The Ten Commandments of SEM 2.0
Sat, May 31, 2008
Naturally, our star this time is not Ramses, but Moses... (Charlton Heston style)
It hit me a few days after publishing that, that there's a perfect way to extend the theme of the post and go into more detail.
That's right, it's...
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF SEM 2.0
- Thou shalt test everything everywhere; test thy messages, offers, and appeals in social media, on thy site, in thy ads, and in thy search listings.
- Thou shalt win friends and influence people via Social Media; thou shalt turn competitors into allies via networking and SM.
- Thou shalt not beg, cajole, or threaten people to give you links for thy networking and value surely shalt bring thee more links (blessed are the poor in links who deserve more links)
- Thou shalt create valuable content and useful tools that people will want to use, link to, and share.
- Thou shalt use analytics to discover which keywords, placements, ads, offers, and audiences get thee the results thou needest most.
- Thou shalt use lessons from each of these three channels: social media, SEO, and PPC to doest better in the other two.
- Thou shalt use thy seo wisdom on landing pages to increase thy PPC quality score.
- Thou shalt re-optimize and re-strategize based on clues provided to thee by thy analytics.
- Thou shalt monitor what people are saying about thee, stay up to date on thy competition, and watch for new competitors.
- Thou shalt attain wisdom from pre-internet marketing and PR books and teachers and test them in thy SEM efforts.
And finally, thou shalt not argue about whether there is any sense to the order of these 10 commandments. Because there ain't.
Google Local Search SEO (Blended Search): Optimizing Universal Search Results for Local Businesses
Sat, May 31, 2008
This is a huge topic, since Google's universal search results include images, locations, business listings, videos, news, and now/coming-soon merchant services... so I can't cover everything, but I want to give our SEO clients a short primer on what universal search is, how important it is, and what we can do to optimize it, especially for local businesses.
The basics are this: without you asking, Google gives you more than just websites in web search results. It's been like that for more than a year, so I'm sure you've noticed... but you may not know how this impacts SEO. Here's an intro to Google's blended search and what's included in the results.
There's a New Definition for "Number One Search Results"
A bunch of our clients are local businesses. For example, we have some clients who are either golf courses or advertising cooperatives for golf courses in Myrtle Beach, SC.
Look what happens these days when you Google "myrtle beach golf":
The Division of Search Results Real Estate
This is on a 1024 pixel wide browser-
- There are 345,000 square pixels of area in these search results above the fold
- 51% of the space is local search results
- 49% is AdWords ads
- Natural search results (individual webpages apart from local results) take up 0%
Yes, zero. Ye ol' natural website listings are not visible above the fold for this local search. And we didn't ask for that- that's just what Google naturally gives us for this search- it decides this is an important search to show local business results for.
So if your critical target keywords show local business results in Google's search, YOU MUST BE IN THE TOP LOCAL BUSINESS LISTINGS. If you have any doubt about that, check out independent research that shows that blended search changes searcher behavior.
Getting in Google's Top Local Business Listings Search Results
How do you do that? Luck? Voodoo?
- Some have alluded to the importance of reviews on the third party sites Google aggregates- sheer number of reviews, and keywords in the reviews. Note, you cannot optimize that in a white-hat manner.
- Many of these third party sites also discourage businesses (hotels, for example) from telling their customers to post reviews.
- I'm certain Google would frown on you telling them to post a positive review with specific keywords in them.
- What about keywords in the local business profile? I regret to say I don't have enough data on that to comment yet. My SEM stock answer? Test, test, test. But don't spam.
- Check out Matt McGee's 10 likely elements of the local search algorithm
Some businesses are lucky (or smart) to have keywords in their URLs and brand names. Look what happens for "Myrtle Beach Resort" when you type in the popular keyword "myrtle beach resort"...
...instead of a variety of local listings, the one business is featured. And they have the number one website ranking, so they get all 51% of the non-ad space above the fold.
The hotel group "Myrtle Beach Resorts" does not get the same privilege for the search "myrtle beach resorts":
Evidently, Google lets the plural form trigger a listing of multiple results, and MyrtleBeach-Resorts.com does not appear to be optimized to win in the top local business listings for this keyword. Looks like they need more backlinks and more reviews with that keyword in it!
An interesting question that comes up is: what keywords bring up local business listings in the Google search results? We tested a bunch of keywords in multiple cities, and it turns out that it depends on the city and what the businesses there are.
For example, "myrtle beach mosque" does not produce local listings...
...but "new york mosque" does:
Why? There aren't any mosques in Myrtle Beach, but there are a bunch in New York City.
How Do You Know Which Keywords Will Have Local Business Results?
The easy answer is search all your target keywords to see if local business listings come up and see how your client does for them. Every business should be managing a Google local business profile anyway- and that's part of the solution.
This is like the local biz results but not local and only service providers- so if you want to compare secured loans, you can compare rates and even fill out a lead form to get rate quotes.
Will it replace websites that get business leads? Probably not, but will it be another important channel? Yes. And will someone have to manage that information for these service businesses? Yes. Who? SEO's, of course!
Videos in Local Search Results
Just a few tests demonstrate that you can get locally relevant video results not just from keywords that contain video like "myrtle beach funny video"...
(note "myrtle beach video" brought up listings of video stores like Blockbuster)
You can also get video results from keywords closely enough related to the title of the video, e.g. "myrtle beach funny commercial"...
My Tips on Video SEO Optimization are:
- Know which keywords will NOT bring up local business results, avoid the ones that do bring up local biz results, because I suspect the local results will trump video results, and your video won't show up in those search results. Let me know if you ever see blended search results with both local biz listings and videos on the first page- I haven't seen it.
- Upload videos to multiple sites via tubemogul, especially youtube, as youtube videos generally rank highest
- Put your target keywords in the video title, the video description
- Put your website link in the video description
- Put a title on the video itself with your website url so viewers know where to go for more info
- Link to your video from your websites and blogs
Herewith endeth ye ol' lesson.
The SEM 2.0 Pyramid (SEO + SMO + PPC)
Sun, May 25, 2008
SMM, SMO, and ORM hath heaved up my SEM department.
As I wrote elsewhere, web 2.0 messed up my job title. The crazy thing is how much SEO (search engine optimization) and SMO (social media optimization) and ORM (online reputation management) overlap. Throw into the mix the PR department at our sister traditional agency, and you've got a logistical juggernaut.
So I went to the cocktail napkin, actually the back of a printout of my previous best visual representation of our services, and started sketching out something new.
The more I thought about it, the more I saw that SEO, SMO, and PPC form an interdependent triangle, or pyramid, since pyramids are generally cooler (see Matt McGee's SEO pyramid). I thought, hey, that was a really successful concept, so I created...
The SEM 2.0 Pyramid:
(I threw in an Egyptian, which Matt somehow forgot, because I thought it was funny- well, at least Yul Brenner as an Egyptian is funny.)
I left out ORM, because I don't see ORM as marketing exactly, and it's a more occasional service- or you could look at SMM as the proactive part of ORM, so that takes care of it- and while you're doing SMM, you may notice ORM issues.
Besides, the SEM 2.0 Square wouldn't be as cool as the SEM 2.0 Pyramid.
The serious explanation of the SEM 2.0 Pyramid:
It's all about relationships, and what each strategy/channel contributes to the others:
Search engine optimization is foundational, because the keyword approach you learn there penetrates everything;
- PPC uses keywords, and usage of keywords in SMO leads to SEO benefits.
- Understanding of inbound links, keywords, and anchor text also helps SMO create more SEO value.
- SEO also can help determine which audiences, keywords, and messages lead to business results
- Analytics associating keywords with conversions gives you converting keywords to retarget, and
- Copywriting tests of meta descriptions also provide intel about which messages resonate with warm prospects.
- These converting keywords and messages can then be tested in SMO and PPC.
Social media optimization is an educational process; conversing with your prospects and interested parties in various audiences leads to
- Discovery of placements you can target in PPC, and
- Alerts you to ORM issues.
- SMO may also tip you off about why various keywords and messages do and do not work in PPC and SEO.
- Good SMO inevitably leads to more backlinks for the sites you SEO.
Pay per click advertising:
- Placement targeting research may alert you of important domains to do SMO on- that is, blogs to have conversations on.
- And PPC provides a powerful test laboratory in which to try out messages, keywords, and audiences, which can then be tested in SMO and SEO.
Together these three strategies almost form Voltron, but not really. They do create an incredible synergy in this new SEM 2.0 paradigm.
Haha, I had to say synergy, didn't I? Couldn't help it
10 Tips for PR 2.0 and a Sexier Press Release
Thu, May 22, 2008
This post was written in part for our sister traditional ad agency, Brandon Advertising's PR department.Blog programmer Jeff and I were talking about how to help them blog excellently and help their clients blog excellently, and thinking about the differences between traditional PR and web 2.0. That's where this blog post started.
Then we just had a meeting with Brandon PR team there and the possibilities for Social Media Management and Online Reputation Management are pretty exciting (our combination of interactive savvy and their decades of PR expertise mean we can create a powerful new offering AND probably form Voltron), but PR people need succinct guidance as well as info for their clients. That's what this post is for.
How does this fit with traditional PR?
It doesn't. Press releases are boring and written to get the attention of old media. The way to get the attention bloggers is to follow the 10 steps below.
Is there a press release for bloggers?
Blog posts themselves work like press releases for bloggers. Bloggers typically don't read press releases. They read popular news blogs like TechCrunch, which pick up things from a variety of news sources. Most of this happens via RSS feeds.
- A blogger reads news from another blog's RSS feed, then
- He/she blogs about it, and then
- Their RSS feed communicates info about that new blog post to other bloggers.
Click here or on the image for an illustration of the RSS feed process.
As more traditional journalists get into blogs and social media, they'll be reading the blog posts that get attention and make it into popular RSS feeds, so this is how you'll reach journalists online.
A 2.0 press release, or "social media release" follows the guidelines below. There's no reason not to do both traditional and 2.0 press releases. But know that a traditional press release alone isn't going to engage web visitors like a sexy blog post will. ...cuz who doesn't like sexy? Ok, maybe the pope.
10 Tips for Making Your Press Release 2.0 and Getting More Attention Online:
- Use Multimedia. Text is boring. A combo of images, video, audio, pdfs, etc. is much more titillating. And PDFs are better than Word DOCs.
- Link it! Create internal links by linking from one blog post to another (that's what I just did with that PDF vs Doc link above). Put keywords in the blog post title to get more relevant links from other blogs. Put in social bookmarking tokens to facilitate viral message spread.
- Make Lists. Lists are easier to read, are more organized, and more useful to the reader. This fabulous blog post includes a top 10 list.
- Ask for and Respond to Comments. If people don't comment, they don't care, and you didn't make an impact. Try some controversy. Or use the word sexy 20 times in your post.
- Write Sexy Titles. They get attention and increase curiosity- that's why I said "sexier" in this post's title. Titles are arguably more important than your post... because without good, stimulating titles, no one will read your post.
- Engage Multiple Contributors (real people). This post would be even better if it was the opinion of 10 different bloggers. This blog is written by multiple people. Synergy, baby, synergy.
- Personality. Web 1.0 was boring and corporate. Web 2.0 is real people with real, sometimes controversial opinions. Without an opinion you can't make an impact, without emotions you're not human. Talk to humans like a human if you want to make a connection. That means not legislating the soul out of your releases with overly restrictive guidelines. NOTE: you must possess, develop, or purchase a personality before you can successfully complete this step.
- Be Useful. What's the reader's take away? Just ideas? Not good enough. Why should someone tell someone else about your release? They're asking "WIIFM" (What's in it for me?) and they know if they forward it on to you, you better not be likely to go "What the heck is this? Who cares?" The value must be obvious.
- Use Real Stories. Ideas and principles alone are boring and don't engage most people . Stories that illustrate principles, however, are powerful. That's why preachers use them. That why politicians use them. That's why YOU should use them.
- Write Good. Yes, that was tongue in cheek. Good writing does the work of communicating for the reader. Bad writing makes the reader do the work of understanding. That's lazy. And that could be impossible if your writing really sucks.
All of the above needs to be interesting, shocking, surprising, fun, thoughtful, and personal. That's why I use a sense of humor and choose surprising/shocking words. Ok, go forth, release in a 2.0 manner, and form Voltron!
Shame on You: Twitter CAN be a Sales Tool
Tue, May 20, 2008
I think two things are shameful right now in social media:
1. Everyone is trying to define or limit Twitter- Twitter is for this or that or should be used in this way and not that. You should have this kind of following:follower ratio. Blah blah blah.
Here's a prime example of a statement that's clearly false: "Twitter is not a sales channel"
- Dell has sold $500,000 of hardware using Twitter (from discounts/specials), and
- Other people are doing more modest things like selling t-shirts.
2. People are settling for and even justifying the use of engagement metrics instead of ROI metrics.
If your goal is branding exclusively, fine- maybe I can accept that. But why not still try to find a way to track your results?
If you're responsible for the bottom line, don't give social media a pass on ROI metrics.
If you come from a PR background and haven't dealt with ROI metrics much, don't use that as an excuse not to learn to use them.
What Twitter is For? Ridiculous.
I was wondering why I spent 30 minutes looking for proof that Twitter can be used as a sales channel. I think it's because I intuit that Twitter can be powerful for a lot of applications... as a communications tool, an engagement tool, a sales tool, a networking tool, to push news feeds... who knows what else.
To me, saying "Twitter is for this or that" would be like in, the early days of the telephone, saying "the telephone isn't for sales" or "the telephone is just for meaningless chatter"- you can't measure it on ROI". Even to say "Twitter favors women" is near-sighted.
And by the way, anyone can answer questions like "Can you sell stuff on Twitter?" for themselves with Summize: for example: http://summize.com/search?q
The reason Twitter works for sales is, not only is it a communications tool just like a phone or email, but also you can use it to find customers at point of need.
Here are is some amplification of that:
/2008/04/using_twitter_as_a _real_time_business_sales _marketing_service.html
Online Reputation Management: Twitter, Summize, & iGoogle
Tue, May 20, 2008
Online reputation management is becoming more and more important to everyone online, not just companies.
Monitoring Your Reputation
As G.I. Joe used to say, "knowing is half the battle," and in ORM that means monitoring all relevant online channels for people talking about you, your company, your products, and even your whole niche.
How Do You Monitor Your Reputation on Twitter?
There's a lot of conversation on Twitter about all kinds of topics, but how do you monitor Twitter effectively and efficiently?
Here's a summary of the steps:
1. Do some summize searches, preferably using boolean options (see the advanced search page for more) until you get the concentrated results you want.
2. Copy the links for the RSS feeds for those searches
3. Add those links to your iGoogle or feed reader.
4. Check the feed every day to see what's going on!
Is SEO Spam? What Search Rankings Do You Deserve?
Sun, May 18, 2008
Matt Cutts is a Google engineer who focuses on web spam, and he's their main spokesperson when it comes to SEO and spam. According to Matt, web spam happens when website break the rules "so that their website shows up higher than it deserves to show up."
You may not want to consciously spam Google, but do you want to show up #1 for rankings you don't deserve?
What? Um, Brian, What Search Rankings Do I Deserve?
Let me give you an example. If you're Ford Motor Company, do you deserve to rank for the search "cars"?
If you answered yes, think again. There are dozens of auto manufacturers that also deserve to rank for "cars". So who gets to be number one? The website most optimized for "cars"?
No, most likely, the site that wins is the one that deals with the entire topic of "cars".
If you only represent one manufacturer, you don't deserve to rank for the entire topic. If you want to rank for that, you need to create an info portal that deals with ALL cars. For example, the #1 result right now is cars.com, a portal that helps you research, buy, and sell cars.
(In fact, two of the top four results are for the movie "Cars"- so the search results have to deal with diversity of manufacturer and meaning.)
Is SEO Spam?
Matt Cutts is quick to clarify that "SEO is not spam." There are ways to optimize sites to make sure they get the rankings they do deserve. But SEO is not voodoo, and if it's done ethically (white hat, not black hat), it can't get you rankings you don't deserve.
Isn't Good Web Design Enough?
Web designers usually are not SEO experts. Their job is to design a site that looks good and is functional- hopefully they know enough SEO to not block you from good search rankings, which they can actually do.
For example, entirely Flash-based sites seem cool, but they're more complicated to optimize. Search engines don't read Flash nearly as well as HTML. There is a work-around, but it requires not just the normal SEO but the Flash FLA file also needs to be enhanced.
SEO can help you in a number of ways, including:
1. Fix web design issues that block good search rankings
2. Enhance web design to make sure you rank for the keywords you deserve to rank for
3. Show you what content areas you need if you want to rank for keywords you don't deserve
How to Deserve Mo' Betta' Search Rankings
If you want to rank for keywords you don't currently deserve to rank for, check out the third item above. It implies changing your website strategy, possibly even part of your business strategy.
If you want to be an authority on a more general topic so you can get more search traffic, you need a content development plan.
You might need to identify someone in your organization who can and will blog.
Or you might have lots of internal documents, sales documents, or white papers you haven't put online yet. You can leverage those information assets into better search rankings.
Your Next Steps
Contact a good search engine optimizer. They can assess your website's current content and service offerings, help you understand what keyword targets are reasonable, and give you an idea what you'll need to do to rank for more general or lateral keywords. Executing both optimizations and optimized new content takes time and labor, and should be done with white hat techniques only.
7 Easy SEO Tips for Bloggers Who Are Allergic to HTML
Thu, May 15, 2008
Easy SEO tips for Bloggers who aren't web designers.
This post was created for some of our clients who are blogging and needed guidance on how to start to SEO their own posts. We still may end up going over their posts later, but it's better that they start off on the right foot. For example, it's easier if they had some keywords in their blog post url from the very beginning, and usually that comes from putting the keywords in the blog post title.
Let's face it, there are bunches of bloggers who've never typed "<A HREF" and who start twitching if the code view accidentally appears. Nothing wrong with that. They can still do SEO that will significantly increase their blog traffic.
Here are 5 easy tips for how to make sure real eyeballs look at your amazing blog posts.
1. Use the Right Keywords
SEO is nearly impossible with the wrong keywords. You may not do super in-depth competitive keyword research but you can at least choose terms people actually search for.
To find those, use the free wordtracker search.
If you want to be sure you're not missing a more popular synonym or make sure you're not targeting a keyword only the 1000 lb gorillas of the web can conquer, you'll need our help with keyword research. But a quick rule of thumb is try to use keywords (phrases) that contain at least two, if not three words.
In our analyses, the best conversion results have come from relevant keyword phrases containing three or four words. However, in smaller, low traffic niches, you still may be able to dominate a two word keyphrase.
If you really want to do it yourself and want to get a sense of both demand and competition, buy a subscription to nichebot.com and check your keywords' KEI.
2. Put Keywords Where They Belong, and Don't Spam!
Put your keyword in the
- Title of your post
- Body test of your post
Make sure whoever set up your blog has it set so that the title of your blog post is the first thing in the TITLE tag of its webpage. They should know what that means. Send them a link to this article. If you want the title of the blog or site also to be in the TITLE tag, put that after the blog post title.
You don't have to and shouldn't use it more than three times in a post- you want to avoid what's called an "overoptimization penalty", in other words avoid being a keyword spammer.
One other place to put keywords, albeit more general ones: your categories.
3. Use Synonyms and Lateral Keyphrases to Leave a Clear Semantic Footprint
You can and should use synonyms in your post.
Google uses something called semantic indexing to understand what your page or post is about, so it groups related words and concepts.
For example, if you write an article about about "online dating", some other highly related keywords include eharmony, personals, singles, match making, dating advice, and soulmates.
Or for a keyword like "stand up comedy" there are a number of famous comedians' names that are popular searches.
You might already plany to write about these lateral topics, but making sure you include the words means the search engines definitely get the signal about what semantic space your blog post occupies.
4. Use Keywords to Create Internal Links
You'll probably need a list of about 100 keywords guiding you in your blog post writing. If any of the topics you've already blogged about come up in a new blog post, link to the old post with that other post's main keyword in the anchor text.
That means use the other keyword and make a link out of that keyword to the other post.
Similarly, link to important pages on your main website. Whenever you mention one of your products or services in a blog post, turn it into a link to the appropriate page on the main site.
5. Announce Your Posts to the World
When your post is done, do these things:
- Twitterabout it. You are on twitter aren't you? Find out why you should twitter.
- Bookmark it in digg, del.icio.us, and niche social sites like sphinn.com or ahlifemed.com; even better, wait to see if twitter or blogger friends submit them first, because then you get more authority and reputation in your industry- it looks better than submitting your own... but if no one will submit yours, go ahead and do it
- Thumbs up it in stumbleupon- your keywords are already in the title, you can copy in some text, choose very general tags- here you SHOULD use one or two word keywords
- Ping your blog to all services with pingmyblog.com
6. Get Social!
Start reading blog posts in your industry, and comment on them- I mean substantial, real comments. When you comment, use your blog address as the url you're asked for when you post.
This gets you known by both humans and search engine bots.
To find blogs to read and comment on, try the Google Blog Search.
7. Track It!
You are using at least Google Analytics, aren't you? Maybe your blogging platform has stats. Watch for more traffic. See what post topics people like. Write more about them.
Sat, May 10, 2008
The Killer Trifecta: Twitter + Blog + Social Bookmarking
Mon, May 05, 2008
(Sorry to use so many buzz words. Let me just finish purging by using the word "paradigm" as well....)
Is your blog stagnant? Your blog traffic miniscule? Your twitter account boring?
I've discovered a whole new paradigm that can solve those problems as well as allow me to use one of Dick Vitale's favorite words, Trifecta.
(Ok, now forgive me for all the buzzwords!)
We've had a recent explosion of traffic and comments on our corporate blog, a major increase in SEO equity (our blog's pagerank is suddenly greater than our homepage's) and my Twitter followers have grown into a massive, fascinating horde of tweeple.
In other words, some benefits of web 2.0 are:
- Traffic / prospects / contacts
- Engagement / comments
- Pagerank / backlinks / SEO improvements, which lead to more traffic and authority
It was clear to me that I'm doing something right- but what?
Here's what I think has been working so well....
The following web 2.0 technologies leverage one another's momentum...
Introducing, The Killer Trifecta:
1. Your blog
2. Your twitter account
3. Social bookmarking
These three distinct cyber-niches have different functions and benefits, and they can work together quite powerfully to increase your traffic, your network, and your influence.
1. Blog = Authoritative useful substantial (mass)
You've got to have a blog- this is where you get serious (haha) and provide big chunks of useful material- it's home.
2. Twitter = News excitement conversation buzz (velocity)
Part two, recently I've written a lot about growing your twitter cult: how to power network on twitter, how to get twitterfame, how to get UNfollowed, and conversely how to be more follower-worthy. Enough of that.
3. Social Bookmarking = Socially agreed upon value (more velocity)
Right now, social bookmarking is still in its infancy- I think niche bookmarking sites are the future... judging from what happens on Sphinn for search marketing, and by the degradation in quality of other "all topics" bookmarking sites. So in the future, say you're in realty, and you have a realty blog, you're going to need a realty social bookmarking site. But you can use the extant ones until that comes around.
I wish I could make a really cool physics equation out of that, like:
mv^2 = blog * twitter * social bookmarking = ENERGY
"Fine, Mr. Physics Nerd," you say, "Nice equation. but how do I make all this happen for me?"
What you do is this. Follow...
The 7 Steps to Leveraging the Killer Social Media Trifecta
1. Blog: Write some good blog posts. If you don't have a blog, start one and write some.
2. Network: Find some twitter friends... network, interact, expand. Interrupt interesting conversations with useful info and a positive attitude.
3. Wait: People discover your blog and learn about you. Your blog is your business card now. Twitter is how you hand out business cards.
4. Blog: Blog something new. Make it good.
5. Tweet: Announce it on twitter. Retweet it a few times over the next couple days.
6. Bookmark: Bookmark some of your own posts for a while, but then back off and let others do it for you- that gives you more credibility. Participate by commenting on other people's bookmarked posts. Also comment on their blogs.
7. Repeat: Go back to step two and repeat
Follow this process and you're creating constant momentum, authority, and interaction.
You're visible, you have an impact, and you matter.
You're good enough, you're smart enough, and doggonit, people like your blog.
Assuming, then, you have something else to sell, you've already warmed up a bunch of prospects and created authority... half your selling job is done.
8 Tips for Power Networking on Twitter
Sat, May 03, 2008
I just figured out a key reason why Twitter is so exciting...
In the past three weeks since I've really been using it, I've gotten to converse to some degree with some of the most respected and powerful people in my industry (SEM/Web 2.0).
I hate to list them, because I'll probably leave somebody out, but it's been thrilling to converse with some of the most influential people in the blogsphere, the twitterverse, and sphinn- people like (and they are not listed in order of importance, shoe size, or the number of pieces of bacon they can eat in one sitting):
- Rand Fishkin @randfish is CEO of SEOmoz, ranked 9,197 in Alexa.
- Maki @doshdosh his doshdosh.com 33,449 in Alexa.; As a sphinner, he has had 100+ sphinns go hot.
- Kevin Heisler @kevinheisler is Executive Editor of SearchEngineWatch, which ranks 7,637 in Alexa.
- Lee Odden @leeodden who runs SEM/SMO firm TopRank, and his TopRankBlog is 56,413th in Alexa.
- Danny Sullivan and Robert Scoble haven't said anything to me yet, but I talk to them when it's relevant
- Michael Arrington @techcrunch is one of Time's Top 100 most influential, and his site is ranked 1,784th in Alexa. Hmm I thought I had talked with him but summize says otherwise. Maybe it was an older direct message.
- And unfortunately, I can't share some of the cool stuff said in direct msgs by others above. Direct msgs are private, don't want to violate that understanding.
Here's some of the kind of conversation I mean:
In response to a thank you for posting our blog on his list of Top SEM Blogs:
And some conversation about one of my blog posts, retweeting, and of course, nostalgic moments for Gen X music-lovers:
This kind of conversation with VIP's would not have happened with email. Email is too private. How would I get their address? What right would I have to it? And if I could email them, I would be unwelcome because I was a stranger. Even a short message would be intrusive.
But not so on Twitter.
Let me be clear- I did not stalk these people or even expect to hear from them as much as I have. I followed them along with several hundred other people, and I replied to what I thought was interesting when I thought I had something to contribute. I didn't even know who some of these people were a month ago- actually Rand and Danny were the only ones of the bunch above that I knew about.
The networking came naturally. If you're professional and you have people skills, it's easy.
Twitter is more open than email. Anybody can @reply you, jump into the conversation, respond to your thoughts, no matter how important you are. You have to choose to be more closed off than that, and most people don't.
Twitter surprises you because as long as you're respectful, people are friendly. Especially since what makes some of these people big in their industry is that they understand the value of connecting with people, of connections and openness and information flow. Also, it's cooler than email, allows more of your personality to shine through, makes connections easier.
Whether some big name person responds to you or not is up to them. How interesting are you, what mood are they in, how busy are they, etc. But the point is, you have a shot.
Pithiness makes introductions, even self-introductions, more palatable. Almost anybody is ok with 140 characters of message from a stranger. If you don't seem weird or spammy or rude, most people won't turn you off.
If you are polite, grateful, useful, funny, entertaining, etc., you might start an acquaintanceship with someone. There's more to the best practices of networking, but that's not my point here.
My point is- Twitter's openness and pithiness makes it possible for you to give elevator speeches, of sorts- and your life, profile, website, previous tweets are all there for others to judge. So if your body of work looks good to the VIP you're @-ing, you have a shot.
Here are some tips on how I've networked thus far- although really, you can't fake this- you have to be authentic- you can't be a spammer fake marketer and follow these tips and succeed- if you're not for real, please don't try:
- Make friends by sharing interests
- Compliment people on good blog posts
- Make contrary points if you're sure you're right, but if you think you might make someone look bad, is it really worth it? And what if you're wrong? Get your facts straight, sleep on it, pick your battles
- Comment on people's posts on social bookmarking sites like sphinn and digg
- Read and comment on people's actual blogs- you may show up in their MyBlogLog and they'll start to get familiar with you- use the same avatar everywhere, I think I learned that from @spostareduro
- Follow interesting people and have interesting conversations with them.
- Be yourself, unless you're a jerk, in which case you should go somewhere and have a personal transformation. Otherwise, just show off your sparkling personality. Show what makes you different.
- Be interested in other people and help them out however you can.
The Problem with Long Tail Keywords
Fri, May 02, 2008
Long tail schmong tail. I'm sick of the long tail!
It's one of those industry concepts that comes out of nowhere one day and
- Everyone gets excited, and
- Seth Godin writes a book about it, and then
- Everyone says it all the time, and
- Yadda yadda yadda.
Yeah, long tail is cool and it's valid. Yes, it's key to niche marketing and it's great for SEO.
But let me tell you where I think the long tail can get you into trouble... where we need to snip that long tail off:
Pay Per Click.
That's right, long tail can really mess up your pay per click marketing.
Now, don't go telling me that you need long tail keywords for your niche searches and that by segmenting adgroups and providing different ad messages to people, you can reach more people and get more conversions...
I know. That's true, to an extent.
But the dirty little secret of PPC is that 95% of your conversions come from 5% of your keywords.
The others keywords either
- Don't perform (100 clicks and no conversions), or
- The clicks roll in so slowly that you won't have the statistical confidence to delete them until the year 2112 (yay, Rush!).
So what percentage of your clicks are long tail clicks that haven't converting, aren't providing ROI? What percentage of your money is leaking down that long tail? (Yuck, that sounds gross!)
(And by the way, what is this animal in the analogy for a long tail? We had quite a debate about that here at Fuel... is it a rat? A cat? An armadillo? A whale? We discovered that giraffes have the longest tails in nature, but their long necks totally mess up the analogy. If it has to be a big head and a long tail... well I don't know, what do you think?)
If you're not careful, you could spend 30% or more of your click money on these unproven long tail keywords. That drags down your overall ROAS.
I'm not saying STOP doing ALL longtail. What I suggest is simply
- Measure the % of your spend that's going to long tail keywords,
- Compare that to your account's overall current profitability, and
- Evaluate whether that ratio makes sense.
In other words, make a conscious decision what % of your PPC spend you want to go to unproven long tail keywords.
And if you need to really maximize ROI in the short-term you can pause these long tail terms completely.
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