Hamburgers. TV shows. Office products. These are just a few of the things being promoted in an unorthodox manner through viral marketing campaigns. For those who don’t know, viral marketing is any technique that entices users to pass on a company’s marketing message to their friends and family, thus creating more exposure for the message.
Of course, doing this often requires an “outside-the-box” approach. After all, few people are going to spread a blatant advertisement to their friends. That’s why I’ve created this list of some of the most brilliant and successful viral campaigns. The one thing that each of these has in common is that they engage their target audience and elicit a response.
- BK Sacrifice- This Facebook App is brilliant! Burger King is no stranger to viral marketing. Almost everyone came across the Subservient Chicken at one point or another. This time, Burger King used Facebook to launch their newest viral campaign. What is it? Users install an app that gives them a free coupon for a Whopper after they delete (or “sacrifice”) 10 friends from their profile. Every time a user sacrificed a friend, a message would be sent to them stating their friend chose a Whopper over them. Of course, Facebook wasn’t thrilled with the campaign, and they pulled the plug shortly after its launch. However, the buzz had already been created, and all in all, the campaign was a success.
I have noticed over the past couple of months as I have become more active in the Digg community (and making many friends), a sort of dark cloud appears when the subject of SEO comes up. Not only is there a general dislike of SEOs in the Digg community, but my URL has also been banned from Digg, per a ‘so called’ “TOS violation”. The ironic part is that the article that got the attention “10 Sure-Fire Ways to Get Banned by Digg” was about how to get banned by Digg.
I have been warned in the past by many friendly Diggers that it is not a good idea to have anything that reflects SEO in your profile, or this could make you lose points within the Digg community as a whole.
So here is where it starts to get interesting. A high profile user. mklopez submitted an article from this blog a couple of weeks ago. Now, I have to say I was a bit surprised (and a bit flattered at the same time) that a high profile Digger had submitted one of the articles from my blog. This naturally caught my attention. So I was paying attention to the submission at this point. It was climbing fast and hot in all categories.
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Comments. They’re the lifeblood of blogging. Without this ability to interact with the author and other readers, blogs wouldn’t be blogs at all. They’d just be standard, boring, static articles.
When the subject of blog commenting typically comes up in SEO conversations, it’s usually related to link building. And while commenting can be a part of your link building strategy, the benefits of commenting extend far beyond link building.
Here are a few of the true benefits of leaving comments on other blogs.
- Getting Your Name Out There- The first step to building your reputation online is to get your name out there. It’s not enough just to stay on your little website or blog. You have to visit new blogs in your niche, leaving insightful comments that add to the conversation. In other words, don’t leave comments like “Good post. Come check out my blog!” Take time to digest the post to think of a fresh perspective to add in the comments. Try to write comments that demand someone replies to them.
- Building Relationships – Social media is all about building relationships. That’s why you shouldn’t just leave a comment and leave. Always check back to see if anyone has responded to your comment. Interacting with the author and other readers is the key to building strong online relationships. These are relationships that you’ll be able to leverage down the line to get guest posting opportunities and to attract readers to your blog.
- Gaining Authority- If you make a habit of making insightful comments that add value to the conversation, you’ll start to build authority over time. No matter how big the blogosphere might be, if you focus on blogs within your niche, people will start to recognize your name and take your comments seriously. It really is a small world. Remember, every comment you leave affects the way people see your brand. Always put your best foot forward by making each comment great.
- Learning from Others- Blog commenting isn’t just about getting your ideas out there; it’s about learning from others as well. I can’t tell you how much interacting with others online has helped improve my marketing education. You don’t know it all. Take the time to truly listen to what others are saying, and you’re sure to learn something new. Never stop learning. The moment you do is the moment you’ll become irrelevant.
- Generating Ideas for Your Blog- Often times, ideas come up in the comments section that need to be fleshed out fully. In short, you might be able to turn one of your blog comments into a full post for your own blog. I don’t have to tell you how difficult it can be to come up with fresh ideas for blog posts. Hanging around in the comments section could be the perfect cure for a case of writer’s block.
Now that you understand the importance of commenting on other blogs, I’m going to leave you with a list of what NOT to do when leaving comments. Avoiding these mistakes will make you a commenter that earns respect.
What NOT To Do When Commenting
- Don’t leave brief comments that add nothing to the conversation
- Don’t be overly self-promotional…it’s not always about you
- Don’t immediately discount other people’s opinions
- Don’t forget to follow up on your comments
- Don’t be controversial for no good reason
- Don’t forget to proofread. Typos and poor grammar make you look less than intelligent
- Don’t talk about something you don’t know about
Do you have any opinions or insights regarding comments? Please let us know in the comments below.
#1 – Use a script: Digg is a company that has has received $40 million dollars in funding. Therefore, if you are naive enough to think that their system can’t detect when someone is using a script, you deserve to get hit by the Digg ban hammer. The bottom line is that you can’t automatically game Digg’s voting system, so if you are trying to use a script to accomplish that goal, you are doing nothing more than spinning your wheels in neutral!
#2 – Submit 5x more stories than you Digg: Although it is not as complex as the Google algorithm, Digg definitely has a very interesting algorithm. Therefore, if you think that you can get dozens of your own stories to the front page without ever participating by Digging other stories, you are lying to yourself.
The Digg algorithm is all about encouraging participation, so if you want any chance of your top notch content performing well on Digg, you need to focus on Digging other stories that are legitimately good, submitting great content from other sources and then only submitting your very best content on a very rare basis.
#3 – Spam your way to high hell via the Shout System: I actually like Digg’s Shout System, because it can be a legitimate way to expose other users to content that they are going to enjoy. However, once you start abusing this system to draw attention to every single story you submit or Digg, don’t be surprised when you get informed that your Digg account has been banned.
I’m assuming that most reading this are already using StumbleUpon, or at least know what StumbleUpon is all about. If not, check out Tyler Banfields post from December Are You Stumbling Yet? Tyler really does an excellent job of explaining StumbleUpon, how to get started, and its benefits.
The purpose of this post is to address a legitimate concern that new and seasoned Stumblers alike need to be aware of and that is the possibility of being “put under review” by the SU gods. Being put under review generally means that you will not ever be able to use your SU account again…
Imagine you are Stumbling along, building your friends list, having a good time and about a year into it: BAM. You are “put under review” (banned). No warning, no initial explanation, you just suddenly cannot use your account anymore. This is precisely what happened to a friend of mine.
My friend, who shall remain nameless, I can say with certainty was a quality Stumbler, and definitely not a spammer. So naturally this scenario is a little perplexing to me. I decided to review StumbleUpon’s terms of service and their rules. I found mostly everything to be pretty straightforward and it seemed like common sense. Don’t do things like harass other users, promote only your website or blog and the general “no-spamming” language.
Before we proceed I’ll share with you one of the actual email that was sent to my friend that was “put under review”
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photo credit: papalars
Forgive me for going back to SEO 101 on this post, but it’s something that keeps popping up time and time again. There are some out there who still insist on always getting links back to their home page, while the rest of their content has no back links. The main reasons for link building are to increase your online visibility, to improve your site’s relevance for certain keywords, to gain trust from the search engines, and ultimately to have each page on your site rank higher.
Now, how do you expect to accomplish these things if you’re only getting links to your homepage? Sure, your homepage might end up ranking better for its target phrase, but what about all the other pages on your site? After all, those are the bread and butter of your search traffic. It’s these deeper pages on your site where you get to target the specific, niche keywords that will drive highly targeted traffic to your site. And I don’t have to tell you that highly targeted traffic means greater conversion rates (but I will anyway.)
The Benefits of Deep Linking
So, let’s do a quick refresher on the benefits of deep linking.
• Improved Search Ranking for Deep Pages- As I mentioned earlier, the most important benefit of deep linking is that it can help you rank higher for the keywords deeper in your website. That’s one of the main reasons you break down your website into different pages, so you can target different keywords (and of course, to improve the usability of your website.) So, by getting deep links, you’re going to generate more long-tail search traffic, and more traffic overall.
• Page is Easier to Crawl- Deep links also make your site easier to crawl for search spiders. With links pointing to the pages deep within your site, you make certain that they will get crawled and they’re likelier to index quickly.
• Increased Trust- If every link to your website is pointing at your homepage, what does that say about the rest of your site? It sends the message to the search engines that the deep pages on your site aren’t important and perhaps not as trustworthy. The truth is the deep pages on your site are usually the most important, and that’s why it’s so crucial to build links for them.
• Higher Quality Traffic- The whole point of SEO is to improve the quality of your traffic. After all, who cares if a million visitors come to your site each month if none of them stick around? Link building for all the pages on your site helps improve the overall quality of your traffic. This way, people will land exactly on the pages that interest them instead of having to wade through irrelevant content. And of course, this means your conversion rate will be better.
Remember, building deep links is no different than link building for your home page. The same strategies apply, and over time, you’ll find this to be far more effective for increasing your online visibility than just getting links for your home page. So, start getting those deep links!
This post is mostly assuming that those reading this have a pretty good idea about what twitter is all about. For anyone that is still not sure about Twitter and it’s purpose, Havi Brooks wrote a great post explaining the purpose of twitter in Twitter Demystified and Debunked
OK, now let’s get right to the meat and potatoes of this post.
For those of us who have been using twitter for awhile and are starting to get into the groove, I have assembled a list of 10 Twitter commandments to keep you on the right track and keep you from committing Twitter blasphemy.
- Thou shall not
pull a Guy Kawasakiact spammy. i.e Don’t send an auto reply DM asking me to check out your blog or download your crappy E-book. FAIL! Let me put it this way: Would you walk up to a stranger in a bar, pull up a bar stool, slam your business card down and say “I have a new E-book that just came out and you can get it at a reduced price if you join my mailing list!” Of course not, people would think you were insane. Networking online is no different than IRL. Just be genuine, add value to the community, and people will naturally want to know more about you. That’s the way it works online and IRL (same as it ever was).
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I hope everyone had a wonderful new year. I know I did. Now that we all have our goals set and we are coming out of the starting gates strong in 09. To keep the momentum going let me share with you this video I found on Vimeo.com. Just a reminder that we are living in exponential times my friend(s)
As business owners, bloggers and/or search marketers, we all go through pain staking efforts to get qualified traffic to our websites from the SERPS, Paid search and our various social media outlets. However all this effort and hard work may be in vain if our users are not able to easily fill out our contact form(s). Sure the CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) or as I like to call it CPA (Complete Pain in the A**) is intended to solve a valid business problem, but at what cost? Should we really make customers/prospects work this hard to contact us? Not to mention by using a CAPTCHA you will be alienating multiple groups with disabilities i.e. blind people and people with dyslexia.
I have asked five of my friends who I consider to be authority figures in the area of search marketing, SEO, design and usability the following question:
What is your opinion regarding CAPTCHAs on contact forms as they relate to web conversions and accessibility/usability?
I want to thank everyone for your patience. I am currently on vacation dancing with Santa’s elves in the north pole. We will be back to business as usual shortly. Thanks again.