Matthew T Grant


Tall Guy. Glasses.

The Big Takeaways Sesh at the MProfs B2B

Bob Knorpp of the Cool Beans Group kicked things off with “pay attention to the keywords you are using in social status updates.” If you are looking for additional SEO power and buzz, focusing on these status updates can have an impact based on the way these things are indexed (with an emphasis on the first six words).

Dave Thomas of SAS focused on the power of content and especially the importance of re-purposing the content you produce. He referred to Kirsten Watson’s (Kinaxis) practice of producing a white paper, first, then using that to produce blog posts, then creating a deck from that for Slideshare, and finally, interviewing the author to create a podcast. An audience member then told people not to forget about images which are, of course, indexed as well.

Stephanie Miller of Return Path recalled the advice that you should never test just to test, but always to use testing to prove out particular points.

Bob Knorpp shared the lesson that you should listen to your sales force to find out what kinds of content bring the best leads, then optimize for that content. It might sound obvious, he said, but it bears repeating because it gives you something very concrete to work with. (I found “improving the relationship between sales and marketing” one of the sub-themes of the entire forum.)

Dave Thomas echoed several speakers saying that it’s ok to take a hybrid approach and integrate your “traditional” marketing techniques with all the emerging tactics now available.

Stephanie Miller, finally, recalled an exercise used in one session where the speaker took the marketing messages of several competitors and showed that you could not tell the companies apart solely based on these messages, which were essentially the same. Compare your messaging to that of your competitors and prepare to have your eyes opened!

As part of a discussion about getting more people in your organization involved in social media, Bob Knorpp cautioned first that it may not be the case that everyone is actually going to be good at it (blogging, for example). So you should take people’s strengths into considerations before asking them to do something. He wanted people to remember that, frankly, if your organization is listening, then that is already a win.

There followed a discussion about the loss of control brought about my social media. It was acknowledged that this loss of control can certainly make some people nervous, and that this is a natural response in some cases, but that our role needs to be one of educating people on how to use these tools. In fact, we can create whole plans around it so that we have a framework within which to judge and evaluate our efforts.

The conversation then returned to the publishing metaphor especially in the context of Kipp Bodnar’s suggestion that your goal should be to produce the best-read magazine in your industry. Bob Knorpp took issue with the publishing metaphor and suggested that we use, instead, the “theme park” metaphor. “When people go to Disneyland, they don’t rave about the brochure, they rave about the experience,” as he put it.

Finally, I said that my big takeaway was that all this isn’t about the technology; it’s about the “soft stuff.” Marketing automation, lead management, social media engagement all boil down to human interactions. It’s these interactions that produce the processes that you automate, build trust between marketing and sales, and, ultimately, determine the role you play in the lives of your customers.

SEO and Social: A Live Blog Experience from MarketingProfs Digital Mixer

Photo 552SEO has become a recurring theme for me at this conference so I was very curious to check out Li Evans of Serengeti Communications’ presentation on search and social. I’m glad I did. Here’s what I learned. I hope you find it helpful.

First learning: Search is not JUST about text. Current Google search results, for “charleston dance,” for example, include images, video, etc. as well as static, text-based pages. “It’s not just your ten blue links.” This also means that Google is giving you access to content within the search results themselves.

I asked a follow-up question around this because, while Google will not only return text-based results, search is still driven by spiders which do better with text (meta tags, content, etc.) than with pictures. In other words, from a machine perspective, search is still text.

Li said, “Sort of. Spiders are very infantile. They won’t go past things that they don’t understand (Flash, Javascript pop-ups). They can’t see what’s in a picture or a video, yet, but they are getting there.”

Second learning: Search is not just taking place on search engines. People search on YouTube (beating out Yahoo!), craigslist, eBay, and so on.

Third learning: Google is using the Google Toolbar and Chrome in order to gather ever more data about your online habits and behaviors and this data increasingly influences search (while also providing good content fodder if you follow the trends and create content accordingly).

Fourth learning: SEO isn’t just for the few, it’s for everyone and it’s not magic. There are very specific, knowable things that you can do to optimize your content for search. “Content is not king, OPTIMIZED content is king.”

Fifth learning: Google knows you through your accounts and will show you results based on your behaviors, your location, etc. NO ONE can guarantee you a top 10 ranking because Google is personalizing results to fit YOU.

Sixth learning: THEREFORE, you need to understand your audience and optimize towards that. How do they search (which engines, what devices, etc.)? How do they consume media? What lingo (vernacular) do they use (i.e., do they say “commode,” “john,” or “toilet”)? How do they prefer their content served (video, audio, maps, etc.)? Are they national? Local? Global?

Seventh learning: It’s not about the technology, the engine, the platform, or any of that. It’s about being found. To get found, you need to optimize around keywords, the way people really search for you, and the way they are talking about the things that are relevant and valuable to them.

Eighth learning: “Other people make it easier to find you, not just search engines.” Make your content valuable, shareable, and actively engage with the online community that plays where you play.

With Google Sidewiki, Who needs AdWords?

At the Community Roundtable lunch with the King and Queen Arthurs thereof, Jim Storer and Rachel Happe, and we were talking about Google Sidewiki and Jim asks, “I wonder if you can add Sidewiki comments to a search results page?”

Well, Jim, it looks like you can!

So, here’s the rub. Why would anyone buy AdWords henceforth (or, rather, once Sidewiki is more widely adopted)?

Or is this all part of Google’s fiendish plan?

Do you consider SEO a part of marketing or a separate job?

I did a webcast on marketing careers for the Aquent and the AMA in September, 2008. We got a lot of questions during and after the webcast and here’s how I answered one of them. – Matt

Got this question after our AMA webcast on marketing careers t’other day and I’m reading it this way: Should all marketers be thinking about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or should there be a specific individual in the organization who focuses on SEO?

My answer is, “Yes.” Now let me explain, since it doesn’t make any sense to answer an “either/or” question in the affirmative.

Marketers, especially in the communications and advertising realm, all need to think about SEO. The “comms” (PR, corporate communications, investor relations, etc.) should be thinking about it because most if not all the content they produce will probably live on the Web and should serve to drive convertible traffic to the relevant site. For this reason, said content ought to be optimized for search and fit the company’s overall SEO strategy.

Likewise, ad campaigns should have an SEO component in the sense that you should think about buying keywords you don’t already own if they are showing up in your TV, radio, or print spots. For example, I believe the folks at Sobe bought “Thriller” when they ran their Super Bowl ad, though my memory could be playing tricks on me.

At the same time, SEO has emerged as a discipline unto itself, meaning that people can get paid to focus entirely on that. Because this is a specialized and evolving field, every organization should at least hire an SEO consultant or contractor to help get their strategy right. In fact, it will even make sense for some larger organizations to hire a full-time SEO specialist.

In other words, “Yes, SEO is part of marketing AND a separate job.”

SEO-Friendly Title

Keyword-laden content.

Self-credentialing commentary and links.

Call to action.

Thus ends this morning’s lesson.