Startup Blog

Website Optimization Tips - Dreamforce 2010 [Video & PPT]

Posted Mike Volpe on 12/20/10 10:09 AM

I had the pleasure of presenting a session at Dreamforce this year, and I thought I would share it with you.  My portion of the presentation is about 25 minutes, and there are a variety of formats below for your viewing pleasure.

.co Domains and SEO

Posted Mike Volpe on 10/6/10 4:22 PM

At the HubSpot user group and Inbound Marketing Summit a lot of people were talking about the new .co domain names available, and asking if they were better or worse than .net or .org and how they compare to .com.  Thanks to Dharmesh Shah for adding his thoughts.

SEO in 2010 Video on Future of Search Engine Optimization

Posted Mike Volpe on 11/23/09 10:45 AM

What is the future of Search Engine Optimization?

How can you be successful in SEO in 2010 and beyond?  How does social media affect search?  Will Facebook replace Google?  What about video?  What about other social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter, will they affect search?  This SEO in 2010 video covers the basics of SEO, and then goes onto more advanced topics to set the stage for you to be successful in search engine optimization in 201.

Why Movember is Great Viral Marketing

Posted Mike Volpe on 11/17/09 12:54 PM

Have you heard of Movember?  It is an international foundation that raises money and awareness for men's cancers (prostate and testicular cancers).

Are paid links really that bad of an idea?

Posted Mike Volpe on 8/18/09 10:31 AM


But first, let's talk about why people buy paid links.  Links are really important for ranking higher in the search engines.  Because of this, some website started selling links because people would buy them to increase their search engine rankings.

Google's Paid Links Policy (from

"Google and most other search engines use links to determine reputation. A site's ranking in Google search results is partly based on analysis of those sites that link to it. Link-based analysis is an extremely useful way of measuring a site's value, and has greatly improved the quality of web search. Both the quantity and, more importantly, the quality of links count towards this rating."

"However, some SEOs and webmasters engage in the practice of buying and selling links that pass PageRank, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google's webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact a site's ranking in search results."

More relevant discussions I found:

Do you think you are smarter than Google?  If so, go ahead and buy all the paid links you want.  But I will bet $1 every time that Google is smarter than you are.  And if you buy enough paid links to have a big effect on your marketing, then Google will find out and you will be penalized.

Download video for iPod and iPhone.

How long does it take for the “get found” part of inbound marketing to start?

Posted Mike Volpe on 8/6/09 12:19 PM

If you are launching a new inbound marketing program for a website, there are a number of variables that determine how long it might be until you see measurable results.

  1. The age of your website. The older your website is, the sooner you might see results.
  2. The amount of content you have. If you have more content, you have a better chance of seeing results sooner.
  3. The number of inbound links you have. If you have more links into your website, you have a better level of authority with the search engines, and you might see results sooner.
  4. The competition in your market. If you have competitors that are well established online, it will take longer for you to
  5. The amount of effort you put in. The results you see from inbound marketing are completely based on how much time and effort you put into it. If you blog once a week and spend a bit of time in social media you'll see results, but you'll get a lot more a lot faster if you blog 3-5 times a week and spend a lot of time making friends in your industry online.

For a well established company that has a lot of inbound links and has been around for years, but never did an effective optimization of their website, they could start to see results in a matter of weeks.  If on the other hand you are launching a brand new website in a competitive market, it could take 6 months to see any significant results for getting found in inbound marketing.  To size up your website and your competitors' websites, use the free tool

Download video for iPod and iPhone.

Can you balance duplicate content vs. more inbound links for inbound marketing?

Posted Mike Volpe on 7/7/09 11:45 AM

One possible technique for online marketing is to take your articles and copy and paste them onto ezine websites around the web to get more links into your website.  Does the increased inbound links to your website balance out the negative effects of having duplicate content?

Probably not.  The links will not be that valuable because the search engines do not give a lot of authority to websites that consist of mostly duplicate content.

Download video for iPod or iPhone

Dallas Inbound Marketing Summit - SEO 101 Presentation

Posted Mike Volpe on 5/27/09 12:01 PM

Here is my SEO presentation from the Inbound Marketing Summit in Dallas, including all the search engine optimization tips and tricks I covered, and information about how social media impacts search engine optimization.  There is still one more IMS in Boston - September 30 to October 1, 2009 -

Download full PPT here or view the slideshow below.


But... How do I get started with Inbound Marketing?

In addition to my presentation, there were a lot of questions about "Where can I learn this stuff?  Where is the "101" content?"  Well, a big part of what we do for marketing at HubSpot is basic education on inbound marketing.  So here are links to some intro or 101 presentations on the basics:

Finally, if you want to learn more, register for the Inbound Marketing University, a free series of online classes to train you on all the basics, there is even certification available (if you can pass the exam).

The Problem with Being Slightly Famous

Posted Mike Volpe on 5/19/09 9:53 AM

I am friends with a guy named John Wall, who blogs and podcasts at The M Show and on Marketing Over Coffee.  John is "slightly famous", because he is known in the marketing world.  I am sure that at marketing industry events people come up to him and introduce themselves (I have experienced this sometimes because of HubSpot and HubSpot TV).  But in the real world he is completely anonymous.  However, according to Google he was the most famous John Wall since he usually ranked toward the top of search results for his name.

But, there is another "John Wall".  He is a basketball player.  I found him since he was a trending topic today on Twitter for having decided to go to University of Kentucky.

I wonder how this will affect John's personal brand and SEO.  Today I noticed a lot of news articles and videos ranking above John's blog for a search on "John Wall".  If this new John Wall goes on to the NBA, it will probably be super difficult for the first John to rank on the first page of Google for his name.

Ideas & Thoughts:

  • Make sure you have the domain that matches the online moniker you use (like I have - though even then spelling matters, there is a Mike Volpi (CEO of Joost the online video company) that sometimes people confuse with me
  • If you have a potentially common name (like John Wall) you can start using your middle name, like David Meerman Scott
  • Everyone is vulnerable to a potential personal branding issue from someone becoming famous with the same name (remember the movie Office Space and the guy named "Mike Bolton"...ouch!)
  • Publish lots of content and build lots of authority on ONE domain for your personal brand
  • John should include "John Wall" in the page title of homepage of The M Show website - he now has to optimize for this term because of a new competitor

What other ideas do you have?

New England Direct Marketing Association (NEDMA) - Search Engine Optimization (SEO 101) Presentation

Posted Mike Volpe on 5/7/09 10:44 AM

Continuing the long week of presentations, I spoke to the New England Direct Marketing Association (NEDMA) about Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  Download the slides or view the full presentation below.

Download PPT slides

Additional useful links related to the NEDMA SEO presentation:

How to Optimize a LinkedIn Profile for SEO in 3 Minutes

Posted Mike Volpe on 3/25/09 10:46 AM

There are really just two basic things you need to do to most LinkedIn profiles to get the most out of them from an SEO standpoint.

  1. Customize your URL.  My LinkedIn profile URL is - and you can have one just like it with your name in the URL making it more likely for your profile to rank for searches for your name. 
  2. Add Custom Anchor Text to Links.  You can have up to 3 links on your profile to other websites, and these links pass SEO authority.  If you customize the anchor text on the links, you can get the most out of them.

Download video for iPod.

Send Some Link Love for Valentine's Day

Posted Mike Volpe on 2/9/09 10:08 AM

Valentine's Day is coming soon!

There's no better way to show you care to your favorite marketer than to send some link love.

Send some link love now! 


Can you recommend an SEO firm in Boston?

Posted Mike Volpe on 1/5/09 3:14 PM

Recently someone who works at a PR firm in Boston asked me "Can you recommend an SEO firm for one of our clients?"  I thought my answer would be interesting to others, so here it is:

I want to clarify that SEO alone is not the best strategy for inbound markeitng and trying to generate more qualified traffic and leads.  SEO alone does not leverage publishing new content (blogging, podcasting, etc.) and does not leverage social media to promote your content and attract more links and people to your company.  The best way to grow your business using the internet is through inbound marketing, and most SEO firms only address part of the solution.

That being said, let's say you have the in-house expertise to start blogging and using social media, and you just want to do some SEO.  There are three options when looking to improve your SEO:

  1. "Do it yourself." - This is where you use a bunch of different online resources and learn how to do everything yourself. This is the most difficult and time consuming, but if you know what you are doing and have a lot of experience, it can be the most cost-effective since it will only take your time.
  2. "Do it with assistance." - This is where you do much of the work yourself, but with assistance from trained experts and software to make it easy for you, even if you are not an expert or have any experience. The cost is a few hundred dollars per month (HubSpot is $500/month or less) plus some of your time, but the good part about this is that you get directly involved in your inbound marketing and learn a few things that will help your other marketing programs be more effective.
  3. "Do it for me." - This is the easiest option because it takes little of your time. It is also the most expensive, because a good consultant will typically charge $2500-5000 per month, and you need to do a 6 month or longer engagement. The other issue here is that there is no knowledge transfer to your internal marketing team, so when you stop paying the consultant, you stop getting any of the benefits.

Overall, I'm a huge fan of "Do It With Assistance"since it build in house-expertise, gets you the results you want, improves other marketing programs besides SEO and just generally gets your company on the path to inbound marketing.  But of course I am biased since I work at HubSpot.  But you can't argue with our inbound marketing results, either...

inbound marketing results

Viral Video and SEO - Does YouTube Help or Hurt?

Posted Mike Volpe on 12/15/08 11:03 AM

Based on the success of our Oughta Know Inbound Marketing video (40,000 views in 5 days) promoting inbound marketing, I've gotten a few questions about how and why we did certain things.  Here's one example and my answer that I thought I would share.

"Would it be better to distribute the video from your site instead of YouTube to get the SEO credits for visits and links? When is it best to distribute a video from YouTube vs. one's own site?"

Inbound marketing is a mix of SEO, publishing content and using social media.  Sometimes to get the best benefits, you need to balance the focus on just one technique in order to get the greatest overall benefit.

If we had ONLY published the video on our blog or website, I bet we would have gotten a few thousand views, not tens of thousands.  That's a big limit to how far our ideas spread.

But, by putting it on YouTube, we were able to get tons of views within the YouTube community, and the video was much more easily shareable in other social media sites and blogs because users can directly embed it themselves.  We also published it on our blog.  Over half the views of the video were from social networks like StumbleUpon, Facebook and Twitter, and we were able to get lots of internal YouTube views because we made it onto the top 100 most viewed list, again exposing the video to more people.  None of this would have been possible if we had only put the video on our website.

Here's the cool part... because we got all of those views and exposed the video to so many more people by putting it on YouTube, we actually got a ton of links into the blog article on our blog about the video, and to our main website as well.  So by not trying to focus on SEO, we actually got possibly a greater SEO benefit.

Cheap SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Training Class on April 17

Posted Mike Volpe on 3/6/08 12:47 AM

I am giving a presentation on search engine optimization called "SEO 101" for the Boston product Management Association on April 17 in Burlington.  It is a good organization, I've been to a bunch of meetings previously.

If you are interested in SEO and want to meet some sharp marketing folks, come on by.  It's only $15 and you will be getting some good info (if I do say so myself).

Learn more about the $15 SEO 101 Class by Mike Volpe


Link Building SEO Rap

Posted Mike Volpe on 2/11/08 11:57 AM

For those of you who know me personally, you know that this video combines two big elements of my personality.  For more info, you can read this article about rap stars and their marketing techniques and also the follow-up article about rappers and marketing.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is Not Rocket Science

Posted Mike Volpe on 1/31/07 3:08 PM

We have been doing some SEO at my company for some time, with reasonable results. And being a decent size company, we get pitches from lots of vendors who want us to spend a lot of money with them to outsource our SEO. There are also companies, like HubSpot Online Marketing, that are building tools to make SEO just part of how you build and manage your website. But most of the pitches we get are from companies that are SEO "experts" who have "figured out" Google and other engine's ranking algorithms. Many of these "expert" companies that want our business try to tell me that SEO cannot be done in house and only very technical experts can do it effectively. While there might be some benefits that these experts bring to the table, to me the extra cost they ask for is not justified. So, when I saw this article Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is Not Rocket Science I really enjoyed it. We actually do outsource it to a small company right now, but not because we could not do it ourselves, mostly because it is easier and more flexible to outsource than have an employee do it. Sort of like hiring someone to mow your lawn. We could do it, we just want to spend our time on other things. For those of you looking for some insights on how to do some SEO on your own, you should check out this article Improving your Organic Position on Google: A How-To Guide For Small Business.

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