Currently Browsing: SEO: Search Engine Optimization

Facebook fading while email marketing is still going strong

If you’ve been reading my advice for very long you’ve heard me say stuff like, “The best use of Facebook is to grow your email list.”

I caught a lot of negative feedback when I first said that a few years ago!

The fact is though, I’ve been saying the same stuff for years now, and the list of experts who are calling me “nuts” is slowly shrinking.

Here’s my latest supporting evidence from a $500 report recently published by Forrester Research (Forrester.com). The title of the report is “The Purchase Path Of Online Buyers In 2012″. This research study followed 77,000+ online purchase transactions and concluded (among many other findings) that:

  • Social media is not a significant driver of online purchases. Not even 1% of the 77,000 transactions could be traced back to social advertising or content links.
  • The two biggest drivers for online purchases overall are clearly search engines* and email marketing with 30% of the transactions starting with a click on an email marketing campaign. The report also states that “Email is the most important channel for repeat customers“.

And what about my claim that Facebook never has been a tool for driving sales and is now fading?

In this recent article Facebook admits that it is losing appeal and sees rough waters ahead. A little research could produce many more such articles.

My conclusions:

If you want to be in the game long term you’d better be growing your email list and providing that list quality content that they can’t wait to read. If you want to be found on the search engines IGNORE SEO and just create quality content that’s “shareable”.

Resources:

Check out my comprehensive $7 video course that shows you all I know about email marketing.

*To read more of my thoughts about getting found on Search Engines check out the other blog posts in the “SEO” section of my blog, or read my SilentSalesMachine.com book for more info.

Latest evidence of the extinction of SEO: The SEO pro’s are abandoning ship!

Consider this email I got recently:

“Jim, in the past, I did not agree with your SEO opinion. I would consider myself to be an SEO specialist because I have studied and tested SEO for 12 years, and made a good living online. But, times have changed. I now think you are correct…even the best SEO people I know may end up failing…”

cont…

 

That’s the start of an email I got from an SEO pro recently…and it’s the tip of the iceberg. He just got back from a gathering of SEO experts and they were nearly all in a panic.

Let’s talk about three things:
1. I told you so (I gotta say it)
2. The rest of the letter  (Continued from above)
3. What are you going to do about it? (My advice)

First-
For nearly 4 years I’ve been predicting the pending demise of ‘Search Engine Optimization’ or “SEO” as a widely accepted and mainstream way to get noticed online. I’ve been saying that there is a coming frustration and panic that would set in on those who rely on SEO for their livelihoods. I’ve even predicted that the very term would be mocked and considered “ancient insanity” in the not so distant future.

I stand by my premise now stronger than ever…and the latest evidence is rolling in. (Meanwhile, those paying attention to my stuff – such as my $5 ebook at SilentSalesMachine.com book are prospering now more than ever.)

Allow me to vent further…

My SEO articles draw a LOT of criticism (still to this day most “SEO lovers” doubt me). Even some of the most popular AND WELL RECEIVED reviews on Amazon about my 101FreeMarketing.com book basically call me an “SEO goofball” b/c I state clearly in the book my unpopular (but trending increasingly popular) positions on SEO.

My basic SEO advice is easily defined in about 100 words, and those 100 words will save you thousands of dollars of wasted time, energy and effort. It will also put you WAY ahead of the game if you get started using my freely available advice NOW instead of waiting until it’s too late. This year old article is all the SEO advice you will ever need – in about 100 words. Read the other articles on my blog in the SEO department for more clarity on the matter.

Now for the rest of the scary letter from an SEO pro:

“I recently paid a significant investment to travel cross country & attend 4 days of mastermind meetings with the top Internet marketing people from all over the world. I was surprised how many absolutely brilliant people were there, from London, Australia, Canada, U.S. etc.

I met several millionaires there, lots of smart people, including marketers, programmers, developers, business owners all sharing info on what is working and what’s not and what to do now (re: SEO).

Every conversation revolved around complex code, rankings, and strategies.

Some of the people there have been in direct contact with google and microsoft staff. Probably everyone there was hurt by google recently. We also discussed what is likely to happen in the future to make sure our clients are safe from any future penalties. SEO is now an extremely complex game. Gone are the days when you could do on-page SEO and some link building…”

So, what’s the plan?

The demise of SEO makes my three basic proven business strategies look pretty attractive. If I’m right (and I’m betting the farm that I am), then there’s no better online businesses to be in than one of the three biz concepts that I lay out in my book The Silent Sales Machine.

It’s also time to take my alternate “100 word approach to SEO“  very seriously.

Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment. I want to hear from you on this one…

If it were easy, everyone would be doing it

Perhaps the greatest myth of online income is that there are “secret formulas” and “step by step” processes that ANYONE can use to earn money online.

I’ll address that insanity in a moment. But first…it’s story time class…

Now class, pull up your carpet squares while Mr. Jim tells a story!

Hi Class! I’m Mr. Silent Jim and I’ll be helping you learn a valuable lesson about Internet business that you all should know by now, but I’ve been hearing some “not so good” stories!

When I was in high school I worked 70 hours per week on average during the two summers between my sophomore, junior and senior years. I was saving up for college. The college education I went on to get consisted of “book knowledge” that I rarely if ever use today, but the lessons of those summers were far more valuable to my current success.

One of my summer jobs was at a fast food restaurant where I learned what it meant to “work hard” for every dollar, and the other job was with a local one man auto mechanic shop where steady hands, attention to the smallest detail, and the ability to FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS were the keys to keeping my boss from getting red faced and stomping about like a meanie.

When I applied for the “mechanic’s helper” job my future boss only wanted to know ONE thing (the fine art of the one question interview). His one question, as it turns out,  contained a great lesson for anyone that is hoping to learn about online business.

(That’s you and me class!)

“Do you have experience working on cars?”,  he asked.

Dramatic pause.

THIS was the interview. The truth was I had very little knowledge of cars and I was sure the interview was over as soon as I answered honestly.

Do you think perhaps this guy needs to "unlearn" a few things about cars?

Had I said “yes”, which is what I THOUGHT he was hoping to hear, I would NOT have gotten the job. Instead I was honest and said, “no – very little experience” and was surprise with his response back.

“Good”, he said.  “That means I  don’t have to make you unlearn a bunch of crap. You’re hired. How much do you want per hour?” (Sorry class, I said “crap”!)

Let’s get back to the point of this story.

If you are hoping to earn money online there are a lot of programs, gurus, courses and ebooks out there to chose from. The EASIEST thing to do it fall for the most hyped, step-by-step, funloving expert and plop down your cash.

If you’ve actually bought several of these hyped courses or books because of the great sales letters full of “shiny stuff” and psychological triggers and promises that you KNEW were too good to be true, then you actually have a DISADVANTAGE over the newbies with NO experience.

In other words, a BRAND NEW student with only basic Internet skills armed with ONE SIMPLE QUESTION is better off than you are.  My soon to be 12 year old has a HUGE advantage over you in all honesty!

You have the disadvantage of having “learned” a bunch of junk, you have the additional disadvantage of thinking your head knowledge puts you a step ahead (which it doesn’t), and worst of all you likely think that the fault is inside you somehow for not having succeeded already (because your “guru teacher” is so cool, popular and influential that it CAN’T be their fault!)

The reality is though, it’s quite likely that you’ll have to UNLEARN a bunch of garbage before you can get started succeeding in business (online or offline).

If I sound confident about all of this it’s because I’ve been a part of teaching literally THOUSANDS of people how to think the right way about online business and then how to succeed online. I recognize the “junk thinking” a mile away because I see it literally EVERY DAY.

Here are a few examples of the “junk” that is usually in the heads of my students:

  • building a website is a great way to start an online business. After all, what else is there?
  • affiliate income sounds fun! Let’s all do that! After all it’s so easy and anyone can do it right?
  • let’s learn to drive traffic and then we can do all sorts of easy income stuff, right?!
  • I already have a great product idea. I need someone to show me how to sell it on the Internet!
  • someone tell me EXACTLY what to sell and THEN I can make lot’s of money!
  • If I can just learn one more SEO tactic I’ll be all set!

That’s all GARBAGE, JUNK and rotten thinking that is actually CLOUDING your judgement and keeping you from the real opportunities online. I often call myself the bubble buster. It’s my duty to you to play that role if necessary.

The one question you SHOULD have been asking of your teachers all along is this:

“How many people have you taught to earn a lot of money, and WHERE IS THE PROOF?”

Perhaps I should have asked my college profs that question before taking their courses! (Imagine that for a moment as a way to fix our business education problems!)

The fact is, if ANY of this online income stuff were easy then EVERYONE would be doing it.  Simple logic tells you that if EVERYONE starts doing something then the magic is quickly gone. The opportunity is tapped out.

  • The world doesn’t need another weight loss product review site.
  • The world doesn’t need another ipod seller on eBay.
  • The world doesn’t need your “driving traffic” skills
  • The world doesn’t need another full time affiliate marketer

Why? Because EVERYONE is doing it and the MAGIC is gone (or soon will be).

Story time is over. Neatly stack your carpet squares in the corner and I’ll take any questions now.

Click the comment button

I don’t do ANY SEO and I’m doing GREAT! My SECRET Four “C” formula.

I’ve caught some flack lately for my stance on SEO.

To me nearly all SEO efforts are the art and science of trying to stay one step ahead of Google in order to get undeserving websites a higher ranking than they deserve.  A great way to avoid all of that nonsense is to NOT CARE and NOT RELY on your Google rank.  If you do rank well occasionally, it’s a bonus. If you don’t rank well don’t worry about it. Just use my proven Four C formula below.

Are you curious how much time I’ve spent working on, thinking about and paying people to assist me with SEO? Ready for the total?

It’s ZERO.

And yet (to grab one example),  SilentSalesMachine.com (a simple one page website with a google pagerank of 5) gets loads of organic, search engine traffic. This is because people talk about it, they link to it, and it’s a great book according to the “crowd”.

Ready for the Four C’s?

I choose to create fantastic content that starts conversations and then the crowds find me every time. (I’ll call it my four C’s)

Each time I have an audience online paying attention to me I offer them the option of getting on my email list so I can contact them later with other stuff they might love (email marketing). Yep – it’s all that simple.

If you are spending your time, money, energy or heaven forbid you are building your career around figuring out ways to get Google “Love” for websites that only deserve Google “slight affection” (or worse), then I say embrace the 4 C formula now and only spend your money and time with people that get it.

Keep in mind this trend while you are making up your mind:

The Internet is increasingly LESS and LESS about “websites” and it’s more and more about RELATIONSHIPS, PEOPLE, TRUST and COMMUNITIES.

Being good at tricking google is not a skill that will get you through life much longer if I’m right.

Now, click the comment button and tell me all the reasons I’m nuts (I’m serious – I want your best shot!)

Additional reading:

http://www.jimcockrum.com/blog/?p=1688

The Death of Google (1996-2012)

A bit dramatic perhaps, but if I’m right you’ll REALLY thank me.  I’m not foolish enough to predict the actual demise of Google, but they are changing dramatically right before our eyes and I think I can help us all win if we understand what’s happening.

My last article told you why I thought CONTENT was king and how to rank high in Google search results the right way. This article is my supporting proof to hopefully convince you I’m right.

My title could be a bit less dramatic, sure.  More accurately stated, this article is about the massive changes I see coming in Google search, and while I’m almost certain it will impact Google’s bottom line in a BIG way, I’m much more interested in helping you know what to do about it NOW to be in a great position as it starts to happen. Even if I’m wrong, I’ll have golden advice for you at the end of this article that will make total sense to you (I hope).

Summary:  This article is about how Google search will inevitably change very soon (I predict) and how to benefit from it starting now.

I’ll cover three things:

  1. The facts we know
  2. The only obvious conclusions I can think of as a result of these facts, and
  3. What you can do NOW to position yourself for traffic, wealth, influence and greatness as Google changes.

Not only do I think trends are in play to wipe out a chunk of Google’s cash flow (Billions annually as browser users “mature”), I also think that the famed Google search engine algorithm is in jeopardy of being increasingly irrelevant very soon for billions of search terms.  Even if these observations are well ahead of their time, I’ve got some golden advice for you anyway. If I’m right about the time-line though, I think you’ll be calling me a genius as early as a couple years from now.

Bold predictions perhaps, but see if you can find any holes in my logic.

We know these facts:

  • How Google Makes it’s cash: Google generates most of its revenue currently from Ads running via Adwords/Adsense etc.  If you search for “how to build a dog house” you’ll get paid ads mixed in with what Google thinks are the best sites on the web on the subject based on it’s complex and highly secretive ranking algorithm.
  • We are starting to ignore ALL ads: The WHOLE WORLD (especially online) is caring less and less about what advertisers have to say about themselves (paid advertising), and they are caring more and more about what other users and independent reviewers have to say. It’s an undeniable trend.
  • We (Google users) are getting smarter and we have opinions: Google users will learn soon (and most have already learned) that the “organic” or “unpaid” results on Google are where the true experts and most respected results are. Sure, paid search results are monitored by Google for “quality score”, but it’s still a game of who has the most money and time to put into writing creative ads. The paid ads do not reflect the quality of the business, knowledge of the expert or usefulness of the content behind the ad. In other words, for good reason we as consumers are caring less and less about paid ads even on Google.
  • Google wants us to rank content online and WILL increasingly respect our choices: Google recognizes the need to get end users into the game of “ranking” content, providers, businesses, experts and everything else.  This is why Google came up with the +1 system you see everywhere now. Those ranks will inevitably begin to mean more and more over time. How do I know this? Why else would Google allow us to “vote” on virtually every piece of content online if Google plans on ignoring our votes? I think we’ll see some anti-fraud measures added to the +1 system and Google will take the votes increasingly seriously over time. Sure, they may keep their “algorithm”, but just as with Local Search we’ll start to see the customer feedback really driving the ship. The challenge for Google will no longer be tweaking the algorithm, but will become preventing +1 fraud.
  • Ignoring consumer preferences and FORCING us toward paid ads would hurt Google: Any unbiased ranking system can not possibly allow “paid” positioning to be confused with “most popular” results. Sure, Google will still run ads, and sure, some people will still click, but who do you trust more if you are buying a book about building a dog house,  1,000 of your voting peers, or a slick ad writer?

The big question:

If I’m right, where are we heading given the above facts that I think are indisputable?

What will Google do as all these trends unfold and the changes begin to effect their bottom line?

Some of Google’s options once this loss of ad revenue scenario plays out (these are my theories only):

  • Start charging us a pay per use/membership fee to use Google (not likely)
  • Stop allowing us to vote on content and hope we’ll trust their super secret ranking algorithm forever instead – while also hoping that we’ll accidentally continue to click on and respond to paid ads (this option would almost certainly lead to Google being replaced by a better search engine that allows and respects our votes)
  • Google will find a way to snap up experts, top content producers etc. like they snap up small companies now and find ways to cash in on their content. Don’t think they’ll do it? That’s how they run YouTube now with “invitation only” revenue sharing. It won’t be Adsense either – that’s already “uncool” in most corners (and fewer of us will be clicking ads remember?)
  • Get a govt. bailout because they are too big to fail (joke)

Regardless of whether or not it plays out exactly like I’m betting it will the following advice is pure gold:

  • Create great content and post it all over the place online. Content will clearly RULE both short term and long term online. Any SEO tricks, built in a week websites, set-it-and-forget-it marketing efforts etc. will all DRY UP and be useless at an increasingly faster pace.
  • Actively seek the votes and support of your audience as you crank out high quality, low cost (or free) content.
  • Monitor your influence and take steps to increase it.
  • Engage with your audience. Be in constant conversation. Ask for tangible feedback and support from them.

What if you are not an expert at anything yet? Tap into this trend anyway by helping other true experts capture and share their great content online. I’m always looking for creative people with creative ideas that will expand my reach online and I’m willing to reward their efforts. I’m not the only one in that position either!

You’ll also find many “clueless” experts and content rich businesses in the world that could use help getting into position for the shifts that are happening. Convince them that content is king and then help them get it out there to their eager audience.

Author: Jim Cockrum+

« Previous Entries