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PubCon 2008 - Sessions From Day 2

Thursday, 13 November 2008

The second day at PubCon could not of started better with a very interesting talk from George Wright of Blendtec. You may recall their hugely successful viral video campaigns for where they try blending just about everything.

Take a look at the video below -

  • The video has 4.7 million downloads
  • 120 million visitors to 
  • 200K subscribers 
  • 700% increase in blender sales 
  • Increase in sales of other product lines

Considering George went to his boss and asked for money to advertise their brand and he was offered $50, it's quite amazing what was achieved. He used that money to buy the domain and the lab coat and the rest is history.

Key Take Aways -

- Make it interesting enough that people HAVE to send it onto their friends
- Make it tie in with the objectives of the business
- Don't try and hide your brand under the radar, be open and honest
- Develop interaction (or engagement as per yesterdays sessions) for example, visitors could comment and choose what to blend next
- A viral campaign means you surrender control and distribution of the message somewhat and you will have public scrunity of your content and subsequently your brand

Other sessions of particular interest for day number 2 included -

Interactive Site Reviews: Focus Social Media (Brent Csutoras, Tamar Weinberg, Bill Hartzer, Michael Gray)

I popped in for this fun and informal session where the panel take a look at some of the audiences sites, so a lot of the topics I cannot cover here. But there were still some good advice and tips from each of the speakers all with a lot of experience in the social media field.

Key Take Aways

- About connecting the community
- Everyone has a voice
- Be helpful and involved in meaningful conversations
- About building 'natural' links
- Video and mobile to continue growing
- Social going back offline into more traditional marketing (CNN for example use Twitter, Myspace and live chat which then shapes their future topics and debates)
- is great for finding forums and sorting via various criteria
- Iphone application development allows you immediate links from the iphone app directory

International & European Site Optimisation (Michael Bonfils, Andy Atkins-Krueger, Ralf Schwoebel, Frank Watson)

Andy Atkins-Krueger was up first and offered 10 tips for international SEO in ascending order of importance -

(10) UTF-8 character encoding (unicode)
(9) Don't translate, use a native speaker - localise due to plurals, prepositions, accents, alternate spellings, linguistics etc.
(8) Adopt a local PR strategy
(7) Manage 301s properly (links not found, poor redirects, meta refreshes)
(6) Keyword in URLs would help international SEO
(5) Source local links
(4) Use smart geo locators (links sites together)
(3) Use cit names in content
(2) Domain targeting with local tlds where possible and Google webmaster central
(1) Language and content presentation, manage duplicate content between multiple language sites

Michael Bonfils was up next and he focused on Asia, which are fairly emerging markets for search but each country is very different from the other.

There are 400M users in Asia which is 30% of global internet users -

  • Baidu is dominant in China
  • Yandex is dominant in Russia
  • Yahoo is dominant in Japan although uni educated Japanese students prefer Google which is about a 65% to 30% cut with the remaining on MSN and others.
  • Naver (powered by Yahoo) is dominant in Korea

Michael suggests for an eccomerce strategy you should target in priority, Japan, Korea then China because of their infrastructure. He then talks specifically about his experiences with each of the search engines.

Baidu PPC -

  • PPC listings at the top and organic only come into play under all of the paid listings
  • The listings on the right are not PPC. They are direct sell ads often with zero tracking. For example to be top for 'cell phones' on the right hand side, it costs $165K per year.
  • $300-500 implementation fee
  • Wire funds (no credit card)
  • Chinese speaking reps
  • Tough validation process which takes a long time
  • Manual quality rating which helps define your rank
  • Baidu reporting very basic, only just included impression data so you can work out CTR (though the data is often incorrect)

Baidu SEO -

  • Like Alta Vista back in the day
  • Links, quantity over quality
  • Keyword densisty important (stick to 6-12%)
  • Host in China as .com and .cn domains are not essential for ranking
  • Luck and connections play a big part. May seem unethical here, but not in Asia.

Key Take Aways -

- Research your location and audience
- Localisation (native speakers) over translation
- Business in Asia is personal (Mascots, guides etc)
- Fun is number one priorty for websites in Asia

More interesting news during PubCon was Maile Ohye from Google announcing an official Google 'SEO starter guide' during the SEO and big search session which I missed (and since been announced on the Google Webmaster Central blog). The guide offers practical advice and tips for improving a sites visibility in Google. Apparently this guide is used internally for best practices on their own sites.

I haven't had time to read through the entire document, but it was pointed out to me that the URL section slightly contradicts that of their previous post on static Vs dynamic URLs. More discussions over at Sphinn.

After all that, I just about managed to find time to pop into the Moz party and get dragged off (kicking and screaming) to Coyote Ugly bar at New York, New York. More updates from day 3 later.


Dan Sharp

On the back of 'Luck and connections play a big part. May seem unethical here, but not in Asia' with regards to Baidu.

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