Here you will find tips, tricks and techniques for managing your online marketing efforts, ranking well on Google and how to improve your e-commerce website return on investment.
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Astroturfing, or the art of appearing to give an honest and impartial review about a company, product, service or person, when in fact you're far from impartial, is one of the things we've all grown to hate about the anonymous internet.
Yes, we've all seen those competitors with dozens of reviews that read as if they were written by the same fiverr worker. Whether it's on Amazon, Google Play or even TripAdvisor, reviews can rarely be taken at face value.
As unbelievable as it may seem, some companies have gone so far as to act themselves, or employ others, do develop, post and interact with online forums, in an effort to sway public opinion about the latest new game, product or even SEO software as a service.
In cases where someone is engaging in commercial astroturfing via fake personas, the term used is sockpuppet, which is very similar to a meatpuppet, but not to be confused with Jim Henson's, or others, muppet.
So, just remember,when that tall dark handsome stranger moseys in from out of nowhere and starts immediately confessing to their one and only true love ____ (<- insert brandx name here), without which they couldn't possibly have lost 30 pounds, quit smokey, saved humanity and colonised space, think twice about your first posts on a forum, how frequently you committed yourself to being all-in, supporting some service that you buy....
If they have sketchy, or no details, or a profile pic that looks just like one of your favourite celebrities, then think twice and listen once.
You might just hear the sound of trolls, walking on astroturf....
Reasoning is an important part of any discussion, debate or argument. Key to reasoning is logic, without which discussions get derailed.
When logic breaks down, it's usually due to someone experiencing/using/abusing a logical fallacy - a fancy name for illogical argument.
One of the most predominant types of logical fallacies is that of 'argumentum ad hominem' aka 'ad hominem attack', also known as attacking the person and not the idea.
In the ad hominem fallacy, rather than debate the idea on its merits, or lack thereof, one party typically turns and attacks the person. These can often be easily identified by the choice of language.
a. "the idea that team x can win the Cup this year is just silly."
- compare this phrase with the following minor variation
b. "you think x can win the Cup this year? You're just silly."
Virtually identical choice of words, but the quote in 1a is attacking the idea (or proposition), while the quote in 1b is attacking the person for having the idea.
a. "With so little support for his job creation measures, many voters are unlikely to vote for Obama again."
- compared to
b. "Only a fool would vote for Obama."
As you can see, 1a is making a point as to why voter support may have dried up, whereas 1b is attacking the people.
Often times when someone is angry, frustrated, or has taken a discussion as a personal offense, they will respond by no longer discussing issues, and instead insulting or attacking the other party in a discussion.
So, the next time you see attacks against the person, rather the idea, keep in mind the 'argumentum ad hominem', or attack upon the person is a logical fallacy most often employed by someone who has already lost the argument and is trying to save face by belittling their "opponent".
Some services in this world require teams of people to conduct detailed reviews of material (like financial planners and auditors) and others must engage in protracted and lengthy engagements that have a defined start and end date (like trial attorneys).
Search Engine Optimisation has no such requirements and as such has no such need for a long term contract to be put in place.
If you're being forced into a lengthy contract, consider that the vendor is creating a win-lose relationship whereby you, the client, are on the losing end (by taking all the risk in the relationship), and they are on the winning end, by taking none.
SEO is a business of results, not effort. If your vendor isn't showing results within 30-45 days, then you should be having a serious discussion about why not. If still no results after 60-75 days, then there's something horribly wrong with this situation. After 75-90 days with no results, then you should see about deducting their fee from your taxes - as it's become a charitable contribution, and not a fee based service at all!!
There is not a defensible reason for any modern SEO agency to require a long term contract, because all effort are conducted on weekly or monthly cycles. There are no annual media buys to make, no strategic intervention teams which must spend hundreds of hours in advance of the months ahead. The business just doesn't work like that.
If you're past the 'no long term contract hurdle', then the next thing to look at is transparency. SEO companies must be accountable for their actions, and that means providing insights into the inner workings of what is being done on behalf of the client.
SEO companies should log every article and review written, every link built, every page optimised. You would expect the same level of accountability from your stock broker, dentist or automotive repair company...
So, while you're shopping around for an SEO vendor, keep in mind that transparency is essential and long term contracts are ancient history.
In working with numerous SME's, one issue that seems to crop up regularly is that of: trying to do more
Yes, I'm sure we've all felt that urge from time to time. We feel the pressing need to try this or thy that, do more of this and do more of that.
The problem is that we have finite resources, both in terms of time and money.
All online marketing is analogous to SEO. In the world of SEO, you can choose to work on 1 keyword / keyphrase (and LSI synonyms), or you can choose to work on 3, 5, 10, 20, 100....
If you only have 10 hours per week to do SEO, and you divide your hours by 100, trying to succeed at every imaginable phrase as one time, what ends up happening? You end up with 6 minutes effort spent on each one, making no progress, and becoming totally frustrated.
If instead of that, you were to focus those 10 hours on 1 keyword, you'd have committed 600 minutes, made solid progress, observed measurable gains and been pleased to have accomplished something.
The entire field of online marketing works this way - whether it's SEO, social media, email marketing, etc.
The idea of trying to do more, in the same amount of time, is the "Dilution Delusion".
Try to do one thing very well with your time. Pick 1 social network, not 10. Pick 1 keyword, not 100. Pick one new relationship to build each day.
Stop diluting your efforts and deluding yourself into thinking you can magically do more by trying harder.
Start focusing tightly, staying on task, avoiding distractions and actually accomplish something today.
The 'big I' buzzword - innovation is seemingly something any and every business must embrace if they stand any hope of competing in the market, or so the mainstream media would have you believe.
While being innovative is great for those trying to slide down the razorblade of life, attempting to stay on the cutting edge, and lead to bleed, not all of us feel that need.
At a recent business networking meeting the topic of growth came up. Businesses who were wanting advice on how to grow their business were asking those experiencing solid growth, in this lovely economy, what was the reason for their success.
There were, of course, a myriad of answers, from being a lean startup and keeping overheads low (great for profitability but really has nothing to do with growth), to exploitation of existing business networks (something that can never be discounted).
A common thread amongst several business owners came to light - 'better'.
Yes, they weren't seeking to reinvent wheels, but rather do a better job at designing, customising, delivering, selling and supporting their niche than the competition.
Thinking of a recent Big Bang Theory episode, Sheldon & Leonard were confronted by a vicious dog. In determining who was going to be able to get away without being mauled, Leonard asked if Sheldon was able to run faster than the dog. Sheldon pointed out that he didn't need to be faster than the dog, just faster than Leonard!
When you approach the business not as someone who has to go to the moon for the first time, because most business isn't that kind of race, you start thinking about what kind of race it really is... It's a race to first, not infinity.
Embrace the concept of 'better'. Seek to differentiate through the quality of everything you touch and soon you'll find prospects seeking you out instead of running from you as you enter the room!
Because inbound links account for 85% or so of the weight in determining where a site ranks on Google searches, I've been sharing a series of tips on how to build inbound links via Twitter.
Linkbuilding 101 Series on Twitter
Rather than re-posting the series, feel free to follow @Robb_RS and get the details, usually posted several per day.