Posts Tagged ‘internet marketing’
I was reminded of that famous quote from Mark Twain recently in a Twitter exchange about the web presence optimization framework. Although the framework has been for the most part enthusiastically embraced (and dozens of people have downloaded the framework white paper), a few people on Twitter questioned the need for a “new” marketing concept.
While “search plus social plus content” is inarguably inelegant, it was suggested that other terms such as “online marketing” or “inbound marketing” already covered the concept of web presence optimization (WPO). Although those are clearly important concepts, they don’t cover the spectrum of an organization’s web presence and related activities, which is why the WPO model was introduced nearly three years ago.
Since its introduction, the concept has been embraced by tools vendors and covered in publications like iMedia Connection, Search Engine Watch, Business2Community and Social Media Today, and Website Magazine.
Nevertheless, the point raised on Twitter is valid: a number of overlapping terms in use address at least parts of the digital marketing and PR mix. Perhaps the definitions below will help to clarify the role of WPO as an overarching management framework.
Web Presence Optimization (WPO)
Web presence is essentially web visibility; it’s about being as ubiquitous and easy-to-find as possible when buyers are searching for information about what you and your competitors sell. Anything about your company or products that appears somewhere online—whether owned, earned or paid content—contributes to your web presence.
Tracking over time and against competitors as well as managing and continually improving this for relevant, maximum exposure is optimization. By using unified metrics, you can manage and coordinate the efforts of specialists in various disciplines, including content development, social media, SEO, PR, online advertising, and reputation management, resulting in efficient and effective optimization of an organization’s total web presence in order to drive business results.
According to content management guru Joe Pulizzi, “Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. A content marketing strategy can leverage all story channels (print, online, in-person, mobile, social, etc.).”
Content marketing is arguably one component of WPO even though it includes offline venues such as print which don’t contribute to web presence. It’s also focused on owned (internally produced) media and does not include metrics or competitive benchmarking.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Per BusinessDictionary.com, SEO is “the process of improving traffic to a given website by increasing the site’s visibility in search engine results. Websites improve search engine optimization by improving content, making sure that the pages are able to be indexed correctly, and ensuring that the content is unique.”
SEO includes technical factors (making sure sites load quickly and are easy to crawl), content factors (keyword research, content optimization, meta tags) and linking factors (building internal and external links).
While SEO is affected by PR and social media activities, metrics, and competitive actions, it’s internally focused (owned media), cannot be used to manage PR or social media marketing activities (except as they relate specifically to website optimization) and is separate from paid search or other online advertising activities.
In the words of HubSpot co-founder and CEO Brian Halligan, inbound marketing is “where you help yourself ‘get found’ by people already learning about and shopping in your industry. In order to do this, you need to set your website up like a ‘hub’ for your industry that attracts visitors naturally through search engines, the blogosphere, and social media.”
Like WPO, inbound marketing incorporates metrics, content creation and optimization, social media, and (in some cases) search engine marketing. Valuable as it is, however, it doesn’t provide the overall online visibility management framework that WPO does because the latter also includes PR, online advertising, competitive benchmarking and earned content.
One element that none of the above concepts address, but is addressed in WPO, is that third-party content (from customers, journalists, bloggers or other influencers) has value in influencing the buyer’s decision-making process, even when it doesn’t lead directly to a lead or sale. Third-party content is often viewed as more objective and credible than company-produced content, making it critical to track, measure and share.
According to About.com, “Online Marketing is the art and science of selling products and/or services over digital networks, such as the Internet and cellular phone networks. The art of online marketing involves finding the right online marketing mix of strategies that appeals to your target market and will actually translate into sales.”
Though it incorporates SEM, online advertising, search optimization, and content marketing, online marketing is transaction-oriented: it’s focused on activities that lead directly to sales for generally low-consideration items including frequently-purchased or impulse-buy consumer goods and low-value business supplies.
WPO, in contrast, has a broader focus on earned content (e.g. social and press) and overall online visibility, which is important for high-value, considered-purchase consumer goods and b2b sales where web research may lead to an online or offline sale.
While this was originally an umbrella term for various types of activities similar to online marketing, Marketing Land notes that the term has since become to large extent co-opted by get-rich quick hoaxes, pyramid schemes and other scams.
As WPO is all about building online credibility, it’s the farthest thing from Internet marketing.
All of which means…
In the end, the Twitterers’ concern about buzzword proliferation isn’t misplaced. Buzzwords are often used to obscure, confuse, or spin. But WPO genuinely illuminates the actionable key metrics of online visibility, enabling marketing executives to make smart decisions about coordinating PR, SEO, SEM, social, and content marketing efforts.
One of the most interesting aspects of web presence optimization (WPO) is how frequently bloggers and journalists write about the concept without actually using the term. They use terms like “search and social,” “inbound marketing,” “social media optimization,” “online reputation management,” “internet marketing” and others, with general agreement that the art and science of getting found on the web today require much more than just SEO–but no consensus on what to call it.
Rand Fishkin recently devoted 1,700 words to the topic of conversations about the industry’s nomenclature and inspired nearly 170 comments, all with no mention of WPO. Krista LaRiviere (see below), a co-founder of gShift Labs, is one of the few bloggers who have embraced the term.
Oh well, whatever you call the discipline of maximizing a company’s online visibility in a world where search is much more than Google-Yahoo-Bing and where web presence is much more than a corporate website, here are 18 of the best blog posts and articles from the past year on how to do it well.
Web Presence Optimization (WPO) Guides and Insights
The New Breed of B2B Buyer by Chaotic Flow
Joel York argues that “A new breed of B2B buyer has arisen, a species that is more connected, more impatient, more elusive, more impulsive, and more informed than its pre-millennium ancestors,” and that marketers need to understand how the B2B buying cycle has changed and adapt to the “new B2B buyer rules of engagement” across several traits including impatience (by making content easy to find in a self-service manner).
Inbound Marketing: Unlock the content from your emails and social marketing by MarketingSherpa Blog
Observing that email marketing efforts often produce “a mountain of content, but little of it gets used for marketing,” Adam T. Sutton shares tips from Chris Baggott on turning email content into optimizable content, such as publishing customer service answer emails as blog posts: “Sales and service teams write thousands of emails to answer customers’ questions…The answers to these questions are extremely specific to each customer’s situation. If published, they’re potentially valuable for long-tail (low volume, highly qualified) search traffic. What is the best parka for sub-zero temperatures? That sounds like a Google search to me.”
We’re Looking In The Wrong Place For Our Attribution Models by MediaPost Search Insider
Gord Hotchkiss explores John Yi’s concept of Pinball Marketing: “The new game of marketing is much more like pinball. The intersections between a buyer’s decision path and a product’s marketing presence are many, and each can send the buyer off in a different direction. Some of those intersection points are within the marketer’s control — and some aren’t.” WPO is about increasing the number of those intersection points and having as many of them as possible within the marketer’s influence, if not actual control.
Likelihood to Click by The Daily Numbers
David Erickson reports on recent research showing that “48% (of searchers) are likely to click if a brand shows up multiple times within a set of search results.” That figure seems low, but even if accurate, it makes a strong case for WPO activities designed to get a brand to show up multiple times, high in the search results, for core key phrases.
What Wins In Google Universal Search? Videos, Images & Google! by Search Engine Land
Barry Schwartz reveals that in Google Universal Search results, “videos are by far the most found results in Google, with image content a distant second,” while maps, blogs and news also rank highly—another reason companies need to utilize a diverse set of tactics in order to maximize their exposure near the top of search results.
Get Found: Stop Doing SEO, Start Doing WPO by iMedia Connection
***** 5 STARS
Krista LaRiviere of web presence optimization software firm gShift Labs quotes a client who told her that “once his marketing team started focusing on the company’s entire web presence (not just the website), organic search traffic increased, leads increased and business increased. His team noticed a significant difference within a three-month time period,” then provides a helpful six-step process for getting started with WPO.
6 SEO Jedi Tactics to Try Before Turning to the Dark Side by Search Engine Watch
The brilliant and always entertaining Angie Schottmuller uses a Star Wars analogy to argue for the benefits of white hat over black hat SEO, but several of her six “SEO Jedi” tactics apply to WPO, including universal search optimization (“Leverage the diversity of Google universal search results mixed with videos, images, shopping, books, maps (local), and news…video and image formats dominate Google mixed results, yet few sites actually apply SEO to these assets…Surround on-page images or videos with relevant textual content to help search engines better understand the asset and in-turn boost the relevance of the page as well”), clever link bait, and social media optimization.
How to cure your SEO blindness by iMedia Connection
Alan Bush writes that “The SEO process is multi-faceted and detailed, requiring coordination between client and agency, as well as among many departments such as marketing, IT, and more”—which is true, although the model he presents here is closer to WPO than pure SEO, incorporating as it does (in addition to traditional aspects of SEO like keyword research, competitor analysis and link building) social marketing, blogging, news releases and online articles.
SEO, Social Media and WPO
7 ways to make SMO work in the post-Google age by iMedia Connection
Contending that “The days of search engine optimization (SEO) as a critical audience-driving strategy for digital publishers are numbered. Forward-looking marketers need to educate themselves about a far more meaningful and effective way of bringing audiences to media destinations—social media optimization (SMO),” Ben Elowitz makes some excellent points (content is again becoming more important than technology) and provides some helpful guidance for driving more traffic through sites like Facebook and Twitter. But the truth of course is that SEO and SMO are both important and need to be practiced as part of a WPO strategy.
From SEO To Social Media, Getting All Channels To Drive Traffic by MediaPost Search Insider
Derek Gordon notes that “From newsletters to advertising, PR to social media, it’s no secret that a good marketing strategy leverages every available channel to drive traffic to Web sites…And all it really takes is (an) old mantra: work together,” and supplies some excellent tips for what is, effectively, WPO.
The Fabulous Collision of Search and Social by Social Media Today
Rohn Jay Miller offers keen insights into what he terms the “collision between social networks and search engines,” writing that social networks are remixing search in three key ways: through social content evaluation (“If a lot of people on Twitter like Bill Bob Thornton’s grilled chicken marinade, the link to his Website will move up in the SERPs”), social content results (browsing social updates or viewing user-generated content served up in Google results) and social network search (searching within Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter instead of using a traditional web search engine).
5 reasons why social media is good for SEO by Success Works
The delightful Stacey Acevero contends that “what most (marketing and PR professionals) don’t realize is that social media is in fact great for SEO and can help boost your search engine rankings,” then explains how this connection works, e.g., “Social media encourages the sharing of multimedia, and multimedia is shown to increase time on page. PRWeb did a study which concluded that including multimedia in news releases increases time on page by an average of about 30 seconds. Imagine what that could do for your blog and social media posts.”
Optimizing Social For SEO: A Three-Step Beginner’s Guide by MediaPost Search Insider
Frequent best-of honoree Janet Driscoll Miller lays out a three-stage process for making social and SEO work together, starting with claiming your company profile on the major social networks (at least Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, SlideShare and YouTube) and then connecting those accounts through a Google profile.
Social Content Seeding for SEO by Search Engine Watch
Pointing out that as the major search engines have incorporated social signals into their rankings, “now you need more than just backlinks to rank. You also need tweets, likes, and other ‘votes’ from social users to let search engines know that your brand is relevant,” Guillaume Bouchard explains how to produce content that is “shareable” (e.g., because it is unique, inspirational or entertaining) and encourage sharing on networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Online Reputation Management and WPO
6 Ways to Manage Your Online Reputation by Content Marketing Institute
CB Whittemore points out that “Using digital and social tools leads to more links to your website, better quality visits and more indexing,” and offers half a dozen helpful tips for online reputation management, such as “Your goal is to ‘own’ as many first page search results as possible (yep, that’s pretty much the definition of web presence optimization) for your name and/or your company’s name with content you’ve created or positively influenced…Complete and robust social profiles allow you to own more of those page one results. Claim your profiles (on sites like LinkedIn, Google+, SlideShare, YouTube, Facebook, Flickr and Twitter) and make sure they consistently describe you and your company.”
Online Sentiment and Link Building by Search Engine Journal
Julie Joyce identifies six social networks where every business should at least have a profile (note though that these are oriented towards local, consumer businesses; Google+ and YouTube are more important for B2B firms than are Google Places, Bing Local or Foursquare) and outlines a process for tracking and responding social content and product reviews to avoid making a negative first impression in search.
Me, Myself and I: Helping to manage your identity on the web by Google Public Policy Blog
Andreas Tuerk explains how Google has attempted to “make it easier to monitor your identity on the web and to provide easy access to resources describing ways to control what information is on the web,” since your “online identity” is shaped not only by your postings but also by tagging and what others write about you.
HOW TO: Manage Your Online Reputation Using SEO by Mashable
Reporting that “Of the almost 80% of U.S. hiring managers who had searched for candidates online, 70% of them said they had rejected a candidate based on what they found in his or her search results,” Sarah Kessler provides a four-step process for improving the results of those searches, such as posting positive content: “Profiles on social networks are powerful tools for this purpose, as results from large sites like Facebook and Twitter often carry more SEO power than a single post on something like a personal blog.”
Guest post by Kim Albee
With all of the hype surrounding social media, knowing how to dip your toe in the water without falling into the deep end of the social media pool can be challenging. Should you participate? What avenues will be most fruitful? And how do you optimize the time you spend with social media sites?
Excerpted from my new booklet, Effective Online Marketing In A Nutshell, here are some tips that will help:
1. Find 3-5 groups in your target market and join them. Follow the discussions, and when one comes up where you can add value (not just spout about yourself and your business), then participate – help people solve issues and think more effectively about whatever the subject is.
2. Subscribe to LinkedIn Answers for your segments and/or categories. Answer a question every day (be within the top 5 answers posted) until you are selected as the “Best Answer”. Then slow to 3 times per week until you get another “Best Answer” designation. Then slow to one per week (or keep it up if you’re having fun and have the time). The purpose is to build you up as an expert who adds value in your arena / subject matter.
1. Think carefully about your Twitter name. Use your name or a name that is memorable or says something relevant about what you do for your customers.
2. Tweet according to your content strategy. Push traffic to your available downloads. Use a URL shortener like bit.ly or su.pr to schedule tweets ahead of time.
3. Re-Tweet good posts and make friends.
The jury is still out on Facebook’s effectiveness for the B2B market. We’ve got some useful first steps in the booklet on Facebook specifically, as well as additional tips on both LinkedIn and Twitter.
Social media is in the press every day. Its impact on many industries is still murky, but how it is re-shaping marketing strategy and activities like market research and demand generation continues to get clearer and more understood.
Utilizing social media as part of your overall marketing strategy and understanding where it fits in your marketing mix are critical to effectively leveraging your participation and time.
Effective Online Marketing In A Nutshell covers the 10 essential items of Internet Marketing – the 10 critical factors to focus on to be as effective as possible. It offers more information on social media, where it fits, and ways to use it effectively in your online marketing strategy.
To your Internet Marketing Success!
Kim Albee is Founder and President of Genoo, a marketing automation and online marketing tools vendor for small and midsize businesses. She is a frequent speaker at marketing conferences, such as Marketing Sherpa’s B2B Summit, the Online Marketing Summit national, virtual and upcoming regional conferences, as well as the upcoming Niche Digital Conference in Chicago this September. She founded the B2B Online Marketing group on LinkedIn, and is committed to providing information and tools that allow businesses to compete and win in their online marketing activities.
FTC Disclosure Notice: I have absolutely no financial relationship with Genoo whatsoever, and have not been compensated for this post in any way—other than hopefully getting a few retweets.