Monday, September 29, 2008

Best of 2008 (So Far) - SEO Link Building

Looking for creative ways to go beyond "standard" link building practices? Want to figure out which linking strategies your competitors are using? What's the proper balance between link acquisition and link baiting activities? How can you get links from high-authority sites? Need to build up some external links quickly for a new or redesigned website?

Discover all of this and more in these blog posts and articles, some of the best so far in 2008 on link building strategies and tactics.

Building Links with Big Brand Websites, Part 2 by Find Resolution

Search marketer Dave McAnally explains five link-building tactics useful for big brand websites, though some of these—integrating SEO with PR efforts and leveraging all of your digital assets, for example—are smart moves for any size company.


Analyzing Your Competitor’s Backlinking Strategies by Search Engine Journal

The brilliant Ann Smarty shows how to evaluate your competition's niche link-building strategy, their deep linking strategy, and their targeted anchor text.


Link Building Fundamentals: A Primer by Audette Media

Internet marketing strategist Adam Audette provides just what the title states: a detailed, step-by-step guide to determining where your site should be linked for maximum SEO value, then obtaining links. Different tactics are likely to work better, and be more appealing, for different types of sites. As Adam writes, "There are many different ways to build links. There’s no `right way' and no “best practices,” there’s only creativity, intelligence, and labor."


List of Free Directory Submission by Everyday SEO

Here's a list of almost 2,000 directories that allow you to submit sites for link building. Most are free; some of the sites charge for links, some require a reciprocal link, and many are spammy and have suspiciously similar submission forms. Is this a tremendous resource, or just a colossal waste of time?


Baiting and Beseeching — Obtaining the right mix of chasing links and getting them to chase you by Hamlet Batista

Writing that "a mixed approach of link acquisition and link baiting is best," Hamlet Batista presents the tactics, pros and cons to each approach in this thoughtful and detailed post.


Link Request Strategies for Blogs, Edu’s & .Gov’s: Respect My Authoritah! by Search Engine People

SEO link guruess Melanie Nathan offers carefully crafted advice on how to obtain links from high-authority sites such as government websites and blogs. Her recomendations range from utililitarian (how to write an email requesting a government site link) to social (comment on blogs and establish a relationship before asking for a link) to provocative ("This is a bit cheeky but it helps to pay special attention to the type of site you’re emailing in regards to your name. For instance, if I am emailing a blog that is run by a 25 year old male, I am more likely to use something like ‘heidi(at)mycoolsite.com’ or ‘naomi(at)mycoolsite.com’").


Link Building Tips by Traffic Travis

This article details 15 strategies for generating links. Most are obvious, but it's a helpfully comprehensive list to keep handy. The strategies vary from creative (finding local link opportunities) to ubiquitous (directory submissions) to questionable ("Wikipedia - very good if you can get links from here" - Wikipedia of course uses insidious nofollow tags and its priesthood is notoriously hostile to anything that remotely resembles commercial content).


6 Ways to Get Nearly Instant Links to your Web Site by Bill Hartzer

A helpful list of tactics for generating links quickly, such as using directories, social bookmarking sites and blog comments.


Using Logic to Prove that Directory Links are NOT Worthless by Big Oak SEO Blog

Will Paoletto contends that directory links are still valuable for SEO, and that "Google only punishes directories that sell links to a.) create the public perception that buying directory links isn’t effective anymore and b.) rob directories of power in the only way it can–through manual penalties."


5 experts demystify SEO link building by iMedia Connection

iMedia Connection deputy editor Michael Estrin gets to the heart of link building, asking five SEO experts—Conductor CEO Seth Besmertnik, SEOMoz CEO Rand Fishkin, Stuntdubl.com founder Todd D. Malicoat, Eric Ward and Alliance-Link founder Debra Mastaler—questions regarding the value of internal links, when linking out is helpful for SEO, the role of proper hyperlink text and more.

Previous posts in this series:

Best of 2008 (So Far) - SEO Guidance, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - SEO Guidance, Part 2
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Search Engine Marketing, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Cool Web Tools, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Social Media Optimization, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Blogging for Business, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Web Marketing Research, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Website Design, Part 1

*****


Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentralDOTcom

Labels:


KudoSurf Me!
Add to Technorati Favorites
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
AddThis Feed Button

Thursday, September 25, 2008

How To not Preform A PR Outreach

Despite the fact that several smart PR bloggers, including Cece Lee, Laura Moncur and Elge Premeau have written about what works in blogger outreach for PR, there are still a lot of agencies and PR people who just don't get it. Their efforts at appealing to bloggers are awkward at best, counterproductive at worst.

Want bloggers to write nice things about your product, service or company? First, it helps to understand how to get bloggers to write about you. Second, here are 6 practices to avoid.


1. Just send a press release.

This is likely to do your company or your client more harm than good. There is an extremely low chance that a blogger will write about you based on getting press release, but a pretty darn good chance that he/she will view you as a spammer and ignore any subsequent emails you send.

Imagine it's a phone call instead of an email. And imagine you're on the phone with a really influential blogger, like...Seth Godin. Seth answers the phone, you introduce yourself, and Seth says, "I'm really busy but, tell you what, I'll give you five minutes." Would you really spend that five minutes reading your press release to him?

Didn't think so. You'd acknowledge his interests, then tell him in a compelling and straightforward manner why he and his readers should care about your story. So, do the same in your email outreach to bloggers, and you'll have a far greater shot at getting some online coverage than you will with a press release.


2. Act like you expect coverage.

If a particular blogger doesn't respond to your outreach, it may mean that your pitch wasn't interesting, or it may simply mean that he/she was too busy to get to it. Or any of a hundred other reasons. Sending a follow-up note saying "Hey, I wrote to you about this a week ago, why haven't you written about it yet?" is another great way to really annoy a blogger, assure that all of your future messages are viewed as spam, and you get no coverage.

Note that this is not to be confused, however, with polite, periodic follow up. It's perfectly acceptable to send a follow-up note along the lines of, "Hi, here is a new development at our company that I thought you might find interesting. I know you're busy, but whether you decide to write about this or not, do you mind if I send you updates from time to time on what's happening here?"


3. Send exactly the same message two (or more) times.

This is almost worse than #2 above. Sending exactly the same message to a blogger more than once makes it appear that you are either a) hopelessly disorganized (which makes you look bad), or b) using some type of automation for blogger outreach (which makes you look even worse).


4. Promise something you can't deliver.

This actually happened: a PR person sent a blogger a press release about a report that was coming out based on some economic research. In her accompanying note, she offered the opportunity to interview the author of the report. After a few emails back and forth, the blogger sent her half a dozen questions for the economist to answer.

She bounced the blogger back a couple of days later to tell him that the report author couldn't answer the questions posed (despite the fact that they were rather obvious follow-up inquiries based on the high-level findings in the report). A complete waste of time.

A month later, she sent the same blogger another press release and interview offer. Unbelievable.


5. Don't acknowledge return correspondence.

If a blogger responds to an email you send, ignore it. Just send that same blogger another message that completely fails to acknowledge their response. This is even more effective than worse practice #3 above at making your outreach practices appear automated and oblivious, and guaranteeing you a spot in the blogger's junk mail folder from that point forward.


6. Don't acknowledge coverage.

When a blogger actually does write about your company or product—just ignore it. Don't send a thankyou note, don't Digg/Mixx/Stumble or Twitter it, don't post a link from the news area on your website, don't do anything. Act like it never happened.

While all of the tactics above are bad practices, this one is the worst. Why? Because this is the practice bloggers are most likely to talk to other bloggers about. Sending a blogger an unsolicited press release will just get you ignored by that blogger. Failing to acknowledge, in any manner, positive coverage, can get you blackballed by an entire swath of the blogosphere.

But if you just want to really screw up your own and your company's or client's reputation among bloggers, use the six worst practices above.

*****


Contact Mike Bannan: mike@digitalrdm.com

Labels:


KudoSurf Me!
Add to Technorati Favorites
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
AddThis Feed Button

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Best of 2008 (So Far) - Website Design, Part 1

Why do some websites fail to achieve objectives? How can you whip an underperforming website into shape? Which elements are the most critical when initiating a website redesign project? How can small businesses cost-effectively add sophisticated capabilities like custom search and social networking features to their sites? What separates effective navigation from poor design?

Learn the answers to these questions and more in some of the best blog posts and articles on website design published so far in 2008.

A Small Business Year-End Web Site Checklist by Search Engine Land

Search marketer Matt McGee provides an outstanding 10-point checklist of items that site owners should check (at least) annually, including domain registration, contact form operation, autoresponders and outbound links.


15 Ways to Get Your Website in Gear by iMedia Connection

Lisa Wehr, CEO and founder of Oneupweb, writes that if your online marketing efforts are coming up short, it may be a good time to take "a systematic look at how your website is performing and (develop) a strategy to address its shortcomings." To this end, she recommends reviewing 15 areas, including navigation, interface design, architecture, PR and SEO.


Site Redesign: 4 Vital SEO Tips for Web Designers by Search Engine Watch

Noting that, "Many times when companies consider a site redesign...their rationale may be that they need better 'marketing fluff'...Rarely do you hear companies say, 'We need to redesign our Web site because it wasn't built for SEO,'" Mark Jackson, President and CEO of Vizion Interactive, outlines the four essential considerations in a redesign. Included in his analysis is an intriguing suggestion for a CMS, and the introduction of the term "Flashterbation" (using Flash for no real reason) to the web lexicon.


Write in the Quiet to Get Your Point Across by E-Marketing Performance

Michelle Montoya provides three writing tips for getting your message across to "scanners," the significant portion of online readers who "want the message as quickly as possible and don’t want to have to read through a bunch of muck to get to it." Key to this is using "quiet times"—those short sentences mixed in among your paragraphs that really get your point across.


Top 10 Reasons A Website Fails To Perform by Internet Search Engine Database

You spend significant time, effort and money on a website redesign, and then get lackluster results. Why? Gary Klingsheim, Vice President of Moonrise Design, nails it in this list of 10 factors to examine, including poor definition of your target audience, underestimation of competitors, and inconsistency in design and content. Obviously, this is a great post to read before undertaking that redesign effort.


How To: Create a Great 404 Page Not Found Error Page by Conversation Marketing

Ian Lurie supplies step-by-step instructions for creating a more engaging and friendly 404 error page for your site than the standard "This page cannot be found." As he points out, if someone mistypes a URL or follows an incorrect link from another site, why drive them away with a boring standard message? For some really creative ideas, check out 404 Pages - Funny, Geeky, Disturbing from Squareoak.


Using Google’s Custom Search Engine for Internal Site Search by Ask Enquiro

Manoj Jasra, who writes a lot of great stuff on web marketing, explains why Google's Custom Search tool is excellent way to add this functionality to your site in this brief but informative post.


Google Wants to Help Web Sites Make New Friends by The New York Times

Saul Hansell, editor of the New York Times Bits blog, explains the features of Google Friend Connect, which lets small website publishers add social networking features to their sites. As Hansell writes, Friend Connect gives website publishers an easy way to let users log in then link their profiles from other social networks (including Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Hi5 and Google’s Orkut), and "add OpenSocial applications, written by Google and other companies."


The 19-Hour Website Analysis, in 20 Minutes or Less by Internet Search Engine Database

Stoney deGeyter, website design expert and owner of Pole Position Marketing, explains that "Investing in SEO and PPC marketing, without having performed a thorough (usability) analysis of your website is largely an exercise in vain." He then provides a 19-step guide, with links to prior articles, to analyzing and improving your site's usability looking at factors like on-site search, about us, contact and FAQ pages.


The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Website Navigation by Search Engine Guide

Yet another highly useful checklist from Stoney deGeyter, this one detailing 21 considerations for effective site navigation, including consistency, proper categorical divisions, and the use of absolute links throughout the site.

Previous posts in this series:

Best of 2008 (So Far) - SEO Guidance, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - SEO Guidance, Part 2
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Search Engine Marketing, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Cool Web Tools, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Social Media Optimization, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Blogging for Business, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Web Marketing Research, Part 1

*****

Labels:


KudoSurf Me!
Add to Technorati Favorites
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
AddThis Feed Button

Friday, September 19, 2008

Here Are Your Answers To The 15 Most FAQ By Sherpa

MarketingSherpa yesterday published an article titled Long-Tail Keywords Dead? We Answer This Question and 14 Others on SEO (open access on their site until September 25). Without summarizing the entire 5-page (at 9-point font size!) article, here are a few highlights and observations:

Paid vs. Organic Search

The article states that 95% of search clicks go to organic results, and only 5% to paid links. While there's no question that organic search results get more clicks than the associated ads, the contrast isn't quite that extreme. Lee Odden puts this breakout at closer to 60/40, HubSpot has it at 75/25, and Dynamic Digital says...a lot of things, but basically that organic results get 70-80% while paid links receive 20-30%.

Because organic links perform better, Sherpa advises focusing on SEO, then "only when you see natural search traffic going down should you look to paid search links to supplement that organic traffic." That's just plain wrong!

The first question you have to ask yourself is: what's the value of paid search to you? The closer your product is to the low-cost, tactical, single-decision maker end of the scale (e.g. computer network hardware), the better pay-per-click advertising works. For products that are very expensive, strategic and involve multiple decision makers (e.g. post-merger consulting services), the less effective search engine advertising is.

Second, there's an excellent argument to be made for using paid search first. It will show you which terms most successfully drive profitable traffic to your site much more quickly than natural SEO can. Then you can focus your SEO efforts on high-value terms that are easy to optimize for, and continue to use paid search for those terms which are very difficult to SEO.

Third, as Anne Holland always advises when faced with any question like this, the answer is to "test, test, test."
Average cost per click varies considerably by industry and product type.

Long-Tail Keywords rock. "The majority of searches (67%) are made up of one to three keywords. However, 82% of searchers said that they are likely to enter a few more words when they can’t find what they are looking for in a search. Phrases of four or more words are often used to deliver the targeted results that most searchers aren’t seeing with broader-based search terms. These terms can offer you higher conversion rates at a lower cost per click" when used in SEM campaigns, and are far easier to SEO than two-word or even three-word phrases.

Questionable advice on professional SEO: "If you’re a marketer who doesn’t have a good foundation in Web design, try to find a member of your IT or Web design team willing to undertake your SEO projects." Actually, that sentence would be fine if they had used the phrase "collaborate with you on" in place of the word "undertake." SEO is a mix of art and science. And I'd argue that its easier to teach a marketer the science than it is to teach at IT person the art.

SEO Frequency: The majority of your SEO work should happen up-front, during the website design phase. After that, you need to enact a policy of steadily adding to that framework with small pieces of new, optimized content...Aim to add at least one new element that builds on your SEO strategy every few days." Just need to add: the majority of the ongoing effort is link building, not onsite changes.

Blogging for SEO: "Blogs can be a tremendous piece of your search marketing strategy. Blog posts create an ongoing stream of new, keyword-rich content that often generates links from other sites back to your website." As long as the blogging team follows a few simple guidelines and avoids the seven deadly sins of blogging, then absolutely!

*****


Contact Mike Bannan: mike@digitalrdm.com

Labels:


KudoSurf Me!
Add to Technorati Favorites
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
AddThis Feed Button

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Perfecting The Social Media Email Signature

In the old days, email signatures pretty much just mirrored business card information: name, company, title, phone, fax (gotta love that 80's technology still hanging on!) and email address. For most people, that's still the only information their email signature provides.

A growing number of Web 2.0-savvy executives, however, are breaking out of the old mold and creatively integrating social networking into their email sign-off. After all, the two purposes of an email signature are to tell the recipient a little about yourself (e.g., your title, company and location) and to give them different ways to contact you. Social networking sites are simply an extension of those two functions, giving other people more information about yourself and additional ways to interact.

Based on my informal research, here are the most popular social media elements people are adding to their Web 2.0 email signatures:

Twitter page, LinkedIn profile and blog link: these are the most popular social networking elements, used in about half of Web 2.0 signatures.

Skype ID and Facebook page: these are used in a quarter of the signatures I looked at.

YouTube, StumbleUpon, Technorati and Second Life: about 20% of Web 2.0 email signatures include buttons for StumbleUpon or "add this blog to my favorites" on Technorati, links to a company's online videos, and/or the sender's Second Life name.

Social media email signatures can also include elements like AIM name, Digg page, Sphinn profile and Ning group.

Here are a few notable examples of Web 2.0 email signatures (used with permission):

Jon Rognerud
An author and SEO expert, Jon's email signature includes:
follow me at http://twitter.com/jonrognerud
reply on the web at http://twitter.com/direct_messages/create/jonrognerud
send me a direct message from your phone or IM: D JONROGNERUD your message here.

(BTW, Jon has really got the reputation management thing nailed, as a Google search on his name quickly reveals.)


Christina L. Greene
Christina, an interactive PR pro with The Advance Guard, had the first email signature I'd ever seen that included her Second Life name. She also includes her Skype ID.


Dr. Richard D. Hackathorn
The email signature of the president of Bolder Technology, Inc. includes all of the usual information plus his Second Life name, Skype ID, blog and LinkedIn profile button.


giovanni gallucci (yes, his name is lowercase in his actual email signature)
viewzi evangelist
o: 214.580.20** | m: 469.682.69**
blog: viewziblog.com
video: viewzi.tv
facebook: *****
linkedin: linkedin.com/in/ggallucci
twitter: twitter.com/giovanni


Included in the email signature of a contact from London-based search engine marketing agency Accuracast is:
Twitter: http://twitter.com/accuracast
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/AccuraCast


Brian Critchfield
Brian, the "Chief Navel Gazer" at Navel Marketing, enhances his email signature with his Skype ID and LinkedIn profile.


Terra Andersen
Entrepreneur and Internet Business Consultant





View Terra Andersen's profile on LinkedInAdd to Technorati Favorites
StumbleUpon
+ Subscribe To b4b!

Matthew Balthazor
This Senior Marketing Manager at TechWeb added his Twitter link and Facebook profile to a standard email signature.


But the best Web 2.0 / social media email signature I've seen so far belongs to...Guy Kawasaki. Here it is, with just a few bits of personal information stripped out:

Guy Kawasaki
Guy Kawasaki
Nononina, Inc.
360 Bryant Street, Suite 100
Palo Alto, CA 94301
http://alltop.com/

  • ****@alltop.com (best way to get in touch)
  • 650-838-08** office (you'll never get me here)
  • 650-387-92** cell (Spinvox will convert voicemail to email so I don’t have to listen to people ramble)
  • 650-853-2416 fax (what's a fax?)

*****


Contact Mike Bannan: mike@digitalrdm.com

Labels: ,


KudoSurf Me!
Add to Technorati Favorites
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
AddThis Feed Button

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Average CTR for Banner Ads - New Data

MarketingSherpa just published a short article, Banner Ad Size and Click Rate: Bigger a Bit Better, But It’s Clicks that Count, that includes this chart:


Three observations stand out:

1) The data haven't changed much since last year, when it was reported here that "The average CTR for banner ads is roughly 0.25%, with a reported range of 0.17% to 0.40%."

2) Click-through rates are pathetic regardless of ad size, so don't use CTR as the primary metric for evaluating banner advertising. In the words of MarketingSherpa, "Online ads are branding tools. Direct clicks are simply a happy byproduct." Banner advertising is most commonly sold on a CPM basis (and with CTR's like that, it's no wonder). CPMs on B2B publisher sites typically range anywhere from $30 t0 $120, meaning that a banner advertiser is paying $15-$60 per click based on the average CTR of 0.21%.

3) The best response rates come from 300x250 ads, which are typically positioned in the top right corner of a web page—no suprise, as that is generally considered the most prime real estate on any web page. Both the 728x90 and 468x60 horizontal banners are typically used at the top of a web page, but notice the significant discrepancy in CTR; when buying real estate at the top of a page, size clearly matters. The remaining ad sizes shown in the chart are skyscraper ads, most commonly positioned on the right and left sides of page content well below the top of page, often below the fold. Interestingly, size doesn't seem to matter much on skyscrapers.

Conversion rates for B2B ads continue to average about 2.8%. That means, on average, you'd need 17,000 impressions to generate one lead—at an average cost of $1,258! So again: banner ads are branding, not revenue or lead generation. They may very well have a role to play in your marketing mix, but it's important to understand what that role is.

*****


Contact Mike Bannan: mike@digitalrdm.com

Labels:


KudoSurf Me!
Add to Technorati Favorites
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
AddThis Feed Button

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Best Web Marketing of 2008

Which types of online advertising provide the highest ROI? Who's really clicking on your PPC ads? Why do PPC costs keep rising? How can you convert more clickers into buyers? Are Web 2.0 technologies now mainstream?

Learn these answers and more from this collection of blog posts and articles, some of the best reporting on online research topics so far this year.


Online Marketers See High ROI from SEO by Marketing Pilgrim

Blogger, SEO expert and PR pro Janet Meiners reports on an MarketingSherpa study detailing the growth in paid search and organic search engine optimization. Read her post to discover which types of online advertising get a thumbs up—and which are losing favor with interactive marketers.


Who's really clicking? by iMedia Connection

Sandeep Krishnamurthy, Professor of Marketing and E-Commerce at the University of Washington, paints a bleak picture of the future of PPC advertising—then gets blasted for it in the Comments by some fairly high-profile sources. My take is that he does miss the distinction between B2B abd B2C here (PPC ads are very productive, especially for software and computer hardware products) but he's absolutely correct that search advertisers often underappreciate the value of branding and PR to enhance PPC results.


The Main Factor Necessary to Convert Visitors to Customers by Marketing Pilgrim

In another enlightening post from Marketing Pilgrim, Internet marketer and online entrepreneur Greg Howlett reports that the average conversion rate for an online retailer is 2.5%—then explains how leaders like Office Depot, QVC and Lands' End are converting at a 16-20% rate.


Direct sales, branding primary SEM objectives: SEMPO survey by DMNews

Ellen Keohane highlights findings from a SEMPO study showing how marketing budgets are shifting, what marketers think of the branding value of search engine marketing, and how they feel about experimenting with new forms of media.

Previous posts in this series:

Best of 2008 (So Far) - SEO Guidance, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - SEO Guidance, Part 2
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Search Engine Marketing, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Cool Web Tools, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So far) - Social Media Optimization, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Blogging for Business, Part 1

*****


Contact Mike Bannan: mike@digitalrdm.com

Labels: ,


KudoSurf Me!
Add to Technorati Favorites
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
AddThis Feed Button

Friday, September 12, 2008

Where Savvy Marketers Go to Become Savvier

Note: this is the first of two guest-posts from customer loyalty expert Nisha Prasad at IQPC. Read on to find out how you can get special pricing for IPQC's upcoming customer engagement and loyalty event.

You’re a marketing star. You have more creativity than Jeff Koons, your plans are impeccable and your campaigns are the stuff of marketing Hall of Fame.

But are you hitting the mark where it counts? That is, are you engaging and retaining your customers, as well as marketing to them?

We all know the positive business impact of keeping our customers loyal but its often difficult to implement and execute a customer-oriented marketing plan that a) wins C Level Support b) is compatible with current business processes and c) uses financial resources wisely.

IQPC has put together the Customer Engagement and Loyalty Summit (November 17-19, 2008, Hilton Miami, FL) to address these real marketing issues. The two-day conference brings together successful business oriented leaders to share their customer strategies and secrets. No fluff, no mirrors and lights, just straightforward answers and opportunity to benchmark in an open, engaging format. It may be the most valuable conference you attend this year.

Some of the most relevant topics in customer engagement and loyalty include:

• Sales and Marketing Integration for Customer Retention and Loyalty
• Analyzing Customer Feedback
• Translating Loyalty into Financial Impact
• Generating Word of Mouth
• Using Technology and analytics and finding out which is best for you
• Changing Employee Behavior to enhance customer engagement

In addition to the ready-to-use takeaway strategies, the event provides great networking opportunities to discuss and share your own successes and challenges with peers. Zappos, Best Buy, Borders, Mastercard Worldwide, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Telllabs, Canada Post, Abbott Labs, and Charles Schwab will also be speaking and sharing their customer expertise.


Finally, a conference for marketers that addresses the important issues head on: customers and business impact.

p.s. And because you’re reading this blog, you automatically get a perk (your boss will love that!): 2-for-1 conference pricing when you mention code: IUS_WMC_001. Great price, great speakers, great topics, great networking, great takeaways—the Customer Engagement and Loyalty Summit is for you.

*****



Contact Mike Bannan: Mike@digitalrdm.com


Labels:


KudoSurf Me!
Add to Technorati Favorites
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
AddThis Feed Button

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How To Use the Tools of Social Media Optimization

The term "social media" encompasses several different types of sites, and it's important to use all of them properly in order to really be effective at social media optimization (SMO). Blogs are of course one of the most common forms of social media, and there are significant benefits to having your own blog as well as building name recognition and credibility for your company through other industry blogs.


But what separates SMO from SEO is that search engine optimization is about owning a top spot in the search engines for your website on a specific term, while social media optimization is about owning the entire first page of the search engines for multiple sites that point back to you for a specific term. So, here are some tips for using different types of social media sites for SMO.

Discussion Forums

These are a place to showcase your expertise in a non-promotional way. For example, in an SEO forum, telling everyone how great your agency is at SEO is suicide; but displaying your knowledge by offering expert tips on title meta tag creation or non-spammy link building is brilliant.

Social Bookmarking

Sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, and Searchles are great places to spread the word about your own thought leadership content as well as, and even more importantly, positive coverage your company gets from other bloggers, journalists or analysts. But to really drive serious traffic from these sites, you need to know how to play the game with "power users" and the community.

Wikis

A wiki is another place to share your knowledge of a particular topic with a community or the world. You can do this by either writing an encyclopedic article about a topic; adding to or editing an existing article; or adding links to your own thought-leadership content as supporting material. Wikipedia is the best known but also the most difficult to work with; that leaves an opening for alternative wiki sites such as Google's Knol, open-site.org, Freebase and others which are less contributor-hostile.

Video

Unless you've been stranded on a desert island for the last four years, you know that online video is hot. YouTube now draws more than 70 million unique visitors per month. Business video production is growing exponentially because video is engaging, repurposable (for example, you can use a video on your website, at tradeshows and in presentations; post it on YouTube; use it as an asset for blogger outreach or a channel sales tool; add it to social media press releases; etc.), potentially viral, and increasingly searchable.




Two other quick points to note about business video:
  • Creativity is more important than expense; think "big idea" before "big cost."
  • Paradoxially, the investment required is inverse to company size. A small company needs to be concerned with professional production values in order to be taken seriously; big companies are better served by informal, low-bidget videos that make them seem more human.
Social Networking

At the least, social networking services like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter provide increased exposure for your company (and your "personal brand") while also providing SEO and reputation management benefits. At best, these sites can help you make valuable new business connections.

Using all of the tools of social media, ideally in an integrated fashion, maximizes your potential for exposure on key search terms among the widest possible audience. And it just may enable you to "own" the first page of the search engines for important long-tail search terms—SEO on steriods.

*****


Contact Mike Bannan: mike@digitalrdm.com

Labels:


KudoSurf Me!
Add to Technorati Favorites
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
AddThis Feed Button

eXTReMe Tracker