Atlantic BT » Internet http://www.atlanticbt.com Wed, 13 Aug 2014 17:50:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Google Revolution’s Profound Implications http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/google-revolutions-profound-implications/ http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/google-revolutions-profound-implications/#comments Fri, 01 Nov 2013 03:25:08 +0000 http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/?p=10415 Continue reading]]>

Not Knowing What You Don’t Know Can HURT

The new SEO started when Navneet Panda helped Google see how dirty our content marketing rooms had become. Granted we were maintaining those rooms with house rules, but things had to change. Google’s core truth is link democracy.

If links can be purchased Google’s algorithm is random. Marketers don’t pay millions for random. We marketers will pay millions when there is some definable and easy to understand benefit. Google’s benefit has and will always be relevant traffic. If links aren’t democratic, if links don’t accurately represent LOVE, Google’s system is Yahoo by another name.

Back in the day it was possible to BUY an injection into Yahoo’s organic listings. Yahoo’s listings looked like Google but was purchased. Google scoffed at such clear evil. Problem is once PageRank 8 and 9 websites began selling valuable links Google was in danger of doing the same thing as Yahoo with one painful difference.

If you purchased the “link juice” necessary to win an organic term from an “authority” website needed from a high authority website and your website won a top position you just “YAHOOED” Google and the big G didn’t make a dime. This was the SEO equivalent of the Great Train Robbery.

Google’s algorithm had to change or those billions in ad revenue were in danger. Marketers don’t buy RANDOM. Pain on the organic side of the fence always had a predictable short term Google benefit – a need to buy more PPC as “penalized” websites tried to stay alive long enough to recover lost traffic. BTW, you never “recover lost traffic”.

The rub is PPC is hard to use like that. PPC is based on trust and trust is built over time. If your website is on fire and you haven’t been spending PPC then using it may feel like a garden hose when you need a much bigger option. This PPC is based on trust and trust is built over time is why I recommend PPC spending no matter how good other marketing channels are going. Spend the money just so you have the fire hose when needed.

“SEO” Revolution Is HERE and NOW

At lunch the other day we started discussing how Google’s latest algorithm change dashed some websites managed by our lunch companions by as much as 30%. Given that statement you would think our discussion of how to create sustainable engagement via cause marketing would have gone better.

No one sees the REVOLUTION TRAIN until it is too late. Cause marketing is no sliver bullet. There is no one thing you can do to protect your digital assets. We lucky few Internet marketers are sand castle sculptors and we work on a content network beach where the tide always comes in.

This particular New SEO tide has important implications few grasp. Implications that must be understood or our lunch companion’s websites will never recover.

New Google Implications

  • Links without corresponding social support are spam.
  • Claims without corresponding links and social support are spam.
  • Heuristic measures must get better faster or pain will multiply fast.
  • New Google is about engagement and relevance (at its core).
  • If your website is slow or stupid it is over.
  • If your website is fast and too smart for its own good it is over.
  • If your website helps change the world it has the only insulation you can have.

Save The World Marketing

That last bullet from the list above is another way of saying something I love – your Internet marketing must be about the BIG IDEAS. If you have an increasing number of relevant and engaged conversations across Facebook, Twitter, GPlus, your website, blogs, YouTube channel and even your email marketing your KLOUT goes up as authority is gained.

The answer at our lunch was to double down and dig harder.

Yeah, not so much. Doubling down on a tactic that got your website in trouble in the first place only increases SEO pain. SEO isn’t about “technical SEO” anymore. Google assumes you know how to form a relevant title and use H1 tags.

NEW SEO is the intersection of social signals and your website’s heuristics.

Heuristic measures such as time on site, pages viewed and lower bounce rates is the sentient mob voting the way the “New SEO” wants. Not hard to see why Storytelling Is The New SEO.

When I created the Slideshare linked in the previous sentence little did I know how Google would insist on the kind of engagement stories deliver. Why are VIDEOS going tsunami viral finally after rocking on the edge for years? Video marketing creates engagement. Watch 5 two minute videos and you just spent 10 minutes on our website.

BTW, I recommend 5 two minute videos not one ten minute video. Your visitors will see ten minutes as a bridge too far and flee even as they may grant the time needed to watch 5 two minute videos if your storytelling is brilliant, engaging and threaded well (one video leading to another and another).

Add Cause Marketing Now

If your marketing already saves the world feel free to ignore these last paragraphs. Save The World Marketing, another Slideshare created about a year ago, came from noticing how nonprofit and for profit tactics were melding into each other. The web is the great melting pot and nonprofits must master commerce, distribution and reach just like for profits need great emotional storytelling and the improving page views and time on site great stories bring.

If that last sentence sounded like up is down you understand the scope of Google’s New SEO revolution. If your website speaks mostly to itself about itself you have a problem. If your website doesn’t tell emotionally resonant engaging stories you have a problem. If your website just got tagged by a hummingbird you have a problem.

If you do ONE thing tomorrow find a SAVE THE WORLD cause aligned to your brand ideals (see Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profits At The Worlds Greatest Companies by Jim Stengel for more on “brand ideals”). Find a cause your company can support that rounds out your brand. Find a cause that provides a new dimension to how customers, advocates and partners feel about your company, website and brand.

Don’t create cause marketing for the amazing new SEO benefits since to do so would be inauthentic and could hurt much worse than any benefit. We just created one of the first crowdfunding cancer research websites. CureCancerStarter.org is about helping cancer patients, their friends and families see into the lab, find the hope that resides there and know we will cure cancer in our lifetime. I shared a vision with Mark and Jon about how a company that now employs more than 80 great web programmers and marketers could help save the world.

The other side of that coin is the real ROI benefit of such courage (even if such return seems remote today after writing such large checks).

Doing the right thing is increasingly the right thing to do. Your cause will be shared around the world in minutes. Your followers will love your brand as never before. I tried to convince our lunch companions the future isn’t more of the same. The future is a revolution and it is hard to see revolutions until they are undeniable.

The irony of starting our lunch with the very reasons WHY our cause marketing conversation should have gone better hasn’t escaped me. Wake up, find something you do that helps save the world and talk about it or align with a partner who is saving the world and learn to tell emotionally resonant stories. The only protection left is the impact you, your company, brand and service creates so throw boulders not pebbles and don’t wait to count the ripples.

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Internet Marketing’s Strange Money Making Secret http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/internet-marketings-strange-money-making-secret/ http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/internet-marketings-strange-money-making-secret/#comments Tue, 06 Aug 2013 16:00:05 +0000 http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/?p=10257 Continue reading]]> Make Money Online table on Atlantic BT blog

Internet Marketing’s Up Is Down Problem

The key to making money online is doing some things to create trust and then disrupting those very things enough to create money.

Internet marketing takes time to learn. Problem is that TIME is a lure. Strike at that lure, the “learn as we go” school of Internet marketing, and you become dinner. Not hard to see why Small to Medium Sized Businesses (SMBs) feel overwhelmed by Internet marketing. They enter the game late, but with a diligence that only creates further trouble.

Doing what everyone else is doing online when they are doing it is important but hardly sufficient. If you aren’t content marketing now, as everyone in the world is, then your website, company and brand will look dangerously out of step. On the other hand if you ARE content marketing like everyone else you will make no money.

The key to Internet marketing success is learning the difference between two types of marketing:

  • Marketing where your ABSENCE costs you money but PRESENCE won’t make you any to generate TRUST.
  • Marketing where your PRESENCE makes you money and the ABSENCE of everyone else confirms your action.

Most companies work on a, “We do things when RISK has been removed”. There is no “risk removed” Internet marketing. Marketing that was “best practices” two years ago can get your website thrown in Google jail now. Internet marketing is alive and pinging all the time. “Pinging” means in a constant state of update, revision and share.

Unlike almost every other form of marketing Internet marketing is a conversation held over time where everything changes all the time.

Relationships can grow or decline based on how well your Internet marketing listens, incorporates feedback and grows. Can’t say the same thing about a print ad or an infomercial. Actually, print ads and infomercials have feedback loops, but TIME is so different. A print ad that runs in a magazine was conceived three months ago (to meet the print deadline). You can fill out a “more information” card that will sit in some inbox for weeks. An infomercial would take weeks or months to respond to feedback discovered after broadcast begins.

The Internet always happens NOW, like every conversation you’ve ever had. Now is a POWERFUL time, but it is hard to live there.

NOW changes constantly. It is hard to know what is important NOW due to lack of context and NOW is expensive. The secret to “NOW Marketing” is to be present enough often enough to create predictive models. If that sounds like HUMANS are becoming Internet marketing bottleneck you win a cookie.

As a Director of Ecommerce it was clear humans couldn’t manage Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. Computers and algorithms were the only systems capable of managing PPC’s real time marketplace where complex variables changed in an instant. We are coming to the same point with your company, brand or Internet marketing. Trying to create orderly plans based on yesterday’s numbers, numbers invalid the moment the plan is put into action, is becoming a losing proposition.

Practical Implications for SMBs

* Strong social presence is needed (Facebook, Twitter, G+ minimum).
* Checking Social Media several times a day is mandatory.
* Leave at least 25% of your time and budget for RESPONSE.
* Curate more than you create (as high at 90% curation to 10% creation).
* Mine User Generated Content (by asking for UGC and rewarding it when granted).
* Create new Key Performance Indicators that value content marketing & social media marketing.

The last bullet is from the, “We are what we measure,” school of thinking. Don’t get caught up in the tornado of debate around social media Return On Investment (ROI). Assign values (if you have too) that connect top of funnel (traffic generation activities) to the funnel’s bottom (conversion where traffic turns into money). Each business in every vertical has different models for understanding what works. There is no silver bullet we can share other than this:

  • Create Marketing where your ABSENCE costs you money but PRESENCE won’t make you any to generate TRUST.
  • Create Marketing where your PRESENCE makes you money and the ABSENCE of everyone else confirms your action.

The first bullet protects your Internet marketing flank while the second generates ROI (and lots of it if you are even slightly ahead of others). Content marketing is defined these days by the first bullet where your absence is suspicious and trust reducing. Even when everyone is doing something you can still create disruption by how you execute.

Examples of How Content Marketing Can Be Disruptive

  • Create a platform approach to mine User Generated Content (UGC).
  • Curate more than you create (as high as 90% curation to 10% creation).
  • Gamify your content marketing (see Atlantic BT Gamification White Paper).
  • Visualize your content marketing.
  • Embrace “lean content” or highly visual and more UGC.
  • Pick a fight (controversy sells visits).
  • Make visitors laugh (humor is viral).
  • Create videos.

Videos are like widgets. They aren’t IN your website as much as they float above it. When people grab a video, embed it and share it they create an island of highly targeted and well defined (if you’ve done your keyword work) traffic. The reason we will experience a “video tsunami” is video content is richer (than reading) and about 10x more viral (see Brandon Hoe’s blog post from yesterday: Video As An Effective Marketing Tactic).

Make sure your Internet marketing plays games everyone is playing to create trust and develops enough disruption you win more traffic, advocacy, list growth and money than you lose. Internet marketing’s strange money making secret is you must do some Internet marketing to look “normal” and trustworthy and other marketing to look “abnormal” and special. Knowing where the line between presence and absence is NOW is Internet marketing’s secret.

Join and Follow Atlantic BT

Follow @Atlanticbt on Twitter.

Like Atlantic Business Technologies on Facebook.

Join our newsletter list (will get that going here again soon).

Follow @Scenttrail (Marty) on Twitter.

Martin W. Smith on 

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Vision, Purpose, Value Define New Social Media Marketing http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/vision-purpose-value-define-new-social-media-marketing/ http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/vision-purpose-value-define-new-social-media-marketing/#comments Tue, 23 Jul 2013 15:54:28 +0000 http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/?p=10211 Continue reading]]> Brian Solis Pivot Social Media Report graphic & Link to PDF

Pivot Social Media Study

If you missed last year’s Pivot study it is worth a visit before firming up social media marketing plans for 4Q. Brian Solis just wrote an excellent mid-year post about the study: STUDY: Social Business Strategy – Vision, Purpose and Value drive a new era of digital engagement Both the study and Brian Solis’  midyear thoughts are worth careful reads.

Here are 3 Tips from the Pivot Team’s Social Media Study:

Tip #1: Content More Important Than Deals

Internet marketers understand their customers want more than the never ending SALE. The Pivot team saw “Exclusive Content” win the race moving “Customer Service” into the third position. Online marketers understand a basic web marketing truth – don’t engage when visitors are on your website and customer service is moot. “Exclusive content” is engaging.

We would add “exclusive User Generated Content (UGC)” too because a website’s willingness to ask for and reward user comments, reviews, votes and interaction provide clear reinforcement. “This business cares what I think,” is a signal websites want to send (B2B or B2C). Ubiquitous social share widgets, comment areas, curated user content and regular features created from UGC help send the “inclusive” message.

There is more to becoming a “social business” than great exclusive UGC. Make sure your website responds to emails and @yourtwittter inclusions, links and references. Fully half of your online strategy must respect the conversation your marketing is creating. Here are five ways to respect your social conversations:

Five Ways To Respect Social Conversations

  • Public Thank You or Favorite Those Who @Include Your Marketing.
  • Look to repay the mention by linking to something from the @mention soon.
  •  @Reply Thanks (remember to be specific since they may get many thanks in a day).
  • Note what @Mention care about & share related content when you see it.
  • Insight & Content More Important Than Deals Chart

Content More Important Than Deals from Pivot Team Social Media Study

Tip #2: Sales Matter, But Engagement Matters More

Engagement is key now, but we need new Key Performance Indicators to understand how engagement contributes to the bottom line. I touched on the kind of new KPIs needed to understand engagement in 5 New Content Marketing KPIs on ScentTrail Marketing. KPIs can vary by business segment, but each “social business” needs something more than Google’s engagement metrics (time on site, pages viewed, bounce rate, return visitors).

Pivot Social Media Study Sales vs. Engagement chart

Tip 3: Learn To Surf Social Media Marketing

One of the most interesting charts in the Pivot Team deck was the one showing fewer Internet marketers understand their social customer than last year. It is as if the more social marketing we create the less we understand our customers. One immediate fix is to ASK our social customers what they want. Social businesses learn to include customers in their decisions.

Every business process from what you buy or make to customer service improve with more customer feedback. Social media requires Internet marketers to KNOW less, do more and listen better (to eventually do less). The web’s feedback is immediate (if you know how to listen). Learning to create with open flexible programs, respond in real time to feedback and pivot on a dime defines our social, connected and FAST real time marketing times.

This holiday season try to KNOW less and LISTEN more. Here are some tips for learning to surf social media marketing:

Tips For Surfing Social Media Marketing

  • Listen more than you talk.
  • Curate User Generated Content on a regular schedule.
  • Ask for and reward feedback in multiple places and in a variety of ways.
  • Create a special group of customers and advocates, a “buzz team” to help create content, programs and offers.
  • Create MORE unique content than Sales.
  • Have the right conversation in the right place.

The last bullet can be tricky. There is no RIGHT answer for where you should have the many different kinds of customer conversations social media marketing creates such as:

  • Q&A.
  • Feedback.
  • Reviews.
  • How to support you on social.
  • Helpful ideas (expansion of existing content).
  • Customer Service problems / opportunities.
  • Partnership requests.
  • Press inquiries.
  • How to talk with a human.
  • Where to mail a package.
  • Where to send a fax.
  • Who to email for what.

There may be another 50 “communication” needs your website must define quickly. Most “contact us” pages include an address and a phone number. What about social media? What if I have a particular kind of communication? The more clear your “contact us” page is the more bonus points your website receives for being EASY, FAST and KIND.

Most important idea in the two charts below is when in doubt ASK. Social business is about having a conversation instead of a lecture, so when in doubt ASK:

Pivot Study Ask Customers When In Doubt Chart

Tip #4: Listen More Than You Talk On Social Media

Saved the hardest tip for Type A Internet marketers for last. Insure you LISTEN more than you TALK on social media. When someone @Replies you respond. When someone includes your online marketing in their recommendations say thanks. Build LISTENING into your marketing. Create regular features from User Generated Content (UGC). Publish a schedule for “Comment of the Month” or “Best Visitor Idea of the Week” because doing so communicates how much you care about and depend on feedback.

Pull content from gurus or avid brand advocates into your mix and push that link across your social properties. Share without a sense of consideration or share because content is GREAT and you aren’t worried about making sure you get your “just rewards” and your marketing is acting like an “Authority”. Authorities are Google’s magical hall monitors. Authorities earn more trust and receive more links. You want your website and Google Plus page to become authorities.

Think about the Commons and act for the greater good and your efforts will be rewarded. This is a big TRUST ME we realize, but what alternative is there? Continue to speak to yourself about yourself and your marketing will be on an island alone. Open up, listen and curate and you will become an authority. Becoming an authority on some content important to your brand should be on every Internet marketer’s To Do list. The fist step to become an authority is making sure your Internet marketing listens more than it talks.

Join and Follow Atlantic BT

Follow @Atlanticbt on Twitter.

Like Atlantic Business Technologies on Facebook.

Join our newsletter list (will get that going here again soon).

Follow @Scenttrail (Marty) on Twitter.

Martin W. Smith on 

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Internet Marketing: http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/internet-marketing-community-saves-world/ http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/internet-marketing-community-saves-world/#comments Fri, 24 May 2013 14:26:51 +0000 http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/?p=10088

Read More]]> How Creating Community Saves The World

Do No Evil

The famous Google directive, “Do No Evil” is true. In a social connected time when this blog post can work its way around the world moments after we COPE (Create Once Publish Everywhere) Do No Evil becomes marketing holy writ. Doing the right thing is increasingly the right (i.e. most profitable) thing to do.

Readers of Atlantic BT’s blog know we’ve discussed the “help first, Thank You Economy” trend before in The Commons Revolution and A Rocker, A Brand Doctor and GIVE and ASK at TED.  Many companies and brands are doing more than “no evil”. Brands as different as Tom’s Shoes, Tide and Pepsi are developing marketing that speaks to placing their marketing in a larger “Save The World” and community context. Later today I will be speaking with Ally Greer from Scoop.it and Tim McDonald about how community can save the world (and your brand marketing).

Google Hangout Details

WHAT: Google Hangout LIVE To The Web

WHEN: Friday May 24th

WHO: Me, Ally Greer Community Manager Scoopit, Tim McDonald Community Manager at the Huffington Post, Jonathan Brewer, Director of Awesome at BTC Revolutions

MORE: Find a kind and generous summary of our How Communities Can Save The World.

Community Marketing Questions

Tim and Ally came up with some great questions including:

1. What’s the best way to leverage personal stories in community and marketing efforts?

2. How can you find advocates to help build your community?

3. How do you make sure that your personal connections don’t hinder your professional efforts?

4. How do you keep a distinguished line between community building and marketing when it comes to sharing a message?

5. How can you scale personal anecdotes to build a global community with impact?

]]> http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/internet-marketing-community-saves-world/feed/ 0
Internet Marketing: Community Saves World http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/internet-marketing-community-saves-world-2/ http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/internet-marketing-community-saves-world-2/#comments Fri, 24 May 2013 14:26:51 +0000 http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/?p=10088

Read More]]> How Creating Community Saves The World

Do No Evil

The famous Google directive, “Do No Evil” is true. In a social connected time when this blog post can work its way around the world moments after we COPE (Create Once Publish Everywhere) Do No Evil becomes marketing holy writ. Doing the right thing is increasingly the right (i.e. most profitable) thing to do.

Readers of Atlantic BT’s blog know we’ve discussed the “help first, Thank You Economy” trend before in The Commons Revolution and A Rocker, A Brand Doctor and GIVE and ASK at TED.  Many companies and brands are doing more than “no evil”. Brands as different as Tom’s Shoes, Tide and Pepsi are developing marketing that speaks to placing their marketing in a larger “Save The World” and community context. Later today I will be speaking with Ally Greer from Scoop.it and Tim McDonald about how community can save the world (and your brand marketing).

Google Hangout Details

WHAT: Google Hangout LIVE To The Web

WHEN: Friday May 24th

WHO: Me, Ally Greer Community Manager Scoopit, Tim McDonald Community Manager at the Huffington Post, Jonathan Brewer, Director of Awesome at BTC Revolutions

MORE: Find a kind and generous summary of our How Communities Can Save The World.

Community Marketing Questions

Tim and Ally came up with some great questions including:

1. What’s the best way to leverage personal stories in community and marketing efforts?

2. How can you find advocates to help build your community?

3. How do you make sure that your personal connections don’t hinder your professional efforts?

4. How do you keep a distinguished line between community building and marketing when it comes to sharing a message?

5. How can you scale personal anecdotes to build a global community with impact?

]]> http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/internet-marketing-community-saves-world-2/feed/ 0
Creating Daily Key Performance Indicators http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/creating-daily-key-performance-indicators/ http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/creating-daily-key-performance-indicators/#comments Tue, 07 May 2013 18:17:55 +0000 http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/?p=10025 Continue reading]]> How to Create Daily KPIs Atlantic BT Blog grpahic Let’s pretend we run a B2B website where management is not certain about the Return On Investment (ROI) from Internet marketing. One way to protect your company’s investment and build support for your marketing is create daily Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Instead of explaining Daily KPIs step by laborious step I’m going to toss us into the deep end of the pool and explain how to swim.

Here is the deep end of the pool:

Setting Up KPIs On Atlantic BT blog

You may want to Zoom in since I couldn’t make the type larger and not have the page take forever to load (an SEO sin). Daily KPI numbers are divided into:

  • Building Blocks – Base numbers such as unique visitors and visits that feed other important calculations.
    .
  • Stickiness – Measures critical website “heuristic” measures, or how the site is being used and liked (or not).
    .
  • Conversion – Is the website doing what you want it to do. Note I assigned a $2,400 value to each conversion based on internal numbers. The value of your conversion may very.

Daily KPIs: Building Blocks

Date & Day
When comparing Yesterday to the Same Day Last Year including date and day helps. Most B2B websites go to sleep over the weekend. Knowing what day your comparison is comparing against is valuable. In the example above we would expect Monday’s numbers to beat a Saturday.

Uniques
Unique traffic to your website created by planting a “cookie” (little piece of code on a visitors computer). A person can only be “unique” once. There is a “cookie erase” controversy. People who erase cookies can appear as a “unique” visitor twice. Don’t sweat a detail that fine BECAUSE it is true across your model.

Web analytics are NOT a search for absolute mathematical truth. Web analytics are a search for marketing truth. We create models to find Internet marketing truth. In our Internet marketing models consistency trumps absolute accuracy. Don’t trip over million dollar bills to pick up nickels.

% – The % gain or loss vs same day last year.

Visits – How many visits were made to the website. Visits will always exceed uniques because some visitors visit more than once.

Pageviews – Aggregate of pages served for the period (in this case for a single day).

Daily KPIs: Stickiness

Stickiness is how well your website engages visitors. Stickiness metrics are sometimes called “heuristic” measurements. Heuristic measures are beyond important after Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm changes. Google’s changes place high value on engagement. Website engagement is measured by heuristics.

Visits per Visitor - Calculation: total visits / uniques.
Sometimes called “repeat visits” or “repeat visitors” this metrics tells you how often visitors return to your website. You want this number to go UP and it will do so very slowly over time if your engagement metrics improve. In our example Visits per Visitor is down slightly from 1.14 last year to 1.10. Not down so much that I would panic, but worth watching as we expand out to weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly numbers.

Pages Per Unique Visitor – Calculation: Pageviews / Uniques.
Pages divided by unique traffic provides a sense of if each unique visitor is engaged MORE or LESS. You want this number to go UP. This is a “nice to have” metric that confirms other metrics, so I don’t calculate a % to see a trend here. I can get the trend from other more important metrics such as Visits per Visitor, Pages and Time.

Pages
Comes from Google analytics on the Audience – Overview page. Number is pages viewed per average visitor with repeat pages counted. This means if a visitor travels down a menu and returns to the homepage the homepage is counted twice. There is a ratio between pages and time. Average pages per visit in the 3 to 6 range is good. Anything above 6, remember these are AVERAGES, is astronomical. This metric moves SLOWLY. You want to watch its trend over time and hope that your number is moving UP.

%YoY – Since Pages is a major “trending” heuristic it is a good idea to divide current by past to see how you are doing.

Time (seconds)
I convert Google’s minutes on our website to seconds for ease of math purposes. This is another major trending metric especially after Panda and Penguin, so divide current by past.

Bounce Rate
Google wants your website to be sticky, so you want bounce rate to trend DOWN. Bounce rates in the sixties are not uncommon. A bounce rate below 50% may mean your don’t have enough traffic visiting your website. Bounce rate exposes the two sides of web metrics. You want your metrics to IMPROVE, but improve too much and something is WRONG (lol). Welcome to Internet marketing.

Daily KPIs: Conversion

I can’t know your “conversion” points, but they are always “triggered” events. You want visitors to take some action such as: subscribe to your email list, fill out a form, request a call. These actions are “conversions” and can be tracked in Google Analytics as “Goals”. Goto  the Conversions – Goals – Overview tab. This will show a summary of the goals you’ve created off of triggered events (clicks = a “triggered event”).

Goal 1 – 3 – These are goals we’ve defined.

Total – Summary of the defined goals.

Conversion Rate – Calculation: Total Conversion / Visits. Use visits not unique because every visit can produce a conversion.

Value
Value of a conversion * total conversions (a simple way to create “value” is take gross sales last year and divide by conversions). I realize such a fuzzy metric will make some financial types nervous. Value COULD BE ANYTHING. Since we don’t care as much about accuracy as consistency, the TREND of value is more important to Internet marketing than its “dollars to the bank” accuracy. Yes some websites will have the financial acumen to figure the model to 10 digits of Pi. I could care less and would argue such absurd uses of time end up costing money instead of making it. Slap a value on your conversions and then trend it over time. You can debate the CFO on how accurate you are later.

Daily KPIs Example Conclusions (the green and red boxes)

A single day evaluated by itself doesn’t say much. The discipline of looking at KPIs daily is what creates insight. On balance May 6th looks good. Uniques were up, Visits Per Visitor was down and that deserve a “watch”, more people visiting looked at more pages and spent a lot more TIME so we didn’t sacrifice heuristics to bring in more traffic.

We are comparing a Monday to a Saturday and such a comparison is almost useless in a B2B website.  I would connect to weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly KPIs to know if the “watch” on Visits Per Visitor is an alarm or an anomaly.  Since I brought up connecting to weekly KPIs let’s dive a little deeper into our KPI pool and look at Weekly KPIs:

How To Create Daily & Weekly KPIs on Atlantic BT blog

Week over Week Analysis

Does our “watch” on Visits Per Visitor need a “deep dive” to figure out what is going on? Probably not based on comparing a week in April / May to the same week last year. We see an average of 1.12 for Visits Per Visitor and we know this metric moves SLOWLY and in tiny increments, so our single day 1.10 isn’t so dramatic as to call for a deep dive.

In the weekly data our unique traffic is down by 17%. I know the source of the difference. We had a promotion last year we didn’t repeat this year. I don’t panic about unique traffic UNLESS other numbers are trending down too. Use numbers like Pages Per Unique Visitor to know if your website’s engagement is UP even as its traffic is DOWN.

The other reason I wouldn’t panic is this year we converted at 2.42% vs. 1.40% last year banking $163,000 to $16,800, a 871% improvement. That number is TOO GOOD, but again I know the source. I added a goal that wasn’t in last year, so if I wanted a strict apples to apples comparison I would model OUT the difference.

Keep good Notes

I am the WORST person to tell you to keep good notes (lol). If I get hit by a car there will be no note about our Curation Contest or my addition of goals. Since metrics extend over time keeping good notes about daily anomalies or special circumstances will prove helpful when you look back and forget what you or what happened last year. If your site goes down for more than a burp, NOTE IT or you may spend days trying to discover why your daily KPIs are so messed up.

Spreadsheets & Discipline

Wish there was some way to create a daily KPI log OTHER than Excel. If there is one I don’t know it. If you know of a better, less manual way please share in a comment. When I managed $6M in annual e-commerce revenue I checked daily KPIs first thing in the morning. 99% of the time daily KPIs are IN LINE with your modeled expectations. When your KPIs are in line go about your job.

1% of the time your KPIs will trend way out of line with your modeled expectations.

NEVER ignore those days. In a modeled world like the web any variation beyond a half a point of standard deviation (give or take your metrics) deserves a quick review. When you see a full point or two of standard deviation difference then you should close your door and say, “DIVE, DIVE, DIVE” because something bad is happening.

Your website is ON FIRE and it is your job to put it out.

One scary story to sink the point. One October my team found a full 3 point POSITIVE visitor number. We modeled at X and the number we got was 3 full percentage points higher WITHOUT a corresponding increase in the number of conversions. We had substantially more traffic acting like substantially LESS traffic.

We were under a “spam attack” from a competitor.

Spam attacks are when competitors hire proxies to bomb your website with “bad neighborhood” links. The result of such a “spam bomb” is a momentary increase in traffic and then a Google smackdown as your website is labeled “spammer”. We saw the source and reported the links. Now you can use a “disavow” command if you know what you are doing.

The point to my scary story is know your model.

Any movement beyond your modeled expectations should be investigated. Dramatic movements mean your website is on fire and you must put it out before it burns to the ground. Will your website be attacked as the one I managed was? Attacks are increasing and from strange sources, so watch your Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly and Yearly KPIs like a hawk on a wire looking for dinner and remember to “stay calm and carry on”.

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Martin W. Smith on 

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Scoopit and the Lean Content Movement http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/scoopit-and-the-lean-content-movement/ http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/scoopit-and-the-lean-content-movement/#comments Fri, 26 Apr 2013 15:31:02 +0000 http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/?p=10004 Continue reading]]> Lean Content Movement lady on Atlantic BT blog

The Lean Content Movement

I created Anatomy of Great Ecom for one of my content marketing websites a few days ago (image below). I approached the post with the Lean Content Movement in Mind. Scoop.it’s CEO Guillaume Decugis, Founder Marc Rougier and the team at Scoop.it, a curation tool I love, and their team is  pioneering the Lean Content Movement.

Show don’t tell may be a good summary of the Lean Content Movement. Marketing influenced by MOBILE is MORE visual no. If your visuals aren’t cool and arresting no one reads the words or watches the video. Emerging content marketing ideas are forming into best practices for our new Lean Content Movement.

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Lean Content Movement Ideas
* Show don’t tell.
* Play for shares.
* Create Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that make shares more likely.
* Everything promotes more or less shares, there is no neutral in content marketing.
* Content is money, but not all content is equal.
* Create movements not campaigns.

If you think a list like this would be better presented graphically you are thinking like a lean content marketer.

If I had the graphic skills necessary I would have formed the Lean Content Movement Ideas list into a graphic. My inability to do so brings up another aspect to the Lean Content Movement – it takes TIME and the right team. If you don’t have a great graphic designer on your content team, one who can work FAST, then your content marketing team isn’t ready for the Lean Content Movement.

How Anatomy of Great Ecom content aligns with Lean Content Movement:
* Led with WordPress Gallery.
* Told the story in 3 visuals FIRST.
* Wrote the content after leading by telling the story visually.
* Used “web writing” guidelines for the words (short sentences, small paragraphs, big headers and bullet points for scanners).
* Anatomy of E-commerce fits in New E-Commerce Movement.

Anatomy of Great E-Commerce on Martin Marty Smith link  

Movements Not Campaigns

TIME and COMMITMENT are the differences between campaigns and movements. Create Movements To Sell Campaigns is a ScentTrail Marketing post touching on how to create an umbrella idea, a “movement” that creates cohesion binding all other ideas together in a meaningful core.  If you sell B2B and B2C web and software development as we do at Atlantic BT, you could create movements for:

  • The New E-commerce.
  • Mobile Revolution.
  • Hyper-Local marketing.
  • Visual Marketing Movement.
  • Content Marketing Movement.

Presence or absence of Blue Oceans may be the tactical reason you choose one “movement” over the other.

Blue Oceans, taken from the book Blue Ocean Strategies by Kim, are pockets of new value you create to swim in an ocean not yet infested with sharks, not turned red from zero-sum competition. Cirque du Soleil is a favorite example of a Blue Ocean strategy. Cirque du Soleil redefined “circus” stripping away COSTS (animals and travel) and leaving storytelling and acrobatics. Genius Blue Ocean strategy.

Lean Content feels like a Blue Ocean.

Karen Dietz
, one of my favorite storytelling tutors and founder of JustStoryIt.com, says he who tells the best story wins. I agree and would add the website that creates movements supported by lean content will WIN BIG in our emerging connected, social and mobile economy.

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Martin W. Smith on 

 
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How Your Unique Greatness Meets Customer Aspirations http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/how-unique-greatness-meets-customer-aspirations/ http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/how-unique-greatness-meets-customer-aspirations/#comments Wed, 20 Mar 2013 14:33:59 +0000 http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/?p=9685 Continue reading]]> Shepard Fairey Duality of Humanity painting

Clutter Marketing

Clutter describes our marketing world these days. What author Seth Godin calls our Connection Economy is creating content so fast most of your customers are overwhelmed, time stressed and short on attention. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt noted we create as much content every two days now as from the dawn of man until 2003. The world is cluttered and becoming more so every moment. When everyone has a website yours better be GREAT or why bother.

What Makes A Website Great?

Think of the Internet as one huge lie detecting amplifier and you won’t be far off. The web doesn’t create greatness it rewards it. The web doesn’t cure marketing problems it broadcasts them. Before creating a website or next quarter’s campaigns it is  important to know yourself, your company and your important points of distinction – your Unique Selling Proposition.

Unique Selling Proposition Video

Here is an Atlantic BT Conversation I had with Andrew Bartlett one of our business consultants about Unique Selling Propositions:

USPs should use words such as “longest”, “world class”, “leader” and “Best” painting a clear line of distinction between your company and its competitive set.

Atlantic BT Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Atlantic BT creates cross functional teams with deep business and technical expertise to design, develop and employ unique technological processes such as Customer Quality Score (CQS), Employee Quality Score (EQS) and GoTime to develop awesome and award winning software and websites that exceed customer financial and aspirational goals helping clients save the world in some quantifiable way while creating a powerful “word-of-mouth” recommendation growth engine.

Quick Tips To Create Your USP

  • Be specific (note the reference to CQS, EQS and GoTime our project time audit trail).
  • Think BIG.
  • Include your customers.
  • Think bottom lines, but don’t be limited to money.
  • Leave some mystery to explain later (such as the double meaning of the “word-of-mouth” engine).

Unique Customer Aspirations (UCAs)

Knowing yourself, while an important first step to creating great Internet marketing, is not enough. Your marketing must match your customer’s aspirations or you risk being ships who pass each other at night without ever knowing the other sails nearby. Customer aspirations are more than the resolution of pain points partnering with or buying from your company is sure to resolve.

Aspirations speak to your customers dreams, hopes and fears. Your customer are not always fully in touch with their aspirations, but you and your marketing must be in sync. Every partnership or union of buyer and seller must be mutually beneficial or scale can’t be achieved and the interaction isn’t sustainable. You both (your company and your customers) need to WIN or neither of you do.

Start With Jim Stengel’s Brand Ideals

Jim Stengel, author of Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profits at the World’s Greatest Companies and a fellow former P&Ger, believes brands aligned to “ideals” are more successful than those who are not. I agree and have used Stengel’s simple brand ideals definition over and over.
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Stengel’s Brand Ideals

  • Eliciting Joy: Activating experiences of happiness, wonder, and limitless possibility.
  • Enabling Connection: Enhancing the ability of people to connect with each other and the world in meaningful ways.
  • Inspiring Exploration: Helping people explore new horizons and new experiences.
  • Evoking Pride: Giving people increased confidence, strength, security, and vitality.
  • Impacting Society: Affecting society broadly, including by challenging the status quo and redefining categories.

Most companies work will touch several of Stengel’s brand ideals. Atlantic BT’s work designing software and websites touches every brand ideal in some way, but our work is concentrated in creating connection. The websites and software we develop helps our customers connect with  supporters, buyers and advocates.

Atlantic BT Unique Customer Aspirations (UCA)
Atlantic BT’s customers want to understand the “inside baseball” secrets of Internet marketing well enough to be able to expand their thinking about how to communicate their Unique Selling Proposition to create the word-of-mouth and social support needed to sustain an ever more profitable company, brand or distribution of products via online marketing.

Quick Tips for Creating Unique Customer Aspirations

  • Remember UCAs is about how your customers are changed by your interaction.
  • Speak to universal concerns such as scale, profitability and brand health.
  • Speak to what is happening now such as social media marketing and always changing Internet marketing.
  • Tie in your Stengel brand ideal.
  • Be specific to what YOU can impact.

Your customers have many aspirations, but focus your UCA on those aspirations you can impact. Knowing how your company aligns to Stengel’s brand ideas, articulating your USP and UCA creates an outline for great marketing online and off.

Join and Follow Atlantic BT

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Martin W. Smith on 

* Image at top of this post is a painting from Shepard Fairey named Duality of Humanity and is part of his “Obey” series.

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Search Engine Gamification – Million Dollar Idea Freebie http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/search-engine-gamification-million-dollar-idea-freebie/ http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/search-engine-gamification-million-dollar-idea-freebie/#comments Mon, 04 Mar 2013 20:57:21 +0000 http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/?p=9565 Continue reading]]> Money Tree for Search Engine Gamification (SEG) on Atlantic BT

Finding Search Engine Gamification Again

There it was again. Sitting with friends Tonia Zampieri (@Finder411) Mark Traphagen (@MarkTraphagen), Melinda Thielbar (@Mthielbar) and George Stevenson (@NCHomeBuyer) an old idea surfaced during our Saturday Free Internet Marketing Consulting lunch at Saladelia Cafe in Durham.

Tonia is co-founder of Finder411.com, a cool hyper-local startup, Mark is one of the preeminent experts on Google Plus, Melinda is my favorite quant and George knows how to help “sell” your home by renting to buy. We were discussing TRUST. I see why now (lol). Not long after our meeting Mark published Trust: The Currency of the New Economy on NewMediaLeaders.com. A must read for anyone wanting to understand Internet marketing.

In Google We Trust

Google is one of the most important TRUST creators in our digital age. Google is a massive legitimacy filter. If you aren’t in Google and don’t rank #1 for your name you don’t have as much legitimacy as if you did. Despite all of our Social + Mobile changes Google still rocks valuable branding support, the kind of support any startup or idea needs to scale and thrive.

This post is about a slip in time I saw working for Bill Bing and Mitesh Patel at Loyalese (now RIP unfortunately). This “slip in time” idea will be worth millions to the team who reads this Search Engine Gamification post, understands the marketing implications and pulls off this big idea – that Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) can become valuable partners in SEO.

Search Engine Gamification Defined

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) may be the biggest game ever. Search Engine Gamification (SEG) is understanding the game’s rules well enough to enlist the services and support of the KING (Google). It is good to be the king because Kings set and change rules at their whim and based on their needs. Certainly kings don’t RULE with the iron hand they used too, but rule they do as Google proves with each Panda and Penguin algorithm adjustment. Another Panda update hit last week, btw coolest tool to see impact on your website’s traffic of Google’s algorithm changes is the free Panguintool.com tool.

Inside “Search Engine Gamification” there is an implied idea few know and fewer still use. Search engine gamification makes Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) an active partner in your branding and Internet marketing. Once Google created their “float”, that you and I see different results even if we type the same query at the same time, the ability to view SERPs as another feature in YOUR Internet marketing sits like a big, green frog waiting for someone to kiss it and produce the Prince inside.

How Loyalese Kissed The Search Engine Gamification Frog

My friends Bill and Mitesh kissed the frog and produced an amazing prince with Loyalese. I consulted on Loyalese before joining Atlantic BT. I failed a little too. I tried to pivot Loyalese inside of the box presented instead of seeing what I see now – the engine Loyalese built was more valuable than the thing itself. Loyalese “kissed the frog” by connecting browsers, SERPs and website in an infrastructure-like platform, a platform capable of spinning SERPs in a website’s favor based on social signals and THAT realization is the “moneyball”.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here is how Loyalese created Search Engine Gamification to alert members to websites whose affiliate money could be paid as tax free “cash back” to members (or their charities):

l

Google Loyalese Search Engine Gamification example

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Loyalese tied their app to “schema” provided by Google (and available to anyone) to identify member stores (the little Loyalese Logo the green things highlighted above). Stores with the logo were willing to pay Loaylese and their members to BUY from them. Loyalese members earned post purchase “cash back”. Loyalese’s idea was somewhat similar to my friend Tim Storm’s FatWallet.com website (without the Google touch). This post isn’t about affiliate money or chasing cash back, but almost any online purchase, unless you type the URL DIRECTLY into your browser, earns a middleman website a “commission” for sharing your click and subsequent purchase with websites such as Amazon, REI, and Walmart.

Fatwallet Cash Back website link Loyalese faced a “login” challenge. Nothing happened UNTIL a Loyalese member logged into Loyalese.com. Since many people login to Facebook or Google in the morning and stay logged in all day now, tapping into the Facebook and Google APIs would reduce much of the “login friction” Loyalese faced three years ago. Add the “always on” ubiquitous nature of Social + Mobile (SMobile) and Loyalese might work today. Other similar plays such as FatWallet.com and QuidCo.com have scaled (and without the powerful Google touch).

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Million Dollar Search Engine Gamification Idea and The Trust Mark Game

We know websites are being replaced by platforms capable of generating increasing amounts of User Generated Content (UGC). We also know that “login via Facebook” et al. is ubiquitous and an easy and FAST way to sign up new users taking full advantage of OPP (Other People’s scaled Platforms). Add these two facts together with the ability to TAG and FLAG the SERPs with a trust mark and you have a million dollar B2B and/or B2C idea.

Trust is the game all Internet marketing depend on. If a website achieves TRUST it can get PAID. Atlantic BT creates websites for B2B and B2C customers. If we create Search Engine Gamification and enlist the SERPs by tying browser, to member profiles to search results we gamify Google.

Imagine I own a 3 store gift chain called MartysGifts.com. I hire Atlantic BT to build my website. Once we create MartysGifts.com it is part of our “ecosystem”. When other members use Google they see a distinct Atlantic BT trust mark next to MartysGifts.com (see Loyalese example above).

“Yeah but the only people who will see the Trust mark are other Atlantic BT customers,” you might be thinking and you might be right, but do the Search Engine Gamification math.

Search Engine Gamification Six Degrees Math

1,000 Stores (in Atlantic BT’s ecosystem)
50 People (directly associate with each store)
50,000 people (in the “direct touch” zone of those websites)
300,000 people (in “indirect touch” zone of those websites)

We live in a “triangle” of three cities: Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. The combined population of those three cities is 700,000, so the Atlantic BT’s ecosystem (our “network”) can touch almost half of the residents in our area. What is that level of reach worth to MartysGifts? If you were considering two Raleigh website design companies and one supported your site after the sale with an ability to touch half the people in your area and the other didn’t who would you buy the design from? Now multiply that realization times a million and you see the impact of Search Engine Gamification.

Search Engine Gamification Works For Every Website

Think my example doesn’t apply to your Small to Medium Sized business? You don’t have enough people who will want to “join” your website to make the idea worth anything.

WRONG!

First understand “joining” your website is a simple click of “allow” when the Facebook “create an account with Facebook” app fires. You may be a doctor, lawyer, insurance salesperson or Realtor.  I would NEVER presume to tell any of those professions how to do their jobs, but anyone with a mouse tells me how to create winning Internet marketing (lol).I don’t mind, but I’ve NEVER met an amateur who understands how the Internet marketing game is played.

There are GIFTED amateurs, but the Internet marketing game is a “pros only” zone now. Even pros can fall behind, be too arrogant for their own good or make MISTAKES. The difference between PRO Internet marketers and gifted amateurs is about 5 degrees, but those five degrees are worth MILLIONS and MILLIONS of X where x is traffic, awareness, User Generated Content (UGC), attention, money or any other “currency”.

“But I don’t need something so elaborate, so complicated,” some will be thinking and they may be right. Over the 13 years I’ve been an Internet marketer I watched the bar rise, rise and rise. My Internet marketing friends LOOK FOR keywords and business verticals that are winnable with the “inside baseball” tactics they know. Listen to Gregory Ng explain why he crated FreezerBurns.com.

Gregory created a successful website now generating six figures in income yearly NOT because he loved frozen entrees. Gregory is a PRO and he entered the frozen food content marketing play because IT WAS TAKE-ABLE  He could do a little work, the kind of content marketing and SEO he knows better than most, to generate a big return.

Who will be the Gregory NG of your space? Death, taxes and your space will be rolled up by a PRO are life’s new immutable truths. The question is not IF your business segment will be rolled up but WHEN. Why don’t YOU do the rolling?

“Roll Up” means a particular thing to a PRO IMer. Rolling up a space is when your website’s content and links own the search engine high ground. Google is shifting more and more traffic to your website because it is  the HUB associated with a group of keywords or a business vertical. HUB or Authority status is Internet marketing nirvana.

Badging the SERPs makes any website with a badge  OR any site creating the badges look BIGGER and MORE LEGITIMATE than competitors. Short distance from looking more legitimate to being more valuable in a highly viral and inter-linked content network. The Search Engine Gamification “Sell the Idea” benefit PALES in comparison to those who use Search Engine Gamification (SEG) to create TRUST and LEGITIMACY.

Finder411.com logo and link Tonia and Finder411 could offer an awesome value to every triangle “hyper-local” business (restaurants, dry cleaners, childcare) who joins their network. Finder411 could paint the local SERPs with “Finder411 Trust Marks” making those websites and businesses inside their ecosystem stand out ON GOOGLE. When Finder411 businesses stand out the path to TRUST and LEGITIMACY is shorter than for non_Finder411.com businesses.

Q: What is this search engine gamification idea worth? A: Millions and Millions.

PS. I didn’t give this idea to the world. Bill and Mitesh at Loyalese deserve credit for teaching me (and I am sure they had mentors). I got back in touch with the idea thanks to my Free Internet Marketing Consulting Saturday conversation with Tonia, Mark, Melinda, George and joined by Young Fenton. What do I ask if you create Search Engine Gamification and make millions? Share some of your windfall with cancer research and we will call it more than even.

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SEO – 5 Things Every Marketer Must Know http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/seo-5-things-every-marketer-must-know/ http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/seo-5-things-every-marketer-must-know/#comments Wed, 27 Feb 2013 04:20:53 +0000 http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/?p=9542 Continue reading]]> Zaky Raleigh Restaurnt on Gleenwood website link

A great session of “Technical SEO” tonight at Phil’s SEO Meetup was mind bending and fun. Fun if you like twisting your mind into a pretzel which I do, but many were lost between Content Delivery Networks, Mod Rewrites and Canonical URLs. This post starts at the beginning focusing on 5 SEO BASICS every marketer MUST know since to NOT KNOW endangers everything including your ability to hire help.

Must Know SEO #1 = Page Titles

Your page titles are always the highest words on your rendered web pages. You can also see page titles in code. In FireFox, go to Tools > Web Developer > Page Source. Here is how your page title will look:

<title>SEO, LinkedIn and The Real You ScentTrail Marketing</title>

Page titles should be keyword rich and unique.

WordPress and other blog software provides a place for YOU to create a title. Your WordPress blog may have the ability to vary your titles. Sometimes you want to feed the search engine spider one title and customers another, but be careful to be sure this passive rewrite of your title is consistent with the page’s content. Titles that don’t speak the same language as the page get you in trouble with Google.

I’m writing this post after eating a great Cheeseburger at the Zaxy’s Restaurant on Glenwood. Here is the ZaxyRestaurant.com title:

<title>ZakyRestaurant.com: Homepage</title>

Anything in a tittle is a word you want the page to rank for, so keywords are your friends.
There are 5 MAJOR mistakes in the current ZakyRestaurant.com title including:

  • No keywords such as “Raleigh”, “Mediterranean restaurant”, “Glenwood Ave”, “Gyro”, “Lebanese” or “Hummus”.
  • Zaky is concatenated into “restaurant” (no space) signalling the two are one word to Google except they aren’t. People will search Zaxy Raleigh or Zaxy Restaurant not ZaxyRestaurant.
  • Never put a period inside of a tag since periods can looks like code.
  • Never use a : inside of a tag, use a | so the punctuation doesn’t look like code.
  • Never put “homepage” or a keyword so general it is meaningless in a title.

Here are Zaky’s description and keyword tags:
<meta name=”description” content=”Zaky is a downtown Raleigh Mediterranean restaurant in a convenient Glenwood location.“>
<meta name=”keywords” content=”Mediterranean, Raleigh, Restaurant, Glenwood, Food, Lebanese, Pita, Gyro, Hummous“>

These are not as terrible as the tittle. Too bad Google doesn’t even glance at these tags anymore. These tags tell me the person who created the page knows a little SEO, but not nearly enough.

TEST your title simply by making sure ANY word inside the tag (showing on the very top of the page) is an important KEYWORD you want your website to be found for (to rank for).

PS. Another quick page title note. Google assumes position = value. Your most important and defining keywords should be far left and count down toward things you should win anyway (like your name). Use of | doesn’t interfere with the spider’s “read” and creates better usability. Titles are “spider food” mostly, but the most important spider food on the page so create titles carefully, with research and don’t exceed Google’s 69 character (spaces count as characters) limit.

SEO Must Know #2 – Consistency

Your titles, page content, image alt text (the keywords attached to images to explain what they are) and navigation should tell a consistent story. This is why it is so damaging to use a keyword like “homepage” in a title.

Zaky won’t have homepage anywhere in the page’s content so the keyword will stand out like a sore thumb and look spammy to Google. You and I know the designer who created the page didn’t know better, but ignorance of SEO guidelines is NO EXCUSE. Google is clear. Knowing SEO’s “laws” stated and unstated is you and your designer’s /programmer’s job not Google’s. Doing a few hours of reading on SEO is a good idea.

SEO Must Know #3 – Unique & Accurate

The good news for ZakyRestaurant.com is at least their designer created unique page titles. Many templated sites simply copy the same title on every page. Make sure your have unique titles and that each page’s titles is accurate to the content on the page.

SEO Must Know #4 – Junk In The HEAD

Google’s bot starts counting the moment it enters. It works its way down through the head content, the content that controls important tags like your <title>. Many designers like fancy roll overs. They jam the controlling code in your website’s Head. Don’t let that happen. Keep your Head CLEAN.

If you want fancy rollovers there are ways to code them with less spammy code in the head. If you see lines and lines of code in your <head> you have a problem.

SEO Must Know #5 – First Rule = Do No Harm

If your website exists then Google knows it. This means Google has expectations for how your website will ACT (your update frequency, your link add frequency, your inbound link gain frequency, etc. to infinity).

Here is a good question to ask any SEO. Ask any potential SEO how they would change your page title to rank for a keyword you want. This is a trick question since I don’t operate unless I know WHAT is WHERE. The right answer is NOTHING until research is created.

Here are other danger signals. If you here hear or see any of these RUN:

* I can get your website ranked #1 on X keyword in Y time (no they can’t).
* I guarantee your will rank (VERY dangerous for many reasons, RUN).
* If you ask about the Google float and they stammer or make something unreal up RUN.

The “Google float” is Google’s increasingly individual search results. Social signals, your past browsing history and even your friends LIKES ans SHARES mean you and I see different results even if we do the same search at the same time. The only way to benchmark and understand SEO progress is via analytics. Any SEO who can’t explain the float is dangerous and you should RUN.

Hope these 5 tips help you avoid the Zaky problem where a little knowledge proved to be a real problem. If you are a Zaky make sure you ask for a simple WordPress blog YOU can maintain. That way if some goofystupid person make mistakes you can easily fix them AND you have the added benefit of being able to easily add content. Adding content is KEY for any website these days. Static 4 page websites don’t rank, so get a blog YOU can maintain.

Don’t worry. You can and will make mistakes, but there is only one Internet marketing mistake that is unrecoverable – doing nothing and you are already out there trying so keep it up and avoid these simple mistakes even if your designer makes them.

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