Search Marketing Goodness is now SEO-Harmony.com

Yo Peeps!

Yes, I’ve been radically behind on posts here at the wonderful world of wordpress.com, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy…

I’ve only posted a few times so far, but I guess I’m ready for visitors over at my new Search Engine Marketing Blog.

So please, friends – stop in and let me know you still care.

No worries though, if you’ve bookmarked any of this immensely valuable information. I’m leaving all the existing content here.

See ya on the flip side, yo.



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The Importance of Encouragement

Hello dear readers,

discouragedBeen super duper busy (nothing seems to change), but I feel I just have to throw something out – if no other reason than to get myself back on track here. By the way, I’m in the final stages of preparing my self hosted blog, more on that soon. Enough blabber, let’s get on with it.

We Work Hard.

While I certainly don’t speak for everyone, I’d like to think that most of us in this industry work pretty darn hard for our clients – often times going above and beyond scope to make sure our client’s campaigns are as successful as possible. I know for myself, a 50-60+ hour work week is the norm, and my wife has to tell me to stop working more than she should. Even still, I love what I do so much that I find myself researching blogs, reading marketing, copywriting or programming books and running experiments even during my free time. It’s hard to imagine a more exciting, or rewarding career.

Enter: The Jerk.

These people live to ruin your day. They show up around every corner – and their words or actions can cut deeper than any knife. One of the most telling examples of the power that ‘the jerk’ has was described by Muzz Skillings from the band Living Color. After being asked what it felt like to perform in front of 60,000+ screaming concertgoers as the opening act for the Rolling Stones, Muzz said (paraphrased):

All I remember was running across the stage from side to side, taking it all in while we played our songs – it was the greatest feeling in the world – until my eyes landed on someone 10-15 rows out on the stadium floor. He stood there unmoving, his hand raised, with his middle finger pointing straight up at me. Out of all those screaming fans, that’s what’s stuck in my head…

I’m wagering that you’ve been there before, also. Maybe you created a design that you were really proud of, only to have someone tell you it’s crap. Perhaps, despite your best efforts and hard work,  you failed – and then you were told how worthless you are. (geesh, that WOULD suck…I’m getting depressed here.) What I’m trying to say is this: negative comments can consume you and prevent you from trying to be great – if you let them.

What if…

But what if someone you respected came up to you today and told you how much you were appreciated – that they really like what you do, and said keep it up – how would that make you feel? The point is, even though most of us know that we can’t win every battle or please every person, we still WANT to know that someone appreciates us. I don’t care who you are, or what you do – everyone likes to hear some encouraging words. If you’ve ever had someone come along and say just the right thing at exactly the right time, you know exactly what I mean.

So here’s the skinny:

Today, this week, heck – even this month – try and encourage someone. If it’s a design you like, email the designer personally and let them know how great you think it is – if it’s a blogger you read a lot, or maybe just found – let them know something they said helped you, or that you think they’re really great and you just thought you’d tell them.  Even if don’t agree with what they say, instead of putting them down – provide some positive feedback and maybe direct them to some additional resources if their information is wrong. (note: stalking someone and showing up at their home to give them a hug may be going a bit too far, so try and use your best judgement.)

I’ll leave this post with a rather excellent quote from Jesse Jackson – “Never look down on somebody unless you’re helping them up.”

Now go do something wonderful today – I know you’ve got it in you.

pageTracker Page Names Showing as 404 Errors in Google Webmaster Tools

Is Google crawling the custom page names used in _trackPageview?

I noticed something a little alarming this morning when checking my client’s website stats in Google’s Webmaster Tools.
gwt screenshot of site errors

Ok, so I’ve got some links that don’t resolve on my site…big deal.

Not so fast! THESE links are outbound links, which I’m tracking using Google’s handy pageTracker._trackPageview script for their Analytics program. They’re not SUPPOSED to be crawling the custom made up name I’ve assigned the links…or so I thought.

Of course it’s possible something got modified, so I immediately check the source code of the site to make sure everything is still golden -

pageTracker code

btw, the end quote ARE there, you just can't see them because of the way it's highlighted.

Yep, everything looks right – so what’s going on? Is Google crawling these custom page names? Is this just a weird glitch? According to google, the implementation seems correct.

I should note that these errors just started appearing in November – google analytics is still showing the data, so the code’s not broken. Even still, I’d rather avoid the 404 errors.

The mystery deepens.

I did some quick searches to see if I’m the only one experiencing this issue, and it doesn’t look like it. I’d love to know if anyone else is experiencing this happening, and how you’ve resolved it – if you have. Let me know! Thanks!

Google Analytics Intelligence Feature Insights

google analytics intelligence dashboard menu

Google Analytics new intelligence feature is heaven sent.

The new intelligence option within your analytics account allows you to create non-destructive custom filters which are then immediately applied to both current andhistorical data.

This speeds up the analysis time immeasurably, as you no longer have to fumble through exporting data into separate spreadsheets and workbooks, refresh pivot tables, etc. to find the answers you’re looking for.

 

 

Google offers up some template starter alerts, which are fine if you only want to know if something horrible is happening, but creating a custom alert is so easy there really isn’t any excuse for not doing it.

You can only filter on 2 fields -

one dimension field:

dimension alert

dimension alert choices

and one metric field.

metrics

google alert metrics

but it does give you some pretty great info, for example:

google analytics custom report

google analytics intelligence report information

This comes in very handy if you’re running multiple campaigns across several different marketing channels, or you want to monitor changes in revenue from day to day from different visitor segments – there really is a lot you can do with this once you dig in.

And while this type of information is very nice, the frosting on top is this handy bar graph -

google analytics importance bar chart

This 'importance' bar graph helps you make sense of it all.

It’s too early for me to say how relevant this actually is, but the idea is solid. Get immediate insight into the data that matters. And you’re not limited to only daily alert views either, you can also choose weekly or monthly views – probably the better choice for analysis for most small to mid size companies running minor ad campaigns.

Gotta give some love to Google on this one.

The Amazing Power of the BASE Tag

I’m not one to normally get excited about HTML tags, but I’m making an exception in this case.

Raise your hand if you’ve heard of the <base>  tag.
Anyone, anyone?

Don’t feel bad, I didn’t either until today – but I’m going to show you why I think it’s so flippin cool, especially for those of us who work with complicated root structures and CMS frameworks.

The humble little base tag is handy for at least 2 purposes that I know of.
If you use it for something else, I’d love you to leave a comment and let me know.

What does the <base> tag do?

1. Setting a default target for any links, including pdf downloads, etc.. that you place on the page. If you tire of putting the ‘target=”_blank” attribute after all your links, this baby’s for you. Creating a consistent experience for your users will help to give them piece of mind before they go clicking around…

2. Setting a default base path for any href on the page. e.g. if you include <base href=”http://www.w3schools.com/images/&#8221; /> on your page, you no longer have to link to your images with that ‘/images/’ path, instead you can simply put <img src=”myImage.jpg” width=”20″ height=”20″ alt=”blahblahblah” /> and the image will appear like normal.

Now you may be saying, big deal – and maybe it’s NOT  a big deal for many people. But when you’re dealing with a backend where your links references look like this: “/Portals/7/tabid/articlebin/posts/images/image.jpg” or something similar, you’ll probably appreciate it much, much more. I often find myself opening another browser just so I can look at the image properties for a site I’m working on, to make sure I’m correct.

How to implement-

simply put the <base> tag in between the <head></head> section of your page like you would any other script or meta tag. (note: you’ll need to self close the tag if you’re using XHTML)

Here’s an example as shown on the w3c site:

<head>
<base href=”http://www.w3schools.com/images/&#8221; />
<base target=”_blank” />
</head>

<body>
<img src=”stickman.gif” />
<a href=”http://www.w3schools.com”>W3Schools</a&gt;
</body>

According to google, the <base> tag works fine with the new ‘rel=canonical’ tag also.  Note that if you click the image properties, the complete pathway will still be

All Your Marketing Belongs to Us

ftc_advertising_guidelinesThe new FTC ‘guidelines’ aren’t about consumer protection.


They’re about SELECTIVE discrimination by a government authority, and you DEFINITELY shouldn’t expect anything good to come from it.

Before I get into this, let me say that I 100% whole-heartedly agree with WOMMA’s code of ethics, even though I’m not an official member, and I don’t get paid to write about anything for this blog (not that I think there’s anything wrong with that). All thoughts are purely my own, except where I’ve linked to external sites, and I receive no revenue from adsense or other ads on this blog.  By the way, fruity pebbles is probably the BEST cereal ever. And nothing tastes better on EGGO waffles than JIF peanut butter. Suck on that FTC.

If the new Federal Trade Commission guidelines went into affect today, this is what would happen:

  • affiliate marketing will virtually die.
  • if you sell ads on your website, everything you say about everybody and everything will be analyzed – even if no one reads it.
  • if you blog about or recommend a product, you’d better make damn sure you have NO association with it – or be able to sufficiently document your substantiation for your claim.
  • word of mouth marketing (read:social media) will either be dominated by spam, or suck. probably both.
  • you’ll no longer get away with adding = ‘results not typical’ -type disclaimers anymore. Get used to ‘generally-expected-results”.
  • testimonials will virtually disappear
  • celebrities can be made liable for endorsements, so they’ll simply stop doing them.
  • web copy will SUCK – companies will be forced to sell on ‘features’ not ‘benefits’.
  • Even with a proper disclaimer, advertisers must have documented PROOF of what consumers can generally expect from their product.
  • Advertisers will be required to perform research to KNOW what consumers actually think after reading an ad – regardless of what the ad says.
  • Endorsements from Organizations will require ‘collective judgment of the organization.’
  • Traditional media reviews are somehow exempt from having to make disclosures for sponsored advertising messages. WTF?!!
  • If your company engages in ‘social media participation’ and an employee goes ‘rogue’ – law enforcement action may be considered.
  • Promoting your company’s or client’s products in forums without disclosure will be deemed deceptive and possibly warrant law enforcement action.

After reading the actual FTC guideline, it became pretty apparent to me that they couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the problems this causes for the majority of honest, hard-working marketers. Comment after comment from major advertising and marketing associations disputing sections of the guide are summarily rejected throughout the Commission’s guide. (Read pages 22-24 of the guidelines to understand how bad this will be.)

Here’s some particularly BAD guidelines:

Thus, when the ad just features “before” and “after” pictures with the caption “I lost 50
pounds in 6 months with WeightAway,” the ad is likely to convey that her experience is
representative of what consumers will generally achieve.  Therefore, if consumers cannot36
generally expect to achieve such results, the ad should clearly and conspicuously disclose what
they can expect to lose in the depicted circumstances (e.g., “most women who use WeightAway
for 6 months lose at least 15 pounds”).  Similarly, if the testimonialist in an ad with those two
pictures simply says, “I lost 50 pounds with WeightAway” without any mention of how long it
took to achieve those results, and WeightAway users generally do not lose 50 pounds, the ad
should disclose what results they do generally achieve (e.g., “most women who use WeightAway
lose 15 pounds”).

Pop Question!

Can I also say “most women who only lost 15 pounds using WeightAway didn’t follow our recommended program, which included a diet and exercise plan. Those who did lost an average of 50 pounds during that same time period!!” ?

Answer: Nope – diet and exercise is too vague. geesh.

There are SOME things in the new FTC guidelines that do make sense, though.

Expert endorsements – where some weight loss (or similar product) finds a ‘doctor’ (who’s really a veteranarian or something like that) to endorse their product will be regulated by these endorsements as well. No problem, that’s what the FTC is supposed to do.

Disclosure from individuals engaged in blogging or product marketing who receive free products from advertisers. Again, I have no problem here- openess and honesty is the name of the game. Just because someone receives money or products for review doesn’t mean I won’t value their opinion. That’s what review sites are about – oh wait, I forgot that they’ll be disappearing.

Movie commercials that show film critics review excerpts like – “It’ll knock your socks off!” won’t fly anymore if the original review said “It’ll knock your socks off and you’ll vomit all over yourself because this movie is so bad.”  It’ll be interesting to see how they handle this – guess it’ll just be ‘thumbs up or down’ or ’4 out of 5 stars’.

Final Thoughts:

All in all, these guidelines are a joke. Endorsements in particular are very confusing – Tiger Woods hitting a Titleist golf ball, but never holds one up or talks about it  - is an endorser. Star Jones picks up a bottle of diet coke and says she drinks it because it has fewer calories than regular coke – is not.  huh?

Companies that come out with a ‘new and improved version’ or a different formula for a product that’s already been endorsed will be required to contact anyone who endorses their product in an advertisement and make sure that they still agree to the claims they made about their product now that it’s changed. – seriously?!

By the way, what is a NET IMPRESSION CONSUMER?

How to Sell Your Boss (or Clients) on Social Media

This is the best presentation on Social Media buy-in I’ve seen yet.

I don’t typically just repost other people’s content, but in this case, I don’t really have anything else to add.
I think these excellent presentation slides on Social Media ROI speak for themselves.

Here’s the link to Olivier’s actual video presentation on Social Media ROI.
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