the frequency a kenny chung blog

It’s been a while since I’d been to an SEO meetup (it seems like all of the big players stopped running them), so I was delighted to see a great panel sponsored by Yext. There were a few good industry friends, as well as other talented folks. The full lineup was:

  • Mike King, Founder & Digital Marketing Consultant at
  • Matt Ramos, Product Manager at LocalVox
  • Rhea Drysdale, CEO at Outspoken Media
  • David Minchala, SEO Manager at Yodle

There was a ton of great information, especially about personas and personalization. Below is my liveTweet coverage of the meetup:

If you’re running a large agency that can’t write localized content for every region, it makes sense to broadly define which topics you should cover (either based on current performance or what the top ranking sites have) and then have subject matter experts write specific local content. This is far better than just repurposing the same content for every region.

Paid search can tell you very quickly if people are actually searching for a specific topic in a region.

Sometimes, curating content provides enough value for Google to rank your site well. However, you must, must, must provide some sort of value otherwise you risk duplicate content penalties.

Track users throughout their customer journey so you can better attribute eventual conversions. Each touchpoint should have specific goals that lead to the main site conversion. Optimizing for each touchpoint allows you to help move consumers along.

The above should actually say “consumer life cycle”. Depending on your industry, you may want to track users throughout their anticipated cycle of use to see when potential dropoffs occur.

Browser fingerprints allow you to identify specific users, or specific subsets of users. If you track specific groups over time and set page values, it will help you refine your conversion path and user goals.

This is a good one. If your client doesn’t know what their KPIs should be, find out what their boss is judged on, and start from there. Very good advice for any type of marketing initiative.

Three of the four panelists agreed that the next big thing in SEO is personalization. Google will be able to show and tell you what you need before you tell them. Google Now is an example of this.

It’s 5am and I just completed a manual recoding of the share buttons on this blog. The reason? I had previously been using a plug-in titled “Facebook Like and Share, Twitter, Google +1, Google buzz buttons”. Yes, the keyword-stuffed name should’ve been a dead giveaway, but it did what I needed it to do – it created post-level Facebook Like, Twitter Tweet, and Google +1 buttons. I’d been using it for several months without actually checking out the code, and tonight I found this unsettling tidbit:

Vas Pro Social Media Share Button Black Hat Links
The highlighted portion contains the black hat hidden links included with the plug-in.

In the above screenshot, you can see that the plug-in included two hidden links within every single blog post. As a webmaster (and SEO), this was jarring. I suppose I thought plug-ins were policed better than that. But here’s the kicker – the plug-in has since been removed from The nearest mention of it is this forum post where another user found the black-hat links that the plug-in appended to their posts and meta descriptions.

To say that I learned from my mistake would be an understatement. I basically rebuilt the social share toolbar code from the ground up, and improved upon it by using asynchronous code where possible. I also had to brush up a bit about WordPress and “The Loop“, which is a concept I had only previously read about in passing.

So what’s the takeaway? If you’re running on your own domain, be wary that WordPress will not notify you if a plug-in has been detected or flagged as malicious. Do the due diligence and review the code for plug-ins that don’t have many user reviews. And if all else fails, do it yourself!

By the way, if anybody wants the code I used, leave a comment or email me!

March 27th, 2013
according to

The following notes are from the presentation titled “Spy vs Spy: Key Insights to Outperform the Competition” at SES NY from Wednesday, March 27, 2013.

Note that these are just my notes, and I am not necessarily endorsing any strategies, tactics or POVs stated therein.

I’d like to preface this blog post by saying that I’m usually the first to poke fun at SEOs who blog about the “search impact” of every little thing that Google does, whether it’s changing a font, repositioning items slightly in the SERP, or whatever the case may be. So in order for me to get riled up over something they do, it has to be huge. And this recent update to Google Analytics is nothing short of huge.

To quote this Google Blog Post:

When a signed in user visits your site from an organic Google search, all web analytics services, including Google Analytics, will continue to recognize the visit as Google “organic” search, but will no longer report the query terms that the user searched on to reach your site. Keep in mind that the change will affect only a minority of your traffic.

Under the clearly cop-out guise of protecting user privacy, Google is going to start not reporting on organic keywords that logged-in users search. Isn’t that the whole selling point of Google Analytics? If not, it’s definitely a major one- the ability to see how users reach your site and how you can better position yourself in the space to garner more clickthroughs.

Google Control All The Data
Visual Approximation of Google Engineers

I especially take issue with the last line I quoted above: Google says that this will only affect a minority of organic traffic. B-U-L-L. Think about it for a second. Who’s most likely to use SSL? Or to put it even more broadly, who’s most likely to be logged into their Google accounts when searching? First on the list are net savvy people who work in the cloud and rely on Google and Google Apps services (including companies who run on Apps). Think about the repercussions of a tech content site not being able to see how admins or webmasters are reaching their resources. You also have people on local networks who are most likely to use SSL- probably the majority of college students on a shared network. That is definitely a key demo. And maybe this one slipped past people’s radar, but in order to do anything with an Android phone, you need to be logged into your Google account! So every single Android user will have their keywords stripped as well. Is Google trying to make us hate their mobile OS and its users?

So what’s an SEO to do? Not much to do, really. We can storm Mountain View with our pitchforks, but Google is stubborn, especially when it comes to PR- and soundbyte-friendly topics such as “user privacy”. Let’s face it- Google’s plan is to have more people use their services and to be logged in indefinitely (take the ubiquitous “+You” bar, for example). Given enough time, Google will have everyone logged in whenever they search, and then they’ll also control all of that query data.

Talk about having your cake and eating it too.

Looks like Google is rolling out a new right hand sidebar to provide concise summaries of programming and script-related queries.

Notice that in the Javascript example, the right side AdWords listings are pushed down. Very interesting to see where Google’s priorities are.

As usual, this is being rolled out in phases (or being tested). I’m currently seeing this in Firefox 5 but not Chrome.

Below are some examples for SWFObject, jQuery, noscript and Javascript (click to enlarge).

New Google Sidebar - Javascript

New Google Sidebar - jQuery

New Google Sidebar - noscript

New Google Sidebar - SWFObject

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