OK - tomorrow (Friday, Feb 24) is your official last chance to sign up for the Land portion of the China Search MArketing Tour.
This is when, if you are planning to provide your own transportation, or if you are already in China and wish to meet up with us for some or all of the tour, you need to call Helen [Phone: 800.865.6221 Fax: 732-981-0236 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org] and sign up. Now. :)
It's gonna be fun - for those of you signing up, I'll see you in China. There is a possibility that you can join us after this date, but this is when the hotel bookings are being finalized, so if you need a place to sleep, this is the time to do so.
Finally! Applause goes to Google on this one.
Readers of this blog know that I'm been active, both personally and through my association with the SMA-NA, in trying to help out a blogger who was targetted by Traffic Power due to comments made in his blog.
One of the things TP claimed was that the statements saying that Google had penalized TP were false.
Turns out that TP is the one not telling the truth - Google has officially confirmed that they and the customers they were spamming on behalf of were targetted by Google as spammers.
Nice. Thanks Matt! :)
Note to TP (and the dozen or so new names you are now operating under), if you are going to sue someone (in part) for lying, you might want to make sure that YOU are not the one doing the lying.
Just a thought...
Silly me - turns out Blogger had an easy to install Atom feed all along - and here I was looking at Feedburner...
You can now add this blog to your RSS reader and pretend you are interested, instead of feeling guilty you've been too lazy to actually visit... ;)
The official TLD for the Government of Canada is .gc.ca
The reason for this is because Canada is officially bilingual, and everything has to be in French and English. And since "government" is spelled "gouvernement" in French, some have said that .gov.ca would not be bilingual, since you would presumably shorten it down to .gouv.ca or something for French (at least, that's what France does).
The problem is, that pretty much everyone else in the world uses .gov.xx to designate government sites, and it's very confusing to them to see .gc.ca
Further, Canada isn't France (which is uni-lingual) and if you look at other countries that have French as an official language, you see that uni-lingual French countries (Monaco, French Guiana) tend to use .gouv.xx, but multilingual countries tend to use .gov.xx (Belgium, Switzerland).
Unfortunately, no one uses .gc.xx or anything similar. It's all well and good to be different, but not when no one outside your country understands you. The idea behind the web is to communicate, not isolate.
So, to make a long story short, the Canadian Government now owns .gov.ca.
Ministry Sites will still use .gc.ca, of course, but .gov.ca is now being added to .ca as sites run by the Canadian Government that are aimed at the public, especially non-Canadians.
Based on a LOT of feedback and experience, this is likely to be a very popular move, as well as opening up more opportunities for the government to register useful and memorable domains while still maintaining the fact that they are government.
Right now, .gc.ca is used mostly by Ministries and ultra-official sites. Many of the sites the government runs are multi-departmental or other initiatives that don't easily fall under the .gc.ca umbrella currently use .ca, but that is confusing to people because anyone can register a .ca, so there is no indication that it's authoritative or government run.
Further, non-Canadians tend to automatically assume that Canadian government sites use .gov.ca. I know this personally from many, many discussions.
The .gov.ca is intended to address this. Yay!
Here is how you do it:
1. Put down the keyboard and STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER
2. Identify the Target Goal. On paper or a white board, figure out what goal you are trying to accomplish with your website. The criteria should be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound). "I wanna get rich" or "I wanna sell lots of widgets" doesn't cut it. Get specific.
3. Identify the Target Audience. Based on the above, decide what the focus audience is. If you feel like saying "everyone with money" give yourself a smack and start over. Once again, get specific. If there are 2 types of customers, you will probably require 2 separate sections of your site to deal with them. I suggest starting with one and add the other once you are finished with the first.
4. Identify Your Message. Each target audience can react to many messages, but there is usually one overriding one for each. If there is more than one, choose only one for now. Mixed messages bring mixed results. Focus. The message is usually something simple like "it makes me feel beautiful" or "it solves my backup problems". Whatever it is, identify the message that resonates with your target audience.
5. Identify Traffic Vectors. Now that you know what your target goal is, your message, and your target audience is, you can now figure out what would bring that person to your site. This can include, email, SMS, banner ads, and specific keywords. This is the point you do keyword research. I suggest Wordtracker for a start. Different audiences will use different terms for search. Focus only on the terms that target your audience.
6. Identify The Conversion. What is considered a success? A sale? Filling out a form? Making a phone call? You need to identify what you want your site to do.
7. Write The Copy. This copy should achieve the goals that you have outlined a) it should speak to your target audience in terms they understand b) convey the message you have chosen c) use keywords that are appropriate to the audience and the message and d) convince/lead the visitor to convert.
8. Perform the actions necessary to bring in your traffic vectors - link building, press releases, PPC etc.
9. Track and Chart Results. Watch your logs and conversions, looking for opportunities to maximize your conversions. These opportunities will come from the areas of audience, message, traffic vectors and so forth that you have already identified. If you find you made a bad assumption at this point, go back and fix it.
10. Go back to number one, and start the process over again, this time perhaps choosing a different audience, optimizing for it in a different section of your site.
Getting involved with the details of SEO before you even know what your full business plan is, is a recipe for failure. It's like trying to sit down and write a computer program with no clear idea of what it's going to do. Garbage in, garbage out.
Today myself and David Temple will be on the eMarketing Talk show with World Talk Radio regarding the state of search marketing in China.
There will be an archive at the above link so you can listen to it at your leisure.
Should be fun!
UPDATE and FAQ
I just got off the phone with the travel agency organizing the details of the tour, and I have some answers for some frequently asked questions about the tour.
Helen Yue at China Custom Tours (based in New York) Phone: 800.865.6221 Fax: 732-981-0236 Email: email@example.com
Helen is REALLY nice, and can arrange for your flights and trip from anywhere in the US. Just let her know where you are flying from and she'll take care of it. She can also answer pretty much any questions you may have.
Helen can arrange your flights from anywhere in the US, but if you are not in the US or are flying on points or just plain like to do it yourself, that's fine too.
If you want to meeting one of the flights leaving the US just arrange travel so you can meet either of these:
Flight UA 851 Chicago at 12 Noon
Flight UA 889 San Francisco at 2 PM
And let her know so she can book your seat.
If you want to arrange your own flights all the way, basically all you need to do is arrive in Beijing anytime on the 10 of March. We will pick you up at the airport and take you to the hotel. The tour has it's own bus and driver.
What is the last minute signup date?
The absolute, last minute signup for the flight/tour package is Feb 10. The absolute last minute for just the land tour is Feb 25.
Can I only go on part of the tour?
Yes. If you want to meet us in Beijing, Shanghai or Nanjing and continue at that point, you can do so. Just phone Helen to arrange pickup and times, as well as the adjusted costs.
Visa and Passport Requirements
Your passport needs to be good for 6 months past the end of the trip (so good until at least Sept 20, 2006).
For the Visa - You need a visa to visit China. You can either contact Helen and have her get one for you (you'll need to send her your passport via courier), or you can go to your local Chinese consulate and get one if there is one near by. The normal processing time is 4 business days, though they can be rushed to 24 hours for an extra cost.
Get a tourist visa.
As long as you show up at the airport with a passport valid to at least Sept 20 and a valid tourist Visa from the 10-19 of March in it, you will be fine.
Safety and Customs
- China is actually a very safe place to travel - there are no significant threats
- Women are accepted as equals in the business world, unlike other areas of Asia
- The water is not safe - bottled or boiled only. Personally, I just drink beer ;)
- Business cards are very important - bring LOTS.
- China is BIG - bring comfortable shoes with good grips
- Credit and debit cards are rare - I suggest a money belt and cash.
- Business Attire is generally business casual. Whatever you normally wear to SES is fine.
- If you want to bring business gifts: Marlboro cigarettes, whiskey, honey.
- You will be there in March, it will be cold. 30-50F (1-10C) Bring appropriate clothes.
- Kids are welcome! As are spouses and friends.
- The language in the area is Mandarin, the writing is Simplified Chinese.
Hopefully you! But so far we have signups from people in China, US, UK, Russia, Philippines, India and Canada, so there will be ample opportunities to network. There is a limit of 35 people.
Preparation and Reading
This Friday (Feb 3) myself and David will be on the eMarketing Talk show answering questions: http://www.emarketingtalkshow.com/
There will be an archive of the talk so you can listen to it at your leisure.
One Billion Customers - James McGregor (Strongly Recommended)
Billions - Tom Doctoroff