Tag: SEM

The Art of Stroking the SEO Ego

Social media, SEO, and the ego of a marketing / sales person.  All three of those things are gigantic, and all continue to grow out of control.  But even the juggernaut universe of the social web is dwarfed by the sheer size of some SEOs’ egos.

As marketers, we should be keen on spotting imbalances in markets.  Trained ninjas sizing up the competition, and spotting opportunity.  Low hanging fruit is what we live off of.   Well, the imbalance of the size of peoples’ egos versus perception creates the perfect formula for that low hanging fruit.

Ask yourself; why is it so many web marketers are such easy prey when it comes to ego stroking?  It’s simple.  The power of YOU.  “YOU” is the most powerful word in marketing.  “YOU” is the new “FREE.” “YOU” are susceptible, and even “YOU” can’t hide from the essential human need to be recognized.

Perception is reality, and if the person stroking “YOU” is somebody who has you believing they are larger than life, or at least larger than you, “YOU” will always notice if they notice “YOU.”

Lists of people you consider to be “aspirational” (somebody who’s position you are striving to be in) are an effective way to make them to notice “YOU.”  Everybody recognizes recognition.  Link to some of your favorite bloggers or industry experts, especially if their following is similar size or maybe just a little bigger.   With some ego stroking, they will notice.  Heck, they might even link back.  And you’re putting karma points on the board.  People like people who like them.

But if you want to make an even bigger dent, link to somebody who is HUNGRY.  Somebody on the front lines, right now, trying to get where “YOU” are at.  Somebody who finds “YOU” aspirational.  There’s a lot more bang for your buck in making a big impression on the next big thing, instead of getting in line to impress the current big thing.

So re-assess your next ego bait piece for a minute.  What’s going to get your more milleage, a lot of a little that is growing, or a little of a lot that is not?  Think about it. And take time to notice the new kid on the block.  That kid might just be the next big thing.

[edit – karma points on the board for Jason from ThinkBasis for the link hookup- Thanks man!]

Elite Retreat- Make it Worth the Money!

I’ll be at Elite Retreat this Monday and Tuesday.  From what I understand, there are only going to be 12 attendees and there will be 4 speaker / moderator / pros.  I bet it will be more like a 2 day consulting gig than a conference.  My site(s) can get a ton of attention from of few of the web marketing world’s best and brightest.
I need to organize a list of objectives, goals, and questions for these guys to make sure I get the most from the experience.  I’m hoping it’s going to be a priceless opportunity to get a few bad asses to focus on my site(s) and the problems / challenges I’m facing as a marketer.  It also might be a great time to get *your* individual questions answered.  What types of questions would YOU be asking if you were to attend this conference?

I’ll blog a little converage here and there and a wrap up about the conference from a customer’s perspective.  And don’t worry, I am not going to be pulling any stunts here.  The main question that begs to be answered will probably be “was it worth the money?”.  I’ll be posting that answer on Wednesday, so stay tuned.

If you have some awesome questions to ask these guys, and you want in on some of this conference-a-lisciousness, comment at LEAST one question you would ask if you had the chance to attend this session.  Post a ton of questions if you want to score huge brownie points!

Need SEO? Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid!

Recently tons of articles have been floating around about how hot the talent search for search engine marketers has become. The average salary for mid level search marketing managers is almost 6 figures, and ones with experience can expect salaries of around 120k with bonuses. With SEO and the need for a good expert becoming so mainstream, it got me to thinking…

I wonder how many people are getting ripped off by so called “experts”. SEO is a relatively new marketing profession, and there really is no formal education on it. As a whole we are a self starting, self taught bunch. Since there is little formal documentation of our art form / science / business model, it seems really easy for an SEO to pull the wool over a business person’s eyes.

I worked at a company who outsourced their search marketing to an unnamed local interactive firm in Phoenix. It turned out to be a mighty bad idea, in retrospect. Reports such as “Good news, your page rank is up” or “Good news, you have gained 6 spots for your 157th most important phrase” were common.

My responses were “By page rank do you mean the relative position of my site for a major keyphrase, or the green pixie dust on the Google Toolbar?” and “Ok, how much traffic is in that term and where do we rank on Google now?”

The answers where “Your page rank, you know Google Toolbar? duh!” and “I don’t know, but you are are on the 7th page of MSN now!”. How does PageRank affect traffic or income streams? It doesn’t. Your relative rankings matter. Your traffic matters. Your ability to convert a visitor into a sale matters.

Needless to say, I didn’t feel too badly about firing them. But what would have come out of that business relationship if my old company didn’t have an SEO nerd on their staff? Who would have known the right questions to ask, or how much the service is actually worth? It probably would have continued for far too long, and consumed far too much cash.

There are SEOs who will charge a few hundred dollars, there are ones that will charge a few thousand, and there are even bad ass SEOs that can even charge a 50k down payment. Regardless of what they charge, you need to do some research before you choose your SEO. Maybe that 50k guy is worth it for your business…

Here’s a quick exercise. Think of how many visitors currently get to your site per month, divide that my how many sales your site generates and you have a rough idea of your conversion rate. Then also think of your net profit per product (otherwise known as your margin). These are important when making your SEO evaluation. [see below]

Here’s a few quickies to ask before you hire a potential SEO / SEM (Search Engine Marketer)

  • Show me 10 rankings that you are proud of, and how you got them. If they own a major term like, let’s say student loan consolidation (shameless self promotion) they may know what they are doing
  • How much traffic can my best term get for my site, and how can you track it? [use your conversion rate for a very rough idea of how many more sales you can get, times your profit margin and then you have an idea how much your rankings are worth]
  • How did the top site for [insert your best keyphrase for your site] get their rankings? Can you compete with them? [If the answer is no, they are either not aggressive enough, don’t know how to do it, or your product is legitimately very difficult to nail- but remember nothing is impossible. If they DON’T say no, they may be lying anyways, so be careful!]
  • Do you create doorway pages? [Answer must be no]
  • Do you create pages or text just for the search engine? [answer must be no]
  • How long will it take [Answer must not be unrealistic. In most cases it takes a few months and with new sites usually about a year]

Of course, there are TONS of other questions to ask. The main thing is results. If the company or person you are dealing with can show real results, they are probably worth considering.

If you would like some guidance in choosing an SEO, feel free to contact me at chris [at] mcpmedia.com. I’d be glad to steer a few more companies away from the Kool Aid, and towards the high performance energy drinks. :-)

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