Demand Media is the biggest pure-play SEO company in existence. And SEO is one of the fastest-growing marketing channels. So if you want to know what the marketing industry as a whole will look like, the best way to do it would be to take a look at Demand Media’s financial data. That information was available to investors and executives at the firm, but not to everyone else—until now.
“Content factories” like Demand Media and Mahalo are turning the SEO industry inside-out. In the next few years, they will cut off the main source for entry-level SEO professionals, eliminate small web design agencies from the SEO business, and scoop up a bunch of ad dollars they absolutely don’t deserve.
When I talk to clients, they want me to accomplish three things: get visitors to their website, get them to keep coming back, and make some money off of them. I’m starting to suspect that bringing users back is the source of the biggest mistakes I make in online marketing.
A “sticky” site is one that keeps users clicking, and convinces them to come back often. I used to try to build sticky sites. Now, I build “spiky” sites—sites that convert someone into a customer, get them signed up for email newsletters, or convince them to go away.
“Well, I don’t know as I want a lawyer to tell me what I cannot do. I hire him to tell how to do what I want to do.”
—J. P. Morgan (attributed)
SEO, copywriting, and web design are all service businesses. Nobody has ever hired me to tell them what they ought to want to do; I get hired to do what they’ve decided they want to do. And clients are experts at whatever it is they’ve been doing; if I do SEO for a clothing retailer, it’s a safe bet that he knows more about clothes than I do.
At the same time, I probably spend more time reading SEOMoz, running Rank Checker, or swiping from Info Marketing Blog than they do. Since clients write the checks, they call the shots—here are a few ways I’ve found to make sure that this works out well for both sides.
One more day before the regular blog-posting schedule resumes. Meanwhile, I’ve written another SMX sum-up: Integrating SEO with PR, traditional marketing, IT, and more.
You may also want to check out some pieces by my fellow Blue Fountain Media SEO specialists, including Zack Sinkler’s SMX analytics session summary and Alhan Keser‘s “How to be successful on Youtube.”
For the next two days, I’ll be at SMX East. Expect few to no blog entries on this site; I’ll be updating my employer’s blog, instead. Today’s post is there: Basic search engine optimization for small business. If you’re just getting started, it’s exactly what you need.
90% of your site’s success is determined by two things:
The first thing a visitor reads—the headline.
The last thing a visitor reads—the call to action.
Which might be why search engines treat these pieces of text as significant: it’s not that they tel you what a site is about, but that they’re the part of a page writers can least afford to write badly. That’s not a disadvantage. Your call to action can bring in more users and conversions, if you follow the rules.
Avis was #2. They tried harder.
And Hertz had a field day with them.
When the theme of your ads is that you’re almost good enough, it’s not hard for competitors to knock back. Hertz mocked Avis for having half the locations and half the selection, and turning it into a selling point. If you’re #2 even though you try harder, that makes you an underdog—but it’s also two reasons to assume that the competition is better.
Not so for search engines. If I could, I’d rank #2 for every query I’m targeting.
Four years ago—four years ago?—I got an email from a total stranger. He’d read my blog, and wanted to know if I was interested in an internship at a hedge fund company in New York. I didn’t get the internship, but I did decide to move to New York.
I got my first serious job from someone who liked my blog. And the internship that turned into my current position also got started when I submitted a writing sample, which I took straight from the blog.
So I know a thing or two about getting hired based on having a blog. I also know why writing a blog made me waste time, alienate customers, and feel the whole time like I was accomplishing something.