September 3, 2014

Don’t believe what Google tells you about search

liar
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

August 20, 2014

Always write for Google, never for humans

google-bot
Google bot image by Jeff Lowe (CC BY SA)

To be found online, create headlines & leads with the all-powerful Google bot in mind

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

Chris AbrahamWhen it comes to dominating search, especially when it comes to blogging and publishing, you need to always write your headlines and copy first for Google, then for people. Humans (and their flexible brains) are forgiving when it comes to reading stilted, “robotic,” keyword-explicit headlines and articles, but Google is not when you don’t.

You always need to write the copy — the exact phrases — that you believe people will most likely use to find what they’re looking for — that’s who you’re writing for. It’s true, no matter what anyone says — even at Google HQ! The title is the most important but so is the first paragraph, especially if you can insert that copy into your Description Meta Tag and your Keywords Meta Tag headers. It just makes sense, especially with breaking news, when you’re proffering content that Google will not have the time to ruminate and deeply examine before they need to include it in the real time web where it will show up in search. Continue reading

July 23, 2014

Why Google Plus is more like a forum than a social network

Five-things-Google-Plus-changed-in-our-world
A Google+ affirmation graphic.

Tips on what works and doesn’t work on G+

This is the second of a three-part series on Google Plus. Also see:
Hey Google! Here’s why Google+ is still a ghost town
Why Google Plus is the antisocial network

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

Chris AbrahamIt occurred to me, after spending a week deep-diving into Google+, that Plus is not a social network — or even a social layer. It’s a global reboot of the message board.

If you want to succeed, you need to forget about your friends and your family. Leave them behind. There are cooler, smarter, funnier people on Google+ than we have in our own lives now. Continue reading

March 26, 2014

Why promoting a brand takes perseverance

persistence

Target audience: Marketing professionals, PR pros, brand managers, SEO specialists, businesses.

Chris AbrahamIf you want to be heard above the din of the Internet, you need to speak clearly and with persistence. It’s not uncommon for someone at a loud bar not to hear you the first time, or even twice. If you assume someone isn’t interested in getting to know you better just because they don’t hear you the first or second time, then you’re doomed. The Internet is the busiest, loudest, most distracting place ever created. It’s global and impersonal and often anonymous. Plus, there’s no accountability.

At least in a bar, you can sit right next to the someone you want to meet and then just bide your time until there’s a lull in the noise or you can catch an eye. The Internet’s just not like that. Social media is loud and tends to be an insider’s club. We resonate with people we already know, be it in our in-boxes, our rivers of news, or our walls, we tend to tune out unknowns. And, in social media marketing, most of us are unknowns, most brands are unknown, and most services, too. Continue reading

October 23, 2013

Burnish your brand’s reputation, don’t ‘manage’ it

reputation

Reputation management is not about dressing up mistakes

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

Chris AbrahamIf you want to fix your online reputation, writing big checks to an online reputation agency isn’t enough over the long haul — you’ll also really need to get your own house in order.

Most online reputation management (ORM) agencies can easily take back all the land you’ve ceded to negative reviews, rigorous and vigorous besmirchment, and terrible happenstance; however, this is all assuming you’ve been done wrong.

I call this scenario “the clean.” The crime scene may well be bloody and I may well need to don a Hazmat suit, fill my bucket with Clorox bleach, and get scrubbing with my stiff brush until the apartment is again rentable. The crime is over, it’s unlikely to repeat, and my job is just to restore the scene to normal. Continue reading

September 26, 2013

7 strategies for succeeding in the new Google Search

search
Image by Fairfax County on Flickr

Changes in search results require changes in content & marketing strategies

This is the second of a two-part series on Google Search. Also see:
Content strategies to deal with Google Panda & Google Penguin

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR professionals, mobile strategists, businesses, nonprofits, Google Plus users.

Chris AbrahamAcouple years ago, search engine optimization (SEO) held a lot of secrets. But that’s not quite as true today.

To a large extent, SEO today has become a war between Google’s vision of what quality and valuable search results should look like — and the rewards conferred to anyone who can just produce content that meets those stringent standards — and an entire industry that is committed to finding every shortcut and loophole possible and systematically exploiting those loopholes for as long as possible until they’re closed. The entire SEO industry has been almost entirely fueled by exploiting shortcuts, loopholes, link syndicates, link conspiracies, strategic linking, shadow linking, and shadow content. And it’s mostly worked, too, until recently. Until Google really started rolling out Panda and Penguin algorithms, as I wrote about Monday. Continue reading