Google to stop supporting old news sitemap format

They announced that there are two weeks left to transition in case you missed the first announcement six months ago. More info here.


Google’s Index Cap for your Site

Fascinating article by Randy from SEOMoz about how Google potentially caps the # of URLs it will index from your site.

This is particularly a problem for my team at EWG for a few reasons:

  1. This organization has been online since the beginning of the Internet, and old reports are still live online. Walking staff through which pages should be live and which could be retired can be a time consuming process
  2. Until I came on board, they did not have an online marketing team, so that robot.txt file was not utilized (and we are still working on it). That means that for intensive search features, Googlebot will try to execute the searches and follow the results – wasting time on pages you may not want indexed.
  3. I’ve spent a bit of time educating staff about being conservative about putting up pages that we want visitors to read, but don’t necessarily want indexed (like our references pages)
  4. And the fine tuning that you need to do for WordPress blogs are intense. There’s a great video here that walks you through some of that.
  5. Leading all of this is the challenge of focusing an organization around where they would like to be found online. EWG has an idea now, but many nonprofits don’t. Without clear keyword targets, it’s hard to streamline online content to work for the organization instead of wasting the Googlebot’s time.

If you haven’t read the article, I would. And if you have any tools for managing such a challenge for a page with a HUGE number of pages, let me know.

Google to Hold Live Webmaster Chat

Info off of Search Engine Land:

The Google Webmaster Central blog announced the first new live chat event in over a year. This event is named the “Holiday Webmaster Webinar” and takes place a week from Friday, November 13th at 10:00 am, Pacific Standard Time (GMT -08:00, San Francisco). Again, this is the first one since October 2008.

This meeting is hosted by Senior Search Quality Engineer Greg Grothaus, and AdWords Evangelist Fred Vallaeys. They’ll be discussing a range of webmaster best practices and useful Google tools followed by a Q&A session to make sure you and your site are well primed for the holiday rush.

The meeting number is 574 659 815 and the password is webmaster. To access the event:

1. Go to
2. Enter your name and email address.
3. Enter the meeting password: webmaster
4. Click “Join Now”.

To join the teleconference only call-in toll-free number (US/Canada): 866-469-3239 or call-in toll number (US/Canada): 1-650-429-3300.


Online Marketing Best Practices from the Obama Campaign

M+R Strategic Services just released a report outlining the strategies and best practices from the Obama new media campaign and how those practices should be applied to nonprofits and their online marketing and fundraising efforts. It’s a great read. Here’s the lead in paragraph:

The best news for nonprofits? The most successful new media strategies for the
campaign were all things that can – and should – be replicated by nonprofit
organizations. Build an email list. Send high-quality, engaging emails to those
constituents. Make them a part of the story. Run a program that is data-driven,
and use analytics to improve that program. Use authentic organizational content –
video, text and images – to tell a compelling story. Use email and phone calls to ask
online volunteers to participate in offline programs.

The report contained a few key concepts that I always impress upon my nonprofit clients, including:

  1. Be disciplined to create a strategy, consistent message, and stay on message – sending certain messages to certain segments for a reason. Measure. Rinse. Tweak. Repeat.
  2. Give your online marketing staff them the autonomy to make good decisions regardless of the HIPPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) in the room. Did you know that the Obama campaign had a 81-person new media team that grew to nearly 170 people by the end of the campaign?
  3. Hire talented, trained staff (I would argue that this also means you actually need to pay for their talent. The number of nonprofit openings for online marketing staff with extremely low salaries I think demonstrates that many nonprofits don’t “get” that hiring talented online marketing staff is worth it.  From the report: Chief Technology Officer Michael Slaby had this piece of advice:
  4. You need more new media people than you think you do, and they are worth more than you think they are.

  5. Be authentic, and keep the focus on your supporters, let them interact with you. If your budget is supported by them, you won’t be able to do the work your organization works on without them.
  6. Content is important. You won’t be able to build an online audience without good content.
  7. Build your email list through website optimization and testing. (page 13-14 of the report). EVERY nonprofit needs to understand HOW important website optimization and testing is, and needs to make it an organizational priority.
  8. Timing. “Timing is more important than perfection” – Arun Chaudhary, New Media Road Director. I could not agree more. This applies to email, launching an ad campaign, posting on social media sites, putting up a blog posts. Posting or sending during certain times of day will have a much higher success rate than others. I always cringe when I see nonprofits posting a blog post or sending a email at midnight on Thursday night just because that was when it was “done” instead of waiting for the best time window and scheduling it to go out the next day.

All in all, great stuff and every nonprofit marketer should thoroughly read the report and absorb it’s findings. You can download the full report here

Corporate Online Marketing Best Practices Applied to Nonprofit Challenges.

I think this also demonstrates what I’ve been saying to folks all along. Corporate best practices around online marketing should be applied to nonprofit challenges. The tactics are the same, the message is just different and nonprofits have an advantage in that their supporters can be used to spread the word about their mission in social media more effectively than Coca Cola fans ever will. If you look at where the staff for the Obama campaign came from – it was largely corporate online marketing experience.

If you are a nonprofit online marketer, you should follow the for-profit marketers that have the extra resources and capacity to really test new strategies in the online space and follow blogs like rather than non-profit only forums. You will be a better marketer for it.

Slides from Social Media Presentation at AMA DC

I had a great time on a panel yesterday about social media organized by the DC Chapter of the American Marketing Association. I pulled together slides of useful online marketing tools and wanted to share them here. It was tons of fun getting folks excited about social media and web measurement.

Speaking at American Marketing Association Panel on Social Media

I’m on an AMA panel this week about social media. The panel is unbelievably diverse, so it should be an interesting conversation and lunch is served!

Here’s the info:
What do a university medical center, a woodworking tools manufacturer, and an environmental nonprofit organization have in common? They’re all using social media to great effect…and they’re all ready to tell us more about it.

Be on hand as three articulate and energetic innovators–Ed Bennett from the University of Maryland Medical Center, Ted Hall from ShopBot Tools, and Katherine Watier from Environmental Working Group–join serial entrepreneur Casey Golden, founder and president of Small Act Network, in a stimulating and informative panel discussion. As always, it’s a wonderful networking opportunity and a great lunch!

WHAT: Executive Marketing Roundtable, sponsored by the American Marketing Assn.

TITLE: Putting Social Media in the Mix—How to Choose It, When to Use It

DATE: Thursday, June 25

TIME: 11:30 am – 2:00 pm

PLACE: Morrison & Foerster, 2000 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Sixth Floor

COST: $50 Members
$65 Non-members

To register or find out more:

Register now online—limited seating!

Senior Marketing Executives Only, Please.

PPC influencing your SEO work?

Had to share an interesting article about how Google’s new ability to crawl javascript is resulting in unintended consequences.