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Posts from the ‘SEM’ Category

29
Jun

Google’s Go-To-Market Strategy: Horrible

Sometimes having too many smart people with a singular focus in a room can hurt you. I’m beginning to believe this is the case at Google; too many PhD’s in mathematics and computer science, not enough marketers in the room who don’t have any skin in the game. Someone who can be objective about what they see and the best way to capitalize it. It seems that Google just never gets it.

Enter the + (And Everything Else Google Launched Yesterday)

Google + made its appearance to the world yesterday. I haven’t used it and can’t speak to it. What I can speak to is the unveiling strategy of Google+ and how oddly familiar it is to Google Wave’s introduction. And, if we’re keeping score on this one, I was right about Google Wave in the end. As Danny Sullivan said yesterday:

Google's End of Quarter Product Launch Madness

Product List and Reading Materials from 6-28-2011

Because Google pushed so much out the door yesterday, it’s hard to keep track of everything that surfaced. I’m not even sure this is a complete list, but there are some very interesting things that happened yesterday.

  1. Google+
  2. Google Swiffy
  3. Google What Do You Love (WDYL) Search
  4. Google’s Aesthetic New Black Toolbar
  5. Google Places New Look

Whew. That’s an awful lot of stuff to throw at the wall, especially in one day. While everyone is phreaking on Google+, quietly Google put out an awesome resource of Swiffy, converting SWF files to HTML 5. And the changes to the Google Places page is very interesting too, along with the toolbar change.

Throwing Crap Against the Wall

I think even hack, unseasoned marketers know that’s probably not the best way to introduce products to market place or the public. It’s the, forgive the language here, “Shit Stick” method. You throw as much shit at the wall as you can, and see what sticks and holds. For company that has, what seems to be, an unlimited marketing and product development budget, I guess this can be successful.

I’d argue that it makes more fiscal sense, as well as marketing sense, to develop one or two great ideas and create an intriguing, solid go-to-market strategy. But, you say, that’s what Google did with Google Wave.

Google Can't Market Worth a DamnGoogle Can’t Market Worth a Damn

Say “STOP” when this sounds familiar: groundbreaking product, huge hype (over-hype), limited admission (huge bottleneck) in order to create the appearance of exclusivity disguised as “slow testing”, and little to no mention from anyone outside the tech and search industry. Wow, that’s exactly what Google Wave was. But, it’s also Google+’s entry into the market place. It has the same scent as Google Wave, same short-sidedness as Google Wave, and nearly the same go-to-market strategy as Google Wave.

Marketing to the Technological Elite Isn’t a Great General Marketing Strategy

Can Google please hire just one marketer to sit in these “product launch” meetings? You know, someone who knows a little bit of something about the general populous, societal behavior, and how to get people into using a product? Because Google hasn’t done it right, again. Unless of course, they only want the tech and search community to use the tool?

What Google is trying to do is get people who don’t need Google+ to use it. And the best way to do that is to explain the benefit and the need to general populous. Not to the people who will use it anyway. They market this product to the people who, for the most part, are fluent in technology and not to folks that aren’t. And that, people, is how scores are kept: can you make this product attractive to someone who doesn’t need it (right now) and make them use it? That is where market saturation is reached. They’ve got it backwards: Google markets to the technological elite and savvy and hopes it filters down to the general public.

And, if Google ties employee bonuses to social product success, as reported by Geekosystem, then their products will consistently fail. Yes, that’s an attractive carrot to dangle; however, in my opinion, people only work just hard enough to achieve bonus levels. Meaning, the initial push should secure the bonus and then no one has to care.

Sacrificing Your Core for Frills?Sacrificing the Core for The Next Big Thing?

Dave Winer’s post “Google Yawn” is an interesting one, and I think it hits home the point: killing who you are and what you do to be everything to everyone. I don’t know how Google+ will shake out because I haven’t used it. I hope it succeeds, I really do. But, if you’re asking me based on the go-to-market strategy, then I say it has a very slim chance of survival past 9 months. Google product launches are nothing more, to me, than a big, expensive firework: huge explosion, flashy presentation, loud noises, and they fizzle away into oblivion.

16
Jun

A Great Tool You’re Not Using: Wonder Wheel

Google Wonder Wheel may be the best kept secret that very few search marketers are using. Or, maybe you all are, and I just don’t know it. Even Google doesn’t have much information on the tool.

At SMX Advanced there was a “Leveraging SEO Power Tools” session, and it was a very useful session, but I didn’t hear anyone speak about this tool. Frankly, I’m not sure that I would consider it a full-out SEO power tool; however, Wonder Wheel is a tool that can help you in three huge SEO tasks with a little bit of elbow grease.

What is Google Wonder Wheel and Where Do I Find It?

Wonder Wheel is Google’s attempt to help users simplify search by creating a mind-map of sorts, a map of user-related queries connected to the searcher’s original query. But don’t my word for it, here’s Adam from Google demonstrating Wonder Wheel.

Where You Find It and What It Looks Like

Looking Through a Glass Onion

Yet, if you peel back what Google says at face-value about this tool, infuse some SEO knowledge, you’ll see it’s more than just a related queries tool to help you simplify search discovery. Essentially Google is providing you with closely-linked semantic and temporal keywords that user’s use. And, by proxy, Google recognizes as closely-related temporally and semantically keywords and phrases to the original keyword phrase.

3 Big SEO Research Tasks Wonder Wheel Tackles

When you look at Wonder Wheel as an applied semantic and temporal database, the possibilities for how you can leverage this tool become endless. I use this tool daily for three tasks: competitive research and monitoring, on-site content keyword variations, and for link building efforts.

A note of caution here: from my own experience using this tool, this tool is very query dependent and market place dependent. That is to say, going beyond the second-level extension usually puts you too far out from the original query to be helpful, see the example below:
Be careful not to go too far on Wonder Wheel

Competitor Research and Monitoring

You can use Wonder Wheel to monitor and research competitors for closely related terms to your target term to find out just how dominant they are within the space. Remember that close semantic and temporal terms, while not being an exact match to the term, all support and relate to each other, providing Google clues to thematic structure. If you want more information on how I’m arriving at this (taking liberties and extrapolating a bit), I would suggest SEO By the Sea’s Semantic Closeness post and SEO is Undead Again Post.

Wonder Wheel may also provide you clues of what your client should really be targeting in the SERPs. For example, your client wanted to position themselves well for Term X, and through checking related terms Y and Z, you find more of their significant market place competitors reside in Z. You do your keyword research homework and find that indeed Z is more viable term than X, and will be more valuable to your client in the long-term.

On-site Content Variations for Target Terms

Sometimes there’s only so far you can stretch your target keyword term on a page. You’ve used different tenses and variations, but at the risk of stuffing and snuffing out the user experience, you need to find a new way. Wonder Wheel can help you there too (if you were thinking Panda, you’re on the right track).

Wonder Wheel can help you find semantic and temporal keyword phrases that can you can supplement in the content, helping spread its tentacles for more relevancy, “normalizing” it a bit, and helping it save the user experience not reading like keyword-stuffed set of AM/FM radio instructions.

Anchor Text Variations for Links

Think of Wonder Wheel as an ace up your sleeve for link anchor text variation. Exact match anchor is necessary and powerful, but nothing screams manipulation more than hundreds/thousands exact match anchor text to your site. Getting semantically and temporally close-related anchors plays a dual role: keeps thematic consistency within the link graph (i.e. keeps target term relevancy high) while also providing link graph variation and normalization to normalize it.

But it’s not just for inbound links, you can use this technique for internal linking schemes through body content. If you use your target term in a few spots, you can switch up that internal anchor text with one of these variations as well.

Wonder Wheel: An All Purpose ToolThe Bottom Line: A Versatile Tool

As you can see, Google Wonder Wheel is a rather versatile tool that can help you leverage the semantic and temporal web. These aren’t the only uses for Wonder Wheel, but some that you can start implementing into your routines today. Google has suggested Wonder Wheel be used for AdWords, creating ad group themes. However, since I’ve never used it for that purpose (yet), I can’t comment on how well it works. But if you have I’d love to hear about your experiences with it.

23
May

The Center of the Corporate Galaxy is not Facebook

Wrong. Facebook is not the center of your online universeI don’t know how it happened. I don’t know why it happened. And, I don’t know who thought it was a good idea. I do know, however, that your corporate Facebook page should not be a substitute for your website. And, yet for some reason, major brands insist that interested consumers go to their Facebook page from expensive television ads and paper ads. Let me start out by saying, that it’s commendable that big brands are attempting to integrate social media into their repertoire. But to use Facebook, and other social media sites, as the central hub of how consumers get to know your brand, and interact with your brand, is simply wrong.

Your Website is the Center of Your Galaxy

Your website is, and will always be, the center of your corporate galaxy. It retains the most gravity (in a sense) with major search engines, it’s what brand-loyalists will know first, and it’s what prospective consumers of the brand will run across first.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc are satellites in the corporate galaxy, and are of varying size like the planets in our galaxy.  For example, your Facebook page can be the Jupiter of your corporate online universe: a hefty gravity of its own, numerous moons, but still bound to the gravitational pull of the Sun (your website).

Put it in Perspective

How Your Corporate Online Universe Really Functions

Satellite Brand Extensions

Social sites are satellite extensions of your brand, they were never meant to be the spokesperson for your brand, but rather a liaison or a networking mercenary. A lot will argue that point because they think that’s exactly what social is intended for: spokesperson-dom. But, it shouldn’t be the authority on your brand. That’s your website’s job. It’s where the information is (or at least should be). It’s where consumers find out what you offer, what you do, and how you do it. And, yet, big brands are continually positioning Facebook as the destination.

Everything Facebook Can Do, Your Website Can Do

Even those brands using Facebook successfully are still driving consumers back to their website to engage the content, tacking some identifiers into the URL string so they know the came from Facebook. Let’s look at a cross-section of several industries:

All the contests you promote, all the special content you promote, and all the slick, time-saving apps are already on your website. Why aren’t you driving engagement there? Why not advertise specially created landing pages from costly TV ads and print buys? Why are you driving already-loyal consumers, and those you hope to persuade, to the Facebook walled-garden? Moreover, why are you sending them to place where your competitor’s ads are and can roam freely, defeating the purpose? That’s why there’s Facebook Connect, allowing people to “like”, share, and interact with your Facebook wall directly from your website.

Don’t Tell Me It’s About SERPs & Engagement

Even though Bing will be using Facebook “Like” data in the SERPs, it’s still not very prevalent. Here’s one example query, signed in with Facebook credentials: “milwaukee bucks” – Bing http://binged.it/jgfs2z . It’s no different than what you would find in Google’s SERP, signed in, with +1 and social connections promoting things via Twitter. Beyond that, just how influential are these social “vouches”, the “likes”, in the search results? Are they really that jam-packed with influence as to alter a searcher’s decision? In my opinion, no, not in the least. But that won’t stop SEMs and Social gurus from pushing it down everyone’s throat to justify their existence.

Engagement? Is the engagement that much better or more meaningful on Facebook? Is a “like” really that significant on a macro or micro strategy level? All these big corporations, and mid-sized businesses, are doing is creating an extra step to get to the information. If you want to get people to enter your contest, or look at specials you’re running, or engage some nifty application that might make their lives easier, why not send them to unique landing pages on your site? It stands to reason there would be some incredibly valuable consumer engagement when they don’t have extra barriers to plow through, right?

Keep your corporate website the focus of your online universeHere Comes the Sun

Stop treating your website as superfluous. It is your online brand. It is the center of your corporate universe and all your social satellites revolve in its orbit, not the other way around. Your website shows up in search results first; I’ve seen corporate pages take up to as many as the first 5 spots. And, what’s never on the first page of results in both Bing and Google? Your Facebook page.

Your social media efforts should serve to drive consumers, and links, back to the site where the engagement and experience is richer, more informative, and more data mine-able to help you make better decisions about your website and your social campaigns.

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