Archive for the ‘Search Engine Optimization’ Category
This year I re-launched my blog focusing on Integrated Marketing Communications because it’s the only thing I know as a marketer. Fortunately, I have been part of integrated departments and teams for the past 15 years. Anyone who has experience with IMC knows that the reward of a strategically executed and successful campaign is, well, marketing nirvana.
As I have said, social media isn’t drastically changing marketing, communications or PR… it is just forcing us, as practitioners, back to our roots. For me, it’s about being true to all three, while consistently challenging myself, moving forward with new best practices, continuing to perfect my skills and sticking to my passion for IMC.
While I know a lot of you will be surprised to hear that I will be leaving MarketingProfs (February 28 will be my last day) and the role of community manager; I don’t think you’ll be surprised to learn that I will be moving into a role with Serengeti Communications, that focuses on digital integrated marketing communications (search, social, web, and more) for Serengeti as well as for some of our clients.
Who is Serengeti Communications? Serengeti is a digital marketing consultancy that helps clients understand their market and customers; implement search and social strategies and tools; measure ROI; and learn the skills required to create and sustain successful digital marketing programs. Basing smart, strategic marketing and communications on data in a way that adds value to the bottom line and helps to meet corporate goals is the definition of IMC.
I have loved working with the team at MarketingProfs and our members – both are truly fantastic! The good news is I won’t really be leaving Marketing Profs, as I’ll always be a member. I’ll also be speaking at the upcoming B2B Forum (May 4-5) in Boston, so I’ll get to reunite with everyone.
I am really looking forward to this next phase of my career as I dive into a position that allows me to prove, once again, that social media is a viable part of a sound digital marketing strategy. If you don’t know Serengeti Communications, be sure to get to know us!
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After discussing the inauthentic nature of PR in my last post, I hope you know that I do respect and enjoy being part of the PR profession (well, except those PR areas that are broken) and truly believe that most PR folks are engaging in PR in a way that is effective. That said, I still believe that ghostwriting from PR pros (or profs) isn’t necessary or authentic (I am not sure that there’s much that can convince me…but I’ll keep an open mind, I promise).
I thought it might be a useful conversation to discussion how PR 2.0 will keep you SO busy providing strategic services/counsel for your clients or employer you won’t need to worry about ghost blogging and tweeting as a source of income or a way to show value for one’s job. And I know for a lot of PR agencies and pros that might not truly understand the nature (dare I say, culture) of social media, those are areas of concern. I get it, I really do.
While this might not be as interesting as a debate, perhaps it will prove to be more useful.
Today’s typical and traditional PR person does a lot of the following tasks:
- Builds relationships with third-party resources (usually the media, sometimes bloggers)
- Maintains existing relationships
- Does research
- Listens/Analyzes (usually online/print pickups)
- Writes plans
- Provides counsel
- Creates targeted messages
- Conveys timely news with constituents (but typically media and maybe bloggers)
- Builds a brand’s reputation
- Maintains a brand’s image
- Deploys crisis communications
- Clips or tracks pickups or mentions
- Provides measurement of campaigns
- Handles some marketing communications (including collateral, website content if a marketer isn’t part of the team)
With PR 2.0 you can add the following to your skills, deliverables and job description:
- Monitors brand in real-time
- Listens/Analyzes online conversations or mentions in real-time
- Responds promptly
- Conducts primary research in real-time
- Engages in two-way conversations with ALL constituents (in-house PR folks)
- Participates in social networking in a value-add way (in-house PR folks)
- Develops new online skills (blogging, wikis, RSS, etc.)
- Understand the importance of building relationships with all constituents (media, bloggers, employees, investors, fans, friends, followers, detractors, etc.)
- Responsible for Search Engine Optimization
- Identifies & engages with influencers and brand evangelists (in-house PR folks)
- Manages communities of constituents (in-house PR folks)
- Integrates new technologies into PR plans
- Shares industry information, not just key messages
- Builds communities
- Engages evangelists to help create word of mouth
- Understands that engaging in PR 2.0 will help at time of crisis
- Stays up-to-date on trends
- Trains management, co-workers and/or clients constantly
I don’t know about you, but to me that looks like a pretty busy job to me! All without having to ghostwrite or tweet (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
I cannot take complete credit for these lists. While I have been engaged in PR for a long time, some people just say things more succinctly than I do…and I like to give the credit they deserve. So, please, seriously, if you haven’t read PR 2.0 by Deirdre Breakenridge, add it to your reading list. She makes the transition to PR 2.0 crystal clear, easy-to-swallow, and provides a lot of proof points (i.e. some of the list information is from her book). John Bell at Ogilvy is another source of great information when it comes to the PR pro of the future (be sure to read John’s post when you get a chance). He’s the guy behind this post’s image and some of the items on the PR 2.0 list.
I am sure that I am leaving things off of both lists, so please be sure to add where necessary if this is too simplified.
Thoughts? Opinions? Objections?
[Image: John Bell]
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Customers and prospects searching the Internet for products, services-and conversation-and the world of marketing has changed forever. Your company, brand and industry are being discussed online… Are you prepared? We know times are tough, but we also know that business owners and marketers/communicators need to get a leg up on competition (whether you are competing for business or that new job). Now is your chance! We have three tickets available…will you be the lucky winner?
The Online Media Boot Camp is April 9th, 2009 in King of Prussia, PA. The three lucky ticket winners will be picked on March 20th!
For more details visit: www.onlinemediabootcamp.com
- Want a chance at winning a free ticket to the Online Media Boot Camp (a value of $349 before 3/16 & $449 after 3/16), you have to be nominated by someone else.
- A person can be nominated in one of four ways: a blog post, a video, on Twitter, via an e-mail sent to OMBC (beth [at] onlinemediabootcamp [dot] com). All four must include: Who you are nominating and why. You must include a link to the Online Media Boot Camp (www.onlinemediabootcamp.com) in your post. If you tweet it, use the #OMBC hashtag.
- If you nominate someone, you can buy a ticket for $349 after 3/16. A savings of $100! (Code: OMBCFTW)
- f you are nominated for OMBC and you want to go to OMBC, you must do one of the following to accept the nomination: a blog post, a video, or send an e-mail to OMBC accepting the nomination (beth [at] onlinemediabootcamp [dot] com).You must state that you will cover all travel costs, that you will attend and why you deserve to win. You must include a link to the Online Media Boot Camp (www.onlinemediabootcamp.com) in your post. If you tweet it, use the #OMBC hashtag.
- All posts, videos and e-mails of those nominated will be posted to the OMBC blog too.
- The three winners will be selected by the OMBC speakers. Criteria includes: creativity, passion, honesty, statement of how online marketing/social media will help you as a business owner or marketer/communicator/etc. and any other items that you think make your case to win a free ticket.
- If you are nominated for a free ticket, but don’t win, you can buy a ticket for $349 after 3/16. A savings of $100! (Code: OMBCFTW)
- If you win a free ticket and have already purchased a ticket, we’ll refund your money. Or, if you are feeling generous, you could give your purchased ticket to a friend…
It’s that simple! Have questions? Contact Online Media Boot Camp on Twitter: @onlinemediabc
Added 3/6: And because people don’t read…here’s a video to make the process a little bit easier to understand. ‘Cause, really, they are pretty straightforward.
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Last night I had the opportunity to hear Bill McDermott SAP’s President of Global Field Operations (and member of the SAP AG Executive Board) speak at Villanova University’s 3rd Annual Marketing Professionals Showcase, a showcase for two student groups to present their marketing projects to local companies.
Bill kicked off the night talking about today’s economic crisis and how in his life he’s seen and worked through three others: the oil crisis (70s), the Wall Street crisis (80s) and the dot.com crisis (early 2000). During his keynote, Bill mentioned transparency as part of corporate culture (although in this sense he’s referring to Sarbanes-Oxley). During the Q&A portion his advice to the companies attending was that excellent customer service is what would help them to stand out and help them to survive…nothing new or earth shattering there, right? But then he said something that made me smile. He said that business is about people helping people.
I took that as an opportunity to ask Bill how he felt about social media and how it “pulls back the covers of a corporation so that ‘people’ were the face of the corporation, not the brand.” To which he replied (and not verbatim at all) that he embraced social media, social networks, etc. Of course, he also said that there are negatives. As an example, he went on to say that he’d rather have relationships with people online so that they got their information correct vs. someone writing something that wasn’t totally true (i.e. bloggers). He also mentioned online communities and how it’s important to be a part of them. And let’s be clear, SAP is walking the walk when it comes to implementing social media.
Next were two student teams that were presenting their findings after a semester long (I believe) project. One team presented a new product they developed for kids and the other a new marketing campaign for a company. The students did a great job and their marketing research, plan and presentation were really well done. However, when it came time for Q&A they really struggled with these questions:
Q: How would you use web 2.0 and Internet marketing in your promotions?
A: We have a website and a link to it so people can buy.
Q: How could you use social networking to spread the word of your new product?
A: We will have kiosks and the game at a camp and will use word of mouth.
Can you see the dichotomy at play here? SAP embraces online marketing and social media and I am sure if you were a new marketer looking to get on board, you would most likely be expected to understand it too. And yet, the kids who have lived in this “social” world all of their lives don’t understand what’s being asked from a business perspective.
It’s like convincing kids that a playground can be used for business and adults that business can be done on a playground.
I have blogged about this before…if marketers (apparently new & experienced) don’t take the time to learn how marketing is being changed forever by online marketing and social media in a few years they will be extinct.
So, how can that gap be bridged? Education, a renewed passion for marketing…and online marketing training.
And by “online” I don’t mean take an online class. By online I mean learn how online marketing is affecting how marketing and business is done today.
The Online Media Boot Camp
I hope you all know me well enough by now to know that I am passionate about marketing, communications, social media and education. The opportunity to combine it all to help fellow marketers (and companies) get a leg up in this horrible economy is important to me.
On April 9th Liana (Li) Evans and I will hosting and speaking at the Online Media Boot Camp in King of Prussia, PA (right outside Philadelphia and convenient to NJ, NY, DE, MD).
The Online Media Boot Camp is limited to 65 attendees and offers the following online marketing training sessions:
- Social Media Fundamentals – Li Evans
- Selling On-Line Media Internally – Shashi Bellamkonda
- Corporate Blogging – Valeria Maltoni
- Public Relations 2.0 – Beth Harte
- Social Networking & Community Building – Mack Collier
- Online Marketing Workshop (Just to make sure that attendees confidently hit the ground running at the end of the day!)
Why the limited number of seats? Because as speakers we all want to make sure that we can spend as much time as possible with attendees to help get their questions answered, to help them bridge that gap I spoke about above, and to make sure that they leave with a new competitive advantage.
Online marketing and social media isn’t just for large companies with budgets. In fact, that’s not true at all! If you are a company, non-profit, agency (creative or government), college/university, etc. who wants to engage customers, prospects, shareholders, students, constinuents, etc. online, the Online Media Boot Camp is for you! Let’s face it, the Internet isn’t going away and even if you aren’t there…everyone else just might be. Why miss out on that opportunity?
To learn more about the speakers and what they are engaged in, check out their blogs:
- Liana (Li) Evans, Key Relevance
- Shashi Bellamkonda (The Social Media “Swami”), Network Solutions
- Valeria Maltoni, Conversation Agent
- Mack Collier, The Viral Garden
Registration is open and the Online Media Boot Camp is $349 per person. After 3/16 the registration is $449.
If you are already embracing online marketing and social media, how about passing on this information to a marketer that might be looking for a leg up or who gets it, but wants to learn how to implement it? You have my appreciation and thanks in advance!
If you have questions, please e-mail me at beth [at] onlinemediabootcamp [dot] com. Looking forward to hearing from you!
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A lot of small businesses are trying to improve their natural search rankings against their competition (i.e. competition has a page rank of 3 or 4, they’d like to be 1 or 2). Sometimes they are handling SEO themselves, which can take time to produce results. What can SMBs do to meet their goal, yet not spend their entire budget?
Understanding this core issue and not fooling yourself into thinking you are succeeding at SEO (if you really are not) is how to best determine if doing it yourself is worth it. There are two types of ways to get help if you are not doing it yourself
1. Get a consultant to help hourly or
2. Get a consultant to do the whole thing
SEER only works with clients in the second phase, as we want to own our successes and own our failures too. Having someone else responsible for doing things that we could be doing gives us (and any other search company) an out if things don’t work out as planned. We try to do as much of it ourselves as possible, allowing us to have more ownership over the result. And at the end of the day, results are really all that matters.
Should use always use industry keywords or is it okay to mix known industry keywords with keywords specific to your business?
I typically recommend going HARD after the industry keywords, SEO is a game where you go where the cows are grazing. If people in your industry are all calling something by one name and you want to use another term be prepared to not drive max value from your SEO efforts. This is one of the ways people get ripped off by SEOs. The SEO gets you ranked well for the terms you want to coin that no one is searching for instead of going after the more competitive terms. This usually results in great rankings, but little business. If you are tracking your SEO efforts by rankings only you wouldn’t even realize that you are getting ripped off. A good SEO company will outline what is most queried on search engines and if you choose to go for your new terms that are industry terms that is always your choice.Is it better to stick to industry keywords on main website pages and use topic or keyword specific words on landing pages (i.e. for specific products or promotions)
I believe that you should work the words in naturally, pages that are written for users before bots often get more links! Whatever you do, your pages targeted for SEO must be easily navigated to from the homepage, even if it is 2-3-4 clicks away, but putting a page up as a landing page that is not a core part of your site will not usually work for even moderately competitive terms.
When it comes to analytics most companies use Google Analytics, what other packages are available?
Omniture, WebTrends, IndexTools, Unica NetTracker are some of the majors. I tend to believe that almost every company should start with a free tool like Google Analytics or IndexTools first, as they are VERY robust—if you start running into major limitations THEN you should look into upgrading. I find that 85% of clients who have an enterprise analytics package are typically only using the features and reports that would be easily replicated in Google Analytics. Why spend the money on a big tool without first seeing if the free one gets you what you need to make good decisions. And don’t take the reasons from analytics companies why you SHOULDN’T use a free tool; many of them are full of it. I had one rep tell me that Google Analytics doesn’t track Streaming Video as a differentiator, but guess what sales guy…I don’t care about that. I need to track to sales and leads, my clients videos at this point aren’t major revenue drivers for their businesses. Google Analytics works fine.
Are there any down sides to using analytics software? What should small businesses keep in mind?
None, other than you REALLY need to know how to get the RIGHT data. Our analysts know when we are getting false positives—its in them to look at the data and say…hey this doesn’t look right, its that gut feeling that they have, its innate. Whereas the SMB that is trying to use these tools on their own are more likely to run with the data and make an incorrect judgments leading to believing that a campaign did better or worse than it really did.
What are some SEO rules that small businesses break and how can we get them on the right track?
I think the #1 mistake small businesses make is NOT OWNING THEIR DOMAIN NAME. I have seen so many small businesses have relationships go south with the original designer and that original designer keeps the domain hostage.
The next mistake is not educating themselves enough on the process and types of questions to ask any of their Internet development or marketing partners.
Another big one I see is not finding specialists and letting your web designer, also develop the site, write the content, do the SEO, and the analytics. While finding specialists will create more project management work on your end, working with specialists will help you get the maximum return—you might be able to find a web savvy project manager to contract out to work with all the specialists.
Worrying about rankings before worrying about usability and revenue. While it is fun to sit on the golf course and tell your buddies where you rank, its much better for you to be seeking out ways to get more of that traffic to convert and to be tracking to revenue. This leads me to my last mistake:
NOT tracking all Internet efforts down to some level of an accountable metric (page views, leads, sales, etc). Think of the questions a bank would ask you if you went in for a loan—they aren’t going to list rankings as an asset!!
When it comes to setting up a blog, and keeping SEO in mind, is it better to have a blog that is separate from your corporate website?
Personally (and I highlight personally), I prefer a blog on the same domain, as it helps improve your deep link ratio (links to the blog are automatically “deep”). I also think if you have two domains, you have to have two promotion efforts, thus giving people more options to link to you. Instead of having just one site to link to you are now giving me two or more, thus splitting up your link juice. Again, just my personal take.
Thanks for your time today Wil and for helping SMBs with smarter SEO!
Want to learn more about SEO? Watch some of Wil’s videos:
- SEO Best Practices
- FREE SEO Tools and how to use them
- Start thinking like a search engine to futureproof your SEO
- SEO Tips – Keywords in the domain vs Keywords in page names