EWBC Day 1: Able Grape’s Doug Cook on search friendliness or, how to help your audience find you

How can you bring quality traffic to your site by assisting search engines in finding it? That’s the topic for the next session at the European Wine Bloggers Conference with Doug Cook of Able Grape’s presentation on Search Engine Friendliness conveniently available for you to see on his site, Able Grape. I will be live blogging as best I can depending on my access to the internet.

Is more traffic better? Doug Cook asks.

No. Traffic that engages your site is better.  Does your audience see what you offer as adding value to the web or spamming you?

So how can you reach the people who want to hear what you have to say? How do you connect with people who want to connect with you?

First you have to understand the “long Tail” of search. Lots have been written about this concept. That’s because it really is key and important. When people are searching for something, they will each use a combination of terms which they think will get them what they need. When they land on your site with their search, if they don’t see what they’re looking for, they’re gone, onto the next site which may offer them their holy grail. They are NOT going to search your site to find what you know is there but they don’t know how to find.

So if you want good traffic with meaningful interactions what do you do?

People are using some sort of search engine device or crawler. The web crawler has to find a link to your page, the crawler must be able to get the page, and see the page. Winery web sites don’t always to all of this very well. Blogging platforms do–WordPress, for example does much of this work for me here.

Not all text is equal continues Doug. Unfortunately, I lost my link and now have to move onto the “tmn banda large.”  Fortunately, his powerpoint is on his site.

Experiment, he says, but use google analytics to understand how your experimentation helps you or not.

He was going to talk about search on twitter (his day job is the head of search on twitter) but he’s run out of time so he’s focusing on introducing us to his search engine on wine, “Able Grape.” Unfortunately, that’s NOT part of the presentation on his site. I’ll ask him to update it and I bet he will so that this presentation which includes twitter will be link soon.

In the meantime, he’s showing off, for good reasons, his amazing search engine Able Grape and sharing an interesting story where he noticed an unusual amount of searches for Cascina Delle Rose. Since he couldn’t make sense of how or why, he asked the winery. Turns out, they were sending HIM traffic. As a small, little known winery, they suggested that people check them out using Able Grape. A great suggestion!

And how much money has Doug Cook made after working nearly full time for four years on his site, Able Grape? Nada. According to Doug, it’s a labor of love, a site he is devoted to in his spare time now that he’s full time with twitter.

And that’s it! The end of this live blogging session; the next session happens soon!

Doug Cook, Doug Cook, Doug Cook. Does that name sound familiar to you? Yes indeed: he’s the sommelier and wine guy who has wowed me and many others not only with his knowledge about wine at the past two wine bloggers Conferences in North America, but with examples of wine from his cellar. And yes, he’s the guy who poured me the sauterne from my post “Sex and the Sauterne.”

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