• SPAM Alert: I’ve had a couple of friends get caught out recently by an email doing the rounds, appearing to look like it’s from “Apple”. Everything gives the appearance that it is from Apple but it is not. Don’t click on it. Report it as Spam and delete it.

    Apple Verify Your Account Top
  • kiss-pandasMany people have dreams of being a rock star, having their moment in the sun. Some recount previous experiences when it was their time to shine, maybe a high school play, a big night on the karaoke. It usually involved doing something a little extra special to help stand out from the crowd and that’s where the rock star move comes in. In Internet Marketing, I still love the ‘rock star move’ though I’ve learned not to get too excited about it as much as I used to. Rock Star moves often get CEO’s and CMO pretty excited and sometime with good reason. Getting a post picked up by Reddit, or a little front page action on Hacker News, featured on Tech Crunch or a listing on AppSumo. Others may know it as something like “The Oprah Effect”. These are the actions that would often crash a website by sending you traffic 100x your normal daily visits. This is the equivalent of a David Lee Roth high-kick, a Mick Jagger strut, Freddie Mercury prance offering up that little something extra that pumps fans up.

    Back in the day I wrote an article about Designing a Website for SEO that was picked up on article syndication networks. It slammed our little website which went down a few times, people reached out to thank me for the information and overall traffic was simply through the roof. For another client, we did some activity that resulted in some more crazy activity from a very popular website that again sent pretty impressive spikes. There’s a couple of reasons why I really like it:

    1. Clients love it. I’ve had clients want to send out press releases about how much traffic they received. I usually wait a while before asking how much business it generated.
    2. Links, baby. It’s definitely one of my favorite link building strategies, blowing away all those exhausting (and often ineffective) email requests, directory submissions, nofollow blog comments. The buzz from your rock star move often has long-lasting benefits in this area.

    Rock Star Traffic Spike

    Biggest problem?

    Not all that easy – Definitely easier said than done. Some activities take days/weeks to complete and may not generate much of anything. Getting the right message to the right audience is hard.

    Time/benefit factor – even if you get that rock star idea, it can be time-consuming to achieve and the rewards may not necessarily correlate.

    LIke I said, I still like it for many reasons. Sometimes there can be significant benefit to a company sales…direct sales. This is a best case scenario like a new band getting featured on an iPod commercial and all of a sudden they are a household name. These may be clever, well executed, made the right connection or just dumb luck…the differences here do not matter.

    Shouldn’t we just be doing this?

    Well actually, having participated in and seen a lot of online activities through the years, my love of the rock star move has waned slightly and I’ve seen far more impact from to the back to basics approach. Far too often, the basics are simply not covered, often an after-thought in search of the next big thing. Paying attention to your property does pay dividends. This is your bread and butter. By all means, keep searching and trying for your next rock star move but it’s probably in your best interests to make sure to spend the time to ensure your foundation is set.

  • C’mon Google

    Posted on November 29 2012 by flemo in Its all Flemo with 1 comment

    Nobody’s perfect. No service is perfect. We strive for it knowing that we’ll probably never get there but we do the best we can. The tech world is one of encountering unchartered territories where new services and offerings are a regular occurrence, some downright awful, others groundbreaking. Even those groundbreaking ones were a work in progress. It’s not uncommon for an Apple product launch to be riddled with issues. Battery issues (including exploding ones), buggy software, AT&T, The Newton and even the latest Apple maps fiasco, Apple still seems to pull through relatively unscathed. Google has also done a great job with it. Great foundation product, and even with a few hiccups along the way (Google Wave anyone?) they continue to see great success. Given that I’m quite reliant on G, I’ve certainly followed along closer than others. I’ve really enjoyed the value that Google has brought to a lot of client websites and in turn, their businesses. They continue to enjoy a great run and it’s tough to imagine that another Search Engine can have much of an impact over their Search share which still stands at around the 60% mark.

    I anticipate some missteps along the way. The whole (not provided) initiative was, and continues to be infuriating. Obviously not a deal-breaker but just seems a little icky. For those not familiar with that one, Google determined that for privacy purposes, anyone logged into their Google account would have their search referrals hidden from website owners and marked (not provided) in analytics. No such problems when clicking on one of their ads though…yeah more than a little suspicious. Now with some profiles showing (not provided) referrals in the 40%’s it’s getting pretty ridiculous. One can speculate all they want that this was a deliberate push towards Paid Search but it is was it is. Just feels a bit dirty.

    There has always been issues with their search results but think about what they’re trying to do. Not easy. Here’s an example that has been online for a few weeks:
    . Getting legitimate websites pinged for negative SEO and here we have a hacked website that remained on the SERPS for over 3 weeks. Not easy to explain. The there’s the website that has thousands of spammy incoming links and has been ranking above yours for months. Can’t explain. Or the website with 1 or 2 incoming links, a crappy website that hasn’t been updated for a couple of years but has an exact match domain and is ranking above yours. Not entirely sure.

    Still, I’m not overly sold by the Bing v Google challenge where they tested searcher satisfaction and apparently Bing beat Google by a ratio of 2:1 but there does seem to be a growing backlash against G. I’m trying not to be one of them but they’re not making it easy.

    And now we have the new pay-to-play Google Shopping offering which reeks of Yahoo’s slightly deceptive paid inclusion program from back in the day that Google used to complain about. I’m certainly not naive enough to suggest that satisfying your investors is unnecessary but it feels like they’re taking over their raison de l’autre more and more. And now we hear that Google may (or may not be) closing feedburner just to add more fuel to the fire. Many of us are quite reliant on several of Google’s services (gmail, analytics, apps) and with each of these missteps, they appear to drive more and more away.

    So just consider this a heads-up. If you’re a client, we aim to steer you towards what we consider the be the best path. If that means moving away from Google’s services, we’ll let you know. Right now, we’re still backing them.

  • The Olympics of Keyword Selection

    Posted on August 10 2012 by flemo in Web Analytics with 2 comments

    Like many, I have been watching the Olympics as much as possible. The usual disappointing local TV viewing choices not withstanding, it’s tough not to get sucked into its excitement. The talent and obvious hard work that goes into these athletes just getting there is impressive, often inspirational. So as with everything I do, I look for some correlation to Internet Marketing and one thing that often strikes me with the Olympics is the Gold obsession. Apparently Silver is no good and Bronze, well you may as well just give it back. For the record, I don’t think that at all. Just getting there is impressive enough for me.

    So for the Google keyword Olympics, let’s have a look at some connections. It’s generally considered that past Page 3 on the results won’t generate a whole lot of traffic. folks will do another search before they dig through the pages further. So I think it’s safe to suggest that if you can get a result on the first 3 pages for any given searched keyword, you’ll get some action.

    Even just getting to the Olympics is an achievement. You have to go through a lot to get there. So too, even for the lower searched keywords. There’s pretty much always competition. Sometimes you can luck your way in. Sometimes you may get there without trying too hard but overall, it takes some work. Even with a top 3 page result, it’s not going to be good enough, you want a medal. If the website is to be a valuable business component, you’re going to want to shoot for the top.

    There’s definitely something to be said for that top spot. Statistics tell us as a general rule that on a Google search #1 spot gets 38% of clicks, 2nd gets around 20% and 3rd is about 10% and then it’s downhill from there. Excluding geotargeting and personalized results etc, the differences between the top 3 spots can sometimes be pretty significant. So naturally the best thing to do is shoot for #1 for the most popular keyword right? Well there’s a bit more to it. If you are 5’3″ does it make sense to compete as a high jumper? How about a 120lb shot putter? Might need a reality check. You still need to determine what is relevant to you and what is achievable.

    Usually you get to figure that out during the early years of your sporting life through participating in various activities which sport you have a thing for. Some may get pushed into it and some occur randomly but you kind of know what you’re good at. Keyword selection is a little like this as well. You have some initial figuring out to do. You do some research. You see if anything is currently performing via your analytics. You ask people around you. You use your gut instinct…cannot discount your gut. For us, experience helps as well but you’re probably going to have to earn that.

    Part of your initial figuring out requires some data crunching. Have a look at some data through the Google External Keyword Tool. When searching for ideas, it offers up some similar suggestions that you may not have even considered. In addition you will get numbers of searches and a rough estimation of competition. All very valuable information to start with.

    Having held and still holding top spots on some very competitive keyword phrases, you can really get a sense for what’s going to work but even as we look to get to know a company, what they do and what services they offer, we cannot know it as well as those in the trenches. Our greatest successes come when working closely with clients during this initial part of the process. I’ve seen stuff. I’ve targeted the right keywords as well as the wrong ones. Some of my research has fallen short while others has exceeded expectations. My best advice is not to rely on data alone.

    Start with the Data – while some may start and finish with the data, this is a shortcoming for young players. You cannot rely on data alone to drive your keyword selection otherwise you are setting yourself up for failure. You can do as many searches v competitors v kei as you like, it’s ┬ámore nuanced than that. Still, this is a good starting point and one that should serve as a foundation. You’re a good swimmer? Well there are still a few options to choose from. Butterfly. Backstroke. Breast Stroke. Freestyle. You sell books? Used Books. New Books. Old Books. Rare Books.

    Add some Relevance – you’re a good swimmer so maybe you should try diving? There’s a pool with water and stuff so you should do that as well as the 100 fly. Probably not a good idea. Scrap the keyword phrases that are ‘loosely’ related because they ‘might’ garner you some traffic. Chances are they either won’t, they’ll be the wrong kind of traffic and they’ll take your focus.

    Play Your Strengths – keeping your focus can be tough especially when you want it all. You’re an injury lawyer, a defense lawyer, a memphis attorney, a maritime lawyer and a real estate litigator so naturally you’re inclined to go for them all. Figure out what you are best known for or choose a couple to start with. You can build out once you start to gain traction but for the most, there’s much work to be done to begin with.

    Be Patient – Slightly antithetic when you’re talking about the Internet but like top athletes, you’re not going to get gold right away. Lots of work, practice, perseverance, missteps, victories, adjustments required along the way so don’t give up after week 1.