lyndseo.com

Search Engine Optimization :: Lyndsay Walker :: Toronto, Ontario

New Google Feature – Skip Intro

Happy Black Friday!

This morning, I found something in the Google results pages that I’d never seen before. It’s a “Skip Intro” option.

Google's "Skip Intro" Feature

This is great news if you’re like 99% of web searchers out there who can’t be bothered to sit through a flash movie before getting to a site. Now, you can bypass the intro movie/song and go straight to the information.

It looks like Googlebot is looking for a link with the anchor text being something like “Skip Intro” and feeding that into the results.

I still maintain that there are very, very few good reasons to have a movie intro to a site (and music on the site… at all. Period.) but while people still insist on it, at least searchers have the option to bypass it all together.

This is also good news for the stubborn site owner who doesn’t want to get rid of their intro movie. Any online marketer will tell you that the more times you make a visitor click to find what he/she is looking for, the more opportunity that visitor has to bail on your site all together. Even if you have a “Skip Intro” link on your site, it’s still an extra click the visitor has to make to get to the content. And many times, with the distraction of music all of the sudden blaring, many people won’t even look for that Skip Intro link and leave you site, screaming and running for the hills.

So here’s my conclusion – get rid of all music on your site, particularly music that automatically plays. Get rid of the intro movie pages as well. But if you simply MUST have the intro page, make sure to include a “Skip Intro” link – not only will your visitors have an out, the search engines are giving them an opportunity to skip it straight from the results pages.

Ways To Get Value From Conferences

John and I recently attended WebmasterWorld’s PubCon conference in Las Vegas, where I was also a speaker.

Conferences are often expensive – not only does it cost money to travel to the conference (hotel, flights, meals, conference registration, etc.) but there’s the even bigger cost of being out of the office. In a case like PubCon, a four-day conference with seven days of networking events, it’s very easy to let a week slip by without getting a lot of work done.

With this in mind, it’s important find ways to gain value, making up for the expenses and lost time of attending the conference.

There are four important areas that are full of value:

Knowledge
A good conference is jam packed full of awesome sessions with awesome speakers. PubCon was bigger than ever this year with SEVEN tracks to choose from at any given time. The opportunity to learn something new is endless. One of the best sessions I went to covered competitive analysis – know what your competitors are up to and how they’re utilizing online marketing. The information I learned from this session will help my company spend our marketing dollars wisely and I’ve also learned new ways to help our clients with their competitive analysis as well.

The panelists from SEO Design and Organic Site Structure at PubCon Las Vegas 2009.

The panelists from SEO Design and Organic Site Structure at PubCon Las Vegas 2009.

Sales
The easiest way to see a return on investment from a conference is by landing a sale. This is limiting though, and really only applicable to agencies, not in-house folks or affiliates. Also, it’s hard to get your name out there unless you’re a speaker or exhibitor. However, there are ways to do it, and that’s through networking.

Networking
Some people believe that the real value of a conference is in the networking. And I have to admit, I’m in that group. Networking can be as simple as sitting down at a lunch table with people you don’t know and as complex as partying at an official conference event and bonding with those that survive into the wee hours of the morning. It’s very, very important to attend as many networking events as possible. It is at these events that the tips really start to flow – especially after one or two drinks. And once you’ve met even one new person, chances are they will introduce you to a few more people. And those people will introduce you to even more people. And eventually you’ll be standing next to Matt Cutts of Google trying to convince him to put a shot of vodka in that orange juice.

You never know who you might meet – so get out there and introduce yourself to as many people as you can. And don’t just take info – make sure to spread your knowledge around too.

Lyndsay Walker, Matt Cutts, Kate Morris

Lyndsay Walker, Matt Cutts, Kate Morris

Relationships

In no time, you’ll find that you’ve built relationships with some of the people you met while networking. It used to be that you’d meet someone at a conference and forget about them by time the next year rolls around and you end up starting all over. But with social media, there’s no reason for that to happen.

When you get home from a conference, take all the business cards you collected and start following up. Add those people to LinkedIn, follow them on Twitter. Keep in touch with them. Eventually you’ll find that you’re most looking forward to reconnecting with your friends at these conferences. And it is absolutely worth it to take the time to nurture a relationship. You’ll find that you have reliable contacts when you’re stuck on an issue, or in need of a particular product or service. And they’ll remember the same about you.

Maintaining your relationships means you can ask your friends to wear your new company's t-shirt, like Kate Morris did at SMX Advanced 2009.

Maintaining your relationships means you can ask your friends to wear your new company's t-shirt, like Kate Morris did at SMX Advanced 2009.

BONUS: Vacation
Lots of people will take a conference and make a vacation out of it. Some bring their spouses, some come a few days early or stay a few days late. Especially in the case of Las Vegas, a hot tourist destination, you can get a vacation for way cheaper since you’re already there.

Hanging out with the band members of the Blue Man Group show at PubCon 2007.

Hanging out with the band members of the Blue Man Group show at PubCon 2007.

Next time you’re planning your budget and are wondering if attending a conference is doable, remember all these different ways you can bring home value. Chances are, you’ll come home rejuvenated, inspired, and maybe even relaxed.

Hope to see you all at PubCon Las Vegas 2010 – November 8-12, 2010!

PubCon: Raven Tools Demo

Raven Tools SEO ToolsWe’re having some technical difficulties but @RavenJon promises we will have a demo.

Jon is showing off his desktop background, a Henshaw original painting.

And now he just yelled at me to pay attention. In the mic. Hmph.

Jon explains how the tool got started, dealing with the tedious tasks and made it into an automated process. Now the Raven tools are growing and growing with lots of new features all the time.

Whether you’re agency or in-house, it can help you manage your campaigns and keep track of your sites, help with keyword and competitive research, link building, contacts, content management, social media monitoring, search engine rankings, Google analytics integration and more.

In Raven, you can set up profiles and within those profiles you can manage one or many sites.

The dashboard has all the web sites for that profile with quick links and options for each.

RESEARCH

The research assistant tool allows you to research your own or competitors by domain or by keyword

  • In Jon’s example, he uses “seo tools” as the keyword which returns related keywords, CPC, number of results, volume, etc. What’s awesome about this tool is how it allows you to add the keywords to your manager or SERP tracker with one click.
  • Click Save View to see this later or run a report on it.
  • Also in the research assistant is the Page Analyzer tool. Enter a URL and it will find relationships and ideas in regards to location, businesses, people and keywords.

DASHBOARD

Keyword Manager

  • Includes Google AdWords data, links and SERP tracking for your keywords.

Competitor Manager

  • Compare your site rankings with your competitors. You can also set up alerts if anything changes for you or your competitors.

Event Manager

  • Add events like newsletters, publications, etc., and overlay that event onto your other reports (like traffic, SERP traffic).

Raven reports are downloaded to branded PDF documents. (awesomesauce!!)

LINKS

  • Take the domain that you want a link from and run it in the quality analyzer report and the tool will give a grade out of 100.
  • If you decide you want that link, click “add link” on the toolbar (when you’re on that site) and fill in the details. Tons of options, including assigning that link to someone else.
  • Sorts your links by status (queued, requested, active, etc.)
  • The Web Site Directory will get you tons more information about the site you flagged for a link.
  • Contact them for a link
  • Once it’s online, click “add link” again and update the status to Active.

Other options:

  • Link status (check every month to see if anything has changed)
  • PR change, Nofollow, Link removed, Etc.
  • Email alerts

Jon went through the notification and alert options – totally customizable.

Jon mentioned that all reports can be exported; you don’t have to use their reports.

CONTENT

Content manager

  • Useful for a copywriter to save content to and then have someone else approve it.

Blog manager

  • Put in blog posts and schedule them for publishing

SOCIAL

Persona Manager

  • Great for more than one social persona (other employees, corporate personas, etc.)
  • You can log into your social network sites from the toolbar
  • Twitter module is available for extra data about that account. You can also tweet from this manager. Custom URL shorteners will be available in Q1.

Social Media Monitor

  • Partnered with social mention
  • Set up as many searches as you want (your own or competitors), pick sources and choose whether or not to be alerted daily
  • Report show buzz, sentiment graph, daily mentions etc.
  • For each result, choose a sentiment and the sentiment graph will update

KnowEm

  • Integration with this tool, further integration hopefully coming

Omgili

  • Search forums using keywords

SERPS

SERP Tracker

  • Compare competitor SERP ranking side by side
  • Change display settings (turn on/off competitors, search engines, Google AdWord data, baseline data)
  • Trending available for up to six months of data. Cached results available!

Jon stealthily showed what search engines are available for this tool.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics data is imported into the Raven reporting tool. Overlay trendlines and events over the GA data.

Report Wizard

  • Report settings include report name, brand template, report template, scheduling options and date range. Choose to email the reports directly to the client.
  • Drag and drop report pieces and drag them around to choose order.
  • Reporting options galore. Far too many to be able to mention here.
  • All report sections have an option to add summaries.
  • Jon says you can templatize these reports. Is that a word? If not, it should be.

Admin

  • Add users and roles and the user will only see the modules they have access to.
  • Rolls apply per web site.
  • JavaScript snippit available to allow for user login access.

Other Stuff

Messaging, tasks, contacts and more!

Aaaaand we’re done. Kickin’ ass and taking names. Or business cards.

My Favourite Charity: Winnipeg Humane Society

PurposeInc Charity Poker TournamentI enjoy playing poker and this year I want to give PurposeInc’s Poker Tournament a shot.

DK is an awesome guy and has asked that, as a mandatory part of registration, players and guests blog about their charities of choice.

There are so many wonderful charities out there. So many causes and organizations have touched my life. Those charities and organization save lives every day, though breast cancer research, diabetes research, children’s hosiptal donations and more. My charity also saves lives, in a most different way.

My charity of choice is the Winnipeg Humane Society. Not only is my company, Canada’s Web Shop, a WHS supporter but we also are redesigning and rebuilding their web site with new features that will make it even easier for people to adopt a pet, become a foster parent or donate to help the WHS keep up with the growing expenses of more and more animals in their care.

Thsoe who know me know that I am a massive animal lover and if I could, I would probably become a crazy cat lady. I donate regularly to the Winnipeg Humane Society and as soon as I’m back from PubCon Las Vegas, I’m hoping to adopt a second kitty.

Every month, hundreds of dogs, cats and other animals are turned into the humane society. Every month, not nearly enough find homes. And every month, the Winnipeg Humane Society struggles to find room for these animals that just so desperately want forever homes.

Pets can save lives. For those suffering from depression, a pet can make the difference between life and death. I know that for myself, my kitties have helped me through my darkest times. Having a furry friend that gives unconditional love can lift people from depression and even suicidal thoughts.

If you can’t adopt a pet for yourself, please consider donating to your local humane society.