Is it Weird, Different or Inspiring? A few Lessons from TED Talks

ted_logoI love TED Talks, the series of inspirational keynotes that bring together the smartest people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment and Design (hence, TED). Started in 1984, the project now got to a much larger scope, inviting to deliver a keynote the most influential, inspiring and ingenious people of our society, people with a vision, with courage and with a little more than something to say – they say things that can change the world, or at least your way of thinking.


TED is much more than TED Talks. There are two TED Conferences in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, a TED Global conference in Oxford (UK) each summer, the TED Talks video site, a TEDx program for TED events worldwide (one of the most famous is TED Talks India) and an annual TED Prize award. TED spreads out also into the Open Translation and Open TV Projects, equally cutting edge initiatives.


Video SEO Optimization (and a Speaker Award) at International Search Summit Berlin

Earlier this month I had the pleasure and the honor to be invited at the International Search Summit (ISS) in Berlin. I already spoke at ISS in the past (ISS London 2009), as the series of conferences hits some of the major cities in Northern Europe, including Oslo in the Scandinavian region.

international-search-summit-localization-world-berlinISS is a series of conferences organized by WebCertain focused on a specific vertical in search: multi-country, multi-language search marketing. This is also the reason why the ISS Berlin show is included in the much larger Localization World Conference, another international show with a global coverage, focusing on everything local global business.

For ISS Berlin I got back to a search topic after speaking a lot about social media strategies in the latest month: video SEO optimization. Well, the topic is borderline, as the online video optimization lays is somewhere between SEO and the “new” social media optimization techniques, so I could have bridged search engine optimization and social media marketing.

Just to get straight to the point, here is my presentation on video SEO optimization for ISS Berlin, posted on Slideshare as usual and embedded here below.

Just to give a brief summary of the presentation, I started with the now classic SEO Detox Clinic, my idea of 12-step program for hard core SEOs who want to step into SMO (social media optimization). I thought it was very appropriated since the focus of the presentation, and it is always a slide well received by the SEOs in the audience.

The presentation continued with a definition of video SEO, actually the only solid one around, provided by the video search engine Blinkx: “Simply put, video SEO is the art and science of ensuring that your video content attracts as much traffic as possible“. As simple as that. But not so simple…

I contextualized the topic of video SEO talking about the how video are important in the new social web, touching base on social media enablers, that include Google’s blended search results as well as RSS, mash-ups and social networks. I took the opportunity to introduce the Conversation Prism designed by Brian Solis and Jess3 Thomas, the one in the great infographic below, which I love to call “social media mandala“.


After talking a bit about videos on SERPs (including the now classic eye-tracking study by Enquiro) and the new video search features at Google, I introduced a research by German search engine marketing agency SEOlytics that showed the change in video penetration in German search engine results (Google only, as it’s the predominant search engine in Germany) from January 2009 to January 2010. The presence of videos on SERPs grew over the last year from 4.53% to 17.58%, and the presence of organic search results among the “blended” Google results “shrinked” from 82.74% to 39.62%. Very interesting (see presentation above for detailed charts).

After all, video is better than porn is an always popular line when I speak it out at conferences, specially when it is associated with the image in the slide below, where Google Insight for Search shows that the volume of searches for “youtube“, “video” or “videos” is bigger then the volume of searches for terms like “sex” or “porn“. This is an analysis that stands also for a comparison of those terms, that once were “kings of the web“, with other search terms such as “facebook” or “social networks“.


The presentation then moved on to analyze the opportunities and the strategies for video optimization, with tips for optimizing both “hosted” and “posted” videos, meaning both videos published on a company website, or published on third parties sites, such as video sharing sites as YouTube, Metacafe, Dailymotion, Yahoo! Video, MySpace Video and more.

I shared a list of 10 video SEO tips for hosted videos – nothing new, for those already engaging in SEO:

1 – Content is king, make it relevant and interesting
2 – Title: make it catchy and keyword-rich
3 – Video formats: make different formats available (file type, size)
4 – Use optimized tags and video thumbnails
5 – Video length: internet-wise timing
6 – Keyword-rich localized descriptions / transcriptions
7 – Include URLs at the beginning of description
8 – Share it: allow rating, responses, embed, download, share/send to friends
9 – Distribute it: adopt RSS/ MRSS feeds, video sitemaps and social bookmarking
10 – Localize your videos: replicate content in multiple languages or replicate videos with subtitles + create local video sites

Followed by 10 video upload SEO tips for posted videos:

1 – Make sure video tags are relevant to the video content
2 – Be generous with tags, and adopt keywords variations
3 – Match video title and description with top tags / keywords
4 – Have one common tag for all your videos (related videos)
5 – Don’t use natural language and conjunctions in video title
6 – Choose clear, appealing, creative and HD thumbnails
7 – Use one video channel per language, and optimize it
8 – Try to make it to the “Most view” or “Most discussed” tabs
9 – Generate more views by changing Title and Headline
10 – Try the new features: inclusions and annotations

The ISS Berlin presentation concluded with more advice about the use of some of my favorite video upload tools, such as Tubemogul or TrafficGeyser, who allow maximum distribution with little effort, and with a quick view both at video long tail, video analytics, and how to create video RSS, MRSS and video XML sitemaps.

My final advice at ISS Berlin was to always hear a word on the topic from Rand Fishkin at SEOmoz, and I introduced one of the “SEOmoz Whiteboard Friday” educational search videos featuring Randy giving always good SEO advice. I embed here below the suggested video SEO optimization podcast, but I strongly suggest to browse the entire series of the SEOmoz videos on Vimeo, you’ll find plenty of SEO good tips!

Beside of my presentation, other speakers delivered very interesting presentations, such as those by Andy Atkins-Krüger on Top 10 Tips for International SEO, Isabella Ballanti on SEO Localisation, Dixon Jones on Identifying and exploiting local links, Sébastien Monnier on Achieving European Search Success and Thomas Bindl on PPC Techniques for long tail optimization. Unfortunately I missed most of the presentations as I have been working a lot that day on urgent projects, but of course I managed to have a look at the presentation and to keep the conversation going with some of the speakers also during the networking moments!

ISS Berlin has been a great experience for me, also thanks to the great organization support provided by Gemma Birch of ISS, and also because – you won’t believe it since I travel so much – this has been my first time ever in Berlin, and I really enjoyed it!

Also, did I mention that I have been awarded a ISS Medallion Speaker Award for getting (ex-equo with my friend Dixon Jones) the most votes from the audience as best speaker? This put me in the International Search Summit Hall of Fame, in good company with other great speakers such as Dixon Jones and online PR legend Greg Jarboe? =)

From Reykjavik: Social Media What? How to Design a Social Media Strategy

rejkyavik-internet-marketing-conference-logoI came back last week from the amazing experience of discovering Iceland, where I spent a week to participate to the Reykjavik Internet Marketing Conference 2010 (RIMC 2010) organized by my good friend the “Viking of search marketing” and now also a fellow Director at the new SEMPO Board of Directors Kristjan Mar Hauksson, who has been the perfect host for the Icelandic event.

Even if I find challenging and honored when I get invited to speak or moderate panels at great conferences at big venues, (like SES London 2010 the week before), I still love the atmosphere, mood and networking of smaller conferences like RIMC 2010. When there are less than 300-400 people in the room I feel free to walk among the audience with a microphone (or two) in my hand, make eye contact with the attendees and shoot the occasional question to the audience, even during my presentation and not just for Q&A. (more…)

Travel 2.0 Strategies and Tools: Blog Marketing, Social Media Marketing and Viral Videos Workshop in San Sebastian

A couple of months ago I have been hired, via my friends from Spanish search engine agency Overalia, to design and deliver a two-day workshop on the topic of Tourism and Travel 2.0. The workshop, two full days of Spanish content, training, site clinics, tools and exercises, has been offered to CICtourGUNE, the Center for Cooperative Research in Tourism, a Basque governmental agency dedicated to generate knowledge excellence in the areas of tourism and mobility, with offices in the very cool technology Park of San Sebastian (Basque Country, Northern Spain – Euskadi, in Basque).


We had about 25-30 people in the room, all related with the Travel and Tourism industry: some from local hotels and local tourist services, people from a museum and from the local Tourism Board at the San Sebastian City Hall. The rest of the attendees had ideas and business plans to launch in the Travel industry, and were looking for some good advice to be successful on the web.

Good audience at CICtourGUNE – very interested people, strongly motivated to put things in being and to launch projects straight away, but unfortunately lacking of all the foundations about basics of search and internet marketing – difficult for me to get them started in the 2.0 arena, and to vertically enter into the online Travel / Tourism industry topics, so I decided to invest day one of the workshop in providing the audience with a solid understanding of what internet marketing is about, before dedicating day 2 to social media and its applications and declinations for the Travel 2.0 industry. (more…)

MediaCamp Perugia: Innovation in Information, Personal Broadcasting and Citizen Journalism

Third Italian MediaCamp unconference after MediaCamp Sicilia and MediaCamp Roma, the first MediaCamp Perugia was hosted last sunday april 5 at the International Festival of Journalism of Perugia.

Of course in this case the MediaCamp topics were about media as information/news, not as marketing/advertising!

MediaCamp Perugia has been brief, but intense. It started at 2PM on Sunday and, even if scheduled to close at 7PM, I had to rush to the train station at 5.30PM in order to catch the last train to Milan, where I has a client meeting the next morning. Bummer, I would have liked to stay a little bit more to be more active within the final Q/A session.

The event has been very successful, and I enjoyed it even if I had to go away early. Kudos to Vittorio Pasteris, journalist of the Italian newspaper La Stampa, who organized the event and moderated the entire unconference. Great first intervention by Carmela Modica aka Asia Connell (my partner in the MediaCamp Italia initiative), who talked about information and dynamics of communication in the Second Life 3D world.

I followed on agenda with my presentation on Personal Broadcasting and Citizen Journalism embedded above (you can also download it from Slideshare). As you can see, I couldn’t resist to put my SEMPO and search marketing hats, and spend a few words about the importance of optimizing any piece of content, from copywriting to links, images, and videos, specially when hitting the social networks. I also proposed a new paradygm shift for the journalist 2.0, as well s for the information ecosystem, and for those “people formerly known as audience“, the users, now at the core of the information revolution. Find it all in my presentation.

After my intervention, scheduled as second in the stream of unconference interventions, I started tweetting live, of course. If you browse my Twitter profile you can still find all the live tweets, that I choose to produce in Italian to better share among the Italian community of MediaCamp.

I really enjoyed the presentation from the students and Alumni of the School of Communication of Perugia, and mostly the passionate intervention from the RAI2 journalist Francesca Romana Elisei, who unveiled the generation gap in journalism, “one of the bottlenecks to innovation in information“, she said.

Stefano Valentino, a free-lance journalist, presented, a project for a collaborative journalism platform that actually remunerates bloggers/journalists for their articles, and aims at being the marketplace of citizen journalism.

Leonida Reitano, President of Giornalismo Investigativo, a school for investigation journalism, scared the hell out of me for the depth of topics they are expert on, from the “basic” of computer forensic to international and terrorism investigations. Wow, a true school for 007s!

Asia Connell told me this is nothing, with terrorists and militant groups of all sort being active on the Second Life grid. Now I got even more scared…

I took a break to have some late lunch and a talk with Michele Moro, a long time virtual friends from Facebook chats and LinkedIn groups, so it was the first time we met.

Michele has great ideas on the business front of the social web, and wants to work together on the organization of a next Italian Mediacamp in Florence! Excellent, I’m in! You will be hearing soon about MediaCamp Florence!

Went back for the last part of MediaCamp Perugia – at least for me since I had to escape to catch that last train.

The closing of MediaCamp Perugia has been very interesting, with an intervention of Luca De Biase and Guido Romeo of Nòva24, who talked about the journalism of innovation, and innovation in journalism.

I started shooting a video, but I was tweetering from my phone at the same time (because, again, this was a room full of bloggers with no free-wifi….), so the video quality is bad, while the audio is good, and you can have the chance to hear Luca De Biase talking about the methodologies for a true innovation. Audio in Italian language.

Very passionate, firing up questions at the Q&A session, was also Enrica Garzilli: journalist, blogger, hacker and into robotics, who asked Luca De Biase about the possibility to predict innovation through the analysis of trends happening at the Nòva24 platforminteresting question, let’s see where this can take the conversation, and the innovation…

Last intervention on the MediaCamp Perugia agenda, and last before I left the room, was the one from Luca Schibuola, University of Udine, who presented a research project on usability and advertising in online newspapers – very interesting, but mostly academic. It was time to go for me…

Wow, such a rush! I thought I wasn’t going to make it to Perugia, but I did it – and I was again on my way towards other destinations, this time Milan, where I hope we could organize a MediaCamp soon! In the meantime, big kudos again to Vittorio Pasteris for organizing MediaCamp Perugia, to the International Festival of Journalism for hosting the event, to all speaker participants for sharing, and to all people in the audience for contributing! Want to see who was at MediaCamp Perugia 2009? Check out the photo set on!

Another successful Italian MediaCamp! Now on to MediaCamp Firenze!

Case of the Month: SEO DETOX!

Not really the “case” of the month, but surely I will publish in this section cases, presentations, interviews, research and more insight content on the topics of online marketing and, of course, search.

As a first episode of this “case of the month” series, I will start sharing a presentation I prepared for the SMX Stockholm conference last month, the SEO Detox presentation!

SEO Detox is a funny idea I had after a nice chat with Kevin Ryan in New York, right after SES NY 2008. It is a 12-step program for SEO-addicted, so that they clean up their minds from SEO stereotypes, and successfully move into Social Media Optimization!