Keywords — The Key!

September 16, 2008

It’s just about fall in Los Angeles, and yes, we Angelinos go through that schizophrenic time, wearing summer dresses with boots, stashing coats in our cars while we wear flip flops, and carrying foldable umbrellas in our purses just in case. ๐Ÿ™‚ To online marketers such as I, seasons are merely dates. The Net is un unstoppable vial of wealth, waiting to be unlocked, just as long as the right resources are tapped.

What I’m gonna type about today, is keywords, the key to unlocking that wealth,ย  stringing along keywords in the process as I speak, I mean, write. Anybody knows that the key to proper SEO is the proper keywords — even if you never heard of SEO before and think it might be some hidden organization like the MAFIA that so happens that no one decided to tell you about. It is how your buyers find you. It is the first things I learned about when I started swimming in the beautiful waters of web marketing. Optimize for the best keywords, and you’ve pretty much created an umbilical cord from the bank.

Here are some great links that show you the best keywords for your vertical:

Word Tracker

Seobook Keyword Suggestion Tool

Yet, how important are keywords for viral marketing? It is still significant to determine your top keywords for your brand or site, even though your main goal is not to appear in the organic results. In determining your best keywords, you know, who to look for in Web 2.0, and where to look.

For example, if you were searching for blogs to comment on in blogsearch.google.com — you need to know what search terms to use. If you have a financial blog you want to do some blog marketing for, are you gonna use the word “financial”? Are you looking for people who want money advice or give money advice? Then you could probably use “money matters” or simply “money”. Do you have a real estate blog and are offering advice about how to avoid foreclosure? Keywords obviously would be “avoid foreclosure”, or even “losing my home.” Or maybe you are offering a business opportunitiy. Be creative. You could even use the word “broke” to look for people that are in dire need of money and are blogging about it.

You could also use a search term strategy for Q and A sites such as Answerbag and Yahoo Answers. People ask questions in many different ways, so for example, if your site is about events, and you want to invite people to view/post events on your site, don’t limit yourself to “events.” Use phrases such as “what to do”, “where to go”, and add several places after the keyphrases, for some variation. Then you would use “what to do in New Jersey”, or “what to do in Los Angeles”. You could even use the word “bored with nothing to do” to capture bloggers that are looking for new exciting events to explore.

Keywords are the map to your target demographic! Be creative, use several possible ones. Search engines are meant to be used and abused. Be sure to record the search terms you use so that you don’t end up doing the same searches again and again.

Now turn the key and open the door to conversion. ๐Ÿ™‚

Advertisements

answers2

Yahoo Answers is one my favorite social media tools — with Answerbag and Askville coming in second. It posts questions and answers to anything under the sun you can imagine — from apples to zebras. Indeed it is a great way to build traffic — but has more viral then SEO benefits. Yahoo Answer links are “nofollow”, yet don’t be so quick to dismiss it as a great marketing tool. Punch in your most relevant keyword on the search field and be sure to search open questions.

Why Yahoo Answers is great:

It is marketing to people who are already looking for you. If your website was an actual store — then they have already knocked on the front door. Answering won’t be imposing your product on them, it will be presenting a solution to a problem.

You can answer as many questions as you want. Just be sure not to be “spammy” and always assume the persona of someone who’s out to help people (which are you are doing really). Leave a link and be casual about it. Don’t overdo it though, Yahoo Answers can and will suspend abusers who overpost and are too candidly promoting themselves. Yahoo Answers can be a friend, but can also be a very bad foe.

You can be anyone, anywhere. I am talking about Avatars (in Yahoo Answers I am a brunette in Hawaii). Well this one doesn’t have any viral benefits, but it’s fun.

Search engines love Yahoo Answers. When you plug-in a question on the Google or Yahoo search field, more often than not a Yahoo Answers page will come up.

You earn points every time you answer a question. What are the points for? Just like in “Who’s line is it anyway?” the points don’t matter. But it does give you the freedom to ask a question. You earn 10 points for getting “Best Answer.” Having the “best answer” is a nice little pick up in your day, not only that it could also mean higher chances for traffic and conversion.

And lastly, for the simple reason that it works! It has worked in increasing traffic to several clients I’ve worked with in the past.

So that’s my tribute to Yahoo Answers. Maybe I should post the friend or foe question on the site. What do you think? Is Yahoo Answers friend or foe? ๐Ÿ™‚

web 2.0

Web 2.0. When regular non-net-addicted people hear the words Web 2.0, usually it’s met with a frown of confusion or a cocky smile. “Yeah, Web 2.0. I’m all around it.” or “Web 2.0? Is that a kind of software?” This term developed as an umbrella term that means nothing and everything. It means the social part of the internet.

If it was a part of the house, it would be the living room or the patio. If was the part of the body, it would be the mouth. Web 2.0 is simply that part of the web that is largely user controlled more than anything else. Blogs. Message Boards. Forums. Social Networking Sites. Social Bookmarking sites. User-generated video sites.

Now more than ever, power is bestowed to the user. I am empowered to publish with one click with a blog. I am empowered to express my opinion in a message board. I am empowered to comment in whatever tonality I prefer in a news article in a news forum. I can make myself known in the identity I chose in a Social Networking Site. I am free to choose my favorite site and make it known to others in a Social Bookmarking Sites.

What is interesting with the title is the word “unseen.” Yet it resonates true in our society today. I think less than 1 in 10 people know what web 2.0 is, let alone care, but the more interesting thing is the fact that Web 2.0 actually matters.

It is the most popular social lounge next to Starbucks – and gives you more benefit than that all-important kick in the head that caffeine brings. If you are a business owner, it is a fast way to communicate with the consumer and build your brand, if you are an individual artist, it is the fastest, cheapest way to get your music out there.

Think of how many Indie artists have leveraged myspace in order to get people to listen to them, and eventually attend their shows. If you are simply an expressive individual needing some online company – there are online communities everywhere – within groups in social networking sites like facebook, myspace, yahoogroups, etcetera. If you are a blogger it is a certainty that there are a community of bloggers out there blogging about your theme – whether it be niche or mainstream.

To put it in simple, concrete terms, getting involved in Web 2.0 is creating a blog at WordPress. Commenting on other blogs. Connecting with your friends on facebook. Digging a relevant news story at digg.com to share the news piece to others. It is going on forums like Yahoo Answers, Topix.net or Answerbag.com, sharing what you know, and allowing other people to help you out with a question.

Why get involved?

In Asia alone, 3,733,783,474 people are online. This is 56.5% of the world population. This is an interesting statistic since most of the control of Web 2.0 actually originates from the United States. In North America, 334,659,631 people go on the internet – roughly 5.1% of the entire population. (source: http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm)

Roughly 10 percent of the world’s population – that is 627 million people, have shopped online at least once. This information is from a study done by AC Nielsen in 2005. That was three years ago. Can you imagine the numbers today?

According to Technorati, a widely popular internet community, there are currently about 50M blogs. 175,000 new blogs are being created everyday. Blogs are being used for all sorts of occupations in all sorts of disciplines. Blogs have been used to share knowledge, promote a person, product or service, or even get help.

In ourukrainianjourney.blogspot.com – a mother of an adopted Ukrainian boy seeks financial help for her new child’s needs. Even Martha Stewart is reachable via comment and click. Aside from this, the unstoppable growth of the information which cannot be recorded as it occurs on tangible books, is recorded in the blogosphere.

Web 2.0 has infiltrated the SEO/SEM and Web Development industries as well. Such web development companies as Meteorsite, a los angeles based SEO and Web Development company are developing web 2.0 applications and using web 2.0 designs in their websites. Now the industry terms SEO and Web 2.0 Marketing are almost inextricably linked, with Web 2.0 being the marketplace and playground for SEO practices.

Message boards are affecting our opinions more than ever.ย There’s various forums where people can seek help in every field of work or field of interest – like Ehealth forums and Elancetalk. Omigli.com is a great search engine where you can type in any keyword and find a chunk of message boards about any topic.

And finally, getting on the bandwagon of Web 2.0 is important because of the viral nature of Web 2.0. Hence you have the terms viral marketing, word-of-mouth marketing and guerilla marketing. If you post anything funny, sexy, or pyrotechnic on YouTube for example, (the three main baits of marketing) on the net, you’re bound to get at least a thousand hits.

Digging a news story on digg.com puts it out there for other surfers to quickly find. Several companies have taken the viral route in marketing and advertising. Check out a collection of funny viral ads at funnyplace. Now anybody can be a star on YouTube – and potentially be unraveled talents if ever that wandering producer hits you up and takes an interest.

Creating a buzz about yourself or your product is simpler than going to an ad agency and paying big bucks, and might even have more profitable returns.

Now that you’re convinced (I’m claiming this) that Web 2.0 is the way to go, how do you start? Start putting your favorite keyword and adding “blog”, “forum” or “messageboard”. Go to Google Blog Search and start reading up on your favorite blog topics. Leave a comment. Spark a discussion.

Start by leaving a comment here! Socialize to your heart’s (or finger’s) content. Jumping on the bandwagon has never been so beneficial, and enjoyable.


Bookmark and Share

Hello sneezers and infecters. The Viral Trolls post is quite a success – I’ve now got bragging rights to the top one spot for the keywords “Viral Trolls.” Apparently, people throw around the troll word all the time, but have not really talked about it much in a single post. Yay, I got the top one spot. It’s not the most profitable keywords in the world, but it does allow me to brag about it in this itty bitty blog.

What I’ve chosen to write about today is to give some “DoFollow” help to viral blog commentors out there. The “revolution”, or “phenomenon” how over you want to call it has been going on for a year or more. So we can move on to why turning your blog into a “dofollow” is utterly profitable and why you should link from “dofollow” sites – let’s see what Wikipedia says about “nofollow” and what it is exactly:

“nofollow is an HTML attribute value used to instruct some search engines that a hyperlink should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index. It is intended to reduce the effectiveness of certain types of search engine spam, thereby improving the quality of search engine results and preventing spamdexing from occurring in the first place. The concept for the specification of the attribute value nofollow was designed by Googleโ€™s head of webspam team Matt Cutts and Jason Shellen from Blogger.com in 2005.”

“Nofollow” was initiated to fight spam, yet it has affected decent backlinkers and blog commentors as well. Luckily for us we have a choice, as there are more “dofollow” sites emerging, where you can actually be rewarded for your linking efforts.

If you have SEO for FIREFOX you’ll notice that some links are actually highlighted in red — these are “no follow” links — meaning the search engine spiders crawl over them like they don’t exist. Blog comments on “nofollow” blogs usually have a purely viral effect. It could still drive traffic to your site though — in a viral way — somebody clicks on your link and finds your site.

Another way to find out if the link is no follow is to press control + U while you’re at the page in question and search for the words “no follow” on your page’s source page. (does that make sense?) It’s gonna look like a little something like this:

no follow

I actually did some research as to how to make my own blog a “dofollow” blog. I’d love to get a barrage of comments. (Come on, who doesn’t like attention? Even if it is virtual.) It entails getting a plug-in.. I currently cannot use this plugin as of the moment, having a free blog on wordpress.com — but this will be coming soon once I pay for outside hosting — a promise to myself and my readers. Here are some sites that offer wordpress.org hosting. Hosting your blog on another server has a lot of benefits — one among them is being able to join the Do follow revolution. Another is being able to install plug-ins, and some widgets that actually only work on wordpress.org (one of them is Blogrush – the traffic driving widget).

Some hosts:
DreamHost
MediaTemple
Blue Host

For a complete list of hosting services check out wordpress hosting .

Well the obvious question now is, apart from making my blog a do follow blog, how do I find dofollow blogs, forums and etcetera to link from? Where is dofollow web 2.0? A little skittle around the web for dofollow resources actually proved to be very productive. I actually posted a question on digitalpoint forums and asked how to get high PR links without spending a lot? Apparently, I end up answering my own question.

Do follow search engines. Type your keyword and find only dofollow results.

The best one garnering from the feedback of many is Backlinkspot
Some others are
Commenthunt
Ezbusinessneeds

One personal favorite is W3ec . The interface is very revolutionary. (If you check it out you’ll see what I mean.)

Here are some more great links:

21 Dofollow Social Bookmarking Sites
. Bookmark your way to the Pagerank you’ve always dreamed of!
Sites that really do follow. Dofollow directory.
Do follow blog community. Like blogcatalog or technorati, only these is exclusively for bloggers who follow. Did you follow me?
Do Follow Blogs. Another do follow blog directory.
List of forums that allow “do follow” signature links
Sign your way to link juice.

Backlinking has never been so rewarding, and having too many comments never so accepted. If they say you have something to say about everything, maybe you should be saying what you say in do follow blogs.

Hope this helps you. Spread the virus.


Bookmark and Share

Viral Trolls

April 21, 2008

Before I go on to my next topic of discussion –which is a topic of great interest to me, just because I’ve heard it offhandedly dropped in forums — I will show you a picture that is meant to incite fear and disgust. I present to you, his royal lowness — the troll.

troll

It is neither pretty nor pleasant to look at. We often hear this term on the net — “You are trolling.” “Beware of the troll.” The funny thing is, the troll was popular probably only at one point in history — when the troll doll was popular. I remember seriously coveting this doll when I was about 8 or 9. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s the “adorable” troll doll. (Kids must’ve been masochistic then to like a doll this ugly).

troll doll

In wikipedia, the internet troll is described as

“An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial and usually irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, with the intention of baiting other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.”

I encountered this term recently when I was cruising around in Yahoo! Answers. A guy asked this question:
Im a catholic but I hate the Pope and I hate Catholocism. Is that bad?

Somebody said “Troll Alert!” in one of the replies. It seems that trolls are whoever disrupts the pleasant and normal flow of conversation in forums or comment forms. This question doesn’t really deserve a straight answer — it is more of rhetorical. “Is that bad?” seemed to be added just to officially make it into a question. I’ve seen this in youtube comments — commenting just to insult other commentors, without any real purpose of saying something relevant, or vilifying or critiquing the video/post/article in question.

The important point is that nobody should be a viral troll — although I imagine that some people out of extreme emotion probably morph into internet trolls without actually realizing it. Respect other people’s space while you give your 2 cents about the topic at hand. Stick to the topic and be objective. and don’t incite negative buzz just to get attention — it will eventually backfire. Don’t troll through the net, stroll through the net!

Out of curiosity (remember: curiosity killed the troll!) I google the keyword “Viral Troll.” And I ended up finding pretty interesting results:

This is the Top 1 result.

In summary — the angry troll victim shot back, “you are nothing but a viral TROLL… hows that coming from a “parolee scumbag”?

Troll here is used with so much disgust, it is almost like a modern cuss word. And this is understandable. A TROLL search at youtube yielded this video — a guy calling out to the web public in agony, having been victimized by a heartless, ugly, ruthless viral troll.

My heart goes out to this guy. Let’s help make the world wide web troll-free and truly free.

It is interesting to note that “Troll” more than being a unpopular way to be in Web 2.0, is also not a very popular keyword. SEO’ers wouldn’t have a hard time ranking high on this. Google had no data on the keywords “Viral Troll” because there wasn’t enough data to support it.

Check out this article about the increasing popularity of trolling:

Twice as Many Americans Troll Video-Sharing Sites Daily

Just to remind you how ugly trolls are:

(excerpts from the Danish Ballad of Eline of Villenskov) source: Wikipedia

There were seven and a hundred Trolls,
They were both ugly and grim,
A visit they would the farmer make,
Both eat and drink with him.

Out then spake the tinyest Troll,
No bigger than an emmet was he,
Hither is come a Christian man,
And manage him will I surelie

Comments welcome, just don’t be a troll :).


Bookmark and Share

I watched Be Kind, Rewind last Sunday, and I was surprised to see that this Jack Black movie actually had a lot of heart and good content. In the beginning of the movie I was not really amused to see the usual stupid-jackass-dumb and dumber type of jokes, but as the movie progressed, I found myself engrossed, and thinking about how this flick was actually a “viral marketing” flick — a classic example of how a business can go viral — how a business can become successful through word-of-mouth.

The movie moves around “Be kind, rewind,” an old-fashioned, yawn-inducing video store that barely gets customers. They even do some “guerilla marketing” and start painting graffiti on a wall under a bridge, claiming to have caught other taggers doing it when intercepted by the police. This move, a viral stunt that may be perceived as drastic, does not work.

Jack Black gets caught up in electrical wires and gets “magnetized.” (watch the movie to see how this happens) He goes to the store and erases all the content of the videos. They find this out when a depressive, crazy customer comes back and says that her Ghostbuster tape is empty. They come up with the ingenious idea to actually shoot the film and record on the ghostbuster tape, and have the customer think that that is the real ghostbuster movie. More customers come in and they are demanding movies, so Mike and Jerry do all they can to improvise, to fill in the blank tapes and keep business going – afraid of revealing the “tape erasure” to Mr. Fletcher, the owner of the video shop. See the trailer below so you have an idea of what I’m talking about:

The beautiful thing about the success of the Be Kind Rewind video shop is that it started from an innocent idea, meant to cover up a store anomaly. Mike and Jerry become an accidental production house and people end up loving their stuff. What cannot be missed here is that it all started with an ingenious idea. The put a name to the still nameless act of doing “a-la-carte” moviessweded. Who cares if it’s not a verb?

It spread like a virus on the small town of Passaic, New Jersey, and before you know it, they are being visited by enthusiastic patrons from as far as New York. What is interesting is that the act of making movies as requested, of putting the actual customers in the movies, is the same formula that online landslide successes that is used by youtube, digg and even wordpress. Power to the user. Power to the people. The users determine content and they are included in the content. Censors actually shut down the Be Kind Rewind “sweding”operation in the movie — the same way that user-generated sites are commonly set out to be manipulated by the internet giants. But they fight, and create their own movie. For us, by us. Written, produced and directed by the “Be Kind Rewind” community, it is a smashing success. Rightfully called smashing, because the building is “smashed” (destroyed) afterward.

The sweded video is the viral video. It was loved by the community in the movie with the same reason we are in love with youtube — we are part of it. We say what we want. We dictate content. Perhaps this is a point of reflection for viral marketers and web 2.0 ‘ers out there. If the consumer or customer is involved, and it is about them, and they have a say on what goes in your service or product — there is a greater chance that your product, service or idea will be bought.

Whether you are into viral or not, check out this movie anyway. Watching ghostbusters being remade by Mike and Jerry with hilariously funny techniques is worth it.


Bookmark and Share

What is Viral Marketing?

April 11, 2008

This may not be the type of question that actually plagues the mind of many — or anyone loses sleep over — yet to those who care about Web 2.0, social media, blogging, etctera, it may mean more. It has been confused with grassroots marketing — marketing at the foot of the ladder, word-of-mouth marketing — self-explanatory, and blog marketing — which ineffectively narrows it to only one form of social media.

I was in my extreme marketing class in UCLA extension and our professor asked what viral marketing was. I thought for half a second, realizing that I knew how to do it better than I knew how to define it. The answer I formulated was:

The dictionary definition of a virus is a condition that spreads from one person to another. Viral marketing is when the marketing message is spread from one person to another. Pretty simple.

In Wikipedia, Viral Marketing is described as —

“Creating entertaining or informative messages that are designed to be passed along in an exponential fashion, often electronically or by email.”

Can’t argue with wikipedia. But wait, apparently you can only be entertaining or informative. They’re mutually exclusive terms. So Wikipedia is not entertaining? Gotcha! ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s like spreading a cold. If you’ve infected a bunch of people then you sneeze pretty well. The difference is that in viral marketing, you must know the first people to sneeze into — the influencers, and when you’ve got the big men – (read: in viral video you hit youtube, in viral music you hit, ilike, and in social media…I’ve got to stop, i’m indecisive between myspace and facebook.) and when you’ve hit it big time with the big men, theoretically it’s supposed to spread like wildfire. There are a few examples that actually did — so fast it should be called epidemic marketing like some cases I will study later on the next post. For other less fortunate viral candidates, usually when the product is not really entertaining nor informative — like flower vases for example — viral marketing has to be done one by one, going from blog to blog, forum to forum, sneezing on each influencer and hoping to get as much mucus out of them. Yet I firmly believe that there’s a shock factor in any product. Anything can be sexy or funny (the top two valued characteristics in marketing) with a little creativity.

My own 2 cents about viral marketing:

It is neither hard sell or soft sell – the two traditional categories of advertising. It is subtle, sometimes sly, sometime even deliberately deceiving. Examples: Subtle — leaving a blog comment on a related blog, reacting intelligently to the post, and skillfully linking it to the website, person, product or service. Sly — pretending to be a buyer reviewing a product when you’re actually a seller endorsing a product. Think amazon reviews. Deliberately deceiving – extreme examples where marketers came up with a total hoax to get traffic. One unique example is a virgin’s plea.(2006)

This guy actually pretended to be a virgin trying to get laid. The girl he desired would only agree to sex if he had 5 million visitors to his site. Many fell for it, gave him sympathy and help, and later when he revealed that it was a marketing ploy, the disgust of many.

The question is, is this still viral marketing? Or is it a genius, albeit twisted, stunt that happened to click and generate massive traffic and publicity? I believe that viral marketing should deal with “clean viruses” because stunts will come and bite you in the behind later, and you will be left lonely, with no credibility, like the boy who cried wolf. If you don’t want your product to be a one-hit-wonder, you must stick to the truth.

Be funny, relevant and sexy. In that order. Funny flies better than relevant. If you can’t be funny, be relevant. Like the rubix cube video in youtube. If you can’t be relevant then take the easy way out, be sexy. Disclaimer: I am in no way endorsing porn.

Here are some unexpectedly famous viral videos. They are not funny, nor sexy, only relevant.

Free Hug

Rubix Cube Video

And the meta-viral video — the viral video on viral videos. This one is funny, relevant, and hey, that voice is kind of sexy. I gotta post this one. I could learn a thing or two from this.

If people you infect don’t infect others, then your virus is dormant. You gotta change the marketing message, or do something drastic like send a fake letter saying that you have 5,000,000,000 USD just waiting to be wired to your marketing victim, if only he gives his bank information to you, a total stranger. Nah, just edit your message. Much easier.

Lastly, Viagra is the scum of the viral marketing universe.

There you go. Now I gotta sleep. See you tomorrow. ๐Ÿ™‚ No pictures today.


Bookmark and Share