Archive for September, 2008

Big U Media Uses Eco-Friendly DVD Packaging

Posted by admin on September 22nd, 2008

Big U Media is pleased to announce the use of our first Go-Green DVD duplication packaging for our client, Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

clearwater marine

In keeping in line with CMAs dedication to helping the environment and
conservation, Big U Media has provided DVD packaging that uses a tray
of 100 percent post consumer recycled water bottles made from
recycled water bottles for the DVDs offered at CMAs gift shop.

The cost is not that big of a deal when it comes to helping out the environment – said David Yates, CEO of Clearwater Marine Aquarium. If your company is looking to Go-Green and you are sending out DVDs and CDs, you should definitely look into the products current packaging.

The more we all chip in, the better it will be for us now and for our childrens future.

How To Get Started With Keyword Research?

Posted by admin on September 15th, 2008

In a recent post I found about keywords it spoke about when a website owner is determining the keywords for their website that they needs to think backwards–they need to put themselves in the place of the person who is searching for information on the topic of their website.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that I am not good at figuring out what someone would type into Google to reach one of my sites. I always think I know the obvious search terms that someone would use, and then I’m shocked at the simplicity of what folks actually do type in.

The lesson of the story is–it’s worth it to do keyword research. You’ll be creating your website keeping your keywords in mind, and also writing your articles on the topics of your keywords (and entering your keywords into the “Enter Your Article Form” on to be used in your article submissions).

So, it might be a good idea to take some time on the front end and figure out what your keywords are. But how?

Luckily there are tools created just for this purpose. On the web there are many free keyword research resources and some that cost money. Let’s look at a few:

Google Keywords Tool (free). This tool is actually intended to help folks who are interested in signing up for Adwords (Google’s advertising program), but it’s free for all to use and it can be very helpful for giving you an idea about what keywords to use for your website.

Just type in your the keyword phrase you’re researching and follow the steps for doing the search. The results list you’ll get will show Advertiser Competition (I ignore that), Search Volume for the present month, and Average Monthly Search Volume over a recent 12 month period.

All of this info is really helpful (and it’s free!). It tells you the demand for a keyword, but one thing that this tool lacks is that it does not tell you the supply for a keyword.

For example, it tells you how high a search volume your keywords have, but it does not show how many other websites are already satisfying that search. It is possible that a keyword has a high search volume, but might also be a saturated market–meaning that there are already lots of other websites out there who are satisfying these searches.

Oh well, it’s still very insightful information, even if it doesn’t tell you the supply.

WordTracker ($59/month). WordTracker is my favorite keyword research tool because of the plethora of info it gives.

Here are the basics:
Wordtracker takes the word you typed in, and it spits out a long list of related words that you probably wouldn’t have thought of that people are typing into search engines.
You click on the words or phrases that interest you, and that deposits those words into a shopping cart like thing.
Then, you get a report on how frequently the words in your cart are being searched and how many websites are competing for those searches.

The real goldmine is the Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI) number. The higher the KEI, the more popular the keyword is, and the less competition you have. As we said earlier, it is possible that a keyword has a high search volume but that there are already bunches of websites supplying that demand. What you’re looking for are keywords (or keyword phrases) that is being searched frequently, but that don’t have many websites addressing them.

WordTracker is a super-duper keyword information machine, so it does cost money. It used to be that there was a weekly rate you could get, but it looks like they now only have a monthly and an annual rate. At this time, their monthly rate is $59, but…..there is a 7 day free trial that you can do too. I think that the free trial does not include Google search results, so it’s not the whole shebang but it is still pretty useful even in the free version.

WordTracker also offers a Free Keyword Suggestion Tool in case you just want to dip your toe into the keyword waters.

Keyword Discovery ($49.95/month) Keyword Discovery is one of the most popular keyword research tools on the net. I have never used it before, but I’m sure it works pretty similarly to WordTracker by providing search statistics for pretty much all the search engines and letting you know the search volume and the how much competition there already is for the keywords.

SEO Book Keyword Tool (free) I love the SEO Book site as a whole, and I have used this tool a few times. This tool does not tell you the popularity of the keywords (it tells the demand, but not the supply), but it does breakdown the results so that you can see how many folks on Google are typing in the search terms -vs- how many folks on Yahoo!. So, if you’re interested in comparing search volume for your keywords on the various search engines, you might want to give SEO Book Keyword Tool a try.

There are several other good keyword research tools out there, but these are some of the most popular. I have to warn you though–all of this “keyword research” stuff may sound very boring and cut and dry, but I’m telling you it’s totally fun.

Keyword research is almost addictive if you don’t watch yourself–it is so fun to see the unexpected types of things that folks are typing into the search engines to potentially find your website. I always have to pull myself away by a sheer act of willpower.

These tools are fascinating and fun–I encourage you to just play around and explore. Use the free tools, or do the free trials of the paid services and see which one you like best.

The Secrets of Search Engine Optimizaton

Posted by admin on September 5th, 2008

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the most important element in building a successful website. Much thought and research must go into a site before it is ever developed and designed.  Most people online have heard the term SEO and have some idea of what is involved yet it remains a mysterious process to many. One of the reasons SEO is so mysterious is that it can be a complicated endeavor and search engines are constantly changing the way they rank sites and the way the recognize the many tools of SEO.

At the forefront of the SEO check and balance system is the leading search engine Google. They have pretty much set the standard for technology in search engine algorithms that can track the relevancy of a website to its content and SEO efforts. Their ranking system remains one of the most popular methods of determining a web site’s quality because of their diligent efforts of weeding out the bad apples that have little to offer a consumer other than skilled manipulation and the ability to ‘play the system’ to their advantage.

Of course taking advantage of the system makes perfect sense from a business standpoint but from the search engine outlook of wanting to provide the best quality sites on their results for the viewer it can become difficult to differentiate the site that is good quality wise from the site that is good because it has a very manipulative operator at the helm.

Because the rules for SEO evolve and change rapidly the mystique of search engine optimization continues to confuse website owners. Many people build their websites thinking the only SEO tool they need is key word density. While key words are an important aspect in SEO they are not the only means to an end, they are simply a part of the puzzle. There is another tried and true method of SEO that is as relevant today as it was at the start of the concept of web 2.0 marketing and that is back linking. While back linking remains one of the most successful ways to get your site to rank high on the search engines it also has undergone some changes making the types of links important so that search engines do not penalize a site for bad incoming links.

The term “back link” refers to an outside link on another site that points to yours. In the past any link from another site would have a positive impact on your site by the search engines. Because there were so many gimmicks developed in the last few years to garner massive back links to websites such as link farms, and irrelevant reciprocal linking Google began to develop a way to weed out links that were purchased, or had little meaning or relevancy.

Even though back linking is used to manipulate search engine popularity there are many very legitimate reasons for using the system of back linking. Finding web sites that have a common interest to your own who are willing to place your link on their site can get you extra exposure. When their visitors come to their site they will see your link and likely visit your site as well.

The fact that on-site links like that have such a perceived relevance to the visitor makes them a valuable marketing tool, but that perception of quality is also why Google works so hard to be sure they are real quality links. You will get higher ranking on a search engine for a number of truly appropriate back linking partnerships however if the sites linking to you do not share any common information or products Google will penalize you for the link. There are new programs in the works with Google where your site could even be devalued if the site that links to you is determined to be bad quality so it is important who you choose to link to, and also who links to you.

In the past many web site owners would open up multiple websites with the sole purpose of promoting one principle site. They would use the extra websites as a means of placing back links to the main site. Google now watches for sites that are created with the same IP address. Creating a large number of websites on the same IP address and putting back links on them to quickly develop a number of links is known as link bombing. That is not to say that you cannot ever link to your own website from a site you own. If there is a reason to show your visitors some additional information a few well placed back links are fine. It is when there are many links from each site all pointing to a single ‘main’ site that the search engines look at them suspiciously.

The system Google is working hard to put in place to discount a link from a bad site is why it is very important to know who is linking to you and if their site stacks up to your standards. It is no longer true that all inbound links to your site are good links. There are very good tools available online for free that can show you who is linking to you. If you find a site that is linking to you that you feel is questionable in terms of how they relate to your website either in information or product you should contact the webmaster of the site and demand that they remove the link to your website to avoid being penalized by the search engines.

Probably the best way to obtain a back link to your site is through anchor text. That is when you have another website with content that is relevant to your own (relevancy is ALWAYS important) including your site in the actual content of their site with a hyperlink inside the text. These back links are valued much higher than a simple sidebar link as long as they appear in the text in a way that has a fluid and meaningful association with the content of the article. There are several ways to get such back links.

Providing articles to content sites with your link built into the article is one method. If you write very compelling information on your website is another as someone else with a similar site may wish to point it out on their own. You may not even realize they are doing it unless they tell you about it. This is one of the main reasons it is important to keep an eye on who is back linking to you. While the majority of those types of links are wonderful and you should thank the site owner for their inclusion, if you feel the site that is linking to you does not meet your standards, have similar information, or the content is not relevant to your site you should definitely ask them to remove your link.

Back linking is an extremely important aspect of SEO development and it is something you need to understand well in order to implement and control it properly. There are many secrets and mysteries in the SEO world that diligent study can clear up. Keeping your website in good standing with the search engines and popular with your visitors is the best way to ensure a vital and profitable future for your business online.

Ultimate Word Press Ping List – Updated Aug 2008

Posted by admin on September 1st, 2008

Update for 2008:
Several ping services have disabled (or moved) their ping url’s. Pingomatic has been growing, and they now ping more sites.

From reading their blog, it looks like they keep up well with technical changes required by the sites they ping.

Additionally, some services that have disabled their ping url’s now only seem to accept pings coming from pingomatic directly.

I deemed it therefore better from now on to use pingomatic with an additional list of ping services not supported by pingomatic.

Here’s the updated list (just copy and paste this list into Options > Writing > Update Services):

Disclaimer: This list is provided “As Is” with no warranties nor guarantees and you should do your own proper research before using it. I am not affiliated with pingomatic nor with any other ping service.


When I noticed all the ping lists available for WordPress I decided to make a clean list from all the sources, available at:

Additional list:

Any Changes let me know, Thanks!

Trends That Will Help Define the Future of PR and Marketing

Posted by admin on September 1st, 2008

In June Edelman, my employer, and PRWeek held a two-day summit on the changing media landscape and its affect on business and education. More than 90 people participated. Recently we published a paper chock full of with actionable insights for businesses.  Here’s the conclusion I wrote.

Trends That Will Help Define the Future

The best way to think about new media, I have learned, is to look at the recent past and at the trends that are here now and seemingly have staying power. Apple CEO Steve Jobs once famously said “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” He’s right. With that in mind, there are three trends that are likely to shape things over the next four years.

The Attention Crash

Though the current global financial crisis grabs all the headlines, there’s another storm quietly brewing – a crisis of attention scarcity. The inputs we have into our lives – that which we allow and those that are forced upon us – are exceeding what we are capable of managing.

The Attention Crash is here and it will only get worse. There will always be more content vying for consideration. In fact, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said “By the year 2019, it’s going to be possible to have an iPod-like device that will have 85 years of video on it. So you will be dead before you watch the whole [thing].”

Generation Y seems to be able to better manage this new environment, having grown up with a mouse in hand. But marketers who are a little more gray will need to adapt by creating and earning media that can break through the clutter and “stick.” This requires they keep things short, simple and visual.

Brands, media and individuals will have a role in mitigating the Attention Crash. Every high–interest niche will be met by digital curators who can separate art from junk online and present it in a very digestible form.

Already, some are jumping in. Intel partnered with to create a news tracker for IT professionals. The site also features Intel white papers and blogs. The New York Times too is transforming into a digital curator. On the newspaper’s technology site reporters cull through blog conversations that have bubbled up during the day and highlight and link to the most notable posts.

Social Networks Become “Like Air”

Social networking is here to stay – but it’s changing. As my fellow panelist Charlene Li says, it’s becoming “like air” on the Web. In essence, social networking is nothing new, really. It’s simply a digital, global and scalable manifestation of our desire to communicate with other humans. The technology makes it easy for like-minded individuals to connect and collaborate around the topics they care about. This can range from personal to professional interests. A lot of it revolves around social causes.

Today we have three big social network hubs – LinkedIn, Facebook and MySpace (an Edelman client). In addition, we have an expanding constellation of smaller social networks such as Beebo, Twitter, YouTube and the hundreds of thousands of vertical communities that comprise Ning – a do-it-yourself platform. There will be room for all of them to thrive, but consumers soon won’t need to visit these destinations to connect with their network.

Social circles are becoming portable so they can follow the consumer to any site they want to visit. Facebook and Google, for example, each have competing technology platforms that Web site owners can integrate to allow consumers and their social circle to connect in new experiences without having to sign up for another network.

Brand marketers that may be tempted to build their own social networks need to consider that there may not be room in people’s lives for more than one or two. They will need to plug into the social “air” supply that the large networks are building across the Web so that consumers can stay connected to their existing networks.

Google: The Reputation Engine

The third trend that also will continue its current trajectory is the rising influence of search, particularly Google. The search engine, as of this writing, has 70 percent market share in the U.S. and is even higher in other countries – but not all.

Google is much more than a search engine. It’s media.

Every day people make purchasing and life decisions based on what they find on the Web. Patients visit their doctor’s office armed with reams of information they found on Google, some of it right, some wrong. Consumers are accessing Google from their cell phones to compare prices when shopping. And Wikipedia, a site that no one controls, tends to dominate many high–profile search results.

Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and others are increasingly tweaking their algorithms to stop spammers and other “black-hat” types. Today most search engine result pages tend to favor high–quality content produced by media, brands and individuals.

Communicators will need to know how to create and earn content that is not only findable, but worthy of discussion so that it earns and maintains visibility in Google – which often makes judgments based on quality.

What the future looks like in four years know one knows. However, if businesses follow these trends, at least directionally, they will be prepared to navigate the new environment.