Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review - 14 Digital Predictions for 2014

This time a year ago.. I wrote a guest post on Social Fresh entitled:

13 Digital Predictions for 2013

We learn from our mistakes and I try to make as many as I can.
However, how many mistakes did i make last year?
1. Brand Verifications
Verification of the “Brand” will dictate the most needed activity for a brand in 2013, some will listen now, some will pay too much money for domains later. - True, kinda..

In 2014: Ever hear of Knowledge Graph or Google Hummingbird? (Read this explanation by @TonyVerre on the @Rockfish Blog  - This is everything, where social will display, the land rush for Google+ Custom URLs see Google.Com/+steveplunkettSEO - Look for this space to increase personalization in 2014.
2.Facebook Continues To Be The Social Network
Facebook will continue to get the buzz and the budgets as they become more of a central connection point in our lives. - TRUE
In 2014: Same thing, still #1 social network but as teens moved away from Facebook in 2013, expect more Facebook abandonment, maybe one really big one. With stock prices now a part of the equation how will Facebook's stock impact how it treats it's users in 2014.
3. LinkedIn Integrations
LinkedIn will continue its B2B dominance of the workplace by allowing neutral integration of Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Google + as the social media Switzerland. - True, kinda..
In 2014:  LinkedIn still dominates, look for more local improvements and possibly an acquisition of Meetup.com or similar localized yet social calendar technology.
4. LinkedIn Integrations Backfire 
This backfires temporarily as users connect personal social media to their LinkedIn work profile and some Christmas party photos show up “tagged” under a brand name profile page on LinkedIn. This… despite 3 warning screens from LinkedIn.
“This may reveal personal information, are you sure you want to connect Facebook to LinkedIn?”
- Maybe LinkedIn users are wary? 
In 2014: See #3.
5. Google+ Keeps Getting Relevant
Google + will become more integrated in Google Search as Google and Facebook compete to the center of our social universe.
Despite the fact, people search for people not things on Facebook. Google will integrate the people part more into search. It will work, well. People will be referencing 2 year old “Google + is a Ghost town articles”, at their peril. - Same Story - TRUE
In 2014: Repeat #5 - it's growing and growing, YouTube is integrated with Google+ and Blogger's comments system, once that mess is untangled, Google Hangouts will blow up in 2014,
6. Bing Local Integrates Facebook
Bing Local begins to tie Facebook into Microsoft Mobile, Facebook tries a different angle and fails ridiculously at privacy again. Bing hits a homerun with the Auto GPS market. - True
In 2014: As Windows Mobile, XBOXOne, Xbox and Windows 8.2 all are integrated in to more and more electronic devices, (Tvs and other small appliances), will windows explore a new foothold?
7. Zynga, Facebook, LinkedIn, Apple Create Privacy Fence Spiral of Death
Zynga Game posts from Facebook games end up accidentally spamming LinkedIn posts of fellow employees, creating landmark case for privacy vs. time management in the workplace. Apple gets caught doing a similar thing, debuts new iWatch and everyone forgets. - Not Really.
In 2014: Same thing, another silly prediction, some bungled connection will cause a major problem, most will ignore it. Like retailers and credit card information, or something.
8. The World Discovers SEO
Someone like @Late_show or @jimmyfallon figures out SEO and actually has someone who can explain it on and the SEO world rejoices. Brand related Spam increases. - Nope, not yet..
In 2014: In 2013 the world discovered twitter and now it's part of television news, every single segment. Twitter handles are linked everywhere. Customer support mechanisms for consumers are very effective on Twitter. By then, though, is it already too late for Online Reputation Management? SEO maybe in 2014, 2013 definately goes to [$TWTR]
9. Twitter Campaigns Continue, Twitter Campaign Spam Continues
@Wolfgangbuzz works with @steveplunkett from @Rockfish to create digital campaign using the hashtag #nomnomnom, which raises a bunch of money and awareness for @nokidhungry by some wonderful and thoughtful brand sponsoring the # of occurrences of the hashtag during a 24 period by the foodie, media, pr, advertising seo and social media community similar to #beatcancer at #bwe10.
The campaign ends up creating a system where kids are taught where to find shelter using social media and search while having a free nutritious meal. Of course… sponsored by some major #nomnomnom food brand… which uses #nomnomnom to catapult to the top of the #recipe awareness food chain.
- Nope.. still need to do this? Maybe in 2014?? psst.. @WolfgangBuzz?
In 2014: Beyonce toppled record sales figures. Grand Theft Auto V broke records for single day game sales. Nobody camps out for concert tickets or movie premieres anymore, gamers will. Otherwise, the social media presence of musical artists will provide an ever increasing role in how Google is changing in 2014. Knowledge graph has many facets, Movies, Music and Games have been the big money businesses in the past, next year it evolves again.
10. Brands Start to GET Apps
Branded apps will become technologically better, more secure, more personal yet how those apps utilize and integrate with public APIs will be the real challenge. - TRUE
In 2014: More of the same, was trying to find information on UBER for a car for New Year's Eve. If I try Google search for Mobile using my voice. (Try doing a voice search for "Uber" - i stopped after 20 mins.. How does it work? DOWNLOAD THE APP. Expect more of this for the next 2-3 years as APPs become more exclusive.... and intrusive.
11. Privacy Dies Again
Security, Security, Security or is it Privacy, Privacy, Privacy – we still can’t figure it out as credit card companies tie in purchasing behavior into social media. - TRUE!!!
In 2014: Should you expect anything different? Nope, unless some secret agency is downloading APPs and modifying them before you download to record your information? No, that couldn't happen? #privacy
12. Location Continues To Fly Under Radar
Location, Location, Location – Where are you?, What are you connected to where you are at? – Where are you going next? What you need and who has the best price closest to you where you have coupons or loyalty points, Where is the one app to rule them all?  - Nope, not yet.
(Google Wallet connection with G+ late 2013/2014?) - nope, but almost.
In 2014: Mobile will continue to dominate, need we say more? Go mobile, or Go home!
13. Too Much Social, Yet More and More Social
Overload occurs as we wonder why we need a Twitter @steveplunkett, a Facebook (facebook.com/Plunkett), Google+ (+steve Plunkett) but we continue to login and use them every day, more and more as Google and Twitter work more closely to fend off Facebook and Bing as they try and grab more of our digital attention in 2013. - True.. kinda..
In 2014: Will to continue to ignore the Facebook profile listed above. A Google + profile (+StevePlunkettSEO) a Google+ Page (+StevePlunkettPLUS) may or may not be used more?
14. Twitter still dominates. Online Reputation Management Nightmares will continue to plague brands but Google has the answer, i've seen it, when they will finish it is the question, in 2014?
Google Communities - Next? in Search Results?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Water Hole Optimization (Leading the Horse to Water)

If you have heard me speak, you may have heard some analogies.
One is that Search Engine Optimization is like "leading a horse to water".

The key take-away is... SEO is not Conversion Rate Optimization or Landing Page Optimization, (ok, it is kind of... but...), SEO is simply leading the horse to the water... someone types in a keyword in a search result... and clicks on a website... or "pond/watering hole/oasis" i.e. where the "horse" drinks. The water hole, you got them there... the website.

As in... "You can lead a Horse to water, but you can't make it drink". SEO's can get you to the website, but not all of them are going to make the visitor contact you or purchase your services and/or products.

The process to make that happen is called "SEO" or Search Engine Optimization. From Google to a website... Stop... Do NOT collect $200do NOT pass GO! Someone searched for some keyword and clicked on a link to your website. End of Story. SEO worked.

Why do we use an analogy?

"The keyword matrix suggests the probability of a visit, the impressions estimation shows people have visited, social media data can be used to catalog the visits and provide re-introduction, top of mind awareness targeting, persuasion architecture, online reputation management defense as well as usage and demographic research."

Read the above; read the analogies below, if the above sans analogy is better, please say so. 

That is Search Engine Optimization... or is it? To some it is, to some it is not. Some say anything outside of organic keyword optimization is Search Engine Marketing, (Anything that is not organic search, but works in search as long as you pay for it.) 

About SEM, SEM could also be used to make the horses drink... once the SEO got them there. Yes, SEM does include the ads above the organic results so they can always click on paid ad and get to your website too. But that is basically picking up horses, driving them to water hole, feeding them and letting them go.

So you get the SEO part, right? How does this relate to equines or livestock management?

We are talking about Water Hole Optimization

So how do you optimize a water hole?
(Water Hole = Metaphor for client's online digital ecosystem or footprint

What are the aspects of the searcher/visitor/horse/water hole drinker, how do we influence them to make them drink once we get them there?  What are the factors for Water Hole Optimization?

 With the splintering of the ways users, (Horses), and how they are accessing water hole information.
Ranchers (Water Hole Marketers aka Digital Strategists and SEOs), have to reach across multiple disciplines, multiple query engines across varied OS for different screens. Ok, I know it's far-fetched, but pretend Horses have phones... laptops and tablet too of course... 

Is there an effective strategy for Water Hole Optimization, what are the aspects?

Organic Search = leading the horse to water

Paid Search (SEM) = Signs and Salt Licks paid for by humans to lead those horses to water...

Social Media - Horses sharing information about water quality, predator issues, etc...

Content Marketing - adding hay and other horse incentives for horse to visit water hole in their thirst search.

Conversion Rate Optimization - actually measuring the act of the horse drinking.

Local Search - Horse tracks, Horse trails that lead horses to water within the area around the water hole. Usually Geologists have maps of these things. Please consult an expert.

Digital Asset Optimization - widening the water source for the water hole... upstream...

Online Reputation Management - The 5 or 6 ranchers on the ridge around the water hole, sniping the coyotes, wolves and any other predators that would scare the horses away from the water hole.

Behavioral Targeting, Re-Targeting - Horse has been there before; they already know the way back to the water. BT or RT would be something that makes the horse thirsty again; they know where the water hole is that they just came from.  p.s. Be careful not to spook the horse... by following it too closely.

Naturally we will have Ranchers (Lead Strategic focused SEOS) and Ranch Hands (Search Developers), as the operation grows with scale... normally a ranch foreman (Search Scientists) will communicate with other ranchers about advancements in Water hole optimization... which is basically leading the horse to water.. With scale...
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