“If You’re Not Moving Forward, You’re Moving Backward”
This statement has rarely been more true than in today’s world of online marketing.
Is SEO Dead? Search Engine Optimization Changes Profoundly with Hummingbirds and Penguins
The landscape for “organic” search engine optimization profoundly changed, with Google totally revamping how they placed sites in search rankings, with the new “Hummingbird” algorithm.
Google is pushing ever-harder for better user experiences. The old “tricks” and “gimmicks” of SEO have largely been stripped away, and the quality of the site’s content, and its authority are the driving forces for organic results. Many sites have a slow climb, with the need for heavy investment in better content, and “disavowal” of poor quality links.
Many of the SEO “snake oil salesmen” and legitimate practitioners have been getting out of the SEO business, though many continue to make claims that are no longer founded. Is SEO Dead? Forbes.com You can still optimize your site with good content, proper site structure and authentic links, but the “Bread and Butter” of many SEO firms is off-the-table.
Hummingbird is not the only algorithm update that punished sites for weak content and grey-hat SEO tactics. It’s easy to paint Google as the villain, but if you focus on quality content and doing things right you can come out of it OK.
A good example of a firm’s experience with the Penguin update also shares good lessons on focusing on quality rather than gimmicks. Their site lost 80% of its traffic almost overnight. Penguin Kills 80% of Customers
That example came from an SEO firm doing grey-hat tactics, but more often I’ve also seen business owners hearing rumors of what they should be doing or reading posts from a year or two ago about how to do online marketing. But if you are operating from inaccurate information, or even information just a year old, you may be moving in the wrong direction. Making changes to keep you on the cutting-edge will give you an advantage. Poorly-informed or unprofessional actions may well result in losses to your online presence rather than gains.
Are You Shouting in At Empty Cocktail Party? Facebook Nukes Organic
Recently I reviewed a client’s organic Facebook “reach”. Out of over 3200 Fans, they were only reaching an average of 60 with their posts. They were posting 20 times/month, and getting 1200 views, mostly by the SAME fans probably. These included the company owner, his father, their graphic designer, their social specialist and others who were not the “real customers” Facebook was showing the content to those who interacted (liked, commented, shared), and these were largely friends, family, and employees of the company.
In general Facebook DRAMATICALLY reduced the number of people who see your page posts. Did you know this? You NEED to know things like this or you’re wasting time and money!
People were scandalized to hear that Facebook changed to share their post with only 15% of their friends. Imagine you’re spending time dutifully posting 20 times/month an you’re only hitting 1.5%! And those include a lot of friends and employees who you’re not persuading at all!
I did an experiment, and for $5 we “boosted” the post to almost 600 different “fans” and their friends. This EXPANDED the circle of people who were reached and participating. We got more than 5 X the average engagement on the post, and started a conversation. It helped that I responded to those who commented to make it feel like a conversation. For $10/mo I could get more traction on 2 posts as they were getting paying $200 for someone to post 20 times. As a profit-driven marketer, that looks like
Get that Foot Out of Your Mouth! (Don’t be “That Guy” at the Party)
The worst thing, for me, about this page was that it wast totally tone-deaf as to the audience. The client’s page was asking questions of the “fans”, using the “cookbook” recommendation to engage their “community”. But NOBODY WAS ANSWERING.
If you are asking your fans a really great question like “Would you rather have a fancy wedding, or a fabulous honeymoon?” to engage conversation and interest folks, you REALLY need to have an answer or you need to shut up.
If you’re at a cocktail party, and you ask a conversation-starter, and nobody answer, you get embarrassed, and look around the room. For Social to Succeed, you need to look around and see “who’s in the room”. If you rent a ballroom for 3000 and 60 people show up, you need to put more effort into your next party, and maybe provide better refreshments!
Don’t be the guy at the party who is essentially shouting at people, trying to get them to be interested in him. Surely they should be interested in him, so he just needs to say more and talk more loudly, to attract attention.
Some businesses see 25% or even greater social reach. That may be 15 times better than many businesses. More like 50 times better if you take out the friends, family, employees, and contractors! And these communities are vibrant and interactive. You feel like there is “something there”. Folks look out for the next party, and are eager to join in conversation.
It is expensive to cater a party. But your customers are worth it. Spend the time, and cook up good ORIGINAL CONTENT. Give them something to chew on! If you can’t afford to hire someone to cater that content, cook it up yourself.
But if you’re busy, as many business owners are, don’t skimp on the party planning!
If you want your business to be full of WIN, then throw the good parties, pay attention to your guests, and leave ’em looking forward to the next one!
You don’t need caviar every post. High-quality thought-leadership or original engaging content posts can be balanced with some “garnish” of re-posted content from others, and even the occasional “pitch” if it’s subtle and folks are feeling good.
Be the Smooth Operator, not the Boor (classic Bloomberg article on the Cocktail Party Test).
DIY or HMDI
You can Do It Yourself, or you can Have Me Do It, but be aware that this stuff is NOT easy. There are a lot of marketing sharks out there swimming in the waters you want to float in. If you’re going to catch the fish, you need to know how to do it, and be better than the competitors in your waters.
If you want to ask questions, make comments, or inquire about services, feel free to shoot me a note.
You don’t have to be a current client, or ever become one. But I want to help you succeed. Questions that are important to you are probably important to others, so ask them, and that will help me share future posts and ideas useful to you and others.
What About Adwords?
I’ll have to add that in a second part to this post. There was so much to say about SEO and Facebook (not to mention other social media) first!
Because Adwords, and Other PPC (Pay-Per-Click) marketing involves spending money, it often can be MORE important to have an Adwords Consultant for your Small Business. You can use a “self-service” option on Adwords but there are so many features that Google Partners know about as Adwords experts that can save you money and increase your Return on Investment. More in the next article.
Please give me feedback on topics you’d like to see me discuss, and I look forward to helping you learn about how to maximize your return on online marketing!