Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rhythm and SEO Combined - Jon Myers Interviews Michel Leconte of SEO Samba

Well it is that time of year again and SES London is upon us! The show is looking like a great one again and I am looking forward to a busy 3 days and 7 panels so hoping to see and chat to lots of you at the event.


I have been asked once again to do a pre event Q & A by the guys down at SEO-PR (thanks Byron!) and this year I have been lucky to get to interview Michel Leconte from SEO Samba to get his views on SEO, future developments and the SEO Samba tool itself!


I have asked him a series of 5 questions so enjoy and hope you all consider the tool as a great option to use. On top of this Michel has kindly offered a free trial!! It covers one website, and a one month of free access from the publishing date for one lucky reader of this post and you will find it after the Q & A…thanks SEO Samba!


1. Search engine marketing is a constantly developing and evolving practice. Is SEO Samba prepared for this and how do you plan to stay on the forefront of technological advances?


SEO Samba maximizes website's performance with search engines and other "free-to-play" digital marketing channels. It enables SEM firms and SEO experts to manage an unlimited number of organic search clients, projects and web sites from a single interface, and change SEO best practices across them all with a single click. From a conceptual standpoint, we propose that web marketers and professionals deploy and enforce best practices from a single point rather than manually coding these evolving best practices into each of these sites while hoping that end-users will not gradually undo these practices. So, yes, practices are evolving and developing, but SEO Samba's role is to facilitate execution and maintain best practices' integrity while letting expert users adapt their best practices to changes in algorithms.


From a product development standpoint, our mission is supported by our software-as-a-service architecture, a zero footprint technology (this means that web sites built with SEO Samba are W3C HTML-compliant and do not place any call back to our servers once uploaded to their published location), and two major effort areas.


Our objective as an organic search platform is to enable and promote cooperative efforts from end-users and SEO experts without the latter fearing a loss of clients to competitors also using the platform. We needed SEO Samba to segregate end-user pools from each other and be a complete, private-label solution for SEM firms. Hence, we provided an interface that can be branded in less than a minute, along with DNS routing so that the software can be accessed and served from our partners' domain of choice in complete confidentiality.


Now, for cooperation to happen, we also needed to remove competing interests from the picture, and we are doing this by aggregating data and providing it back to users under the form of proven, albeit optional, best practices.

Obviously, the system is flexible enough to allow for experts to pick, fine-tune and add their own best practices prior to making them available to a select pool of their clients as they see fit. By large, on that end, we're pursuing the old adage that a total can be greater than the sum of its parts. And as long as the platform can accommodate the evolution of search algorithms, and we are confident that it will, web marketers and SEO experts will be able to try different things and adapt their strategies as required.


In addition, SEO Samba provides an optimized distribution framework for information along with automation and alignment rules to make it very cost effective to successfully market through these "free," but crowded channels. Our R&D work consists of seamlessly integrating new distribution channels into the existing platform and proposing a set of proven best practices that are ready out-of-the-box upon launch. Lots of prioritization, research, and development and testing time go into this area.


For example, our first universal search module (provided free of charge) is a news module that provides a Google News-ready structure, news articles that are search optimized according to your chosen best practices, search friendly scrollers, automated RSS feeds creation, integrates with email newsletter platforms such as Constant Contact, Vertical Response etc. You can publish news across all your sites with a single click then aggregate news items across web sites to create unique newsletters and market to a cross segment of your email list, and finally save these newsletters with one click to any of your web sites. Each of our upcoming modules will provide the same level of details to ensure websites' visibility, while expanding the least time possible from a user, content writer, marketer and SEO experts' perspective.


As search algorithms evolve, so will the rules applied by the SEO experts using the platform and its associated modules. In the meantime, we'll be working in the background on behalf of SEM firms to make their clients more successful. Our team will focus on keeping existing and new SEO Samba modules functional from a search engine/technical requirement standpoint and increasingly leverage the community's knowledge and scale to the benefit of all.


2. What reactions have you had from clients using SEO Samba?


End-users are obviously ecstatic about their search engine rankings, but they do not usually fully grasp the extent of SEO Samba's capabilities until after they have been on the platform for a few months. On the other hand, SEO experts are usually convinced of the possibilities offered by the execution approach after seeing live demonstrations. Actually, the more questions, the more technical- and detail-oriented these questions are, the easier it is for us to explain our choices in building SEO Samba. When I had the chance to receive the visit from David Naylor at our U.S. launch at SES Chicago, he was understandably skeptical about our claims and had a barrage of both rather precise technical and conceptual questions ready for me. I was demonstrating the software and I only had to speak the first half of most answers for him to understand where I was going, and for him to shoot the next one at me. It was an enjoyable meeting for sure.


3. You say on your site that SEO Samba was created by search engine and search engine optimization veterans. What inspired you to create it?


I've provided SEO consulting services since 2001, from non-profits to Fortune companies, and I've observed a few things. SEO is sold by professionals as a process that requires an ongoing effort from web site owners. However, there's no life cycle management built into what SEO experts deliver. As a result, the execution is a hit-and-miss game that generates an awful lot of delays, frustration, and, ultimately, lost revenues for both client and experts. Furthermore, SEO is time consuming to research and test for experts, costly to execute by hand for end-users, and takes very little advantage from the scale of the SEO agency or its customer business size.


With an increasing number of applications built in the cloud, development of social networks, progressive deployment of custom and universal search, and a maturing SEO services marketplace, we thought the industry was ripe for a change towards higher value-added services, and that "smart SEOs," as Matt Cutts call them, would crave additional bandwidth to focus on strategy and business development, both for them and their clients. We invented the first organic search management platform to facilitate systemic execution of best practices, adoption of "free-to-play" marketing channels, and enable professionals to scale their practice through software instead of payroll.


4. What advice would you give to a small business planning on developing SEO activity from scratch?

You came to right place J. OK, seriously, the first step is to clarify what you are trying to sell and to whom. Make sure you get it right because everything else depends on it, and I have seen many small business owners enlightened by having to go through the SEO process. In fact, I think it should be very much part of the value proposition coming from SEO experts, as there's a chance that you're the closest thing to a marketing agency they have ever hired. An excellent resource for this that we feature in the SEO Bootcamp at SEO Samba is Pragmatic Marketing


5. Why should SEM or SEO firms considering using SEO Samba?


SEO firms need to adapt to the economic environment and differentiate their service offerings. A customer might not be able to tell which of two arcane SEO techniques is better, but most business people can make the difference between a method supported by an automated system that yields predictable results and a plain consulting engagement, even if backed with stellar experience. I think that's part of the reason why small businesses have reacted so well to the concept. Our direct SMB pricing is at $99/month/domain, so it is creating a new market of SEO-conscious businesses, a market where forward-looking SEM firms will be in prime position to grow in sophistication and profits.


On their side, SEM firms, through their branded interface of SEO Samba, complement their service mix with an offering that will win new business for them. Here, I'm talking about businesses with multiple site strategies, micro-sites, lead generation web sites, franchises, reputation management, and all sorts of small and medium businesses. Appropriately presented, we know already that an organic search management platform will tilt the balance in favor of one provider over another. In an increasingly competitive environment, I think this is welcome aid. Of course, SEO firms get a significant discount on the direct SMB pricing and are also free to bundle the platform with their own services and charge whatever they feel is appropriate through their private label interface.


Thanks for the Interview Michel and if you are interested to find out more visit www.seosamba.com or you can see Michel speak on his panel Organic Listings Forum” at SES London 2009 on Feb 18th at 5.45pm.


Now for the prize code! Only the first person to capture it under their account's finance tab at www.seosamba.com will be able to take advantage of it and the activation code is 9bd30d97760273333a36565e396a0bcd.

3 comments:

  1. I really thought you brought some good insight. I especially liked number 4, I think people often don't put enough thought into the very, very basics.

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  2. Great Podcast! I most certainly wouldn't give up :)

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