Kate Morris

Otherwise know as @katemorris.com by friends.

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Letting the Dogs Out: Image Search

Just making it known, I am testing something but if you’re up for an inspired post regardless, read on.

I have spent the last year working with an image powerhouse. The power of images is great, an untapped source of traffic for sure. I am a search marketer that is all about the conversion, but if all you want it traffic, images are just awesome and long tail. What’s just so sharable? Images. Why do you think we take data and make it pretty (ala infographics)? People love images. The most recent, not sure if it’s really the brain child of Paula Holmes Crimm, but maybe.

It Was Me. I Let The Dogs Out

Shared almost 2k times as of 5:12pm CDT

Really. How freaking cute. He/She let the dogs out. Took claim for the apparent mess it caused. You just want to kiss that puppy and the share it with all of your friends. I saw it this morning, reshared it, and 5 of my friends have done the same and not all from me.

Now the image search for this image. I figured “I let the dogs out” would do it.

Let the Dogs Out Image Search

Alas no. I may be wrong in the search or it might just not have been shared outside of FB yet. Therefore, Google hasn’t seen it. So I’m posting it. With good alt text and image name. Let’s see what happens and if I can get some traffic from it. </SEO>

Take Away for Search Marketers and Businesses

This small picture is being shared. There is no commerce behind it, no linking scheme, just an image. So I want to impart something I have seen as I’ve developed client infographics and link bait, don’t make it about you. Make it about users, your target market, the everyday user, the facebook user, whoever you want to see and share your content. Make it about them and they will share it. This does not have a 100% success rate (meaning making “viral linkbait” is still not possible to just create) but it does help get to the heart of the user and that might transfer down to the tip of their “share” finger.

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Ask from the Grave

There is a large amount of hoopla over the Google UI change. This post was inspired by one over at WordStream asking if Google was the new Bing. I’ll say what a few people have said already, but I have a little more ranting behind it as well. Google’s new look is not Bing, it’s Ask.

Matt Cutts Ask Zombie

2006 Matt Cutts as the Zombie Jeeves

A while ago (and we are talking years) at SMX Advanced 2007, the Google Dance Northwest to be exact, I watched as the Ask PR Director worked through the launch of Ask 3D. A few friends and I got a private tour of the new features, and I knew immediately that they were years ahead of their time. But they went and threw it all away.

(Funny enough, that night was when I first met Matt Cutts, who is in this picture. :P)

Now, even though it was proven to work better with users within the first few months, Google finally accepted it and is using the three column approach. It took Microsoft and Yahoo 2 years to adopt it, and Google 3 years. What does Ask get out of it? Nothing.

So I will say again. The Microsoft/Yahoo deal should not have happened. Instead, had Yahoo been smart, they would have bought Ask and AOL. *sigh* They might have tried, I don’t know, but what I do know is AOL, Ask and Yahoo are now all but dead. To Microsoft and Google … do you see the opportunity here? If you haven’t already, pick off the Ask talent. It’s being so wasted.

</rant>

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Tagging Adult-ish Pictures

For the most part, when I come across an issue on a site, I just search for the solution and someone has previously identified the solution. Last week I came across a problem that I didn’t know how to deal with and neither did anyone else.

Issue: In optimizing a client’s website, I came across some images that might seem unsuitable for children. Not vulgar or crude, and were there in a health care sense, but were still not suitable for children.

I wanted to find a tag that I could place in the image or on the page that would let the search engines, especially the adult filters of the images side, that the images were not suitable from the get go. The client had noted it on their site as well, but on the entry page, not on every page that the images appeared.

Short version: There were no tags that I could find, and no one knew the answer. So I emailed a friend of mine … Matt Cutts (no, I am NOT giving anyone his email address). See Matt, for those of you that don’t know, is one of the minds behind SafeSearch and is now the Head of the Web Spam team at Google. Who better to ask right?

Turns out there are meta tags that can be affixed to the page with ratings that are much like movie ratings. These ratings work with browser filters to ensure that kids do not see specific content on the web. Reading between the lines, I am thinking that this might also be a way to signal to the SEs that there are things on that page that should be behind the SafeSearch wall.

How to Tag Adult Content

The best resource for adult rating that Matt pointed me to had examples of how to use all the rating systems. Major downside: this means 4 additional meta tags on my page. This area of the world has not been condensed, so there are many way to rate pages. For my client, I added them all. Better safe than sorry in my opinion.

I won’t go over every one, but basically for most of them you place specific codes within the meta tag that let bots and browsers know exactly what type of content is on that page that might not be suitable. In my client’s instance, it was partial nudity on a woman that was health care based.

It might have taken some time and a little more work, but I know that parents and search engines will like that my client is trying to help protect children on the web. I just hope that the various organizations can come together on ONE rating system someday, but that might be as possible as all of the browsers rendering the same way (stupid IE …).

UPDATE: I had a question (PRO Membership Required) the other day in the SEOmoz Q&A that gave me another thought about how to use the adult content tagging. If your images have ever been placed behind the SafeSearch filter, and you think it isn’t warranted, you might TRY (read: hasn’t been tested) placing these meta tags on the page where the image is hosted, and use the tags for safe for children. Don’t use this to get around the filters, I don’t think that will work. If hand checked, and the images are in fact NOT kosher, you might get removed/banned. No bueno here people. Karma, remember karma. If you don’t want your kids, your nieces/nephews, or godchildren looking at those images, then other kids shouldn’t either.

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PPC Tip: Dayparting using Google Analytics

clock_screen02A good friend of mine that is getting into PPC asked me a question today. A question that I think is common to many people that are really digging into their campaigns. I am not talking to people just getting started (though you should read this too if you are) but those that are wanting to find the next step in campaign optimization.

The question centered around dayparting in Google but based on the specific industry their client was in, so after I guessed (educated guess, really …), I told them to look at the company’s analytics and see where their clients were visiting and buying. The retort was “Google Analytics doesn’t tell me that.”

Poppycock.

But I understood the confusion. Information by hour isn’t readily available but it is there. And I am going to show you how to pull the data. But to start, let’s review why dayparting might be important to you.

Dayparting

We get this term from traditional marketing. I first learned it in Introduction to Media Buying at The University of Texas. It had to do with radio and TV time purchasing. Imagine my delight when PPC started using it too. And it’s about the same. Dayparting is molding your spend to specific days and hours of the day to match when your best customers are looking.

Dayparting is not for every company. If you are a consumer based company, people are probably searching for your products at any hour of the day. Business-to-business firms are going to be more open to specifying a time of day. Consider business software – you might have some hard core people searching at night, or small business owners, but if your product is not focused to them, you probably don’t want to be running at 2am. Right? Good. Moving on.

When are your Customers Online?

Your analytics package should be able to tell you when customers are on your site. Above that, you should be tracking what time of the day people are purchasing if you are ecommerce. Google Analytics does provide this information to you, you just have to know where to look. Custom Reports FTW.

1. Get into your Google Analytics Account and find the “Custom Reporting” button on the left side navigation.

GA Sidebar

2. Click and get the bigger menu. At the bottom click on “Manage Custom Reports.”

3. In the upper right side, click on “Create new custom report.”

Custom Text

4. Title it (you’ll forget later) – hit edit next to the “Custom Report blah blah blah” up at the top.

5. First pick the metrics you want to see (in blue, see below). I am a fan of the metrics below, it’s a good place to start when you aren’t sure what to look at.

  • Unique Visitors
  • Unique Pageviews
  • Total Goal Completions (you have to have goals set up to get data here)
  • Avg. Time on Site
  • Unique Purchases (must be e-commerce to use this)
  • Bounce Rate

Sample Google Analytics Dayparting Report Setup

sample dayparting report

6. Once you get those, move to the green aka dimensions. This is where you pick what you are looking at. You can do one of three things here, or I recommend one of three.

  1. Use one dimension - Time of Day – this is the minimal report and will help you see overall trends for time of day.
  2. Use two dimensions – (1) Day (2) Time of Day – this gets down to each day and how things worked out each hour. More detailed but maybe too detailed for some.
  3. Make both. :P Two separate reports. You can play with more dimensions of course, but I am just talking dayparting remember?

Once you’ve done that, preview the report and test away until you get it like you want it. If it’s that good and you have more than one client that can use it, you can save it to all of them. Nice huh? Yay for time saving! The rest … you should know what to do with. Pick the best hours, see if there are some major drop offs in traffic and purchasing, and review the data with the client (or executives).

For more information on dayparting check out these resources:

So that was the quick and dirty – please comment with any questions and I’ll do my best to answer or point you to a resource with the answer.

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Fake Spamming by SEOs?

There has been a theory floating around for a long time: Google hates SEOs. That is just one article from Bruce Clay former writer Lisa Barone, referencing something from Jill Whalen. Matt Cutts responded with what we all know: Google doesn’t hate SEOs, just the bad ones that give us all bad names. It’s like lawyers … yes I just went there.

But now there seems to be a trend (and it could be because I live in my little hole called SEO) recently where good SEOs are being suspended on Social Media sites.

Case #1: Jill Whalen (@jillwhalen) was suspended on Twitter on September 22 at about 1pm CDT and reinstated a few hours later. No reason, nothing. Community support and twitter contacts helped.

Case #2: Rishi Lakhani (@rishil) has been suspended as of September 22 at 3:34pm London time and not yet reinstated was reinstated later that day. A twitter search for rishil shows the large amount of support for his reinstatement. Update: We got the story of why, written up by SEOptimise.

Case #3: My own Yahoo! Answers account has been suspended for “spammy” activity. None of which has ever happened. I have appealed three times, and gotten nothing. Yahoo seems to just not want to hear it. So my efforts to remove spam on Answers, and my support of that site are all for nothing. I am still not sure if I will ever return.

So what is the deal here? Are we being identified and purged no matter what? Yes, this is taking three small cases and making a HUGE assumption. But why are these accounts being marked and taken down? All have been in good standing and done nothing wrong.

Anyone else seen this happen? I’ll update as I learn more.