- Tuesday Oct 18th, 2011, I attended the Small Business Forum at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 222 Bremner Boulevard
“Learn Today, Grow Tomorrow!” was the focus of Small Business Forum and the sessions above the accompanying trade show attracted more than 1,500 entrepreneurs and business owners who came downtown to gather up free insights. There were investors, marketers, social media experts, product & service providers who came together in the spirit of generosity to help entrepreneurs leverage existing assets and uncover new opportunities.
Jim Pagiamtzis and his friend Tom had just got their name badges and were heading into the trade show floor when I made them pause for a picture. “Three sharp dressed professionals attending the Small Business Forum.”
The trade show itself was filled with service providers of course; there were dozens of booths, maybe fifty or sixty or more businesses that specialize in helping people get leads, make sales, count money, pay taxes and generally do a better job of it. Being a small businessman is tough stuff, I know.
Jeff Quipp, CEO of Search Engine People
By far the most enjoyable session that I attended, and the only one worth writing about, was the 60 minutes I spent listening to Jeff Quipp, CEO of Search Engine People.
The Search Engine People are located in Ajax, 100 Westney Rd near the train station and I’ve driven past their building many times. But I had never met the CEO, nor did I have any idea who he was, or what he looked like… But then as luck would have it, I had the good fortune to run into Jeff before his seminar started; of course I asked him to pose for a picture beside me – this was smart thinking because it wouldn’t have happened afterward, when Jeff was absolutely swamped with admirers and curious business owners.
When choosing the perfect keywords, Jeff says there are three main criterion that he considers in order of importance: 1) volume, 2) competitive and 3) relevancy. He taught me something when he showed the # of results at the bottom of the search engine results page (SERP) as being a factor in determining competition level. He says that keywords with less than 100k results are easier to rank higher for than search terms that generate over a million results. Seems like a no brainer but I had never seen anyone use the results # at the bottom of the SERP like that before.
Jeff isolated the keyword term ‘weight loss’ as being particularly busy, but he didn’t dwell on that one. He skipped around and used examples from many quintessential business keyword search terms. He actually used a variety of case studies including ‘Toronto dentist’, and once he even said ‘Toronto accountants’, both of which are targets for Lenzr clients. Cunningham LLP is first for Toronto accountants now.
Some of the ugliest questions actually came during the presentation. One guy asked “…do links in comments count for anything?” and Jeff sighed; I could see him debating the validity of explaining what is a ‘no follow’ link? and what is a ‘do follow’ link? to this crowd. ‘Lets go offline with that’ he said after a brief pause.
Jeff would sometimes say ‘makes sense right?’ or ‘Does everyone understand?’ which was memorable only because it upset the flow of information. Everyone looks around to see who will raise their hands and ask for more of an explanation. Nobody was that brave.
I did learn quite a few things from Jeff’s speech, and I hope you all won’t think I’m conceited when I tell you truthfully, that his seminar is almost exactly like mine.
One big exception perhaps is that Jeff doesn’t package his insights into an overarching tech philosophy, or at least he didn’t that day. While he does say ‘Don’t try and fool Google’, and … he doesn’t prognosticate on the future, and yet he must see it. I have taken the notion of building an ‘economy of links’ to funnel relevance and have designed ‘keyword sandwiches to feed robots’, Jeff gave no insight into the emerging ‘nature of things’ or the existence of ‘Google juice’ or even the crises of spam and duplicate content. In one of my earlier posts I discussed the new vocation of being a relevance producer, and much like a theater producer or a film producer, we tell stories on multiple platforms to increase the relevance and importance of firms trying to get traffic.
Jeff Quipp came armed with some alarming statistics
One of the most surprising statistics that he mentioned, and I wrote in my notebook immediately because I was so shocked by it, and I may have misunderstood… Jeff believes that a full twenty percent of the people who do search queries on Google, Yahoo and Bing leave the results page through sponsored ads?! I don’t know if I believe that..? But I am prepared to believe that P.P.C. ads could possibly account for 20% of a businesses’ traffic. This is because there are so many places on the web where these ads appear, other than search engines.
Jeff does a great job assigning values to what would otherwise be gray areas, including the amount of work spent optimizing on-page data versus the amount of time spent planting incoming links off site. 30% of the data Google needs to determine relevance and authority is found on-page he stated, and cited page titles as being most important.
When discussing the on-page 30%, Jeff reminded me again of the value of on-page links, the links in your homepage or secondary pages that link down deep inside your enterprise. According to Mr Quipp, every page of your website can be optimized for a maximum of three keyword search terms. So if you are hoping for page one results for 12 terms, then you’d best try to have at least four pages in your site, all optimized for three terms each.
Regarding the off-page 70%, Jeff Quipp gathered some giggles when he showed how ‘miserable failure = George Bush’ as an example of a ‘Google bomb’, which is what happens when hundreds of people game the system and in this case they linked to George Bush’s profile on the White House biographies page. By showing this example he illustrated how a full 70% of a website’s authority is derived from a measurement of the quality and volume of incoming links to that website. All those incoming links under the text ‘miserable failure’ made that page of the White House rank highest in Google for that search term.
Everyone in the crowd wanted to know ‘How do I get other websites to link to my pages?’
The slide of gold came at the very end – Jeff laid out some great ideas for places to write and post original content with an eye on securing incoming links. In case you cant read the picture, I will transfer the text here:
1. Suppliers, clients and complimentary business
2. Article syndication
3. Reciprocal linking
4. Directory submissions
5. Press Releases
6. Guest Posting
9. Awards Badges
10. Research competitor links
I noticed after typing these into the blog that there is no #8 in the slide. so I would add
8. Sponsor Lenzr Photo Contest and drive links to your website via contest media websites that index current contests and then archive the data.