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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

SEO and Social Media

Well, the web has evolved. People's trend had changed and so is SEO. You can't do a better SEO without the help of Social Media. But, first thing is first, what is seo and what does social media have to do anything with seo? Is social media really a mass power or is it just hype? Let me put this straight and simple for you.

Search Engine Optimization(SEO) is how well you prepare your site for the search engine spiders, how well you organize your content, how good and dense your keywords match with the content, how many inbound and outbound links you make for your site and it goes on like this. On the other hand, Social Media sites are where people hang out for fun, exchange information, opinions and their experiences and so on... hmm... Ok, but how does it help seo? I'll come to that in a little brief manner.

Social media sites like Digg, Stumbleupon, Propeller and Social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook gives your website the needed "buzz". You can ask how? Well, let me tell you one of my simple experiences. I had a blog on humour. I created a decent joke, posted in my blog, stumbled the link and waited for about a day. Some of the stumblers found my blog to be interesting and few of them stumbled back. On the first day, I had just 16 stumbles and boom, I got more than 10,000 unique visitors... Now I asked myself, would you believe that? Eventually more interesting people stumbled upon my site and I got nearly 70 stumbles. That's it, I made to the top of Stumbleupon which brings me an average of 12,000 unique visitors for 10 days. Well, what else do you want? On the other hand, a "buzz" of my site spreads from the link that I posted on my Facebook profile, through which I get some organic traffic.

Ok now, enough of my experiences, what good can it really bring to you? There are certain things for which you can rely on social media sites. First is Traffic. You all must know that traffic is the life of a website. If your topics are good and the posts are interesting you can easily get thousands and thousands of unique visitors through social bookmarking sites. The next important thing is getting quality Inbound Links. You must know how important these natural one way links are. They improve your rankings pretty much well. The next thing is Ranking. Even if your pages doesn't rank well in the search engine listings, put them on social media sites and try to get to the top in your topic. As they (social media sites) have very powerful domain and high search engine rankings, you can get to first place of Google or Yahoo search results for your keyword. Believe me it works...

So, what do you say overall? Social Media has become a part of SEO now. Let me tell you one more important thing... if you plan to do any social media marketing before doing some onsite seo, you wont get any good result! I swear! First concentrate on your onsite optimization and then move on to social media sites.

Changing Internet

I love the way the Internet keeps changing. With the advent of Web 2.0 and social media marketing, I have found a treasure of sorts. Every day, I find myself rolling up my sleeves, and making a path to get noticed online. I have to admit that it has become a lot easier to create a brand and market it to the extreme. When I first started building websites about ten years ago, it was easier to get a flood of traffic with no discernible way to see who my customers really were. Social media has squashed that flat.

Social media giants like Digg, Mixx, Stumbleupon, and others will get you noticed, and I have found that the more you socialize and get to appreciate others, the more attention you will draw to yourself. The big search engines like Google and Yahoo like to see this sharing of sorts too, as blogging and trackbacks are extremely popular, and a great way to get links. To a web marketer, this means cash. I would highly recommend trying new social media services like Twitter, and if someone follows you, it's a great practice to follow them too. I learned this from one web marketer who I really consider one of the brilliant ones, Scott Jangro. I still haven't figured out what to do with Twitter. I am a little shy about telling people what I am doing at any given moment throughout my day. I can be a little boring.

It's also important to read blogs from other professionals in your niche. I read a lot of good blogs, most are very impressive intelligent web marketers who have great skills, and used it to their advantage. I read Shoemoney's blog (Shoemoney.com), Jeremy Palmer's (QuitYourDayJob.com), and Amit Mehta's Super Affiliate Mindset (SuperAffiliateMindset.com) among others. A couple of great sources of inspiration are two very cool women who aren't afraid to get their brand names out there. One is Paula Neale Mooney (PaulaNealMooney.com), and the other is Jennifer Ledbetter of (PotPieGirl.com). They are both very smart, very clever woman, and they know their way around the Internet. It really is encouraging to read their blogs, and get their honest opinions about marketing, link building, and other helpful tips.

The key is to get started, and keep going. It can take time to build a website, optimize it, build links, and get noticed. It's not easy, and it is work. Take advantage of social media marketing, and get your opinion and your name brand out there. Internet marketing does pay off with hard work, a bit of schmoozing, and commitment.

Affliate Marketing

There are total of four main things a Blue Ocean Affiliate should keep in mind:

1)Eliminate the products and serviceswhich your target market do not want.

This is to conduct research on your existing list of customer. Ask them for feedback. Ask them if you were to offer them such product would they want it. People who are new can do a marketing research around existing product and find the part which is lacking in the existing product you are promoting and develop your own product. It would also be of a lower cost for yourself. This so-called tapping onto your existing customer and product which the merchant spend thousands of dollars developing.

2) Reduce factors which do not provide high value for your customer.

Ask your customer which feature is useless to them or lesser use to them. Send them a survey or online form to comment. You are doing something extra which add value to your customer by know what they want. I am sure most merchant wouldn't be bothered to do this step. You have the advantage as your customer already know you.

3) Raise factors which adds value to your existing customer.

Build rapport with both your potential customer and existing customer. Segmentation of customer is important. You need to know who your buyers are and who are browser. Always give something which you have used and benefit you in one way or another rather than pushing free information to your customer. This will add value not only to yourself but to your customer. The more specific you are the more likely the customer would response to your future product that you are promoting.

Don't just blast out email to your list. Remember we are into Blue Ocean Affiliate marketing. We build rapport and communicate to them. Just like friends. Send them electronic greeting cards. You are encouraging people to use the service to promote your website and in turn promote your affiliate product.

Allowing one to one advice to some of your highly value customer. I am sure you want to keep those highly value customer on your list for a long long time.

4) Create factors which add value to your new customer.
Now this is the part which will really make a difference. Different customer will require different tools or feature or information. If I ask a affiliates, your list of 10,000 subscriber, how many of them are newbie and how many have never bought a single thing from the Internet before, probably they cannot answer.

Your job is to create different factors that add different value for different group of customer. You might just want to create 3 sub-groups and lay down your own criteria for the person to be in that particular group.

A new value does not need to be a product like e-book or special discount coupon. It can be a piece of motivational story. A solution to some of their day to day problem which you identify can be solved rather easily. These are value which is almost overlooked by most affiliates. Remember your business survive because of your customer. Your customer does not need you more than you need them. Sound simple? But how many affiliates actually do the above? You need to decide your value now.