Archive for the ‘Ideas’ Category

Want to join my session and see me speak about online marketing?

In November I’ll join and speak on Internet Marketing Conference in Stockholm. I welcome you to join me there and see me there. Here is snippet from conference organizers:

Hear me speak at Internet Marketing ConferenceOver the past nine years, Internet Marketing Conference (IMC) has been held in eight North American and European cities. IMC has previously been held in New York, Vancouver, Las Vegas, Montreal, Berlin and Copenhagen. It has attracted many of the world’s top speakers in Internet marketing, web analytics, e-business, and online marketing optimization.
I’ll lead session titled: Ways to Optimize Online Marketing Investments Using Analytics Tools. It’s presentation of experience gathered and methodology used at hp.

You are very welcome to join me there!

Oprócz blogu o emarketingu mam też blog na temat bajek dla dzieci. Zaskoczony? Wcale się nie dziwię. Zapraszam!

Kliknij – Bajki na dobranoc dla dzieci!

Bajki dla dzieci – takie jak bajki disneya. Jako Tata dwóch wspaniałych chłopaków – wymyślałem bajki od dawna. Od jakiegoś czasu – publikuje je w Internecie. Są to bajki disneya, bajki terapeutyczne… Zapraszam!

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hp at Cannes – interesting usage of blogs at hp

Interesting example of usage of blogs to support marketing activity of such company like Hewlett-Packard. Look at the HP Starring at Cannes – the big picture. Blog is supporting hp’s sponsorship support for Cannes festival. Blog is targeted at employees although some initial pages can be seen by general public.

Blog advertised hp involvement and creates positive spirited discussions around Cannes and hp role there. Interesting idea is to create competition on most active participation of employees in blog. This is good example of blog that even if created in such short term, tactical manner – can be good tool to create community and

How to say “I’m sorry” to Google

I used to use my blog as SEO (Search Engine Optimization) playground. I’ve written successful post with review of expedia as flight booking website and optimized it to get high ranking. I kept working on optimization until the moment that I overdid it. I disappeared from Google ranking almost totally. You can read about my experiences in my previous post. In this post you can read about my come-back.

Disappearing from Google was really bad experience. I really felt the power of SEO this way… Suddenly – the traffic and interest in my blog dropped 80%. That was serious blow that was really demotivating. I almost stopped writing posts and running the blog.

I’ve tried also to find way to get back to high ranking on Google. This wasn’t easy thing. However mighty Google allows to do it even for the ones that has went the wrong way of overoptimizing. There is Google form  where you can say “I’m sorry”. You need to acknowledge that:

  • Your site has violated Google’s quality guidelines in the past.
  • Your site no longer violates Google’s quality guidelines.
  • You have read and agree to abide by Google’s quality guidelines.

Then you have big entry form for your confession – what actions have led you to any penalties, and what corrective actions have been taken. And you have really lots of entry place for your confessions…. And only the righteous people can be reindexed. (Remember Ezekiel 25:17 quote from Pulp Fiction?).

Of course – you need to also correct the pages to remove overoptimization. This can be somehow tricky as you need to sometimes guess what made Google consider you as spammer of their index. The experience with 80% drop of traffic humbled me a lot so I’ve tried to remove all changes done recently and revert to previous version of the pages.

Then you have to prove you are owner of the site. You can do it by uploading file to the server or updating metadata on your homepage. Unfortunately I couldn’t do it on my wordpress account – wordpress doesn’t allow you to play with metadata and of course you cannot upload strangely named files to the servers.

So I was stuck at this point. With not much motivation for new posts that few people would see anyway. The good thing is that Google – after some time has reindexed my page and listed me again. I haven’t spoted exact timing of this but it looked like it was about 2-3 months.

Now it’s almost back to normal and traffic from Google is flowing into my site. It seems slightly lower than before the whole accident but the difference is not that big.

PS Is it only me or does this story indeed sounds like one from recovered alcoholic? 😉

Google optimization – how I blew it

One of the ways I use my blog is to test various search optimization techniques. I’ve written successful post with review of expedia as flight booking website and optimized it to get high ranking. I got pretty high in some good keywords and was playing with it a bit. I’ve written two other posts about my experience there – you can see them here and here.

Encouraged by good results (I got ranked first before expedia for “flight booking website”) I continued optimization effort. And suddenly it all blew up – I disappeared from Google rank almost totally. I got detected by Google as spammer and de-listed.

If you are interested what made me there here is it – first read my google optimization updateon what worked for me right before I got delisted.

I haven’t stopped there and tried on. I’ve focused on “flight booking” to improve my ranking there. The way I wanted to do it was by introducing this term as “category” in wordpress. Benefit of such setup was huge – with this there was page created in WordPress listing all articles in category “flight booking”. Link from such great source as http://wordpress.com/tag/flight-booking/ is great boost for rank. That’s at least how it should be…

For me – that was last action – I disappeared then. What normally is big benefit was this time nail to my SEO coffin. Reasons for this:

  • this link was from place not related to flight booking – potential hint that it’s spam
  • I simply overdo this – keywords related to flight booking within article were very dense
  • another possible theory (anyone can confirm?) is that google tracks history of my ranking – this constant improvement, especially via content changes and links from strange places over short time – this may be treated as warning sign by Google.

So – be careful with your optimization efforts. Don’t blew it! To end on more positive note – in next post I’ll write happy end of the story. I’m back in the ranking now. How I get back to SEO business for “flight booking website” – read soon.

Perfect page not found page (404)

We often see them when browsing the webpages. Usually more often that we would like to… 404 pages – page with more or less polite message explaining that page couldn’t be found. How should it look like, what should be its core elements. Here are some ideas and best practices.

First – such pages needs to very clearly state that page wasn’t found. You might be surprised to see that some popular website put this in fine print and make the page rather look like little site map. You can see such example on Microsoft site. Visitors need to be aware that this is not the page you were trying to find. Put this in big letters in header and in title of the page.

The page itself should be simple and clean. It should have only the most basic navigation elements.  Consider stripping your regular navigation from this page. The basic elements of the page should be:

  • link to homepage of your site
  • search box so people can search your site directly from this page
  • link to sitemap (provided you have one)
  • feedback to webmaster request – and make it sound like you really want to learn on what went wrong. Also – promise to follow up and actually do it!

You can also consider differentiating content of the page based on where visitor is coming from. You can easily check the referrer using JavaScript and then tailor the message to the specific situation. Here is what could happen:

  • visitor can come from popular search engine that has old link – then it’s just matter of days that search engine reindex the page and error should soon be gone
  • visitor can type in the url or bookmark it – than he/she needs to check the spelling and possible update the bookmark that is obsolete
  • visitor can be coming from within your site via internal link – apologize very sincerely, promise improvement and follow up afterwards
  • visitor can be coming via link from other external site – you should avoid finger-pointing but politely summarize what happened. If there are lots of such situation (you can see it in your metrics tool) – may be worth to follow up even outside…

google 404 pageWhen writing this I’ve doublechecked some of the most popular websites and was really surprised. First – not much of the best practices there. What’s more – many of the negative examples.

For some of them – e.g. youtube and blogger – I’ve noticed that there is not even custom 404 page there. Google has page that is very simple – it is very good in telling that page wasn’t found. However it also doesn’t have any single link that you could follow up – not even to Google homepage…

Clearly something that’s worth to address. Especially that 404 page is usually one of the top 20-50 most visited pages on every site. Sad but true! All comments are welcome!