From the category archives:

Changing Industries

Does Blogger Engagement Still Matter?

by Jason Preston on January 26, 2009

As we continue to help clients in their social media outreach strategies, I’m starting to notice that more and more people are turning away from blogs and blogger engagement to focus instead on social networking sites. Which begs an interesting question: does blogger engagement still matter?

After all, if you can generate good word of mouth and drive sales from efforts in sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, or MySpace, why bother to court the hard-to-reach and often hard-to-impress blogerati like Scoble, Arrington, or Om?

Here’s why: because they’re hard to reach, and hard to impress, and everybody knows it. These bloggers have spent time building up a brand, and that carries value when they talk about your products or your messages.

Harnessing this trust, this existing relationship, is why it still matters to work with bloggers who have a name and a following, instead of simply trusting in the effectiveness of blind, stranger-to-stranger word-of-digital-mouth marketing.

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Build a Facebook Application as Part of Your Search Engine Optimization Effort

by Teresa Valdez Klein on April 7, 2008

Everyone knows that Web 2.0 technologies have permanently shaken up the practice of Search Engine Optimization. But when people discuss the confluence of Web 2.0 and SEO, they’re usually talking about blogging. After all, we all know that search engines love blogs because they’re dynamic, link to each other frequently and have well-structured code. Blogs usually beat metatagging and link exchanges on a static website.

But what about Facebook applications? Until recently, search engines weren’t indexing them. But according to Justin Smith of Inside Facebook:

Facebook recently enabled developers to serve XML sitemaps off the apps.facebook.com. Sitemaps are used by webmasters to notify search engines of updates to pages and page structure, and generally are a worthwhile exercise in any SEO strategy. Since apps are served from apps.facebook.com, developers get to ride on the back of Facebook’s PageRank – potentially a big leg up on regular web apps.

As of this writing, the domain www.facebook.com has a Google PageRank of 8. It’s entirely possible that a well-optimized application page could be indexed by Google as being more relevant than a company’s own website. An inbound link from an application page could also make your site more relevant.

If you’re attempting to make the case for developing a Facebook applicatio to reach your audience, don’t forget to mention the SEO benefit to your boss.

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Reason #856,003 Why Suing Bloggers is Not a Good Idea

by Teresa Valdez Klein on April 1, 2008

Infamous celebublogger Perez Hilton posted yesterday on his blog that there’s a reason why he hasn’t written about Leona Lewis — one of his favorite artists — in a while.

It’s because he’s being sued by her label, Sony BMG and its subsidiaries Jive and Zomba for posting widely distributed songs that were being attributed to Britney Spears. It turns out that the offending .mp3s were tracks that didn’t make it onto Spears’ newest album.

In Hilton’s words:

Sony BMG, and their labels Zomba and Jive, are suing us for streaming several songs that turned out to be by Britney Spears.

When these songs first leaked, there was a lot of doubt as to whether they were Britney or a fake. Plus, we never made any music downloadable.

Every time we saw a take-down notice from the R.I.A.A., we complied immediately. By the way, no one at Sony BMG ever contacted us about Britney.

Also, every song we posted – not knowing if it was or wasn’t an authentic Spears song – had already been all over the internet and fansites, yet PerezHilton.com is the only entity being sued by Sony BMG.

He lists a number of other talented people that he no longer covers, including my all-time favorite singer Christina Aguilera. He asked himself:

Because Zomba, which is owned by Sony BMG, is suing us and we had a lightbulb go off recently: we can’t support any artist signed to Sony BMG.

Why should we help the company suing us make money???? Especially when their lawsuit is personal!

The record industry has been notoriously backward when it comes to the Web. Their behavior towards Hilton has been no exception. It doesn’t matter much whether the gang at Sony BMG has a legitimate case against Hilton, it’s not in their long-term best interests to sue him.

Hilton may be reviled by many, but his coverage has helped to rocket some musicians from obscurity into the national spotlight. Musicians crave coverage on his site. A rave from him drives countless iTunes downloads.

If Hilton refuses to cover any artist signed to Sony BMG, you can expect that other artists will get the spotlight. That means lost revenues and lost opportunities. It would have been better to just send him a takedown notice and let the whole thing go away quietly.

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Reputation Management: Bad Stuff in Google? Forget SEO, Start Blogging

by Steve Broback on February 25, 2008

in the article How Can a Company Protect Its Reputation on Web Sites? Ben Worthen of the Wall Street Journal writes about the realities of expunging negative information posted about your company on the Web. In many ways he gets it right, but in a few aspects, he’s a bit deficient in his coverage.

He implies that there’s not much you can do to demote negative content in Google search results, which is SO not true. We have a client who was involved in a lawsuit several years ago (which they won btw) and their attorney had posted about his efforts on their behalf. The content was not really all that negative, but it was the fifth item from the top when you searched for their name in Google. Our client wanted it sent to as far below the fold as possible, so largely thanks to our efforts, it moved from position 5 to position 65. It went from the first page of search results to the sixth.

How’d we do it? We launched a blog that mentioned them frequently and invoked a blogger engagement campaign that got others mentioning their name as well. It worked like a charm. Worthen references Daniel J. Solove, an associate professor at George Washington University Law School who is also a blogger, so I am guessing he concurs with us on the power of blogging.

Here are a few key quotes from the article and my thoughts.

“Once information finds its way online, it’s almost impossible to get it off.”

If he means that Google won’t forget about it, that’s generally true. Otherwise, pages come and go all the time.

“One thing not to bother with is so-called search-engine optimization, in which you hire consultants or buy software that’s supposed to make good information rise to the top of Google rankings.”
True. We’ve posted many times that most SEO efforts are largely ineffectual voodoo in comparison to spending the same money on content creation.

“A better bet is to confront the accusations head on. If a blogger writes that your company has poor customer service, leave a comment on the site saying you’re trying to fix the problem. Similarly, never ignore false rumors, as these can spread like wildfire on the Internet. Mr. Solove says to address the rumor on your Web site as early as possible.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Want some help pushing the bad stuff down? We’re happy to help.

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What is good ‘SEO copywriting?’

by Jason Preston on February 19, 2008

There’s a five-part series at Copyblogger called SEO Copywriting 2.0.

It’s a really cool and useful breakdown of what you can do with your copy to really boost your results in Google. I’d recommend reading the whole series for good ideas on how you can tailor your blog posts for a better showing.

But it’s a five part series, and let’s face it, most of us are lazy. So here’s the big not-so-secret secret: almost 90% of what you can do to get good search results is get linked to.

As Brian Clark puts it:

That’s why any true SEO copywriter is simply a writer who has a knack for tuning in to the needs and desires of the target audience. And due to the pursuit of links, those needs and desires have to be nailed well before you’ll ever show up in the search engines.

“Ask yourself what creates value for your users,” sayeth Google. As those brainy engineers continue to diligently create better algorithms, combined with people-powered social media tagging and blog-driven links, copywriters with a flair for prompting link response and conversions will become vital members of any search engine marketing effort.

In other words, good SEO copywriting is linkbait.

I think that it goes a little bit farther than that, though: I’m betting on Google. Google’s entire business is based around providing the best search results to whoever is searching.

So my strategy has always been this:

  1. Who do I want to reach?
  2. What are they searching for?
  3. What is the best response to that question?

And that’s what I try to write.

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American Airlines decides to sue Google over keywords

by Jason Preston on August 17, 2007

Eric Goldman reported yesterday on American Airlines’ decision to sue Google (pdf link) over their keyword advertising practices:

This complaint pleads the usual claims for this type of action, including direct, contributory and vicarious trademark infringement (I don’t know why the vicarious claim was made; it’s deficiently pleaded); a false advertising claim that the “sponsored link” language communicates a false impression of actual sponsorship; dilution; various “soft” state claims (unfair competition; misappropriation and others); and tortious interference with contract because Google allegedly knew that American’s distributors weren’t supposed to buy American’s trademarks as keywords.

Eric’s got a lot more legal chops than I do, but it sounds to me like American Airlines thinks that they’re losing business because Google is allowing other airline services to advertise against the American Airlines trademark. In other words, Google is letting competitors trade on the AA name.

I’m not really sure what they’re trying to accomplish with this suit. The only thing I can think of is those TV commercials where they say “compared to other leading brands” instead of “compared to Coke.”

The idea, I think, is that you can’t use another product’s name in your ad. You can suggest it, but you can’t use it. Advertising on Google against AA is a little bit like using another product name in your ad. I wonder if it’s close enough.

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New Tool for Analyzing Blogger Sentiment(?)

by Steve Broback on August 15, 2007

We’re testing a new tool that is showing promise as an effective engine for measuring the tone of blog posts (but not comments–yet…) as they relate to a specific product or company. We’d love to include some of your data into the research, and would provide you the results free of charge. All we ask is that you take the time to cross-reference the results to your own analysis and tell us how the system performed.

The only data we need is: 1) A list of permalinks to posts that discuss a company or product, and 2) the name of the company or product.

We’ll send you back the list of links with an attached rating to each permalink: positive, negative, or neutral.

If you’re interested, just email me: steve AT blog business summit dot com (no spaces.)

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If You Talked to People the Way Advertising Talked to People…

by Teresa Valdez Klein on August 13, 2007

ifyoutalkedtopeople-thumb.jpg

I effing *love* Hugh Macleod!

[Via Jake McKee with regard to our lovely impromptu chat last week.]

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Lucky There’s a Community Guy: Jake McKee and Community Building Practices

by Teresa Valdez Klein on August 8, 2007

Jake Mckee — a.k.a. the Community Guy — is one of my favorite people I’ve met since I got into this blogging thing. He’s graciously accepted our request that he speak at the conference this September. I had a nice chat with him via AOL Instant Messenger this morning. We talked about how traditional marketers approach communities, how they should approach communities, and why the Web changed everything.

Jake articulates some of the most important ideas in online community building so very well. I’m really looking forward to his sessions at BBS07. Transcript of the conversation after the jump.
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Pay Attention Marketers: The “Facebook Killer” May Be the Web Itself

by Teresa Valdez Klein on August 6, 2007

Wired’s Scott Gilbertson has an excellent point about Facebook: it’s a walled garden. Personal data goes in, and it doesn’t come out.

He’s not the first to complain, nor is he the first person to propose a solution. But I liked the way he articulated the next step in the process of opening the Web:
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