When Penguins Attack!

One of the first lessons I learned in life and business is that if someone doesn’t own their mistakes then they don’t really know what they are doing. As someone who helps companies with their online marketing programs I get the pleasure of hearing what their previous SEO companies tell them about why they didn’t get them to ‘Page 1’ of the Google.

Yesterday I had a new client tell me that their current SEO told them:
“The site got hit by a Penguin because of duplicate content so thats why the rankings have dropped.”

For the non-nerds out there the ‘Penguin’ being reference here is the update to Google’s search rank algorithm from April 24th, 2012 that “aimed at decreasing search engine rankings of websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines [3] by using black-hat SEO techniques, such as keyword stuffing, cloaking, participating in link schemes, deliberate creation of duplicate content, and others.”

Basically Google is trying to deal with the crap that some people are doing to get their websites to rank higher for certain terms.

Rather than create compelling content on a website that makes it useful lazy people would rather stuff the site full of repeating keywords and buy links from some guy in India and give the user a crappy experience. Google doesn’t want this because it means that people will stop using Google since it only gives them crap websites with meaningless content.

The same client sent me the SEO companies initial email after signing up and the following sentence actually existed:
“Generally speaking, the content of the articles and blog posts is not as important as the fact that they are being back-linked to your website.”

That says it all right there. The focus is not on getting the end user a better experience, it is on tricking Google into thinking that your website is more useful than it really is.

If you have been in business for any amount of time you know that the first thing you have to do is give your customer want they want. So the question then is why do you think its any different for your website?

Cool idea, poor name choice – Branding is important

Read an interesting article about a grocery home delivery service at Pando Daily. This is one of those ideas from the dot com bust that I was really hoping would be come a reality. It sounds like this company did their homework and has a solid plan toile it work.

There is one problem though: they are calling it Mile High Organics

Really? This name is a disaster on so many fronts. Look I understand that they are based in Denver and that city is famously at 5280 but it’s also famous for medical marijuana. Which means they are gonna get a lot of requests for that product. This correlation also means that people who are against medical marijuana are not gonna want to have anything to do with you.

That may as well have gone with: Hippie Weed Delivery

Via PandoDaily

20120819-101705.jpg

Review: 5by5 Web Ahead Podcast on Content with Kristina Halverson

My job is to help my clients get new clients. My main method of doing this is online via their website. Pretty much everything I do revolves around the content on their website yet the majority of my time is spent on projects where the content is an afterthought. For years I have known that this is a poor situation that I need to rectify by placing more focus on content strategy.

How do we get good content on the web?

Recently I listened to the 5by5 Web Ahead Podcast on Content with Kristina Halverson.
5by5 content podcast

Content with Kristina Halvorson
July 27, 2012 at 4:00pm – 1 hour 5 minutes
How do we get good content on the web? Kristina Halvorson joins Jen Simmons to talk about the discipline of content strategy, where it came from and where it’s going. We also get into fear and life and how to make change in an environment that needs it.

As web marketers we spend a lot of time talking about standards, browsers, mobile, SEO, conversions, UI, and anything else that is geeky and cool. The problem is that clients and customers are more interested in getting information that pertains to their needs. A user searching for an accountant is less impressed that the website shows up on my iPhone formatted and fast, they expect this. What they are impressed with is when the content on the accountants page is exactly what they looking for and leads them to call the business for services.

Therefore the things that we as web marketers spend the most time on is what users care about the least, yet the thing that for the most part we spend the least amount of time on, content, is what users care about the most. We need to put content first and then frame the rest around that. When designing the site we should not be using Lorem Ipsum but placing the actual content that will go live just like we do with images.

What’s the point?

The Discipline of Content Strategy by KRISTINA HALVORSON
This is Kristina’s initial article from 2008 getting everyone in the web world to take notice that content has been relegated to a lorem ipsum status for too long. By making content a secondary concept it has lead to greater frustration amongst everyone involved with creating websites. This article gives a roadmap of questions and guidelines to start considering when putting a content strategy together.

But who among us is asking the scary, important questions about content, such as “What’s the point?” or “Who cares?” Who’s talking about the time-intensive, complicated, messy content development process? Who’s overseeing the care and feeding of content once it’s out there, clogging up the tubes and dragging down our search engines?

Kristina on Twitter
She is very active and has a lot of followers.

Braintraffic Blog
Kristina’s company blog. has a number of updates per month all pretty in depth.

Contents

Contents is an online magazine for readers who create, edit, publish, analyze, and care for the contents of the internet. We publish in open, themed issues that run for about eight weeks. When we’re publishing an issue, a new article appears most Wednesdays.
We are biased toward open access, reader-friendly design and policy, quality over quantity, and the creation of usable beautiful things.

Conclusion

Overall this podcast is a great jumping off point in talking about Content Strategy. There are numerous references to tools and techniques but you will want to search further to get more information on the specifics. In the mean time I would suggest making content a more integral part of your team and client conversations.

If you are not a writer you may want to practice becoming one. Even if you don’t create anything for your clients it will help you when talking with them about it. Knowing how difficult a task is will help empathize more when the client cannot get you what you want. When you go to hire a copywriter it will help you understand deadlines and how to create a brief more completely so you will spend less time re-editing and more time moving forward to the next project.

What do you think? How is your content created? Are you happy with what you are filling the tubes up with?