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Their social media-related sessions, expert panelists and conference support staff were really attentive to detail and provided in-depth, real case studies of success (and not!). And even though the show in Long Beach this week on social media was small (if 200 people is tiny?), I enjoyed having a chance to meet many new people, including the above, and rock star SEOs Rand & Michael.
I was thinking of a great way to introduce social bookmarking to readers of my blog and discovered this cool video–commoncraft actually has many more, if you want to get more creative and useful videos.
Check out the below social bookmarking video explained, and come back next week for more tips on how to reach a wider audience with social media marketing strategies and tools. A quick way to bookmark across many platforms is the tool Socialmarker.
Since we know that search engines love text (it’s what they can “understand”) and users love quality content, how can you write the most relevant, traffic-capturing content to meet the requirements of both?
The answer lies in focusing on the user first, not the other way around.
You need to start by understanding the learning process of humans, what drives us and what makes us take action on something we see or hear.
The best way is to get to the basics. Do you know how we learn and what our behavioral preferences are? If not, here’s a view:
Knowing the above can provide more clarity in your research. When you write, think about the above. More information can be found via Bernice McCarthy’s innovative 4-mat system. It’s a helpful guide, along with an expanded “cycle of learning,” with its sequential pie charts of learning.
You can see how I answered the why (search engines, users); what (traffic capture); how (links out, pie chart reference) in this post. The last category may also have been captured (what if…), but that reader might have left before reading the line.
Make the right and left brain work together. Make it educational, but also entertaining.
We know that search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) and their associated retrieval technology anno 2008 are not much more sophisticated than they were, in say, 1998–or for that matter, in 1945 when a scientist, Vannevar Bush, released his essay, “As We May Think” (reference Internet Pioneers). The system he references is remarkably similar to modern hypertext.
While new interfaces, video, images, binary streams of any kind you can think of are easily presented into plugins and other “wares,” we are still struggling to get to the “next level” of retrieval technology.
Algorithmic search, human-aided search and meta search engines are par for the course. To create a search engine that can also include artificial intelligence and provide scalability for the massive internet is still far away.
In the meantime, we are having fun with universal search/blended search, local search and such.
So in the spirit of the power of video and the explosion of its use on the internet, I found this interesting film from Los Angeles that uses a “thousand words” with pictures and the human spirit.
When search engines can figure out all the “things” they must capture, retrieve, organize and intellectually present–for example, in this video–we have reached a goal that search engine scientists everywhere would want and that, I hope, captures users the same way it does in the film below.
The final scene says it all.
This post is about saving money, specifically for you and your Google Adwords expenditures.
Many are not familiar with the powerful new approach that Google introduced in its paid-click model (pay-per-click advertising). While Goto/Overture was the pioneer by introducing paid search initially (paid advertising, sponsored links), Google came on the scene about 2002 and introduced a different “smart reward” system for performance-based ads management and relevancy of overall bidding, keywords and user experience.
This new, enhanced system allowed the engine to not only allow a bid to position ranking, but to use its own (secret) software-tailored intelligence to improve cost per click by ranking you better than your competition, at a (if done right) lower cost. If your competitor was paying $2 per click for a keyword, for example, you could pay less ($1.50, say), and still be ranked ahead of the competition.
While the current Quality Score (QS) was introduced later and improved over time, it is an important component of the Adwords system today. It is something you should try to understand and apply across all your current accounts.
The Quality Score algorithm in Adwords (search ads and search network are slightly different) is not revealed for obvious reasons (spamming/black hat), but allows ads you create to lift into better positions (ad rank) and lowered price per click based on a few factors you can easily control–or at least try to make “least imperfect.”
Top factors that influence positive, money-saving opportunities using Adwords:
Please read further quality scoring resources below, but here are the top three quickest ways to affect your budget and performance:
1. Keyword matching in title of ad, included in body as well (derivative keyword, plurals, etc). Don’t miss this.
2. Ensure keyword(s) are included and reflected early and often in landing page text, including SEO compliant page setup (Title, description, H1 tags, related keywords in body content, etc). Include more than just graphics and a few bullet points.
3. Watch your CTR percentage and tune it upward by creating A/B ads and testing their performance. Remove or pause underperforming keywords; they can affect your QS negatively.
Your competition may be using techniques like these already. Study their landing pages as well, including keyword use for relevancy. Then do all this slightly better, and you will win, while optimizing your Google Adwords budget. Make sure not only to optimize for Google, but learn the best practices for high landing page conversion by reading further materials at MarketingSherpa.
You can review your Quality Score grade right inside the Adwords system:
1. What Google Quality Score is–and is not
2. Quality Score for Google and network
3. How is the Google Quality Score calculated?
4. Landing pages’ load time will be included in Quality Scoring Adwords
I’m working on a project where not only on-page (html/content) and off-page (links) factors are key to success (traffic in this case), but also crucial is generating more or less a rising buzz factor.
Buzz by definition is like the “jungle-telegraph” model–where people start talking about something and naturally share among their friends and social networks.
Just this morning, I heard about the new Papaya Dance, the “next Macarena” (Note: currently, only about 300,000 pages are returned in Google in that search–this will grow).
The idea that generating buzz or natural sharing is easier now than ever may be true from a technology standpoint–just see this screenshot (from 10e20):
… but solid content–quality, that is–with maybe a slight bit of controversy, a fun factor or simply informational pieces–still is just as important. You must learn to use it all.
One place to start your social buzz trek: Learn some related (to your business) tools at go2web20.
As I came to–from what to me seems like the planet’s worst tooth surgery (not kidding)–I found this horrific story on American Express and its “SEO is a waste” comment. You can see the entire piece here (Actual pdf here; see page 29).
In a brief, American Express says, “Don’t waste money on so-called Search Engine Optimization (S.E.O.) specialists. Search engines are very quick to penalize sites that try to trick their filtering techniques, and once your site has been put on Google’s blacklist, it will take forever to get off.”
Clearly, the writers of this document do not understand the explicit and implicit work, value and results of a white-hat search engine optimization campaign done right. Was this a way to generate link bait for themselves, or just a naive entry onto the net, thinking we in the profession would not notice? Or just plain ol’ quality assurance issues of editorial content?
Who is running search engine marketing over there? It is most likely a qualified group, but it must not have coordinated on these marketing materials–perhaps an honest mistake? The document made it online though, which is a shame.
While the discussion of “SEO professionals” versus “Google spam team” has been an ongoing mention in the press, forums and search engine conferences, the *real truth* is that Google wants a relevant, quality web, providing the results for an overall top user experience. If professional SEO assistance can help attain this goal without spamming the search engines, SEO-ers have done their job.
SEO today is more about traffic and action tracking than pure ranking–something that American Express fails to discuss in this context. Good SEO firms can educate audiences, help steer clear of the landmines and provide more detail than clients ever knew about their site(s). Then, together, they can provide sound strategies and roadmaps for proper buildout of pages and designs.
None of us in this business is apologetic about providing great services and education to help webmasters create the best user experience and traffic generation for themselves.
This document (also from AMEX) is more on target, perhaps written by a SEM Team? You should read it: some valuable tips to consider there.
(the short, semi-pitchy version)…
Today, funnily enough, as Microsoft is making a bid for Yahoo at $44.6 billion to challenge Google and the internet at large, I also make an adjustment in my own landscape:
My new view of the internet launched on February 1, 2008.
Here’s the abridged version of the chronology to this point:
OK, a seed term from Speed, the first movie in a series with Keanu Reeves. “Pop Quiz, Hot Shot: What do the top 2007 winners within the new social media realm have in common?”
Do you know who they are (?):
What they have in common are:
genius, timing, resources/people network, usefulness, uniqueness, filling a need and creating top positions within an emerging technology platform explosion: social media.
Are you thinking about social media this year?
Social Media, Web 2.0, Social Marketing, Social Search, Social Networking, Gadgets, Apps, Widgets, Ajax, Web Services, Open Social–what does this all mean for your online business in 2008?
From 2004-2007, I spent serious time in search engine optimization, product research, technical application development and online marketing (SEO, PPC, link building, e-mail marketing, affiliate marketing, landing pages, copywriting) and delivery. What I learned is that there really are no secrets, just hard, continuous work: changing, tracking, monitoring and not ever giving up, no matter how frustrating (yes it is!). This work has helped me immensely. I wrote about many aspects of this and more than 15 years of learning in the Ultimate Guide to SEO, coming out in the spring.
However, without the work of other people and the networks I belong to, I would not be where I am today. The headline of this post references research from a group of people that I consider to be leading the online marketing space. Not only have these people made a serious dent in the online marketplace themselves, but their goals are similar to mine: educate, and provide stellar information that you can use for yourself.
Therefore, a combination of all the strategies you’ve learned should be included in your internet-marketing and search-marketing work (which includes search engines). But do not miss out on the single most important aspect of growth online: the social medium.
Look at the stats on this traffic graph. Can you see how fast Facebook has risen in 2007? Look at the red line–this is compelling data.
The toughest part is not understanding the importance of this data. Rather, it’s understanding how to execute within this fast growing, social media space.
For example, if you are in the B2B space, how can you leverage and take part in this huge growth and future explosion? Is it only meant for B2C? For example, does the ad network in Facebook even matter to a corporate business, since most believe it’s only for kids and teens anyway?
You may have it all wrong, as I am learning as well.
I wrote an article on social search and social media optimization awhile back, updated for 2008–I felt the movement, but had really no clue.
The proof of 617 million people that may help navigate the online chaos in 2008 is found below.
It might make your strategy and thinking change drastically for 2008.
The video below provides tons of detail about how you can increase conversion on your existing pages. It also makes you think about creative frameworks for new pages that you can (and should) develop and test.
Andy Jenkins (funny but experienced internet marketer seen in this video) explains how his company, through science and research, more than doubled conversion by making just a few changes on existing websites, and how their foveal view eye application impacts their landing page design work.
An example of what this may look like in one screenshot is depicted here:
They are advanced topics, but listen carefully, and the presentation will show you insider tips on optimizing your site for users.
Among the four secrets: