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Use Google for Viral Inspiration

If you’re trying to find good ideas for ways to build traffic and credibility to your website, it’s always a good idea to look at what the big guys are doing — especially if what they are doing works. Then you can find ways to adapt that strategy to fit your own industry and niche and, maybe, duplicate a fraction of their results. When we’re talking about Google, unless you’re a major international brand, a fraction is all you will need to make a significant difference in your traffic.

Last Saturday, Google replaced their standard logo with a Google Doodle that paid tribute to Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday. Google does this periodically, but this particular logo was fully interactive, with video clips from some of the most famous episodes of “I Love Lucy.”

Within twenty four hours a search for “google lucy logo” returned over 6.8 million results.  Today, less than a week later, that same search returns more then 8.3 million results.  That means that a simple logo running for 24 hours on their homepage generated them over 8 million inbound links – and counting.  And many of those links are from major news outlets, monster tech sites, and marketing authority sites.  That’s a lot of link juice flowing their way. And the hype translates to more traffic as many people took to their favorite social media and shared the site with their friends, family and communities, sending millions more people to check out the logo for themselves.

You may not have the resources to create such a high quality piece of media (I wonder what the licensing fees were for showing those clips and using copyrighted and trademarked music, graphics, and content?), but you can do a number of things to attract attention, traffic, and links to your site:

  1. Create a useful tool, such as a calculator or date generator that is tied to your industry.  Think of those sites that let visitors calculate the amount of calories they burn doing specific exercises and apply the same principle to your work.
  2. Make a video that is both informative and entertaining and features your product.  A good example of this is the guys over at Blendtec who created the now legendary “Will it Blend?” series of videos.
  3. Generate an interesting flow chart, infographic, or even a cartoon that is both informative and humorous.

Once you create this piece of viral content, you need to make sure you publicize it.  After all, you won’t have the built-in audience of Google to discover the content and share it: on mobile media as well as traditional computers.  You need to make sure you get the word out about it to others.  You may also want to take a page from Google’s book and only display the item for a short period of time.  That makes people more likely to check it out before it expires.  You can always copy another tactic from the search giant and archive a copy of it elsewhere on your site for future use by visitors.

Article by John Duncan a writer and blogger who often works on his motorcycle, (with the help of a Harley Davidson repair manual of course) and likes to fish, hunt and travel.

Why Use Video Marketing

video interviewThere are numerous ways to promote your business and advance your overall presence on the Internet and most of them are simple and quick to implement. Social media and business marketing have become extremely popular and productive resources for almost all companies, regardless of size or particular industry. In addition to the written media options for reaching consumers, clients and other contacts, video marketing is one of the best options available for businesses today. When used in tandem with other marketing campaigns, video greatly increases a company’s visibility and presence. Online video tools also serve to establish a solid reputation and are a great way to promote traditional advertising campaign while providing immediate and ongoing personal contact with consumers and critics.

Video marketing is distinct from other traditional media outlets and offers one of the best ways to reach a diverse population of potential consumers. You can create various length videos that focus on your product or service and target them to a particular demographic. Meanwhile, the amount of online sources for sharing the finished products makes online video an extremely affordable alternative to traditional television outlets. You can optimize videos to reach specific demographics and to make sure that they rank well in search engines and on social sites.

Public relations and marketing departments are well aware of the potential exposure these videos can bring their company. In addition to the video itself, a complimentary blog, Twitter account, and other social media profiles can be utilized to create buzz about the video and open up dialogues with customers. It also lets the consumers exchange experiences and comments amongst themselves.

The opportunities provided by video marketing are endless and only dependent on the creativity of your marketing team. Establishing a presence and identity for your company has never been more affordable, effective and relatively inexpensive to establish.

Money Mutual Videos

Today I was doing some research on video search for a class I teach.  When doing a search for “Money Mutual” in video search the coverage for the brand is an excellent example of how videos can be used for branding.  I used this example as I often see TV Ads with the TV star Montel Williams.  The screen shot below shows a perfect top 10  and home page for a video search.  The first result is their You Tube Channel and then the entire top 10 is covered by their videos.  This is an example of of how Video can be very effective for brand search results.  Video is also very easy to consume and can lead to much higher engagement with the brand.

Money Mutual Video search result

Money Mutual Video Results

What is Reputation Management?

A good reputation is something that has been highly valued since the beginning of time. Knowing that you can be trusted and relied upon as an individual, friend, employee, or business can affect many aspects of your life. Before the Internet and the popularity of social media, reputations were left mainly within the realm of face-to-face interactions and kept secure within each defined area of life. With each increase in technology it has become more challenging to keep your reputation with your friends from bleeding over into your work life, and vice versa. To keep your reputation on the right track, both individuals and businesses can benefit from reputation management.

Reputation management is the process of tracking your business, or identity, online and taking action in conjunction with the results. How this looks specifically varies from business to business, or person to person.

For most individuals reputation management is pretty straightforward. If you use social media make sure that your profile pages are clean and professional. Many employers, and potential employers, look at personal social media pages to gauge a person’s character, personality, and work ethic. Distasteful images and crude comments could hinder you from getting that job or promotion. Here is a video that can help you with creating a professional Facebook page:

Reputation management for businesses and high profile individuals typically involves a bit more work. First, it is important to be proactive in your approach to maintaining a positive reputation. Developing positive social media accounts, creating a well designed website, and making sure that all of these are ranking on search engines like Google is a great way to start. Second, it’s important to be vigilant about your reputation. Check frequently for negative remarks, reviews, or comments that could damage your reputation. The sooner you catch them the better. When there are negative results it is best to act quickly and replace them with something positive. This may involve helping to promote existing positive results so that they move up in the search engine or it may mean answering the negative comments or review. In some cases, consulting with an expert in Online Reputation Management may be needed to address the problem.

So much of how business is conducted relies on the Internet; companies use it for advertising, marketing, and sales while consumers use it to get reviews and shop. Millions of people each day use the Internet for both business and personal purposes and if you don’t take an active role in managing your reputation someone else will.

Online Lead Generation in High Stakes industries

There are several industries online and indeed offline where lead generation can be very expensive.  When the stakes are high the competition and the costs are high.  Some industries, such and financial services, payday loans and plastic surgery have been serviced by the professional lead generation companies for a long time.  The cost of doing SEO  or PPC for some of the individual companies who buy these leads can be very prohibitive.  When the stakes are high the big players pump money into the online space excluding the Mom and Pop with the smaller budgets and forcing them to work with the lead generation companies to compete.  Really that is not such a bad thing either the individual companies may be very good at what they do but not so good at marketing and leaving their lead generation to the professionals with the deeper pockets may be a good option.

An industry which has attracted the big guns is the Drug Rehab Industry with several lead generation companies from the more traditional fields adding treatment center lead generation to their portfolio.  We have worked with some companies in this space and at times it could cost as much as $40 a click in PPC.  Bearing in mind that it can take several clicks to get a lead and due to the nature of the industry many leads are unqualified with people at the end of their disease broke and unemployed with no health insurance looking for help.  One of the new players in the space is called The National Treatment Network this is a treatment industry service provided by lead generation veterans Medicquire.  The drug rehab industry is renowned for its high level of spam techniques in SEO and I believe due to Google’s several updates in the past year which has finally outlawed so many of these techniques the cost of doing SEO in these high stakes industries will fuel the growth of the professional lead generators move into the treatment industry.

Company Branding Tips

There is not much about running a successful business that is easy. And the down economy of the last several years has made that more obvious. Increases in technology and the use of the Internet have created social media sites for marketing. Add to this the fact that companies have to work harder than ever to keep old customers while attracting new ones. the result is that branding and name recognition have never been more important.

When you first hear the word “brand” the image that most often comes to mind is a logo. While it’s true that the majority of us are able to recognize the logos of the companies that we buy from most, it is typically not the deciding factor in why we buy. Having a well-designed logo is good, but its prevalence on the company letterhead, mailings, website, and other promotional material is a much more important part of building your company’s brand and name recognition.

These days everyone is online. It’s the number one place that consumers go to look for products, services, and reviews. Building your brand in the 21st century means having a cohesive online presence. Start with a high-quality, easy to use website. It should be well-designed and provide visitors all the information they need about your company’s mission, purpose, products, and services. Developing a blog is also a good way to set your company apart as experts in your industry. Frequently posting new content to both the website and the blog will help keep them fresh and relevant as well as help increase their ranking on search engines and personalized search .

Next, make sure that you have registered a company account or page on popular social media sites. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube and any networking/sharing sites that are relevant to your industry. Make sure that the look and feel, including logo, color scheme, taglines, etc., are applied to each entity, so that you have a unified brand.

Even though we live in the age of technology and computers, don’t underestimate the importance of face-to-face interaction and getting involved in the local community. Being a part of local business events –not just attending but planning or speaking — can be a great way to get your name and your company’s name out there. Also, getting involved with local charities and community groups can help broaden your audience and most customers will appreciate your efforts. This will improve your reputation, and therefore your brand image within your community.

Much like your company’s reputation, your brand is developed largely by your customers. You can guide it in the direction that you want it to go but your customers and the way that you interact with them will determine the destination.

SyCara SEO Tool…nominated finalist for prestigious innovation award

SyCara SEO Tool software has been nominated as a finalist in the  Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) Innovation challenge awards.  SyCara is an SEO tool which manages the SEO process and reduces times spent of the more tedious tasks associated with SEO.   SyCara also recently launched its social insights product an innovative and simple means of managing social media insights within the SEO tool.

You can read the full ACA s Release here

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/4/prweb9362524.htm

 

SEO Tips and Tricks

The Internet is an important tool that consumers and businesses use every day. Whether they are looking for health advice, shopping for a new repairman, or just browsing the Web most begin their sessions on a search engine. While everyone has their preference — Google, Yahoo, or Bing just to name a few — ”most users don’t look past the first 1-2 pages of results. So to make their sites visible and increase visitor traffic it’s up to webmasters to improve their search engine optimization (SEO) and increase their websites ranking.

A large part of your website for both users and search engines is content. Providing a regular supply of new, unique content will keep your visitors interested and increase your page rank. You can even go in and update old content, just make sure that they changes are substantial or the spiders may recognize that you are doing it to improve your ranking and deduct points. Also, don’t copy the same content onto multiple domains. This is a trick often used by spammers and isn’t looked highly upon by search engines.

Keywords are key when it comes to increasing your websites visibility on search engines. First you need to find your primary keyword or phrase. Don’t pick something that is too popular and that will provide too much competition. Once you have your keyword/phrase you can include it in your domain name, URL, title tag, headlines, and anchor text. When writing content you can include the keyword, as well as variations and synonyms of the keyword, but don’t overuse them — no more than 10%. You can also use secondary keywords that will provide variety for your readers and increase ranking. But, again, it’s important that their use be sparse so as to avoid confusion with the search engine in regards to which is the primary keyword and which is the secondary. The more natural the content and keywords the better; sites that are keyword heavy look like spam sites and can end up being blocked.

To really help boost your search engine ranking, linking is significant. Good quality links from reputable sites, especially .edu or .gov sites, will help improve your sites credibility. Linking to a variety of sites and having sites link back to you will also improve your ranking. The more natural the links are the better and as much as possible avoid linking to and from link farms.

SEO is an important part of any viral marketing campaign . Often it requires trying new things, seeing what works and what doesn’t, and being flexible to change. Technology is always growing and changing and it’s up to us to adapt with it.

Personal Branding

For most of us it’s natural that when we hear the word “tissue” we think of Kleenex or when we hear “permanent marker” we think of Sharpie. These companies have developed their brand and set themselves apart as leaders in their respective industries. Personal branding works in much the same way: setting yourself apart as a leader in your industry.

When it comes to developing your personal brand, you first need to identify what sets you apart from the crowd. Developing your core values, platform, and mission statement will help guide you to the right arenas to develop your brand. Whether you are looking to become a frontrunner in your field or stand out to prospective employers, it is important that you stay true to yourself and your brand. Consistency is key.

Personal branding, much like your personal reputation, can be developed both on and off the Internet. Developing a thought-provoking blog, providing insightful comments on other blogs, and managing professional social media accounts can help you develop your brand online. You can also set yourself apart by seeking out other industry leaders whether they are online or in person. Often conferences are a great way to network and get your name, brand, out there.

In the past only politicians and celebrities worried about their online identities and reputations; however, as we increase our presence online it is becoming more important for everyone. Employers have made it a point to review prospective employees online identities and social media pages. When consumers are shopping for products and services, who they are buying from often counts just as much as the price.

We live in an era of information and technology. We want as much information as we can get as fast as we can get it. For most industries it’s no longer enough to simply pass out a resume or just create a business website. With so many people competing for jobs, partners, and even investors, you need to be able to set yourself apart as a unique individual with new thoughts and ideas for your field.

Obama Wins the 2008 Presidential Election – in Social Media

This article was written following the 2008 Presidential Election.  It highlights how the effective use of social media impacted Obama’s successful campaign.  As the 2012 race for the White House heats up, it will be interesting to see which candidates learn from Obama’s example — and whether Obama himself will be able to expand and enrich his use of these important tools.

Change: the political platform touted by both presidential candidates on the 2008  campaign trail. With differing objectives, Barack Obama and John McCain promise  dramatic shifts in government policies upon entering office, but the remarkable transformation that has already materialized is the dramatic increase in voter engagement — a social movement brought about by the Internet. The social web has been utilized by the candidates for spreading political news and philosophy, tracking voter interest, generating awareness and organizing communities. Voters also use the media tool to their advantage, voicing their opinions and creating political content on a national stage. The Internet has fostered a vocal, involved citizenry in the current election. Change isn’t on the horizon; it’s already risen.

From gathering election news to watching political videos, the proportion of Americans accessing the Internet for content and information has dramatically increased since the 2004 race. 40 percent of all Americans received news and information about the primary campaigns from the web, according to a survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project developed in June. The study also found that younger voters and Democrats make more use of online media for political consumption and sharing.

Both politicians are highly invested in SEO as a mechanism for growth in their online strategies. AdGooRoo released a recent study analyzing the high stakes search campaigns of both candidates, finding that Obama-related sites receive more than five times the amount of traffic than McCain-related – 22 million versus 3.5 million visitors. Pro-Obama websites are 57 percent more popular than pro-McCain, but the Republican nominee receives 11 percent more traffic from  websites not affiliated with his campaign. In terms of search marketing, the candidates employ similar levels of sophistication. McCain has a slight advantage in keyword selection, but Obama wins in targeting topical keywords, such as “lipstick” and “Paulson”. The Obama site clearly wins in natural search rankings: McCain is seen on Google’s front page for 67 keywords, while Obama ranks for 117.

Especially influential during the election has been social networking sites. The  Pew survey found that two-thirds of Internet users under 30 have a social networking profile, half of which use these sites to gather or share information about the election. Social networks have streamed politically-related entertainment, data and interactive content throughout the web in massive quantities.

“New media offers candidates with an alternative or complement to their traditional media spending,” says Gary Drenik, President of BIGresearch. “By actually listening to potential voters and using all media, not just traditional, candidates can build an ad strategy that is more likely to influence votes.”

The White House hopefuls have accessed the benefits of using alternative media forms, like social networks, to reach an audience often neglected in the presidential race. Presently on Facebook, Obama has about 2,250,000 supporters and McCain has 579,000; On Twitter, Obama has over 100,000 followers (a social site for which he himself, apparently, actively participates) and McCain has a little over 3,000.

Expanding outside the popularly established networking sites, both candidates have created their own social forums for addressing current issues and fostering supporter interaction. Obama has especially caught the attention of social media users with MyBarackObama.com, created by the stealthy digital team Blue State that remains rather mum about their role in Obama’s campaign. The site is an instrument of organization for Obama; its 850,000 members have already planned over 50,000 events with the help of the site’s innovative tools –- not campaign officials –- and raised $200 million for the Illinois senator. MyBarakObama.com is an excellent example of the power of social media to incite participation on and off the web. An Obama iPhone application and video game advertisements are also part of Obama’s interactive media repertoire.

McCain’s approach to social networking has not been as successful. McCainSpace.com is also aimed at young voters, but it hasn’t reached the level of user participation as Obama’s site. To step things up, in June WhereIsTheRed.com was launched — a blog following three college students as they travel the red states and broadcast the widespread appeal of the Republican Party. But the lagging presence of McCain in the social media sphere sends the message that he’s out-of-touch with the demographic and out-dated when it comes to technology.

Video streaming has been a massively popular toy in the election/social media playground. On the official Obama site, video streaming increased 155 percent from July to August, according to Nielsen Online, reaching 1.3 million views. The site also saw a 173 percent increase in unique video viewers in the same time frame. The same metrics for the McCain site shows increases by merely 16 and 5 percent, respectively. Though Obama is leading on the video front, McCain did make strides in August by attracting more women viewers to his site, clearly due to his choice for running mate.

YouTube has been a major platform for user-generated spoofs and memorable campaign moments. The celebritized Obama effort “Yes We Can” and the “Obama Girl” music videos each drew 10 million views. And, of course, there is the  content phenomenon that is Sarah Palin (and all her various interpretations). The Republican Vice Presidential candidate’s network news interviews and SNL skits permeate the web. More than half who watched the recent SNL satires featuring Tina Fey viewed the skits on the web, according to a Solutions Research Group survey, with 11.7 million views on YouTube alone. Without a doubt, content sites and political videos have mobilized the campaign effort. Hosted by YouTube are YouChoose’08 and VideoYourVote — election channels that measure candidate support by user participation. Not surprisingly, Obama-related content exceeds in the total number of views and subscribers.

The pervasiveness of social media has been leverage for both candidates to reach a widespread audience. The obvious winner of the web is Obama. He took voter outreach to another level, transforming the landscape of election campaigns by investing in social media programs that heightened Obama activism in the real world. But the race isn’t over just yet. As noted by Jon Gibs, vice president of media analytics for Nielsen Online, “The question that remains for both candidates is whether web visitors and online video viewers will translate into votes in the general election.”

Whatever the final result may be, it is evident that social media has emerged as a principal transmitter of citizen opinion and a space for political participation — an aid in bridging the gap between disconnected policy-makers and the American public. On November 4th, in the moments before the next president is elected, the Blogosphere will echo with silent anticipation, and the ultimate test for ROI in search and social media campaigns will be revealed.

© Elixir Interactive 2008

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