A Shift to Online Business Management Consulting – Thoughts on Rebranding in 2010

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I haven’t spent a lot of 2009 posting for my little marketing blog, and I miss taking the time to sit down and write about what I’m learning. 2009 has been a whirlwind of projects outside the scope of just SEO, and I’ve realized that talking isn’t doing.  It’s made me realize that over-simplifying what I do on the web to purely SEO is doing myself a disservice due to a variety of factors discussed below. Those of you with years of experience building and improving ever aspect of a website deserve more credit than you sometimes receive. I’ve watched many of my friends and peers write books, develop large communities on the subject, and take jobs at some of the most prestigious companies in the world. Despite all this, I doubt I will continue to pitch myself as “an SEO” for much longer. I know I will always truly “be an SEO” at heart, but I think it’s time to move on (for real this time). I will most likely focus on online business management consulting, and improving business’s overall online profits through refining processes and strategies. What will that look like? Probably something very similar to the services I’ve been providing clients for years, with a more generic label that doesn’t elicit the same negative connotations. Really, how different can our marketing services be from the likes of Mckinsey , Accenture, ECGMC, OliverWyman, or others in the management consulting association?

Through the reflection of writing this post, and months of pondering the subject, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve been doing online business management consulting for years anyhow. SEO impacts every aspect of a company’s marketing strategy, and we’ve all seen it make or break many company’s success in the past. How a site is developed will impact the rankings, and the rankings will very strongly impact the bottom line profit on a company’s balance sheet. Good search marketing comes from teams working together on a project cohesively. I’ve always agreed with Tedster, that SEO is really just good project management.

Over the last few years through self-taught trial and error, I’ve learned to run my own successful consultancy, develop several of my own web properties, and help to create a full blown SEO training curriculum with the help of the fine gents at MarketMotive. During this tenure at MarketMotive, I’ve realized that despite having a different starting perspective on creating websites than Bryan Eisenberg, John Marshall, Michael Stebbins, Greg Jarboe, Matt Bailey and Avinash Kaushik, we all had very similar priorities on what was important in the execution of a site strategy, and the end goals (Avinash and I have a video coming up discussing using analytics data to backup your “gut feel” SEO recommendations with tangible analytics information that I think should be REALLY awesome) . None of them ever claimed to be optimizers, but our actionable recommendations seem to always come out looking pretty similar.

 “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller

At the end of any year, we have a nice opportunity to reflect on the year before us, and the year that has passed.  I would like to encourage other SEO folks to consider that now is the time to start rebranding yourselves, if you haven’t started already.  SEO is definitely not dead, but it is changing, and becoming a mainstream skillset quite quickly. You don’t want your skills to become a commodity.

Personalized and realtime search aren’t helping matters any. Anyone informed can’t claim they didn’t see it coming. No longer will there be such an awesome opportunity for a single person to “make it rain” in a few months time with amazing returns on investment through top search rankings.  In a few years time, most good developers worth their salt will have their mind completely wrapped around the fundamental aspects of SEO for web developers (or they too will be out of a job).  Even the Scobelizer is trying to rename SEO to “OM”, (and in proving his points also demonstrates the sustainable nature of SEO) to which Danny responds in his normal eloquent and rational style.

“I came away from this conversations thinking that SEO is getting dramatically less important and that SEM should be renamed to “OM” for “Online Marketing” since small businesses need to take a much more holistic approach to marketing than just worrying about search results.”

The Oilman 5% Rule
There will always be an additional 5% advantage that true SEO’s bring to the table. This advantage, however, is better used in creating your own sites or helping clients than it is being blogged about for your 5MB of pseudo-internet fame.  This 5% is your unique advantage in a dynamic information based economy that is constantly pitching and rolling like a hatteras hunting halibut in a hurricane.  It’s tough to stay on board, and keep up on the scholarly aspects of search algos. It’s even tougher to create sites that succeed in a timely and budget conscience fashion, and take advantage of an understanding of the extra 5%.   This won’t die, but it won’t likely get any easier as the winds of change bear down upon those of us who try to do all three.

So what’s changed in the last few years, and what will continue to change?

Here’s a brief snapshot of the History.

Barriers to entry
I talked about the rising barriers to entry several years ago, and I think the barriers continue to rise.  Large corporations are becoming more competitive with their understanding of search marketing, and are executing real live strategies that work now.  Link popularity is becoming more difficult to increase with fickle webmasters who are now all aware of the true value of link popularity.  The importance of link popularity is constantly decreasing now that user data can be incorporated into algorithms with much less likelihood of being manipulated (the argument that google won’t incorporate user data because it didn’t work for directhit no longer holds any water).

The sum total of these barriers results in a wall that will take world-class mountain climbers to scale (or just millions of dollars to market).  The glory days of creating sites from scratch by work-at-homers is being replaced by corporate budgets, long-term timelines, spreadsheets, timelines, and large scale data mining of keyword data.  Everyone is quickly figuring out what the keywords are worth, and more and more people are now all trying to rank for credit cards and online education, because they see the giant revenues these terms can bring in. 

While we maintain competitive advantages for ranking in the search results due to years of hands on experience with the algorithms, this experience only goes so far against giant budgets when corporations start to execute on the understanding of these same concepts (and here we thought they’d never listen!). There will always be opportunities for those grass roots marketers who do things faster and smarter, but I doubt these opportunities will be large enough to drive large dumptrucks full of cash through like the opportunists of the last decade have been doing.

The Algorithm is a Capitalist (and I think it’s from Mountain View and not Jersey)
According to the SEOMoz.org Search Ranking Factors:

·  24% Trust/Authority of the Host Domain
·  22% Link Popularity of the Specific Page
·  20% Anchor Text of External Links
·  15% On-Page Keyword Usage
·  7% Traffic and Click-Through Data
·  6% Social Graph Metrics
·  5% Registration and Hosting Data

If you’ve followed the algorithms over the years, you can already see how they’ve changed.  In the near years ahead, I think the distribution of importance will look a little something more like this:

·  25% Trust/Authority of the Host Domain
·  24% Traffic and Click-Through Data
·  20% Social Graph Metrics
·  12% Link Popularity of the Specific Page
·  10% Anchor Text of External Links
·  7% On-Page Keyword Usage
·  2% Registration and Hosting Data

These variables become a whole lot harder to game for small operation, and therefore are ultimately much more effective with creating search relevance (aka reducing search “spam”)  It’s a whole lot more difficult to create a successful viral marketing campaign for improving your social graph metrics than it is to go and buy a bunch of text links. I don’t know if this is good or bad for those who have been doing it for years (if you evolve with change it is neither), but it certainly changes the expectations and strategy that you will need to employ for success. Taking a site from nothing to top ten rankings for highly competitive phrases will become much less of a reality.  That being said, the game will switch to taking sites in the top 100 (or 1000) for a competitive phrase to the top of the charts.  Let the land grab for sites in the top 1000 begin! Since I’m a big fan of hunting for sites, website appraisal and valuation, and negotiating acquisitions, I’m really looking forward to the rush:)

Ad Agencies
My favorite SEO liars. The ad agencies that were complete morons that hated and didn’t understand SEO’s throughout this decade, have now fully adopted search marketing as an important school of thought, and have the budgets at their disposal to buy the last 5% FTW!    They also have the credibility of having impressive large client rosters to use as case studies and dispel the myths of “SEO Voodoo” to properly set expectations during the sales process.  Ad agencies have always known how to market themselves, and charge top dollar for outsourced services.  Marketing professionals have always optimized media, and are fully embracing anything that will deliver value add to the rest of the services (print, media, etc.) that are declining in value. SEO complements traditional media extremely well when it is adopted into marketing company culture, and this adoption is now well under way.

Large Corporations
The corporations finally get it (well some at least), and are fully embracing search.  My friends and search industry veterans Marshall Simmonds and Matthew Brown (the most patient SEOs on the planet), even talked the New York Times into dropping the guarded wall to enjoy the benefits of search traffic! Now that everyone finally has analytics incorporated, and understands exactly what the traffic is worth, the land grab can commence.  The discrepancy between spends on PPC and SEO must balance out at some point, likely with the top ad agencies getting the budgets for the top corporations as they always have.  Despite only understanding 2 or 3% of the fabled 5% of SEO, ad agencies have a whole lot more resources to delegate on the execution of SEO strategies, and can consider optimization best practices in their other endeavors. One bit of great news for 2010 is the very high likelihood that spending on SEO services will increase (See prediction #6 from Mr. Moz)

Google
Oh the Goog.  I remember when you were just a little search spider with grandiose ideals forming your little garage band.  Now you are a super-group on an epic multi-country tour trying to rule the world with your siren’s song promising access to the world’s knowledgebase in less than milliseconds.  You have assimilated even the most paranoid anti-google tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy theorists into google gospel preaching fanboys, or at minimum, ambivalent late-adopters who can’t resist the lure of your free and wonderful web applications that save us all thousands of dollars per year. I really hope I’m around to see the “behind the music” special one day after John Connor sees to your demise. 

Unfortunately I don’t think “Don’t be evil” holds up against billion dollar market caps, foreign policy, privacy issues, data mining, stock prices, and investor pressures.  While most folks I’ve met that work at google are absolutely wonderful people with very strongly held ideals, I don’t think the corporation is always the sum of its parts.  The algorithm and the need for more ad dollars and growth have set google on an inevitable path based on the capitalist model that demands growth and more money.  As arguably the most influential company of all time, it could also easily become the most destructive (I hope my googler friends understand the important responsibilities of their roles in organizing aka controlling the world’s information). I haven’t decided who I will root for when the Goog squares off against the government, and it is a commonly held belief that G probably IS better than uncle sam. When the algorithm becomes self aware, I for one, welcome our new silicon based intelligence multi-colored "don’t be evil" overlords. Your logic is undeniable like that of VIKI from I, Robot.

Public opinion
The public opinion of both google and of SEO’s will continue to affect our craft.  Search is “good enough”, and I doubt bing will be swinging huge market shares anytime soon in the US. 
I think the public pretty much despises SEO.  We get blamed for nearly as much as email spammers by the mainstream media.  Even my own brothers halfway joke that I’m busy ruining the web all the time. I suppose with some of the things that go on with negative billing, malware, blog spam, and other shady tactics they’re probably quite right (*note, I’ve never partaken in any of these things)  It’s very unfortunate.  The SEO folks I know are wonderful people, and work hard to make an honest living.  Most of them have really awesome success stories of how they fell into the rabbit hole that is SEO, and how it changed their life for the better. Sure, some should probably be set out to sea never to return, but it’s a shame that their the ones who have gotten the credit for "being SEO’s"

What Will Change?
I am with Rand on this one – probably not much. Nothing earth shifting is going to destroy your career unless you don’t keep up with the changes.  The skillsets you’ve developed as SEO’s will lead you into a career that few will get to enjoy. Unfortunately, you are doing yourself a disservice if you brand yourself as an SEO. Whatever you call it, the process stays the same, and stems from an understanding of the top ranking factors:

  1. Make pages accessible
  2. Target with keywords that searchers employ
  3. Build content that users will find useful and valuable
  4. Earn editorial links from good sources

So What Do We Do?
I think the answer is different for everyone.  For myself, I will move towards offering online business management consulting services that will be remarkably similar to the SEO services I’ve always provided.  If we can learn anything from the marketers that have come before us, it is that packaging and perception is hugely important.
I tend to look to guys like Lee Odden, Neil Patel, Chris Winfield, Brent Csutoras, and others like them who (at least in my mind) are SEO’s at heart, but have branded themselves as much more than that to create very successful companies and careers through using an “optimizer’s mentality” towards everything they do. 

There are only a few folks (Rand Fishkin, Aaron Wall, Danny Sullivan) who have fully embraced being SEO’s and have really had great success with it.  I’ve always found it odd how many SEO’s (who are excellent marketers) have faced this branding challenge of being SEO’s.  As a group, I doubt it’s something that will be solved, due to the parasitic nature of those jumping on the bandwagon to offer shady services with the same name that we hold so dear. To all my respectable SEO brethren, I hope you have a wonderful 2010, and find new and exciting ways to adapt to the changes this wonderful career will throw at us.

A few more links (just in case you didn’t get your fill):

See who was right about the predictions from last year:
http://searchengineland.com/big-list-2009-marketing-predictions-16009

How have I done on my predictions?

 

December 31st 2009 News

Buenos Aires For The Weekend

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When we originally planned our trip down here, there were 2 places at the top of our list. Santiago and Buenos Aires. Santiago won out by a hair, but BsAs was right up there. After copious amounts of harassment from Robin, I finally gave in, and we picked up some cheap tickets to duck over there for the weekend. For Christmas. I’ll comment on the sanity of that in a minute, but here are some general notes from our Christmas weekend in Buenos Aires!

The Andes, From Above

The Andes, flying from Santiago to Buenos Aires

  • Christmas Eve (Nochebuena?, Dec 24th): We arrived at about 7pm, expecting to have a ride waiting for us, as organized by the hotel. Don’t know what happened, but that didn’t work out, so we ended up getting a fixed-price taxi (a remise) to our hotel. Once we got ourselves checked in and sorted out, we went out for a walk to see what we could find and what we could eat. If we had done our homework, we’d have known that the night before Christmas, known in South America (amongst other places) as “Nochebuena“, is one of their biggest celebrations, and a LOT of things are shut. After stumbling around the empty, strange streets for a while, we (on directions from a hotel bus-boy) ended up in Puerto Madero, where at least a few things were open. It seemed that most of them were reservation-only, and had fixed menus, but we eventually found one, and ended up having a fixed menu dinner in a place that was absolutely packed. It was expensive (by local standards), but included a bottle of wine, 3 courses, champagne toast at midnight, free water and an extra free dessert cake… thing. I’m not entirely sure what it was, because I didn’t eat any (since I was already full, and thoroughly dislike fruit cake), but it looked like a fruit-cake variant of some sort. It also kind of felt like we were sitting in the kitchen, because they were preparing some plates in the area where we were, but at that point of the evening we were just happy to have someone serving us food.

    Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires

  • Christmas Day (Dec 25th): I don’t know what you did on your Christmas, but I spent the entirety of mine walking almost aimlessly around the streets of Buenos Aires :) Oh, and we spent a little time in La Recoleta Cemetery, looking at the amazing tombs there. We went all through Microcentro, Retiro, Recoleta and back through Barrio Norte. Along the way we saw the Floralis Generica, which for my money is one of the coolest pieces of public art I’ve ever seen, anywhere. Again, most things were shut, and there was hardly any traffic on the streets, so it was quite a weird experience, but it made it easy to get around (on foot) and see all the buildings and whatnot.

    Floralis Generica Buenos Aires Building

  • Boxing Day (Dec 26th): Since I was scheduled on for the day, I had to get some IntenseDebate support work done in the morning, so I headed to a cafe and got to it. Robin went off on her own to have a look around, and ended up back at La Recoleta Cemetery. Once I was done with work, I headed in her direction and ended up stopping at Cumana, a place recommended to me by DK to get some food. I (almost randomly, since I didn’t really know what it was), picked a lentil cazuela and a Quilmes beer. I must say, the cazuela was freaking amazing. I ate every scrap of it from the dish shown below. After that we caught the metro (Subte?) down to Plaza de Mayo, then walked down through La Boca which was a pretty cool neighborhood to explore. That evening we had reservations for a Tango Show and Dinner at El Querandi. It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting; it was almost more of a mini opera show with live music, some singing, and then some tango dancing mixed in. The meal was quite good as well, and again was a fixed menu which included a bottle of wine and mineral water.

    Amazing Cazuela La Recoleta Cemetery

  • Dec 27th: On our last day, we didn’t have too much time to get anything done, so we slept in a bit, then were awoken by a call from the front desk, telling us that our ride was there. That was strange — it was supposed to be there at midday and it was only 10am. Apparently there had been some confusion, or something was lost in the (admittedly poor) translation. He was not happy about it. After getting the concierge at our hotel to help get the message through, we canceled that ride and booked another one for 12, then checked out and went to get some breakfast. At the airport, security was SUPER easy. No taking off your shoes. No separating your laptop. No clear bag this, empty bottle that, too big, too small, too wet, too pasty, too much junk in your underwear. Straight through, grab some food then sit around at the airport for a while and come home. Once back in Chile, we hopped a Tur Bus (which are excellent, convenient and cheap) back to the Metro, trained back home and were greeted by this view from our balcony, not bad:

    Santiago on Fire

The only real disappointment of the trip was that we were there for a very, very quiet time of year, so I don’t think BsAs was remotely the lively, vibrant city it normally is (or so I’ve heard). We both definitely would like to go back, so hopefully that’ll happen at some point.

More photos from this portion of our trip can be found specifically in the Buenos Aires set on Flickr.

December 30th 2009 personal

Looking Back at Google in 2009

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A fairly thorough retrospective of Google and the huge impact the company had over the past year. Check out the list of releases and new ideas Google pushed in 2009. Impressive and scary at the same time. I wish the little blip about me leaving earlier this year weren’t present, though I’ll admit that’s how I found this article. This paragraph toward the end sums it up best:

Google in late 2009 is now covering or aiming to cover web apps, the browser that runs the web apps, the OS that runs the browser, and, according to rumors, even the computer that runs the OS.

link

December 30th 2009 Google, Technology

Success secrets of graphic designer superstars

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Worth skimming through, if even just for the eye candy. But also for each designer’s nuggets of wisdom. link

December 30th 2009 Design

Santiago, Week One

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We’ve been here for over a week now, and it already feels relatively familiar and normal (in a good way), and we’re getting our feet under us. We’ve been lucky enough to spend some time with a string of different folks who we somehow managed to get connected up with (all connections from before we got here), and we’ve done some more tourist things, plus started getting some real work done.

These updates are as much for my memory as for any interest they may (or may not) be to other folks, so I don’t doubt that they will bore a lot of you to tears. This is a big one…

Here’s a quick break down of what we’ve done each day since my last post about what we’ve been up to:

  • Monday/lunes: Worked from home all day, then met up with Juan in the afternoon. Juan is one of the organizers of WordCamp Chile (along with Jorge), who I was connected up with via Automattic. We met in the center of Santiago and went on quite a walking tour, with Juan as our fearless tour-guide! After heading home to get a bit more work done, Robin and I went out to get Thai food on Manuel Montt, which was OK, but a bit strange (ordering Thai food, in Spanish). I had a “Thai Pisco Sour” which had coconut milk and coconut flakes. Weird :)

    Under Arrest?

  • Tuesday/martes: We both ventured out and ended up at a place called Cafe Museo (because it was right next to the Museo de Artes Visuales). It was a really nice spot to work; outdoors, but in a semi-covered courtyard area so it was cooler, but still breezy. At the end of the day I ended up buying some clothes (2 shirts and a jacket) in a small boutique-ish place, where the girl said she wanted to go to California one day. After that we went to Patio Bellavista with Jorge, Paloma and Phillipo (sp?) for drinks, food and fun conversation. Patio Bellavista is a pretty awesome (albeit quite gringo) place where there are a series of restaurants, pubs and shops all connected in an open-air mall type arrangement, but it’s all very casual and fun. Jorge is off in Brazil for a few weeks, but we should be able to catch up with them all again before we leave.

    Jorge et al

  • Wednesday/miercoles: Robin was off to sort out some Spanish classes on this day, so I walked around and ended up at Ramblas to try to get some work done. I eventually figured out that their kitchen (la cocina) wasn’t open until 1pm (uno pm). I managed to get a very strange coffee, and then sat around and did some work on an empty stomach because I didn’t want to go somewhere else to find wifi. Robin eventually got there, and then the kitchen opened so we could get some food. We worked the rest of the day/afternoon there together, then headed home and off to get some dinner at the Phone Box Pub, on the way to a bit of a function/party. Through friends of friends of friends, we’d managed to get connected up with Ann, who works for VE Global, and happened to be having a party at a bar near where we’re staying here. She was super nice, and we’re hoping to spend some more time with her before she (and we) leaves in January (enero).

    Ramblas

  • Thursday/jueves: This was a relatively quiet work-day. We both stayed home and got a bunch of work done again. I worked from the Internet Sala (room), we did some laundry (had to buy tokens to use the machines, approx $2 USD per load) and generally just took it a bit easier. We eventually went out for some dinner at around 10pm and went to a Chinese restaurant which was a little disappointing.
  • Friday/viernes: Today we managed to find a cute little place called Cafe Magdalena which was happy to have us there all day (as most places seem to be). It had comfy couches, good wifi and OK food, so we were set. We ventured out a bit that evening and had dinner at a place over near Universidad de Catolica (near Cafe Museo), underneath a place called “Observatory”. It was something de Angel I think. This delicious ceviche was there:

    Delicious Ceviche

  • Saturday/sabado: We had originally intended to be in Valparaiso on this day, but realized the night before that we’d actually booked the ticket for the next weekend (when we’d be in Buenos Aires!). First thing in the morning we went and changed our ticket so that we could go to Valpo the next day, then went and (verbally) wrestled with some arrangements for New Year’s Eve (víspera de año nuevo). After that we jumped on a Turistik bus tour (meh) and went around the city. We got off at Parque Arauco (massive mall here, one of the biggest in South America) to take a look around. After that the tour went along Av. Alonso de Cordova, one of the “richest” streets in the city, where you find Hermes, Louis Vitton etc.

    Mmmm, Cake

  • Sunday/domingo: We got up early this day and got a taxi off to the Alameda Tur-Bus station, where we hopped on board our 90 minute ride to the coast. The bus was really nice, and very comfortable making the trip itself quite pleasant (although Robin, as usual, slept the entire way). Once we got there, we didn’t really have a plan, so when a (legitimate looking) tour company approached us while we were looking for a map, we decided to take them up on their offer of a tour of both Valpo and Viña. It turned out to be an excellent buy, and I’d really recommend it. I think the name of the company was “Rod Tur” or “Rod Tour”, it operated from a stall right in the bus station, and the staff all wore blue t-shirts or jackets with yellow writing on them. They took us for a drive around Viña del Mar for a few hours, then we stopped for lunch, then went around Valparaiso. We actually spent most of our time walking around, as the tour would go from place to place, then stop and let you out to have a look around, buy stuff, etc. When we got back to the bus station we had a bit of an adventure trying to find some food (who knew it’d be so hard to find some fries (papas frites), when it was on everyone’s menu?!), then got back on our Tur-Bus and headed home.

    Valparaiso View

  • Monday/lunes: I decided that it’s easier to do some work from home in the morning, since a lot of places don’t seem to open too early here. Robin headed off to her Spanish class and I did some work, then at around 10:30 I headed out to find an office for the day. I found a good little spot called Dialogos and set up shop. After a full day of work, we met up with Emily and her fiance Rodolfo for drinks and some food at Bar Central (right near our place). Rodolfo is on the national handball team, while I met Emily, completely randomly over a year ago at a Mashable-sponsored party (when I was working for Mashable). Amongst other things, Rodolfo also does bicycle tours of Santiago, so we’re hopefully going to join him on one to see the city from the street level, and from a more authentic perspective (than most of the other more commercialized tours). His company is La Biciclete Verde (The Green Bicycle!):

And now, for anyone interested, some random observations of life in Santiago!

  • Heaps of venues, even bars, don’t play music. It’s quite strange, you actually have to talk to each other!
  • We (very) often go places and are told that things which are clearly on the menu are unavailable, or that they’ve run out.
  • Most places won’t bring you a check/bill (la cuenta) until you specifically ask for it, and are happy for you to sit around drinking/chatting for as long as you like.
  • There are street vendors all over the place, selling everything from newspapers to snacks to meals to fruits & vegetables. They’ll overcharge you if they can get away with it.
  • If you try to use a credit card (tarjeta de credito) in a lot of places, they’ll come to your table with a portable credit card machine and swipe the card there, rather than take your card and walk away. I assume this is because of a trust barrier (RE: letting someone disappear somewhere with your card).
  • A colorful, flowing dress and black tights has to be about the most popular single outfit for girls here.
  • A lot of places only have a single point/person where money handling takes place. So you do anything else you need to do, then you have to explicitly go to the “caja” to pay before you leave.
  • They say “ciao” here, instead of hasta luego, adios, or anything else. Apparently it’s spelled “chao” or something similar here though.

So that brings us up to today. We’ve been busy, and there’s still lots more to do! This week Robin is doing more classes, I’m working, and then on Thursday afternoon (tardes) we’re heading to Buenos Aires for a few days over Christmas. Having a great time, even if there have been some trying experiences and times thus far with communication etc. As always, there are more photos in my Chile set on Flickr.

December 23rd 2009 personal

BackPress, Your New Best Friend

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If you’ve spent some time poking around in the code for either WordPress or bbPress, you may have come across comments that mention “BackPress”. You may have wondered what this BackPress thing was, well, wonder no more.

In the last few days, I’ve put together a quick site to try to help introduce people to the BackPress project. From the site:

BackPress is a PHP library of core functionality for web applications. It grew out of the immensely popular WordPress project, and is also the core of the bbPress and GlotPress sister-projects.

So effectively, BackPress takes all of the best core functionality (on a code level) from WordPress and bbPress, and makes it available to you and your next PHP-based web application/project. By using BackPress in your projects, you are then able to use most of the code you’ve come to rely on while working on WordPress-based projects, such as $wpdb, trailingslashit(), make_clickable(), __(), wp_remote_fopen() and more. The site includes some details on how to use BackPress in your project, and has the beginnings of a collection of documentation covering the main parts of the code library.

I’m personally really excited about this because I think BackPress has huge potential as a library for other folks and other projects. It allows them to benefit from the lessons learned through years (and thousands of “man-hours” worth of development) on the WordPress and bbPress projects. I’m using it as the core of my HTFS project (not released yet), and I know that some other projects are starting to use it as well. As a developer who has spent a lot of time in “WordPress land”, it makes life so much easier to be able to continue using a lot of the design patterns and techniques that I’ve become accustomed to.

Check it out, and please let me know what else we could get on the site, what needs more documentation etc!

December 23rd 2009 wordpress

On Cafe Working

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Since arriving in Santiago, I’ve been posed with the challenge of finding good locations to work from. I like to work from cafes, which I refer to as “cafeworking”. Whether you’re traveling or just wanting to get out of the house for the day though (assuming you work from home, like I normally do), your selection criteria are probably similar either way. I decided that I’d document some of the things I look for when I’m trying to find a good place to work for the day. Feel free to add your own criteria in the comments.

Some of the things I look for in a good cafeworking location:

  • Internet Access — Obviously this is important, and it can be harder than you might expect to find decent wifi/connectivity. Places that have a sticker up don’t always have it, places that do have it are sometimes being leeched by people (so it’s slow), signal strength can be weak, or worst of all, wifi can be fine, but internet connectivity is down, or patchy/slow. The worst part here is if you don’t find out about problems until after you’ve already ordered something, because then not only are you stuck there with what you’ve ordered, but if you have to go somewhere else, you’ve got to order something again.
  • Ergonomics — My aim is always to find somewhere that I can sit for at least 3 hours to get some work done. This means that ideally I want a table of some sort, and a comfortable chair. It doesn’t need to be a Herman Miller or anything, but ideally I want more than a wooden fold-up chair if I can get it. Also in this category is looking for a place where I can sit that doesn’t result in sun reflecting off my screen. Especially with a glossy MacBook Pro, this is a big issue. You should also be looking out for sun in your eyes, the height of the table you score and possibly your position in relation to others (in case you don’t want someone looking over your shoulder while you’re working).
  • Power Availability — This one is less of an issue for some people (of whom I am thoroughly jealous). For us MacBook Pro users, it’s going to be pretty important because realistically, you only get a couple of hours’ juice from your battery, and working with your screen brightness turned down extends your untethered time a bit, but is really annoying. I picked up an external HyperMac battery which gives me a couple extra hours on top of the built-in one, but I still need a power outlet if I want to sit somewhere all day and work with full screen brightness. Mac power bricks (with the optional extension cord) give you good range, but if you’re in a different country and using one of the international adapters which you dutifully picked up at the Apple Store, you may find yourself cut short. Because of the way the official Apple adapters work, you can’t use the extension end of the cord at the same time, so youhalf the distance you’re able to sit from a power outlet.
  • Decent Food/Beverages — This one is a no-brainer. If you’re going to be working somewhere all day, you want to be able to buy some food and drink to keep you going (and to stop them from kicking you out!). Sometimes it’s fun to work somewhere that serves “adult beverages” so that at the end of the day you can enjoy a glass of vino or a cerveza while you’re finishing off your day’s work.
  • Vibe — The last one is more of an attitude than anything specific you’ll be able to see from a difference. I like to refer to this as “the vibe“. It takes into account the general feel of the place, and specifically the attitude of the staff. You don’t want to be somewhere that you feel unwelcome, where they’re hovering over your shoulder every 15 minutes trying to get you to buy something, or where there is an outright policy of not allowing people to work all day. This one is hard to judge based on a quick walk-through of a cafe, but with a bit of practice and a quick, honest question here and there, you should be OK.

Once you find a place with all of this, then all you need to do is concentrate long enough to get anything done :)

What do you look for when you’re cafe-working? Let me know below, I’m interested to hear what’s important for other folks.

December 21st 2009 personal

The Eyetools Blog Is… Not Written In Very Often

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Given the number of gaps in writing we’ve had over the years, I think that we at Eyetools have to admit that we are not a very “writing in the blog” focused company.

The last couple of years have been exciting in terms of the work that we’ve been doing, the extent that we’ve helped clients, and the new improvements we’ve made to provide more value to clients, not to mention the quality of the clients we’ve been working with, but through out all of this, it seems like writing in the blog just doesn’t make it to the top of the priority queue. This is ironic since we’ve been doing a fair amount of copywriting and messaging testing over this time.

So, if you’re here to evaluate whether we’re still alive, we are, even if our blog doesn’t look like it.

Give us a call, however, if you’d like a warm, lively discussion about your project.

Until next time,

Greg Edwards
Founder of Eyetools
415.409.9393

December 18th 2009 Uncategorized

Brent Payne Interviewed by Eric Enge

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Published: December 13, 2009

An in-house SEO with more than seven years of experience, Brent has doubled Tribune’s visits from search engines since he joined the company in February 2008. With more than a million visits per day to Tribune’s network of websites, Brent drives traffic not only to Tribune’s newspaper sites (including the L.A. Times, Chicago Tribune, and Baltimore Sun) but also to Tribune’s dozens of broadcast sites (including KTLA, WGN, and WPIX). He is a newspaper SEO authority with experience and expertise in CMS challenges, duplicate content mitigation, page-rank funneling, Google News, and Google index rates. He has also trained large editorial teams regarding SEO.

Interview Transcript

Eric Enge: Can you outline the basic background of where you work, the number of properties you have and what your day-to-day work is like?

Brent Payne: My official title is the Director of Search Engine Optimization for the Tribune Company. I handle the Search Engine Optimization work for all Tribune properties, including the websites for the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel, Sun Sentinel, Hartford Courant, Morning Call and Daily Press.

KTLA in Los Angeles is one of our larger broadcast sites, along with WGN in Chicago and WPIX in New York, and twenty-one other smaller stations across the country. I also handle the Search Engine Optimization for the websites of about 17 LocalTV, LLC stations, most of which are in the Midwest. We are working on launching some projects that I can’t talk about, but some of them which we have already launched include HealthKey.com, a health-related site, and ZooZag.com, a classifieds site.

Eric Enge: You spend four hours a day on each one, correct?

Brent Payne: Ha ha ha! Yes, of course! Seriously though, I try to break things down by traffic. For example, LA Times receives around 30 percent of our traffic from search, so I spend quite a bit of my time on LA Times, followed up by Chicago Tribune, which, admittedly, gets more of my attention than it normally would simply because I live in Chicago and our corporate offices are located here.

Florida papers also get a bit more attention than their percentage of traffic would typically warrant mainly because they tend to be a little bit more edgy in terms of the kind of content they post, especially in their photo galleries. That gives me some additional opportunities when it comes to celebrity related search queries and other entertainment related SEO, which is obviously popular on Google. For the Baltimore Sun site, I mainly deal with news that is related to Washington DC.

Broadcast sites are typically for Video SEO, but unfortunately our Video SEO is really poor because our current implementation of the video player sticks it in an iFrame. However, I am working on getting that fixed, as well as getting the close captioning for those videos automatically fed, which I feel would be huge in order to help our Video SEO.

Eric Enge: What are some of the unique problems that you have faced?

Brent Payne: The largest problem that I deal with quite a bit is with the CMS. The CMS was built ten years ago, but it has been changed a lot since then. At the time it was built, the current mindset was duplication, duplication, and duplication. It was definitely set up from the print mindset that it was okay to syndicate to ourselves, so literally when I got here two years ago, about 250 copies of the same article would get created on every story.

It would literally be in five or six different sections on the current domain, and then duplicates across about 50 different domains which created quite a problem. It was quite a challenge because I had to convince the General Managers of these companies why this was important, and then get tech resources to make a massive change to our CMS.

Once we got that part done, we saw an increase in search engine traffic. The current problem I am dealing with is the cross domain issue, i.e., if the LA Times writes an article that all the other Tribune properties like and thus they put that same story on their own domain, how do we get Google to realize that the LA Times is the originator of the article? Google engineers claim they are going to have the cross domain canonical tag by the end of the year, and I am excited about that, but I know they were pretty slow to initially utilize the canonical tag. Thus I’m a bit leery as to how effective it will be initially. However, I am hoping that the cross domain canonical tag actually has some type of impact by at least March of next year.

Sure, I could do 301s and force it to a single domain name, which is where I was headed, but we literally needed 3 to 4 months to complete the process with 3 or 4 developers. The cost to do that is high, so I am going to try the cross domain canonical first, and hopefully that does the trick. If I don’t see anything by March or April of next year, then I’ll go down the road of literally forcing it to a particular domain.

Another concern I deal with are political issues. Say there is a huge breaking news story, and the LA Times and Chicago Tribune both want to write a story about the LA fires, for example. And, let’s say someone from Chicago was killed in one of the LA fires. Well, the Chicago Tribune would want a story that is more about the death of that person so the story is more focused to the Chicago area. However, the story coming out of L.A. Times would be more tailored to a Los Angeles audience.

I have to deal with the online editors from both those newspapers and get them to understand that the story in the Chicago Tribune is not really about the LA fires, it’s an angle of the fire, and that they should still link to the LA Times for stories about the LA fires. But if the editors in LA could utilize the Tribune’s story in a related story section, that would be appreciated as well.

It is always a challenge to get newspapers to link to each other. Even though we all work for the same company, there is still a lot of journalistic competition between the different properties.

Eric Enge: You get involved in the negotiations as well, correct? While there is certainly an SEO reason for you to be involved, this is really a bit more fundamental issue than just SEO.

Brent Payne: You are absolutely right, but it’s a consolidation of resources as well. I think that we’ll get to a point where this is less an SEO conversation and more a resources conversation, where we will discuss if we really need eight or 10 different movie critics throughout the Tribune network, instead of just one or two. I think that’s going to be a difficult pill for some of us to swallow as we continue moving forward and realize that monetizing on the web is a different model than monetizing in print.

Eric Enge: Getting people to make the mental switch from print to online media is a real issue?

Brent Payne: Correct. Luckily I still have significant buy-in with the company, and our upper management, all the way to the COO of the Tribune Company, understands why it’s important for our papers to get traffic from the search engines. Which makes it easier for me. I have the tools within our content management system to force a change if I need to, but I don’t like being the bad cop. I’d prefer to build and utilize relationships rather than forcing a change or being the bad cop with editorial.

When Michael Jackson died, I didn’t care how many versions of the story were out there. The only property I had ranking well for it was the LA Times, so I literally forced every story about Michael Jackson’s death to LA Times.com.

It’s hard to make a lot of friends doing that, but I rebuild those relationships over a period of time and I make sure that I find out what’s important to each of the different newspapers and broadcast sites. I eventually help them rank well on what was really important to them, because at the end of the day, the Tribune properties care more about local visits then they do about national visits. So if I can get a local win for them via some of these SEO processes, it is much more valuable to them than winning on a national story.

Eric Enge: There is obviously a lot of classic corporate negotiating going on. You have well-meaning people with their own individual objectives just doing their thing that are walking around with blinders on, and sometimes you have to help pull the blinders off of them.

Brent Payne: Right. On my first day working for the Tribune Company, there was a huge stack, probably two-feet high, of site reviews from some of the best SEO consulting companies in the industry waiting for me on my desk. There were different reviews that they collected over the 18 months before I started working for them, and they seemed pretty accurate to me as I looked over them. Maybe a few things were incorrect, but for the most part they were totally on point.

I picked up that stack of SEO site reviews, walked over to the guy who hired me, whom I had just signed papers with earlier that morning, and I told him that I quit because he really didn’t need me to do this. He literally responded with, “Okay, let’s go to lunch”. So he took me out to lunch and explained to me that it wasn’t a matter of them not knowing what to do, but that they needed someone who could actually implement their plan.

He told me that the reason they hired me was because they believed I had the technical ability from an SEO standpoint to know what to do to make sure the company didn’t make any missteps.

But, more importantly, they felt that I could actually get the plans implemented, because I have the personality to affect change, and they had not been able to do that for over a year. Overall, probably 80 percent of what I do is selling; selling ideas, selling concepts, selling why this particular change needs to be done, and then making huge, SEO changes.

I think there are people in the industry who are considerably more versed in SEO than I am, but I have unique skills where I can sell or convince people to get that done. One of the frustrations I have with of lot of consultants is that they tend to tell you exactly what needs to be done in a perfect scenario, but they don’t give you any fallback options.

Eric Enge: Right, that’s a really important part of SEO. The perfect SEO solution might not play well with the way a site is built. It’s important to have other potentially implementable options.

Brent Payne: There are a lot of people who question why we don’t do some things that other companies do. I have had some conversations with Marshall Simmonds (who handles SEO for the NY Times) about some of the things they are and are not doing, and it’s not a matter of us not knowing some of these simple things we should do. For example, I understand that it would be much better to do a 301 Redirect directly to LA Times for an LA Times story rather than putting a canonical tag in there. I get that, but I also implement what I can do immediately, and then I work towards the perfect solution over a period of time.

Eric Enge: At a recent conference I heard you say something about how rapidly content is indexed on these sites.

Brent Payne: Yes, it’s quite different than some of the other sites I worked on in the past. When I worked for OneCall.com it was different. Our content was re-indexed by Google about every two weeks. Today, it literally takes Google five to seven minutes to update the index for the LA Times homepage. I think that’s widely different than what most people deal with, and it sometimes causes problems for us.

One of the things I have had to drill into the minds of all the writers, editors and publishers here is that as soon as they hit save or publish, or whatever the button happens to be, Google will see it. If they don’t have their headline right, it’s going to cause a problem because Google is going to see exactly what they have written.

If they don’t have a lead photo in their story before they save it, Google is not going to see the lead photo. After that, it may be 30 days or longer before Google takes a second look at that URL. You have to get it right the first time. All the information for the story has to be in the story before they save it. If you look at Google Trends for any major breaking news story, huge spikes occur within two to three hours of the break, and then the spike is done, so it is essential to have it right the first moment we go live. A scenario that underscores the point of quick indexing occurred when I was doing SEO training at the Orlando Sentinel about a year ago. At the time there was a big story on Caylee Anthony and her mother’s involvement in her death. In the other room they were doing CMS training, and they decided they would put in Caylee Anthony as the headline just as an example. Within 15 minutes, they were getting complaints from people who found a story on Google for Caylee Anthony that ended up ranking well in Google but just had a crap story written for it. I had to interrupt the training, add a NoIndex to the page, and then go into Google Webmaster Tools and request the removal of the URL.

Then I emailed the guys at Google saying that this needed to be taken care of, and luckily it got removed pretty quickly. We were ranking for some pretty odd stuff, and that’s the power of the trust and authority that some of these major domains have.

Eric Enge: It puts the trust itself at risk.

Brent Payne: Right, absolutely.

Eric Enge: The good news is that your content is indexed incredibly quickly, but if it’s not the way you want it when you put it out there, it might not get fixed for thirty days.

Brent Payne: Correct, although Google News now claims that they will refresh the Google News content within 12 hours. As a side note, I have had conversations with Google News where they have told me they literally have 300,000 to 500,000 stories about Barack Obama live at any particular time.

Do you really think they are going to refresh all 300,000 to 500,000 of those stories on Barack Obama within twelve hours? Hell no. I have a bit of an issue with that timeframe that Google is publicly stating, because I am just not seeing it. I am seeing it could be several days or weeks before they look at it again. At least they are looking at it again, however, so I have to give them that. This is huge in comparison to what they were doing even six months to nine months ago. I, however, still tell our journalists to make a new URL for an update to a huge breaking news story because it’s easier to rank in Google News than it is in Google Web. Once that new URL is put in, you can go into the older version of the story that you had and 301 redirect it to the new version so you don’t lose your link juice and can still rank well in Google Web. It also helps to change your title tag, and the H1 tag in that first paragraph in order to get past the Google News Duplicate Content Filter. That’s what we have been doing, and it’s been working great.

However, Google web search has made a change which is driving me crazy right now, which is that they have slowed down how quickly they reattribute page rank on a 301 Redirect. It used to be that they would immediately transfer page rank as soon as Googlebot would see the old URL that you have now pointed to that new location. I could do some pretty cool stuff with that, but now it seems to be delayed several weeks. This is causing me some issues based on what I have trained the journalists to do. We just aren’t gaining the web success that we could have. It’s even worse now that Google News and Google Web are getting even more different, as we, as content creators and SEOs, kind of have to choose whether we are going after a Google web search or Google News results SEO win, and that’s frustrating.

Eric Enge: I recently wrote a post about the cost of site moves. Basically, the main thrust of the story is that you will lose traffic, and I am trying to help people get a sense of how much traffic is going to be lost.

We run into this all the time when working with large companies, where an executive makes a decision that may be brilliant from the traditional marketing point of view, but it is just total disaster from an SEO perspective. The article is focused on trying to get people to understand that by changing their domain name, changing their URL structure and all of their content, they are going to lose more than half of their traffic, even with properly implemented redirects.

Brent Payne: I feel so sorry for our broadcast sites and our TV stations because they have changed their URLs so much even in the past couple of years. We also have not done a great job with 301 redirecting from the old domain to the new domain. We have done some of it, but most of what we did was quick fixes. They are definitely being hindered by it, and I’m frustrated that, as a result, broadcast sites collectively account for only five percent of our SEO work in comparison to newspaper sites.

Some of these broadcast sites like KTLA, WGN and others are serious destinations for news, and yet their website is not ranking well because of the massive changes they have made and the poor job we have done moving from domain-to-domain. It happened exactly as you describe, where upper management decided to make a change and we had to roll with it.

Eric Enge: At SMX East we talked about some of the unusual page rank sculpting things that you have done. It would be great to talk about that a little bit.

Brent Payne: We have done some rather significant work with that. Last year we did a lot of work with what I call dynamic page rank sculpting. We had five different levels setup for NoFollows on all of our homepages and section fronts that could be controlled individually by domain name. A select group of people, including myself the online editors, and the producers of the site could rate what type of news day it was on a scale of one to five.

A scenario that was a huge, highly focused national event that people cared about is what we refer to as SEO Level 1. Of the 400 or 500 links on their homepage, we would reduce it to literally one followed link on the page (the rest were NoFollowed), which would also be the H1 tag on the page. It worked extremely well last year, literally every time we moved it we were on the first page of Google, usually in the top five for whatever that particular story was.

Eric Enge: The spike in traffic for breaking news was the critical area for you to focus on.

Brent Payne: It’s all about breaking news, and we have PageRank 8 sites PageRank 7 sites, and PageRank 6 sites, and we want to focus their authority on the most important news.

So we can choose SEO Level one through five, where one represents only one followed link on the page to a particular destination. A five would be everything on the page is followed except for terms and conditions and privacy policy, stuff like that. A normal news day would be an SEO Level 3, which would NoFollow about half the links on a page.

If something bigger happens, we might set it to SEO Level 1 or 2, and then at night open things back up, like go back to SEO Level 5 so that Google can at least get some type of wider distribution of the page rank coming from our strongest pages being–the homepages and the section fronts.

Eric Enge: Right. The fascinating thing here is that this mechanism was getting response that quickly. You are talking about reprocessing of page rank in a dynamic manner.

Brent Payne: Yes. The fact that there are news cycles involved is only one of my problems in News SEO. There are number of queries that people are looking for that are involved. It’s not as normalized as ecommerce, where the number of people searching for Sony DVD player per week or per month doesn’t change too much, unless it’s the holiday season. That way you can track what is and what is not working considerably better. With news it’s much tougher, because the news cycle itself has a lot to do with how much traffic you are getting from search engines.

That being the case, I can look at where we are ranking on the first page and where we are ranking for stuff that we wanted to rank for, and last year it was working really, really well for that type of stuff. But, then I noticed it was more difficult on inauguration night than it was on election night. I don’t know if that’s when the change in Google’s NoFollow treatment occurred, but I know on election night our dynamic PageRank sculpting worked great. When it came to inauguration night, something seemed to have changed significantly, so it did not work so well any more (Editor: for more on how Google changed its treatment of NoFollow, see this post).

Eric Enge: Welcome to the world of SEO.

Brent Payne: Exactly. Another thing we have been working on is the way in which we flow page rank from different domains, specifically how we are utilizing our topic galleries to do this. The New York Times has a single domain, and they have commented that they wish they could link out more from their site.

In December of 2008, we had literally eight different topic galleries for the eight different newspapers, and we had the same topic gallery on each domain. In other words, we’d have 8 copies of the same topic gallery like Barack Obama, instead of just a single topic gallery living on one site for Barack Obama. That wasn’t too effective, and we weren’t seeing anything rank too well in the search engines based on that, so we consolidated it to just one topic gallery that was owned by a particular domain. Considering we have 50,000 topic galleries, I had to go on somewhat of a knee-jerk reaction on assigning the majority of them.

We moved most to Chicago Tribune, which wasn’t necessarily fair, but that’s what we did. The Tribune newspapers could request any topic gallery they wanted, and a bunch of the different Tribune newspapers went through the list of 50,000 topics and grabbed what they wanted. For example, The Orlando Sentinel and Sun Sentinel grabbed a lot of hurricane and Disney searches, and we broke it up other topics geographically or based off of news events that were occurring locally.

When that happened, our topic galleries all of a sudden popped, and we now rank on the first page for terms like: Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, even weird things like Delta Airlines, because we are able to crosslink from several domains to one domain. Plus, the topic galleries are pretty compelling content to link to and they only have one destination to link to instead of eight. But, obviously a lot of strength comes from within the Tribune network of sites. Currently, in stories across all eight newspapers, (and we will soon expand that to all fifty domains) mentions of keyphrases link back to the exact same topic gallery location.

On the commerce side, we have an example of the visibility that Google has into what we are doing. We had a scenario where we launched e-stores inside of our newspaper domains. Inside those e-stores, we were selling products that probably do not match our demographic. We were selling belly rings, as an example of one of the craziest things we were doing, and we were linking off to other sites that probably didn’t have the best link network in order for people to make that purchase.

For the sites we were linking to, it was a thrill to have a lot of PageRank linking to them for things like belly rings, and that was a good move on their SEO part. However, within 24 four hours of launching the sub-domain, I received an email from Google telling me we had either been hacked or we were linking to a massive spam network. They asked me if I was sure that we really wanted to do this, because it was going to cause problems not only for the sub-domain, but for the main domains as well.

We essentially got a warning from Google that we wouldn’t have if we were a smaller set of sites, or if I didn’t have the relationships established that allow for this type of communication. I know the BMW situation (Editor: for more info on the BMW situation, read this post) is talked about a lot, how larger sites are treated differently than smaller sites. I will absolutely agree that we are treated differently. I know that Google can’t state that because it’s just not a good PR play for them, but I think it’s absolutely true. In this business, you have certain relationships, and if you develop all those relationships, you are going to get advance warning like this, either from a good friend or from a close business contact. I think that even CNN would agree that it’s the same thing for them. How many people have literally a dozen Googlers in their Instant Message system? Very few. How many people have two dozen or three dozen Googlers that they can contact about different problems that they have with their site? Very few. We are lucky that we have that, but we are also a major content destination for queries that people are searching for on a daily basis. I am not going to be pompous enough to think that Google must have us. I do think that a lot of news companies are getting a little caught up in the fact that they think their content is so unique that Google needs them.

Internally, we are exploring certain options that may not be great for SEO, such as pay for content subscriptions (“paywall”), but we really do have a lot of commoditized news that’s just not going to fly for. When you have CNN writing a story about it as well and they don’t have a paywall up, or you have New York Times writing a story on the same type of topic, the users out there that are coming from Google don’t really care where they are reading that news from. They just care that they can find out what’s going on.

I am a little concerned about the direction that news sites are trying to take and the attitude that they have that we are uber special and Google needs us. Google doesn’t need any one company. They would like to have some companies more than others, but they don’t need any specific ones in my opinion.

Eric Enge: In my opinion, even if somebody does need you, that shouldn’t stop the selling, because good relationships are things that grow. Relationships where one party is arrogant or, in this case both parties, I think they are pretty problematic.

Brent Payne: Right, I agree with that. Unfortunately I have been in a scenario where I had a public war with Google about a year ago. I am not going to get in to too many details on it, but you can look it up in a lot of our press releases either from Google News or from Tribune. That scenario where you are lobbying back and forth press releases against one another is not a good situation to be in. To get a phone call from Google News saying that in five minutes they are going to remove you from the index because they believe you did a public opt out of Google News is not a good call to take. Having to try and stop that and literally get executive level people of both companies to slow down and have a civilized conversation is tough. We have just got to be careful and really figure out how we want to work together, as there is a lot of money on the table.

Eric Enge: Thanks Brent!

Brent Payne: Thank you Eric!

Have comments or want to discuss? You can comment on the Brent Payne interview here.

Other Recent Interviews

About the Author

Eric Enge is the President of Stone Temple Consulting. Eric is also a founder in Moving Traffic Incorporated, the publisher of Custom Search Guide, a directory of Google Custom Search Engines, and City Town Info, a site that provides information on 20,000 US Cities and Towns.

Stone Temple Consulting (STC) offers search engine optimization and search engine marketing services, and its web site can be found at: http://www.stonetemple.com.

For more information on Web Marketing Services, contact us at:

Stone Temple Consulting
(508) 485-7751 (phone)
(603) 676-0378 (fax)
info@stonetemple.com

December 16th 2009 News

Happy Holidays From The Link Spiel

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    Have fun this holiday season!

December 15th 2009 News