Greg Jarboe: Search Engine Strategies (SES) is asking us to teach a full-day SEO training class about “Optimizing for Universal Search” on Thursday, July 17, 2008, at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel, 515 Madison Street, Seattle, WA 98104?
Amanda Watlington: I don't believe you.
Greg: Would you believe SES is sending us to teach a Google universal search engine optimization training workshop in Microsoft's backyard?
Greg: How about going to Seattle to get a proper cup of coffee?
Amanda: I demand the Cone of Silence!
Greg: Okay, if you insist. I'll download the Cone of Silence blog widget. So, now that our conversation is enshrouded in a transparent sound-proof shield, what's the problem?
Amanda: Who in Seattle wants to learn search engine optimization strategies from a couple of SEO experts from Boston?
Greg: Well, our “Optimizing for Universal Search” workshops at SES London and SES New York were well attended. And if British Red Coats and New York Yankees didn't mind that their SEO classes were taught by a couple of search engine optimization experts from Boston, why should Seattle companies?
Amanda: True, we haven't dumped their tea in our harbor or faced them in the ALCS. But, give me a couple of specific examples of companies in Seattle that would benefit from sending their search engine optimization specialists, public relations professionals, and corporate video producers to a full-day SEO workshop on universal search taught by a couple of SEO experts from out of town.
Greg: Good idea Amanda – although a comprehensive list would include every member of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce. But, conduct a web search using Google for the term, Steve Ballmer, and you'll see an example of a company in Redmond, Washington, that needs help optimizing for universal search.
Amanda: I see YouTube videos and websites integrated into a single set of results. So, who is responsible for managing this special blend?
Greg: No one is which means anyone could be. I'd hate to be on the receiving end at Waggener Edstrom when one of their largest PR clients calls to ask, “What do you know about blended search?” But, they are not alone. Google the term, Seattle Mariners, and you'll see that there are a lot of media companies in the Seattle area that have dropped the ball, too.
Amanda: I see news results blended in with the web listings above the fold. But the news sources displayed in the universal search results are from The Associated Press, SportingNews.com, and The Canadian Press, not the Seattle Times, Seattle Post Intelligencer, KING5.com, KOMO, or KIROtv.com.
Greg: Right, and according to Steve Lohr of The New York Times, search engines are “delivering 30 percent or more of the traffic on some newspaper, magazine or television news Web sites. And traffic means readers and advertisers, at a time when the mainstream media is desperately trying to make a living on the Web.”
Amanda: So, we've seen YouTube videos and news results blended into universal search results. What about images?
Greg: Ah, the old leading question trick. That's the second time I've fallen for that this week. Well, Google the term, Starbucks logo.
Amanda: I see three images at the top of the search engine results page. Don't tell me that clicking on any one of the Starbucks logos doesn't take you to a page in the Starbucks Coffee Company press room.
Greg: Clicking on any one of the Starbucks logos doesn't take you to a page in the Starbucks Coffee Company press room
Amanda: I asked you not to tell me that. You realize you'll be facing every kind of danger imaginable if you show this example to Starbucks coffee drinkers?
Greg: And loving it! But wait! There's more! Use Google to search for the term, Seattle hotels downtown.
Amanda: I see two pushpins on Google Maps. Hold on, the Renaissance Seattle Hotel is missing! Greg, the location of our SEO training class about “Optimizing for Universal Search” isn't on the map!
Greg: It's a shame that they didn't use local SEO instead of web SEO.
Amanda: Okay, you can invert the Cone of Silence. I'm ready to use it as a loudspeaker.
Greg: This is the Search Engine Watch Blog. We don't "loudspeaker" here.
Amanda: Never mind. I'll use YouTube. Their slogan is “Broadcast Yourself.” So, where's the video interview that we conducted about our upcoming SEO training class?
Greg: Missed it by that much!
Amanda: Then, how are we supposed to provide more information about our universal search engine optimization training workshop? Oh, this is utter KAOS!
Greg: Sorry about that Chief! We could try image optimization.
Amanda: That just might work. I hope I wasn't out of line with that crack about utter KAOS.
Greg: I don't mind, 99. Let's just hope that business professionals in Seattle “get smart” and attend our universal search SEO training class.
Greg Jarboe of SEO-PR and Amanda Watlington of Searching
for Profit will teach “Optimizing for Universal Search” in
Seattle on July 17, 2008.