In the film Minority Report, we see that advertising in the future is triggered by iris scanners who identify you by eye pattern and use that to have talking billboards address you by name. Our present is getting closer and closer to that science fiction scenario!
The latest musing on Google+ is over at SEO Chat, which asks How Google Plus Could Change SEO. There’s a list of features which Google+ adds, each of which have the handy side effect of offering more targeted advertising.
A very sobering blog post up at SearchEngineWatch, White Hats: This is Why You’re Getting Beaten, about how the bad guys are mopping the floor with the good guys.
(and is anybody else getting tired of the hat metaphor?)
Anyway, as good a point as is made there, we’d like to ask, “Is it really that way?” Because here’s the thing: attracting traffic to your website is all about converting sellers, via ads and point of sale. No matter what, that’s the goal.
A fun bit of engagement over at Matt Cutt’s pad, asking What would you do if you were CEO of Google?. Cutts admits that he’d think in terms of big projects – starry eyed dreamer, and hey, nothing wrong with that. The comments also have a ball with this bit of day-dreaming.
But we’re the boring old practical idealist. In Eric Schmidt‘s shoes, we’d either (a) put even more guns into Android than it has already, or (b) modify a Linux into a desktop OS and push it to compete head-to-head with Microsoft.
How often we, in the web SEO business, chase down every rumor and scrap of information about search engine optimization, especially for Google. How seldom we get it straight from the horse’s mouth. Ok so most SEO consultants will know him, but for those that don’t – may we introduce Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO, a blog by a bona-fide Google engineer.
Chock-full of SEO wisdom, this candid blog should be mandatory reading for every budding web entrepreneur. A great example is the glossary section, with some down-and-dirty dirt on breaking a URL into its component parts, and busting some jargon on algorithms. And note, he doesn’t burble on about meta-tag voodoo and link-exchange witchcraft, he just tells you what’s going on!
It’s interesting to see Marketing Vox’s reaction to the sale of the domain sex.com. $13 million may sound like a sexy price, but is it really worth it? Vox says maybe so. We’re going to have to go with “maybe not.”
Now, for a unique brand name, yes. That’s expected. Pepsi had better control pepsi.com, and all the other possible pepsi-dot-anythings out there. Ditto for Microsoft, Walmart, Disney, and so on. We expect that a company that big can afford to control its own brand name, at least that far.
But when you get to generic domain nouns, not so much. Being in the candy business and owning “candy.com” at first sounds like a great idea… in 1998. But who, these days, actually blindly types domains into the address bar? We’d bet nine out of ten users today couldn’t tell us where the address bar is. Hoping to hit Google searches is the next bid, but Google searches don’t always blindly follow the domain name either.
California may be far away geographically, but there’s an issue right there that hits home for every web marketer. It’s really quite simple: Californians are going to vote soon on “proposition 19,” a resolution to de-criminalize marijuana for personal use. Note, we’re not talking about medical marijuana any more, we’re talking about lifting prohibition altogether.
Who cares? Well, apparently some major websites do. And the way they care is by refusing to run ads supporting Proposition 19. Yes, you heard that right. Not for any amount of money!
Facebook, for starters. They recently forbade even displaying an image of a marijuana leaf in an ad. And it’s quite ironic that we have to link to Wired to report this story, because Wired belongs to Conde-Nast Media, which also owns Reddit.com… And guess who else won’t run a pro-Prop-19 ad?
We all see dozens of articles targeted at the basic SEO strategies for daily use, but there’s a second set of techniques which we rarely see addressed: the needs of a mature website. If your site is five, ten, fifteen years old or older, and regularly publishes content, chances are good that you have pages on your own website that you haven’t even checked on in years.
You might want to blow the dust off of some of those. After all, you’re paying for the server space to host them and they’re all very well-indexed by the spiders by now. As time goes on, various little instances of webpage rot begin to creep in. here’s something to keep in mind if you do revisit those back-roads off the beaten brush:
This is one of those defining moments when it really hits you that you’re living in the 21st century. Twenty years ago, web searches were barely an explored concept. Sixteen years ago, the Google search engine launched. Four years ago, the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary added the word “google” to their listings. And this year, we have a hostess doing a video segment on the week’s most popular searches, available through a streaming video site.
Have you tried an alternative search engine lately? I know, as an SEO marketer or search engine marketing consultant, you probably groan every time somebody suggests it. Yes, these other have ridiculously small market share. But just remember, the one to watch in the future isn’t Google. The one to watch is the one who’s going to beat Google. It’s only a matter of time. No monopoly stands forever…
Of course, this sounds like both irony and wishful thinking. Arrington both rides a wave of reputation to the bank each month (Techcrunch), being the only technology news source regularly quoted by Reuters and Associated Press, and dies a little on the sword of reputation each night, with the ugly rumours about his behaviour, his controversy for conflict-of-interest situations, and his abominable accuracy record.
But anyway, in “Reputation is Dead“, he makes a case that since it will be possible to find dirt on anyone, then that will mean that dirt won’t matter anymore. That’s the web of Facebook, Twitter, your old blog, what-have-you preventing you from getting that next marketing job. The counter-argument is that everyone will need to buy reputation-insurance. Continue reading
We’re really trying not to sound like an end-of-the-world conspiracy blog this week, but there’s just been so many stories of dirty dealings by giant web companies that its difficult to avoid. Now there’s new complaints against Google in Europe, by three companies, two of which have ties to Microsoft.
The Google spokes-lawyer responds: “They were a long-time AdSense partner of Google’s, with whom we always had a good relationship. However, after Microsoft acquired Ciao! … we started receiving complaints about our standard terms and conditions.” Well, yeah, Microsoft does like its puppetry. Continue reading
Setting up a blog to promote your marketing presence on the web is just half the battle. Once you get going, you have to keep going. But while you’re at it, be sure you aren’t just filling up space without attracting visitors. A few tips:
Fulfill the visitor’s expectations. – Posting regularly is important, as is keeping the content consistent. You want to draw the kind of audience who make best customers, and tailor your content that way.
Make the most of your traffic. –Social bookmarking icons, RSS feed icons within easy reach, and links to the rest of your site will help turn those one-time visitors into regulars.
Archive. – The worst thing you can do to a blog is make the past content difficult to access. Live Journal, we’re looking at YOU! Ditch the clumsy calendar and – Blogger.com, you too – maybe even the year-month-day tree structure too. Lists are your friend.
Watch the analytics. – Learn and adapt new strategies from watching the way visitors access your site. For instance, you might have a very popular image that appears in image search results. How about adding your website name to that image? Continue reading
Linkbait is the social web term for the kind of content that regularly gets linked from social bookmarking and news-sharing sites. Think Digg, Reddit, Delicious, Metafilter, Yahoo Buzz, and even just plain blogs. The best link-bait is something that appeals to the lazy nature in all of us. After watching the social web for a few years now, here are the kinds of things you might post to your blog to more frequently get visitors from social sites:
Video – Number one with a bullet. Video content is extremely popular, especially if it’s under five minutes. Consider it for your next tutorial of handy tips.
Images – Especially a funny one. Even a vaguely amusing one. Heck, any picture at all. I’ve followed links to a picture of somebody’s shoes – regular ordinary shoes. But I had to click, because I just couldn’t believe that somebody would just post a picture of their shoes! Continue reading
Over at Search Engine Watch, I just saw the 7 Social Media Predictions for 2009.
Now, you know we’re all just bloggers here, and my swami turban is just as pretty as SEW’s, so I figured I’d see if I can refine the list by picking which predictions will hit and which will miss.
1. Social Media Continues its Rapid Growth – Hit! Hey, like this is hard to predict?
2. Business Networks Surge as Economic Crisis Continues – Miss. I’ve been on the web since it started, and I haven’t seen walled gardens disappear yet. Companies like Yahoo and Apple tighten their grip, if anything. And do you think MSN Spaces will just help you pack when you move to Google’s Blogger?
3. Many Free Services Will Become Defunct – Miss! The thing is, web server space and tools are so cheap, you basically can run them out of your closet. And Open Source software has been with us since the 1970s. People can afford to keep doing it for a hobby. I can see more aggressive marketing, though.
Once upon a time, the web was a frontier of exciting possibilities and intelligent conversation. Then America Online (AOL!) started up.
The influx of American kids logging in from Windows 3.1 machines completely swamped online culture, and it hasn’t recovered since. And long past the time when you thought AOL should have died, it keeps going, like a possessed Energizer Bunny.
Those of you who count on American customers for your web business, you know you have to allow for AOL users in your digital strategy. They still make up a tiny percentage of the web traffic!
Now Time-Warner is going to spin off AOL after having absorbed it 8 years ago. Amongst other ballast they’re dumping, they’re selling off… wait for it!… ICQ.
It takes a special kind of chutzpah to put a $300 million price tag on ICQ, in these days of Twitter hype. Yeah, sure, ICQ will come back any day now! But for a company that got its start as a game subscription service running on the Atari 2600, and has since survived not only the video game crash but the dot-com crash too, chutzpah is its middle name.
Of course, every website owner with even a passing interest in search engine optimization has had the word “blog” pounded into them until they can’t take it anymore and started a blog. Now, when blogs were first starting up yonder ’bout a decade ago, these tropes were excusable. but now, many of the things that people were doing with them are now tired cliches. Check your blog to see if it’s suffering from any of those symptoms – if so, it might be time for a scraping!
1. Replying to every comment.
You are right that sometimes you want to engage your public. Appending more of your bright, witty banter to the tail of a good, solid gem of linkbait is the sensible thing, especially while you’re soaking up all this adoration. But when you’re responding to every single comment, even if it’s only as brief as “hey thanks!”, you’re saying two things: (1) You have nothing to do. You’re not that busy. Your whole life is this blog. (2) Your ego is so starved that you’re gobbling up every crumb of attention as if it were the last human interaction you’d ever get.
Who cares about any other search engine but Google? Oh, OK, maybe Yahoo or Bing. But seriously, every single time you read a website marketing blog, it’s Google, Google, Google. It’s as if it were the only search engine in the world, as far as search engine optimization is concerned.
But what could we learn from optimizing for other search engines? And furthermore, what would the SEO world look like right now if we had one of these companies as the king of search instead of Big-Daddy-G?
One of the prime goals for an Internet marketer who wants to market within a specific niche is to get to know that niche. A specific market demographic is likely to have a whole culture around it, and you run into trouble if you get the culture wrong when composing your marketing materials. Leather, metal, motorcycles, and lager will go over big with marketing to bikers, but will flop with selling needlepoint kits to grannies.
One of the most important demographics is the youth market. Billion-dollar advertising companies exhaust years of research into study groups of kids and young people aged 14 to 21, to find out what they listen to, what they eat, where they go, and what their current slang is.
By all means, it’s necessary to become a part of this culture if you intend to market to it. Your best bet is to join Twitter groups, social bookmarking sites, and mailing lists devoted to your target culture and then remain very quiet about it. Spend more time listening than you do talking. Every time you see an unfamiliar term, look it up in Wikipedia or some other source to get the origin of the phrase. Continue reading
It started out being the fix for web browsers that couldn’t display images – yes, they weren’t a given for the early web browsers. Just when we thought we could get rid of alt-text, the blind and visually-impaired community spoke up, “Whoa! We need those to read what the picture’s about!” and so now using alt-tags became a matter of accessibility.
And now search engines use them to index images. So alt-text is here to stay. To use it, you would put:
< img src=”http://mysite/image.jpg” alt=”our company logo” / >
And you can go one further and use a title tag, which makes text pop up when the user mouses over it. To see a title tag in action, visit XKCD and hover your mouse over a comic strip. Sometimes it adds to the joke, sometimes it explains it, and sometimes it’s a secret message!
Our reigning web entrepreneur guru, Paul Graham, is questioning how this recession will affect start-up markets. We’ve seen a ton of hand-wringing going on over the state of the world market lately.
Here’s the thing that I’ll say which is different from what everybody else says: We’re going to survive.
Yes, believe it or not, we’ll make it! We’ve seen this before during the Web Bubble. Lots of web companies died off in a hurry, but did you ever notice that these were companies which weren’t based on a very good idea to begin with? The hardy companies that knew how to really make money kept going; they even got richer during the worst of the Web Bubble!