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I can always count on Twitter for something to tickle my fancy. Yesterday @kennyhyder put a smile on my face by sharing a video that satisfies my infatuation with robots and getting jiggy with it:
This pup takes commands very seriously!
CC BY 2.0
I think we can all agree that robots are the coolest. Now that I think about it, I think they’re likeable for a lot the same reasons as puppies. They’re smart, but a little bit dumb, in an endearing kind of way. They’re super cute, which is nifty considering you can almost see yourself in them. And they exist to do your bidding — sit, do a jig, pour me a drink. What? Your dog can’t do that? It’s time to learn some new tricks, pooch! [The big difference is you can't cuddle robots. If they ever make a cuddly robot, I'm doomed. —Susan]
But seriously, robots are awesome and all, but there’s a reason it’s called “artificial” intelligence. Certainly we rely on technology; not only does our industry optimize the land brought to us via wires and tubes, but we also use technological tools to get these jobs done. But with our heads down in tech-ware, both hard and soft, we may sometimes need a reminder to come up for air. Take a breather with me and consider an area of search where chips and codes are no replacement for squishy gray matter.
SERP-Specific Evaluations for Blended Search Strategy
Today’s SEM Synergy features an eye-opening interview with the SEO Dojo’s David Harry. Dave explains the pressing need for a blended search strategy as Universal Search results are now displayed for 25 percent of Google search queries. That means a quarter of the time, SEOs are missing out on SERP real estate if blogs, videos, images, news, social and other blended search categories aren’t considered.
Dave suggests a “SERP-out” approach for developing a blended search strategy:
Just like we’ve always looked at the page when we had the ten links, now we’ve got so many more things. […] Instead of looking at your tool that’s telling you my rankings are here and I’m ranked sixth and whatever, if you’re not actually visiting the search result page and looking at the make-up of it, the actual real estate — [for instance,] there’s a big 10-box of e-comm here — well, your six is so far below the fold that it’s really lost value.
And you could be sitting in third place and if something of a blended or Universal pops up then once again it’s pushing your third place ranking down to fourth — well, [the tool] still says third but you’re still below the fold so you’ve lost it. So [for a SERP-out approach] you’re looking at the actual SERP, looking at the real estate, where it’s being assigned and how they’re doing it.
Tools and technology are of course the meat and potatoes of the business we’re in, but as SEOs we’re offering our clients more than that. We’re offering the brain power that can visualize a strategy that works in a specific SERP environment as well as the ability to execute it and power some necessary tools to simplify the process along the way.
In fact, just when you thought it wasn’t possible, it turns out we’re even cooler than robots!
Outside the Bot: Blended Search Strategy — SEM Synergy Extras was originally published on BruceClay.com, an SEO services and SEO tools provider.
This week, I saw several posts on Search Engine Journal’s weekly news recap with people talking ownership of their trade, how each facet of online marketing is truly a craft and really, the need for experts.
This got me thinking about that age-old issue of business owners and execs believing that just because they run successful companies, they have the expertise to make critical decisions as it relates to online marketing. Funny thing is, we’re still talking about it … after all these years.
|To Whom It May Concern:
I see that you have a college degree and several credentials mounted on your wall. And they actually have nothing to do with marketing, copywriting, SEO or any of the like. So please stop trying to run the show.
Eh, maybe they didn’t get the memo. But there’s a strange phenomenon happening all over the U.S.: Countless business owners are actually hiring experts in their craft to improve their company’s online presence. Crazy, right?
Except instead of trusting their expertise, everyone involved becomes part of a weird control freak show, where the experts are only allowed to contribute as much as the boss will let them.
One of my favorite comics by The Oatmeal is How a Web Design Goes Straight to Hell. It really sums up the twisted relationship that can happen sometimes between company and expert. So, how do we, as experts, get past this endless push and pull?
This past week, Bruce Clay hosted a webinar on Search Marketing Now that talked about SEO in large organizations, managing expectations and tactics for successful implementation. One point he made loud and clear is that education is key when receiving buy in. This includes educating the decision makers to make sure people understand the process so they can support it.
At Bruce Clay, Inc., it’s in our contracts that clients attend our SEO training so they can understand everything that goes into what we do here, because we’re committed to knowledge transfer. It not only gives them a good grasp of the craft of online marketing, but also allows communication of the strategy to become more fluent during the span of the working relationship.
In the webinar, Bruce also talked proving the benefits of an SEO strategy. It’s been my experience that if you can show how the strategy can affect the bottom line, you’re more likely to get what you want (aka, what’s best for the company) – but it’s not always easy to define success with things like Web design and copywriting. And seems like it’s even harder to prove you actually want the company to succeed, which is why they hired you in the first place and why you’re making the suggestions you’re making. So, what gives?
Our SEM Synergy podcast earlier this month invited a couple specialists here at Bruce Clay, Robert Esparza and Alan Lamb (see Robert catch Saturday night fever here), to talk challenges of selling an SEO project that meets the client’s goals and needs.
Alan and Robert speak on behalf of the vendor versus the in-house expert, and say if you have the luxury, assess the project and the client’s expectations prior to taking the business on, so you know it’s something that’s set up for success in the long run. Ask yourself, Are the client’s expectations feasible? If not, be honest with yourself and the client, taking care not to sacrifice your recommendations at the cost of being amicable.
A recent post by Robin Fox on the HubSpot blog talks 10 steps to get CEO approval for online marketing. She makes some really great points on how to communicate to the decision makers, regardless of the recommendation:
- Study the decision makers like customers to find out what makes them tick.
- Focus on the benefits not features.
- Speak their language. Literally. Then make concepts visual not just language-based.
- Find the right person in the organization to deliver the message.
Sometimes these concepts work, and sometimes you can talk until you’re blue in the face and still, your decision maker might just go with his or her opinion. And so the story goes …
So it seems like all we can do is exchange our secret weapons on how to conquer the anal retentiveness that is the control-freak executive. I want to know, how do you assert your expertise either within your organization or as a vendor working with client companies? Chime in and tell us about it.
Control-Freak Execs and Online Marketing was originally published on BruceClay.com, an SEO services and SEO tools provider.
Happy Friday! Hope your first summer weekend kicks the happiest season off right! But before that, let’s take a sunny stroll through this week on the Web.
If it doesn’t feel like summer where you are yet, a chuckle is always good to get that warm fuzzy sensation running through your veins. The Internet had a good chuckle this week learning that the National Pork Board sent a cease and desist to ThinkGeek for stepping on the slogan “The Other White Meat” in their advertising for unicorn meat. What the pork people really need is a serving of Sasquatch — I hear it improves sarcasm detection.
BCI BFF Lisa Barone’s birthday is coming up Monday (happy early birthday, lady!) and she’s actually giving us a treat by organizing a kick-butt expert week while she takes a much-deserved vacation. I’ll be taking a turn on the Outspoken Media blog a week from Monday and OMG am I nervous. She didn’t set up any pressure in her announcement post or anything. Excuse me while I dispose of any trace of my fingernails.
I’ll do my best to bring it, and now Bing wants to bring it to the entertainment sector with their just-released Entertainment search vertical. [Andy Beal created a great Reader's Digest version of the lengthy announcement —Susan] Music, movies, TV, games and video games are featured in fine form, although investors are as nervous as ever as Microsoft continues to aggressively pursue search.
Speaking of the movie biz, Dr. Pete’s Matt Cutts movie marathon helpfully distills all the key scenes from Google Web spam exterminator Matt Cutts’ voluminous video library. Highly recommended viewing, even if just for the hilarious images and the coif conspiracy!
Image pages are getting a makeover on Flickr, boasting embiggened photos, maps of where photos were captured, improved navigation and other elements to help the photo tell its story. (Also, sneak-attack pandas.)
The World Cup is the source of lively stories and powerful imagery and eventually, a new Google doodle. 35,000 children around the world participated in the “I love football” doodle contest and now the title of international winner is up for a vote through June 28.
P.S. While you’re in the voting spirit you should cast your vote for the article you think earned the author a grand prize pass to SES San Francisco. The ballot box will be closing next Wednesday, so please let us know which small businesses SEO or social media recommendation is your favorite! Remember, a pass to SEO training and the biggest search marketing conference of the year is on the line!
Meanwhile, allegations are mounting that Google is giving an unfair pass to Mahalo for link farming. The evidence of low-quality pages as a link network cover is pretty strong, so whether this is a case of big brand favoritism or a larger picture we haven’t detected remains to be seen.
In an ongoing effort to help Internet users detect when they’re the subject of ad targeting online, a trial of the self-regulating Power Eye system will soon make its way to the Web. Ads of participating advertisers will have an icon in the upper right corner. When the icon is moused over, the user will see the data that was used to target that ad. It also offers the option to opt-out of future targeting from that advertiser.
It’s kind of nice that online advertising is reaching a new level of civility. Social media, it seems, is not quite so polite. According to a recent survey, 39 percent of the American public is “tuning out” of social media (including defriending or blocking individual users, no longer visiting a site or dropping out of a club or community), citing rude discourse.
Now, if you’re a brand marketing with social media, it’s important to get network users tuning in rather than out. One Facebook fan page grew their number of fans from 3,000 to 40,000 in just four days, and offer themselves up as a case study in serious success.
Things I learned from Boing Boing this week:
- There’s an emerging problem with the iPhone, and it doesn’t have anything to do with dropped calls. No. More and more people are becoming allergic.
- Early numbers are show that a new registration wall on UK newspaper The Times instantly cut readership 50 percent.
- Should we take the north route or south route? Science says you’ll pick the south route.
- And the award for world’s best dinosaur ever is…
Friday Recap: Summer Stroll Edition was originally published on BruceClay.com, an SEO services and SEO tools provider.
If you’re looking for some hardcore analysis of social media marketing opportunities, turn around now. You won’t hurt my feelings. You can’t hurt my feelings because I’m high as a kite from dance-fueled adrenaline and ecstasy contagion. My heartbeat is in sync with the spirit of love and my mind can’t help but operate in flower-child-esque metaphors of oneness. Nothing can kill this buzz.
Friday night I ventured into North America’s largest-ever electronic dance festival, Electric Daisy Carnival. And despite being stone-cold sober, my soul was afire from a 100k strong contact high. Colors collided in neon rainbows cutting through the darkness. The walls of the Coliseum pulsed in waves of frenzied dancing. And everywhere you looked, people shared psychedelic smiles and heart-felt moments with strangers. The otherworldly experience was nothing short of surreal.
My experience at the concert was just more proof that we are motivated by pleasure and social acceptance — a.k.a a kick-butt party! Psychological frameworks like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs are familiar grounds for any marketer who understands the power of human motivations. We’ve reached a point in the online evolution where the Web is really where the party’s at — whether acting as the destination itself as with social networking sites or as the invitation to the party as people use social media sites to announce events and gatherings. So what can a marketer do to show up as the life of the party?
Come Bearing Gifts
Picture this scenario. You just moved into the neighborhood and haven’t gotten to meet anyone yet. It’s Saturday night and you’ve been entertaining yourself with a good book, but now you hear music good bumping a few doors down, and the people coming in and out look like your kind of people. You want to head over and start building relationships in the area so you decide to put on a brave face and head over alone. Except! If you enter holding the handle of a 30 pack, are you ever really alone? If you’re attending a party where you don’t really know anyone, bring some booze and you’ll be breaking the ice and making fast friends in no time. [Um, V? What are you advocating here? –Susan]
In online marketing, it’s exactly the same. Whether you’re looking for a quality link or a new customer, your strongest bet is what you’ve got that they want. What’s in it for them? Offering free shipping, a free sample, a discount, a trial, a coupon… however you want to put it, be clear about what your potential customer is gaining from a relationship with you. Even if it’s a one-time offer, you can create a positive first impression of generous customer care that can last the entirety of the relationship.
Let’s head back to the party for a moment. As you arrive at the front door you peer through the window and see a few different groups of people huddled up in conversation. One group seems to be young. They dress in a casual style and have beers in hand. Another group appears older, a bit better dressed and is sipping on red wine. Who do you approach first? Do you head to the group more like yourself, whichever that is, and avoid the other group that evening? Of course not. You introduce yourself to everyone who looks open to an introduction. You never know who you’re going to click with or where meaningful relationships will take hold.
Online marketers often have the luxury of demographic audience targeting. This can be a huge advantage when making decisions for ad budget, platform, geotargeting, dayparting and more. And while you can fine-tune your marketing for one audience, you should always continue looking for new opportunities, whether it’s of platform, service or audience. Always be testing, always be researching and always be on the look out for a new group of friends.
Don’t Lose Control
Sure, it’s cool to loosen up and get a little chatty at a party, but you don’t want to be the fool who’s sequestered the bathroom for the last two hours because he can’t hold his liquor. Because if you do, you will never live that night down.
In social media marketing, stay focused on your business’s goals and objectives, and let your analytics guide your actions. The party isn’t about you; it’s about what you can offer and the needs of your audience. Share your marketing message, but keep an ear in the conversation. Be open, listen to others, and encourage growth through discussion. Monitor brand and product mentions and add to the conversation where you can add value.
The Life of the Party: Internet Marketer Style (Yes, I know that’s redundant…) was originally published on BruceClay.com, an SEO services and SEO tools provider.
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