SEW Live Comes to Dallas Jan 25

By Christine Churchill

And the SEM Clubhouse gang comes out to play.

Search Engine Watch Live is a sneak preview of a Search Engine Strategies conference. Its a small informal event that has both panels and networking time where attendees can meet some of the great folks involved with Search Engine Watch and members of the local Dallas search marketing crowd.

Check it out at

Christine will be speaking on the Organic Panel plus conducting a 4 hour keyword research training session in the morning with Dan Thies. The training is filling up fast, so if you’re interested check it out here. Other folks on the Organic panel include Mark Jackson and Tony Wright.

Jim and Jeff will be speaking on the Paid Search Issues along with Misty Locke of Range Online.

If you are a DFWSEM member you qualify for a 20% discount for the afternoon SEW live event. To Register (use promo code ‘20SEM’ and receive a 20% discount off the pre-registration price):

It should be a fun event. We encourage anyone who can to join in the fun.

SEO Isn’t Rocket Science — The Debate

by Jim Gilbert

If you even know how to spell SEO and have not seen all the posts associated with the debate surrounding a post a few months ago stating SEO Isn’t Rocket Science, you MUST live under a rock.

Well, I’ve stayed silent long enough — I’m taking sides! Threadwatch brought to my attention a post by Oilman on the subject and I feel compelled to help the Oilman out.

Here are the Oilman’s comments — WITH MY ONE SIMPLE ADDITION AND COMMENTS. Trust me… I could have said a LOT more.

From Oilman:
I propose this list as the useless and easy SEO tactics:
* Title Tags
* Meta Description Tags
* Meta Keyword Tags
* ALT Tags
* H1, H2, H3 (and accompanying CSS)
* Keywords in the content
* Internal Links (images vs. text (keyword rich))

I propose this list as the 5% of useful and more difficult tasks:
* URL Structure (the fixing thereof)
* Advanced Linking
* Appropriate Cloaking (er…IP Delivery)
* Dynamic Template Modification
* Analytics (I mean useful measurable numbers)
* Client Management (agency life)

MY ADDITION (and comment on the Oilman’s blog):
* Usability (aka improving crummy sites so they actually “convert”)

After all isn’t “conversion” what it’s all about? A site with a #1 listing with a shopping cart nobody can use ain’t worth the realestate of the owner’s footprint in quick sand.

Or, how about a navigation system that leads to nowhere but a blackhole?

Okay… some will argue that Usability is not part of SEO. If you claim that then you are an SEO that does not care about your client’s conversion rates — AND, if that’s the case you are:

1) A hell of a poor SEO, or

2) Somebody that just does not understand what professional SEOs do!

Google 8am to 8pm Maintenance?

by Jim Gilbert
Read the Original Post below and you will understand why I am congratulating Google.

Contratulations Google and Thank You, Thank You, Thank You…. for finishing the AdWords maintenance on Saturday!

“On January 13, 2007, AdWords system will be unavailable from approximately 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM Eastern Time due to system maintenance. Please note that your campaigns will continue to run normally during this short downtime. We apologize for any inconvenience”.

Original Post
First, many, many people are reporting fairly severe problems with Google AdWords, AdSense and other mechanisms because of this “emergency” maintenance being performed by Google.

Gotta get on my soap box (being from way back when computers began…lol) and ask the obvious questions…

– 12 hours of maintenance in the middle of the work day?

– Did Google go union on us?

– If it was so critical to do this maintenance, maybe (just maybe) some of the non-union Googlers could have come in and worked during the middle of the night! Hey, we seem to have to work 24 hours a day so why can’t they?

UPDATE: They are doing it again!
On January 13, 2007, AdWords system will be unavailable from approximately 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM Pacific Timedue to system maintenance. Please note that your campaigns will continue to run normally during this short downtime. We apologize for any inconvenience.

– I repeat… maybe (just maybe) some of the non-union Googlers could have worked late last night!

Yikes – I’ve been Blog Tagged

By Christine Churchill

My link lady friend Debra Mastaler of Alliance Link and blog mistress of The Link Spiel forced me to finally bite the blog bullet. She convinced me that there’s nothing like a good game of blog tag to inspire anyone to finally start a blog. I keep saying I don’t have time, but here goes anyway. Ready? Five things you don’t know about me.

1. I have collapsed my lungs twice in horse related accidents, but I am still a horse fanatic. Horses keep me sane. I find being around horses and doing the daily chores associated with them – feeding them twice a day and mucking stalls is relaxing. I can be stressed out from work, then head off to the barn, and after a few minutes there I calm down. Plus, horsebackriding is excellent exercise. You work almost every muscle in your body when you ride, but you’re having so much fun you don’t think about how physically taxing it is. I’ve become more careful over the years about what I’ll do on horseback so hopefully no more bad accidents. Maturity means I don’t need to jump a horse over a four foot fence to get an adrenalin rush.

2. I’m still a tomboy. I know this because my 12 year old daughter tells me so. Growing up with four wild and crazy brothers, I had to be a tomboy or I’d never have survived. I played tackle football with them, wrestled, and was always treated like one of the guys. In business I’ve had several careers where being a tomboy has been an unexpected benefit; including a stint in the Army where I amazingly managed to get an early promotion to Major and another job in Europe where I “played” missile simulation games for NATO. Great fun.

3. I love the outdoors. I once spent eight months living in a tent in the Panamanian jungle and was totally happy. Another time I almost got killed on a mountain climb in Washington State when I fell on an ice cliff and had to do a self-arrest with my ice pick. (Okay, . . . there was this cute little French guy with tight buns walking in front of me who distracted me so I wasn’t watching where my feet were, but that’s another story.) I also survived living on a remote island in the South Pacific, which at first sounds delightful until you realize the island was barely a half mile across at its widest point. I lived on that rock for nearly two years. Downside? The experience totally burned me out on supposedly idyllic beach vacations.

4. I had a vagabond childhood. My father was in the military and throughout my childhood I moved about every 18 months. We saw a lot of the world and were immersed in many cultures. Before I left home I lived in the Far East, Europe, Latin America, and had traveled to all 50 States. Having a global childhood forces you to be open-minded and teaches you that there are multiple ways to do virtually everything. Another side-effect of constant moving is you learn to be (or act) extraverted or you end up having a very lonely existence. By nature I was introverted, but by sheer will I learned how to walk up to complete strangers and start conversations. Since I was constantly the new kid in the school, I ended up getting a lot of practice.

5. My mom inspired me to start my own company. I was very close to my mom and she lived with me the last five years of her life. She was my biggest supporter and believed in me. After her death, I started my own company partly as a tribute to her. I like to think that she somehow knows that and is still supporting me.

Okay, so who to blog tag next? This is tougher than it might seem . . .

Brad Geddes ( – someone I truly admire and who is one of my favorite panel partners.

Barbara Coll aka Webmama ( – Barb is a long time friend who is a great SEM and humanitarian. Barb is humble about this but she gives a lot of herself to make the world a better place.

Greg Jarboe ( – Mr PR News himself. Greg, time to tell the world about yourself.

Heather Windsor (Grnidone) – the lady with the usability eye and a dear friend who is one of the most energetic people on the Web. Tell Sebastian hello for me.

Durk Price ( – my affiliate manger friend who has taken on blogging with incredible gusto.

More Grumbling about Yahoo’s Panama

Hey even I’m guilty of griping from time to time, so I’ll try to give Yahoo the benefit of the doubt on Panama. After all it is a SIGNIFICANT technological improvement over the old Overture system.

However, it seems as more people get transitioned to the new Panama system the gripe factor keeps rising. Make up your on mind — but do read the other post we have made on this subject and bee sure to keep tabs on the Panama Gripe Thread at Webmaster World.

And remember… we already told you this: Accounts are transitioned with “categories” mapped as “campaigns”. WRONG! For years agencies have been building Yahoo accounts from Google accounts and equating “categories” to “adgroups” — NOT campaigns. Yes the transition is messy!

posted by Jim Gilbert