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Don Schindler

Executive Reputation Coach & Digital Marketer

Category: Siteless

Basics in SEO – have you graded your website?

This is going to be a short post but I absolutely loved this tool, www.websitegrader.com.

Check it out, use it and then come back and we’ll go through all the cool stuff that is in it.

There’s also another free tool for ranking your website.

Being found on the net is getting harder and harder – you need to have this SEO stuff down.

Erasing an online consumer complaint from your search results – Part 2 of Power to the Consumer

So here’s the secret.  You can’t.

You knew that was coming, didn’t you?  But there are ways to push the complaint farther away from your site and out of your search results.

The first thing I would do.  Go after that customer, face to face, and see if you can correct what happened.  Now some people would say that there are people who are never going to be happy, no matter what you do.

I would disagree and say, “You really don’t know that until you are face-to-face with that person.”

Too many times I’ve seen emails and comments start flaming because when it comes to digital communication it is easy to forget there is another human being on the other end of that discussion.  It’s almost like we are flipping mad at our computer and just letting them have it.  But once they are in person or on the phone, the anger settles and people can talk in the right TONE to one another.

The other thing to do is to go to those sites that have your complaint and explain your side of things.  Tell them how you’ve tried to work this situation out.

But if you can’t fix it, you can out-content them on search results.

If you have only one website on the internet (your singular web presense) on the internet, this is going to be very hard.  Because you essentially have only one link or two links that will come up when there is a search for your company.

But if you have multiple web presences…say a YouTube Channel, a Flickr account, a Twitter account, an outside blog or multiple blogs, a facebook page, a myspace page, then you have a chance.

Now what I would do is start pushing lots and lots of content out on the web through these different channels – and there are a heck of a lot of more of them than I mentioned.

Also, don’t do it all at once.  Space it out.  Get stuff up there at least once a week.

Other things you can do is change your static site frequently.  I don’t care if it costs you money because you built a site without a CMS.  By not changing your content, it just sits there and Google has no reason to re-index your site.

Get involved in other people’s conversations on their sites.  If you are scared of the internet, then talk to someone who understands it and can help you.

The bottom line is get more active on the internet and you can drive them down on the search results.

This is also not a great idea in theory – I’ve done this before with companies.  It does work.  But make sure you understand this.  The same rules that apply to you, also apply to the consumer and that’s why when you step it up – they can as well.  So it’s better to just work it out together and not go through this mess.

Good luck.  And if anyone else has some ideas on how to do it, let me know.  I would love to hear them.

Social Media is not advertising nor marketing: it’s about connections

In yesterday’s Online Spin, there was an article Agencies: Reinvented or
Replaced
by Joe Marchese.

Joe’s jist was that ad agencies need to change – that they aren’t prepared for the future of advertising within social media. Here’s what he says,

“In the end, social media is nothing more than a mirror of people’s real-world behavior (albeit amplified and with extreme ADD). If you’re taking steps to make your brand relevant to people in the real world (which I sure hope you are), then it’s not that big of a leap to figuring out how to make your brand relevant to people in a social media context. Social media should be a valuable tool for helping you answer that billion-dollar question of what will make your brand relevant to people, as well as the platform spreading your brand’s message as you achieve greater relevance. It’s listening and talking, instead of just talking.

Agencies certainly have the talent to listen. Some of the best and brightest are hungry to take on the challenge of building the iconic brands that shape our lives, and would love the opportunity to feed back the voice of the people they are talking to. But the current brand-agency relationship isn’t set up for this task – and, more importantly, isn’t compensated for it. Are agencies set up to have a conversation for your brand, or has a mandate to only be the brand’s mouthpiece crippled agencies from truly activating your brand in social media?

It’s this question that has led many to wonder if brands should be handling the activation of social media in-house. It is a valid point. If it’s true that brands’ participation in social media means much more than simply buying media and blasting the “big idea,” can agencies fill this role?

I believe not only that agencies can, but that they must. Because unless agencies participate in social media, their role as stewards of brands will eventually end — and their greatest fear, a future where their services are nothing more than a commoditized function performed by Google and Microsoft, (http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/06/22/business/ad23.php), will come true. If your function can be performed by a computer, it will be. Fighting this, rather than focusing on the areas that cannot be done even by the mighty Google’s algorithms, is a losing battle. The future of agencies lies in more than knowing how to get in front of the right people, but also in knowing how to talk and listen to those people to shape a brand and its message.”

While I’m an advocate of what Joe is saying about social media and the commitment to it by companies, I’m confused about how an agency would change to deal with this. This is a fundamental shift in thinking.

Is an agency really set up to change from push to pull? From messaging to conversating? Why must an agency deal with this at all? It’s not like advertising is going to go away. To add a social media department within the agency (essentially buying your way into social media) isn’t the answer because then you’ve got competing factions within the agency. One that pushes messages out and one that participates in the message.

On the outside, it may seem like a good idea but as soon as one of them starts making more money than the other, agencies tend to be biased in that direction so neither the message nor the conversation works.

So then it must go in house? I don’t believe that is the right call either. What I’ve found with in-house marketing is that it isn’t strong enough or large enough to participate in the conversation. There’s too much going on for a one or two person marketing department. Even larger companies are cutting the head count.

Then what is the answer? I believe social media is an entity to itself and must be treated as such. The new kind of connection agency will emerge that will consult and participate with the brand’s messaging in mind – but they can’t be held to the same standards as a traditional agency.

In other words, you can’t punish them for finding out people think your product suck. You should reward them with finding out the insights on why the product sucks and their ideas on how you can make it better. They will keep you in the loop and connect you with your consumers and your partners.

You may think these guys and gals are just research then but research is and should be at arm’s length just observing what is happening and reporting on that. Connection agencies are knee-deep with the consumer. Consumers should know that they are part of the company – transparent and authentic – and that they can help get them an answer that maybe customer service couldn’t understand or deal with.

You are also in the long haul with this kind of company. This isn’t an RFP type of arrangement. This isn’t somebody you can throw to the curb after a couple of years – or just because you want to jump to the hottest connection company of the year. They are just as essential as your operations department.

Maybe I’m wrong about this but I think agencies aren’t the right place to put this type of communication. Let them do what they are really good at…clearly communicating your message. Let the connection agency find out if it’s working and if your products are delivering the goods.

Clutter on the Web and my Desk – Siteless Web Presence

My desk is a mess.

Once, in first grade, my teacher – can’t remember the nun’s name – put my entire desk in a box and sent me along with the box to the principal’s office. Then he called my parents in so we could talk about how messy my desk was.

Obviously, the teacher’s plan to shame me into cleaning my desk did not pay off because as I look around right now – I still sit amongst chaos.

Magazines and books that I want to read but haven’t gotten to. But I don’t want to shelve them because then I might forgot them. A calendar and dead lava lamp, tons of papers (not stacked but haphazardly thrown around), my “You’ve been bad jar” for myself and co-workers (it’s usually full of treats but is empty right now – I guess a lot of people have been bad), Chex mix, CDs, pens, pictures of the family, a box of client marketing collateral…any normal person would probably start cleaning it right away but not me.

My mother-in-law says her boss is the same way – that she’s never met anyone cluttered. She doesn’t know how he gets anything done.

I defended him by saying, “That’s how I work. I’ll clean it up and then it’ll be a mess again in a few hours so why bother. I know where mostly everything is. It just looks awful to you.”

In some ways, the web is just like this. There’s not much organization. You have to search for what you want and hope that Google or the other search engines find what you want. If not, you start the search over adding different terms to your search.

It can be frustrating when you can’t find what you are looking for but it can also be exciting when you find something that you never knew was there. And when you find it, you often share it with someone. Because what’s the use of finding something cool if no one knows you’ve found it.

This is another reason for why you should have a siteless web presence. The web isn’t organized. Heirarchies have been replaced. If all you have is one website, you are one against millions and millions of other sites.

You need to be in a lot of places all at once so when someone is doing a search, they may come across you. Maybe it’s not your main site but it can always redirect there.

And, when they do come across you, you have to be interesting enough that they might want to share you with a friend. Because it’s easy to share with friends on the web (del.icio.us, stumble upon, digg – there are lots of social bookmarking sites.)

In fact, you should put this on your site. It’s from Add this! It’s easy and free and can’t hurt unless your website is painful to use and ugly – then you might get some unexpected traffic from people making fun of you and your company.

Funny story about that. I was once sitting in a meeting when a client brought up the fact that their website actually cost them business. The prospect had pointed out that if they were such a wonderful technology software company then why did their website look like a grade school student had put it together. Ouch.

If you have problems like this, then come see us at Mediasauce.com. We’ll help you out.

Siteless Web Presence Part One or why not be in all places at once?

Last week I spoke of a siteless web presence. And what I meant by that comment was that you need to stop thinking of your website as a destination stop and more of aggregator of all your web content. Pretty simple, huh?

But first things first. Your website should be a living breathing thing on the web. If you don’t know how to update your site – or if you need your web guy to do it then you need a new website. One with a CMS (content management system) behind it. Updates should be frequent and relevant – so you can get some Google love.

BTW, this doesn’t have to be expensive – it can be almost free if you don’t mind taking some time to piecemeal things together on the web like making a WordPress blog into a full blown site and adding interesting information widgets like Google calendars/maps and cool stuff from Widget Box. There’s a lot more out there – these are just examples.

But looking at your website and saying this is the end-all be-all of my existent on the web is a mistake especially if you are making good content and treating your website like the media property it should be. You should be and can be everywhere at once.

(By media property, I mean you are treating it like a TV/news channel where you are throwing out good entertaining education on your products – and don’t ask me what these things are – you know what they are, you are a consumer. You’ve seen other websites product videos or blogs or forums or whatever and thought “Hey, that’s pretty cool.” That’s what I’m talking about.)

I kinda rambling today with all these tangents but I swear I will get back to my topic. Look here it is.

Siteless web presence means that you are putting your web information out in multiple locations on the web and making sure that people can take your information with them – if they want. One example would be that if you make a video – it should go on your site but it also should be out in all the places where people watch videos like YouTube and Revver and everywhere. You can even do it all at once with HeySpread.com.

Another thing – Don’t ask me why they would take it. I don’t read minds. But I will tell that they do take it for whatever reason. They take it and mash it up on their website or they use your product video in a blog they are writing.

So how do you get a siteless web presence?

I’ll save that for later this week.

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