the story: Never Rickroll @Burnsie_SEO. You will be sorry.

Speaking of joke names, this is one of my favorites:

About the Author:
Matt Foster is the CEO of ArteWorks SEO, a full service search engine optimization company. For more information on Mr. Foster, including his personal social security number, please visit his personal profile page.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

The 9 Sexiest Minds in New Media

What is it about SEO, social media, PR, and new media that attracts such sexy minds? I'm not sure, but there is something going on there. Everywhere you look women are succeeding and making an impact on this industry. I decided to make a list of the 9 sexiest minds in new media. Yes, this has been done before, however was limited to women practicing in the field of SEO. Werebu did it last March, however I wanted to expand the scope to include sexy minds from other new media categories. Therefore, I am pleased to present the definitive, hands down, no holds barred guide to the sexiest minds in the fields of Internet Marketing, SEO and New Media.

What makes a mind sexy? Intelligence, creativity, drive, and ambition, to name a few. So here they are.

Lisa Kinnard works for Adknowledge in Kansas City, which is a performance-based advertising network incorporating predictive technology which connects advertisers to consumers. Lisa is responsible for the production of all creative elements involved with Adknowledge's search product. She develops, matures and maintains the content network product and manages PPC campaigns on major and second-tier search engines for hundreds of advertisers across multiple verticals. Lisa is an entrepreneur at heart, and at any given time has multiple different ideas baking in that cute little head of hers. I was fortunate enough to spend some time with Lisa at SMX San Jose, and she is an amazing woman who never ceases to impress me.

Lisa on Twitter: @LisaKinnard

Joanna Lord is the co-founder and CMO at TheOnlineBeat, a comparison job search site and job resource. Joanna is a PPC expert and well versed in Internet marketing, SEO, social media and traditional media. She is a regular fixture at industry conferences and from what I can tell she can drink any guy under the table. She also must be really great at product development, as she listed it twice in her LinkedIn profile under specialties (ha). She "sleeps rarely and caffeinates often." It also appears that Joanna has been known to sing a song or two on karaoke.

Joanna on Twitter: @JoannaLord

Melissa Rzeppa is shrouded in secrecy. She is the marketing and public relations director for Zooloo, a site with lots of hype (mostly created by her) but about which nobody seems to know anything. She has proven herself a master at social media and viral marketing. Melissa is spunky, humorous, and friendly in addition to being enigmatic. She also is a troublemaker, being in trouble with the law on at least 2 different occassions (caught speeding on hidden cameras - see "Caught on Camera").

Melissa on Twitter: @MelissaPR

Felicia Day is an actress who makes this list due to her incredible talent in harnessing the power of social media and viral video. Felicia has a massive following on Twitter, over 500,000 at last count, and has entries both on IMDB and Wikipedia. She is a genius - attending college at the age of 16 and graduating as valedictorian. She has appeared on TV shows such as House, but is most widely known for her work in web video, and co-starred in the Internet musical “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog,” voted the Best TV of 2008 by Time Magazine, Entertainment Weekly and People Magazine. She also can be seen in the web series “The Guild”, which she created, writes and stars in. “The Guild” was the winner of the YouTube, Yahoo and SXSW Best Web Series Awards for 2008 and for the first season alone collected over 11 million hits web-wide.

Felicia on Twitter: @FeliciaDay

Jennifer Conley is a Project Coordinator at LevelTen Design and Editor at ILiveInDallas, a source for all things artistic, cultural or activist in the greater Dallas area. Jennifer's interests include retro design, typography, and website user interface design. She is skilled in serving as a liaison between her company and clients to effectuate the ultimate usability and interactive experience for end users. Judging from her photo, she also likes sushi. That's a hint, for anyone considering asking her out to dinner.

Jennifer on Twitter: @JenniferConley

Melissa Salas is the Director of Marketing at That's right. The Director. Of Marketing. At Talk about a power player. She has also been the host of BuyTV for three years. She is the recipient of the 2008 Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Award Winner for Affiliate Manager of the Year. She claims on her Google profile that some people call her a dork. Well guys, this is one dork who you would be lucky to be seen with in public. As well as someone who is probably 100 times more intelligent than you are.

Melissa on Twitter: @MelissaDSalas

Vanessa Fox is, well, Vanessa Fox. You can pretty much give her credit for creating Google Webmaster Central. After leaving Google she briefly worked at Zillow before becoming a features editor at Search Engine Land. The type of fortitude Vanessa demonstrates in her professional career is second to none - I mean she left Google! Vanessa is a fixture at any industry conference worth its salt, if you don't know who she is you have been living in a cave. And yes, there is a reason her last name is Fox.

Vanessa on Twitter: @VanessaFox

Ann Smarty is another lady whose last name reflects her true self. Ann is an SEO consultant with a wide following and excellent reputation as a blogger at Search Engine Journal. She is a prolific writer and eagerly shares her smarts with the rest of the industry. Ann knows her stuff, folks. Last November, Ann pulled a Demi Moore and proudly announced to the world that she was an "SEO Mom" and posted a picture of herself in what used to be known as a "delicate state". Way to go Ann!

Ann on Twitter: @SEOSmarty

Jane Copland is a New Zealander, former SEOMozzer who is now in London. She is well known in the industry as both a gifted Internet marketer as well as a potty-mouth (she can out-curse a sailor). She currently is an SEO consultant at Ayima and maintains her own website at I managed to pull her aside at SMX San Jose last year and have a few words with her. She is friendly and bright and has that wonderful accent which only serves to augment her cuteness factor. She's a great person to follow on Twitter, as long as you don't mind the occasional F-Bomb.

Jane on Twitter: @CoplandMJ

About the Author: Matt Foster is the CEO of ArteWorks SEO, a full service search engine optimization company. Mr. Foster is in awe of all of the sexy minds in the fields of Internet Marketing and New Media.
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Friday, May 08, 2009

Recession SEO: 6 Free Things to Offer Your Clients to Close a Deal

As Internet marketing becomes more competitive, and client budgets become tighter, it has become increasingly difficult to stand out in the industry and offer powerful solutions on a budget. Here are some ideas which I have found useful in persuading clients to choose our firm over other firms. Read the full article on closing SEO deals in a recession.

1) Keyword Research and ROI Analysis. Many clients have difficulty during the sales cycle understanding what the potential ROI of an Internet marketing investment can be. I have found that performing quick keyphrase research in real time, with the client on the phone, can be powerfully persuasive. Explaining the traffic potential of various keyphrases and engaging clients in a discussion as to the amount of potential traffic to their site, multiplied by an average net profit per conversion, multiplied by a conversion rate (I usually am conservative and estimate 2%) allows a client to visualize the ROI. It also assists lower budget clients in understanding the usefulness of focusing on long tail keyphrases at first, and working towards the highly competitive "big money" keyhprases as their sales (and Internet marketing budget) increase.

2) Twitter. To those of us in the industry, this may seem commonplace. However the fact remains that less than 5% of the population uses Twitter and most of them are young adults. Business owners are likely unfamiliar with this, and although they have heard about it the concept seems foreign to them. Explain to clients the power of branding which can be accomplished through Twitter and offer to set up and maintain a Twitter account at no extra charge. This can only take an hour a week, but to clients it sounds novel and powerful.

3) PPC Campaign Setup or Review. Offer your clients a one time audit of their PPC campaign or a free PPC campaign setup as part of a client acquisition incentive. Make recommendations which will increase ROI and point out problems in campaigns. This can not only serve to separate you from your competition, but also can turn an organic SEO client into a PPC management client as well, thereby increasing their investment in your firm.

4) Competitive Intelligence. This is another thing which can be done in a watered down fashion quite quickly. Examining the backlinkage of major competitors, as well as finding social media accounts, news results, video results, and the like can show a client his or her weaknesses and convince the client that your firm is the one that knows what it takes to beat the competition. By offering a free competitive intelligence analysis in the presale process, you are demonstrating to your client that you offer a customized strategy to them based upon their industry landscape, as opposed to an out of the box, one size fits all solution. This type of approach can be very convincing, as clients hear many different things from different companies; providing solid data as to what your strategy will be and why the client needs it sets you apart from the competition.

5) Analytics and Reporting. Search engine optimization and social media can be somewhat esoteric subjects and many clients have trouble understanding what it is they are buying. Many of our clients are "second chance" clients - meaning that they have previously been burned or disappointed by another SEO firm. What I hear most often from these clients is that there was no accountability or transparency provided by the firm. Set your firm apart during the sales cycle by emphasizing accountability. Offer your clients a monthly report which includes an accounting of all hours worked, by day, task, and person working them. Include a monthly strategy review and a conference call with the project manager. Include an analysis of analytics in each monthly report, which shows traffic sources and numbers. Clients need to know what they are getting for their money, and transparency goes a long way to keeping client confidence high.

6) Usability Analysis.
One strong selling point I have found is offering clients a "free ongoing usability analysis". I explain to clients that Internet marketing is not about rankings, as all the rankings in the world are worthless if they do not result in conversions. Explain to the client that you will, at no extra charge, provide a usability analysis each month, which examines the page bounce rates and conversion rates, and will assist in identifying problem areas on a client's site. If you explain to clients that your approach is a holistic one which is not just focused on rankings, but rather ROI, your clients will appreciate this.

About the Author: Matt Foster is the CEO of ArteWorks SEO, a full service search engine optimization company. Mr. Foster has been active in the industry since 1995, and specializes in search engine optimization and social media strategies for a global client base.


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