Ch. 5- If Rumplestiltskin Could Turn Straw into Gold – Critical Thinking

If Rumplestiltskin Could do it…

 

Once we’ve seen a technique perform successfully on another site, there’s still the matter of determining if and how it will work on our site. There are a ton of factors that vary from one site to another, and even if all but one of the factors are identical (and believe me, the chances of that are slim to none), that one single difference is still bound to have some bearing on the outcome.

Niche, competition, market demographic, locality, timing… these are just a few of the external factors that can drive different results from the same technique. Add the on-page factors to the mix, and it becomes obvious that there’s no such thing as apples & apples, in this context. Similar, perhaps, but never the same.

This is probably one of the most significant justifications for testing things for ourselves. Certainly, seeing it work on another similar site makes a technique worth considering. But as I said, one single difference can cause different results. In either direction, I should add.

For that matter, what’s to say that what didn’t  work for another site absolutely won’t work for our own? No absolutes, remember? Maybe there are some subtle variations in our site’s situation that make that approach more viable.

Again, testing for ourselves is the only way to be sure. Don’t buy into, or discount, anything, without at least looking at it with an open mind. If it seems worthy, consider testing it. Cautiously.

You never know, you just might get lucky, and find a way to figuratively turn straw into gold.

 

We put this question to our contributors:

 

4. What is the one aspect of internet marketing that you feel yields the greatest results?

 

Alan Bleiweiss

Sustainable SEO.   Or for Twitter #SustainableSEO

Another phrase I coined at SMX for that same panel.  It’s the understanding that to succeed at SEO, and not have a site be as subject to the continual changes coming from search engines, you need to truly focus on user experience as seen through the eyes of search algorithms.

Andrea Scarpetta

Conversion marketing. It doesn’t matter which industry or non-profit you are helping, you must do everything you can help your visitor! Be focused on connecting buyers and sellers and everybody will be happy.

Andrew Bleakley

Creating quality content. The only way to get to the top of the SERPs and stay there through all the algorithm changes is to create a website people want to visit time and time again. Buy all the links and eyeballs you want for your website but sooner or later if you do not belong at the top of the search results you will be removed.

Anthony Verre

The wealth of metrics available to us. In years past (i.e. ad agencies), there was very little analysis of campaigns and strategies. It was “gut-check” if it worked or not, based on sales volumes after a particular ad campaign, obviously leaving a lot to be desired in terms of ROI. Now, we can know decisively if our strategy worked; we can make adjust-fires in near real-time to curb deficiencies in strategy.

Barry Adams

I’m probably biased, but SEO for me is the champion of all IM disciplines. The research backs up the domination of search, with most online purchases starting with a search query. Sure, some particular businesses can succeed online just fine without search, but they are very few and far between. In nearly all cases, a business needs to be visible in search engines for relevant, revenue-driving keywords, or have a presence on a specific vertical search such as local. Ignoring that is a dangerous strategy.

Dana Lookadoo

Testing and refining design and messaging. Testing and refining design and messaging. Testing and refining design and messaging. As Winston Churchill said, “Never. Never. Never give up!”

Danny Sullivan

Right now, I think social media can be incredibly rewarding. With relatively minor effort and little-to-no spend, you can generate visits and conversions.

Dean Cruddace

If you have done your keyword research correctly from the very beginning then the insights that your analytics offers up are the greatest wins and indicators towards what your customers are looking for, don’t go looking for vanity rankings that yield nothing but large visitor numbers because your competitors will be running circles around you scooping up all of those keyphrases that actually convert. Pay close attention to how you are being found but don’t get too anal.

Eren McKay

Networking with an authentic and loving heart is the most important aspect of internet marketing. Many people attempt to network but fail because they have the wrong mindset. They either fear showing who they really are or dive in with a “what’s in it for me” attitude.

Being genuine and truly caring about others is the basis of effective networking. People can’t stand masks. Allow your real ‘self’ to appear. No one has to be perfect and trying to live up to that ‘perfect image’ is exhausting to say the least.

Of course there are those ‘self-centered jerks’ that confuse being sincere with being rude and bulldozing over other people’s feelings. No one wants to be around that type of person, and I’m not advocating that you be that way. You can be honest while taking into consideration where other people are ‘coming from’. Sincerity without love is a major turn off.

If you have love in your heart, it will show. Think about how you can help others.  When you see a ‘dark’ situation, imagine that you are a shining beam of light bringing clarity into that ‘dark’ circumstance. Seek to make a difference and you will build relationships that will last a lifetime.

Doors will naturally open and good things will happen to you. The more you give without thinking of what you’ll get back, the more good things will come your way.  If you don’t have this mentality yet, then I suggest doing some internal work and personal development before attempting to be an internet marketer. That will yield the greatest results other than the fact that you will be much happier.

Gabriella Sannino

SEO & Brand Marketing

Garrett French

Understanding your target market as an audience and meeting its informational needs with great content for the purpose of building brand, expertise, links and of course leads. As a content-based link builder I’m certainly biased though 🙂

Heather Lloyd-Martin

Granted, I’m a tad biased – but I would say (good) content marketing. The reason why is because strong content helps you with SEO – and it also helps move prospects along the buying cycle.  Are your customers looking for more information on X before they make a purchase? Great. Add a page addressing their issue – or even develop a white paper.  Are your prospects more visual and they need to see your items in action? Video is a great alternative.  Do you need to sell more product? Write a fantastic sales-oriented page and watch your conversion rates soar.  The possibilities are endless.

Hugo Gill

A well optimised local presence if appropriate to client’s business.

Ian Lurie

Analytics! Real analytics that focus on the true value of a visitor to a web site. If you can attach a value to every site visitor, you can make an informed decision about almost every aspect of your marketing campaign. That means you have to know the value of a single customer, and the number of visitors who become customers. Once you have that, you’ve got the magic formula.

Jahnelle Pittman

I don’t think any one aspect of internet marketing yields the greatest results, although, if I had to list them, PPC would come in last. For the best results, from a time + money = ROI perspective, I think it takes a mix of SEO, content development and social for strong ROI.

You use the SEO to make sure your site is (and stays) relevant to your industry – important to both the SERPs and visitors, by the way. Then, you develop content according to what’s relevant to the visitor and your industry, to appease the informavores in all of us. Finally, you use social to publicize all this great, relevant, informative content.

Jey Pandian

Search marketing, because it taps directly into the demand stream. When people want information or would like to purchase something, their first steps usually consist of going online and searching for it.

Joe Hall

It depends on the situation.

Joshua Titsworth

One thing about Internet marketing that always gets clients the results they want is when on their site they give the user what they want. When a client site can answer the solution the user is searching for it’s a win for everyone. Link building won’t resolve the solution; even good content won’t resolve it.

Justin Parks

Speaking in general terms of attitude and approach, there is no doubt in my mind that dedication is the key to success when it comes to internet marketing. In specific terms of attitude and approach it’s all about being creatively original.

In the technical world, the greatest results come from simple systems and processes. No matter what you are doing and how you are doing it, if the process and system behind the approach isn’t as simple and user friendly as possible, it will cost you fortunes in lost opportunities. Marketing something and sending the potential client to a fat, obtuse and complicated setup means frustration, irritation, displeasure and loss.  Not acceptable results for a marketer but something that is easily and often overlooked. You can be the best marketer in the world and if the end product causes any of the sentiment mentioned, you will lose. Then again, the best marketers in the world know this and ensure that simplicity is the key aspect of the campaign.

Keeping things simple however, is not simple. All too often we forget how something that we see as simple can grow extra fingers and thumbs.  It’s a matter of planning and testing and although you may not get it 100% correct the first time, so long as you are willing and able to aim for simplicity, then you will see the benefits of any and all marketing efforts.

Lyena Solomon

When companies focus on their customers, the marketing efforts pay off the most. For your website it means that you have to focus on personas.  Your content, offers, promotions, language – everything should target your favourite customer type.

As far as the specific tactic that works best, I would think it is remarketing.  If done right, you will be able to get fantastic results.

Michelle Robbins

Creating a well architected and easy to navigate web site yields the greatest results. This involves a number of moving parts, and really falls more to development and technical SEO than internet marketing, but you can’t separate the foundation from the house.

M.J. Taylor

PPC. Though I don’t do Pay Per Click for more than a handful of clients, I think it’s the fastest, easiest way to drive targeted traffic.

Rand Fishkin

If the business/website/organization hasn’t yet invested in conversion rate optimization (CRO), they should. It almost always delivers the best results. More here: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/a-checklist-to-choose-which-internet-marketing-channel-is-right-for-your-business

Rebekah May

It may not be directly considered an aspect of internet marketing, but if I could pick one thing that yields the greatest results in internet marketing, I would say networking.  Never underestimate the power of networking and making friends with other individuals in your field.  At first it may seem like sharing your knowledge, skills or resources with another person would be counterproductive to your own marketing, but having a circle of people you can work with to help overcome obstacles, share insights and help one another is a powerful thing.

Social Media sites can be turned into powerful networking tools.  For SEO and internet marketing specifically, there are also great community sites – SEOMoz is one of the well known ones.  Another one I would recommend, which has excellent features that sites like SEOMoz lack, is the SEODojo which has its own private forum and chatroom that not only allow you to ask and answer questions like you can on SEOMoz, but chat live with your peers.  There really are some great people around these places that I am glad I have met, and would recommend that anyone who is seriously getting into this profession look into.

Steve Gerencser

A/B testing. If you can’t measure what works vs what doesn’t, no amount of effort will ever get you to the level of results that you and your clients deserve. I have seen SEO projects run for years with not one person bothering to see if there was a better way.

Running a very close second, analytics. I gave a seminar recently and asked how many people check their analytics at least once a month. Less than 20% of the attendees even knew what analytics were. If you aren’t watching where your traffic comes from, and then what it does once it lands on your site, how can you possibly know if you are as successful as you could be?

S. Emerson

This is going to sound like an a typical answer but quality content hands down.  With quality content I have gotten incoming links from educational sites and other respected sources without really trying.  Just provided quality information with just the right on page search engine optimization to be found without asking.

Taylor Pratt

Focusing on entertaining, helpful and useful content. Every aspect of marketing goes back to this. Whether you’re creating an article, a video, a tool or even a funny picture – you need to have something to offer people to get their attention. From SEO to social media, people are looking for what you have to offer them and that always comes down to content. That will never change.

Thomas Fjordside

Creating content and having a decent outreach program to promote it. And then of course building a proper website with good internal structure.

Tim Nash

Personal or near personal interaction. If you can engage with your users, be it directly through social media or email, then you can clinch and seal deals more easily. Recently, there has been a trend towards live chat on web sites. This is a great chance to talk to customers and engage with them.

William Slawski

Helping to enabling online businesses and site owners to introduce integrity, empathy and responsiveness into their efforts on the Web.  Helping them learn how to use an authentic voice when they blog or create content for their web pages or social media accounts.

 

You can begin with Chapter One of Critical Thinking for the Discerning SEO here.

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Doc Sheldon has been writing professionally since the 1970s, and has worked in marketing since the 1980s. He owned and published weekly and monthly newspapers and magazines during the ’80s, before becoming a business consultant and ultimately "retiring" in 2008. He began studying SEO in earnest in 2003, and now specializes in technical SEO. His passions are the development of the Semantic Web, trying to figure out what changes may be coming next from the search engines and eliminating misinformation.

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