David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

Tips for better SEO (search engine optimization) and website marketing …

THE HAPPY GUY MARKETING

 

Archive for the ‘marketing’ Category

Make them think

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

If you want to attract attention, it helps to make them think.  I ran the following item in my Daily Dose of Happiness ezine:

RELAX

Close your eyes and imagine you are in a room filled with soft blue light.  Around you is gentle green foliage.  Feel the blue.  Feel the green.  These colors, the hues of sky, forest and water, are known to relax people.

For more permanent stress-relief, paint your walls blue, green or a combination of the two.  Since these are cool colors, they can also help keep tropical homes cool.  Not recommended in Iqaluit or Hammerfest. 

A fairly straightforward little item, with a touch of cuteness at the end.

Actually, it was a touch of interaction.  You have no idea how many people pulled out the atlas to find out where Iqaluit and Hammerfest are located.  And one Norwegian subscriber even emailed me to cheer the inclusion of her country in my ezine.

Make them think.  Make them look something up, but make sure that what they have to look up is not something really important to your message, because not everybody will look it up. 

 


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More Spanish spoken

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

Over the past few years, Americans have been waking up to the growing Hispanic presence amongst them.  Not only are there more Hispanics than ever as a percentage of the total US population, but the Hispanic community is growing more mature, as the next generation takes on higher-paying jobs, moves into the suburbs and has more money to spend.  Of particular note to marketers is that, unlike other communities before them, Hispanics are hanging on to their language and will often expect to be addressed in Spanish or take their money elsewhere.  This is one of the reasons that work by people like Leslie Inzunza, who advises on law firms marketing to Hispanics, is so important.

Canadians are used to bilingualism (English/French), so you would think they would be jumping on this brand new market opportunity in their own back yard by teaching their kids Spanish (a language similar to, but easier than, French).  Not so. 

The head-in-the-sand approach of most Canadians is even more worrisome when considering the change happening in Canada.  I just returned from a suburb of Montreal that I know well, where Greek, Jewish, Middle Eastern, Caribean and Indian minorities abound.  Our family picnic lasted 7 hours, during which time we conversed with four Spanish families.  Considering that we did not speak with most strangers in the park, that number speaks volumes about the shifting demographics right in Canada.  It mirrors what I saw the week before in Niagara Falls, where the two visible minorities that I saw in large numbers were Indians (recognizable by their skin and attire) and Hispanics (recognizable by their language).  It mirrors what I have been overhearing in shopping malls, in bowling alleys, in stores around Ottawa.

America’s changing demographic is also Canada’s changing demographic.  Funny that Canadians, already attuned to bilingualism, are so slow to notice!

 


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Human Face of Web Design

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

Even when one is on vacation, one never seems to be able to escape work.  A case in point is when I had the chance to catch up with an old friend , Karen Hegmann, and we discovered that we are each writing our own marketing blogs.  Hers is Narrative Assets, about — wait for it — marketing.

Of course, I had to check it out and right away noticed this posting about The Human Face of Web Design , which begins with: When I walk into a store, I’m usually there for one of several reasons: 1) I know exactly what I’m looking for 2) I have an idea what I’m looking for, but need more information to make my decision and 3) I have no idea what I’m looking for and just want to browse.  

You can probably guess the rest, and if not, you can read it.  But I did want to share with you this question: is your website designed so that everybody can easily get what they need?  Even those people with no idea if they even want to make a purchase?  Even those who know exactly what they want?

(As an aside, that evening I discovered that Toronto’s Pickle Barrel restaurant, a dive we would often avoid when living a couple blocks away, is now one fancy place to eat, with a really spiffed up menu.  Sadly, two days later we discovered that my favorite Mr. Green Jeans has gutted its menu and taken all life out of the decor in what we were told was a TV broadcast makeover.  Oh well, win some, lose some.)

 


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Taming Deadlines

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

Like most people, I have a love-hate relationship with a monster called Deadlines.  On the one hand they are a pain in the butt.  After all, who needs a Deadline breathing down your neck, licking your ears and drooling all over your shoulders. 

On the other hand, there is nothing to galvanize a person to action and focus the mind like a Deadline.

Then again, too many Deadlines can become so overpowering that a person could simply drop dead of stress.

On the Internet, as in every business, it is important to harness Deadlines for success, and ensure they do not overwhelm you.  I found a great blog post on taming deadlines that you might find useful.  It works for writing.  It works for SEO.  It works for marketing.  It most likely works also for zookeeping, archeology and other fields of activity.

 


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Digg Bookmarkeing Tips for Webmasters

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

I have become fascinated how a website can jump from obscurity to temporary fame and with good hands at its wheel a head start to permanent success just by hitting the front page of Digg.com .

Here is a very comprehensive list of what it takes to get onto the front page of Digg:  50 Tips: How to get the best out of Digg? by Razid Ahmed. Some of it is pretty obvious, like take time to write a really good article.  Other tips are less obvious, like make sure your server can handle the extra traffic.  Six of the tips relate to crafting a title.  They all seem obvious to me, but I know from experience that there is nothing obvious about crafting a title.

The best tips relate to submission, promotion and participation.  For instance, get your blog and ezine readers to Digg your content.  More good advice: don’t be shy to Digg your own blog posts.  On the other hand, don’t submit all your content.  Surely you know when you have superb content and when it is just average. 

It goes without saying that if you participate in any community and make lots of contacts, you stand a better chance of getting your message heard.  But if you don’t have time to build a network, nor the money to rent one (yes, some people do this, much to the disgust of many Digg purists), you can at least do a good job of creating, submitting and promoting your content…and hoping that some of the established networks on Digg will pick up on it.

Razid suggests against forming groups dedicated to Digging each others’ work, but I have to disagree with that one.  I would avoid any group that commits you to Digging something you don’t think is superb, but it can come in handy to have, say, 50 other webmasters and bloggers who are willing to look at what you have and Digg it.  And it is not too much to ask for you to do the same.  The trouble comes if everyone in the group is always Digging all the same content “just because”.  That becomes spam and you will get bumped from the community.

And the most important piece of advice… if at first you do not succeed, try, try again.  Sooner or later, something you write will get picked up.

 


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BegForPost :: Why pay per post when you can beg?

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

This is a totally new, humorous and deadly serious Internet marketing concept: BegForPost :: Why pay per post when you can beg? It’s a marketplace for those who want blog exposure and those interested in giving blog exposure.  It is being reported in places like TechCrunch as an alternative to “the ethically questionable PayPerPost service that allows advertisers to pay bloggers to write about their products”.  (That’s a debate for another day.)

One of the toughest problems when promoting one’s website to bloggers is finding the right ones…not just those who might be interested because they are in your niche, but those who actually are interested because they want to receive your PR material.  Those adventuresome website marketers who take on that challenge waste a lot of time sending emails and filling in comments forms to bloggers who have no interest, who in turn waste a lot of time reading and deleting unwanted messages.

BegForPost is a start, but it needs something more.  It needs a way for bloggers to search for webmasters who are interested in getting exposure on a topic (for guest blogs, joint ventures, free samples, etc.)  It needs a way for webmasters to search for bloggers in their niche who are interested in listening.

I just took BegForPost for a spin.  I had no way to know which blog to target, so I looked at whom others were targeting, picked one, and begged for a post on behalf of a client.  My begging is at this point in the hands of a moderator.  But how do I know if the target blogger wants to hear from my client.   

This is a cool idea, but it needs a little more sophistication before it is likely to be genuinely useful.  However, I will report back if my test drive ends up bearing fruit.  If not, I might try again with another client. 

 

 

 


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Social Networks Can Drive Traffic

Friday, March 9th, 2007

For anyone who missed my post on how one of my websites is now getting more traffic from MySpace than from Google, it’s not just me!  Check out this post from Heather Hopkins of Hitwise UK.

She reports excellent growth in traffic from MySapce and Bebo in this case study.

 


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A brand-new SEO scam

Friday, March 9th, 2007

This SEO scam is so new that it hasn’t even begun yet, at least not to my knowledge.  I don’t want to give SEO scammers ideas, but I am 100% certain that this is coming and that there will be many, many, many (did I mention “many”?) unsuspecting webmasters who will fall for it, so let’s for once get the warnings about the scam out there before it begins. 

Google’s new personalized search has already begun, and within months it will start to skew Google’s rankings in two ways.  

First, data Google gathers about how people are searching will certainly start to be factored into the general algorithm.  This means that on-page relevancy and inbound links will have to share the stage with such factors as click-through rates, click-back rates (back to Google from the site), length of visit, number of pages viewed, repeat visits, etc.  In other words, Google will be better able to measure “good” content from trash.  

A whole industry will sprout up to help webmasters take advantage of this, much of it black hat (like click fraud, perhaps?), some white hat, mostly to create more “sticky” content, improve click-through rates and encourage people to “vote” in some way for the site. On the white hat side, TheBookmarketer can help you move ahead right away, as I reported in this post on how to use social bookmarking to a website’s advantage

Second, the data it collects from each individual will be used to present more personalized results to that individual.  Exactly how this will work remains to be seen, as there are many ways that Google has hinted it can factor the information into a person’s individual results.  But one thing is for certain…as soon as SEO scammers get a sense of some of the factors that affect personalized results, the scamming will begin.  Here is exactly what the scammers will do:  

1. The scammer will tell the website owner to sign up for a Google account.  

2. The scammer will tell the webmaster to “visit your website every day” or “visit at least ten pages of your site in succession every day” or “Google bookmark your website” or “do the following ten searches and click on your site from the rankings every day”.  The precise instructions will depend on the factors that most influence personal search.  

3. The scammer will promise that the website owner will see his site move up in the rankings.  And he will see it move up in the rankings.  But only on his computer using his personalized search.  Even if his website shows up as #1 for “broken glass”, none of the broken-glass-buying market might even see his site in their results. 

This scam won’t fool everybody.  It is most likely to work on the little guy, who operates from one computer and would not think to compare results.  It might not work forever, but what scammer will stick around to argue the finer points once he’s sucked the money out of an unsuspecting website owner’s pockets? 

Google will surely take steps to reduce this in order to protect the integrity of its results (remember the searcher is whom Google must please), but like every game of locks and lock-pickers, there will be plenty of scams flying under Google’s radar or keeping one step ahead. 

The best protection a webmaster has against this sort of scam is to include mention of it in passing in every article posted on the Internet about personal search.  Hopefully not too many webmasters will miss it before hiring an SEO scammer.  And that’s why today I am outing the scammers before they even start!

 


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More Social Bookmarking Websites Added to TheBookmarketer

Monday, March 5th, 2007

The Bookmarketer free bookmarketing power tool

Not long after the offical launch of TheBookmarketer, we have already added some new social bookmarking sites. 

You will note that we have added Zaadz, Kaboodle, Jumpup, i89 and Searchles.  I can’t be certain, but for most of these we might be the only multi-site bookmarking service to offer them as an option. 

There will be more updates later, and soon I will provide some webmaster tips on social bookmarking propotion – the white hat way.

Just for the record, here are our pages at these websites:

 


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Multilingual Social Bookmarking

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

I just stumbled upon Digg-Like Sites, a great little directory of social bookmarking websites in various languages.  I plan to do a Spanish and French version of my own social bookmarking script, TheBookmarketer, so this will be very helpful.  If you plan to do any multilingual online marketing, these can come in handy!

 


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