Awesome Analytics, Local Search, SEO, Social Media, & Converstion Rate Optimization Info

A big thank you to The Spokane Club and everyone that attended my presentation earlier this week at their Networking Breakfast! I really appreciated your questions, engagement, and enthusiasm. As I mentioned during our session, I want to provide additional resources for you to continue your education in the ways of analytics, SEO, local search, social media, and conversion rate testing. We covered a lot of topics in a short period of time and as a follow-up I wanted to create an awesome resource library for you. Now it’s time for you to choose your own Internet marketing adventure and learn from the best and brightest in the industry.

ANALYTICS, ANALYTICS, ANALYTICS
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As I’m sure you recall from my presentation, I hammered home the importance of understanding analytics. I’m not talking about “reporting” or “monthly reports” for your boss. I’m talkin’ about kick-butt, actionable analytics that teach, provide valuable insight, and inspire action. What’s workin,’ baby? What does the data tell us today? This higher level of attention to your data is not optional… if you want your business to succeed. You must “know thy data.” Here’s how:

Occam’s Razor – Awesome analyics blog from Avinash Kaushik
Web Analytics an Hour a Day – Great introduction to actionable analytics (also from Avinash)
Google Analytics Blog - Resource for understanding Google Analytics (beginner & advanced)
Google Analytics Videos - Educational videos that show how to use Google Analytics
Conversion University – A curriculum of analytics video tutorals
Analytics 2.0 [The Art of Online Accountability & Science of Customer Centricity] (Thanks Avinash!)

MAKE SURE YOUR WEB SITE CONVERTS TRAFFIC

I think it’s great when companies embrace new technologies and ways of thinking. Social media has taken the Internet marketing world by storm and generated all kinds of buzz (much of it well deserved) this year. However, I’m always wary of what I call the “Shiny Penny Syndrome.” It’s a condition where companies throw resources at the latest and greatest marketing techniques without testing and tracking what the shiny penny actually does. I’ve also seen companies completely stop doing what works (like email marketing) just because it doesn’t have that new marketing smell.

Don’t Make Me Think – Great read (really fast, too) about web site usability
Conversion Rate Experts – UK company focused solely on conversion rate optimization
108 Ways to Improve Conversion Rates (from Conversion Rate Experts)
Google Web Site Optimizer Blog (The Official Optimizer Blog)
Always Be Testing - Great book for learning A/B & Multivariate testing
Marketing Experiments – I love these guys. Their webcasts rock!

LOCAL SEARCH = LOW HANGING FRUIT

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As an Internet marketer I’m always looking for the low-hanging fruit–”the best bang-for-the-buck in the shortest period of time. And for most small and medium businesses that’s Local Search. Like I mentioned before, this doesn’t mean you stop doing everything else and go local only. It means that it’s time for a dedicated local search strategy to compliment your existing marketing efforts. Learn more from these experts:

David Mihm – Portland, OR Local Search expert & designer
2009 Local Search Ranking Factors – I’m proud to be a contributor to this research project :)
Mary Bowling – Denver, CO Local Search expert
Understanding Google Maps & Local Search – For those that want details, details, details.
Small Business SEM – Local Search + SMB Advice = Awesome!
Miriam Ellis – San Francisco, CA Local Search expert & designer
Chris Silver Smith – Cartographer & Local Search expert. Again, for folks that want the technical details.

ORGANIC SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)

There is a lot of information out there about SEO. In fact, there is so much information that it’s tough to know where you should even begin. These folks provide the best information and their content is always up to date.

SEOmoz - Free and premium levels of membership – Both are great!
SEO Book – Again, free and premium levels of membership – Great as well
Search Engine Journal - Free SEO content from a variety of SEO experts – including me starting next month
Search Engine Land - Center of the universe for all things search – Look through the categories
Vanessa Fox – She has an uncanny ability to explain complex details in very simple terms
Rand Fishkin’s HostingCon Preso – Awesome SEO explanation (and motivation for my art project)

BUT WHAT ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA?

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about social media. Remember, this socia media stuff is new for everybody so the importance of testing and learning from data is paramount. I think this bit of reading will provide good insight for you.

Outspoken Media - More than social media, but they cover it very well. Many good social media posts here.
Copyblogger – Read Copyblogger now! Writing is so freakin’ important. This is one of my favorite blogs!
7 Harsh Realities of Social Media Marketing – Great new post from Copyblogger
Trackur - Cool way to track social media mentions & reputation
Samepoint – See all mentions of your name or company online. A very cool social media monitoring tool.
5 Facebook Case Studies – Yes, 5 real case studies about marketing with FB.
Twitter, Tacos, & Trucks – The Story of Kogi Bar-B-Que

LIKE I SAID,… WHAT MATTERS IS HOW IT HELPS YOUR BUSINESS
Here’s an example from the presentation. I know it’s hard to believe,… but I didn’t even go to art school!
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WANT MORE INFORMATION? HAVE QUESTIONS? COMMENTS? JUST LET ME KNOW.

Please feel from to leave a comment below, send an email, or contact me at my office (509-456-4350).

ESPN Pulls Link to UConn/Syracuse Game

Media companies are funny.

They want the traffic from social media sources, and offer up embedded links to their videos and content in hopes that it creates a viral following. That is, until they get something that is insanely popular.

Then, they throw a temper tantrum and yell, “Mine, mine, mine!”

That’s what ESPN just pulled with their own video recap of the UConn vs Syracuse 6 OT game in the Big East Tournament. I watched the video this morning, and noticed they provided an embedded link in the video and posted it to my web site (giving full credit to ESPN as well as an additional link to the full story).

Now the video is pulled due to the popularity of the clip. Sure, you can still get it at ESPN, but they radically changed their sharing policy once they realized it was a good clip.

Lame, lame, lame!

Not that ESPN cares about what I think about their sharing policy, but it’s just not a good practice. If they genuinely want to engage in social media and have people participate in the conversation they need to keep a consistent policy and go with it.

My 2 cents.

Rant over.

Want to go Viral? Have Great Content

I’ve been in a lot of meeting where executives want to go “viral.” They want a video so popular that it’s forwarded all around the world and their brand becomes recognized overnight. There’s one little bitty problem with this boardroom request:

It’s really hard to do.

Why? Well, the content can’t just be good, it’s gotta be freakin’ great! People have to want to forward it to all of their friends and colleagues. That requires amazing content. What constitutes great content? It could be funny, unique, surprising, or any number of attributes that warrant telling people about. In my example above, it’s a streetballer completely dominating a current NBA point guard in a game of 1 on 1 while wearing jeans, a sweater, and loafers. OK, so there’s a bit of background on the guy. He happens to be a semi-retired hustler from the UK, but it’s still a great video that I have forwarded to several of my friends. It’s authentic, funny, and in this case something that many amatuer athletes have dreamed about doing just once: schooling a pro on the playground.

In the SEO world it’s called LinkBait. Is your content good enough for someone else to link to? Does it answer their questions, provide good resources, or just make them laugh? While generally easier to accomplish than creating viral media, it still requires someone to believe that your content is worth recommending. An inbound link is an endorsements of content. Is yours worthy?