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Taylor Pratt – 2009 SEO Bracketologist Champ

This year one of my brackets was with a group of basketball-lovin’ search engine marketers. While I was pretty optimistic after the first weekend, my bracket melted pretty quickly. Taylor Pratt’s did not, however. Taylor is the Principal at Awesome SEO based in Austin, TX. Congratulations to Taylor for rockin’ his bracket and winning for the second straight year. Here’s a full list of the competition from Yahoo Sports. How did I do? Well, let’s just say I won’t be drafted for my bracketology insight anytime soon. I always seem to take Gonzaga a few picks too far. Oh well, one of these years it’ll happen.

We held Stephen Curry scoreless…

It’s the day before Thanksgiving and I feel like blogging about college basketball. I just saw an amazing story about the Davidson/Loyola of Maryland game that I may or may not try to relate to SEO. I’m sure many of you remember Davidson. Specifically, Stephen Curry, their sharp-shooting point guard that torched Gonzaga (and everyone else) in the tourney last year until they lost to Kansas, the eventual National Champions.

Anyway, Davidson beat Loyola of MD by thirty points last night. But here’s the thing… Stephen Curry didn’t score a point. Loyola played a triangle-and-2 defense the entire game (meaning that Stephen Curry had two players guarding him at all times, while the other three played zone). So what did he do?

He stood in the corner the entire game! With two players constantly guarding him at the corner, his team essentially had a 4-3 power play for 40 minutes. Talk about not seeing the basket through the trees! I don’t know what the Loyola coach was thinking. It’s one of the oddest strategies I’ve ever seen. There’s a really good write-up about the game on Rivals.

From an SEO perspective (come on, you knew I was going to wrap this into an SEO post) I see this all the time. People are always looking at their trophy phrases and saying “Yes, I’m #1 for my super cool search phrase. Awesome!” But that’s akin to being featured on SportsCenter. Is it super cool? Sure. Are you going to tell everyone you know to search your phrase so they can see you atop Google in all your glory? Absolutely. But, does it really help you win more business? Well,.. maybe. In some cases. But truly understanding your analytics really is the key to getting more clients. It’s just not as sexy. I doubt any of you are going to talk about long-tail organic search traffic, conversions, and bounce rates over Thanksgiving dinner with your family (And you shouldn’t, btw. I can tell you from experience).

Just know that understanding these metrics are what’s going to help you get through this troubled economy.

By the way, Gonzaga is playing in a stacked tournament (with Michigan State, Georgetown, and Tennessee to name a few) that starts tomorrow. This should really let us know if they’ve got what it takes for a deep run come March. Davidson will no doubt look for an encore performance this upcoming March.

I have so much to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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?