Article Archive by Author

August 2 2011

The Google +1 Black Market

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Relatively speaking, Google’s +1 button is a new feature in search. However, it has already begun to affect searches in a big way. So much so, people have been trying to make, sadly, an unscrupulous business out of it.

Lately, sites have been springing up that offer to sell +1’s for your website. For a fee, you can get any where from 50 to several thousand unique clicks for the +1 button on your site – a practice which goes directly against Google’s quality guidelines. In the biz, its something we refer to as “back hat SEO.”

While tactics like this may be tempting, and can even provide some short term benefit, they can become detrimental or disastrous in the long run. In the case of buying +1’s for your site, there can be a number of ill-effects.

You may receive a penalization at a later date – Google prides itself on providing quality search results, and it doesn’t take kindly to those who try to game the system. If future algorithms can detect your purchased +1’s, you will have wasted your money and seriously harmed your website’s ranking in Google search.

It’s a spamming technique, and lowers quality – Consider what the +1 button is: a relevancy indicator to enhance social search. By paying a few hundred unrelated, non-relevant users to +1 your site, you can hurt your ranking in the long term and obscure your brand’s overall message to consumers.

It can mess up your analytics – The “audience report” in Google Analytics tells you the demographic and geographic information about users who’ve +1’d the pages on your site. It’s a great way to learn about your audience so you can cater to them better. Paying for a large amount of unnatural +1’s will skew this data and ruin your chances to find and target your actual, converting audience.

All of these negative aspects have the potential to harm your site. For long term success, you should always follow the best practices guidelines and stick to “white hat” SEO techniques.

November 16 2010

Find (Or Create) Your Social Media Voice

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We are taught in school that it’s important to follow your dreams and try to aim toward a scenario whereby you enjoy what you do for a living. I don’t know many people who are successful, but dislike what they do.

With this concept in mind, and being sensitive to the fact that most professions require some degree of marketing push in order to drive new business opportunities, I encourage you to pick a Social Media channel and begin creating content that contributes knowledge to your industry, which in turn will benefit you and your company.

The two methods that top my list of ways to socially engage are Twitter and blogging. Twitter enables you to contribute useful snippets on business related topics that others are (hopefully) interested in. Be mindful though of blurring the line between business and personal tweets. Here’s an article I wrote about that last month.

Blogs, such as this one are an excellent way to communicate with individuals who are looking to learn more about a particular topic or who need the type of product / service that your company delivers. Blogs that are consistently maintained help establish credibility, which can go a long way in driving sales. Interestingly, our four blogs are the most well read sections of our website.

Lastly, as you have probably noticed, both blog posts and Tweets are now showing up in the search results. They are excellent tools to gain organic presence in the engines and drive non-paid traffic to your sites. Invest the time to find the social media channel(s) that best fits your style, post consistently and you will begin to reap the benefits that Social Media is delivering today.

August 16 2010

Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead, Book Review

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“Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead” is an engaging, quick read that sheds light on the phenomenal success the Grateful Dead achieved on a number of levels. Written by David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan, this out of the box treatise focuses on the brilliance of the music itself, the Deadhead community and the unprecedented bond they created with their fans.

The book pinpoints several themes that are similarly noteworthy attributes for businesses in today’s competitive environment and thereby sage accomplishments given that they occurred three and four decades ago by the band.

Lessons include:

  • Take extraordinary steps to connect with your customers….The Grateful Dead sold tickets to fans through their own ticketing service, thereby greatly reducing the second hand ticket market and ensuring that premium seats went directly to their dedicated fans at face value. What incentive can you give your most loyal customers?
  • Give away content for free and encourage others to share it. Check out: Internet Archive’s Grateful Dead Collection for 3500 plus audience recordings. The philosophy of allowing everyone to enjoy the music (free of charge) was the precursor to today’s endless stream of free webinars on every imaginable subject.  This tactic was instrumental to the Dead’s viral growth as it left people wanting more, more, more and dropping whatever was on their plate to see the band the next time they came through town. In similar fashion, companies who are willing to give before they take stand a much better chance of developing credibility today.
  • Invest in your product…. “Rolled out for the first time in 1974, the Wall of Sound took eight years of experimentation (and) $350,000 to create.” “It was so far ahead of any other rock band’s concert sound system, it catapulted the Grateful Dead into a different music-technology solar system.” What can your business do that is unique and will prove to be a valuable differentiator?

The book is available through Amazon.

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