This Ain’t Your Mama’s SEO. Tuning Into “Social Signals” and More.

Anyone who pays attention to search engine results—which is pretty much anyone who does any kind of search engine optimization (SEO) or Internet marketing—knows that the world of SEO is changing rapidly. Even big time properties like NYTimes-owned About.com have publicly confirmed precipitous drops in traffic because of Google’s most recent updates to their algorithms (called “Panda” and “Penguin”). And more of these changes are coming from Google very soon.

The Changing Face of SEO Strategies

We all know that change is almost always challenging, and I know that many of those who dance around the edges of Internet marketing frequently back off due to completely understandable experiences of overwhelm. There’s just so much going on. But that doesn’t change the fact that it really is a “brave new world.” In all honesty, I can only promise more changes at an accelerating rate.

The (hopefully) good news is that I’m here to bring you up-to-date and to help if I can. So here’s the latest:

Expanded Influences: Beyond On-Page and Off-Page Factors

In my book, “Internet Marketing: 8 Key Concepts Every Business MUST Know” (which I am now referring to as “The Essential Primer on Internet Marketing”), I break SEO, or search engine optimization, down into two main areas.

Briefly, the first area is On-Page Factors. These are things you can do to your web pages, from its content to things like HTML <title> tags, and much more.

The second area, Off-Page Factors, are probably more important and provide influence to search engine rankings based on the links TO your site and its pages from other websites. Search engines consider the willingness of other reputable websites to link to your site as a kind of “vote of confidence” that essential boosts its credibility.

While I’m just skimming the surface of these two components of SEO, the big news that I am reporting here—to those of you who don’t monitor this space in a professional capacity—is that there is now much more to SEO than On-Page Factors and Off-Page Factors. This is increasingly so, and in the spirit of the Big Data trend, there’s no question that this world will continue to become increasingly complex.

In order to keep this single blog post digestible, if not bite-size, I’m going to provide a high-level overview of the new components of SEO and offer links that deliver what I consider to be a valuable in-depth illumination of these new SEO factors.

Welcoming Social Signals to the Internet Marketing Mix

The biggest new ingredient is called “social signals” and it’s where the social media explosion meets the world of SEO. Just as search engines have used links as Off-Page Factors to determine a website’s influence, Google and the other search engines are now using you and/or your company’s social media activities including re-tweets, comments, likes and shares as indicators of your site’s value, especially as it relates to the keywords being searched in areas relevant to your expertise or market.

For more on this I recommend this excellent overview of the meaning and importance of social signals from SEOmoz: 
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/your-guide-to-social-signals-for-seo

You may also want to check out this thoughtful SlideShare, The Future of SEO from Rand Fishkin:

At the end of the day, it’s all about quality content

There’s no question that this is a moving target. But the good news is that Google is being consistent in their approach. They do their best to penalize those who try to manipulate search results, and they do their best to reward those who develop an authentic following, a positive reputation over time, and thus, real influence. Those people have always been known as “authorities” and they naturally exude that “social signals” that the search engines value above all else.

The real bottom line is that the best way to get good positions in Google’s search results is to earn those results the “old fashioned way” … by being valuable. This means consistently publishing content—whether written, recorded audio or video, or photography or other visual media. There is no substitute for quality content (known now as “content marketing”); and this will increasingly be the only true leverage in search engine results.

We are here to help

Finally, a bit of shameless self-promotion: We continue to evolve ComBridges SEO and social media marketing services. For example, we can manage your campaigns and provide strategic guidance. Please let us know how we can help.

“It’s a Wonderful Web” 2013!

cb-ipadThe first edition of our “It’s a Wonderful Web” e-newsletter for 2013 is out. It includes the following articles:

  • 2013: The Year of Anything is Possible
  • Special Offers!
  • Free 1-Hour Audio: Web Radio Interview
  • Luscious Links

If you’re not already a subscriber, click here to read it online.

NEW “Wonderful Web” ENews: “New is New Again”

The new edition of our “It’s a Wonderful Web” enewsletter is out. It includes the follow short stories:

  • It’s All About YOU (including Paul Simon quote)
  • New Marketing in Another New Era
  • Whipping Up Lower Cost Websites (fresh offer)
  • Make Your Marketing More Effective
  • New Custom-Designed Client WordPress Websites
  • Is Your WordPress Website Safe? (new services)
  • New News About NewMarU (update on our educational site)
  • Luscious Links: More Useful Info, Just a Click Away (valuable!)
  • Quick Hits: About the New Enews Format

If you’re not already a subscriber, you can read it online by clicking this link.

The Fast-Track Intro to Internet Marketing | Free Webinar Tues 1/18/11

For those of us who more or less “live” online, it’s kind of amazing how many businesses and entrepreneurs are still struggling to understand and benefit from the amazing power of Internet marketing. If this is you, now there is a great way for you get up to speed, for free!

Jon has given his one-hour workshop, “What Every Business Should Know About Internet Marketing” in locations from Kona, Hawaii to Silicon Valley (as you can see in the video clip on Jon’s keynote speaker web page). Now, as just one of the benefits of registering for the free level of New Marketing University, NewMarU.com, this information-packed hour is being offered FREE via the Internet and phone conference lines on Tuesday, January 18th at 10:00AM PT / 1:00PM ET. Click here to register now >>

This useful and informative webinar includes a complete overview of the three main areas of Internet marketing, including:

  • The “Super Market-Trends” that have radically leveled the marketing playing fieldJon Leland at Web 3.0 Asia in Hong Kong
  • The two essential strategies upon which all successful internet marketing campaigns are based
  • The three main types of internet marketing: search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click search engine advertising (PPC) and social media marketing (SMM)
  • A comparative analysis of the time requirements for implementation, the kinds and quality of results, and the cost-per-lead that is derived from each main category
  • Valuable tips, tricks and resources that are based on real world experience

Why are we producing this event for free?

  • Jon LOVES to share information and people love learning this material. It’s important!
  • It helps to expose the expertise that makes ComBridges such a valuable marketing partner.
  • This is a “free sample” of things to come. We are working on a new educational website to be called “New Marketing University” that will have many more programs. We hope you’ll like this program enough to become interested in more. To learn more, please register now.

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, January 18th at 10:00AM PT / 1:00PM ET. We hope to see you there.

>> Please Click Here to Register Now <<
It takes just 30 seconds, really! And, even if you can’t make it live, by registering you will make sure that you get the link to the free recorded version.

Or view our 1-page PDF with the generic course description below . . .
What Every Business-Onesheet 03.25.10

Free Internet Marketing Webinar for Businesses, May 27 at 11AM PT

If you are new to Internet marketing, we want to help you get up to speed, for free.

Jon has given his one-hour workshop, “What Every Business Should Know About Internet Marketing” in locations from Kona, Hawaii to Silicon Valley (as you can see in the video clip on our web page). Now, for the first time, it’s being offered free via the Internet, Thursday, May 27th at 11:00AM PT / 2:00PM ET. Click here to register now >>

This useful and informative webinar includes a complete overview of the three main areas of Internet marketing, including:

  • The “Super Market-Trends” that have radically leveled the marketing playing field
  • The two essential strategies upon which all successful internet marketing campaigns are based
  • The three main types of internet marketing: search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click search engine advertising (PPC) and social media marketing (SMM)
  • A comparative analysis of the time requirements for implementation, the kinds and quality of results, and the cost-per-lead that is derived from each main category
  • Valuable tips, tricks and resources that are based on real world experience

Why are we producing this event for free?

  • Jon LOVES to share information and people love learning this material. It’s important!
  • It helps to expose the expertise that makes ComBridges such a valuable marketing partner.
  • This is a “free sample” of things to come. We are working on a new educational website to be called “New Marketing University” that will have many more programs. We hope you’ll like this program enough to become interested in more. To learn more, please register now.

Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 27th at 11:00AM PT / 2:00PM ET. We hope to see you there.

>> Please Click Here to Register Now <<
It takes just 30 seconds, really! And, even if you can’t make it live, by registering you will make sure that you get the link to the free recorded version.

Or view our 1-page PDF with the generic course description below . . .
What Every Business-Onesheet 03.25.10

Super Bowl Ads Still Lack Social Media Marketing Success (Mostly)

Thanks to everyone who participated in our live, interactive Super Bowl Commercial Rating Party in partnership with TheTVNews.tv, the TV industry’s only daily video newscast. (Watch this space and TheTVNews.tv for details on our Oscars Party.)

Reprise Media Search Marketing Scorecard on Super BowlBy way of follow up, Jeff and I did a segment on tomorrow, Wednesday 2/10’s show (my New Media / New Marketing starts at 2:50) discussing my view of the winner and loser Super Bowl advertisers in terms of social media marketing. We referenced Reprise Media’s Search Marketing Scorecard on the Super Bowl (a free PDF download) which points out a surprising fact: While 93% of the advertisers—who shelled out a reported average of $2.6 million for each spot—do have an official Facebook profile, (get this) only 5% promoted their social profiles in order to leverage or take better advantage of their massive investment (a.k.a. marketing expense).

The single biggest social media marketing loser was Denny’s. Here’s the link to Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion author, Gary Vaynerchuk’s rant about how Denny’s missed the boat with their multi-million dollar expense. Gary is totally right. Why not use an incentive like a free breakfast to capture customer information and build a platform for better engagement? Duh!

The viral marketing buzz winner was the Audi Green Police spot below which got the most Twitter buzz according to Trendrr (via a chart referenced in the Repris Media report):

Bonus Category: My “nominee” for the Super Bowl TV spot with “Best Script,” at least the script that hit closest to home for me had to be this creative “Man’s Last Stand” spot for Dodge Charger:

Too bad I don’t relate better to the product. 😉

Bonus Just for Fun Video Link: Business Insider’s 10 Best Tech Super Bowl Ads Ever

Bonus Link #2: USA Today’s Super Bowl “Ad Meter” (pretty slick, including green screen video intro)

As always, your comments, suggestions, rants, and any other insights you care to offer are welcome via the comments space below. I look forward to hearing from you.

The True Meaning of Search Engine Optimization

As I explain in my ebook on internet marketing, there’s nothing more important in the optimization of a website than relevance. There’s also probably no more important goal that “stickiness” or the ability to get a website visitor to stick around for more than a nano second. There’s also probably no greater authority on this subject than Bryan Eisenberg, author of “Waiting for Your Cat to Bark: Persuading Customers When They Ignore Marketing,” other books and the GrokDotCom.com blog.

For a seven minute overview of what I’m talking about, please watch this:

Understanding Adobe Air, Mozilla Prism and More

In geek speak, it’s called “computing in the cloud” To most people it’s more clearly understood as using the web browser to deliver experiences and functionalities comparable to desktop applications is expanding by leaps and bounds. The following guest post on TechCrunch by Matthew Gertner explains what’s going on in this space with refreshing clarity, and also includes a geek-friendly tip about how easy it can be to create a separate little stand-alone browser-type application for Gmail.

Click here to read, “Bridging Desktop And Web Applications – A Look At Mozilla Prism”

The Best of Web 2.0 for 2007 (or 2008) & The Flip

Happy New Year! I was going to do an update on Web 2.0 software applications that I know and love, and still hope to find the time, but meanwhile I’m going to let Tech Crunch’s post, “2008: Web 2.0 Companies I Couldn’t Live Without” do it for me.

It’s a thoughtful list with brief articulate reasonings, and includes WordPress, Skype (without the emphasis on video & webcams that I think it deserves), as well as Zoho (whose CRM we use daily at ComBridges), Firefox and YouTube. I’ve gotten into Pakeflakes (rather than Netvibes) recently as a personalized home page, but otherwise it’s all good.

My favorite new gizmo is The Flip (Ultra), a pocket-sized, web-ready video digi-cam. No tape, just 60 mins of MPEG-4 video in Flash memory and a flip-up USB port.
Now I need time to do some video blog posts… More on that very soon, I hope.

WordPress Has Become My “Standard” for Blog Websites (thanks in part to Google’s Matt Cutts)


One of the most interesting moments at Webmaster World was the endorsement of WordPress by none other than Google’s Matt Cutts. For those who may not know, Matt has become the wonderfully laid-back and articulate “voice” of Google at Webmaster World. (photo by Andy Beal used under Creative Commons license.) As detailed in the video interview linked below, Cutts unexpectedly told the PubCon audience that by designing and producing a website in WordPress you, in essence, make it defacto search engine friendly. Especially with the latest version 2.3.

I was very pleased to hear this because I’ve recently upgraded my golf blog, TheJoyofGolfing.com to WordPress 2.3; and then in the same week, ComBridges has also recently taken over site updates for a client who has a more static page (non-blog) website that was already produced in WordPress. Our company is also currently using it to add an integrated blog to a pre-existing design. These are options that, frankly, I didn’t realize existed with a “blogging” platform previously.

Bottom line, I have become increasingly impressed with the WordPress website publishing platform. In addition to a well-thoughtout and feature rich back-end interface, there are options for everything from Google AdSense to static pages that make it more than just a blogging tool. And the real capper is the excellent array of third-party plug-in tools which have been written for the open source WordPress platform. For example, as a search engine marketer, I was thrilled to find out about the “all-in-one seo” plug-in for search engine optimization. I’ve gotta believe that WordPress is now the state-of-the-art website publishing platform. Personally, I feel empowered by its features, stability and extensibility.

And then today, I got word that Yahoo has written a very impressive plug-in of their own which helps website and blog authors to almost extemporaneously add links and pictures. Yahoo’s is kind of a “smart” plug-in that has the capability to suggest links as well as pictures (via Yahoo-owned, Flickr). Click here to watch a video demo of the Yahoo Shortcuts for WordPress.

Below, you will find that interview with Matt Cutts. It includes similar comments about WordPress’ search engine friendly “nature” as well as other sage search marketing advise. Note, this endorsement is particularly interesting (as one commenter to this video points out) given that Google owns a competing blog platform (which I am using here), Blogger.

Note, as mentioned, WordPress can also do “flat” pages so it isn’t necessarily just a blogging platform. It’s really a website development platform or even a lightweight CMS (content management system) as well as a blogging platform, or some combination of the above, depending on your needs.

The only trouble is that now I’m going to have to convert this blog over to WordPress. Fortunately, I don’t think that’s too tough…