John Andrews is a Competitive Webmaster and Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Seattle, Washington. This is John Andrews blog on issues of interest to the SEO community and competitive webmasters. Want to know more?  Competitive Web & SEO
June 12th, 2007 by john andrews

Money Term or Money Terms? It depends…

I was at SMX Seattle and watching really really close to make sure I didn’t miss the “advanced” parts of the organic track. At one point an old time SEO speaker said something like “of course you want to go after the long tail, cause that’s where the money is” and I knew he was being sarcastic. In that particular context, the money terms were seriously profitable. I knew it because I had been there once. I knew he knew it, because of my insider’s bias, the tone of his voice, the movement of his eyes when he said it, and the combination of body language and other non-verbal cues. I’m a good  reader that way.

But I suspect many in the audience understood him to say that the money was indeed in the long tail terms for that niche. I suppose it sucks to be them.

Often times the money is indeed in the long tail and not the  big, generic single word search queries. But other times it is not. How is one to know?

Do your research. Stop listening to people who have good financial incentives to mislead and or not-be-entirely-truthful, and do your own research. Did you know that many (most?) SEO conference speakers are unpaid? They get a free pass in exchange for speaking. Some get free hotel, and some free travel. Some get free travel in exchange for participating in additional activities, and sometimes that whole negotiation is a back and forth this-for-that affair. The conference organizer wants a speaker to prepare and be “good”, but often doesn’t want to pay market value for that. The result? In the worst cases, a bunch of speakers who don’t prepare and whose main agenda is to plug their products and services to the audience as soon as possible and as much as possible. Watch for clues like when they say “I didn’t prepare because I wanted to see what everybody else was covering, and then cover what was overlooked”. Yeah, sure you did.

In the best cases, you get someone who has a fresh presentation for some other reason, and does a good job because they are relaxed and not under pressure to “monetize the speaking opportunity”. I didn’t see much of that this time.
So how do you know for certain if the particular market niche of interest converts solely on a few big, obvious, high-search-frequency “money terms”, or fails to convert of those because they are too broad? Build a landing page and buy some traffic on the generic terms and the long tail terms and track conversion. Spend $200 and see what you learn. Spend $200 more and see what else you learn. Act on your findings, and revisit the results as soon as it makes sense to do so. Soon enough you will have real world evidence that yes, the only terms that convert are the obvious “money terms”, or perhaps “no, the obvious terms are too generic to convert, and the specific 4 word long tail queries, although few in number, convert very well”. At that point, consider yourself an expert on that specific landing page / keyword combination. And keep testing.

Use some of the money you make from your long tail conversions to maintain the test with paid traffic. It might surprise you. At first, if the long tail converts, you will see nothing but wasted money on generic terms, and hard labor out of the nickels you’re putting into the long tail. Stop wasting money and work the long tail. But take some of what you make and pump it back into R&D by sending that unprofitable generic term traffic to a more customized landing page. Your knowledge of the long tail conversions and the failure of the generics to convert on your landing page will enable you to customize a better landing page for the generic traffic. All traffic converts. You just need to find the right landing page. If you can find it profitably (without spending more than it was worth), you’ll make money on the generic terms just as you make money on the long tail terms.

Sometimes it seems webmasters miss the most obvious stuff. Google is your competitor, doesn’t matter, the only good use of PPC is to test in advance of organic campaigns, the bar at the SEO conference hotel is a public place and you don’t need a Conference Pass to sit there and buy drinks, etc.

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June 11th, 2007 by john andrews

Google Privacy: No Big Deal?

Hardly. Look how much time and effort is being spent on the Google Privacy report. Considering that any post about “Google” gets attention, considering that Danny Sullivan appears way earnest in his attempts to neutralize the Privacy International report card, and considering the scholarly debate ensuing in the comments, one has to wonder if this privacy thing is approaching a tipping point.

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June 9th, 2007 by john andrews

Google: “endemic threat to privacy”

Life gets uglier for Google today (bold added):

In a report released Saturday, London-based Privacy International assigned Google its lowest possible grade. The category is reserved for companies with “comprehensive consumer surveillance and entrenched hostility to privacy.

Google had this to say:

“We are disappointed with Privacy International’s report, which is based on numerous inaccuracies and misunderstandings about our services,” said Nicole Wong, Google’s deputy general counsel. “It’s a shame that Privacy International decided to publish its report before we had an opportunity to discuss our privacy practices with them.”

Of course we know the real reason it got this far :

Privacy International contacted Google earlier this month, but didn’t receive a response, said Simon Davies, the group’s director.

Google, Google, Google. When will you wake up? You give good answers when you respond, but you really need to learn to respond!

Here’s an example of what you could have sent to Privacy International as soon as you received their inquiry:

Dear Concerned Citizen. Thank you for your inquiry. We are reading it carefully, and taking it very seriously. We are very privacy conscious. We know we have a great responsiblity, given the authority our users and Internet users in general have granted us. We also know that we have great opportunity, and hope to use our authority to improve privacy practices worldwide as well as within Google. In fact, we would appreciate you giving us an opportunity to respond to your inquiry. We are confident we can share with you key privacy insights that demonstrate our sincere commitment to protecting consumer privacy. We know you will be impressed, and we hope you will recognize us as an ally in the fight to protect consumer privacy. Give us a few days to respond. It will be much appreciated, and worth your patience.”

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John Andrews is a mobile web professional and competitive search engine optimzer (SEO). He's been quietly earning top rank for websites since 1997. About John




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Recent Posts: ★ SEO Industry Growth, Widespread Failure, and SEO Industry Challenge ★ Do you want to WIN, or just “Be the Winner”? ★ 503: GONE ★ Cloud Storage ★ Identity Poetry for Marketers ★ PR is where the Money Is ★ Google is an Addict ★ When there are no Jobs ★ Google Stifles Innovation, starts Strangling Itself ★ Flying the SEO Helicopter ★ Penguin 2.0 Forewarning Propaganda? ★ Dedicated Class “C” IP addresses for SEO ★ New Domain Extensions (gTLDs) Could Change Everything ★ Kapost Review ★ Aaron Von Frankenstein ★ 2013 is The Year of the Proxy ★ Preparing for the Google Apocalypse ★ Rank #1 in Google for Your Name (for a fee) ★ Pseudo-Random Thoughts on Search ★ Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, or a Blog ★ The BlueGlass Conference Opportunity ★ Google Execs Take a Break from Marissa Mayer, Lend Her to Yahoo! ★ Google SEO Guidelines ★ Reasons your Post-Penguin Link Building Sucks ★ Painful Example of Google’s Capricious Do Not Care Attitude 


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