Happy weekend, search fans!  You have some time this weekend.  Catch-up on your online marketing/search engine optimization reading.  I’ve read, synopsized, and delivered links to informative tidbits from around the world of search.  Take a gander at what I’ve gathered:

Facebook

The Facebook brand is not shy about showing its face in the media.  WebiMax CEO, Ken Wisnefski, made contributions to this MSNmoney article on Facebook’s IPO.  Additionally, it’s always enlightening to know a little about the man behind the business machine; get friendly with Mark Zuckerberg‘s managerial style through Todd Bailey’s post.  Lastly, what are Facebook’s plans for mobile advertising?  The mobile industry is expected to dial-in big numbers this year.  Read about Facebook’s mobile advertising participation through John Borkowski’s post.

 

General Search

WebiMax VP, Todd Bailey, did a guest post on search engine optimization, explaining how to get toward the top of the SERPs for preplanned terms and phrases, taking from his Dx3 Canada presentation.

See the latest Comscore results, showing Bing outscoring Yahoo from Search Engine Land.  Also from SEL, this post on Google traffic; Google still gets traffic from a number of verticals.

 

Technical SEO

Do you want to address integral, SEO technical issues in an hour?  Read this SEOmoz post by Dave Sottimano.  Before you address problems, maybe you need to develop a technical SEO process; read this post from another Mozzer, Stephanie Chang.

 

S(eo)aturday Drivethru…

Here are some quick links to read while you’re on the go…

Joanna Lord on inbound marketing

Lisa Barone on 12 respected ladies in search

Jon Cooper on natural link building

Anthony Pensabene on brand awareness

I don’t need to be jostled from sleep by Sonny and Cher; judging by the “Phil Murray” and “Punxsutawney Phil” Twitter trends, it’s February second.  How many more days of winter?  I live in LA; don’t hate; there’s plenty of sunshine, yes, but smog, ebb-less traffic, and unrelenting crowds of people live here too.  I’m not worried about the fate of winter; but, being in online marketing, I am interested in link building processes.  If you operate a business, tips on link building should have you ‘walking on sunshine,’ because it’s no secret of success – link building improves authority, rankings, and exposure.

I read an awesome post today by Neil Patel, receiving ten insightful tips related to seeking and acquiring link opportunities.  Does your brand want to brook more time within a winter of ‘dissed’ content or do you want your content to gain more attention?  I don’t need to wait for a reply or a groundhog (I’m definitely not waiting for a ‘PR Panda’) to rear its head to know your brand is ready to spring into action regarding link building.  However, you should wait before composing your next piece and consider the following; if you release your content without some pre-consideration, you may find no one’s popping their head out of their respective days’ work to give your content a look, prolonging the winter of dissed content.

Before You Write

Okay, you wrote some good content.  Now, it’s time to give it a social nudge.  Which social sites is your brand leveraging?  Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, all of the above?  Go ahead and push them through…  Oh, you’ve done that before but didn’t see much traction?  Let’s consider some “social” things you could do before you compose a piece.

Influencers

Rand Fishkin suggested contacting ‘influencers’ in your field before composing a piece.  An ‘influencer’ is a ‘big fish’ in your industry (CEO, popular blogger, etc), one who can augment the piece’s immediate exposure.   If more people see the work, it’s likely you’ll attract more links.  In addition, as Dr. Pete advised on his Twitter account, building relationships with influencers far exceeds a one-time, link building purpose.  If you can get influencers and industry cohorts to recognize your brand delivers quality and wants to add to the ongoing conversation, that social connection is priceless.

Topics

What are the hot topics going on right now in your industry?  It’s important to voraciously read sources of information.  It may be popular newspapers like the New York Times or niche bloggers, aligned with your industry.  While writing upon currently-popular topics is a good way to attract attention, make sure you pay attention to timing; understand with each passing moment, tons of other brands could be generating similar content; you need to ‘get there’ first.  However, as Neil suggests in his post, you could find a ‘window’ of opportunity, making the hot topic ‘your own’ by adding something ‘new’ to the ongoing conversation.  You can do it; get creative.

Guestpost

Your brand is looking for more links and exposure.  While your copywriting team is entrenched in deep discussions with each writer’s respective muse, your savvy link building team member is contacting several other brands and bloggers, asking if one or more team members could inspire readers via a guest blog or column.  If your brand is seeking more exposure then maybe copywriting endeavors could ‘hit the road’ in search of new hosting destinations.  Does the process sound like a good idea?  It is; that’s why Ethan Lyon wrote a post on how to use Twitter to secure more guest blogging opportunities.

Thanks for reading

I used to write for a business-to-business outfit, providing content on an array of services.  Naturally, marketing (on and offline) were amongst the provided services.  I recently came across an article penned years ago on customer retention.  I think it has “evergreen” sentiments, and though today’s offered online marketing company initiatives are prolific, culminating in SEO, SMO, PPC and other opportunities, I don’t think such processes always “work” as expected (by some SEO and online marketing clients).  Some may inquire, “Why?  Aren’t you people supposed to get me more exposure and revenue!?”

Does more exposure always equal revenue?  I believe online marketers know the answer…as well as business owners who don’t want to hear the honest truth…no.  Of course, online marketing and SEO practitioners help businesses, but help those most who have worked to be in a position to help their respective brands establish a core business, one which can deliver quality to consumers.

I read a good post giving a brief history of link building and popular SEO trends.  The author ended with an overall-resounding sentiment:  Don’t worry (or let clients worry) about algorithm changes and trends (too much); place more emphasis on ensuring service providers and respective clients are doing a number of things well, working hard to deliver a great brand experience to consumers.

I agree with the sentiment; there’s only so much an online marketing company can do outside of the hard work the client’s core business is willing to provide.  Practitioners can help give your brand a “shot” at stardom, but ultimately, a brand is weighed and measured by its target market, regardless of ranks, packaging, Web design, 10,000 Twitter followers, 100,000 Facebook friends, etc.

I don’t want to reiterate my thoughts of the past, but I do want to use them to re-present some reminders:

Think Like a Customer

I can’t emphasize this enough; it’s your responsibility to think like a consumer.  Would you want to receive email solicitations?  Would you want to receive automated Twitter messages after following someone?  Would you want to realize the difference between online, organic and paid search results?  Would you want to receive text-to-URL prompts? Would you want to feel “tricked,” clicking on a SERP which seemingly contains the information you seek only to be confronted with a poor piece of copy, illustrating very little yet awkwardly stuffed with keywords?   

Do onto customers as you would have done unto you (as a consumer).  It seems like a very simple, golden rule, but I think it’s easily forgotten or passed over for strict, money-generating desires.  Think like a customer; can’t you tell when a brand is making a genuine effort to attract your commerce and when money seems to be the one and only brand motivator?  I can.

Who’s Making Decisions?

What kind of content are you providing to consumers?  Blog posts?  Evergreen articles?  DIY videos?  Industry-related podcasts?  Are you providing something because it’s the latest SEO “trend” or because you feel your consumers will really embrace and champion that kind of informational channel?  Do you know what your consumers want?  Have you ever asked them?  If you found a large majority of consumers do not engage your brand on Facebook or watch your YouTube videos, would you place more energy towards those tactics because competitors are doing it or online marketing industry sentiments champion the idea?

Analyze Data

A copywriter wrote a humorous post, which received a lot of traffic but you never asked them to write a future, similar post.  Your resource page is the most visited page on your site but you do nothing ongoing to enhance the page.  Your target market regularly uses Twitter and Facebook but your company only briefly logs on to those platforms each week. 

All these sentiments seem like mistakes which can easily be made and unnoticed by a brand that does not analyze data and make decisions based on facts.  Your target market may engage your brand in a completely different way than a direct competitor (for a variety of reasons).  Does it make more sense to emulate the online marketing of bigger (better?) competitors or market toward your specific targets?

Conclusion

SEO and online marketing can most definitely help your brand. There are a lot of passionate marketers who want to help your business, but can’t do all the work for a brand.  A brand must do the necessary “core” work, staying true to its mission regarding its consumers.   Marketers can facilitate a great brand experience but can’t “optimize” the quality of core services, products, and brand-to-consumer dedication.  That’s your job.

Thanks for reading.