An Active Mindset: 100 new RSS subscribers and the power of endorsements

Everybody in the search marketing industry has fallen head over heels for social media. Certainly it’s nice to see those traffic spikes in your website stats. Personally, I see social media as excellent for viral marketing, branding and long-term relationship building. But I don’t see that new visitors coming to a site from social media sites are particularity interested in taking action on content. Why? Most of them are not in that particular mindset. For first time visits, search engine and affiliate traffic simply convert better.

Unless your monetization strategy is to sell page views you need to keep hitting the home page of the social media sites on a consistent basis in order to take advantage of them. What works best I find is a balanced approach to building traffic. Let me illustrate this by sharing two recent events that sent notable traffic spikes to this blog, as well as the resulting fallout from that traffic. Read more

Three Easy Steps to Test Your Viral Marketing Ideas

Viral marketing may be one of the most powerful and cost-effective ways to market a product or service, but achieving success remains more of an art than a science. In fact, one of the most frustrating aspects of viral marketing is that you can spend a lot of time and money on what seems like a great idea, yet ultimately be faced with disappointing results. I’ve been playing around with a simple framework to put my viral ideas to the test before committing major resources. Call it “viral ideas split testing.” I think you’ll like it… Read more

The Year of the Widgets: OpenSocial and the big potential for search engine marketers

This year is certain to go down as the year of the widgets. Widgets (also called “gadgets”) are simply small applications that provide dynamic or smart content and they are big news for search marketers, even if the programming gibberish involved has made the fact difficult for many non-developers to see.

The biggest difference between widgets and traditional content is that the content comes ‘alive’ because readers can interact, click and input text to get the information they are interested in. Everybody, including Google’s new OpenSocial initiative, wants to support widgets in one way or another. Google still has some work to do with OpenSocial, but I am certain that it provides the first glimpse into what the next evolution of search marketing is going to be. Read more

Giving it away – Advanced Link-Building Strategies through Viral Marketing

trophy.jpgAs the Web keeps growing, search phrases become more competitive, and the demand for links increases, the art of link building becomes far more difficult. It’s that much more difficult if you only know traditional link-building tactics. As we move forward, it’s going to be increasingly important to think outside the box and use our creativity to come up with new link-building ideas. Fortunately, as a regular reader of my blog, you won’t have such a problem. ;-)

David Hopkins, a loyal reader, asked me last week if I had some advanced link-building strategies up my sleeve. As a matter of fact I do and, as you know by now, when a loyal reader asks I deliver. I have been overwhelmed lately, but luckily Paul sent me an e-mail yesterday unwittingly reminding me about this topic. Here is what he wrote:

Hi Hamlet,
I was reading about mingle2.com on SEOMoz and I was wondering how did Mike [Matt] managed to have so many visitors in such a short period? High position on ‘free dating online’? What do you think?

Regards
Paul

The post he is referring to is the one in which Matt says he is leaving SEOmoz. I had read the post too and found the numbers truly amazing. I also read an interview that provides more background information about Matt’s phenomenal success, but instead of explaining how he did it (Matt explains this in the interview) I think it would be more useful to generalize the concept and provide a solid framework so that you can build off of the idea.

Read more

Keepers and Sneezers: Two signals of branding success

The power of branding

bigsneeze.jpgI talked about defensible traffic in my previous post, but ultimately all your traffic sources can disappear, leaving you only with the visitors that remember your site, the ones that do not need to follow a link or click on a Google Ad. For me, those visitors are an excellent measure of the true success of my sites. Those visitors represent the strength of my brand.

There are two clear signals that tell me how strong a brand is: direct traffic and brand searches. Direct traffic visitors are visitors that simply type the URL or domain name in their browser. These visitors know the site. Brand search visitors are usually visitors that are not Web-savvy and go everywhere by searching. At least they remember the name of the site, but they don't remember the domain extension.

Both are indications that the site name is on the mind of the visitor. They are keepers: if every other traffic method disappeared, you will still get those visitors. Read more

Grade School Blogger: Seeking attention through controversy

fight.jpgFor marketers, branding is an easy concept. For me, as a technical guy, it took me a while to get it.

The more people aware that you or your product exists, the better the chance that they will buy from you. Simple, right?

But how do you get people to notice you in the first place? One of the most cost-effective ways is to get people to talk about you naturally. That is what is known as “word of mouth,” or in a broader sense, viral marketing. Link baiting could easily be called viral link-building because the concept is the same: get people to link to you naturally.

Expert marketers are well aware that the best way to get attention is to appeal to others’ emotions. Get others to stand up from their chairs and they will write about you, link to you, and so on. What happens when, instead of appealing to others’ positive emotions, you appeal to their negative ones? Like calling them names, ridiculing them, getting personal. Most of the time you get a lot of attention, but is it worth it?

Let me share a childhood experience that illustrates my point… Read more