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Category Archives: Creativity

Link Builders and Content Marketers

Link Builders and Content Marketers
By Chris Abraham


Like Reese’s, link-builders and content marketers need to combine forces because they’re two great tastes that taste great together. Link-builders tend to be more left brain — technical, logical, analytical, and objective — while content marketers tend to be more right-brain — creative, artistic, intuitive, thoughtful, and subjective.
 
Link Builders are from Mars, Content Marketers are from Venus

 

 
Without the content marketers and copywriters, there’s no there there. Without copy, there’s no text, and without text, Google’s blind. Without well written, high quality, descriptive and easily understandable copy, link-builders tend to compensate by doing keyword research and writing clunky, but functional hooks that used to work well enough luring the bots, spiders, and indexing agents. And, content marketers generally suck at distribution. And self promotion. And shamelessness. And even optimizing copy for both online consumption and index comprehension. The content marketers love to write, but often are lost deep in the technology behind the scenes, whereas link-builders can go to town on tracks of copy and content, but don’t actually want to write all that content themselves, especially if that commitment requires needing to write new posts a few times a week, forever.

Circa 2014, organic search engine optimization is needing both link-building and content marketing strategies and tactics in order to get, and keep, Google’s attention. In fact, you will probably need to hire an information architect, a copywriter, and a community manager, too.

Google is becoming a Turing test for organic search. In the past, the test wasn’t hard. Now, Google’s tightening the screws. In some ways, Google is slowly implementing the online equivalent of United States Citizenship and Immigration ServicesE-Verify. The only way Google can do this is by making it harder and harder to make it to the first page of Google search if you insist on maintaining anonymity. That part of Google’s background check requires that some or all of the folks responsible for each site are “validated.” However, Google almost nevers throws babies out with the bath water; and when it does, it tends to roll back or revise algorithm updates that go too far and diminish the quality of the search results instead of improving them. As a result, Google’s been caught in a lot of untruths and lies by omission.

In other words, Google tells us what they want us to believe — sort of like parents who want you to get straight As (but who would really just be happy if you could somehow just pass). Everything that Google says officially about its search algorithm is just classic misinformation. I don’t trust anything that Google tells me about search. One thing I do know is that Google loves it when you spend money on contextual advertising. That’s true. Another truth is that Google really wants us to use Google+. Really badly.

And Google has a dynamic tension between its goals and its slogan, “don’t be evil,” and needs to ride the fine line between the misinfo and disinfo required by a the command and control regimen required to maintain a $344.7B publicly traded company, all the while still keeping Google’s culture in line with what people expect, as in not being evil.

However, I have long considered Google disingenuous when it comes to how their search index algorithm works when it comes to whether or not meta tags, alt tags, keywords, descriptions, page rank, and inbound links still carry influence.

The long and short of it: it all matters!

Google just wants us to spend less time trying to game the system, a system that can still be gamed if you pour enough raw resources, intellect, agility, creativity, and craft into the game, than more time feeding it what it wants, which is simple: useful content fast.

All the ingredients are still in the Google Pie, though in varying proportions over time. Google used to be indiscriminate, sucking down sites as quickly and as often as possible. It was hard enough to keep sucking, slurping, digesting, indexing, and serving up pages as near-real-time speeds. Now, Google’s been better able to map out the inter-relationships not only between sites, but also within sites.

In much the same way that Google used to favor .org sites and still do .gov and .edu, or how Google used to really care about how old your domain was, as an indicator of maturity and reliability, Google now is starting to favor your online community involvement: are you popular, are you timely, are you social, are you generous, are you consistent, and are you integrated?

Google is indiscriminate when it comes to where in the network your site exists. It understands context, interconnection, history, and the way organic systems actually do grow over time, rather than the way unauthentic, false, spammy networks tend to behave. Unauthentic networks of sites and links tend to rush, then tend to explode over a weekend or a couple weeks, as though produced in a movie set by a cast of thousands, and then, when they’re built, they tend to show the sort of predictable pattern indicative of clockwork, of automated systems.

More deus ex machina than the messiness stops and starts — the random seeds — of the human touch. Batch process and blind watchmaker versus the messy expansions and contractions so indicative of human creativity.

What’s more, it seems obvious that Google has the resources and the archive to check your homework against all other historical content (maybe ever produced) to see whether you’re pulling too much of a Rand Paul by just plagiarizing all of your content from other sites or taking a large tract of content and having robots and scripts mix and match them into something entirely new, but still suffering the traces of other people’s work, of their words.

Google’s way too smart for you to get away with cheating. If a simple high school English teacher can run her student’s essays through a plagiarism checker before awarding grades, don’t you think Google is always checking our work?

So, if you spend all your money on techies, then you’re not spending enough money on creating new content, new words, new essays, new resources for Google to offer to its users.

Google’s lying to us aspirationally. Google is on a vision quest to make us better trained at offering more and better content on their behalf, but also up to their standards as well. They want us, on our own and out of our own treasure, talent, time, to give us Google quality content: original, useful, educational, informational, wise, accurate, truthful, entertaining, but also quick, optimized, responsive, and also perfectly rendered on any device.

Lacking That, Google Will Always Go Around You

If you don’t feed Google what it wants, Google will choose Google+, Yelp, Wikipedia, or the news, instead of you, your products, and services.

And, if the current trends can be read into the future, the noose is tightening.

While the current crop of SEO specialists (who are often closer to black hat, no matter what their websites state) are still well worth their paychecks, at least for now, why not spend a little more time hiring storytellers, strategists, designers, writers, and artists to better convey what you’re about, how you’re different, and why Google’s users would be better served to visit you than some “better” site that Google made on your behalf, if you’re lucky, or your competitors’ superior sites, if you’re not.

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Chris Abraham

Principal Consultant at Gerri Corp.
Chris Abraham is a leading expert in digital, including online reputation management (ORM), Internet privacy, social media marketing and digital PR with a focus on blogger outreach, blogger engagement and Internet crisis response.
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Don’t Miss CajunCodeFest 3.0 set for April 23-25, 2014

Don’t Miss CajunCodeFest 3.0 set for April 23-25, 2014



Software developers, programmers, educators, students, healthcare professionals and entrepreneurs will attend CajunCodeFest 3.0.

The 27-hour coding contest, which is in its third year, will be held April 23-25 at the Cecil J. Picard Center for Child Development and Lifelong Learning in University Research Park.
 

 
Competitors will develop software and applications based on the theme “Aging in Place.” Teams of up to six participants will build tools that will assist people who live at home as they age.

Cash prizes, in categories such as best overall product and best student team, will be awarded.

“Judges will seek ways to maintain quality of life as patients grow older and want to live at home,” said Cian Robinson, associate director of the Center for Business and Information Technologies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. “A sub-theme will be the ‘Internet of Things,’ specifically how uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations can help people ‘Age in Place.’ ”

CajunCodeFest 3.0 also will offer opportunities to network and listen to speakers from industry, higher education and public service. “The line up of esteemed leaders will inspire and embolden participants to create solutions to problems that impact health care,” Robinson said.

Speakers scheduled for CajunCodeFest 3.0 include:

  • -Bryan Sivak, chief technology officer, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
  • -Kathy Kliebert, secretary, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals;
  • -Jeff Makowka, senior strategic advisor on thought leadership, AARP;
  • -Cindy Munn, CEO, Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum;
  • -Fred Trotter, data journalist, DocGraph Journal;
  • -Lizheng Shi, Regents associate professor, Department of Global Health Systems and Development, Tulane University; and
  • -Kenny Cole, associate chief medical officer and vice president of Care Delivery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana.


CajunCodeFest 3.0 is coordinated by UL Lafayette’s Center for Business and Technologies. CBIT research, development and technology transfer focus on technology-driven innovations in areas such as health care, education, industry and workforce development.

Sponsors include Lafayette General Health; ESRI, an international supplier of geographical information system software; CBIT; and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

“Lafayette General Health has been a leading sponsor of this event for all three years because we believe in health care innovation and new technology,” said David Callecod, president and CEO of Lafayette General Health System. “Cajun Code Fest is an opportunity to pull together innovative people who will generate better health care solutions.“

For more information about CajunCodeFest, visit www.cajuncodefest.org, or follow @CajunCodeFest and search #CCF3 on Twitter.

Secrets to Unleash Your Employees to Power Your Social Marketing

Secrets to Unleash Your Employees to Power Your Social Marketing
By Eric Schiffer



My ex-girlfriend hated the Facebook page for her company. She said it was boring, not relevant to customers, and didn’t educate or entertain them, and certainly didn’t cause them to act to buy. Consider that if your own employees don’t even like your company’s Facebook page, why should anyone? At the root of social media is engagement, the opportunity to get your brand into the minds of people. It is an opportunity to develop quality leads. The average social media user has ninety people in their network. If you persuade the average social media user to link to your content, ninety trusted impressions could be headed your way.
 

 
Identifying and curating good content is the key to persuading the average social media user to look at or link to your company. As the CEO of DigitalMarketing.com, I’m frequently asked why this Twitter handle isn’t getting enough follows, or why their Facebook post wasn’t shared enough. The answer in part is failing to properly capitalize on your number one resource, your employees, for social media marketing purposes. It can be a difference-maker to your bottom line.

The potential of social media to drive revenue for companies remains largely untapped. Most will stick a 23-year-old fresh out of college in the entry-level position of “social media” without considering that this person is now the voice connecting your customers to your business. It’s dangerous to give someone much power, so green, when one tweet can lead to a backlash, boycott, or worse. Spending all day on Instagram does not qualify someone as a social media expert.

To start, here are a few tips: Crowdsource your social content by asking your employees to submit social media update ideas and picking the best ones to post on your social media pages. Turn it into an office wide contest. You will diversify your content streams and increase the amount of activity that takes place on your social networks.

Ensure that your employees’ social profiles, professional and personal, feature your company’s website in the “Occupation” section. Not only will this increase the social exposure of your brand across each social network, but this doubles as an SEO technique to increase the overall ranking of your website. Promote your company on as many social profiles as possible.

Run social promotions for your employees. Offer an incentive for your employees to like or follow your company’s social media profiles. Hold contests where a prize goes to the employee who gets the most likes, shares, or retweets from their network of a company page or press release. Ask your employees to comment on posts in order to ratify them. This is a grassroots way to increase your brand’s social media presence.

Have your employees create short viral marketing videos and share them privately on social media. The best or most popular videos could receive a bonus or a reward and be released to the public.

Advertise job listings through your employees’ social media networks. You can attract talented individuals who already maintain good personal relationships with employees that you know and trust.  Additionally, your brand and pages get extra, valuable social media exposure.

Social media is the 21st century equivalent of word-of-mouth advertising, traditionally the most cost-effective form of marketing. Having a base of employees who love talking about your brand is the best way to get their friends (and friends of friends) enthusiastic about your brand. But the key is featuring content that generates enthusiasm. Entrusting this job to one person’s voice or failing to execute on the above steps and others is a decidedly anti-social form of social media marketing, and can stop you from realizing the real social revenue potential for your brand.

Eric Schiffer is a world-leading expert in digital marketing as CEO of Digitalmarketing.com, providing his keen insights to Fortune 500 CEOs, foreign leaders, Forbes 400 billionaires and celebrities. He is the chairman of ReputationManagementConsultants.com.