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Yesterday I wrote about using memes to drive website traffic and brand interest. Today I’ll build on that with a little search tip.

When I first started What’s The Idea? and blogging about branding, I realized it would be smart to tag my blogs with key content points but also with “Whats the idea” and “whatstheidea,” the actual URL  In a meeting with Faris Yakob, a marketing pal, I mentioned my approach, explaining this activity allowed me to tell people to  Google “whatstheidea+ a brand or marketing topic” and it will likely lead them right to my website.  Faris said I was “indexing” content to my website using Google’s search engine.  Leave it to Faris to find the right words. Love Faris.

By always posting with my brand name — it helps that I have over 2.100 blog posts — it has created breadcrumbs to my site all across the web…wherever Google goes.

Every brand must use this slippery slope to their site. And every brand must post.



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SEO, SEM and Stem Cells.

stem cells

In my Pollyanna-ish view of healthcare I look forward to the day when we can “slap some stem cells” on a diseased area and healthy tissue will grow anew. Friends are used to hearing me say slap some stem cells on it. It’s a personal meme. Well, with all props and deference to Google, Bing, Yahoo! and other search engines, I’m afraid many marketers view search marketing similarly. Got a marketing problem? Slap some SEO on it.

SEO and SEM are the most amazing marketing tools of the 21st century.  I know a billion dollar company that sells thousands of SKUs of products to businesses (e.g., paper towels, chairs, etc.) that happily mails Google a $30 million check each year for paid search. This was a company that back in the day probably spent $750,000 in advertising. Google says thanks. Good algo!

I love SEO and SEM, don’t get me wrong. It is stem cells for marketing…to a degree. But it shouldn’t be used as a crutch. Companies still need to get the product right. Same with delivery, pricing and brand. I’m seeing too many mid-size companies hiring 30 year old search jockeys at the expense of marketing quarterbacks and it is having a disastrous effect.

Slap some SEO on it. It’s a quick fix. Not!




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Like, like….like

I went to a PSFK Conference a number of years ago and posted “Sort of” is the new “um.”  Well, I’m here to update you — “like” is the new “um.”  For 5 years it has been a nervous word kids and Millennials use to fill in their sentences.  But now the word is taking on more meaning, or lack thereof, thanks to Facebook’s use of “like” as a ranking system. 

When a teen or tween tells a friend the gut-wrenching “I like Mary” it’s very different than the like-gating or liking that’s going on when marketers are cheesing consumers into pressing the like button.  Don’t native Inuits have nine different words for snow?

One used to rank online affinity by counting web traffic.  If a site had lots of traffic, it was a well-appreciated site. Web Trends followed that traffic to see what people really landed on and it informed marketers. But then SEO jockeys started cheesing the system and traffic became less relevant. Enter the “like” button. But now even liking isn’t always liking. Google likes liking and calls it +ing (plusing).  

A number of Facebook and Google Plus cottage industries are emerging and helping marketers game the system.  It’s a huge business.  But only about 10% of them really know what they are doing. And that 10% get what corporate CEOs and CFOs get — tie likes to new and recurring sales and you have a touchdown. Otherwise, those likes are flatter than a non-redeemed coupon.  And how would Mary feel about that?  Peace!

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SEOMOZ has some nice blogging going on about the state of the art of SEO. The guys and ladies over there are really ankle deep in understanding the algo in all its permutations.  In fact, they brought to my attention that Google Real Time Search has been shut down until it integrates with the new Google+. A little weird.

I like SEOMOZ people because like scientists they  hypothesize and test. It’s good to know there are some real white hat SEOers out there.  As I was reading a long and over-my-head post, it got to thinking about the different between traffic (n., people lingering) and traffic (vb., as in drug traffic, moving product). The two definitions are linked, no doubt; you can’t move product unless you have people paying attention. But good marketing and good SEO people know that “nothing really happens in marketing until somebody buys something.”

An SEO practitioner who gets your URL into the top 2 or 3 positions for a targeted search phrase, has done a marvelous day’s work. Building traffic (n.). Many stop there, believing their work to be done. And many dashboard operators feel the same way. But SEO professionals who pass on knowledge and science and a predictive notion of what will transact and maintain business?  Those people are trafficking (vb.)

If interviewing an SEO company for hire and all they talk about is getting you to the top of the Google search queue, keep on searching. SEOMOZ seems to get it. Peace!

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