The Death of SEO

Author: Ken Krogue @ Forbes

I had lunch back in March with Adam Torkildson, one of the top SEO consultants in Utah and one of the best in the country.

He said something to me that blew me away. “Google is in the process of making the SEO industry obsolete, SEO will be dead in 2 years.”

I posted his statement on my blog and immediately received a flurry of comments; many from his colleagues in the SEO industry who wanted to:

1.Weigh in on my statement that Adam is great (or crazy)

2.Promote themselves

3.Accuse me of writing a title for “link bait”

4.Declare how absurd Adam’s assertion was

5.Agree and prophecize their vision for the future

I have often used the (recently re-proven) phrase from the bomber pilots in World War II, “The flak only gets heavy when you’re over the target.”

Adam’s explanation about his claim made a lot of sense. I’ll quickly summarize and add some background information.

“SEO” means Search Engine Optimization.

There is internal and external SEO. Internal makes up about 15% of the process (I’m told it may be much higher now) and it means to design your site so it follows the best practices proven to rank high on Google. External SEO used to mean to write articles, press releases, blogs, comments, and content with embedded keyword “backlinks” to your site. Now it is changing fast to include social media strategies.

SEO has been traditionally divided into “white hat” or “black hat.” Black Hat is the obvious villainous practice of gaming the system by doing things to raise rankings that Google doesn’t want, and White Hat is just more subtle.

But what does Google want? They want relevant, real content on the internet that people want to read and tell other people about. If Google doesn’t bring you the most relevant content when you search they aren’t doing their job.

So by definition even the word Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means to “game” the Google search engines (and others) to get your valuable content ranked higher than it would be if left alone to the forces of the Web.

Google proved Adam right one month later (to the day) with the “Penguin release” that is a code name for the algorithm that decreased search engine rankings of companies who were using schemes to artificially increase their rankings. Google decided to change the weight of their emphasis from “backlinks” more towards social media likes, shares, tweets, reddits, and 1+ (Googles obvious favorite.) In the world of digital media the emphasis is on follows, comments, and views as well. (Note: I have changed the wording slightly to clarify my meaning and make it more precise since I wrote it four days ago.)

What does that mean? Google used to think if you linked to someone on the Internet they must have valuable content. Now Google seems to believe that if you promote content with social media it is more indicative of relevant content and less likely to be faked. Though many point out social can be faked as well.

The bottom line is that all external SEO efforts are counterfeit other than one:

Writing, designing, recording, or videoing real and relevant content that benefits those who search.

If you generate content and place it all over the web promoting and linking to your specific content, it is obviously fake. (And that is basically a big part of the history of the SEO industry, both black and white.)

And hey, I’ve done it myself. That is how I met Adam in the first place.

It is the overly aggressive marketers that always spoil it for everyone. Mmmm, let’s see… false advertisers, telemarketing at dinner time with predictive dialers, unsolicited faxing, email spamming, now SEO.

It was Seth Godin that said “all marketers are liars,” I’m a marketer, so I can say this.  I think it means that if you have to advertise a lot to change perceptions, it’s probably being “spun.” Think media, the lack of advertising on fruit and vegetables, and the current presidential race.

Adam told me that it is hardly about the links anymore, it’s about the metrics of engagement on your site.

It’s about social “shares”, and you can’t fake that (easily). Now with recent policy changes, Google knows who everyone is once they open themselves up on the social realm. They will be able to tell the fake people. Facebook already knows. Adam did a test by creating 1000 fake accounts a year ago, but today they have all been banned.

I asked him how they figured it out, he said “I’m pretty smart, but I have no idea. That’s why they hire PhD’s! That’s why Google bought Twitter’s data. They failed to get Facebook data, but they rely on Facebook’s internal API. Now social signals are a much bigger part of the Google algorithm.” He continued, “I’ve already seen them using it, I know.”

So what do we do?

Adam grinned with resignation, “It’s the Hubspot strategy of great blog content with a massive opt-in audience of social followers. It’s your InsideSales.com approach with strong industry research that people follow. And it’s old-school PR. PR has made a full-on 180 degree swing. I started in PR as a major. Now it is the ultimate, because it is about who you actually, really, know. It’s the buzz you create. And how much value you provide your community of followers in return.”

I summarized:

“So great content is king, and communities of avid followers make the king? And my friend Cheryl, of SnappConner PR will rule the world?”

“Yes, basically.” Adam went on, “Dell does a really good job. They have 1M followers on just one account in Twitter. Their team answers all direct messages from their community, and stays on top of their brand and reputation.”

I asked, “So how has this affected you?”

“We hardly do any of the old SEO stuff. It still brings results, but not like it used to. Google is pulling the rug out to provide better search for their audience. They are routing out the counterfeiters. Now it must be real, valuable, content, and lot’s of community value and interaction.”

So how does it affect entrepreneurs and business executives?

Simple.

Invest in real, valuable, relevant content that your audience wants. Grow your internal thought leaders to where they can add value to your audience and positioning in the market. Follow internal SEO practices to make sure it is found and sees the light of day. Take the time to make it so compelling so people talk about it and share it.

Look to real social media community support, compelling PR, and real content; for that is where true SEO practitioners are turning more and more also.

Common sense, but not common practice.

WordPress Infographic

Author: Tony @ GraphicTony

Ten Tips For Using LinkedIn

Whether you’re new to LinkedIn or have only just signed up, here are a few basics tips to bring yourself up to speed.  

1. Invest time in creating a complete profile

Complete means filling in every single section: skills and expertise, career history, adding an appropriate photo, a link to your company website and recommendations from the people who know you and your work best. Import your email contacts. This will help you to build your immediate network quickly and with relevant, interested people.

2. Join groups based on your interests.

If you are like me, try these three for starters: The Sports Business Exchange, World Sports Forum and Ecommerce and Online Marketing Experts. Post a discussion topic in each of these groups, whether it’s asking for advice for a problem you need help with, or some best practice from your job that you would like to share with others. When people respond, make sure you acknowledge their replies, and if you could be useful to one another in the future then send a connection request.   Assuming you got this far, there are other ways that you can really get the benefit of having an active and engaging LinkedIn profile. You need to learn how to build networks that deliver more value – and how you can become a more useful connection to others.

3. Build contacts through LinkedIn Signal  

LinkedIn Signal can help you build new contacts with shared interests. Change the search box option from ‘People’ to ‘Updates’ and type in “Sports Marketing” to find out who else shares views on that topic – equally, search whatever topic is of interest and relevance to you.

4. Have a voice.  

Regularly commenting on and sharing interesting and useful updates helps you keep in touch and be useful. Doing the same with second and third connections will help you engage and build new contacts in no time. When you’ve joined a discussion, share that with your LinkedIn contacts too.

5. Use the ‘People-you-may-know’ feature.

Click the ‘See more’ tab and seek introductions to relevant connections through your network. Be absolutely clear about why you would like to be introduced and what added value you bring by being part of their contact group.

6. Earn credibility by sharing your knowledge.

LinkedIn Answers is a good way of building credibility with new connections. Change the search box option from ‘People’ to ‘Answers’, enter keywords such as ecommerce and see if there are any questions posed which you feel you can answer. The person asking the question gets to vote on the best answer; if this is you, that’s also highlighted on your profile.

7. Make announcements through your status bar.

When you are going to an industry event, announce it on LinkedIn. Ask who else is going, arrange to meet up at the event and remember to add these new connections to your network for future reference.

8. Share content quickly using LinkedIn today.

Use LinkedIn Today to read the latest news relevant to your specific interests. This is a surefire way of sharing content from a rich variety of sources, which will position you as a more interesting connection to your network.

9. Personalise your LinkedIn address.  

Make the link to your profile more memorable by personalising it. Click on ‘Edit profile’, scroll down to public profile section and insert your name for a link which is now easier for people you meet to remember.

10. Research your industry.  

If you are looking for a career move, it’s a great idea to use LinkedIn to research organisations you have applied to and look at the skills and experience of the people that they recruit. Follow the company to receive company updates and news feeds and use your network to get introduced to connections who can give you a personal insight into what it’s like to work there.

Interest in Pinterest?

Author: blog.sironaconsulting.com

Traditional CRM vs Social CRM

Author: Luke Brynley-Jones @ Econsultancy

Over the past two years Our Social Times has hosted social CRM conferences in London, New York and Paris.

It’s a fast-growing industry with many specialist themes, but the first question the speakers always get asked is: “How does social CRM differ from traditional CRM?”

With social CRM events in Frankfurt, Brussels and Paris looming, we’ve set out to pre-empt the “traditional vs social” question by publishing our answer in advance in infographic form (below).

Inevitably, this is a simplistic representation of a complex issue, but it’s also a good starting point for organisations seeking to integrate social media into their customer and stakeholder management processes.

Within the four uses of social CRM we’ve highlighted, Marketing, Sales, Feedback and Service & Support, the shift in thinking and approach required to capitalise on recent developments in customer behaviour (and expectations) is marked.

That said, best practices are emerging. American Airlines has a highly developed social CRM strategy and is implementing it effectively both for marketing and customer service. I’ve also seen excellent case studies from VistaPrint, Peugeot, Everything Everywhere, Citibank and SNCF.

Examples like these are deepening our collective knowledge and encouraging more brands to shift from traditional to social CRM.

Facebook Trending Statistics 2012

Author: blog.sironaconsulting.com

This infographic demonstrates the latest statistics (2012) from everyones favourite social network.

 

Twitter Trending Statistics 2012

Author: blog.sironaconsulting.com

This infographic demonstrates the latest statistics (2012) of the microblogging site Twitter.