Posts Tagged 'sem'

The Best SEO Advice I’ve Seen in a Long Time…Relevance is the new PR

This morning’s thought: “I now need to go back and look at all my recent SEO work.”

I like the competition of search. Every day is different and you have the ability and or the chance to “win” so to speak.  It’ similar to watching the standings in Major League Baseball. Some days you may gain on the competition, other days you lose ground, and still others, nothing changes.

That’s the nature of competing against Google and it’s algorithm changes.  It’s cat and mouse. The pursuer and the pursued.  That’s why any article or blog post that talks about Google and search engine optimization has to be paid attention to. Sometimes, and I mean sometimes, there can be nuggets or threads of truth that can help you get a leg up on two targets  that are constantly moving in the digital space.  The customer and Google search.

How fun and frustrating can it get? Well, to the extent that after reading a post from Search Engine Land that Google would neither affirm no refute titled Ex-Googler: “To Please Google With Your SEO, Forget About SEO”, I started this post with that opening thought.

It’s OK, it happens all the time and actually as an “SEO’er” you should of kind of always be thinking that way anway-How can you improve organic search rankings?  When you’re done reading the Search Engine Land post, go over to Forbes and read a pretty good article as well on SEO titled, The 6 Basic Components Of A Strong SEO Strategy For Online Retailers.  It ties and supports the other post better and as recent as I’ve seen in quite a while in regards to what you need to think about when it comes to SEO.

It’s all good though. All of it keeps you on your toes. With that said, go read both posts in their entirety.  Below are some of the soundbites  that got me thinking.

At this stage a webmaster is out of his mind to still rely on techniques that were common practice 8 months ago.”

…don’t dismiss directories completely.

and the best one of all…

Relevance is the new PR.”

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Avoid Managing the Minutiae of Social and Search

Remember all of the Rocky movies with Sylvester Stallone? How could you not? He only made 6 of them. In the very first movie, Mickey, Rocky’s crusty trainer played by Burgess Meredith, had a couple lines in the movie that I will never forget. Some of which seem to be appropos for two reasons. One, they apply to the worlds of search and social and two, they just makse sense from a business standpoint.  But beyond the lessons that we can learn from Mickey-the real lesson is in the title of this post. But first let’s look at one of those lines and see what “the Mick” has to say. 

#1 Mickey constantly is telling Rocky to “Stick and Move”

Mickey wanted Rocky to “stick and move”  because essentially Rocky was too slow to stand in front of someone and go toe to toe with them. Sticking and moving is a method involving landing  jabs, while backing away without giving his opponent, Apollo Creed, an opportunity to launch a barrage of shots to Rocky’s head. Apparently Rocky did not heed that advice as well as Mickey wanted him to. 

In search and in social, there are so many moving parts that it’s easy to become stuck in doing one thing and one thing well or badly for that matter. Call it Myopic or blinded by focus, while not necessarily a bad thing in search and social, there are just too many moving parts. It’s better, or I should say tantamount, that you understand how search can makes a good social strategy better and vice versa, but all the while not becoming bogged down in the 101 type of activities that alot of people tend to hover on. Stay high level and keep moving; and yes I know it is the little things, but in this case, it’s about moving and being effective and the bigger picture.

For instance in search, there’s the whole aspect of campaign planning, or the strategy itself before you even launch or relaunch. There is creating search programs just for branding purposes. There is SEO, both on-page and off page for main sites and micro-sites. There is PPC, there is mobile, local, and of course the whole analytics side of it all. The point being that all of these can be managed separately and or they can be managed as channels that contribute to or funnel into the bigger picture. It’s a huge task and yet one that is best managed by sticking and moving. 

The key here is to attack and address all of these and see where they fit or fall within your organization, but not get caught up in the minutiae of managing them. Now some companies, the smaller ones, can get away with just doing some of the above mentioned tasks and not doing others, and I might add, doing it well, but larger ones at the enterprise level cannot. If we’re to understand that all of these components contribute to greater profits for a company, think how social now is playing into all of them. Social has virtually the same amount of moving parts.

In social you have to have the ability to create and manage a strategy, understand and manage social analytics, create blogs, wikis, microblogs, manage profiles and activity feeds, create and manage communties, create tags, create and manage campaigns and then rinse and repeat. Very similar to search, and yet, both very complimentary as well. The scary part? All of this can be done at both the enterprise level and the SMB level.

The common themes? A couple of them. One is the digital consumer. Another is the digital vendor. and still another are the digital expectations of and aspirations of both. Another, is how extremely well search and social play together. And still the last 2 themes? One is how important it is to stick and move in managing both search and social concurrently-especially in todays rapidly changing digital world and the other? Don’t get caught up in the minutae of managing both search and social- they are large, fluid, everchanging monoliths. “Stick and move Rock, Stick and move”.

Your success is determined by one thing

I know this is going to ruffle some feathers, but right now your marketing initiatives, your social media efforts, your email campaign, your DRTV campaign and more- all of it will rely on one thing in the end. Consider the following scenarios:

  • You are going to launch a new product. You build a website but how are you going to drive people to the site? How do they find it?
  • You launch a new product with a new company, that no one has ever heard of before, how will people find out more about you, your company, and your product?
  • You launch a new social network, how will it grow? How is it found? You start a new blog and you want people to read your kick-ass content? How will they know you’re out there? You join a new social network, how do you meet others?
  • You launch a new brick and mortar business, how do you drive business? Newspapers? Radio? Magazine? What is a person’s first knee jerk reaction to your advertising?
  • Your reputation? Where can you find it? How can you find it? Do you know if anybody is talking about you, your company and your product?
  • Your friends? Your family, How do they find you? Old friends? How do they find you?
  • You need a new job. How will you get your next one?

I could go on. But I think you get the point. Everything. and I mean everything that you do revolves around…

SEARCH

Think about it.

search-engines

10 Social Media, SEO, and Marketing questions/thoughts I had in Church.

So I’m sitting in church and they’re passing around the collection plate. At which point I started thinking that clearly the church is hurting too because the little baskets are really flying down the aisles. Given that church is a great place to take stock of all things in ones life, I grabbed my smartphone and jotted down the following thoughts and questions.

  • Social media measurement and its associated metrics will change with the changing of external markets and it’s influencers.
  • As the economy changes, so do the rules of engaging the consumer and marketing to that consumer. They have to. They must.
  • Will or should social media engagement be measured differently in tough economic times? Yes?
  • Should or will the tone of marketing and social media marketing change?
  • Do peoples expectations of social media change during economic woes? No. because they haven’t set any precedents yet.
  • Do we change benchmarking for social media? My thoughts are we would have to, since there is zero empirical data to go off of.
  • How important does social media optimization and SEO now become? I think it’s huge.
  • If times were different would some social media startups have a fighting chance? or do they now have an even better chance of surviving? Which is it?
  • Will social nets thrive now or in the next 24 months given the current state?
  • Their success will be determined by what? The same metrics? Or can startups afford to be measureed by engagement only?

So I was still feverishly texting these into my notes section of my phone well after the collections had been taken.  At which point, I looked up and saw that I was getting some nasty looks from the following: the people in the pew to my right,  the people directly to the left of me, my wife, an usher, and my kids, who thought I was playing Bejeweled.

That’s ok though, because If I’m thinking of these things,  maybe marketers, social media marketers, start-ups and even GOD might be too! Though divine intervention as a variable into any metric is a given, right?

Your SEO mantra

I read the blog post the Yin Yang of PR and SEO by Lee Odden and I’m going to sum it up right here:

If a digital asset (text, image, video, audio) can be searched on, then it can be optimized.

No go forth and prosper

19 things you should know about your world

  1. Did you know that China has over 253,000,000 internet users which amounts to about 17% of the world’s users?
  2. Did you know that China will eventually become the #1 English speaking country in the world? Or that
  3. The 25% of the population in China with the highest IQ’s …is greater than the total population of North America.  In India, it’s the top 28%.  Translation for teachers:  they have more honors kids than we have kids. 
  4. There are over 2.7 billion searches performed on Google each month.  Which speaks to a post I did about tech trends.
  5. The amount of new technical information is doubling every 2 years.  For students starting a four-year technical or college degree, this means that…half of what they learn in their first year of study will be outdated by their third year of study.  It is predicted to double every 72 hours by 2010.
  6. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that today’s learner will have 10-14 jobs . . By the age of 38
  7. Predictions are that by 2013 a supercomputer will be built that exceeds the computation capability of the human brain.
  8. According to the U.S. Department of Labor . . .1 out of 4 workers today is working for a company they have been employed by for less than one year
  9. More than 1 out of 2 are working for a company they have worked for for less than five years.
  10. According to former Secretary of Education Richard Riley . . The top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010 didn’t exist in 2004.
  11. We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist .
  12. The U.S. is 20th in the world in broadband Internet penetration.(Luxembourg just passed us.)
  13. 1 out of every 8 couples married in the U.S. last year met
  14. The average MySpace page is visited 30 times a day.
  15. The number of text messages sent and received every day exceeds the population of the planet
  16. More than 3,000 new books are published . .
  17. It’s estimated that 40 exabytes (that’s 4.0 x 1019) of unique new information will be generated worldwide this year
  18. The amount of new technical information is doubling every 2 years
  19. 47 million laptops were shipped worldwide last year

 

Many thanks to  Karl Fisch  and Scott Mcleod  who compiled alot of this data, which in the end, really gives you a sense of how very large this world is and how very small you are.  

 

 

 The only constant in life is change. Don’t be static.

SEO and SMO are conversation starters.

Last year Jason Calacanis wrote a blog post how he thought that SEO and SMO were bullshit. Now I know in some parts Calacanis is approaching demi-god status and in other parts he’s villified to no end. Hell, he has 35,000 followers on Twitter, which is a fairly significant number of people who put a lot of stock in what he says. I’m one of those followers too. But that doesn’t mean that I agree with everything he says.

I had been thinking about the role of SEO and SMO in internet marketing lately and decided to do a cursory search and that’s when I found Jason’s article. It’s not the driving force behind this post but it does give it some legs since Jason and others have deemed some of what is done on the level within SEO and SMO circles as unacceptable.

Over the last year and half and even before that, I have engaged in some pretty healthy SEO as well as SMO for clients. And it has worked. I utilized what was available and knew what I was doing. According to Calacanis that would make me a snake oil salesman. Talking SMO then, Calacanis said the following:

Anyone who hires an SMO firm is an idiot. The whole point of social media is TO BE REAL NOT FAKE!!! Just be yourself and participate… that’s all it takes (and note, participation is not just putting in your own links, it’s voting/commenting on/submitting other people’s content too!).

To which I have to say that “SMO is the process of realizing that being authentic and strategic within a social media marketing context or environment can be beneficial.

Here’s a generic example. I have a demographic of women smokers in their mid 30′s for instance. They  happen to use Facebook. So I create a widget that provides them a way to maybe quit smoking and track the results and share them, which in turn drives them to a blogsite, a branded microsite and a branded community. To get this ball rolling, I’ve also seeded/posted articles related to all of these sites and the product and the campaign on Digg, Stumbleupon, Delicious, Technorati, Propeller and say Reddit. All of these linked together creates a tremendous opportunity and buzz for these users to not only meet, but also to share, and perhaps learn more about a product dedicated to them. Does this mean that what I have done is black-hat or disingenuous? No. Does it mean that I have taken certain elements, linked them together and have enjoyed the linky-goodness via SMO and SEO? Yes. Am I bad? Am I evil? Am I hiding? Am I not being “transparent enough”?  Why can’t I let these social bookmarking sites know about a product launch?

Want a good example?  Buddy Media created the Check your Dudeness app for Facebook-Couldn’t this be construed as some element of SMO? They’re taking a product, a branded one and using social media to promote it. Is that gaming the system? No.

We need to get away from the fact that what the system allows us to do, does not neccessarily mean that we are up to no good, or that we’re not being transparent enough. Ok I get it. I don’t need to be told over and over and over again to be transparent and authentic. Yes there is a difference between black hat seo and white hat seo as well as black hat smo, no doubt about it. Just check akismet for aspects of that. But.. most of your brand marketers are only using the tools that are available. I can show you at least 130 examples where companies used certain aspects of social media to promote or further their brand exposure using some of the above mentioned sites and tactics. This doesn’t mean that they are operating behind a cloak of deceit.

Listen, there is a big big difference between gaming the system and utilizing what is provided to promote your product, your brand, and your company. It truly boils down to how you use it. I’m all for engaging in conversations but someone has to start the conversation. The better you are at starting a conversation, the better your chances are of someone listening and responding back. Maybe we should be looking at not how to be transparent and authentic, but more on the proper way to enagage and start the conversation.

Social Media marketing, is there room for the small players? 23 talking points

I was driving home yesterday going past hundreds of small companies that are all in the same economic boat right now. They need to drive traffic, sales, and business. And you can best believe that they are willing to try any and all things that can possibly do that. And that includes utilizing social media.  I mean we can find plenty of blog posts and articles about whether large companies can succeed using social media, and my answer would be “uhhh… yea!” 

So one of the questions I would have as a small business owner and even a medium sized in some cases would be:

1) How can I drive sales, traffic and business to my click and mortar site using any online means available?  Wow that’s a broad question. But wouldn’t you ask the same thing? Tell me what’s out there and I will use it, if it helps.

Let’s assume that you have a website and you use email. If you don’t, you can stop here because the rest won’t matter. But unless you’re reading this post at the library or you’re over at your Aunt Evelyn’s, I’m going to assume that you at least have a computer. And since you are a small to medium size business owner, you damn well better have a website! NO MATTER WHAT KIND OF BUSINESS YOU HAVE, YOU BETTER HAVE A WEBSITE.

Lets get to it, Lets go over this checklist and see if there is room in the social media marketing space for the small players.

2) Do customers use your website? If they don’t maybe it’s because they don’t know you have one. What efforts have you employed to market or optiimize your current site?

3) Do you give them any reason to go to your website? If you are not letting people know your site is out there and what it has to offer, then you can answer that question pretty easily. But is your site a marketing tool. Can customers get a better deal on a service or a product if they go there?

4) What do they do when they are there? Whats the bounce? What do your analytics tell you? You do use some type of stats package right? If you don’t what your customer does on your website, it’s the same as if you stayed in your office all day and never came out to see what was going on in your business or store. In order to understand the customer you have to see their tendencies. You have to know where they are coming from and how they found you.

5) How well do you utilize your URL on other marketing materials? You have signage, billboards, print ads, business cards, letterhead, email, Is your web address there?

6) What is your presence like locally? How well are you branded locally? Do they know you, who knows where you are locally? What efforts do you make to brand you and your company locally? The “if you build it, they will come business model”, doesn’t work too often.

7) What are your current marketing initatives like? Do you support them online? Do you have a budget? What do you use it on? Is it a print ad? Do you do anything that can drive business on a consistent basis?

8) With a limited marketing budget, what would you do with it? What DO you do with it? Is that something that even is on your mind or lips? Are the economics of what is happening right now preclude you from even thinking about budgeting for marketing? Wouldn’t this be the most opportune time to be spending?

9) Do you do any type of digital marketing now? i.e. email, seo, sem? If you don’t then that will explain your lack of any traffic on your website, along with the design you have to let people know you have a web presence.

10)  Do you know what social media is?

11)  Do you understand it? Do you know what the essential elements are of social media?

Before I go any further, lets throw something out there right now and that’s lets assume that you have answered all of these questions the “right” way. Let’s assume that you are ready to do this, you are ready to “try” some element of social media marketing. And lets hope that you’re not fighting or resisitng to try social media You’re next set of questions are going to be:

1) Is there a company or someone out there who can help me?

2) Do they have experience working with my type of company, my type of customer?

3) What guarantees do I have that this will work?

4) What will it cost? What can I expect?

5) Will it fail? What is the downside?

6) What is the upside? What, after all is said and done, will be the net result?

7) How long will it take?

8) Is it a process?

9) Is it measurable?

10) What do I look for in my results?

11) How do I pay for something like this?

12) What if it backfires?

13) Now what do we do?

 

Ok so we now have 23 talking points to get the conversation going. There are questions that small to medium sized business owners need to ask of themselves in regards to their current marketing efforts and the general state of of their advertisng efforts and there is the next set of questions that these same owners need to ask of any individual or company that comes knocking that is going to pitch them on social media marketing.

The point is this, there are so many “conversations” going on right now in regards to how corporations are wrestling with implementing social media into their marketing efforts. In fact Jeremiah Owyang recently wrote a post about the 5 questions that companies ask about social media, but it concerns large outfits and not the little guys. I think the small players are being ignored. It’s not that it can’t be done, it just needs to be very focused. Why can’t everyone participate in the conversation?

 

 

Mobile, Social, and Search. Quick hits.

In a quest to pare down my already slim posts, I’m going to fire off a couple of quick blurbs for everyone to chew on until the next post:

  • Aside from Microsoft not backing down in it’s quest to buy Yahoo, AT&T and Yahoo have entered in a multiyear deal to share revenue from advertising on Mobile phones. Yahoo will provide search and display advertising for AT&T customers. I’m shocked that Google did not get there first.
  • Speaking of Microsoft, the Wall Street Journal just cut a deal with them in which the WSJ’s paid search and contextual advertising services will be provided by Microsoft. Not to sound redundant but, I’m shocked that Google did not get there first…
  • Social media giants Facebook and Myspace will become application hubs and launch pads for niche based “smaller” social networks. Alot of this is the residual effect of Facebook opening its platform last fall.
  • Word of Mouth marketing is the new mode of marketing on the cheap. It’s also just as effective as traditional forms of marketing and has much more of a “buzz” factor.
  • Magazines drive more than 50% of online searches, followed by reading an article in a magazine and lastly by seeing something on TV.
  • According to Anderson Analytics, 32% of  the 1700 marketing executives polled cited “Green Marketing” as an important emerging concept along with it being considered the trendiest marketing buzzword.
  • The hottest demographic that you need to be marketing too, but are probably ignoring are the hispanic and baby boomers.
  • According to Informa’s latest report entitled “Mobile Social Networking: Communities and Content on the Move,” the number of mobile social networking users exceeded 50 million, approximately 2.3% of the global mobile user population on December 31st, 2007

The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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