June 30, 2011

How to become a super-node in the attention era

To turn up in organic search, you need to play three-dimensional chess

Chris AbrahamI try to read through my RSS feeds every day. Today I stumbled upon an article by my friend Christopher S Penn, entitled Social media now directly influences search rankings.

It shows that Google is playing Tri-D chess in a world where most companies are mastering checkers:

If you’re marketing something, there’s now a direct incentive to build your network as large as possible among your prospective customers. Size matters.

Long story short: every search you make on Google returns results that are weighted heavily to favor people in your social network, especially those people and brands to have a lot of friends, likes, and followers.

In other words, you can access top organic search engine results for your company, brand, products and services by really diving into social media marketing and eveloping connections, followers, likes, and lists–getting people to like your brand on Facebook or follow your brand on Twitter hasn’t ever just been about brand awareness, it has also become an essential secret weapon for search engine ranking.

You should read Chris’ article for sure, but I have my own example to show how personally-tailored Google search has become

A few days ago a journalist friend of mine popped me a note to ask me if I knew the Rosetta Stone CEO.  I didn’t, however, he thought I must because my name came up twice when he searched for ‘Rosetta Stone” on Google.

See, I blogged for Rosetta Stone for a while and have used their products for years. When I did the same search, I didn’t show on the first page at all. Online, my friend’s world is heavily colored by me.

I showed up because he and I are connected via LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Talk, Gmail, Twitter, and who knows where else.

His search reality isn’t objective at all.  It is being heavily adjusted by the connections he has and will make to other people and brands online. In real time, immediately, to order, based on dozens of tacit connections.

Google isn’t stupid. I won’t show up in all of his web searches–only those that are relevant to what he wants. However, if I have ever written and published anything online that is, in fact, relevant, there’s an excellent chance I will turn up on page one, possibly even if he’s logged out of Gmail.

With the multitude of social network profiles that I possess and maintain, the nearly five-thousand friends I have on Facebook (including the high-caste of many of my friends), the 38,000 followers I have on Twitter, and my 12-year-old blog, my 2,200 contacts on LinkedIn, 3,400 folks on FourSquare, subscribers on FeedBurner, all my content on YouTube, and others, means that Google generally tries to include me in other people’s searches of the Internet, gaming serendipity to the point that I come up as a few of the search results on such a competed-for search term like Rosetta Stone in the Manhattan offices of one of the top global newspapers.

I chose to use this example because I have invested myself so heavily towards building these connections shamelessly. People wonder why I would engage in promiscuous “follow back” on Twitter and maintain the maximum friends on Facebook? Surely I am not special. I, like anyone else, cannot maintain close friendships in excess of Dunbar’s Number of 150 friends.

I have been doing this for myself, for my company, and for my clients, using myself as the most shameless example to prove the concept that having the “right” friends online, following the few “right” people and brands is not only wrong but dangerous.

Shoot for quantity plus quality followers

The more people you touch via social media and social network connections, the greater the chance that you will turn up as a top result in search results.

Yes, get the right followers, but also get as many followers as possible. In a world where people get their search results based on who their friends are and what they’re looking at or doing, you’re going to want to become connected to as many as humanly possible, possibly indiscriminately but certainly promiscuously. The more people you touch via social media and social network connections, the greater the chance that you will always be a top result whenever they do a search in your general direction.

Sure, my level of social media populism is not for everyone because it does take a lot of work, and pursuing the Cluetrain long tail of everyone can surely scare away some of your elite contacts and friends, which it has done, personally, because I do create a lot of content and “noise” to someone who only has 150 friends on LinkedIn, on MySpace, Friendster, and Twitter. I have surely driven them away and hear, “I had to unfollow you because you were the only person I ever saw on my
Facebook wall.” Fair enough. No worries.

While this example is personal, all of these map across to brand beautifully. I am co-founder and president of Abraham Harrison and Google knows that. It is on my Google Profile (you really need to look at this and set this up and try to get all your employees to set their profiles up as well). Google met me halfway when it came to the profile, too, as it was mostly already sorted out for me when I arrived. I just made sure they didn’t miss anything.

This might all seem like Mickey Mouse child’s play but the net effect is that the experience of daily search for tens of thousands of people online tends towards returning content that I have liked, dugg, retweeted, blogged, stumbled upon, thumbed up, shared, starred, emailed, and recommended, including a mainstream media highest-caste global newspaper journalist, and others. Their search reality is strangely influenced by my Internet behavior. That’s powerful. In the attention data game, I am considered a super-node.

In terms of an SEO strategy, this means–and has meant for a while–that simply nailing your site’s information architecture, naming convention, keyword-rich URLs and titles, content, keywords, ALT tags, and link strategy is not nearly enough.

The new secret weapon for Search Engine Optimization is digital Public Relations and Social Media Marketing.

Even more info on this strategy over on Steve Rubel and SEOmoz. Via Mike Moran’s Biznology blog.

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June 1, 2011

B2B social media marketing is essential

Chris AbrahamGlen Gow wrote an important article over at Achieve Marketing Leadership titled Why waste your money on B2B Social Media? that I am going to excerpt and share here.

Like Glen, we at Abraham Harrison get some pushback when we pitch B2B PR agencies as well as corporations that do mostly B2B and channel sales. When I talk to them, I get the same kind of response I got when I was pitching them Content Management Systems and eCommerce solutions, “we’re not Amazon, we don’t need anything more than just brochure-ware — why would we need eCommerce.”

Well, now CMS and Ecommerce sites are the backbone of the supply chains. And, lo, the same is happening with social media. Glen Gow writes:

Businesses of all sizes are executing Twitter campaigns, creating business Facebook pages, producing corporate blogs and YouTube videos in the hopes of going viral. Those things can work when targeting consumers, but do they work when targeting other businesses? The jury’s still out, but B2B companies are nonetheless rushing to jump on the social media bandwagon for fear of being left in the dust in an environment full of constant paradigm shifts that move at lightning speed.

Well said. And their response is, “are we jumping on the bandwagon ‘just because’ or does a social media, blogging, tweeting, and Facebooking strategy pay dividends? Well, yes they do, primarily for the reason why some of the smartest B2B businesses have been blogging forever:

  • Becoming industry experts
  • Sharing what they do in much longer-form
  • Becoming a more important part of organic search
  • Offering a sense of selfless and personal generosity
  • Building a cult of employee and brand personality
  • Offering an opportunity to expose process and quality
  • “Getting to know you, getting to know all about you”
  • Making a sale, any sale, requires seven-ten “touches”
  • In 2011, companies do their due-diligence via Google

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August 18, 2009

5 quick tips on using LinkedIn to start up

Christopher RollysonToday I was reminded that many entrepreneurs don’t fully appreciate how LinkedIn can shrink the business cycle in their favor, so here I’ll recount a hallway conversation in the hope that it will help you, too. Although the context is “starting up” an entrepreneurial venture, the same principles apply to job search — and for the same reasons. Entrepreneurs and job seekers all have burn rates and the need to find people with specific problems who are ready to act on the solution that the entrepreneur or job seeker proposes.
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June 25, 2009

Innovate ceaselessly, shamelessly, like Facebook

Chris AbrahamI heart Facebook. This morning I awoke to Yet Another Facebook Innovation (YAFI). Facebook amazes me because they are driven to make things easier for me — or at least give it a go. Facebook is willing to suffer constant backlash in order to improve usability and efficiency.

Case in point below:

New Friends Facebook Check Boxes

In this particular case, the innovation is what I call a “Twitterish” innovation — stealing something directly from Twitter. A couple weeks ago, I stayed up until 12:01AM to secure another hype-drenched Twitterish innovation: vanity URLS: facebook.com/chrisabraham — I am such a sucker!

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June 5, 2009

Reflections on using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter

A multiple platform perspective to increase engagement

strategyChristopher S. RollysonSpecializing in Web 2.0 and social networking since early 2006, I’ve formulated strategy and programs for hundreds of business and government leaders. The main goal of these initiatives has been engaging people in the most appropriate and effective way. Since many of my clients are B2B (business to business, commercial) executives, I have worked extensively with LinkedIn because it has been most relevant for most situations (it still is).

However, I am increasingly seeing cases in which people have accelerated relationships by connecting in multiple platforms, and this is growing in importance in client work. Here I will offer a cursory introduction of this concept and how it can work.

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May 26, 2009

Google vs Facebook – the search is on!

Ayelet NoffOnce upon a Myspace time, I tried searching for a few band profiles inside the Myspace network. I didn’t get the exact spelling and spacing right, and ended up on a total search maze. What a disaster! From there on out, I would actually leave Myspace, go back to Google and search there for a Myspace profile. Strange and sad thing is, Myspace search is actually “powered by Google.” Perhaps Myspace has made improvements in this area by now, but I wouldn’t know because I will probably never try again. A year or so later when Facebook features started trumping Myspace, so did its profile search. Facebook currently maintains a dominant position when it comes to people search. However, when the search involves anything outside of people, Facebook search is known to be one of the most frustrating experiences ever. Now after the fairly recent arrival of Google profiles, the fight for the most effective profile aggregator begins.

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