Business Management Consultant - Stuntdubl Search and Marketing Consulting

More on Competitive Analysis Using Keyword Opposition to Benefit Score

Last week I got some great feedback on the post about Using KOB Analysis to plan SEO Campaigns. Here’s a few more links - a mini-interview with Todd Mintz about the upcoming presentation on KOB Analysis at SEMPDX. In addition, I did a video with the world-renowned Mike McDonald on KOB Analysis and Market Motive Internet Marketing Certification at Pubcon Vegas. I’ll be speaking more on competitive analysis and KOB score at the upcoming Pubcon Austin as well. Video is embedded below.


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Competitive Intelligence: Using KOB Analysis for Planning SEO Campaigns

KOB Analysis stands for Keyword Opposition to Benefit Analysis. It’s the process I’ve used for the past several years to determine which projects have the most opportunity. It helps to determine which keywords to target so that resources will be used most efficiently for maximum benefit. KOB analysis is essentially a way of creating a cost benefit analysis on a specific keyword (or set of keywords). It is designed to answer the most important questions in any search marketing campaign:

–What is the opposition?
(how strong is the SERP competition?)

–What is the benefit?
(how much new business can we generate?)

Teaching at MarketMotive has forced me to take a look at how I conducted my research in several years as a search marketing consultant, and document a formal process that could be taught to someone.  It made me realize that to effectively judge the potential of a SEO campaign – you really have to do your keyword research and competitive analysis in unison.

The idea of KOB Analysis originally started in the form of a morphing powerpoint and outline, the way I often suss out my ideas these days. (Which is very similar to Rand’s process).  KOB Analysis stands for Keyword Opposition to Benefit Analysis (or ratio).  This ratio provides us with the “sweet spot" for conducting an SEO campaign based on the allocated resources (labor, existing links, budget, etc.).

It’s certainly not an exact science, but the tools to evaluate the value and opposition of specific keyword results are evolving quickly. (As a quick aside, if you are developing competitive analysis tools, I will gladly give you my algorithm and methodology for "The KOB Tool" in return for a link and credit for the term - drop me a line)

The “low hanging fruit”

low hanging fruitSEO folks have always looked for the mythical “low hanging fruit”, It seems the barrier to entry in most industries and keyword sets is rising by the day, and the fruit is growing much higher on the trees these days.  Fortunately, our tools for establishing the best opportunities are improving as well. The KOB tool will exist shortly from someone - and some variation is no doubt available in some of the high end agency toolsets.

KOB analysis allows you to find the best opportunities for conducting an SEO campaign, and thus allocate your resources in an efficient manner.  Aaron has a somewhat similar idea built into his competitive analysis tool (one of my VERY favorite tools of all time), which he deems “upside potential” that helps you to choose which keywords potentially offer the most return for the least amount of effort.  Upside potential doesn’t take into account opposition score, but it does look at the opportunity posed by marginal improvements in existing ranking. 

 

So how do we calculate KOB Analysis?

KOB Analysis - Keyword Opposition to Benefit RatioKeyword opposition refers to the competition level of a search result.  In the past, wordtracker had used KEI (or keyword effectiveness index) as a similar metric to KOB, but it was flawed by the way the opposition levels are calculated (by number of competing pages).  Rand talks about the flaws in their opposition score here, and how it’s being changed. The number of pages doesn’t matter nearly as much as the overall strength of the sites in the top 10 spots (where you need to be to receive the valuable search traffic).

Opposition can be calculated with a few factors:

  1. Age
  2. Anchor text
  3. Onpage optimization (several sub factors)
  4. Global link popularity
  5. Local Set links
  6. Unique linking domains
  7. Exact match bonus
  8. Social signals

In very rudimentary fashion – we can assign a 1-10 score to each of these areas, and weight them to come up with an opposition score similar to what SEOMoz provides with their keyword difficulty tool (based on some different factors). This could be done much more scientifically with the right program and algorithm (again - tool providers please ping me).

Benefit is much more simple to calculate.  Instead of just using search volume, we are able to get a more meaningful figure for benefit by multiplying search volume times benefit.  While this figure for benefit is not always completely accurate based on adwords projections – it does give us some better insights into which terms have the highest volume AND commercial value. 

High cost per click search queries are currently the best predictive indicator of the commercial intent (and therefore transaction value) of a potential customer arriving from search.  Therefore, combining cost per click and search volume gives us a more meaningful number for the overall benefit to a company’s bottom line revenues.  Taking this idea a bit further - You can easily see how specifically targeting relevant messages to these beneficial visitors arriving from organic search with referral targeting would likely be a very good idea as well.

SEO (campaign planning) is a Moving Target

SEO is a moving target

Creating SEO projections is like shooting at a moving target (in a hurricane). I’ve almost never found projections of anyone with the exception of a select few in house experts to be even remotely reasonable.  Despite the flaws, Projections and budgeting are mandatory for acquiring corporate budgets for actually doing the work. Perhaps this helps to explain the disconnect in PPC and SEO spending.

KOB analysis assists in these projections, and helps to set more reasonable expectations.  As any good SEO consultant will tell you – the key to successful client relationships all starts with setting these reasonable expectations (the same can be said for the success of your career if you’re working as an in-house SEO person). The tools for calculating TRUE benefit (and overall value) of organic search traffic are still just evolving (SEMRush and Spyfu lead the charge). The best tool at this point is an understanding of concepts used to create projections.

KOB Analysis in some form is always the foundation for any successful SEO campaign. Unfortunately, SEO is not conducted in a vacuum. There are lots of moving parts involved, and your best competitors are always improving as well. They are learning about how to attract links better. They understand linkbaiting, creating infographics, hiring link ninjas, and they’ve been buying links under the radar for years. They had their onpage optimization tweaked over 5 years ago. They live on the bleeding edge just like you do. They’ll have many more links and a lot more content in 6 months. You need to consider the timeline and moving parts when creating your projections. In some keyword sets it’s just not realistic to expect you will EVER compete in the top 3. Regardless of your mega-budget - the return will not justify the spend for your one-word vanity phrase (why not spend it on some longer tail phrases that offer more benefit?).

When you determine the resources that you need to rank for a given term, you also have to consider the timeline involved. If you’re shooting at a target 3 months, 6 months, or a year out, you have to budget for your competitors growth as well. If you don’t, you’re going to be very disappointed when you reach some of your link goals and still fall on your face with your ranking and traffic goals. BE CONSERVATIVE with your projections, and always focus on managing expectations when you’re dealing with lots of unknown variables. You’ll be able to better understand your competitors growth patterns with tools like Majestic SEO that show historical data on their link graph growth over time. Don’t underestimate the competition - UNDERSTAND them with KOB and you’ll have better understanding and more respect for the folks you compete with, and more realistic expectations to set for the people around you.

 I think many search marketing folks use similar process for conducting cost benefit analysis for their campaigns, but I haven’t really seen much common language used to describe it.  If you know of any great competitive analysis tools, or similar methodologies to run cost/benefit analysis for organic search, I would definitely be interested in checking them out. Want to see examples in action? Well, we have that available over at Market Motive. I’ll also be presenting on KOB analysis (including a case study) on a competitive analysis panel with John Andrews at SEMPDX on Feb. 23rd.

Some other competitive analysis resources and tools:

Learn more about KOB Analysis at Market Motive

Tools

**My personal favorites

Resources

Q3 2010 Master Certification Classes Start July 19th

Enrollment is now open for you and your team to join our Q2 Master Certification courses in SEO, Social Media, PPC , Landing Page Conversion or Web Analytics at MarketMotive.com

Master one internet marketing discipline in 90 days by training online with the bestselling authors, authorities, and top speakers in each discipline. You will:

* Master one internet marketing discipline
* Boost your value to your organization
* Empower your marketing team
* Make authoritative marketing decisions
* Get the industry recognition you deserve

Select from individual or group courses in SEO, Social Media, PPC, Landing Page Conversion or Web Analytics that are 100% online* and include:

* Graded projects and assignments
* Final dissertation defense for certification
* On-demand streaming video lessons
* Weekly interactive training webinars
* Direct, anytime Q&A with the faculty

Enroll now and take control of your online marketing.
Choose Your Online Course Now >>

* Courses are 100% online, with regular instructor interaction. Login 24×7 to master the latest techniques in internet marketing from the convenience of your own desk.

Here’s a list of my favorite topics for your previewing pleasure:

More information about SEO Master Certification, as well as the signup form

Checkout the SEO Curriculum here

Website Valuation and Domain Appraisal Myths: A Cautionary Tale for Domainers

Firstly, I think domainers are geniuses. They are the only group of people that I know that can work as little as they do, and make as much as they do. Top level domainers are the TRUE optimizers, and saw the biggest gapping hole in the economics of the web ever created, and are now driving trucks of money through it. The true pioneers and geniuses within the community have started to develop an appreciation of what it takes to create successful online properties instead of just making money from parked landing pages. Unfortunately there is still a lot of laziness and blindness to some of the myths their community has helped to perpetuate. The thoughts below are from nearly a decade purchasing ~500 domain names of which I think only 10% at best hold very strong value. The rest are stinkers that I should probably not pay the $6 a year hosting if I was more dilligent with my accounting and renewal tracking.

I have been a lurker in domain and affiliate communities for years. I think it’s time to point out some of the domainer myths as the world’s of SEO’s and domainers start to collide, and the best domainers realize they need to actually develop their properties to continue to reap the rewards of their investments. Seeing "potential" through to fruition is both rewarding and extremely challenging (for a bit of credibility at this point, I invested, helped develop, and ultimately exited from CollegeDegree.com just over 3 years ago to help fund future projects.)

A perfect storm is brewing from the climate of need from marketers needing top domains and domainers needing marketing talent. It takes a lot to build a great site - so you might as well do it on a domain that people will remember when you finally put it in front of them. Landing page revenues are decreasing, and users are a bit more saavy, so many of the smart domainers are doing their best to at least develop sites on their domains to hedge their bets on big ticket domain valuations with some base level website monetization. It will definitely only continue to be more difficult to capture the "free traffic" of organic search, only as the myth that it should have ever been "free" in the first place is finally being dispelled.

We are FINALLY seeing tools to project the value of a site’s organic search traffic (like SEMRush, SpyFu, and Aaron’s awesome competitive analysis tool) to properly quantify at least a ball park range of the value of "free organic traffic", and make projections of bottom line revenue based on these projections accordingly. The really sharp domainers, have been reaching out to folks in the SEO community, and have been attempting to learn about development and driving more traffic. To properly understand the myths, I think we must first take a look at how I appraise potential domain names (primarily for the intention of development).

1. Search term value (cost per click)
2. Exact match search term volume
3. Overall query diversity (is there longtail from the exact match that is valuable?)
4. Brand-ability (how easy is it to remember and type in)
5. Domain top level extension (.net/.orgs are still a great deal worth 10 - 20% of .com value - everything else is 2nd tier)
6. Potential type in traffic (only for very top level keyword.coms in select verticals, and really mainly good for branding)
7. Ease of future development (How easy is it to realize the "potential" of a brandable domain creating content, software, etc?)
8. Ease of monetization (is the market liquid, or does it have a high barrier to entry?)

There’s probably some others to add, but these 8 factors pretty much sum up most of the important areas up for consideration when looking at if you can earn a return from purchasing a domain name. For a more in depth guide to website valuation as a whole, you can see my older post on the subject - How to appraise a website - Website Value 101.

Bargain domains has a good handle on what is important using cpc, volume, competition, ease of monetization. Doing business development for a site that does not have existing affiliate programs is among the most difficult barriers to entry for creating a successful site in a given space, and where a lot of errors from the below myths comes into play. I think a lot of domainers are discounting a lot of their domains - with little or no clue why, other than trying to cover costs. I’ve definitely snagged my fair share of nice ones in what seems to be a pretty good buyer’s market in the right places. I’ve also got a lot of garbage from mistakes like domaining after drinking;) To make the right buys, you definitely can’t fall for the top 11 myths domainers find themselves falling victim to:

1. Myth of the Type in.

Type in traffic occurs at a very small level that is constantly diminishing. I make no argument that some percentage of people type in Cameras.com when thinking about purchasing a digital camera. However, the impact of this type of traffic, overall is quite minimal. Type in traffic comes through google, bing, yahoo, and your Internet Service Provider. If your ISP decides to serve a 404 page for the domain or country code it will render to their landing page. Richard Kershaw has more about the dangers of the type in traffic myth based on some data he dug up from Sedo, so I’ll defer to his better post to explain this one further:

"… 0.001% of domains parked with Sedo get double digit per day traffic. Or to put it another way, 99.999% of domains parked with Sedo don’t hit double digits daily."

Even Kevin Ham’s genius .CM wildcard tld strategy isn’t really working in most places anymore. What really perpetuates this myth is repeat visitors and DIRECT NAVIGATION. Direct navigation is much different from type in traffic. Direct navigation can easily come from other media sources and many times very easily owe it’s true attribution to a specific campaign or general "brand equity" which will likely always remain a somewhat vague metric for analysis and accountability.

2. Myth of the 1 Word .com

Just because it’s generic, doesn’t mean it’s good Crap.com is still crap. Yes, you can make an argument, that it is "brandable", but so is Suudl.com or some other random character string of constants and vowels. There’s dozens of startups in Silicon Valley trying to build an awesome product on a garbage domain. Sometimes it actually works (Yoodle to go on and be better things.) Do you know how much money it costs to BUILD a true brand that people actually recognize?

Sharp entrepreneurs like domainshane.com have some solid 4 and 5 letter domains for web 2.0 startups, but there’s a difference between selling a few domains for 3 figures, and creating a full blown startup company. I will say that I do think any 4 and 5 letter .com value will only continue to rise. There are only a limited number of these and they will often be held by large corporations. A good four letter .com is HIGHLY brandable since it takes up less space for more traditional advertising (print/ radio/ tv).

The biggest myth with EVERY entrepreneur falls victim to is that it’s easy to build a company. Murphy’s law definitely applies to you, even though you think you’re the exception. You always hear the success stories of Mint.com and the like, but you miss the other 9 startups for every 1 that actually even gets a 2nd round of funding (as well as the thousands that failed to get to that point). You also miss the decades of misery endured by the executives and founders. I can count on less than two hands the number of successful entrepreneurs I know that have maintained their integrity. Any idea how hard it is to get the first round? 3 words: Tech Bubble, Recession

Having 20 or 30 single word domains may prove to be more of a blessing than a curse to either sell or develop when you look at how much money a startup has to raise to take a company to the next level past several rounds of venture funding, or the difficulty of creating a company that will sustain through a public offering.

3. Myth of the "Category Killer"

The underestimation of what it actually takes to build a real site that delivers value to real end users, and makes real revenue will be the common thread in most of these points. It’s real easy to say that you understand how to do it, and that you can do it. Even if you did it as a consultant, doesn’t mean you can do it all yourself and successfully pull it off (believe me, I fell victim to this myth for quite some time.)

Banca.com was a steal in a recent auction, but just because you own Bank.org, doesn’t mean you can build or run one and actualize the potential of such a domain.

4. Myth of "Revshare"

This begins with the fallacy that you’ll attract good people by offering them a revenue share of the project. Unfortunately, smart people realize it’s very difficult to craft these agreements, and setting expectations on the same page is a rare commodity. As a consultant, I’ve had lots of "rev-share" offers. Normally, building a long term working relationship works in a handful of ways through smaller projects.

The person who builds the house isn’t always happy to lease the land it’s built on, even if they get to share in the profits. Normally, they’d prefer to buy some less expensive land, and maintain complete control of the project, until they can be the master developer.

There are ultimately a few questions that get asked from both sides:

Domainer:

We would like to develop a site that makes millions from my genius idea of buying high quality domains in 1994.

Consultant: Did you live in Vancouver or nearby?

D: No, but I have been to some conferences around that area.

C: Cool - the domainer community fascinates me, and I’m a lurker there. I do a bit of domaining myself for myself as well.

So tell me about your site.

D: Elaborate beautiful description of properties and potential. Insert unrealistic expectations of marketing miracles.

C: screenshare examples of success.

D: More qualification of websites awesomeness.

C: More examples of wins, and answers to questions.

D: Sounds awesome, we’ll be in touch.

C: Okay cool. Have a good one.

The conversations sometimes go a few phone calls longer. The truth is, the cost of creating an amicable agreement, or in building the trust takes so much efforts, that both sides generally fall flat. The trust needed for such an arragement is generally too big of a gap to bridge in a few phone calls. The domainer opts for the cheap work with less than impressive results, and the consultant continues to consult and develop sites. Generally the domainers learn from the conversation and realize they should continue to further their search and social media marketing understanding.

A few examples:

Example #1http://www.namecake.com/venture-partners/
Some of our names experience a large volume of natural daily traffic. Couple this with their brandability and you have a powerful combination to immediately compete in your chosen field. All that’s needed to turn these domains into successful online destinations is a strong partner with the right resources.

…our ideal partners will likely have the resources to execute an entire business plan around developing the domain property. All aspects of the business will be the responsibility of the partner. While the preferred relationship is to partner with experienced companies/individuals on these projects, an outright sale of the domain name will also be considered.

A strong project manager with years of experience will likely always buy the domain outright (or find an alternative to use).

I understand that the core competency here is acquiring top level domains, but I’m wondering how many properties they have successfully built out to claim just how "easy" it is to immediately compete and make money with a top level domain. I have certainly heard the question before myself of "If you’re so good at this, why don’t you do it for yourself?" In fact, I heard it enough times that I decided I must build my own properties to disprove the naysayers. I’m sure the guys at namecake are super smart, and have made lots of money - but it if it DID come from underestimating the workload, and doing what was easy - they were extremely lucky.

Example #2 Reinvent, Marchex, and other companies have some amazing domain names, but each individual domain nearly warrants it’s own entire dedicated team to build out properly. I’m not sure some of these domainers have the true knack for creating gameplans for actual site development and launch that actualize the "potential" the domain names hold. Even though some of their large holdings are generic domains - the value in ranking for these phrases (and the business plan and development for monetizing them) often doesn’t justify the effort unfortunately. There are a handful of winners, and a lot of losers still left in these large, diverse portfolios. Focusing on one or two big areas could really do well, but trying to split the workload between a very large and diverse portfolio is spreading the resources very thin on some of the really GOOD domains they have like carfinancing.com, creditrating.com, or cheaptravel.com. By the time they realize this, the barrier to entry to start in these areas may well be much much higher.

Example #3
http://www.bigticketdomains.com/
Treatmentcenters.com – great site (doesn’t work in ff for mac), and awesome domain with the ability to create a great geo based lead generation campaign. Focus on the one site, and sell the others if you can to fund the development.

Focus on Brideloan.com, Tradeshows.com, NewYork.net, and develop StockMarket.com and MutualFunds.com. Those 4 domains could easily be enough for a lifetime. The rest might sell to an enlightened soul in one of their respective industries for fairly reasonable prices. I don’t imagine it takes lots of homeruns, and offering GOOD reasonable financing deals is a good step towards doing biz dev with saavy individuals and agencies.

5. Myth of Interlinking sites

Interlinking Explained by God.com

The lesson in learned when a large group of sites is wiped off the map in terms of search traffic. This is generally the point where they search around for someone to fix the problem, and claim they did nothing wrong. At the very least - interlinking your domains is NOT doing you any favors. Start splitting them off now, and quit convincing yourself that you’re Barry Diller and you own IAC. His sites have entire enterprise level teams to "co-brand" and "cross-promote) his sites. Until your parent company is worth a billion dollars, you’re still just cross linking (with little to no benefit, and potentially a lot of detriment)

6. Myth of Parking pages (slowly dissolving value)

I bet it was awesome getting a 40% rip from the overture feed when type in traffic and search traffic was high for high value phrase .coms with little content and a phoney link profile. It’s a shame that things went down hill and everyone had to start working for a living. If it makes you feel better, SEO’s are providing an increasingly more commoditized service whose value at most levels is dimishing as well, and good folks are looking for better opportunities to monetize a skillset that is still not completely easy to build despite all the advances in search marketing training in the last three or four years.

7. Myth of Not Identifying and Underestimating Search and Social Strategy Value

Search marketing can help build direct cashflow. The tools to project the value of search marketing are still just starting to grow to a point of decent accuracy. 4 years ago before Google Analytics became great, no one had PPC data. It’s hard to understand SEO if you haven’t done PPC. Their are important economic systems in play on both that affect bottom line business. Search marketing is at the core of consumer intent.

8. Myth of Low Value Services Providing High Value

Amazingly willing to spend xxx,xxx on domains, but not more than $x,xxx per month on development. A good strategy should probably spend anywhere from 10 - 30% of the budget on the domain. Depending on the project this can seem excessive to some - but I definitely strongly agree with the high value in good domain names. The trouble is that you can only develop a few (not 100’s or 1000’s). I find that I’ve been able to develop about 10 - 12 sites per year at various qualities. That’s about one per month - with about 2-5 coming out very good at the end of a year. This is with a very strong desire to sit at the computer for 40 - 60 hrs per week consistently, and work at your maximum mental capacity.

9. Myth of Hype and Community Publicity

Woohoo! Joe the domainer launched motorcyclehelmets.com - It’s sure to be a category killer! I’m not a huge hater, but I’ve seen people fall into the same trap within the SEO and internet marketing community. Just because you’re a big deal in your little niche community does not mean you’ll make money, or that anyone else anywhere will actually care if you do. Most the successful people I know that have maintained their humanity tend to have a great deal of humility (and try to minimize the hype). The hater in me comes from my self loathe of blogging and enjoying using things like foursquare and twitter. For a circle jerk of publicity and drama in a small pondof life, there are many forums and blogs to visit, but perhaps the rise of the fall for the seo community came with Threadwatch.org (I think because it was like a giant sewing circle). It is only by spending time in such a place that you have an appreciation of just how information on the web truly travels (and just how little most things really mean).

10. Myth of second tier top level domain extensions

I bought into .info’s too. I feel your pain. I think I even have some .travel, .us, .mobi and some other second tier garbage. Firstly, they’ll never gain acceptance. Secondly, they’ll never rank for anything. Thirdly, no one will remember your extension (and they’ll type in .com), and you’ll lose most of the "type-ins" you were hoping for. Lastly, remember how much it costs to build a brand? It costs even more to get your .com AFTER the fact. The cost of GREAT .coms /.nets /.orgs on the other hand continues to see growth.

11. Myth that development is EASY

The owners of MutualFunds.com have a retail price of $5 Million listed. How much more likely are your odds for success buying Mutualfunds.net for $100k, and spending the other $4.9M on product development and marketing? For that matter, why not buy a $6 domain, and redirect it later? Even if you DO have a $10M budget, does it ever really make sense to make this type of purchase? Sure it’s an amazing domain name - no question, but your domain is only one function of your marketing budget. I am a large fan of big ticket domains, but if you are top heavy in terms of percentage of your budget being spent on your domain, and neglect your product and marketing, you will be clamoring about the "potential" until the point your domain goes up to foreclosure auction, and someone else gets it at the price it likely originally should have sold for (far less than you paid).

So why is it domainers (and most entrepreurs for that matter) underestimate the cost of development?

The number one reason this happens is because business goals aren’t developed before the project starts. One of the most exclusive problems to a business that fails online is a lack of understanding in execution the marketing and business development strategies. Underestimating the true nature of the project is a realization that nearly always occurs at the end of a failed businesses’ lifecycle.

In terms of one and two word keyword domains, domainers often forget that while there is a benefit in having an exact match keyword domain, it is still only easy to rank for that single term in the short term. Ranking for all the long tail phrases or other important phrases is an entirely different story. Even ranking for the exact match of a domain can be very difficult if the domain is in a already highly developed industry. To truly understand how difficult it is to rank for something, you must be able to do some competitive intelligence in a search result, and identify:

  • how many links will you need?
  • how much content will you need?
  • what will it take for development of the great ideas you will use to retain users?
  • will you be able to create content that will engage users, or is it highly specialized?

How many links you will need is often the critical underestimation. While you CAN go out and buy links, there is certainly a level of risk that comes along with this to your precious investment.

So what’s the moral of the story?

  1. Don’t believe the hype (least of all your own)
  2. No one will buy "potential" $1 worth of revenue is worth more than $100 in potential.
  3. Build a business model first
  4. Spend more money on engineering and strong development than hype and potential.
  5. Cut losses on a project that doesn’t succeed

I think this is most important. If you REALLY want to make money on the web - follow these rules. Start working in one small corner of a competitive marketplace, and prove to yourself you can make a living at it. Most of the money is made from: 1. telling people how to make money 2. telling people how to improve themselves 3. telling people how to find things 4. comparing things for people in high dollar areas. 5. lead generation in the above mentioned topics with massive scaleable solutions (generally aggregations and user generated content plays).

I understand that with writing this post, I will likely ostracize myself from a bit of the domainer community, but it is only out of watching and understanding a bit from the fringes that I understand some of the domainer "community" that I have been able to form these observations. It is with a great deal of respect that I have done so, and that I offer my constructive criticism. As mentioned above - I think most good domainers are among the smartest and luckiest folks I’ve ever heard about. I hope some day I get to catch up with some cool domainer folks and swap stories over boat drinks. If you want to train teams in the meantime - I’ll give a shameless promotion for MarketMotive - it’s a great place to train your teams on holistic goals with an understanding of business goals. If you got through this whole post, and got a little upset with some of the observations -it’s probably a great place to start, and I remind you that I criticize with the utmost respect.

More sites and references:

Domainer sites I like watching:

Q2 2010 Master Certification in SEO is now Open

Enrollment is now open for you and your team to join our Q2 Master Certification courses in SEO, Social Media, PPC , Landing Page Conversion or Web Analytics at MarketMotive.com

Master one internet marketing discipline in 90 days by training online with the bestselling authors, authorities, and top speakers in each discipline. You will:

* Master one internet marketing discipline
* Boost your value to your organization
* Empower your marketing team
* Make authoritative marketing decisions
* Get the industry recognition you deserve

Select from individual or group courses in SEO, Social Media, PPC, Landing Page Conversion or Web Analytics that are 100% online* and include:

* Graded projects and assignments
* Final dissertation defense for certification
* On-demand streaming video lessons
* Weekly interactive training webinars
* Direct, anytime Q&A with the faculty

Enroll now and take control of your online marketing.
Choose Your Online Course Now >>

* Courses are 100% online, with regular instructor interaction. Login 24×7 to master the latest techniques in internet marketing from the convenience of your own desk.

More information about SEO Master Certification, as well as the signup form

Checkout the SEO Curriculum here

Write a Non-Profit SEO Marketing Plan & Earn a Scholarship for MarketMotive SEO Master Certification

It’s pretty easy - write a SEO marketing plan for a non-profit of your choice, and you could win a scholarship to learn how to become an even better, more well rounded marketer. Worst case scenario, you will have written a SEO marketing plan for a non-profit that you can share with the people who run your the non-profit for your cause of choice. Pretty cool right?

MarketMotive, is allowing each faculty member to award a scholarship for certification courses valued at $3500 for the upcoming semester which starts on April 15th. All-star faculty members teach the certification courses: Dave Szetela, Matt Bailey (Fundamentals), Jennifer Laycock (Social Media), John Marshall (Web Analytics), Avinash Kaushik (Web Analytics), Greg Jarboe/Jamie O’Donnell (Online PR and Video marketing), Bryan Eisenberg (Conversion Optimization), Michael Stebbins (Email Marketing) and nailing down PPC Advertising. The goal of the scholarship is to help deserving folks (like you!) to help us in creating something great for a non-profit marketing group. If you already work at a non-profit, feel free to pull double duty, and tell me how you would continue to improve your site, or even someone elses. If you’re already a marketing pro - you’re welcome to enter as well, and donate your prize to the person you deem most worthy. Our goal is to help some deserving folks (like you) attain master certification in their field, and provide a valuable service to non-profit marketers everywhere.

If you would like to win a scholarship to earn certification in any of the offered topics, pick one non-profit web site of your choice and submit a short SEO marketing plan that you think would help improve the campaign results for your chosen charity. You can choose to publish it on your website and let me know about it, or email to me (todd at this site name.com).

At the end, each winner gets a complimentary $3,500 course to earn certification. If you are already an expert in SEO, you can donate the course to whoever you feel is most qualified. In addition, each faculty member will link to the plans submitted by other finalists and winners – the sum of which will form a wealth of of information for nonprofit marketers.

Rules: Submitting a plan means contestants agree that their plan may be be posted (with attribution) and/or sent to the charity. Plans may be edited before being posted at blog owner’s discretion. Winning plan (s)will be selected at the discretion of MarketMotive faculty chairs. All entries must be submitted before 12:01 am PST on April 1st, 2010, and the winners will be announced on April 5th.

20 Things You Can Teach a HIPPO to Make Your Website Better.

Note: This post is fairly self-serving, but I promise watching the videos will help you make your site better. You can skip all the reading and just watch the totally FREE FULL videos (part I, and part II), or skip to the next paragraph for the details of the awesome video that Avinash (aka the Web Analytics Wizard) and I recorded on how you can “Teach a HIPPO (highest paid person’s opinion) to make your website better”. In just under 3 years, Market Motive Internet Marketing Training has become a pretty amazing resource for training webmasters and internet marketers on a diverse and well rounded skill set. While there are many places that offer great SEO training (SEObook, SEOMoz, SEO Dojo, and many others, I don’t think there is any place that offers the well rounded education solutions that MM now provides. Scott Milrad has helped me develop a pretty awesome curriculum for SEO certification (I can hear the debates starting already), and the rest of the information is really top notch (I occasionally study web analytics, ppc, pr, and other videos myself). As a whole, MM creates a no nonsense HONEST learning experience that I REALLY wish I had a decade ago when I started on the web. You won’t get rich quick, but you will learn a skill set that will aid you for a lifetime. If you’re looking for corporate solutions to training issues, please feel free to drop me a line, and I’ll be happy to answer your MM questions, or see about putting together a walk through demo of the site.

So what’s all this hoopla about?

Avinash and I decided to do a video on how to make a website better. Fortunately Mr. Kaushik is wonderfully eloquent and makes me look really smart. He is a master of disseminating data, and is helping to dissolve the myths involved with SEO by quantifying potential and results. To me, this is extremely exciting since I have always been a “gut feel” marketer, developing strong instincts that can be occasionally proved wrong with testing and data. Both approaches certainly have merit, but I have to say I love coming up with a hypothesis and seeing Avinash prove or disprove it based on quantifiable data points.

The topics (of things you can do to make your website better) in the videos include:

1. Improve the site design (without sacrificing content)
2. Credibility matters (add credibility indicators)
3. Research keywords that matter to your site
4. People can’t read computer (make your urls human and bot friendly)
5. Improve Time on Site (unless you’re a directory)
6. Reduce Bounce Rate
7. Improve the site Usability
8. Don’t hide content from your users (don’t move stuff!) & don’t hide links from search engines!
9. Get a better web host (site speed MATTERS)
10. Organize your information better
(IA matters – don’t give too many choices means no choice)
11. Make it easy to contact you
12. Make it easy to find out about your company
13. Anchor text is important
(internal and external – you are what your links say you are)
14. Attract citations (links) is critical (linking thinking)
15. Social media is not your normal user (but can create links)
16. Selectively deliver content (block duplicate content from search engines)
(robots and humans are unique and your site index quality matters)
17. Organic Search traffic converts (and is 8x higher than PPC)
18. Encourage (or even incentivize) positive off site sentiment
(degree and kind of engagement)
19. Exact match micro sites for head terms
20. Do we need subdomains or subdirectories?

We discuss how to take ACTION on these subjects using an understanding of:

• Clickstream
• Multiple outcomes
• Experimentation and testing
• Voice of customers
• Competitive intelligence
• Insights
• Foundation

Your world is one of continuous actions (that is, surveys testing, behavior targeting, keyword optimization) and continuous improvements, where customers not HiPPOS, rule. Enjoy the videos, and definitely let me know if you have an questions, and please comment on anything we missed or you’d like to see in the future.

Normally, MM videos are for members only, but we liked these videos so much we wanted the world to see them. Hope you enjoy! Part I: Teaching HiPPOS about Better Websites Part I and Part II: 10 More things You can Teach HiPPOS about Building Better Websites.

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