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Archive for September, 2012

Inbound Marketing (aka Internet Marketing)

September 26th, 2012 1 comment

There’s a great new post at OutSpoken Media summarizing what is meant by inbound marketing or what we here call internet marketing (same thing).

What is meant by inbound marketing? Well, basically it’s anything you do online to try and attract attention… and the fact is that SEO is only a basis for a whole suite of things. In my take on things, you need to have SEO as a basis because search is still the biggest public driver of traffic. (Otherwise, in the case of almost every website I look at, all you have is an online brochure or a corporate website that people look at only because they know your company.) The other traffic drivers (social sites, email marketing, referrals, webinars, guest blogging, hey, even backlinks… in other words all your inbound marketing) should be built on top of a site that is optimized for search.

The image below from SEOMoz summarizes everything that is meant by inbound marketing or what we might also call internet marketing (as in the tagline at the top of my site).

 

From Inbound Marketing is Taking Off by Rand Fishkin

You need to look at the role of video in your marketing… of e-newsletters, of webinars, podcasts and white papers… and any of the above that is relevant to your online marketing. These all need to be built into your marketing strategy.

The article cannot tell anyone how to prioritize these or how to actually use any of these. (For example, what kind of video marketing is right for your company? That’s a contentious question right off the bat for anyone looking at investing in video.)  That’s where experience, savvy and luck (honestly) come into play. (You can’t get lucky if you don’t do anything though).

Two Kinds of SEO’s

September 20th, 2012 No comments

I just published a guest post at one of Ann Smarty‘s websites, DailySEOTip.com. The gist of it? Too many people in SEO are only in it for the money. The other kind of SEO most likely “fell into it,” has a healthy skepticism about the industry and is more interested in telling you how to mix SEO into what you really want to accomplish with your site. Guess which kind of SEO I am?

Check out the full article for yourself at Daily SEO Tip.

Categories: search marketing, SEO Tags:

Post-Penguin, Guest Blogging is a Great Backlinking Strategy (Again)

September 14th, 2012 No comments

I’ve gone back to guest blogging in a big way in the last few weeks as one ideal strategy for outreach and link building in the post-Penguin era. In the wake of recent events, I think this works again, where for quite a while it was frustratingly inadequate compared to the spammy linkbuilding tactics used by competitors.

Guest blogging allows you to get good links from on-theme sites, with varied anchor text from a page full of original content. Those are all ideal qualities of a post-Penguin backlink. Guest blogging is also a good way for companies with limited resources to do some of their own SEO and (forget SEO!) just promote themselves.

Image from eff.org

Of course, the question with guest blogging is so often, why wouldn’t I put content on my own site first? Well, of course you put content on your own site first. But guest blogging allows you to go beyond your own narrow subject area. You would for guest blogging opportunities on blogs about subjects that are slightly lateral to your site’s own subject. For example, is your site about construction tools? Go to handyman websites and write some tool reviews that they would find, uh, handy. Google will view this as a relevant link, as your sites will share some keyword relevance. You won’t be duplicating content you should already have on your site and you’re definitely not shooting yourself in the foot by beefing the content of a direct competitor (not that they are likely to accept a guest post and backlink from you).

Wait, what’s Penguin?
For those who don’t know, Penguin was an algorithm update by Google back in April that is still poorly understood. It’s worth taking a look back, for a second here.

Many people initially claimed that Penguin was all about deindexed link networks but that is far too narrow (that link only discusses that claim and also discusses Penguin very nicely, in fact). Others claim that Penguin targeted affiliate sites and if your site was a thin site with not enough content you got hurt by Penguin. I have argued this myself (sporadically) and I’m still testing the effect of affiliate links on post-Penguin SERPs, through some testing on my own affiliate sites. Others argued that things like spammy footer links or spammy keyword heavy titles were an important part of this update that was originally called an “over-optimization penalty.” For its own part, Google explained the update using one horribly obvious example of spam.

All of the theories above are probably true, each in part. Penguin wasn’t a one-signal tweak to the algorithm. It was multifaceted, as all major updates are. Keyword stuffing and weak variation of internal anchor text are other things that Penguin likely dealt with. In other words, the bird carried a big hammer that targeted a lot of lazy, tired SEO-spam tactics.

I think the best answer to Penguin is to go back to creating quality and variety. One thing I will say is that long pages full of rich content (still optimized, mind you!) on solid, authoritative websites are an ideal way to go in the post Penguin era. Be an authority and be associated with fellow authorities (through, say, guest blogging on their sites).

That’s really only a brief foray into looking at Penguin and I could spend a huge blog post on fully distilling Penguin… maybe I should… or maybe we should note that Penguin is part of Google’s endless parade of changes all intended to improve search results, a small piece in a never-ending process for Google. There is another update coming to Penguin soon, Panda is being updated all the time and Google makes dozens of other tweaks every month.

And by the way, this post and – every post about Penguin (or Panda, for that matter) – seems like an incrimination of sorts. No client site of mine was affected by this update but my own “cobbler’s kids” (my own sites) were affected but they were admittedly thin; notably, a site I had purchased only a couple months before was severely whacked. For another thing, as already stated, the bird had a big hammer and affected more SERPs than it probably meant to. Even Google offered an appeal form, the first time I think we’ve ever seen anything like that.

Getting back to guest blogging…
One important point in all this is that you need to interact with the rest of the web, give people information and show that you are relevant. Go back to the basics of establishing your authority and relevance. And guest blogging is one perfect way to do that.

I’m just going to take this opportunity to discuss some guest blog posts I’ve written. If you Google the subjects here and view these posts you’ll see that guest blogging is not all about PageRank anymore, and relatively new sites can get you lots of retweets and other good stuff:

  • For VizualArchive.com I wrote a little advice piece about “How Designers Can Coexists with SEO’s”
  • For ThemesandMods.com I wrote a piece called “How Designers and SEO Still Need Each Other.”
  • I’m working on a piece for an Audi-brand-related site and many other ideas for a variety of sites.

These are all high quality blogs and the posts I wrote for them had to match. I do not understand why companies do not care about being associated with absolutely crappy sites that you get associated with when you do high volume low quality link buys from spammy SEO companies. Personally, I don’t deal in spam.

Categories: SEO Tags:

Shareaholic Inadvertently Demonstrates the Value of Search Marketing

September 8th, 2012 No comments

Shareaholic released a report this week that was ostensively focused on the fact that Pinterest was continuing to rise as a traffic driver. Pinterest, the current “it” site of social media is closing in on a 2% share of traffic sources for sites using Shareaholic. Wow, we obviously need to be spending more of our marketing budget on this traffic-driving behemoth.*

The writer for Shareaholic also notes that there was  a drop in organic traffic that “does not mean the death of search engines.” This is the typical astute analysis you get from a blog promoting a social media app. The writer fails to note that there was actually an overall drop since January of social media sites. Add up the market share from social media sites and they fall from ~9.9% in January to ~9.5% this past month. Nobody’s saying that social media is dead, though… at least, not “social media experts.”

What’s missing from the chart is paid search traffic to the sites that Shareaholic is tracking. Any site that uses Shareaholic is likely a commercial site using a variety of strategies that will often include blackhat (or at least grey hat) SEO tactics and Adwords.

As has been well-covered in the search marketing industry this year, Penguin and Panda updates have reduced organic traffic to commercial sites in a big way through the deinidexing of link networks and reduction of other spam and blackhat tactics. That’s the real story here isn’t it?  Add up the totals for all of search engines or all of social sites and both numbers have dropped. So where did the market share go? I find myself siding with all the cynics, that this is what it is all about for the web’s biggest money-printing machine.

Image courtesy of shareaholic.com

*Let me recant. Pinterest is a great traffic driver for certain kinds of websites. Pinterest is known to heavily appeal to women, and some sites see Pinterest traffic in the range of 20% and higher. Certainly, though, not every site is suited to Pinterest.

Categories: search marketing, SEO, social media Tags: