September 3, 2014

Don’t believe what Google tells you about search

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Photo by Alan Cleaver on Flickr (CC BY)

How has Google misled us? Let us count the ways!

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Chris AbrahamIf you’ve been listening to Google of late, you’ve heard their spokespersons’ declarations that you should go merrily on your way producing content for your followers while making no attempts to improve your search rankings through explicit means. Focus on what you do best and ignore all that voodoo SEO stuff.

Well.

I’ll probably get some blowback for this, but it’s time to call out Google for its — how shall I put this? — sleight of hand, half-truths and tendency to lie about this.

The following list of Google mistruths have some exceptions and caveats. And, Google does make examples of bad actors, which is all to the good.

But for the vast majority of us Web publishers, bloggers and businesses who just want to create content and have it read, you should frankly ignore what Google has been telling you about backlinks not mattering anymore, SEO not mattering anymore and other misdirections.

Let’s do a rundown of which SEO elements actually still work

How has Google misled us? Let us count the ways! (I’ll list my bona fides below, and I have my own caveat: Google hasn’t said that none of the following is important, but let’s run through all of these SEO elements one by one.) Continue reading

September 24, 2012

Win the online reputation land war

Online reputation management tries to replace negative results with positive & neutral entries

Chris AbrahamWhile I concur with Vizzini, the Sicilian from the movie The Princess Bride, that one should “never get involved in a land war in Asia,” sometimes there’s no escape — and taking on Google’s search index, algorithmic prowess, and the natural results of organic search itself is, indeed, akin to getting involved in a land war in Asia. Most folks know only of the fierce fighting associated with organic search engine optimization (SEO), a process by which we write copy, optimize architecture, use keywords, add hyperlinks, and interlink sites in order to associate a keyword phrase with our particular brand, product, service, and site; another, larger battle is online reputation management, or ORM. Continue reading

December 7, 2011

The Social Media News Release explained in detail

http://www.wiretiger.com/images/press_release_distribution.jpgChris AbrahamLast week I dissected a blogger outreach pitch email line-by-line in Detailed analysis of the perfect blogger pitch as a way of proving that no matter how brief and conversational one of Abraham Harrison‘s blogger pitches may appear at first blush, the effortlessness takes a lot of work and the time of three senior agents. Today I plan to go through, line by line, a site we create to support all of our blogger outreach campaigns. You can call it a Social Media News Release (SMNR) or a microsite, a resource site, or a fact sheet. To those of you who are in communications, you’ll recognize the structural similarity between it and a traditional news release or press release.

Continue reading

November 9, 2011

Max SEO with 8 simple Google+ steps

Chris AbrahamLet me boil my last post, Here’s why it make sense to use Google Plus, down to practical pieces. Part of what makes a technology premature is that you have to be careful how you use it, because it isn’t mature enough to just work no matter what you do with it. To help you carefully handle Google+ for maximum advantage, I’ve assembled eight steps that help you get the best search visibility from your Google+ posts. These tips are simple, but some are easy to overlook. I hacked this awful-looking graphic as an example:

Optimizing Google+ for optimal SEO

Here’s a list of things that you need to consider before you invest your time and energy in Google+:

  • Make sure all your posts are Public. You can add more circles in order to spur interest among your friends, but be sure you explicitly tell Google, through your willingness to share publicly, that they can index your content in their public search engine. Check this every time because sometimes Public isn’t always selected, depending on the situation. Here’s my Google+ public profile.
  • Use a clean URL when you add your content to Google+. Google+ hasn’t been translating URL shorteners well, so use a link from the source. This will not only allow Google to better populate the content as you see above, including the Title, Blog Name, Description, and an Image from the post, but it will also allow that content to be cross-referenced to any Google +1 “likes” from others within Google+ and the rest of the Googlephere. Site URLs are translated the way they are on Facebook. You need to paste the URL into the “Share what’s new…” text box.
  • Prefixing names with a plus sign links that name to the person’s profile on Google+. You can include your friends and people you’re connected to on G+ in a similar way you do in Facebook, but Google+ has a gimmick that you may know or not. In the graphic above, you’ll see a light gray-blue rectangular box around the names Arsh S and Jenna Levy — I did that by adding a plus symbol (+) before each name while I am writing the article. G+ then populates a pull-down, offering pre-populated names of people I am connected to. I just need to select and go. Sometimes the profile’s privacy setting prohibits the link reference to persist after posting. Linking to people is a good way to engage, inform, and initiate conversation.

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October 26, 2011

You’re seriously over-farming your donors

Chris AbrahamWhen it comes to your direct mail campaigns, you’ve probably over-farmed your land.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_2SuUnP-O3PM/R5iYF9xLlbI/AAAAAAAAAcE/YgKmw0ep6KM/s320/droughted+field.jpgYou’ve been emailing and snail mailing the same donors you have done for a decade. It is time to leave the land fallow and let the lists rest. You have probably responded to lower donations and attention by relinquishing too much power to your direct marketing firm and they have been much more aggressive than you’re comfortable with, sending out many more snail mail and email donation requests than ever before. You used to blame the economy for decreased giving but you’re starting to believe it has more to do with the fertility of the donor list than it does with the economic collapse of 2008–or a lot less than you’ve been led to believe. You realize that the nonprofit space is ever more competitive, but your brand is strong and respected and comes up well in Charity Navigator, so what gives?

Well, in agriculture, it is possible to over-farm your land.  Indeed, it is probable, in a couple ways:

Ultimately, you need to do one or more of a couple things: allow the land to rest, either ceasing farming completely or throttling down substantially, though this is impossible if you’re tending only one plot of land; enrich the land you already have with better aeration, nutrition, and pesticides with the expectation that you will be able to increase your yield; rotate your crops within the land you already have with crops that tend to enrich the soil that has been depleted by your main crop, naturally returning your field to a cycle of fertility; or you can expand your fields, distributing your yield over a larger plot of land, reaching into a greater diversity of quality of land, essentially hedging your bets over land of varying quality, durability, fertility, and health, resulting in a more consistent crop that is less dependent on any particular geographic focal point. Continue reading