Six years ago I was a fresh college graduate just getting started in the online marketing world. The average person didn’t know what a blog was, Facebook was restricted to university students in the U.S., and Twitter had yet to be invented. And the web was just starting to be respected and understood by mainstream marketing firms and teams.

Today, bloggers appear in commercials and social media is a key part of the marketing mix for brands both large and small. Finally, some respect! That said, I still see companies struggling with the connectivity, the immediacy, and the transparency of the web, and how it is all integrated into their organization. It’s an interesting problem, and one that I’ll continue to write more about on this blog.

Unrelated and relevant only to fellow Chicagoans – my agency is hosting an event at Social Media Week on social engagement and content creation – RSVP! It will be a great chance to gain some expertise, network with your fellow members of the media, and generally have a fabulous time.

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Calling Shenanigans

February 22, 2008

I thoroughly enjoyed this post on Steve Rubel’s blog: SEO Shenanigans Pose a Clear and Present Danger to Social Media, because I do think that SEO can be used for evil – and some topics are so thoroughly SEO’ed that google is fairly useless (try searching for anything travel related and see how many of the top search results are truly relevant, for instance).  Using SEO for nefarious purposes, such as optimizing your site for popular search terms that aren’t related to the content or hiding links (a.k.a. black hat SEO) is obnoxious.

That said, I do recognize that there are valid reasons to use SEO, and there are plenty of white hat SEO professionals who do excellent, useful work.  However, there are also tons of sites/blogs/businesses that just want to be listed at the top of the search results without adding value in any other way – it is the search engine equivalent of the people who make irrelevant comments on popular blogs just to drop their link.  Like I’ve said before, focus on adding value or creating something interesting first – because it doesn’t matter how many pageviews you collect if you can’t get anyone to stick around and come back for more – or buy your product/services, if that is the point of your site. 

Validation…

October 10, 2007

I’m happy to see that Brian Clark, the Copyblogger (currently #42 in the Technorati Top 100 at the time of posting) has posted about something that I’ve been saying for a while – search engines are not the best source of traffic, especially not valuable or sticky traffic.

And I quote:

“Believe it or not, my strategy since the beginning of Copyblogger has been to pretty much forget search engines exist. Don’t get me wrong… I’m not doing anything to annoy them, and I certainly don’t turn away visitors from search engines. I just don’t depend on them for traffic.

While people work hard to attract links to rank better in search engines, you’ve got to realize that some of the highest quality traffic comes directly from the links. Pretend like search engines are not even a traffic option, and instead focus on repeat traffic and referral sources that no one can take away.”

I can’t remember where I first read “live by Google, die by Google” but it makes sense.  Depending on search engine algorithms that you have no control over doesn’t seem the best way to build a successful site, especially that if that is your only strategy.  However, it is significantly harder to write or something interesting/compelling/linkworthy than to play the SEO game in many cases, so I can see why people go for the quick and dirty traffic from the search engines.

See this post for more of my thoughts on the subject (and tons of interesting links).