Signs are in some strange language you can’t process. People around you are speaking rapidly in some tongue so foreign you don’t know how to say hello. Welcome to Internet marketing.
Since there is an entire lexicon of language, experience and history you’ve not heard of we need to prioritize what we teach, what we share so you can retrieve your bag, go to the restroom and get a ride to your hotel. Stretching our analogy here is what today’s post shares to speed you on your way, to accomplish something fast NOW:
|Learning The New Language of SEO and SEM|
|Retrieving Luggage||Google’s Float|
|Finding A Restroom||Keyword Research|
|Getting A Cab To Hotel||Long Tail Attacks|
Google’s Sargasso Sea
A Sargasso Sea never reaches a shore. It roils, boils and moves on itself. It is emergent, complete and complex so an apt analogy. In the early days you say the same result set as me and everyone else typing a search. Search was static and landlocked. A three-legged stool motivates Google:
- Keep customers happy with relevant search results
- Lower costs
- Increase profits.This stool wobbles if any leg isn’t treated with a keen idea on that treatment’s impact and effect on the other legs.
This three-legged seesaw is fundamental to all Internet marketing. Every decision is like playing Star Trek 3D chess. Moving on the upper plate impacts the middle and lower plate. This concept of staging impact across dimensions and time is often the hardest Internet marketing lesson to learn and not something we will even attempt today. Another complicating factor is the web is emergent. Emergent systems, such as a flock of geese, ants or bees, are self directed and patterned.
Patterns and behaviors of geese, ants and bees are genetic.
Reading Bursts by Barabasi teaches an important lesson – we are not as far removed from ants and bees as you might think. Emergence is important for our discussion today because our airport is following patterns too. We won’t be the only one looking for luggage, bathroom and a ride. If we stretch our analogy of Google’s float our airport would magically form to fit our experience, expectations and needs.
We would easily find luggage, restrooms and cabs because the placement of those services would be built based on our past searches for them, based on our friends searches for them and based on the mob’s searches for them.
When you and I simultaneously type the same search into Google we may or may not see the same result set. The result set floats on a sea of variables. If we are logged into our Google account we see one set. If we have many friends who are power Google users we see another search result set. If we are highly social we may see another.
The effective impact of Google’s float is our search results are highly dynamic and increasingly relevant. Google is moving one to many right past one to some and soon will arrive at nirvana – one to one. If the wizards behind the curtain are constructing such a seemingly individual world how do the wizards on the other side of the curtain (us) interpret and understand? There is a complex three-word answer: Analytics, Analytics and Analytics.
Start simply with site heuristic Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) including:
- Bounce Rate (you want this to go DOWN but not too sharply since that means you are leaving money on the table)
- Unique Visitors (you want this to go UP but not too sharply since that means you are being attacked by spam)
- Time On Site (you want this to go UP but not too much since that means your site is confusing and hard to navigate)
- Pages Viewed Per Visit (you want this to go UP since that means your content is engaging but not too much since that means your site is confusing and hard to make do what users want)
- Repeat Visits (Visits / Uniques) (you want this to go up since that means your customers are returning but not too much since that means they are frustrated and get what they want actually that almost never happens since traffic always finds its point of least resistance – they just leave and buy somewhere else)
See how one metric is tied inextricably to every other metric. The core of Internet marketing is to understand the interdependent relationship of one string of spaghetti to another. Start with those metrics and figure out how to watch your emergent system do its thing and never, never, never do a search and think it means anything. To know absolute positions, and the only value those have is for benchmarking, you must fire a tool such as Mike’s Free Keyword Checker. Now let’s go find a restroom.
is an infinite sea of keywords and phrases. Some terms are popular and
competitive and you won’t rank for those for a long time (if ever).
These terms are called “head” term and we will not be addresses them
today since they are well out of reach except for websites already in
the game, people who know what they are doing so much their hats are
black (meaning they play against not with Google) and attacking
fortified castles is beyond today’s discussion.
Instead we will focus on the “long tail of search”. There are two kinds of search terms we are interested in today:
- Golden Needles - Long tail terms with robust searches and little competition
- Haystacks – places we may find golden needles that others have ignored
Haystacks are more interesting to me. Haystacks are unrefined ideas sitting out in a field. If you form the haystack well it may meet the needs of our airport visitors. You may be the first to see and understand a haystack play. Success is the day your haystack idea has more than a random sampling of searches. When you plant the flag of your content into a new haystack idea if you are on it, have the intuitive pulse of the mob, then your return can be staggering when populace turns to and takes advantage of your new path to luggage, restroom and ride and that brings us too long tail attacks.
at the use of “attack”? Internet marketing is chess with money. You
must steel your mind, calm your spirit and simultaneously be more
mathematical and creative than you thought possible. I define “attack”
as when you must take something from some entrenched force, some
stronger enemy. Internet marketing is the ultimate attack since every
moment of traffic, and make no mistake traffic is a form of time and
money, is claimed, moated and zealously guarded.
Long Tail Attacks
You plan has to be stealth enough it doesn’t prompt a scorched earth response from larger entrenched competitors capable of gobbling your early intentions whole. Stringing together increasing strength is the core of any long tail attack. I like to create three dimensional attack plans highlighting:
- Space (the naturally bounded limits of the business vertical)
- Time (time is define by the evolution, growth and then decay of the campaign)
- Energy (what resources are going to be required such as design, creative, money, tracking and analysis)
- Success (never start an Internet marketing campaign without defining success first and success should always be based on concrete goals and ROI)
Constantly watch metrics as you win positions on the board. Ever played battleship? Long tail attacks are battleship for keywords. You are fire missiles against a grid looking for their ship hoping to blow them out of the water before they you. As the planner of the attack you have the advantage of surprise, but surprise doesn’t last long online. Once you’ve fired a shot in anger expect a response. Examples of firing a shot in anger include:
- PPC Advertising (highly exposed but also a great pointer for content development)
- Social Campaigns (highly exposed but a great SEO support system)
- Website Tweaks (exposed less than the previous two but exposed enough to be matched and potentially blocked where blocking would be your competitors creating 5 pages to every one of yours on a keyword set)
- Video (the least exposed due to the fact that videos don’t play directly with search engines, they play indirectly and so stay cloaked for longer than either of the other tactics)
See why starting with a long tail term is so important. The further you are from the hot crucible of industry leading keywords the longer you are undercover, the longer you have to build strength before your competitor’s counterattack. Trust me that there is few sure things in life such as death, taxes and your Internet marketing competitors will counterattack. If that counterattack comes before you’ve created a beachhead your efforts will be sweep back into the ocean sacrificed like sand castles to the tide.
Hope these quick notes help you find your luggage, the restroom and hail a cab in the world’s busiest airport.