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Internet Marketing and the Motivational Divide

Thomas Friedman, who is one of my favorite New York Times columnists, writes that the "digital divide" is disappearing: soon everyone (or nearly everyone) across the world will have a computer screen and Internet access...  So the real divide will become the "motivational divide." Those who are motivated to continually learn, to continually push themselves, to take advantage of new opportunities and build new skills - these people will be the winners.  He takes all of this from futurist, Marina Gorbis, by the way.

Says Friedman:

In that world, argues futurist Marina Gorbis, the big divide will be “the motivational divide” — who has the self-motivation, grit and persistence to take advantage of all the free or cheap online tools to create, collaborate and learn. (http://nyti.ms/J3puIR).

Internet Marketing and the Motivational Divide
Much of what I teach about SEO, Social Media, and even AdWords is technical: how to do this, how not to do that, how to optimize a page …

Amazon Drone, The Purple Cow, and Marketing

Jeff Bezos of Amazon demonstrated a masterful control of public relations by appearing on "60 Minutes" and announcing Amazon's intent to create delivery drones. Couch potatoes of the world immediately leaned forward at their TV's or streaming Internet devices in cheers: now, popcorn and candy bars could be delivered via the air, in mere hours... Making it every more unnecessary to get up off the coach.

Amazon Drones and Purple Cows
Marketing Guru Seth Godin in his book, Purple Cow, argues that the ordinary is risky, but the extraordinary - the Purple Cow - at the edge of the road is not only the thing that will make you stop but the thing that will sell more...  What?  Stuff.

Amazon's drones may make it to the real world, or not. But in the day before "Cyber Monday" to be featured on "60 Minutes" and to be able to garner massive FREE public relations' buzz about delivery drones...  That was priceless (to use another marketing slogan).

Why Car…

Review Marketing: You Don't Ask, You Don't Get

Reviews on sites like Yelp, Google+ Local, Urban Spoon and even Amazon.com are incredibly important to many businesses. If you have a restaurant, you probably already get this. But even if you are a DUI attorney, a divorce attorney, a hair salon, or even a product that isn't local but sells on Amazon, reviews matter. More than ever.

Every businessperson who needs reviews realizes that reviews are hard to get.

Why? Because, first and foremost, if you do nothing, the most likely people to review your product will be the angry consumer. For example, I have had a terrible customer service experience with Verizon, and I hate that company so much that during my copious spare time... I am thinking: angry blog post. 

Contrast that with some very tasty local restaurants here in Fremont: I had dinner, it was excellent, I went home.  Little emotional energy to induce me to write a review.

Angry people often write reviews.  Happy people not so much.

As a business marketer, you need to change that…

Twitter Marketing and the Wall of Worry: The Twitter IPO

I am not an expert on picking stocks, though I do dabble in the stock market. One of my favorite ideas is that "Stocks climb a wall of worry." As someone who teaches social media marketing, consults on it, and has many, many inside connections to real small business marketers "in the trenches" struggling with how to spend their ad dollars, I wanted to share some thoughts about my "wall of worry" about Twitter, Twitter Marketing, and the Twitter IPO.

The Wall of Worry About Twitter and its IPO
ROI. The ROI (return on investment) for nearly everyone I deal with is always the best for SEO. SEO, of course, is getting to the top of Google or Bing for free, and the reality is that generally speaking when people are ready to buy something they go to Google (or perhaps Amazon) but not Twitter. The ROI on time on Twitter marketing is weak, at best, for more companies. Wall of worry #2: A worrisome sign if there ever was one: who will advertise when the ROI is so po…

Bounce Rates and Web Landings: Think Like a Guppy

It's the 1st of the month, and time for monthly reports on SEO, AdWords, and Social Media for me and my clients. What is always incredibly striking is the bounce rate. Even a bounce rate of 50% is considered spectacular: which means half the people land and leave in one instant. Many sites run bounce rates in the 70%, 80% or even 90%.


Is a high bounce rate necessarily bad? Not necessarily. Many sites are first optimized only on their branded searches - searches that include the company, product or service name. So they have a low bounce rate because they are speaking to friends, family, customers. Then, once they begin to SEO optimize, they get many "new" prospects and these "new" prospects often bounce. They say it takes ten touches to convert a customers; so you may have many customers that bounce ten times before they convert.


Thinking Beyond the Bounce Rate
Beyond the bounce rate, you want to think about the landing experience. I follow a CEA model: Confirmati…

Hummingbird Hype and the Google Algorithm

Oh the SEO world is abuzz with Hummingbird hype. Allegedly, Google has made a major, incredible, catastrophic, complete overhaul of their (magical) algorithm. Many are freaking out, quite a few are concerned, and of course every serious Google-watcher like myself must pay attention.

We've been through this before. Sometimes the hype is understated, as when Penguin rolled out and at first it did not seem like a big deal. Now it's clear Penguin is a very big deal with many severe penalties for naughty link-building. Panda, in contrast, doesn't seem to be nearly the problem.

Hummingbird and Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)
Hummingbird seems to be mainly about latent semantic indexing, which is a fancy word for:

Google being smarter about what words go with what words, and thereby to infer meaning. So many words and phrases are ambiguous and only with "context" can a "machine" interpret what you truly mean.Moving to a more Siri-like user experience. Allowing use…

Keyword Planner - The Buzz Continues

This is just a quick post about the infamous Google Keyword Planner tool. If you haven't heard, Google has killed the old keyword tool and replaced it with the Keyword Planner.  I have had nothing but a stream of questions, frustrations, and negative feedback from my students since it's launch.

My video on the keyword planner explains how to use it, and I have just uploaded a completely up-to-date list of all known free keyword tools, many Google-based and many not. So I am doing my utmost to help people out who need keyword tools and are struggling with the new keyword planner.

Let me know what you think!

Duane Forrester, Matt Cutts, and the Most Important SEO Ranking Factors

Duane Forrester, who is the "Matt Cutts" of Bing (meaning he is the liason between the Webmaster / SEO community and Bing), is out with a new blog post called , "The Single Biggest Ranking Factor." A little tongue-in-cheek, Forrester makes fun of so-called SEO experts (including yours truly) who seek to leverage knowledge of the Google and Bing search algorithms to propel specific companies to the top.

Despite the title of the blog post, Forrester doesn't really explain what factors in the Bing algorithm are most important and why. Instead, he focuses on the "user experience" of a website and implies that if you just focus on the "user experience" everything will be fine.

I can't disagree more. The "user experience" happens AFTER you get to the top of Google or Bing, AFTER you get the click. So to say that "user experience" is the No. 1 SEO factor is to really mislead people. Let's investigate!

Duane Forrester, Matt…

Growth Hacking: Buzz, Buzz, Buzz - A Reading List

I love words! Especially new words, buzz words, words that convey something different and unusual. In one of those marketing books, I think it was the $50 Startup, the author said something to the effect that advertising is like sex: only losers pay for it. (I know, NSFW).


Enter Growth Hacking: Endogenous Growth

Growth Hacking is a new, or relatively new Silicon Valley buzzword for eWOM (electronic word-of-mouth), endogenous buzz, getting customers to share your story vs. having to pay for it. Google had it (originally): remember when your friend told you about Google? Facebook has it for sure: the more people are on Facebook, the more they drag everyone else onto Facebook. Dropbox has it. Another, older word for this is 'network effect.' That means: the more people are on something, the more they get onto it. Think fax machines. (I like how at Chipotle, they have an announcement that says, "The 1980s called and they want their fax machine back: email us your orders").

August 2013 MOZ Top Ten is Out - Top SEO Articles

I love Moz! But sometimes it's just too much information. :-(

They provide a wonderful "TOP TEN" report each week. Here's a link to the latest Moz Top 10.  Among the articles for this week, here is my more focused list.


A visual guide to keyword targeting. Excellent overview to "on page" optimization with some new aspects, namely authorship and social media linkages. A nice visual you can print out and give to your bloggers!How Gmail’s New Inbox Is Affecting Open Rates.  This is the WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? post about Gmail.  I have to chuckle on this one.  The left hand at Google (user experience) wasn't talking to the right hand (advertising! click thru rates!).  Who is going to pay much attention to a tab called PROMOTION?The 100 Best Free SEO Tools and Resources for Every Challenge - Interactive. As someone who produces a huge SEO Toolbook, this is a very important post. Some new tools I hadn't heard of here!Those are just my favorites!  I recomm…

Overoptimized Links and Press Release SEO: A New Controversy

Everyone who takes my classes on SEO understands that I am quite a proponent of SEO-friendly press releases using either a free service like PRLOG.org or a paid service like PRWEB.com (Vocus). Issuing frequent press releases can help your site climb to the top of Google in these ways:

Fresh Content. Press releases create "fresh content" on your site, thereby signalling Google that your site is alive and well. It's akin to the sign on the door of a restaurant saying, "Here are today's specials!" Press releases and blog content create fresh, new content that tells Google (and humans) that you have new and exciting information to share.Inbound Links. In many cases, you can "embed" an "optimized link" into your press release, and many additional sites will run your press release exactly as it is written, including not using the "nofollow" attribute to Google... In SEO lingo, what this means is that many of your press releases will g…

What Is Your Billboard? Thoughts on SEO Title and Meta Description Tags

Driving into San Francisco, today, to teach my class on Search Engine Optimization I noticed the billboards along the freeway.  Some big, some small.  Some familiar (McDonald's, Chevron), some not so much. There's an art to a good billboard.

Catch their attention. Motorists are speeding by...  Busy, lost in their own thoughts.  You must catch their attention.Convey your value proposition. In an instant. Hungry? Here's McDonald's.  Need gas? Here's Chevron?Be memorable. A logo (McDonald's golden arches), a phrase (Alaska Airlines: You Just Get More). On the Internet highway - a.k.a. Google Search - your billboard is your SERP result.

Your TITLE tag should catch their attention. Hey! Look at me!Your META DESCRIPTION (visible underneath your TITLE / HEADLINE on Google) should convey your value proposition. If you click here, you'll get {THIS}.  So please click!And then if / once they LAND you need to be memorable. Why should I remember you?Why should they click? …

Custom URL on YouTube: How to Create One

Having a custom URL on YouTube like http://www.youtube.com/jmgrp is an important part of marketing. It makes your YouTube page easy-to-remember and find, and makes your brand look cool.

But how do you create a custom URL on YouTube?
YouTube has a nifty help file, here. It says:
Make sure you're signed into YouTube, and go to your advanced account settings.Under Channel Settings, click Create custom URL.You'll then be able to choose the URL you want. Note that you can't choose a URL that someone's already chosen. Once you've chosen your custom URL, it will appear like this:But oops.  It ain't always so.  In many situations you will NOT see the "create custom URL" feature!  How do you then create a custom URL for your YouTube channel?

I'm not completely sure, but here's one work-around I have created if you are creating a NEW YouTube channel.  I'm not sure if it will work if you have an existing channel without a custom URL.

Steps to Creating a…

Sales Funnel vs. Sales Ladder: Why I Hate The Concept of a 'Sales Funnel'

Marketers love lingo, and one of the phrases marketers really like is this: the "sales funnel." Aristotle taught us long ago that metaphors matter... How we think about a problem conceptually will guide our actions.


So think about the concept of a "sales funnel." What does it imply? It implies that your customers are passive little marbles that can be "driven" down the "sales funnel" as if the "gravity" of your marketing pushed them along. So we start thinking about customers as "passive" rather than "active" and we act accordingly.  

Lazy: as if we can "drive traffic" to our website (another phrase I really hate).


Are customers really passive? Can you "drive traffic?"
So think about yourself on the Web for a moment.  Are you passive? Are you "driven" to a website "as if" you were a marble?  Or are you active: reading, scanning, clicking, thinking, clicking back when you find some…

Viral Marketing 101: Geraldo Rivera Shirtless or Nude

Geraldo Rivera, that shameless publicity monger, has done it again! And, not in a good way. Last night, he tweeted a picture of himself shirtless. (He can teach us marketers a thing or two about viral marketing).  Now, the tabloids of the Internet (e.g., Huffington Post and the like) are picking up on it like wildfire, and it even shows as top trending search on Google:


Geraldo Rivera (Google Search).Google Trends - Currently 'Geraldo Rivera' is trend #1. If that doesn't work, just Google 'Geraldo Shirtless' to "see" what the fuss is all about: a 70 year old man, shirtless.
What's Going On, Geraldo? Teach us to Viral Market.
As marketers...  we want to look behind the scenes as to who is creating publicity, why and how. 

#1 - Geraldo is "stupid like a Fox." Here's a guy who's campy self-image is a man-on-the-street yet he seems to hang in there, year after year as someone on the publicity circuit. So he tweets a semi-obscene photo of him…

Organizing Your Share Life & Review of Feedly

Sometimes when I go to church... people have this funny phrase: their "Prayer Life." What they mean is that they have an organized ritual of praying and being spiritual much as many of us have an organized ritual of going to the gym, or to Starbucks, or watching Mad Men. So by "Prayer Life," they mean a systematic rigorous method of connecting with God or being spiritual.

Your Share Life
Whatever your religious inclinations might be, you can learn from this idea. For example, what is your "Share life?" Sharing is huge on Social Media; no one can be an expert on everything.

Most of us "share" cool stuff with our followers... But do we do this in a systematic way?

I am an expert on SEO, for example, and on Social Media, but not on WordPress, not on taxes, not on politics, and not on pop culture. But I follow others on those topics, and I share myself on SEO, Social Media and AdWords.

Having an Organized Share Life
Each morning, I boot up my trusty com…

Metrics, Goals, and Transactional Keywords: Define Them!

Goals matter! Not just on websites, but in life itself. Remember that annoying question: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Adults were asking you then about your goals. Now, there are many twists and turns on this road of life, but still goals matter. The same goes for SEO and Social Media: what are your goals?

Are they:


Brand buzz - generating positive buzz about your business or organization?Direct sales - do you sell something on your website?Sales leads - is your sales process necessarily complex, and therefore your sales staff "follows up" with prospects by email or phone?  Perhaps even in person?And then how does your website, Facebook page, Twitter page, YouTube channel... you name it impact your goal(s)? If you rank on Google do you rank for the "right" keywords? And are you getting traffic from Google, and is that traffic converting?

Or, looking at the issue in terms of social media marketing, do you have many "likes" on Facebook?…

Mike Tompkins and Video Marketing Tactics: Go Viral On YouTube

"Going viral" on YouTube is the ultimate "holy grail" of YouTube marketing. A viral video, of course, is a video that gets shared at a factor high enough to replicate ( > 1, so to speak). Let's take a look at one of my favorites on YouTube: Mike Tompkins, and reverse engineer some of his YouTube promotion strategies.

Step 1: Identify a Video Theme Already "Going Viral" Such as a New Pop Song
Tompkin's third video is a "cover" of Miley Cyrus' pop song, "Party in the USA." If you've never heard it, you can read about it on Wikipedia, here.  "Party in the USA" was released on August 11, 2009 and was a huge hit.



Tompkins released his cover on December 2009, about three months after Miley Cyrus.  (Timing, as they say, is everything!).  This video currently shows 3,462,470 views - not bad, Mike Tompkins, for your third video!

Step 2: "Hijack" YouTube Searches
So how does this work? People are searching YouTu…

Google Penguin, Meet Panda: A Quick Negative SEO Primer

What is negative SEO? I am getting this question more and more. So here's a quick primer on Negative SEO.

Google has launched two big "updates" to the Google algorithm of late: Panda (focusing mainly on 'keyword stuffing' and low quality content) and Penguin (focusing mainly on low quality inbound links, especially the overuse of embedded phrases). Along with this, Google seems to have increased its awareness of manual spam complaints. All of this is creating some unintended consequences.

Unintended Consequences of Panda and Penguin
I doubt that Google meant to increase the availability of negative SEO tactics. Negative SEO is the use of faked or aggressive tactics by your competitors to make your own site look "as if" it is doing something against Google's terms of service, or just as bad, to call Google's attention to something you are doing that many other competitors are doing as well.

So think about it this way:

Panda = low quality content.Pengu…

AMA (Ask Me Anything) via Reddit and John Malkovich: Marketing Authenticity

Reddit, of course, is one of the original social news sites. People vote "up" articles and Reddit acts as a sort of crowdsourced news reader.  Much of Reddit can be very dumb, and very pop culture-ish but sometimes it is amazing. For example, their: Ask Me Anything series.

Ask Me Anything is an example of marketing authenticity. Authentic, interesting interactions between people of all types. It's becoming very popular among actors and pop stars, and can teach us a thing or two about marketing buzz and about how authentic sells in the new world of Internet marketing.

Ask Me Anything on Reddit
The AMA series gets real people to ask usually famous people, anything. What's cool is that it often creates an authentic dialogue between a famous person and real folk like you and me. Here's an example from John Malkovich, who has to be one of my favorite actors. Being John Malkovich is an awesome movie BTW.

Read the AMA by John Malkovich, here.View his "Proof in Advance…

The Travails of Review Marketing and Social Media

Review Marketing is All About Reviews. Most of  us worry (a lot) about reviews - reviews on blog sites, reviews on social media sites like epinions.com, and of course reviews on sites such as Yelp or Google+. What are the issues?

Review Quantity and Review Quality

First, you just need quantity. Does anyone care enough to review you at all? Usually you have to encourage, solicit, cajole, beg, prod... your customers to review you. Just getting a few reviews on a site like Google+ and/or Yelp will make a huge positive difference in your SEO performance. Not to mention whether you show up on an internal search engine like that of Yelp or Amazon. Get reviews!

Second, you need to worry about quality. You can have reviews that are poorly written, or reviews from people whose profiles are so weak that they get filtered out. Even worse, you can have negative reviews.


Bad Reviews!  Uh-oh!
Bad reviews can come in a number of ways. First and foremost, the very unhappy customer.  So here you need to tr…

Testing Blogger and Google+: Will This Work?

One of my frustrations with Google+ has been the (ironic) lack of visibility of Google+ posts on search results. So after some investigation, I found out that you can link your Google+ account to your blogger blog.

My experiment is to create a blog for my Google+ postings, and then post directly to this new blog rather than directly to Google+. Then with a little help from SEO, get the new blog (which will be populated with Google+ postings) to show up on Google.

Why?


Benefits of Blogger and Google+ Integration

Ease-of-use. Using the blogger platform will give me lots of flexibility in posting, and the ability to have longer posts.Integration with Google+. The new posts will appear both on my Google+ feed and on my blogger blog - so the "short read" will exist on Google+ and the "long read" will appear on the blog.SEO Visibility - posts will appear in Google search and therefore pull in some new people who will find me not through Google+ directly but through search.

Re…