Ash Nallawalla's blog

Webmasterworld conference day 2

George Wright brends a rake in a BlendTec domestic blender
George Wright blends a rake in a BlendTec domestic blender

Day Two of the Webmasterworld was keynoted by George Wright of Blendtec, better known for the viral video series Will It Blend?. George gave an entertaining presentation about how BlendTec achieved millions of visits (therefore, brand awareness) with a budget of only $50.

When George was new at the company, he noticed piles of sawdust in their demo room and was told that the founder, Tom Dickson, liked to test new components by blending wood and that this was normal. George immediately saw the viral marketing potential and asked Tom for a marketing budget. Tom generously suggested $50, which turned out to be just right.

George bought a lab coat, some marbles, a McDonald’s Happy Meal, a rotisserie chicken, and so on. Each of them was blended by Tom and the video of each experiment was placed on YouTube with some Digg publicity. Some 75 such videos have been released, including some resulting from viewer suggestions.

This fantastic viral marketing campaign has resulted in:

  • 65 million views on YouTube (34th most subscribed channel)
  • 120 million views on the willitblend.com site
  • 200,000 subscribers
  • 700% increase in retail product sales and a pull-through effect on B2B product lines
  • Great brand awareness, including a mention in US Congress

BlendTec has no need to spend money on traditional advertising. In fact, a radio station in New Mexico pays them to make blend videos, then shows them on local TV as commercials for their blend of music – this must be the only marketing department that generates revenue!

Analytics Vendors and Package Implementation

  • Brett Crosby, Richard Zwicky, Jamie Smith
  • moderator: Melanie Mitchell

Local and Mobile Search

  • Shailesh Bhat, Alex Porter, Chris Zaharias, Gregory Markel
  • moderator: Andy Beal
Danny Dover of SEOmoz at their booth
Danny Dover of SEOmoz at their booth

Brand Management

  • Brian Combs, Lauren Vaccarello, Tony Wright, Jessica L Bowman
  • moderator: Joe Laratro

Brian Combs is an SVP and Chief Futurist at Apogee Search. His message was that reputation is best protected before a problem occurs. It gets harder once the mud starts flying. Precautions you can take include:

  • Monitoring online conversations
  • Using consistent language
  • Create and propagate several websites for your company.

If the problem has arisen, then you should engage with the aggrieved person in a professional, non-defensive manner. Learn to recognise trolls and avoid them.

Set up multiple sites for products, perhaps a microsite for a problem that has gained widespread attention and encourage traffic to it (rather than your main site). Encourage positive articles on third-party sites. This does not mean pay-to-blog posts, editing Wikipedia, Googlebombing or other deceptive tactics!

Webhosting Industry Overview

  • Aaron Phillips, Ben Fisher, Amy Armitage, (Curtis) R. Curtis
  • moderator: Aaron Shear

Real-World Winning Tactics for Content Creation

  • Rupali Shah, Robin Liss, Ted Ulle
  • moderator: Derrick Wheeler

Interactive Site Reviews: Focus – Social Media

  • Brent Csutoras, Tamar Weinberg, Bill Hartzer, Michael Gray
  • moderator: Todd Malicoat

SEO Design and Organic Site Structure

  • Mark Jackson, Lyndsay Walker Blahut, Aaron Wall, Alan K’necht
  • moderator: Todd Friesen

How SMBs Can Use PR Campaigns To Grow Traffic

  • Lisa Buyer, Robin Liss, Greg Jarboe, Jiyan Wei
  • moderator: Michael McDonald

Competitive Intelligence : Know Thy Competitor Well

  • Jake Baillie, Andy Beal, Larry Mersman, William Atchison
  • moderator: Bruce Clay

Andy Beal described a lot of useful websites that you can leverage to spy on your competitors:

  • domaintools.com
  • ranks.nl/tools/spider.html
  • siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com
  • seomoz.org/tools
  • soloseo.com/tools/indexRank.html
  • copernic.com
  • technorati.com
  • google.com/alerts
  • searchanalytics.compete.com
  • touchgraph.com
  • google.brand.edgar-online.com
  • seekingalpha.com/transcripts/
  • google.com/patents
  • Oodle.com

For more information, visit RadicallyTransparent and trackur.com

Some exhibits at Webmasterworld 2008
Some exhibits at Webmasterworld 2008

The Big Dedicated Server Payoff

  • Alexander Barbara, Jeremy Wright, David Driskill
  • moderator: Roger B. Dooley

Ground-Up SEO Content Development as Pure Business Strategy

  • Heather Lloyd-Martin, Matt Tuens
  • moderator: Gillian Muessig

Interactive Site Reviews: Focus on Brand and Social Reputation Management

  • Brian Combs, Tony Wright, Geoff Livingston, Bill Hartzer
  • moderator: Alex Bennert

SEO and Big Search

  • Melanie Mitchell, Dave Roth, Maile Ohye, Derrick Wheeler
  • moderator: Joseph Morin

Alternative Discovery and SEO – Feeds, PDFs, and Blog SEO

  • Rick Klau, Stephan Spencer, George Aspland, Greg Jarboe
  • moderator: Joe Laratro

George Aspland talked about optimising PDFs to facilitate alternative discovery. For example, some PDFs consist of scanned documents and we know that search engines can’t read images. Their representation in a SERP can also get screwy. In the US government site shown, each page in the document showed up in the snippet as Page 1, Page 2, etc.

The first heading in the document may get picked up as the “title tag” of the search result, so pay attention to it. Better still, use the Document Title of the PDF to advantage. If you use Microsoft Word to create the PDF, you need to select File/Properties to find the dialog box. If you left it blank, the document title might read “Microsoft Word”, which isn’t very click-worthy.

Hyperlinks in the PDF should be enabled and have good anchor text. The PDF itself should be linked from an already indexed page.

You should invest in a copy of the full Adobe Acrobat so that you can edit the PDF that was created by some simple program or Office 2007.

George has a great PDF about PDFs at his blog: http://www.evisionsem.com/blog

Reputation Monitoring and Management

  • Jessica Berlin, Andy Beal, Lee Odden
  • moderator: Todd Friesen

Hosting Issues and SEO/SEM

  • (Curtis) R. Curtis, Jake Baillie, Jordan Kasteler, Scott Hendison
  • moderator: Jake Baillie

Scott Hendison from SearchCommander gave some practical checklists to use before buying hosting. By asking such questions, you can save yourself a lot of bother later on.

  • What Apache software is in use?
  • What control panel is offered?
  • What, if any, mods are installed?
  • How are mods used and used, e.g. via .htaccess? php.ini? http:conf?
  • Is shell access available?
  • Speed and performance?

Effective Action-Based Copywriting

  • Brian Clark (regrettably unable to attend), Heather Lloyd-Martin, Jill Whalen
  • moderator: Carolyn Shelby

Interactive Site Reviews: Focus on Organic

  • Andy Langton, Stoney deGeyter, Robert Charlton, Brant Bukowsky
  • moderator: Michael Bonfils

International and European Site Optimisation

  • Michael Bonfils, Andy Atkins-Krueger, Ralf Schwoebel, Frank Watson
  • moderator: Dixon Jones

Local Search Optimisation

  • David Klein, Joe Laratro, William Leake, Justin Sanger
  • moderator: Larry Mersman

Conversation and Word-of-Mouth Marketing

  • Todd Parsons, Louise Rijk, Ben Fisher
  • moderator: Mark Jackson

How To Move Your Website Without Chaos

  • Jake Baillie, Andy Langton, Guillaume Bouchard, Ralf Schwoebel
  • moderator: Jake Baillie

Interactive Site Reviews: Focus on Links

  • Rae Hoffman, Roger Montti, Rebecca Kelley
  • moderator: Rae Hoffman

Increase Your Post-Click Conversion Performance

  • Glenn Alsup, Philippe Lang, Alex Porter
  • moderator: Alex Bennert

The Secret Life of On-Site Search Exposed!

  • Laura Dansbury, Marc Cull, William Leake
  • moderator: Jessica L Bowman

Five Bloggers and a Microphone – What’s The Worst That Can Happen?

  • Andy Beal, Lee Odden, Michael McDonald, Barry Schwartz, Jane Copland
  • moderator: Ken Jurina

Web Services and Cloud Computing

  • Mike Culver, Microsoft Representative, Jeff Hardy, Kevin Gough
  • moderator: Jake Baillie

26 Steps Revisited – 2008

  • Brett Tabke
  • moderator: Brett Tabke

Interactive Site Reviews: Focus on Organic

  • Brian Clark, Heather Lloyd-Martin, Jill Whalen, Jeremiah Andrick
  • moderator: Heather Lloyd-Martin

Ash Nallawalla

Search strategist experienced in large, complex websites. Ash's Google+ profile

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