Subscribe

Category Archives: Marketing

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.

Follow me

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.
Follow me

Latest posts by Chris Abraham (see all)

The True Social Power of Reddit AMAs (Ask Me Anything)

The True Social Power of Reddit AMAs (Ask Me Anything)
By Asher Feldman

Forget late night talk shows, long form magazine profiles where the reporter explains what you’re eating or those daytime panel free for alls — the best way to get your message to the people these days is simply by sitting behind the keys of a computer.

Celebrities (and their publicists) have come around to utilizing Reddit, “the front page of the internet,” as a key stop on promotional tours. With more than 16 million unique users each month since October, it’s no wonder. And bringing your big name to the question and answer forum subreddit r/IAmA and its more than 5.2 million subscribers offers A-list-celeb exposure potential.

But how useful is Reddit as a promotional tool, really?

Does answering whether you’d rather face 100 duck-sized horses or a singular horse-sized duck get you the bang for your buck (or your typing time)? Using social analytics, we can determine just how powerful Reddit has become as a platform for promotion — oftentimes to the chagrin of the most devoted Reddit users.

General Sentiment focused in on a sample of 19 of the site’s most popular AMAs (Ask Me Anything) from March 15 to April 15. From movie stars like Harrison Ford to World War II vets to authors and professors, some of the top-rated AMAs since mid-March have proved just why the AMA is such a popular forum — you can learn anything about anyone who offers themselves up.

Using the General Sentiment social analytics platform, we compared both overall volume of media mentions across the social web and tonality of the conversation regarding the subjects of the 19 AMAs to measure how well spent time on Reddit is. And the answer seems clear — it’s totally worth it.

Of the 19 AMAs, the subject of the AMA saw their overall media mention volume grow by more than 174 percent on average during the day of their AMA and the next two days compared to the month leading up to the AMA.
 

 
None saw a bigger bounce than “Hellboy” creator Mike Mignola, whose mentions jumped by nearly 600% after answering questions about discussing multi-legged nightmare creatures with Guillermo Del Toro and his Batman covers.

Comedian Hannibal Buress saw a similar bounce after he explained to the assembled Reddit crowd that his mom wanted to name him Louis and discussed whether or not he was a “juice comic.”
 

 
But it’s not only volume of chatter that goes up — bringing your message to the people also raises your status with the people of the web. By measuring sentiment during the same time frames, General Sentiment calculated that average sentiment for the 19 participants went up by more than 30 percent when comparing the before and after AMA time periods.

“Game of Thrones” star Peter Dinklage saw a 102 percent sentiment bump in the days following his well-received Reddit AMA, where he discussed his lack of a hairbrush and his love of hummus. Meanwhile former “Jeopardy” champion Ken Jennings saw a 140 percent increase in sentiment after he named his dream Jeopardy contestant panel.

Understandably, all of these AMAers had something to promote, so while the correlation between volume and AMA appearances is convincing, it is not as verifiable, given the extensive promo tours each celeb, major or minor, endures. The sentiment spikes enjoyed by most of the AMA subjects, however, suggest Reddit is truly a strong and, more importantly, a positive platform to get your message to the consumers.

Just make sure you don’t try to push too hard — a quick search for “Rampart” might let you know why Woody Harrelson isn’t going back to Reddit anytime soon.

Follow me

Asher Feldman

Asher Feldman is an analyst at General Sentiment, a Long Island, N.Y.-based social media analytics firm. Find them on Twitter @gensent.
Follow me

Pinterest Updates: What Businesses and Brands Should Know

Pinterest Updates: What Businesses and Brands Should Know
By Jessica Oaks



Pinning things has become the new de rigueur for a large swath of the Internet population. Gone is the day of the bookmark. Gone is the day of the RSS feed. In today’s Internet environment, it’s all about pinning things, using Pinterest. While this simple task may seem on the surface somewhat trivial, the opposite is true. Put simply, pinning is as strong an indicator of what’s hot and what’s not as hashtags or what’s trending on Twitter are. Understanding this can allow businesses to more effectively market their products and build their online reputations.
 

 
The Social World’s Impact on Brick and Mortar You’ve likely seen it. A Yelp sticker in the window of your favorite restaurant. Stickers that say, in a nutshell, “We’re liked online so give us a try in real life!” That philosophy is beginning to find its way beyond the confines of review sites and into the broader digital realm. In fact, Nordstrom recently made the decision to base its product displays on which items had the most “pins” on Pinterest. A common sense, no-duh strategy when you think about it, but one that was seemingly forward thinking. Think about it: how many stores, especially stores as reputable and large as Nordstrom, have you seen do such a thing? And yet, it could represent a tidal shift in the way that businesses market their products and interact with consumers.

What Businesses Can Do to Capitalize on Pinterest

Perhaps most importantly, businesses need to be on Pinterest. Businesses have already adopted other social platforms; in fact, businesses large and small have all but universally joined Facebook and Twitter. The next logical step for many is to join Pinterest. This holds particularly true for businesses that sell a product, as for many of its users, Pinterest is a sort of giant wish list. Instead of bookmarking pages or adding a blog to an RSS feed, a user will pin a specific pair of shoes, dress, or pair of pants. If your products aren’t listed on the site, they can’t be pinned.
Perhaps more importantly, you can’t gain invaluable data on consumer interest and demand.

The Internet Experience in a Mobile World

It could be argued that Pinterest has caught on in such a big way because it is tailored to the mobile experience. The website interface is mobile friendly (with a recent redesign, the mobile site now looks and functions in much the same way as the company’s native app), the user experience is interactive, and there’s no shortage of stimuli to keep people engaged.

With people accessing the Internet increasingly from their smart devices – iPhones, Androids, Samsung LG2s and tablets – Pinterest is increasingly looking like the website of the moment. It provides search functionality, a browsing experience, and archiving and sharing apparatus all in one. In other words, Pinterest is Google and Facebook all at once. And, with wireless service providers such as T-Mobile offering free 4G LTE data for certain plans, the opportunity to access Pinterest anywhere, anytime is now a reality among many customers. To learn more about devices with free 4G LTE, check this out.

In 2014, “The Year of Mobile,” there are many online outlets for businesses to interact with consumers, but perhaps none better than Pinterest, what may be the most mobile-friendly platform of them all. Brands need to ask themselves: can they risk not having a presence going forward? Is Pinterest merely a fad or is it destined to have a real impact on consumer behavior and marketing?

Pinterest Can Help Improve the Bottom Line

There can be little doubt that Pinterest is destined to join the ranks of Facebook and Twitter as the next big name in the tech world. Some would argue that the company has already achieved this. Regardless of how one would value the success of Pinterest, it is likely safe to say that businesses looking to engage with their customer base should consider joining now, before they fall too far behind the curve.

Jessica Oaks is a freelance journalist who loves to cover technology news and the ways that technology makes life easier. She also blogs at FreshlyTechy.com. Check her out on Twitter @TechyJessy.