I’ve just been playing around with a very cool new search engine called Blekko.
It’s currently in Beta, but it has a lot of very cool functionality that, although you can find within Google if you try looking hard enough, it’s very easy to use.
Namely, Blekko (rhymes with Gekko??!) allows you to create your own slashtags and save them.
Also, you can delete searches as spam…something that is appearing within Google, I agree.
But one thing that Blekko gives you very easily that Google doesn’t is a very accessible and comprehensive analytics functionality, so you can look at inbound links, compate websites’ SEO, and so on.
Now again, Google does offer this via its own Analytics engine, and I agree with you if you tell me that Google’s offering is more detailed and flexible, but you can’t do market research so quickly, and much of the analytics intelligence isn’t easily available to the end user in the way that it is with Blekko.
So from my perspective as a marketer, I’m pretty much sold out on Blekko being a terrific marketing tool that I can use to help me when I’m seeking to understand marketing.
Probably the best thing I like about Blekko, and it’s something that is touted quite strongly in the demo video on the company’s website, is that being able to actively search for just certain categories is a snitch with the new search engine.
Foe example, if I want information about the Nokia N900, I can specify:
n900 /tech – for technology information
n900 /shopping – if I want to buy one
(Actually, I’m only guessing about the shopping slashtag, but it’s pretty certain that it’s going to be an option!).
In case you haven’t watch the video above, do make sure you do, as it overviews much of what I’ve written here.
So is Blekko yet another example of a technological game-changer? I think so.
MainStreet Marketing Machines (MSMM) is explained above by Mike Koenigs, in which he shows how you can use his video marketing system for offline businesses.
In fact, Mike has set up his latest training, software and system, so that if you are an internet marketer who wants to connect with offline businesses in your area, you now can. It’s an very comprehensive package that will be a deal-maker for many struggling offline businesses for years to come.
I’m purchasing Mike’s system & will report back soon, once I’ve been using it for a while.
By the way, if you want to find out more about this system – click on the link on the video above, or this link here.
(The links above are affiliate links, so I will get some money from Mike Koenigs if you buy through my link. If you don’t like me getting money like this, then here is the raw link: http://www.mainstreetmarketingmachines.com )
MainStreet Marketing Machines is an awesome system, and Mike Koenigs’ stuff has been used by none other than: Paula Abdul, Tony Robbins, Frank Kern & many others.
I think you know the answer to the above question – this is a marketing blog, after all!
Before I give the answer you are probably expecting, I want to give you some history to search engine optimization, my reasons for being interested in this topic, and finally why I believe it’s so important to get this right.
Firstly then, the background to the article – how has search engine optimization (SEO) evolved from its humble beginnings?
SEO arguably started becoming really important at around the time of the “Dot Com” boom at around the turn of the twenty first century, when companies realised how easy (and cheap!) it could be to promote their products on the internet, compared to the more traditional off-line methods that had been hitherto dominant.
Initially, SEO was dominated by keyword stuffing of the key search terms, whether it was in the content of the article itself, or in the meta tags in the html header part of the page. A quick confession here: I remember putting several hundred keywords at the bottom of an article which were the same color as the background text. It worked as well 🙂
It really was a goldrush, with many pages ranking highly without much effort. The articles themselves were horrible to read however: the word repetition comes to mind.
When Larry Page and Sergey Brin came on the scene with what they perceived as a real gap in the market, they realised that search engines were lacking an obvious contender: search engine results that were actually useful.
From the get-go, Page and Brin developed their search engine based on the concept of Pagerank, which ranked content via backlinks. (See this Wikipedia article for more information).
Their Engine rapidly developed into the more refined ideal of: “give people results that actually help them find what they want”.
If you’ve read anything about SEO, you’ll hear the terms “Latent Semantic Indexing”, “silos” and many more…all used to described the way the googlebot likes to read your website.
But I want to put the brakes on here, and emphasize that although these things play a significant part to how well your website will rank with the search engines (and in particular the main player, Google), I believe delving too deep into the technical world of SEO can risk you missing the entire point of why it has been developed in the first place:
Search Engine Optimization is primarily aimed at helping the search engines (which use computers to attempt to find relevant content quickly) find your content as if they were behaving like an army of intelligent, super-quick librarians.
In other words, the search engines are attempting to mimic humans.
So, back to my original question (and by now, I know you know what answer I’m going to give here).
The answer is obviously, that you should be writing for your targeted audience and not the search engines.
Look at it this way: at the end of the day, if you can connect with your audience through what you write, then you’ve achieved your objective.
The search engines are trying to become as good as human readers at discerning what is relevant and good content.
So, if you’ve been to school and you can read and write, then you have a massive head-start over Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
They may be super-quick at finding the content, but you are always going to be better (OK, at least for quite a while yet, let’s be realistic!) than a bunch of dumb lumps of silicon at evoking the desired response from your audience.
And, finally, don’t forget, the search engine results only constitute a minority of the total ways that your website can get traffic (social bookmarking, communitiy websites such as forums, local directories, backlinks from authoritative websites being three other very significant sources of quality, targeted traffic).
So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the SEO-game, and you haven’t got the budget to hire a bunch of tech-heads to optimize your site, instead, learn the skills of good copywriting, and finding obvious places to engage with prospects.
In the process, your value to others will increase, both in real and perceived terms….neither of which you would gain particular credibility for if you were just focused on the ‘backend’ of SEO.
If you’ve been hanging around the IT world for a while, you might know that at one point (and maybe they still do), Microsoft adopted the policy of "embrace and extend".
Translation: take what others are doing, and make it waaaay better.
Often this involves buying companies (and I’m not going to "Microsoft bash" in this post by the way) and working with their existing teams to rapidly move a research project forward to its commercial phase.
Market place dominance becomes possible in an increasing number of meshed niches once a company establishes its brand (think of how many products Amazon now sells compared to 10 years ago).
Is embrace and extend good news for the consumer?
It all depends (of course).
Ubiquity is probably the elixir of life that a company will chase, either to its ultimate ruin, or its universal success, depending on the wisdom and tenacity of its leaders. Becoming a household name on the lips and in the minds of billions of people is a rare accolade only achieved by a few hundred worldwide brands.
In a sense, positioning your company to be some kind of service or infrastructural backbone almost guarantees your immortality.
I say almost because of course, the environment which sustains brand dominance is ever-changing, and successful companies ignore the ever-shifting sands of their surroundings at their peril.
So what about Google? Has it drank from this elixir, never to die?
Nobody knows that – but the evidence looks in their favor. Today when Google announced Google Broadband the world almost forgot that just 24 hours ago, we were told about Google Buzz. So, that’s two major innovations within a day.
Talk about ‘stacking’.
I freely admit that the actual rollout of gigabit home broadband is ‘only’ for a pilot group of a maximum of 500,000 North Americans, but nevertheless, Google is clearly straining (perhaps "steam rolling" is more apt) its way into becoming as well known as Coca Cola.
Think about this: less than ten years ago, the small startup had a cool idea about a new way to do to search.
Now even my 3 year old daughter knows the verb "to Google". And every internet marketer around the globe who uses the ubiquitous search engines knows the phrase "Google slap".
And we have the Google phone. And Google Mail. And Google video (aka YouTube). And now a Google Twitter/Facebook mashup that looks like it just might scratch in more places than Google Wave ever will.
And global(?) Google broadband soon…
And Google has its eyes on many other prizes that might well be within its grasp.
Truly embrace and extend.
Truly good for the world?
It all depends, as always, on the character of the leadership of the company. Are they motivated to make the world a better place? It certainly seems so. Google is treading its way to lead ("drag"?) red-necked dollar-driven, hard-nosed multi-nationals into a new era of social capitalism in a way that no-one thought possible – like a Moon-landing-4-minute-mile-water-into-wine extravaganza of "unliklihoods" all rolled into one.
On the other hand, how it all pans out depends, as always, on how Google copes with such universal acceptance. Will it remain able to hold to its open-handed philosophy of "do no evil" (as I alluded to in yesterday’s musings)?
Let’s hope so. Now is a good time to foster the entrepreneurial and innovative mindset like nobody’s business.
Google is in a tricky place at the moment – some would say a rock & hard place, perhaps. China, on the other hand, has all aces on the table, making it clear that it reckons it has the superior hand.
Maybe Google forgot some incredibly important things about the Tiger: it has a long memory,and it has a proud cultural identity that won’t back down when cornered, especially if it perceives a pressure to humbly bow before a force claiming moral superiority.
This may seem like strong langauge, but if history shows us anything obvious about China, it’s that it won’t back down when it’s cultural and national identity seem threatened.
As you may know, China already has its own popular search engine – Baidu. Google won’t ever be able to stake its claim in exactly the way it would want, so rightly or wrongly, they’re going to have to put up, or shut up.
In this case, perhaps shut up shop.
Google does face perhaps the most significantly difficult business AND ethical decision in the light of China’s diffidence.
It’s not clear how they can best behave from now on. They’re in troubled water with the western democratic conscience if they stay, and economically they’re in trickier waters if they pull out.
The latter option would certainly appease those of us in the west who can afford to take the moral high ground, but Google knows that China is perhaps the biggest single player to help them maintain and stablize their existing market dominance for some time to come.
“Do no evil?” Not so easy now that they are so big.
Breakthrough Learning in a Digital Age – Session III. New Learning Designs
Breakthrough Learning in a Digital Age – Session IV: Teachers for a Digital Age
Summary of Videos
The technology of 2010 provides all of us with the ability to learn in a way that has never previously been possible
Schools need to become part of an inter-connected network of learning that is seen as a seemless whole
Early language development is one of the keys to undergird any significant shift forward in facilitating this interconnectivity
There is a systemic friction between the innovative use that many teachers want to use in the classroom, and the pressures they feel to comply with externally-imposed, and sometimes anachronistic validation
Schools in their current set-up cannot expect to survive much longer in the current ‘airplane’ mode of learning (ie all face the front, listen to the annoucements, switch off your digital media..the plane is about to take off, driven by the sage on the stage) and at the same time produce the kind of flexible, adaptive and inter-connected citizens for the Twety First century
Governments must change the way they validate activity in schools (effectively assessing innovation and creativity, collaboration, inter-dependence for example).
This is pretty big news: you can read the full article in the Search Engine Journal here:
Here are my comments (which you can view here: http://bit.ly/BslrW ) on whether or not there’ll be a similar marriage between Google & Twitter:
Interesting! I wonder if Twitter would allow themselves to be bought out by Google…Twitter is now a massive player in the social media/marketing world in its own right, and so far they’ve resisted requests from the Big G.
Case in point: since Twitter took off in early 2009, I hardly do any active PPC marketing. I’m not saying they’re mutually exclusive..after all, you can get traffic incredibly quickly using PPC with Google (or Bing/Yahoo for that matter).
What I’m trying to say is that Twitter offers an incredibly powerful platform for connecting people together on many levels…something that the Google team might well be very envious of. After all, Google’s primary business model up to now has been to ‘just’ provide information…and that’s only the tip of the iceberg in any social or business context.
This probably explains why Google is launching it’s own social media platform (Google Wave) immanently…
Avinash Kaushik, of “Web Analytics: An Hour a Day” fame, has recently produced an outstanding video for Google business around the hot topic of what internet marketers can do to enhance their Google rankings. Of course, what we don’t know is how Bing (Microsoft’s relatively new Search Engine) will fit into the advice given in the video…please do comment with your results.
Google Wonder Wheel (GWW) provides a slick, graphical overview of how keywords link, along with relative search volume. If you’re used to trawling through long lists, GWW provides a refreshing and powerful alternative. A teriffic tool for keyword research and analysis.
If you want to know more about how to do market research for your particular niche without having to spend huge amounts on specialized software tools, I’ll be running a free, 7-part mini-course called Internet Marketing101 – soon. Sign up below & be the first to get the inside scoop.
Yes Please! Send me details of when Internet Marketing101 comes out!
In the mini-course, you’ll find out:
how to set up Google Adwords, Yahoo & Microsoft Paid Search
how to decide between using PPC & PPV
why long-tail Keyword research can save you thousands of dollars
how to set up an affiliate acount
18 ways you can tailor your advertising campaigns
what’s the best free resource you can use for generating long-tail keywords (hint: it’s not Google!)
about a simple trick to use Amazon to help pay for your Google adwords campaigns (and I know no-one else is doing this!)
how to use twitter, facebook & youtube properly (and find out how I nearly got it all horribly wrong!)
why you should invest more in your own personal development much more than in your technical skills
where to find the best outsourcing
My rolodex of key free & paid resources that I use in my internet marketing
…I’ll be delivering the content over a period of a few months, as time allows – I’ve got a business to run!
But I want to make the mini-course something that you can tap into anytime, and it will contain video how-to’s and more, which will be your’s to download & keep/pass on to others as you see fit. The only thing you won’t be able to do is sell it to anyone else, as I’m making it free of charge.
Why am I willing to do this?
The simple answer is obvious to anyone who’s been around in the internet marketing world for a while: if you benefit/like from what I have to offer, you might just gossip about me to your friends – and that’s what networking is all about 🙂
I could charge for the mini-course, but to be honest, I’d rather offer something for free, and get lots of feedback from my users, which is worth way more than a few hundred dollars.
If the course is very successful, I might make into a paid course down the line.
Fill in the form below & I’ll email you the first session as soon as it’s done: