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Old 09-17-2004   #1
Chris Boggs
 
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Question Non SEM-written Articles about SEO

I have been trying to find seemingly non-biased articles that explain the benefits of SEO and SEM. Everywhere I search, including the members area in here, I can only find ones written by an SEO firm. Let's be brutally honest: I would not want to use them as an example to potential SEO clients because they may contact that company and I could lose the chance at business. Of course this probably why most of those articles were written...

I remembered reading one in Fortune Small Business at the end of last year, and was able to find it here.

Can anyone else provide more such links?

By the way, I wasn't sure of a better thread to put this question into, please feel free to moderate and put it where it should be if necessary.
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Old 09-18-2004   #2
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hi chris,

I suppose this section is about as good as any for this type of conversation.

Definitely start looking to some 3rd party magazines, newspapers, and industry publications, where the (non-biased) reporter has sought out a few sources. Of course, they do often quote some of the most visible SEO people, but at least those same people are so booked or too expensive to take on everyone that contacts them based on an article.

Wall St. Journal, NY Times, INC, and several others have had a variety of articles on the positives and negatives of this business.

and depending on the industry, some associations and digest publications have begun exploring the topic under a general marketing umbrella.
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Old 09-19-2004   #3
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Dare I mention SEMPO??

That is the sort of thing SEMPO is suppossedly all about, unbiased promotion of the industry, so maybe try over there.
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Old 09-20-2004   #4
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thanks, Elizabeth. That's sort of what I was doing but hoping to find someone else's research and save time

Projectphp, unfortunately, the articles within SEMPO as well as SEW all are written as press releases by other SEM's, from what I've seen. Although the info in most cases seems failry objective, there are nearly always one or two SEM's mentioned in the article (including the one I linked-to above). I am seeking more objective industry type stuff...maybe I'll have to write it myself
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Old 09-23-2004   #5
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Chris, Ralph Wilson is about as unbiased regarding internet marketing as there can be - definitely not an SEO.

Wilson Internet

There's a ton of articles, you just have to pick and choose from among them.
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Old 09-23-2004   #6
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Give References

Wilson is OK but I'd keep the focus on YOU, Chris.

Sending them to his site could delay the selling cycle should they decide to run off to one of his seminars or buy an eBOOK.

Try saying "You want quality traffic to your site. I do that for a living! Just call these firms and ask them if I drive targeted traffic that converts."

imho
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Old 09-23-2004   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Boggs
I have been trying to find seemingly non-biased articles that explain the benefits of SEO and SEM. Everywhere I search, including the members area in here, I can only find ones written by an SEO firm.
Yes, but...you should expect that in any field. The specialist will write about their specialist area.

I personally wouldn't expect to easily find any articles exhalting the values of high energy particle physics, when written by Bauhaus art followers. Nor would I expect the methods of X-ray crystallography to be didactically appraised by Aristotelian philosophers.

Seth Goldin writes books on internet marketing. I read Seth Goldin to find out about internet marketing because it's his speciality subject. I would not turn first to Seth Goldin if I wanted to learn more about portrait photography.

Same with SEO - specialist SEO's write about specialist areas they work at within SEO. Therefore to learn about specific issues relating to SEO, you would need to turn to specialist SEO for proper information.

And as people who work in commercial SEO deal with the benefits and hazards of SEO on a daily basis, to find out real information on the benefits and hazards of SEO you would be better reading material by such people.

Of course, that's often the hard part - learning who to really listen to.
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Old 09-23-2004   #8
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yes, yes, and maybe

M&M (Marcia and MrMack ): I think a combination of your two suggestions is best. Thanks for the Wilson link! I can send them to those articles (not necessarily through Wilson's page) with the caveat that you mention, Macklin, adding that we offer more personal service than what can be found at a seminar. Learning face-to-face is also better than reading for some (especially many in the more interpersonal world of marketing).

I,Brian: What you say is true, but I think that you miss the point here. I know that people would rather read about a subject from the expert. Why would I send those people to a link to an article by another expert? I am trying to educate them while selling to them. I do not think that Urchin would send someone to an article written by Omniture about the benefits of tracking software...
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Old 09-23-2004   #9
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Chris, I'm not sure to what degree you actually want to explain SEO to your clients - I'll be surprised, though, if you either want or need to actually explain SEO in any depth to your clients.

After one time impressing a local company director with my knowledge of optimisation, he nodded and stated: "That's all very interesting, but at the end of the day, all I'm really interested in is 'How much money will it make me?' and 'How much will it cost?'".

Last edited by I, Brian : 09-23-2004 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 09-24-2004   #10
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I, Brian...

You are a very lucky man to not need to explain the merits of SEO to your clients...perhaps when we reach the Bruce Clay level of "authority" on the subject we can tell them to "shut up and buy it, I have another appointment," as you seem to advocate.

You are right in your tactical suggestion, however we cannot take that stance yet. Unfortunately, we have not added much cost to our services yet to really justify the free advice we give before a sale...

Last edited by Chris Boggs : 09-24-2004 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 09-24-2004   #11
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Explaining the merits is the second paragraph - it only provides info on potential benefits.

The people I've usually dealt with at local level often don't have the faintest clue about the internet, full stop. So explaining any detail to them has proved futile, and not helped sales. Ultimately, analogy is best:

SEO: Would a full page ad in the Yellow Pages be useful to you?
Client: Yes, of course. But I'm not sure I want to spend that much money for just one advert. I can sell internationally, not just locally.
SEO: The Yellow Pages only advertises your business locally. Search Engines advertise your business internationally. Getting top of search engines is like having a full page ad on every single edition of the Yellow Pages issued around the world.

(pause)

That is what SEO can do for you.

(pause)

How much would that be worth to you?

Client: You can do that?



Selling SEO to experienced webmasters is much less hassle and to the point:

Client: I want A + B
SEO: Sure, I can wrap A+B and add C as well.
Client: Cool. Where do I pay?

Last edited by I, Brian : 09-24-2004 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 09-25-2004   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I, Brian
Explaining the merits is the second paragraph - it only provides info on potential benefits.

The people I've usually dealt with at local level often don't have the faintest clue about the internet, full stop. So explaining any detail to them has proved futile, and not helped sales. Ultimately, analogy is best:

SEO: Would a full page ad in the Yellow Pages be useful to you?
Client: Yes, of course. But I'm not sure I want to spend that much money for just one advert. I can sell internationally, not just locally.
SEO: The Yellow Pages only advertises your business locally. Search Engines advertise your business internationally. Getting top of search engines is like having a full page ad on every single edition of the Yellow Pages issued around the world.

(pause)

That is what SEO can do for you.

(pause)

How much would that be worth to you?

Client: You can do that?



Selling SEO to experienced webmasters is much less hassle and to the point:

Client: I want A + B
SEO: Sure, I can wrap A+B and add C as well.
Client: Cool. Where do I pay?
I would also throw the most important competitive edge that SEO offers...

you are there when the consumer is ready to buy rather than the usual approach - when you are ready to advertise.

Customer center focus vice business center focus!
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Old 09-28-2004   #13
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I'm a little late to the party but I'll throw in my 2 cents. Chris, my apologies if you've already thought of this and decided not to do it.

A lot of companies, both established and not, redistribute articles from other SEO's (which reminds me... I need to get on that! ). You get a quality article on your site in your format. It's just written by someone else. Most will be happy to let you do that as long as you ask in advance and include the name, and a buyline and link at the bottom.

I suppose there is a chance your user could click on their link and go somewhere else. IMHO, it helps when the user realizes that you recognize others in the industry (especially if their more well known) and you agree with their principles or ideas enough to add their article. For me, it's a branding thing.

Quote:
Same with SEO - specialist SEO's write about specialist areas they work at within SEO. Therefore to learn about specific issues relating to SEO, you would need to turn to specialist SEO for proper information
Good point!

Paul
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Old 09-29-2004   #14
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Excellent...

Paul,

I have thought about it as you do. I guess I wanted to make sure others thought that way before taking that route. I agree that there is a slight risk of losing the work, but simply searching the Internet will provide the prospect with plenty of other choices as well.

I guess this industry has to grow a little bit more before we get the "unbiased" attention of major print and TV media. Hopefully Bruce Clay will get on that soon
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Old 11-01-2004   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcia
Chris, Ralph Wilson is about as unbiased regarding internet marketing as there can be - definitely not an SEO.

Wilson Internet

There's a ton of articles, you just have to pick and choose from among them.
I love Ralph and have enjoyed many of his hard-hitting no-nonsense reviews, but on some topics you need to be careful. He tried to write a "simplified" guide to SEO (charges $12 or so for it as I recall), and the result was not great. First, the premise was that he could break things down into a few key factors to make it easier for the newbie reader. By doing that he was already misleading the reader. Then it got worse. He got into some complex stuff that would be over readers' heads in the link analysis field, admitting that he had borrowed everything from others like Mike G., but not explaining why he had chosen to borrow some ideas but ignore others. And wrapped it all up in cute "Mr. Spider" language to emphasize once again how easy it all is.

I see what he was trying to do with that effort, but it was not his best.

Sometimes it might be best to stick to high-level facts such as search engine market shares, basic user navigation habits, marketer case studies, and so forth -- there really are unbiased sources for some of these things. Ralph's guide plunged right into high-level discussion of linking and certain other factors, rather arbitrarily, I thought, for a supposedly simple stripped-down explanation.

Among the sources I might cite when people ask for data: ComScore Networks studies, IAB studies, and so forth. Newspaper articles are usually consciously or unconsciously trying to taint our industry with scandal, so even the best ones are not the best sources to show to clients unless you're trying to make a particular point.

I believe it's true that those closest to the action really are often the most credible, i.e. look in your address bar right now. Danny is an unbiased source -- that's the whole point of Search Engine Watch.
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Old 11-02-2004   #16
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of course

Andrew you bring up a very good point, and I do lead people to this Forum for research purposes. I agree that this is a great place to find unbiased information (especially in the members’ section), however people like to see "Time" or "Newsweek" type sources when looking for supporting evidence. I hope that eventually SEW has this sort of clout outside of our industry in terms of SEO/SEM information, but unfortunately that is not yet the case.

You, if anyone, can get this going by submitting something to one of the "big boys" of the business periodicals. I know that you are much respected within the industry and therefore would be a great candidate for such publications. I know this veers away from my original question, but as others have pointed out, it is those within an industry that can write best about the subject. I am very confident that as more information reaches the mainstream, more writers will be interested in the subject.

Thanks for the review of Wilson’s lit that I have not yet had a chance to read. The “high level facts” tact usually works…but there are those in very large companies that want as many details and supporting evidence as possible in order to finally get of their butts and make a decision

I am working on a few methods suggested in here, including the idea of redistributing articles by other SEO’s that Paul mentioned.
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Old 11-10-2004   #17
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SearchEngineGuide.com carries an enormous database of SEM and SEO related articles and although many of the authors are SEOs not all of them have links to their business site from the articles themselves. They rarely ever mention their business name in the article either and 99% of the time the articles are not written for self-promotion but for education. Also, if you link to the SEG version of their articles, your clients will most likely appreciate the useful unbiased info that SEG provides.
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Old 11-10-2004   #18
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This one is pretty simple for clients to understand on the role of the SEO/SEM:

http://www.searchengineguide.com/cla.../1024_sc1.html

This one is great for convincing clients to do both PPC and organic:

http://www.clickz.com/experts/search...le.php/3076661
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Old 11-11-2004   #19
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thanks for the update

thanks Kal and donut (mmmmmmmm, donuts) for the resources. I have not seen the Scottie Claiborne article before, and it is a good analogy of the SEO methodology.

I have preached exactly what Marckini states in his article. PPC and SEO go hand-in-hand in many cases.

Thanks again everyone!
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Old 11-14-2004   #20
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Some SEMPO resources you may have overlooked

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Boggs
I have been trying to find seemingly non-biased articles that explain the benefits of SEO and SEM. Everywhere I search, including the members area in here, I can only find ones written by an SEO firm. Let's be brutally honest: I would not want to use them as an example to potential SEO clients because they may contact that company and I could lose the chance at business. Of course this probably why most of those articles were written...
Hi Chris,
We do actually have quite a few articles that are more general on the SEMPO.org site. Yes, our members and the industry folks who write them probably have a vested interest in publishing them on ours and other publications, but the data is still worth reviewing.

There's some excellent research at: http://www.sempo.org/research.php
General news articles we found that are about SEM:
http://www.sempo.org/search-engine-m...s-coverage.php
And Gord Hotchkiss from Enquiro always submits great articles for our general article section: http://www.sempo.org/articles.php

And, don't forget that we're in the middle of a big research project ourselves, to try and size the market and understand the current level of resources going to SEM. You are 100% invited to take the survey yourself -- we need data from all over the world:

www.sempo.org/survey

If you find more articles out there in your search, please submit them to us for review: http://www.sempo.org/sempo-resource-...guidelines.php

Thanks!
Dana Todd
Co-Chair, Education Committee
SEMPO
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