Search Engine Watch Forums Live

Just got back from SEW Forums Live – great quick half day seminar type format.

The event was held at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California. The panel consisted of Elisabeth Osmeloski, Danny Sullivan, Nacho Hernandez, Joseph Morin, Jennifer Slegg, Alex Bennert, and David Wallace. The first session covered several topics ranging from international/multilingual search to contextual advertising.

Nacho Hernandez presented on the topic of multilingual and local search markets. If you haven’t heard of Nacho before, he runs iHispanic Marketing Group, and is the king of the US Latino internet marketing space. Nacho emphasized that there is a greatly unserved market consisting of non-English speakers. He showed some slides breaking down the numbers of English speakers versus non-English. He suggested that people do not assume English marketing works for non-English markets. Spend the time to do proper market research and then develop a tailored approach to each local market.

Regarding local search, Nacho recommended to submit your website’s profile to all the local search websites (Google, Yahoo, MSN, Yellow Pages, etc.) Make sure that your profile is being indexed. Then work on a PPC campaign which consists of both English and your target language (he used the example of Spanish and English to target Latino markets). Perform keyword research analysis in both languages and then construct your campaign respectively.

Joseph Marin followed Nacho’s presentation.

Joseph’s presentation was titled Site ECG and was my favorite presentation from the entire session. Joseph emphasized using your web analytics and logs to check up on your site’s health and bloodline (money). Make sure to check the logs to see if any pages are “bleeding” (losing money). He gave an example of a mismatched landing page. Typically a single mismatched landing page is hard to track down – your PPC management software will not catch it. Joseph checked his logs and he saw that one page in particular was experiencing a higher rate of abandonment than the rest of the site. After inspecting this page, he realized the page was selling the wrong product and was able to correct the error.

Joseph also promoted growing a site horizontally instead of vertically. By checking his site search logs, Joseph was able to discover new products that his users were searching for but the site did not currently offer. He also recommended that sites continually look for new revenue models. One example was to change current resource links into lead generation links.

I didn’t take any notes from Alex Bennert and Jennifer Slegg’s presentations – they were both excellent but both covered general information that I wasn’t interested in. Alex talked about conversions and usability. Jennifer covered Yahoo Publisher Network.

Following the first session, the panel opened up for a question and answer session. Some good questions about Jagger, general SEO, and click fraud – but I found the topic of blog search to be the most interesting.

Danny Sullivan explained that Google and Yahoo blog search is not really a blog search but a feed search (most of you should have known this). Since many feeds are not full text feeds but excerpts, there is a slight problem with getting the information you want to the engines. Do you send them a full text feed cloaked? Stick with the excerpt feed and hope you still rank well? Or craft your content to be good enough to rank with an excerpt? Lots of ideas here.

Click fraud was a very big topic and tons of people seemed upset about the engines lack of response and action.

MSN Hit By Canonical URL Problems

MSN’s homepage – www.msn.com is now showing a toolbar PR of 2.

This is another example of the canonical problem I covered in an earlier post. Looking up the link information for msn.com and www.msn.com, you can see that Google considers these two different urls. In order to correct this problem, MSN could redirect msn.com to www.msn.com with a 301 redirect, but instead they used a 302.

I’m sure MSN understands the problem behind using a 302 and may be using this as a way to highlight the issues Google has with canonical urls.

Hopefully Google will respond to this and fix the problem for all sites that have been affected – not just a big site like MSN.

Update: Looks like MSN is back to PR 9. Here’s what GoogleGuy said over at WebmasterWorld forums:

I think we decided to do a re-export of PageRank so that msn.com wouldn’t worry that should have more green pixels; I wouldn’t be surprised if a minor refresh of backlinks was included in that re-export.

I’m not 188% sure that’s what happened, but I noticed that www.msn.com returns a PR9-ish now, so I’m extrapolating my guesses here. Your comment matches what I would expect to see if that happened.