PR and search marketingPosted by Bob Brin on April 9, 2008 at 5:05 AM
I hate to break it to you, but your Web site is not the center of the universe. Google is. I heard a presentation recently in which a Dell representative said that Google's search results page is your new home page. That's where people begin their search on your organization and what happens there is likely to stay etched in their memory.
PR (and I don't mean just publicity) is one of the most important disciplines for influencing what goes on in the search engine marketing space. PR and search marketing go hand-in-hand because your outreach efforts are vital to getting other web sites pointing to your site, as well as generating great content for your site(s). We think of search marketing as a solar system. At the center of our search engine marketing solar system is Google. How warmly this big star shines on you depends primarily on your site's popularity with other credible & popular sites and the volume and quality of content on your own site.
Go where the life forms are. Create presences on directories, Wikipedia, Facebook, etc. In addition to being where the people are, this creates more links back to your site and increases your popularity. Of course, the popularity of those sites reflects upon your popularity.
Get mentioned by the experts. Media properties are search engine magnets. Because of their vast amount of content and subscribers/visitors, you need a strong presence in the online media.
Send out your keyword probes. Use search-optimized press releases that will land on news sites and content aggregators throughout your universe. Place articles on sites looking for expert-written content. Post real commentary on other blogs.
Set up satellites and moons. Build microsites, blogs and even your own social networks. But remember it's not about tricking people or shallow content. Content has to deliver real value.
Thus the need for real, substantive content and communications efforts. Web 2.0 is the age of authenticity. And your success will depend on how well you explore and colonize the search solar system and how effectively you manage your messages and reputation out there.
The Opposite and Equally Powerful Forces of Search MarketingPosted by on July 26, 2007 at 11:39 AM
If you think of your Web site as a planet (after all, it is out there in cyberspace), you may begin to see it as one part of a much larger galaxy, comprised of billions of other sites. Each has it's own gravitational pull, in turn affected by the push and pull of other systems. In the case of Web marketing & PR, the “pull” refers to your site's ability to attract other search engines and links from other sites and the “push” refers to all of your out-bound marketing efforts. Together, this push/pull can create a very powerful centrifugal force of growing influence on the Web space.
Push – The combination of your marketing efforts are like probes giving you reach into the depths of cyber space.
• Publicity - search marketing experts know that the success of their programs rely heavily on effective PR. Your press releases and articles land on other sites and attract the search engines and, directly and indirectly, pull traffic to your site.
Pull– Content, together with search engine optimization (SEO), creates gravitational pull by attracting the search engines. The initial challenge however, is creating great content, a task often left to a general search marketer. The problem is that content creation and optimization is not the realm of geeks, because keywords cannot be taken out of the scope of your communications strategies. In fact, it’s your communications efforts that create the nuances of unique keywords. Search marketers need to truly comprehend the language of your market first and not just the mechanics of search engines.
If executed correctly, the opposite, but equally important forces of push and pull can be used to give your site a strong influence in cyberspace.
The SEO Confusion IllusionPosted by on June 22, 2007 at 11:17 AM
By now most of us have heard the terms search engine optimization (SEO) or search engine marketing (SEM) and may even understand them to a certain degree. But many still feel that SEO is something best left for their IT department, or maybe an outside firm specializing in this mystical business. Let your IT department off the hook, because other than possibly implementing coding changes, it’s a marketing job. However, if you’re looking to use an outside SEO firm, there are a few things to consider.
Technicalities vs. Common Sense – Some SEO firms turn the business of optimizing web pages into a scientific “confusion illusion.” But like all marketing, it’s really a combination of art and science. True, there are some technical elements involved that an SEO firm will know inside and out. But if you ask them how they develop keywords for their clients and their response involves phrases like, “proprietary methods, algorithms and extensive lingual research,” you may want to reconsider. Paid tools such as WordTracker and free options through Google and Yahoo! will allow you to perform “extensive lingual research” all by yourself, if you have the time…
Connect the Dots – Most of SEO and search marketing is not about technology and secret algorithms that trick the search engines. It’s about connecting the dots between your marketing and communications efforts. The problem is that PR people don’t always think about search engines and leverage their efforts to also influence search engine visibility. We’re often guilty of writing Web content or press releases that assume the reader already knows what you’re talking about so why use the keywords on every page or in subheads, etc. But what we’re great at is developing content & articles for niche opportunities (e.g., positioning an architecture firm as an expert in green buildings). That ability to generate highly targeted content needs to be synchronized with the search engine efforts.
Time – SEO takes time. It’s not a one-time function you simply set up and walk away from. As you’ve probably experienced, results from ad campaigns or the launching of a new product for example – don’t come overnight. They take time to build and to manage. SEO/SEM should be treated in the same respect.
See the Big Picture – Look at SEO as just another part of your overall marketing mix. It’s certainly one way to drive more traffic to your site, albeit an important one, but it’s not the only way. Web marketing tools such as a company blog, ongoing e-newsletter or social networking sites can be great things to add to your Web marketing strategy.
As with any vendor, find an SEO firm that really understands your business and watches out for your best interests. You’ll find your investment will be just that, and not a one time fee paid for a couple of keywords and fancy proposal intentionally littered with terms to make you feel interactively-challenged.
Search Engine Best Practices Coming Round to Traditional MarketingPosted by Bob Brin on February 2, 2007 at 7:41 AM
Search Engine Watch and other search-marketing experts are talking about the growing inflation of pay-per-click costs as marketers have become addicted to what one pundit calls the "search crack pipe."
One article refers to a return to what was once called PR and communications:
Marketing: Formerly known as "link building," in 2007 we will begin to think of this as marketing and promotion
Refering to the waning effectiveness of link campaigns . . .
So what does this mean? It means you have to get your links by different means (in Smith Barney terms you have to "earn it"). Great content. A reputation as an open business that builds relationships with its customers and partners. In short build trust. This is what will get people to link to your site.
We often refer to the push/pull effect of traditional marketing combined with search marketing efforts for greater success. (PR learns what keywords are most effective and search is optimized continually to capitalize on changing messages, news and events.) However when search marketing is seen as the wonder drug, creating "pull" all by itself, and communications and marketing efforts aren't deployed to create valuable content, events, news links, etc. -- the things that really pull people's interests -- then search marketing has less pull and becomes a suck on time and resources.