Posted by jennita

About a year ago, we started talking about how we wanted to find a way to meet more people from the community in person. Sure we all get to know each other online through the blog, on Twitter or maybe in Q&A, but it’s nothing like getting to meet people face-to-face. There becomes a bond or friendship once you actually know each other that helps to build a community.

The idea we came up with was MozCation. We asked our community to create some sort of unique content and tell us why we should have an SEOmoz Meetup (aka MozCation) in their city. The plan was to pick one city based on the uniqueness of the submission, number of people involved (tweeting, promoting, commenting, etc.) and the actual location. Well we were in for quite the treat after we introduced the idea of MozCation, and people all over the world began nominating their cities.

As many of you know, we had a really tough time choosing just one… and chose four instead. 🙂 But this meant organizing four events including venue, speakers, food, drinks, and about a million other tasks that goes along with a meetup like this. What we weren’t quite prepared for was that three out of the four cities were international, which meant we also had to figure out shipping and visas and all that fun stuff.

We’ve just wrapped up our last one and I wanted to give a quick overview of each and link to each of the speaker presentations. We had an amazing lineup of speakers from Salt Lake City to Barcelona and we’d love to share that knowledge with all of you. Take a peak below at the awesomeness that was MozCation 2011.

Salt Lake City – June 29, 2011

Our first stop on the MozCation tour was Salt Lake City, Utah. We also only had about 3 weeks to get everything organized as we had already set the date. Yikes! Thanks to Elisabeth Osmeloski we found a great venue and were able to get it all done in the nick of time. Being our first one, we also learned quite a few valuable lessons that we changed for the next events. We were amazed by the turnout and it was a seriously packed house. The energy in the room was full of excitement and the speakers really brought their A-game.

At each event we had food, drinks and networking before and after the presentations. Not only did we want to meet the community but we wanted the local communities to get to know each other as well. It was great to see the way the Salt Lake City group began talking about getting together more often. Community rules!

Mozzers arrive for the first MozCation! Airport pics FTW

A packed house in Salt Lake City

Speaker Presentations

Chris Bennett –SLC MozCation From the Trenches, Real Life Examples of Stuff That Works

Vince Blackham – Igniting Organic SEO Efforts with Viral Marketing

Rand Fishkin – How to Use Your Social Network for Higher Search Rankings

Vince Blackham speaking – Some "panda" talk

Get all of the photos from MozCation Salt Lake City.

Sao Paulo, Brazil – July 23, 2011

Whee! This was the second stop on the MozCation tour and what better place than to head to our first of two trips to South America. This meetup corresponded with the Brazilian conference Expon, so not only did we have lots of people from the local community there, but we had some great international speakers around as well. Also a huge shout out to Fabio Ricotta and his team for helping us to get everything organized.

MozCation means everyone works. Especially Rand 🙂

Mozzers taking cheesy photos *grin*

Speaker Presentations

Fabio Ricotta – Google +1 e Analise Social

Tom Critchlow – Why I Do What I Do

Rand Fishkin – Leveraging Social Media for SEO

Q&A time with the speakers in Sao Paulo

See all the photos from MozCation Sao Paulo.

Lima, Peru – September 23, 2011

Hola Peru! Our third stop took us back to South America, but this time to Lima, Peru. One of the most exciting parts of this trip was that we had people from all over Latin America join us. When Lima was first nominated, we were seeing tweets from Argentina, Mexico, Costa Rica, and many other countries pledging their backing of Lima. It gave me chills of excitement to see how the community had rallied together in that way.

One thing we did differently in Peru is that we were able to have a live stream of the event. This made it possible for many people to tune in and enjoy the presentations even though they weren’t there (I was one of those people). This was a huge success and we decided that we’d try to make that happen from then on.

This is now known around the office as the "MozCation Face"

Another packed house in Peru

The Lima event wouldn’t have happened with out the special help from Daniel Falcon who not only helped us to organize the event but also was our translator during the presentations.

Speaker Presentations

Carlos Chacon (SEOCharlie) – 5 ½ Consejos para un Keyword Research en Español

Tom Critchlow – Enterprise SEO

Rodrigo Stockebrand – La Auditoria SEO: 7 puntos claves para un buen análisis

Rand Fishkin – Evolution of SEO – MozCation Lima

Roger was everywhere! Hanging out with speakers Tom Critchlow & Carlos Chacon

Yay! All the Mozzers got hats from Peru 🙂

Check out all the photos from MozCation Lima.

Barcelona, Spain – October 28, 2011

Although Barcelona was the last MozCation for the year, it certainly wasn’t the least. In amazing Spanish style, the final event was a hit. Since we learned a bit more with each event we planned, Barcelona had it all. As with all of the MozCations, the speakers were top of the line. We were also lucky to have Miguel Pascual as the MC and he helped us to plan the event. Plus I have to give a shout out to Gianluca Fiorelli who quickly responded to my 500 emails about such little things as how we should organize the t-shirts. 🙂

Let the registration begin! All the attendees got a nametag, MozCation T-shirt and Roger sticker. Beep!

Speaker Presentations

Aleyda Solis – Consejos para Facilitar un Proceso SEO Local – MozCation Barcelona

Joanna Lord – Leveraging the Power of Retargeting for SEO

Gianluca Fiorelli – Contenido y SEO

Rand Fishkin – New Opportunities in SEO: Barcelona

"MozCation Face" 🙂                                                      A huge group of Spanish Mozzers

See more of the photos from MozCation Barcelona. (More photos to come)

Thanks – Gracias – Obrigado

We owe a huge huge huge debt of gratitude to all of our speakers and everyone who attended these events. We were overwhelmed by the response and attendance, and are simply giddy about the community all over again. Plus we want to thank you all for the hospitality and generosity shown in every city we visited.

I also want to thank everyone at SEOmoz who helped make each of these possible during one of the craziest times of the year for us. Thank you, gracias and obrigado!

Please, if you have photos or blog posts or anything MozCation related, post it in the comments! Thanks 🙂

MozCation 2012

Don’t worry, you’ll get your chance to nominate your city next year. 🙂 Just watch this space and we’ll let you know when nominations are up again!

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Listen up, ghouls and boos, we’ve written a lot about web design here at Mashable, but on one day a year, it’s appropriate to call on some more, um, spirited individuals to lay down the laws of basic and proper web design.

We hope you know by now not to use Comic Sans. And while everyone loves an animated GIF, they’re only funny or entertaining when they’re … funny or entertaining. And that blinking text? Get rid of it, unless you’d like to be liable for a few seizures.

Below, you’ll learn from Frankenstein font snobs, mouthy mummies, impatient pumpkins and spiders on the web to help you make your website more of a treat than a scare to browse.




Infographic courtesy of Mint Leaf Studio

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We have a couple of announcements to make here in the conferences department at SEJ that will make for some exciting times this fall and for next spring.

First off, today BlueGlass announced that there will be a follow up to the BlueGlass TPA Conference this Spring in Los Angeles, CA — BlueGlass LA 2012. That’s right! BlueGlass is coming BACK to LA 🙂

BlueGlass LA 2012 will be held on April 23rd & 24th, more information is pending about BlueGlass LA and if you’d like to be one of the first to be ‘in the know‘ to this in demand event (it’s looking like only 150 seats will be available) — sign up with BlueGlass.

A little bit sooner than April comes Pubcon Vegas! There will be a slew of SEJ contributors and readers at Pubcon and SEJ will be sponsoring a the Pubcon event of one of our bloggers on Wednesday night — #EpicDinnerVegas!

Alan Bleiweiss will be hosting #EpicDinnerVegas at the Pampas Grill with limited seating. Search Engine Journal is amongst the sponsors for this event and we’re really excited to be part of it.

What upcoming Search Marketing events are you attending??

Follow SEJ on Twitter @sejournal


The data in this infographic is really something we all should be concerned about. We can now talk to anyone anytime, but we need to be careful to not put our families and homes at risk. CreditSesame.com created the infographic below.

Follow SEJ on Twitter @sejournal


Google recently launched a new program that will allow popular businesses to add interior imagery to their Google Place page. The Business Photos program, which will provide Google users with 360 degree views of business interiors, will allow potential customers to “virtually visit” the interior of participating businesses.

A Google spokesperson told BBC the following of the new program:

“Building on the Google Art Project, which took Street View technology inside 17 acclaimed museums, this project is another creative implementation of Street View technology, to help businesses as they build their online presence. We hope to enable businesses to highlight the qualities that make their locations stand out through professional, high-quality imagery.”

The interior Business Photo feature will use the same cameras and photographic method that the Street View project has utilized and will allow Google users to pan 360 degrees around the finished image. Although there is speculation that the 360 degree imagery may make a business vulnerable to criminal activity, Google has stated that the images will not capture anything different than a customer would see in real life.

Since Google will not take or post pictures without a business first filling out an application and consenting, it is difficult to make the argument that these interior business shots are a privacy risk. In addition to only adding businesses that have requested inclusion, Google is blurring out the faces of people who appear in the images.

However, once Google photographs a business, Google owns the images and can use the images however they choose. Although a business owner can request that Google remove the images at a later date, the contract does not require that Google comply with this request.

At this time, the Business Photos program is only available to small businesses and is unavailable to big-brand chains, hospitals, and lawyers. The program, which will initially focus on popular restaurants, shops, and gyms, is being rolled out in London, Paris, and select cities within the US, Australia and Japan.

[Sources Include: Google Lat Long Blog, Google Places, & BBC]

Follow SEJ on Twitter @sejournal


If you are looking for ways to monitor and measure your website performance, you’re probably confused on where you should start, right? With all of the different products out there, which ones should you use and which ones should you ignore?

Over the last 6 years or so of working in the field of web analytics, and I’ve found the following tools to be very helpful. They run from free to very pricey, simple to complex, so there should be something here for you no matter your budget and needs.

Importance of Analytics

There are several reasons why analytics are important but it boils down to this: performance. In other words, how good are your social media campaigns at generating conversations? How well is that new landing page converting? How well are your SEO efforts bringing in new traffic? What’s the lifetime value of your customers? Web analytics can help you answer those questions.

When it comes down to it, these three issues are why analytics are so important:

  • Resource allocation – Whether it’s loading up on people to run a massive Facebook Fan page campaign or amp up your SEO efforts, these things cost time and money, so it’s important to track the results so you can plan properly.
  • Optimize campaigns – The intelligence you gather from your web analytics can help Marketing make better decisions about their programs.
  • Overall brand impact – What is the impact your campaigns are having on your brand and business from top to bottom? Web analytics can help you answer that question.

Why Redundancy of Analytics

You might be tempted to shop around for different web analytic products, looking for the right one. Well, I hate to break it to you, but there isn’t necessarily the right one.

Some offer real-time data while others break it down into tiny historical chunks. So, it depends on your needs. But I do recommend that you consider using two different web analytic products.

Let me explain.

Aaron Wall at SEO Book makes a good case for using two analytic productsa primary one and a backup. When looking for a backup Aaron recommends you look for one that has these four features:

  • Lightweight – The load an additional analytics tool can put on your servers can slow down the speed of your site.
  • Low cost – The backup analytics tool shouldn’t set you back another grand or two. It’s not a bad idea to use one that is free.
  • Provide overview – This backup tool should give you an over-arching view of your analytics, something you can compare with your primary tool.
  • Flexible – Every website has different needs, so you’ll need a solution that can fit with yours. Make sure the solution is customizable as nothing will be perfect out of the box.

Why the redundancy? Well, it’s not just because if primary analytics goes down temporarily that you’ll have the other one in place. But instead different analytics tools solve different problems and in most cases you won’t be able to get everything you need in one tool.

Plus, you can make comparisons with the data when you have a large event like the Panda update sweep through the web. That update might affect Google Analytics differently than it would your back up analytics.

Primary Web Analytics

When it comes to using a primary web analytic service, Google Analytics can’t be beat. For starters, it’s free and includes a massive amount of the reports that paid products offer.

There are some disadvantages, like statistics are sampled and support is limited to a help center and user forum. You have to hire a certified partner for support if you really want it.

But the ability to track multiple sites, monitor social networking activity, track mobile phone users and measure video, on top of tracking typical analytic metrics like bounce rates, makes it a good tool for just about anybody.

Clicky, unlike GA, can be your primary web analytics tool because it collects data in real time. However, the robust programs for larger sites will set you back about $25 a month.

Urchin, which Google picked up in 2005, has a hefty price tag. Google released versions in 2008 and 2009, the last one incorporating AdWords. Urchin analyzes log files or does what’s called a hybrid, that allows you to get more accurate web information.

Another option is Omniture. Their analytics product, Site Catalyst, will give you multiple reports for video tracking, reports on mobile phone users and social media outlet reports. It does not collect bounce rates, and it’s pricey.

Customer Loop Analytics

If your site has is built on a complete customer loop, like a sign-up process, or you need to make decisions on individual behavior then KISSmetrics is a product to consider.

KISSmetrics will take all of a person’s activities on your website while they’re just visiting and tie them to their email address once they become a customer. Then you’ll be able to capture the actions that a customer takes on your site, as well as how they interact with your email campaigns, your banner ads, and your mobile or desktop apps. And best of all it will give you information on things like lifetime value of your customer, churn rates, and cohort reports.

Back Up Analytics

Now that we’ve covered some primary web analytic tools, let’s discuss what you should use for back up.

Piwick is an open source alternative to Google Analytics, so it provides many of the same reports, but has some advantages. For instance:

  • Reports in real time – For high traffic websites, you can choose the frequency for reports to be processed.
  • You own your web analytics data – Because Piwik is installed on your server, the data is stored in your own database and you can get all the statistics using the powerful Piwik Analytics API.
  • Built in-plugins – You can add new features and remove the ones you don’t need.
  • Vibrant international open community – There are over 100,000 active users, making it a good community for support and answers.

Open Web Analytics is another open source product worth considering. OWA also comes with built-in support for tracking web sites made with popular content management frameworks such as WordPress.

For only $30 per single site license, Mint will allow you to self-host your website analytics. It’s got a simple interface with robust metrics on visits, referrers, popular pages and searches. It’s another good choice for a back up analytics tool.

Conclusion

Web analytics doesn’t have to be confusing. As long as you understand what you need to measure, the time and frequency you need reports and how much you can spend, then you can select products that will help you improve your websites success, which is the name of the game.

What other web analytic tools do you like and recommend?

Follow SEJ on Twitter @sejournal


1999

A duo of pumpkins greeted Google users for the first ever Halloween illustration.

Click here to view this gallery.

Here at Mashable, we love Google’s homepage “Doodles.” The online giant is well-known for its Halloween-themed logo each year.

For your viewing pleasure, we have collected all of Google’s October 31 homepages into a great gallery.

Join us in celebrating Halloween the Google way and take a look through the images above. Let us know in the comments which is your favorite — and why.

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Posted by Matthew C. Egan

As SEOs we often live in a bubble, sometimes it’s a social media bubble where we only tweet amongst our peers, sometimes it’s a literal bubble that we don’t explore outside our comfort zone, but that bubble can easily keep us from seeing things that to consultants in other fields is painfully obvious. At the end of the day, an SEO consultant isn’t any more special than a CPA or a Financial Planner, we’re all consultants and ultimately our job is to give our clients what they want.

The question then is, what do our clients want?

Our clients want value, our clients want progress, and they’re willing to invest in consultants to get what they want, but it falls to us to prove not just the value that we know exists in SEO and other Inbound Marketing tactics, but to also deliver the perception of value. Not only to our primary contact, but to their superiors and anyone else who might be reading the documents you leave behind.

I was talking with Tom Critchlow about this and he said something to me that I asked his permission to share here and I couldn’t agree with him more. Tom said, "There’s no good nailing value, if you don’t nail perceived value."

He’s absolutely right. Starting out as an SEO consultant, my every focus was on the value of SEO and I believed with all my heart that White Hat SEO was valuable, that our tactics would increase our client’s revenue, that we had the answers to the recession’s tough questions.

I set out, a one man operation at the time, to educate my local business community about SEO. I spoke at luncheons, attended more networking events than I did actual client work, and just "hustled" to steal the term from Gary Vaynerchuck.

Our company grew, we gained clients, Image Freedom as a brand started to develop, we were providing SEO but my salesmanship abilities were primarily responsible for creating that perceived value. Value that was not shown in my documentation or my reports. My documents sucked, our logo sucked, our analytics reports changed every other month. We were a mess, all strategy, no presentation.

Image Freedom completely lacked consistency, and while we were growing, we were hindered by our emphasis on SEO’s ACTUAL value, which you and I know intimately as readers of SEOmoz and members of this community, but I wasn’t doing a good enough job on the perceived value component.

In 2010 we hired Prologue Branding, a consulting duo who helped us develop a consistent brand message throughout all of our documents, a great new logo, conducted past and present client interviews, the works. They stripped us down to our core.

It wasn’t an easy experience to embark upon. Client interviews, especially the interviews with clients we’d let down, or who I’d failed to help maintain that perception of value with. It was a painful but humbling experience that I recommend every entrepreneur experiences on at least an annual basis.

Through pain comes growth and I lost many nights of sleep re-developing documentation, research, reports, guides, and whatever I could to help me bring the perception of SEO that my clients took away from our meetings closer in line with the reality that SEO really was a fantastic tool for growing their business.

We used to provide PDF’s of our research, our audits, print outs from Google Analytics (don’t lie, you know you’ve done this) and basically weak leave behinds that were far from inspiring to our clients. They perceived disorganization, inconsistent brand messaging, and that just wasn’t the message I wanted them to take away, but I was stuck in my craft, I was the SEO, I knew what they needed and if they could just accept that it all lived in my head and not on paper then we can get on with the work of creating this value.

I was dead wrong.

Perception is reality, and through my branding audit, through our rebirth as a team and as a company, we started delivering not just perceived value in presentations and workshops about SEO, our documentation expressed that value, our audits were professionally printed and spiral bound. The documents felt substantial to hold, they escaped the "unicorns and rainbows" theoretical hindrance that effects so many in the Social Media and SEO spaces and became documented plans, strategies, and it was hard to look at what we delivered without knowing that we had a plan and you were in the right hands to get your business to where you want it to be.

I’ve owned an Internet Marketing company for two years now. As a team, we’ve exceeded my every expectation but we’ve made our share of mistakes along the way. If I can pass on one piece of wisdom to my fellow Entrepreneurs, to my fellow SEOs, it’s the need for expressing the perceived value of what you do, and not just your belief in the value of your trade.

You’re on SEOmoz, you’re educated about SEO, you’re reading tips and tactics from the greatest SEOs I’ve had the pleasure to meet and learn from. What you do is valuable, and you can break out and be a success. You can grow your business into a brand to be proud of.

Just don’t forget that perception is reality. As soon as we established the perceived value of what we did, our clients started investing more into SEO, our momentum started to snowball beyond what we had expected and we were able to deliver, without fail, not just the things we knew our clients needed, but also the things our clients wanted.

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This is a natural expansion of our idea as Ubuntu as Linux for human beings. As people have moved from desktop to new form factors for computing, it’s important for us to reach out to out community on these platforms. So, we’ll embrace the challenge of how to use Ubuntu on smartphones, tablets and smart-screens.

To provide an even better experience for our advertisers, we’ve connected the location targeting feature within AdWords to Google Maps. This will allow us to provide more information about locations, make relevant location suggestions, and improve the level of accuracy of our location targeting. We think these changes will make location targeting an even more useful tool for improving your campaign results.Today we’re announcing the first of these changes: a makeover to the location targeting interface within AdWords. The new Location Targeting Tool will make it easier to discover and obtain more detail on potential target locations.