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Archive for the ‘SEO/SMM’ Category

SubmitEdge Scam Followup

Posted by mandyf on May 7, 2013

After a recent post regarding the scams being tun by “SEO” Company”SubmitEdge”, we’ve had brief contact with someone claiming to be a part of SubmitEdge who tried to defend their business and practices as well as new information about what is happening behind the scenes at the business. Rather than having any fears put to rest or any actual useful information to clear the SubmitEdge name, it just gets worse. My recent interactions regarding them for this followup did nothing but paint a picture of a company in disarray that not only screws over clients, but their own employees past and present.

We recently learned that SubmitEdge is alleged to have outsourced the online and phone support based in the US to a call center in either India or Pakistan. That could not be confirmed however as Company head Honcho Richi Modi either doesn’t read his email or refuses to answer queries regarding the sweeping changes his business is undergoing. Outsourcing is the right of every business, however, SubmitEdge has their head so far up their ass, to this point they can’t do that right even.

SubmitEdge portrays that they have representatives located in the US, however we learned that for 6 years they had only one representative in the US who basically did nothing but handle complaints from dissatisfied customers. They claim a base of US operations in Texas, yet the address they use is a letter drop that no one picks up from and their representative that was in Texad has been some thousand miles away from there nearly twoe years.

Speaking of which, we gleaned from some posts regarding SubmitEdge circulating Facebook, that particular employee was released from the company afyer 6 years of service via a two line email with no severance or warning on a Monday afternoon. SubmitEdge did allegedly pay a one week severance eventually after being shamed into it according to the posts we saw.

A week later, however, we saw that they still expected their recently released former employee to shill for them and fix their customer service problems. SubmitEdge uses a rather antiquated IVR system, from what we could gather, which they left on. What that did was cause all calls to continue to go through to the home office phone number of their released employee and at the time of writing this, it is still happening. According to a Facebook post we saw on 5/5/13, said former employee submitted a bill to SubmitEdge for the inconvenience and their failure to re-route calls to their new call center – which according to what we found through several phone calls is not actually in use yet. So far, Rich Modi, his deputy Govinde, and all other employees refuse to acknowledge or pay the invoice.

According to the same post, when the former employee contacted Sid at SubmitEdge about the calls coming through, his answer to the problem was “If calls are coming in, then do not answer your phone.” Not that they would fix the problem or that they would honor the invoice or even any civility. After a few more calls testing their phone system and online chat services, we learned that they do not have a UK office either. It’s another mail drop and the calls that go there are calls rerouted from The number for the US which aren’t answered. Only 2 times in 10, did an actual person answer and when they did, their representative, once again Sid, could not answer any questions about their service packages correctly and simply kept referring me to their website while reminding me to only speak to him on live chat so he could get his commission. To say he lacked knowledge and was pushy is an understatement.

When the calls were not answered, they went to a voicemail and none of those calls have been returned yet. Through further investigation, we also learned that a number of Euro based banks are refusing to honor or placing a hold on all payments through them to SubmitEdge based on the irregularly high amount of charge-backs lodged against them for failure to provide services or substandard services. In the US, we cannot conform the same, but found plenty of complaints from former customers and non-customers as well concerning compromised banking data and stolen credit cards (including a US Gov. credit card) being used to purchase services without confirming identity of the person placing the order.

As far as contact we did have with SubmitEdge directly related to our last post, we received a comment from  a person named “Jim” from a rand new WordPress account that had no activity but the comment on this blog stating that SubmitEdge was a most honorable company with goodly intentions and the best customer satisfaction and services in the SEO industry, When I asked if the actual author was Sid or Danny, two known SubmitEdge employees, sent by Richi Modi or Govinde, the comment and account disappeared.

But it comes back to the question – is SubmitEdge a scam? Definitely yes and no. No so far as some people do get some services and if all you want is poorly written content submitted to their own directories with tons of backlinks from their own blogs and a few bookmarking sites, they are not a scam. They are a scam, however, so far as they completely misrepresent their abilities, locations, employees, timetables for delivery, where you get links from, human vs automated submission, quality of work, durability of links, customer satisfaction, never having customers penalized or sandboxed or genuine reviews as they paid for those they have. They also outsourced all their onsite blog writing until recently and use that as an example of the quality level of writing they have while actually delivering content from ESL writers.

But hey, Google SumitEdge on it’s own and you’ll see scam reports everywhere. Buyer be warned.

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How to improve your use of keywords for online writing

Posted by mandyf on September 29, 2012

Using keywords in online writing is for many people a fact of life, however not everyone is sure how to use them correctly, or even what good keywords are. While writing online is not the same for every individual as some are just looking for an outlet to get their wrok read and others are writing to earn money while being read, proper keyword usage is essential to those looking to generate income. While courses an countless keyword analytic tools are available to writers, some free and some not, and there are hundreds of websites offering a huge diversity and help and advice, some good and some bad, hopefully when you finish reading this article you will have some effective simple tools to improve your keyword usage and help raise your income.

Keeping things very simple to start, a keyword is a word used to search for information which relates to a topic. A keyword phrase is a combination of two words used to carry out the same task, and long tail keywords are phrases that consist of three to four words which lead a searcher to a very specific piece of information.

Deciding which is best for you is up to you, however long tail keywords are usually the best. To help demonstrate this, let’s look at the following example. Suppose you are writing an article about your hair salon and want to use good keywords to help increase traffic as much as possible.

Salon, is a keyword which does aptly describe your business, but when you google the word salon, you can expect about 138 million results to return. That is obviously too broad to do you much good.

Your next step is to try a keyword phrase, in this case “hair salon” will be the example we use. When you google that, the results cut down dramatically to about 26.5 million returns. While that is more specific, it is also still quite a mountain to try to climb to be seen amongst the competition.

Finally you will move to trying a long tail keyword. It’s been established you have a hair salon, but what else is there about it that can help narrow the field? Let’s say your hair salon targets women, adding that to create “women’s hair salon” would cut the search results to about 1.15 million returns. Still you can do better.

Adding in a fourth word is when you really narrow the field down and give yourself the best opportunity to be found without creating too long of a phrase that becomes annoyingly repetitive to the reader. Let’s suppose your salon is located in Muncie, Indiana. Rather than add Indiana to the phrase, try Muncie which is far more specific. The resultant return is about 37,500. If you really want to get very niche, and for a moment let’s say your salon is targeted at African American women, add “black” to the phrase to help keep it as compact as possible, creating the phrase “Black women’s hair Muncie”, your search result is about 5,300 returns which means you have hit a specific niche and have a very reasonable chance to quickly climb the search results ladder.

The advantage of a long tail keyword is not only that it is nice, but each individual component of the keyword will still potentially get you returns, just to a much lesser degree due to the overwhelming competition. Now that you have an idea of what keywords are and how they work, how do you know which ones are the best for you to use in your writing?

One possibility is you can subscribe to a service which will tell you what the hottest keywords are, but regardless of the economy, who wants to spend money when you can get something for free? Luckily there are sites that are free and will help you decided what the best long tail  keyword phrases are for you to use in your article. Free Keywords Tracker is a particularly helpful site that fits just this need.

This time let’s suppose you are writing an article about the nutritional value of the food on the Taco Bell menu. The initial phrase you identify to use in your article is “Taco Bell nutrition.” To see how effective that phrase is you go to Free Keyword Tracker, put that in the search bar, and process the return. Your first thought is, “Hey I can do that with Google!”, which you can, but what Google won’t do that this site will is tell you that the particular phrase you chose has 156 searches, and a broader option is “Taco Bell nutrition facts” which hits 865 searches, as and that a longer tail key phrase like “Taco Bell nutrition menu” returns 3 search results.

Why information like that is important is that you will be given several related long tail keyword phrases that are specifically related to your topic. The more of these phrases you can use the better your search results can potentially be. Not only that, you have effective keyword phrases you can use that pack a punch, but don’t make your article read in a droning repetitive manner that looks as though you just crammed it full of keywords. There are plenty of sites offering similar services for free, this is simply one that has been found to be very user friendly, and as important, free.

The second thing you want to look at when you have your article written and your keywords in place is keyword density. This is exactly what it sounds like in that keyword density tools provide you with a specific percentage that reflects in what proportion your keywords or keyword phrases appear in your article. While there are paysites available that will allow you to put in a dozen or so keywords at a time for a density analysis, Live Keyword Analysis is free and does the same job with the only difference being it limits you to checking three keyword phrases at a time.

While writing SEO friendly copy is hardly mandatory and not attractive to everyone, for people that want to earn money with their writing strong SEO skills is the name of the game and the difference between having an article that may earn you .50 each month and a few to several dollars each month if you pay particular attention to it.

Posted in SEO/SMM | Leave a Comment »

How to improve your use of keywords for online writing

Posted by mandyf on July 13, 2012

Using keywords in online writing is for many people a fact of life, however not everyone is sure how to use them correctly, or even what good keywords are. While writing online is not the same for every individual as some are just looking for an outlet to get their wrok read and others are writing to earn money while being read, proper keyword usage is essential to those looking to generate income. While courses an countless keyword analytic tools are available to writers, some free and some not, and there are hundreds of websites offering a huge diversity and help and advice, some good and some bad, hopefully when you finish reading this article you will have some effective simple tools to improve your keyword usage and help raise your income.

Keeping things very simple to start, a keyword is a word used to search for information which relates to a topic. A keyword phrase is a combination of two words used to carry out the same task, and long tail keywords are phrases that consist of three to four words which lead a searcher to a very specific piece of information.

Deciding which is best for you is up to you, however long tail keywords are usually the best. To help demonstrate this, let’s look at the following example. Suppose you are writing an article about your hair salon and want to use good keywords to help increase traffic as much as possible.

Salon, is a keyword which does aptly describe your business, but when you Google the word salon, you can expect about 138 million results to return. That is obviously too broad to do you much good.

Your next step is to try a keyword phrase, in this case “hair salon” will be the example we use. When you Google that, the results cut down dramatically to about 26.5 million returns. While that is more specific, it is also still quite a mountain to try to climb to be seen amongst the competition.

Finally you will move to trying a long tail keyword. It’s been established you have a hair salon, but what else is there about it that can help narrow the field? Let’s say your hair salon targets women, adding that to create “women’s hair salon” would cut the search results to about 1.15 million returns. Still you can do better.

Adding in a fourth word is when you really narrow the field down and give yourself the best opportunity to be found without creating too long of a phrase that becomes annoyingly repetitive to the reader. Let’s suppose your salon is located in Muncie, Indiana. Rather than add Indiana to the phrase, try Muncie which is far more specific. The resultant return is about 37,500. If you really want to get very niche, and for a moment let’s say your salon is targeted at African American women, add “black” to the phrase to help keep it as compact as possible, creating the phrase “Black women’s hair Muncie”, your search result is about 5,300 returns which means you have hit a specific niche and have a very reasonable chance to quickly climb the search results ladder.

The advantage of a long tail keyword is not only that it is nice, but each individual component of the keyword will still potentially get you returns, just to a much lesser degree due to the overwhelming competition. Now that you have an idea of what keywords are and how they work, how do you know which ones are the best for you to use in your writing?

One possibility is you can subscribe to a service which will tell you what the hottest keywords are, but regardless of the economy, who wants to spend money when you can get something for free? Luckily there are sites that are free and will help you decided what the best long tail  keyword phrases are for you to use in your article. Free Keywords Tracker is a particularly helpful site that fits just this need.

This time let’s suppose you are writing an article about the nutritional value of the food on the Taco Bell menu. The initial phrase you identify to use in your article is “Taco Bell nutrition.” To see how effective that phrase is you go to Free Keyword Tracker, put that in the search bar, and process the return. Your first thought is, “Hey I can do that with Google!”, which you can, but what Google won’t do that this site will is tell you that the particular phrase you chose has 156 searches, and a broader option is “Taco Bell nutrition facts” which hits 865 searches, as and that a longer tail key phrase like “Taco Bell nutrition menu” returns 3 search results.

Why information like that is important is that you will be given several related long tail keyword phrases that are specifically related to your topic. The more of these phrases you can use the better your search results can potentially be. Not only that, you have effective keyword phrases you can use that pack a punch, but don’t make your article read in a droning repetitive manner that looks as though you just crammed it full of keywords. There are plenty of sites offering similar services for free, this is simply one that has been found to be very user friendly, and as important, free.

The second thing you want to look at when you have your article written and your keywords in place is keyword density. This is exactly what it sounds like in that keyword density tools provide you with a specific percentage that reflects in what proportion your keywords or keyword phrases appear in your article. While there are paysites available that will allow you to put in a dozen or so keywords at a time for a density analysis, Live Keyword Analysis is free and does the same job with the only difference being it limits you to checking three keyword phrases at a time.

While writing SEO friendly copy is hardly mandatory and not attractive to everyone, for people that want to earn money with their writing strong SEO skills is the name of the game and the difference between having an article that may earn you .50 each month and a few to several dollars each month if you pay particular attention to it.

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How your company’s search ranking can affect new and continued business

Posted by mandyf on July 6, 2012

There are multiple ways in which a company’s ongoing business is affected by their search engine ranking. In these modern times, more and more people turn to the web for their information making it imperative that any business have a presence there. The problem for most companies however is that a mere presence for the sake of just that isn’t enough – they need a strong on-line presence which portrays them as being ahead of the competition. It doesn’t matter if a business conducts business via the web or not, these days every business needs to be out there.

Let’s begin by first looking at a business that does not use the web to actually physically conduct business and why a web presence is important. Consider that people more and more are turning to the Internet to search for everything from niche stores to restaurants that deliver food. A perfect example may be a person at home that wants a meal delivered but isn’t positive of exactly what they want, just that it’s not pizza they crave. They can sit at their computer, type in a quick search like “Roxbury restaurants delivery” to get a listing of what is available in the area.

Most people will skip the Yellow Pages entries as they could just as easily open a phone book for that if it was what they desired. What they see about three entries down begins a string of anywhere from several to many entries of restaurants that deliver in Roxbury. Most of these are sites featuring individual restaurants providing full menus, delivery area, hours, etc… If a restaurant isn’t there or ranks way down at the bottom, they may as well not exist almost. Their competition has beaten them to the punch. They have expanded their potential customer base and may even find them self getting good feedback on other sites like Yahoo local guides which propel them even further ahead. This impacts their business immediately and long term.

For a company that does all or part of their sales on-line having a good search ranking is vital. As in the above example the earlier a business appears the better. Early exposure often leads to more sales. It portrays an image of affluence and quality. The only difference from the above example is the product. Why is this true?

This axiom holds true for a number reasons, number one is it is more likely if a business appears in the top thirty listed it has an increased chance of being viewed. This happens for three reasons, one is that people tire of wading through page after page listings. A second way is that as cited above a high search ranking provides a level of comfort, on a very real psychological level we take comfort in a business that appears high in rankings. The third way this is upheld is that on many occasions a person will only scan the first few listings and then make a purchase without exploring any further.

While that has an instant impact on a business via the sale made or at the very least raising their name recognition, it also has a long term payoff. That comes in the fact that if a person buys from a business once and has a good experience it is likely they will get return business plus some added perks. The biggest perk is people talk. Word of mouth advertising is free and highly effective. A case in point is I once purchased a very unique purse on-line everyone seemed to fall in love with and asked about. I gave them the name of the site I found it at, which incidentally ranked number three on the search I conducted, and within several weeks about a half dozen people I knew had made purchases from them, and we all became repeat customers.

it is quite evident that a web presence is important, but more important is a strong search ranking. A strong search ranking gives a business maximum exposure and the best odds of immediate business with the bonus of building a stable long term customer base. Quite frankly for a business that does not have at least a moderate search ranking they are missing the boat.

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How to create income with personal branding

Posted by mandyf on July 3, 2012

Personal branding is a very simple concept that can go a significantly long way towards improving your income. A decade or so ago personal branding was not a concept that could be reasonably or even realistically attained by most people, but thanks to the rise of technology now everyone has a chance to increase the value of their personal branding and use that heightened exposure and respect to catapult their earnings to the next level. While this article will focus on personal external branding on the web, the best thing about personal branding is that when employed correctly it applies to your professional potential in a blanket manner.

In the simplest of terms, personal branding is the marketing of yourself in the same manner you would market a product. A well marketed person, like a product, has a broad appeal and solid reputation which creates demand. The laws of supply and demand are in your favor with personal branding, because no matter how great the demand is, there is only one you! There may be people that imitate your style, but a quality original is always in the greatest demand.

The first step to effective personal branding is finding your niche and becoming an established respected leader in that area. While that sounds hard to do, and it does take work, it is not impossible. Identify your strength and build upon it. The best avenue to explore first is seeing if you can find some way to get paid for sharing your passion which also matches your self impression and how people perceive you. Say for instance you and your peers see you as the “know it all” when it comes Barbie dolls, this an easy example to use to examine personal branding. While it may seem odd, marketing yourself as the ultimate resource of Barbie doll knowledge could be a viable personal brand.

Now that you have identified your niche identify a strategy to market yourself as the Barbie doll expert. Begin searching the web to assess your competition in the field. Examine how they are marketing their knowledge and then identify any platforms they have missed or ignored. Next take a good look at the mediums they do use to share their knowledge and identify ways to improve on their delivery system. The third step is to identify a place that will allow you the opportunity to build and establish your reputation as the the ultimate source for all things related to Barbie. A perfect example of how to begin building your reputation in this area of knowledge would be using a blog which could allow you nearly unlimited opportunities to share much of what you know while getting paid to do it. This allows you to brand yourself as an expert in that community on the topic of Barbie dolls and to transport that reputation to other mediums.

Transporting that reputation is the key. You have to be diligent in marketing yourself, and do not be shy about about bragging of your knowledge, without being arrogant of course. Use social book marking sites to spread your knowledge, and more importantly your name. Launch a blog, and even perhaps your own website to further enhance your visibility. The more places people see your name associated to the Barbie doll brand, the more you will be associated with the image of being a leader in that area of knowledge.

While marketing yourself as a Barbie expert, flat out market yourself as a person as well. Don’t present yourself as what you are not, but again don’t be shy about tooting your own horn. If you have other areas of expertise let people know about it! Let people see how many different resources cite your knowledge as an expert in your chosen fields of knowledge. This is important because the next step is cashing in.

Once you have established your personal brand as the expert on all things Barbie, use that reputation to get monetized. There are several ways to accomplish this.

One option is to offer your services in regards to this expertise to the highest bidder. Believe it or not, there are plenty of outlets that will pay for the ability to present an expert on almost anything.

Sell people the right to be associated to you. If you build a blog or site which becomes recognized as one of the leaders in any area of knowledge you can transcend traditional advertising and enter the world or truly targeted sponsorship. There are plenty of companies that are more than willing to pay quite well to have their brand associated to your personal brand if you are a recognized leader in a specific area of knowledge.

Use your reputation as an expert in one area to expand to being recognized as a more broadly versed expert. Again, using the Barbie example, ask yourself why stop there? Expand to encompass all dolls of an era, genre, manufacturer, or anything you feel you have the ability to realistically handle and maintain your excellent reputation. When you expand you already have a fan base of which a portion is likely to follow you in whatever direction you choose. The second benefit is you already have contacts

that you can tap to build an immediate commercial revenue base. If you have made money for someone on one project it is likely they will gamble on you again.

Market your knowledge in multiple mediums. As with this Barbie example, personal branding is focused on a web presence. but that need not be the ceiling. Use your personal brand to expand. Consider marketing your knowledge in a book, make yourself available as a speaker at doll shows, even an appraiser or authenticator of Barbie dolls and accessories. The point is that you have numerous ways to make your personal work for you in a monetary sense.

While this is a very basic example of how to self brand yourself it is highly effective. Everyday their are people on the web who employ personal branding techniques to launch or expand vehicles to realize their economic potential. While some people are content to build a fair personal brand and settle for that, why settle for being just okay? Begin small and focus on quality, and then expand slowly until you reach critical mass. While there is nothing wrong with using networking sites alone to get your name out and build a personal brand, it can be a tediously long process which is hit or miss at best. You have to be willing o take charge and be proactive when you market yourself just as you would a product, because after all, in a real sense you are a product people are waiting to consume.

Posted in SEO/SMM | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Is cyber-cheating really cheating?

Posted by mandyf on July 1, 2012

The question of whether or not cyber-cheating which is the practice of having an online “romance” of sorts has been open for debate since the internet launched. The usual answer is, if you have to hide it – it’s cheating. I’m an insatiable flirt, but I do it wide out in the open – I never hide it from my partner. I don’t even really hide it from my friends or anyone else for that matter, but that is the nature of our relationship, not too many are like that.  While it would be nice to provide a cut and dry one answer fits all response, that just isn’t possible. The first step however is to define what cheating means to the parties involved, and to then see if the cyber-activity falls within the boundaries

Cheating is defined as depriving of something valuable by use of deceit or fraud. Obviously the first thing to examine is whether or not the cyber-relationship employs either of those components. Is the cyber-relationship depriving the physical partner of something valuable? The usual argument is it is depriving the person of time that could have been spent with each other and can never be replaced as time does not replenish itself in regards the time we have on Earth. If you feel you are being deprived then cheating is taking place.

The second thing to examine is whether there is deceit or fraud at play. Is the partner engaged in a cyber-affair lying to you about it? If they lie about it and feel some need to keep it a secret then it is pretty obvious they feel there is something wrong with it. If it is wrong they know they shouldn’t be doing it. The other aspect is whether or not they are telling lies to their cyber-partner which misleads them as to the true nature of what is going on. If they are concealing information that they are in relationship in the physical sense with another person to their cyber partner there have to be reasons for that which only raise more red flags.

What makes all this tricky is individual perception. It isn’t uncommon in the least for people to flirt online with those we come into contact to. Flirting is not in the minds of most people cheating. We all to some degree flirt all the time, even in front of our significant others with no malice intended, but rather just for fun. If flirting is all that is going on then it is no big deal. The line in the sand so to speak is when it crosses over to sharing of personal information and engaging in intimate types of online activities to the point where the real life partner becomes a secondary figure.

When the online partner becomes more important than the real life partner then it is reasonable to say that cheating has taken place. That is the point when a person is being deprived of time, sharing, intimacy, and more often than not the truth. It is a situation which is going to cause a variety of negative emotions which are just as real as if the cyber partner were physically present. In many minds it boils down to feeling duped and viewed as being unable to provide something another person can. It often makes the physically present partner feel like they are not enough somehow and no longer the central focus of the cheaters attention. The sharing of intimate thoughts with another person can be just as devastating, and in some cases even worse than actual physical cheating.

While the above points can point to whether or not cyber-cheating is cheating by definition, it really comes down to how each individual defines cheating. If you feel deprived or feel that you have been relegated to secondary status by a persons cyber-affair then yes, you are being cheated. In the final analysis, only you can decide what cheating is, but cyber-cheating definitely is more than a possibility, for many it is a reality.

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Is it time for SEO to get a new image?

Posted by mandyf on March 27, 2012

Being an SEO isn’t the easiest job in the world. A lot of that has to do with the image that SEOs have. Ask 20 people that call them self an SEO what it is that they do exactly. They may explain it 20 different ways, but in the end they all come back to the same theme – I help get sites and/or content ranked so my client has better visibility and more opportunities to convert. At the end of the day, that is the bottom line. That is not the problem. The problem is a matter of perception as to what an SEO does from outside the community.

There are enough people out there that view SEOs like some sort of creepy magician selling mystical inexplicable services that SEOs get a bum rap far more often than they should. To be sure, there are some that deserve to be bashed over the head because what they are selling is garbage. For the most part though, SEOs do an effective job. It is people misunderstanding how they do their job or putting roadblocks in their way that makes SEOs look like snake oil salesmen coming through town with magic bottles of ranking elixir.

Here are a few reasons that SEOs get a bum rap:

1. There are some bad ones, like any profession, and the negative attention they get drowns out the positive of many others. It’s natural – we as a society have  car wreck mentality. People are drawn to the negative more so than the positive.

2. People don’t understand how SEO works.

3. Too many self proclaimed SEOs can’t explain how SEO works.

4. Too many claims about SEO being scam or nothing more than gaming the system go unchallenged by legitimate SEOs.

5. There are few people that ever give positive reviews of their SEOs performance versus those giving negative reviews. Again, this goes back to people being drawn to engaging in the negative more than the positive.

6. There is too much garbage that is outdated or just flat out wrong floating around about SEO written by people that couldn’t tell you the first thing about something as basic as the last algorithm update or possibly even when it rolled out.

The question is – what does SEO do to “grow up” and cultivate a more refined, professional image than what most people think of when they hear the term SEO? Is it a matter of forming some sort of trust alliance among SEOs? Likely not. That would do nothing more than be one vouching for the other and become a matter of doling out favors eventually. Should SEOs collaborate on a massive guide explaining what SEO is and how and why it works? Again, no. SEO changes too fast. By the time anything was finished, two volumes of revisions would need to be in place.

What is the answer then?

I hate to be a major letdown – but I don’t have it. It’s a question I’ve pondered a long time. Is it a matter of more years passing and SEOs slowly gaining a better reputation over time? That is possible. Would a sleek and sexy SEO spokesperson that goes out and lays all the arguments against to rest be the answer? Possibly. I think Alyssa Milano would be great at and I’m willing to tutor her as long as it takes to get up to speed. Maybe the real answer lies in doing a better job of explaining to clients the how, what and why of SEO in a proactive nature than always having to explain it in bits and pieces when they have questions.

Talk to me – tell me what you think the answer is!

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Why more isn’t always better in social media

Posted by mandyf on February 29, 2012

When you outsource your social media it is important to understand that it does not work like team sports. A common mistake made by many companies outsourcing their social media is that if one is good, two is better and three must be excellent. That isn’t the case. If it were, you’d see NFL teams that pursued Tom Brady and both Manning brothers. They don’t however because there can be only one leader. You need to put the ball in one person’s hands and let them run with it. To illustrate that, we have another lesson from the archives of social media blunders. Names are changed to protect the fatally flawed.

A company that dealt in retail clothing decided that they wanted to branch out to the Internet and offer their overstock at discount prices. The obvious problem is that it is a highly competitive field and aside from a smattering of long tail phrases, SEO alone was only going to go so far. To get their endeavor kick started, they hired a social media manager. Their manager talked a good game, he knew fancy phrases that sounded right but ultimately he didn’t know how to actually act on what needed to be done. This wasn’t a problem until Company A was ready to launch and begin offering products for sale. Here is what went wrong:

SMM #1 had built what appeared to be an impressive Twitter following. The numbers were great, but the problem was most of the followers were bots, follow me/follow you accounts and people residing on a different continent that Company A did not do business on and had no desire to get involved with.

Company A never paid attention to what happened on Facebook and found out far too late that SMM #1 had created their page under his own personal account and refused to give up control of it.

Next they found out that their G+ circles were never cared for properly. After months of “community building” having only 50 people in circles, some of which were direct competitors did not work.

Their solution was to hire a new agency to handle operations. Agency B submitted and won the contract, but then realized they didn’t have the ability to do the job because aside from making great infographics and a super personal presentation, they knew nothing about social media management. Their solution was to contract with Firm C to handle the job. What could go wrong you wonder?

SMM #1 refused to give up any control or even share access to the networks he had mismanaged. Agency B couldn’t make SMM #1 do anything because he was hired by Company A the same as Agency B was. Firm C in the meantime spent nearly 80% of their billing time asking SMM #1 to do anything productive they could promote and Agency B kept screaming wondering why nothing was getting done. While this was going on, Company A was tossing money down two sinkholes for nothing and Firm C was on the outside  begging anyone they could to just make a blog post or even update the website to reflect current inventory.

What happened in the end? SMM#1 pointed fingers for failure at Agency B and Firm C. Agency B pointed fingers at SMM #1 and Firm C for failure. Firm C produced a report showing what they got done , how long it took for SMM #1 and Agency B to act on what they had done, and how much they had prepared that wound up wasted because everyone argued over who had the “right” to do what. As would be expected, after over a half year of disappointment, Company A fired everyone – except Firm C that stayed out of the finger pointing and stuck to the facts of what did and did not work and why that was the case either way. They were awarded a new contract.

The lesson to be learned for companies is to remember – there can only be one leader. In an industry like social media and social networking, everything is related and cannot work to expectations when divided into tiny fiefdoms. It is also a lesson that you need to pay attention to who you hire. It doesn’t take much to ask for references or credentials – any reputable firm will provide them. For SMM’s the lesson is not to put yourself in a position where you can’t properly do your job and obtain satisfactory results. While Firm C made out okay in the end this time, there are countless stories of companies that showed no mercy and fired everyone involved and then gave them all negative reviews and poor references if asked about the quality of work.

In short, when it comes to your business, be the master/mistress of your own destiny. Working for one end user is the way it is supposed to be, not two intermediaries and then an end user.

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Dealing with a know it all client – Do you ride the storm out?

Posted by mandyf on February 24, 2012

Know it all clients are in every business, no one is immune to the person that is a self professed expert. In the social media world, know it all clients are about as common as steaming piles in a cow pasture in July. You try to dodge them, but every now and then you plant your foot squarely in the middle of one and then spend an eternity trying to scrape it off. A know it all client is the same in many ways. You have to scrape them off (break them back to basics) and then go on with business.

In social media, a number of clients begin believing they can do it all because they read an eBook or they think after awhile it is all too easy and they can do it better. Usually, they are wrong. The problem isn’t that they are dumb or don’t think you can do a good job, it is just that they think they can do better. They know their product or business better than you. They have 20 free minutes and figure they can network their pants off just as effectively as you do over the course of day. Maybe 1 in 10 can pull it off, but the other 9 leave a wake of destruction behind them that costs more to fix in time and money than just standing pat would.

For example, lets use the example of a person that wanted to launch product. He goes out and gets a small firm to handle the online presence for his product and company as neither was represented online yet. They spend a few months building a strong interactive community. Pre-sales have almost matched the first production run. People are loving all the new posts and interactive parts of the community. Everything looks great – until the client reads a spammy email stating that for $49.95 they can get the key to tens of thousands of twitter followers, thousands more Facebook fans than they ever dreamed possible and sales that soar. They are smart, but just as greedy and the greed wins out – they buy the eBook.

Next they start telling their SMM firm they need to do X and Y and do it like this because that is how the “real players” do it. “I heard STUVW is awesome – let’s do some of that!” “I heard MNOP was the next big thing – let’s do that!” You get the idea. But then, instead of leaving to their firm to do, they can’t wait and start doing it all on their own. This is how it all falls apart:

1. They get banned from sites for posting duplicate content and nothing but duplicate content or posting in a way that violates the site TOS. – – “But thee book said….”

2. Instead of getting tens of thousands of Twitter followers, they get a few thousand bots and people spamming out their own eBooks on how to build a twitter following for $49.95. The more of these followers that come on board, the fewer real followers that used to be very engaged that remain behind.

3. Facebook likes pour in like rain, but then they never come back and engage in a meaningful way. Everyday, dozens and dozens of posts spamming out other products have to be deleted. Between the spammy comments and the mess the page has become, no one engages anymore. All the time allotted for FB winds up going to keeping the page clean.

4. By jumping on every “next hot thing”, all the existing “functional things” get less attention. Less attention turns into neglect and neglect leads right into being useless.

5. Because the focus became numbers instead of engagement, conversions didn’t go up – if anything they went down.

After a month, maybe 6 weeks, Know it all client decides that his SMM firm knows nothing. “I read an eBook by HJKL and he has 1 million twitter followers and 500,000 Facebook fans and makes so much money he wipes his butt with it, he can’t be wrong! it is all proof he knows what he is doing!”

When it reaches that point what do you do? You get brutally honest. You sit know it all down and say ‘Look – we did this that and the other thing the last 6 weeks and these are the results we got.” When he is fully unimpressed by that, you then say “And you did this that and the other thing and this is what happened and why it happened.” You have to be brutally honest and in thins case, yes, tell the know it all that they were wrong. You have to tell them that so and so who wrote the eBook they now live by is a success – a success at convincing people that he is the king know it all they need to learn from – not a real expert on building engaged communities, just an expert on increasing numbers.

It is one of the hardest concepts to explain to many clients, especially the know it all, but it is true every time  — it is better to have 500 people that are actively interested in you and engaging with your content than it is to have 5,000 people who do nothing. Just because someone followed or clicked a like button does not unequivocally mean that they are actually interested in what you have to offer. It just means they clicked a button one time.

Getting this through is rarely if ever easy and sometimes proves impossible until an SMM campaign has gone scorched Earth. Maybe Know it all fires the firm and tries with another. maybe he listens to you and you take thee time to rebuild. Either way, it is one of the things you have to understand how to deal with before you take any client on. There are three paths to walk down you can choose from.

1. Release your client at the first sign of trouble. they let you do the job you were hired to do the way you were hired to do it or they do not.

2. You do what you can and try to ride it out.

3. You cave in, do what the customer wants and deal with their anger when it doesn’t work out the way the eBook told them it would.

It’s your choice what you do, but each carries a specific set of pros and cons. Weigh them carefully and decide what the dollar value is for your aggravation and your reputation – both will take hits if you go with #3 – that I can promise you.

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Don’t be so sure of what see – Online scams are everywhere

Posted by mandyf on February 23, 2012

When we think of a scam we tend to think of a Ponzi scheme or some sort of phishing expedition – not our friends pulling the wool over our eyes. I’m not talking about a friend pulling your leg a little too hard or just feeding you a flat out line of bull about the amazing night he had with a set of double jointed Ukrainian triplets that double as runway models when not fighting crime , I’m talking about them maybe not giving you the straight dope about why they are tweeting or posting certain things. The simple answer is money, and plenty of people have cashed in on it.

Nobody really believes Kim Kardashian, for instance, is so on love with product “XYZ that she tweets about it every other day. Most people are aware she is being duked out for it. In his book, “Scammed”, Christopher Elliot points out the same thing – as well as a number of other scams. As Elliot relates in several areas, there used to be a time when you knew what was advertising and what wasn’t. In the new digital age however where anyone can become a tool for advertisers, even your aunt Sally’s tweet about how much she loves shopping at “XYZ” could have actually been bought and paid for. She likely isn’t getting 5 figures for that like a Kardashian would, but a buck or two here and there is still a couple bucks and that is why companies love sponsored tweets and the like from common everyday people. You’d never think of aunt Sally as being someone that would get paid to tweet and that is why you accept that tweet about loving “XYZ” to be genuine.

It’s not just that though. How about videos – surely you can tell an ad from a genuine goofy video some kid shot. Think again. In “Scammed”, Elliot points out that when the stakes are high to the tune of some $24 billion spent on online advertising, you can never be too sure. That ad of a cute kid going nuts stomping on a bunch of plastic army men as if here Godzilla is cute. The camera is shaky, the sound is a little off and it looks like any other childhood moment recorded by a parent. Look closer though.

Let’s suppose you slowed it down and took a closer look. Did you catch the soda can on the table that is clearly a “Brand X”? It’s no big deal until you notice a few of them. You might think they just drink a lot of soda, but count how long one of those cans is clearly visible during the video. I bet it’s a lot. Look at the walls? Did you notice the picture on the calendar is for “Brand X” soda? The overwhelming odds are that wasn’t a cute moment that was luckily caught, but rather a staged commercial produced by a high powered firm to look like it.

It may not be a scam the way you think of it in literal terms, but it is pulling the wool over your eyes. You’re sharing the video everywhere laughing at the cute kid – all the while handling some firm’s distribution for them free of charge. many of us would say that’s just clever. I would, but not everyone feels that way. It’s just something to think about – consider the source and the motivation for what a person posts. Maybe they are genuinely recommending something – maybe they are being paid to.

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