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Dog Training and SEO: Yes, They Are Similar!

We have a new dog in our house: Buddy.  Buddy is a 12-week-old black Labrador retriever.  Buddy is busy trying to teach us who is the "top dog" in our house, and we are busy trying to catch up to Buddy's intelligence level.  It's a bit of a struggle, and it's a lot of fun.

I do SEO.  (You know that if you're reading this).  And I teach SEO. So I am always looking at life from the perspective of a teacher.  And there is nothing better than trying to train a puppy to teach you a lot about learning, and training, and understanding, and behavior.

Your Website is Your Dog
You are you.
Your website is your dog.

You might be unsatisfied with your website right now.  Perhaps it doesn't rank on the top of Google.  Perhaps it does, but it gets clicks but no conversions.   You need to "train" your website, and you need to "train" Google.

They both have minds of their own.

SQUIRREL.  

And they're gone.  You have to "learn" how to "trai…

Why Testimonials are Stupid (For SEO).

You say TomAYto.  I say TomAAAHto.  Who cares?  Google cares.

You put on your website:

Testimonials about Our Company

People search for

Reviews About Your Company

Who cares?  Google cares.

Many, many, many, many more searches of 

"reviews of" company so and so

vs.

"testimonials" about company so and so

(See screenshot below)




YET - most companies have a TESTIMONIAL page TITLED TESTIMONIALS when they should have a REVIEW page TITLED Reviews.

You gotta speak / write / think like a customer.  Not like a marketer.

Facebook Organic Reach - Dying a Long, Painful, Disillusioning Death

RANT about Facebook Organic Reach and Facebook Pages.

(NOTE: I do not necessarily believe ALL of this... but I do believe some of it.  And clearly the disillusionment with Facebook by marketers is coming on strong).

Facebook's Early Years
Remember Facebook's early years? As a marketer, you would encourage your customers to "like" you on Facebook, so that you could "stay in contact" with them. You'd use Facebook to alert them to special offers, tips and tidbits, and they'd interact with your Facebook page - all for free. Sure, you'd throw in the occasional BUY MY STUFF post but 88% of it was just pure interesting, build a community.

The Death of Organic Reach on Facebook
Well, my friend:

THOSE DAYS ARE GONE.
FACEBOOK ORGANIC REACH IS NEARLY DEAD.
Facebook is clearly out to make money - nothing wrong with that.  More and more, the ONLY posts that show in one's newsfeed are those from friends and family.  Plus some ads.  But zero, zilch, nada or nearl…

Facebook Organic Reach - Nearly Dead?

On Google, you have "organic" reach via SEO and you have paid reach via "AdWords." While they don't always place nicey-nice with each other, you have to give Google some credit: there is such a thing as organic reach, as getting to the top of Google for free.  It takes work, yes, but it opens opportunities for small, hard-working companies with little or no budget.


Not so with Facebook, or hardly so, or it used to be so.  Facebook is slowly but surely grinding away on the "pages" of corporations, clubs, and businesses.  Facebook is becoming a social media site in which "friends" and "family" can communicate with each other, for free... but "Brands" aka businesses can't.


Bye Bye Facebook Organic Reach
Is that fair? I can't really say.  But it is really more and more a reality.  Which means for many of us to abandon any hope of using Facebook for "organic" reach, and perhaps using it ONLY as an advertising ve…

Wanting, Learning, Planning, Doing: SEO & SMM Success Paths

Yesterday, I finished my two-day workshop at Stanford on "Personal Branding." Many of the participants came up, thanked me, and used the "fire hose" reference. I had given them a "fire hose" of information on SEO and SMM (Social Media Marketing).


Yes, I had. There is soooooooo much to learn.  Soooooooo much to know.


Some advice in terms of success in SEO and SMM

Wanting. You gotta WANT to learn.  Attitude is everything, and certainly the first step towards success.Learning. You gotta realize SEO and SMM are GAMES. Games with rules, games with competitors, games with judges, and games with winners and losers.  You gotta learn the rules.Planning. Failing to plan is planning to fail. You gotta "make a plan" - step #1, step #2 and so on and so forth.Doing. You gotta DO it.  You can't just "think about it."  You gotta do it.  Know your keywords. Implement them on page. Build links. Get social mentions.  Tweet (if it makes sense). Instagram…

LinkedIn Reference Search & Your Digital Footprint: Be Careful!

Here's a feature on LinkedIn I didn't know about: reference search. Available only to premium (a.k.a. paying members), it allows them to find contacts who
have worked at the same companies at you. So the scenario is -

You are applying for a job at Company X.The recruiter at or for Company X is a LinkedIn premium subscriber; he can "research" who works or worked at your current company, Company Y.He can reach out to those people and ask about you, "as a reference," even without your knowledge. So these are references, but ones you do NOT select or put forward. Yikes! If Coworker A at Company Y does not like you, he can give you a bad "reference" and wreck your job prospects.Reference Search Exists Whether You Like It, Or Not
Many people - myself included - didn't even know this feature existed. And now there's a lawsuit about it on privacy grounds. The thing about Internet privacy in general is that, pretty much, you should go on the assump…

Metrics, Metrics, Metrics!

I majored in Russian Studies at Harvard, after originally wanting to be a Spanish Literature major. Numbers were not exactly, "in my blood," though I was good with math. Well, in the circuitous route that is life itself, here I am spending 99% of my time with SEO, AdWords, and Social Media. And increasingly on metrics.

Marketing and Metrics
Marketing and metrics, metrics and marketing. The old sage, "I know half of my advertising dollars are wasted... I just don't know which half" still haunts many of us. But we live in an age of metrics - clicks, impressions, click thru rates, placements, conversions, etc., etc. Metrics matter!

I had the (mis)fortune of interacting with a San Francisco Ad Agency (that shall remain nameless), who attempted to feed one of our mutual clients a bunch of baloney. Branding and RTB (real time bidding and this hocus and that pocus). But... refusing to give any data - about placements, about impressions, about clicks.

To be so insane as t…

Google: The One Trick Pony

Today's New York Times has an article about the frustration of Wall Street with Google. Frustration? How can that be?  Google is a "cash cow," racking in dollar after dollar via AdWords. But there is reason for frustration - a lot - because beneath the surface, Google is actually doing a very poor job as a company. The company has one, and only one, serious source of revenue: AdWords. And that revenue largely comes from the desktop.


Other Attempts to Make Money: Not Working
Other attempts by Google are not making money.  My favorite to kick: Google Glass.  No money there, and really no real traction for those silly glasses.  Or self-driving cars. We aren't even close to the age of the Jettisons!

But what really really irks me is Google Places!  First it was Google Local, and then it was Google Places, and then it was Google+ Local, and now it's Google My Business.  Google has a GOLDEN opportunity with local to compete with the likes of Yelp - form a real community o…

Google Suggest Haikus - Fun With Google Suggest!

Google suggest is a lot of fun. Put in a few words, and look for funny (or sometimes NSWF) stuff.  There is even a website that tracks Google poetry.  I am working on a project in AdWords, looking for negative keywords, and here's what I found - 


To find your own use keywordtool.io or check out Google poetics.

Customers from Hell: How are They Created?

There's a Star Trek episode in which the Enterprise enters an alternative universe and an "evil" Kirk emerges onto the ship (The 'Enemy within'). The whole episode is about who is the "real" Captain Kirk: the nice one or the evil one?

Creating a Customer From Hell
Most of my students think of me as a "nice" guy... But - like most of you - I have my evil streak.  There are certain companies - Verizon, and now HP - that I truly, truly hate. Recently, my HP desktop failed, and I have had to make call after call after call to HP technical support.  They seem unable to fix even the simplest of problems - generating an RMA number and accepting the return for repairs of a computer under warranty - and "run around" is a nice way to describe how I have been treated.

I even went to an HP consumer forum and posted a "plea for help," only to have some rude moderator tell me I was in the wrong place!  So HP tech support can't help, th…

The Death of Progressive's SEO-friendly Home Page (and What it Does Not Mean for You)

It's no secret to anyone who's taken an SEO class from me that I have admired the Progressive.com website for its SEO prowess. The (former) website was clean, simple, and followed SEO practices, especially the idea of "link sculpting." The original home page sported header tags, with links down to defined landing pages, and nifty thumbnails. They even had short sentences following subject / verb / object principles. Oh it was beautiful: an SEO work of art.


Cometh The Trainwreck

Well, they've revised their home page!  Take a look at it now.  Yikes! First of all, there's TWO Flo's creepily looking out at you, like Flo suddenly has an evil twin. Gone is the SEO simplicity of simple one-click links to landing pages, around defined phrases.

Now, instead we have the graphics department run amuck.  Foo-foo graphics, and text simplicity. Whereas previously we linked down to 'Motorcycle Insurance' now we link to the phrase 'Motorcycle.' (Bye-bye keywo…

Video Marketing: New (and Old) Options for any Small Business

Video is huge on the Internet! Rumor has it that YouTube is the #2 search engine, far ahead of Bing, and today Facebook got the limelight with an announcement that it, too, is moving heavily into video. In fact, creating a compelling (viral? shareable?) video is a great marketing strategy for any non-profit or business.  Just witness the ice bucket challenge, or dear future mom.

Useful Links for Marketers on Video
Beyond having a concept for a great video (note to self: the videos that get shared are emotional - funny, sad, sentimental, shocking), where can you post and share your video?  Here are some useful links - 


YouTube. I think of YouTube as the "foundation" of a video strategy. You just gotta have a YouTube channel, and you just gotta upload videos to YouTube.  Learn more here.Facebook. Facebook isn't so much a place to "store" videos as it is a place to "share" videos. You can read their latest announcement here, and a New York Times piece about…

Humor in Marketing: Some Funny Links

Humor and marketing... go together... But sometimes it's a pretty cynical humor. Here are two sites I've come across lately that are pretty funny and have some relationship to marketing...


Site #1 - Tom Fishburne: Marketooner
Mr. Fishburne is a very funny cartoonist, and he takes his wicked wit and points it at the hypocrisies of the marketing profession. I especially like his latest spin on the ALS "Ice Bucket" challenge - 


@ http://tomfishburne.com/2014/08/icebucket.html


Google Poetics
Another website that's pretty funny (but apparently died in June) is Google Poetics at http://www.googlepoetics.com/



Instagram & Hyperlapse; a Social Network that Marketers Should Pay Attention To

OK, I get it. I wrote a headline that ended in a preposition. Shout out and apology to my High School English teacher Mrs. Kimrey: SORRY! But Instagram is here to stay, up and coming, and definitely a social network that we marketers should pay attention to (oops... sorry another preposition). Instagram has a new service out called Hyperlapse for video.

Instagram Fun
Some Instagram fun, first:

Check out this time-lapse video of a woman's pregnancy journey. Short, sweet, tells a story. Oh, oops that's on VINE, Twitter's product. So what we mean is that short videos... can be very fun, powerful, interesting.  Funny short videos, marketers? Here's a short video on Instagram, by Rachelarich, who writes,

My first #hyperlapse of this week's brilliant issue of @fabmagpics, out with @thesun on Sunday. The #selfiestick is sooooo last week
So marketing TODO's for Instagram:

Explore Instagram as a user.Set up an Instagram account for your business.Brainstorm some fun, marketing…

Google+ vs. Blogging: Which is better for promotion?

So with Google killing Google+ authorship, and the reality that most people use Twitter or Facebook for real social media activities... the question becomes: 

WHAT IS GOOGLE+ FOR?

Outside of Google+ Local, which is pretty successful, isn't the reality that few people use Google+?  So shouldn't anyone who uses Google+ (yours truly included) migrate to Facebook or Twitter?


Techtimidation: Another Disease of SEO and Social Media

Many marketers are not techies. And many techies are not marketing. Yet to succeed at Internet marketing - whether it's SEO, Social Media Marketing, or AdWords - you need three perspectives to work together:


Marketing - you need the perspective of marketing, which tells you who your customer is, what they want, and positions what you offer in the way most likely to lead towards a sale.Web Design - you need a good-looking website, so when the potential customer lands there, he is "convinced" that your products or services are worthy buying, or at least pursuing.Web Programming - most websites need some technical functionality, such as a search engine, feedback form, or other technical aspects of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) like XML sitemaps, meta tags, or structured data.
To succeed, you need these three perspectives to work together. But, alas, they often do not. One of the marketing diseases I often run into is called TECHTIMIDATION.  
Techtimidation Explained
Techtimi…

Review Marketing: If You Do Nothing, You'll Get Worse than Nothing

For so many local businesses, the reviews on Google+ Local and Yelp are absolutely critical.  Why? There are two major reasons:

The more reviews you have, the more Google trusts you, and the higher you show on search results page. Reviews help you get to Page 1, Positions 1-3, on Google! If you are a restaurant, they position you to the LEFT in the carousel.Customers use reviews to vet businesses. They do a quick Google or Yelp search, and then they read or scan your reviews. If you have many positive reviews, they'll pick up the phone and call, or they'll send you a quick email. If you have negative reviews, they will never call.The Unk Unk's: You Don't Know What You Aren't Getting
As Donald Rumsfeld said, there are the "known knowns" and the "unknown unknowns" or "unk unks".  Meaning, you do NOT know the customers you do NOT get because your reviews SUCK on Yelp or Google+.

They just do NOT call / contact you.

If you do nothing - here&#…

Analysis Paralysis

There are steps to success at Internet marketing. First, you have to want to succeed. Second, you have to learn what to do, learn the rules of the game, and third, you have to actually "do it." It's like baking a cake: reading about it in a cookbook isn't enough, you actually have to break some eggs, throw in some flour, and butter and cook the thing.


Which leads us to analysis paralysis. This is one of the diseases of marketing that afflicts companies big and small, but seems to strike with more virulence at the larger companies. If one is a small business, and two a partnership, then three or more is an endless corporate meeting at which everything gets discussed, and nothing gets done.


Signs of Analysis Paralysis (SEO)
In search engine optimization, these would include:


Inability to decide on target keywords - you know you need keywords, but you just can't agree on what they are, so your team goes round and round and round with lists and lists and lists of keyword…

Dear Boss: The Letter We Should All Send (But Don't Dare)

If you're a Dilbert fan, you'll know that Dilbert's pointy haired boss is always coming up with hairbrained scheme to "improve" the company. Today, because SEO is allegedly "free," as is social media... many of us confront bosses who think we can just do free marketing without money. But free doesn't mean easy, and beyond the money budget, there's the time budget (or as I refer to it the blood, sweat, and tears budget).

Want to share this post? Simply copy / paste this URL (http://bit.ly/1uuONUp) or use one of the buttons below -



Here's my draft letter to send to your pointy haired boss, if you have one.



SUGGESTED INTERNET MARKETING LETTER TO BOSS
Dear Boss,

First of all, I want to thank you for barging into my office this afternoon while I was eating lunch at my desk, or as those of us who are Internet savvy call it, 'Sad Desk Lunch' (http://youtu.be/q9cS2W5PaSg

Yelp Matters (A Lot More Than You Think) for Your Small (Local) Business | Share This List

Yelp (http://www.yelp.com/), of course, is one of the largest local "yellow page" systems on the Web. Consumers use Yelp to find local businesses - restaurants and bars, plumbers and hair stylists, even marriage counselors and attorneys. Powered by the largest (and most enthusiastic) local review community on the Web, if your business is local, then you should be using Yelp for your Internet marketing!
Here's a TODO list to hand off to whoever is in charge of local marketing. Email this TODO list to your marketing team member(s) and have them check off the items on the list as indicated by:



TODO:Done: ❐ Not Done: ❐ Other: ❐ _______________



Want to SHARE THIS LIST?

Copy / paste this short link into an email: http://bit.ly/stl-yelp

Or use the social share icons below:



YELP MATTERS: A TODO LIST#1 - Determine if Yelp Matters to Your Business
Do you have a local business? In the olden days, did people search for …

Facebook Page Reach & Algorithm Changes: Some Thoughts

If you are a Facebook marketer, you probably know by now that in the last few months Facebook seems to have pretty dramatically changed its algorithm. Your "page reach" may have declined substantially. What you used to get "for free," Facebook seems to be wanting you to "pay for" via advertising, "boosts" to your posts, etc.

What's Going On? Big Picture Thoughts
What's going on is the same game that has been played since the Internet began. First, a new marketing vehicle (Google, blogging, MySpace, email marketing) comes along. It's great! It's free! The users are not that sophisticated and the companies that produce it "give away" their product, including "free advertising" to participating companies. Think Google in its early days; think the Display Network on Google, think of email marketing in 1995. Next, everyone swamps into the "new" thing.  Third, the company or companies that produce it begin t…

Inside AdWords: New "Innovations" Coming from Google AdWords

AdWords made some major announcements today (April 22nd). The main thrust seems to be better integration between desktop and mobile devices. You can read about them at

Step inside the future of AdWords - YouTube video of about 30 minutes with the announcements.Sharing the latest AdWords innovations - Blog post outlining the announcements.I'd say "Enjoy," but does anyone really enjoy AdWords? If you do, tell me why in the comments.