Blog Posts About Events

How James Dean Helped an SEO Class

By Ava Naves, Principal, The Online Strategy House


James Dean helped an SEO Class

Most people wouldn’t think that there’s any link between vintage cars, Hollywood legends, and Information Architeture. That is so, but little did I know that my teenage crush on James Dean would come in handy at one of the SEO and Web Analytics classes that I’ve taught at the University of British Columbia.

I’ve been strangely fascinated by the actor ever since I was around 12 or 13, and that has led me to memorizing several bits of what, until recently, I deemed to be useless trivia. For example, I know that he…

  • Was driving a 1955 550 Porsche Spyder when he died
  • Had his fatal accident on September 30th, 1955
  • Played the violin as a young child

The course that I’ve taught at UBC, here in Vancouver, presented best practices in SEO and Digital Analytics that can guide the optimization of new and revamped sites. One of the topics of the first session was how Information Architecture (specifically site hierarchy and structure) affects SEO.

When I first developed the materials for that class, I somehow had the idea of using a fictitious site for a reseller of vintage car parts as an example. Fast forward to a few weeks later, during this term’s first lecture. When I got to the part where I talked about SEO and Information Architecture (IA), I mentioned Porsche as the theme of one of the make-believe directories in the site. The next step would be to explain that one of the subdirectories would include information on parts for Porsche classic cars, like the convertible that James Dean was driving on that fateful September afternoon. But then… I forgot the model of the vehicle! I usually like to include that in the example because it is unexpected and students often find that amusing.

By that point it was around 8:30 pm, and I was cognizant of the need to to keep the students involved so that they would understand those important IA and SEO principles. And my coffee was… not kicking in anymore. So there I was, staring blankly at the white board, saying outloud: “Right… what was that car that James Dean was driving…”

To my surprise (and relief), one of the students  jumped off his seat and came to my aid. Very enthusiastically, he said: “A 1955 550 Porsche Spyder!” That was a moment when everyone in class realized that learning about SEO, IA, and Digital Analytics can actually be enjoyable.

When that class was over for that evening, the student paid me one of the dearest compliments I’ve ever received. He said: “I was dreading this class but this was actually fun!” I know that students sacrificed personal and family time to attend that three-hour course every Wednesday evening, so I very much appreciated that.

Thank you, Jimmy!

P.S.: Maybe you’re part of a company that could benefit from a custom online marketing workshop. Give us a shout… we’ll make it fun!

A Social Media Lesson from The Art of Marketing, in Vancouver

Avinash Autograph

Avinash Kaushik’s Autograph: “Happy Analytics!”

By Ava Naves, Principal

The Art of Marketing happened here in Vancouver in November of 2011 and brought us some very high-caliber speakers:

  • Mitch Joel, President of Twist Image, speaker and author of “Six Pixels of Separation”;
  • Bill Taylor, Co-Founder of Fast Company and author of “Practically Radical”;
  • Avinash Kaushik, one of the only men in the world for whom I’d cook dinner (the other ones being my Dad, my Beau and David Gray), author of “Web Analytics 2.0″ and “Web Analytics: An Hour a Day”; Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google and Co-Founder of Market Motive;
  • Gary Vaynerchuk, author of “The Thank You Economy” and “Crush It!”
  • Guy Kawasaki, a Canadian in a Hawaiian’s body, hockey aficionado, and co-founder of Guy has been the chief evangelist of Apple and is the author of several books, the latest of which being “Enchantment”

There were several great takeaways from the event. I would require a very, very long post to assimilate all the great insight in one single entry, so I shall cover only one — it being the very first point that was brought to us, by no other than Ron Tite, the Master of Ceremonies at the conference. He’s the Vice President, Innovation Practice at Euro RSCG, and a speaker in his own right.

Read more

The Crossroads Between Social Media and SEO: Upcoming Presentation at IIMA

By Ava Naves, PrincipalCrossroads Social Media SEO

A couple of weeks ago I was invited by the folks at the International Internet Marketing Association (IIMA) to speak on the same topic that I presented at IMC Vancouver 2010: “The Crossroads between Social Media & SEO”. The event will be at 6:00 pm on this coming Wednesday, October 13th, at the 4th floor of the YWCA Vancouver (535 Hornby Street).

To say that I’m excited is really an  understatement. Having been to several talks at IIMA by respected professionals such as Darren Barefoot, Jason Billingsley, Warren Sukernek and Richard Goossen, I feel honoured that I’ve been chosen to join the roster of speakers at IIMA.

For those not familiar with IIMA, they’re an organization now in its twelfth year. Their goal is “to bring marketers, agencies and professionals together to discuss the capabilities and potential of Internet marketing”, and judging by past events I’ve attended, they have certainly been fulfilling this mandate.

Below is a sample of  what you can expect to learn from the presentation:

- How a well-planned social media presence can increase your search engine visibility.
– The steps you’re probably already applying to search engine optimization, and which can be transplanted to your social media outreach for a stronger presence  on Google and Bing.
– How strategic Twitter updates, blog posts, Facebook statuses and YouTube videos can help your search engine rankings.
– Facebook changes that affect search.

I owe a big thanks to Jose Uzcategui, John Hossack, Charity Robertson and all the folks at IIMA for promoting and making this event possible. I’m sure there are other names that I’m failing to mention.

If you’d like to join us, book your ticket online here.  The cost for this IIMA is quite reasonable (CAD$38.25 for IIMA member, and CAD$45 for non-members)

I’m sure that many of us will get together at a pub nearby to continue to network and “talk shop” after the event, so feel free to join us there as well, and allocate some extra time for a pint!