Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Web 2.0 meets Crimson and Clover

Since attending SES Toronto (Search Engine Strategies) last week I've been interested in experimenting with some of the new web 2.0 applications that are both fun and create content and links beyond a website. This site - Emily Chang eHub - is a great place to find the latest in these applications. I went cruising around there today and found this creative picture/music application. Gave it a quick try with some of my Flickr photos (and some not on Flickr) and came up with what's below.

Click the speaker button to hear the sound.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

SES Toronto Day 2

Couldn't attend all the sessions but got to a couple of good ones.

From the session on B2B, learned the following:
  • 80% of buyers say they found their vendors - not the other way round - 45% say they found their vendors on-line
  • Google - no surprise - is their dominant starting point
  • vertical search engines like business.com are huge - with 70% of B2B buyers surveyed saying they go there for insight and info
  • word of mouth - via the internet - and reputation management must be key marketing considerations for B2B vendors
  • when buyers go looking on-line, the three biggest things they're looking for are products, pricing and features
  • content on B2b websites must reflect the roles in the purchasers organization during the buying cycle
Interesting stuff. Almost every client I've worked for has had a reason for not wanting to put their pricing, or some form of 'starts at...' pricing on-line. Feedback from the conference is that this is a BIG mistake.

From the session on Web 2.0 and search engines, learned about new ways to add 'context' to web content - making it easier for the search engines to distinguish between Paris Hilton and the Paris Hilton.

Also heard the term SEO 2.0 for the first time. This makes sense to me. Search is evolving significantly as the web and 2.0 type applications like Flickr become main-stream. Learning how to integrate these into search marketing strategies will be fundamental - just as text, tagging and keywords are now.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

SES Toronto Day 1

Took a break from reality yesterday - and today - to attend the Search Engine Strategies Conference in Toronto. Not a subject I've spent a lot of time on lately but it is something I have an interest in through my role at Longtail Publishing - a partnership I'm involved that owns about 150 domain names and websites - everything from torontoplumber.com through applestorelocations.com and museumhours.com - practical, local, directory-based listings.

SES isn't necessarily of greatest benefit to publishers, like Longtail. But it's of great interest to traditional brand marketers and company owners who want/need their brands in front of potential customers.

Get this - 80% of all first interactions with a brand occur on-line now. If you don't show up on-line, you don't show up.

Search engine marketing - getting ranked high enough for customers to find you on the key search engines - is a relatively new art/science that is evolving at the speed of the web. Two years ago, SES was all about getting ranked first page on Google. Everything was text based.

That's changing. Fast. Thanks to 'expert' sites like Flickr (photos), YouTube (videos) and hundreds/thousands of others (press releases, customer reviews, social sites like Facebook), getting your brand noticed and ranking highly on Google and other searches can start anywhere.

Some key, simple learning for me as I advise my clients on basic marketing - make a video, take some screen shots, do some press releases - and load them on the web. Tag them with the appropriate keywords and cover your bases to get noticed.

As a result, the key theme from Day 1 of SES was not 'search engine optimization' but 'digital asset management' - going beyond web-site based approaches and branching out to the other 'filters' on the net that get your brand ranked and noticed. Put another way - getting your content - text, pictures, videos, reviews - out beyond your website.

Other practical learning - how to appropriately 'tag' your content to match what potential customers are looking for - not 'shampoo', but 'shiny hair'; not 'lending', but 'borrowing'; not 'document destruction', but 'shredding'. Speaking simple, customer-centric language, not marketese.

For expert advice on doing this and marketing your company on the web I can highly recommend my partner in Longtail, John Robb. His site and contact info is here.

Overall a good day at SES Toronto. Looking forward to today.