Internet Marketing Basics: Lessons in SEO From Where’s Waldo

Internet Marketing Basics: Lessons in SEO From Where’s Waldo

Back when I was a kid, a series of books came out that taught me everything I ever needed to know about Search Engine Optimization. Where’s Waldo had page after page of crowded pictures, huge, epic scenes with lots of action, all intended to hide a single, red and white stripped character: Waldo. I spent hours scanning those pages, trying to figure out the puzzle and find Waldo faster. Little did I know that twenty-five years later I would use the lessons from Where’s Waldo to better understand SEO. Think Like Google: Don’t Hide Your Website The Waldo books worked by hiding Waldo in big tableus and forcing you to find him. Similarly, by virtue of its sheer size, the Internet hides your website: visitors either have to know the link to your site or find it by searching.  When they do search, chances are they will go to Google to do it, so knowing how Google works will give you an advantage in getting your website found. Google is the biggest search engine in the world. As of July 2012, Google accounted for 87.6% of all searches globally, meaning that almost 9 out of 10  people start their search for information by going to Google. Social networking has certainly diversified the way we search, however a 2011 study found that 58% of users first turn to search engines before going onto social media, and that 42% who start with social media eventually turn to search engines. So, whether users start their search with Google or confirm findings with Google, learning how to think like Google should be a TOP...

From Great Barbers to Baristas: Measuring the ROI of Community

“What’s the ROI of social media?” It’s the loaded question that executives get to ask when they don’t want to stick their necks out to try something that might just change their business (if they do it right). At the end of they day they have to justify making the investment in time, money and manpower, so being able to get a quick and quantifiable answer to the ROI question when creating and engaging customers in online communities becomes an obsession for many of them. Now, I’m not going to go the Gary Vaynerchuk route and ask: “what’s the ROI of your mother?” He tells a very funny story about saying that very answer to a corporate executive who kept hounding him on the ROI question, but Gary was not meaning to make a crack at actually mother with that answer. Rather he soug to hammer home the point that measuring valuable relationships can’t always be done in a sterile and statistical corporate manner because results can be misleading. Often the impact of certain actions and the care shown in the short term do not yield an immediate payout, rather they shape the entire course of an earned relationship over the long. To illustrate this further I want you to think about barbers and baristas. You ever have a really great barber or hair stylist? Someone who hit the right balance of making you look good, caring enough to remember stuff about you, and knowing when to be chatty and when to let you enjoy the shampoo? Your repeat and dedicated business to that salon is a certainty. You...
The Ultimate Guide to Mind Maps and Mind Mapping Tools

The Ultimate Guide to Mind Maps and Mind Mapping Tools

What Are Mind Maps? Mind Maps are a way of visually organizing information that help you identify and understand the structure of a subject at a glance. They allow you to create logical connections between concepts that show how pieces of information fit together, providing you with a “map” of your ideas, processes, and concepts. You can use mind maps for many things such as outlining presentations, ebooks, and content plans, engaging in logical problem solving, and mapping out user experiences online and in the real world. Popularized by British psychologist Tony Buzan, mind maps differ from conventional note taking or planning by presenting a non-linear form, which is moe akin to brain storming and the way the mind creates. Buzan posits that mind mapping is the most superior form of note taking because it helps avoid the “semi-hypnotic trance” state that other methods induce, i.e., it’s a lot less boring to use than Word. According to Wikipedia: Buzan also argues that the mind map uses the full range of left and right human cortical skills, balances the brain, taps into the alleged “99% of your unused mental potential”, as well as intuition (which he calls “superlogic”). Whether or not mind maps unlock the brain’s full potential, they offer a useful tool to the content creator and marketer alike. Mind Mapping Best Practices There is no “right way” to do mind maps. By definition then are a free form medium, but there are some suggested best practices to help make your mind maps more effective. When considering using mind maps, be aware of this basic terminology: Branch: refers to the lines sprouting out...

The Secret to Doing What You Want in Life

I have a friend who likes to wear button down shirts. He’s a clean cut looking guy but inside lives a Hell’s Angel. Before he ever moved to Israel, started a family, and began a boring career in computers (or some other vanilla profession), this guy used to be biker. He had long hair and a leather jacket, spent many nights just riding the southern highways of the United States of America. Today he is trapped. We had a conversation a few weeks ago that went something like this: “I’m still looking for work,” he said. “What do you do?” I asked. He told me passionlessly about whatever boring profession he calls his last job. “What do you love to do?” “Work on Harleys,” he said without thinking twice. “So why don’t you do that?” I asked. He launched into a long story about how there’s one place that services Harleys in Israel, and it’s up north, and he didn’t really think he could get the job, and … After enough excuses it all just seems like noise anyway. His story stuck with me though. Here was a guy who knew and could readily admit what he loved doing, which  puts him ahead of 90% of the people out there who don’t even know what their passions are, yet he still found reasons to lie to himself about why he couldn’t go after his dream. What killed me was that he’s telling me this while UNEMPLOYED! At least if he had a job with a comfortable security coming in I’d understand. The sad fact is that my friend is...

Congratulations, but I Had to Find Out on FACEBOOK!?!

The phone calls started about 10 minutes after the posting, one after the other. At 6pm Israel time today, about 8 minutes after my wife gave birth to our third child (a healthy baby girl) I posted a status on my Facebook page from my iPhone: “Welcome to the world JM3. Now what should we call you little girl?” Within 10 minutes there were 9 comments and 3 likes. Then Allison called. “Congratulations,” she said. “But I’m watching your kids, and I had to find out on Facebook!?!” I laughed, and she said, “come on, I know you’re a social media guy and all, but come on.” It’s amazing how my first instinct was to announce the baby on Facebook. What’s more amazing is the power of the network demonstrated by my doing so. Instead of the frantic phone calls to everyone we know to tell them the good new, I posted in ONE PLACE and they came to me. Then I uploaded pictures to Facebook straight from my phone and there is a nice exchange going on there right now about her. All our friends and family half a world away, able to participate in this joy with us virtually. Want to get in on it?  Check out my Facebook page and leave a...

Putting Mom on Facebook: Brilliant or Social Media Suicide?

“What’s this Facebook?” my mom asked, way back in March 2009. “It’s a social networking site online,” I said.  “Why?”  She went on to tell me about a conversation she recently had with a distant relative through marriage.  My mom was telling this person the latest news about my 2-month old son, Gilad.  The distant relative through marriage responded, “oh I know.  And aren’t those pictures of him in that little tuxedo the cutest?”  Mom hadn’t seen those pictures b/c we hadn’t printed them out yet.  We don’t like sending photos via email b/c the files are big and clog up Inboxes (a pet peeve of mine).  The distant relative through marriage, however, had seen them on my wife’s Facebook page, which incidentally was the easiest place for us to post them. “Why do I have to hear about my Grandson from her?” she asked.  “I’m the Grandma!” “You should set up a profile,” I said. “Oh no,” she said, “I don’t want my information out there …”  And there it was: the digital divide.  It reminded me of the bad press about pitbulls; great dogs when trained right despite their potential for great harm.  Online networks are the same thing, powerful tools with the potential to make our lives easier and better when used correctly. What my mom and other traditional communicators (as well as some over-enthusiastic Millenials) have trouble with in the online era is that your information is likely out there anyway (credit reports, mailing lists, billing information, most of which is stored and transfered online).  Web 2.0 acculturation just puts the dissemination control in your...