• matthew-brownI had a chance to speak with Matthew Brown in email after yesterday’s launch of the Fresh Web Explorer from SEOmoz. It’s rare that we write a product review on Outspoken Media, but being both a link builder and an online reputation manager, I felt it was important that I speak up since this new tool combines the best of both worlds! Tracking backlinks and tracking brand mentions are usually very separate affairs. With the Fresh Web Explorer you get the best of both backlinks and mentions or co-citations in one place. The only hitch—it’s just from the past four weeks, so grab your data and check frequently! It also does not appear to include social media mentions, which frankly helps with some of the noise you get in other tools like Radian6 (unless you intentionally block micromedia from displaying in your dashboard).

    To use Fresh Web Explorer, you do have to be an SEOmoz Pro member. If you have an account, just enter the phrase you want to track mentions of or the URL:

  • Sometimes we care about the wrong things, especially when it comes to an SEO audit, or link building. We’ve trusted the wrong company and been burned, or heard enough war stories that we’re super cautious about who we’re going to get into bed with for our search marketing needs. How do you find an SEO consultant you can trust? More often than not you’re asking the wrong questions and stumbling on the self-proclaimed “best SEO companies,” but missing the real experts. Michael Cottam brings us a guest post on the five questions you should NOT be asking your potential SEO agency.

    penguinlightsaberI’m frequently running into new prospective clients who’ve embraced the dark side of SEO. It’s like they’ve begun their Jedi training under Lord Vader, instead of Yoda. Then like Anakin Skywalker, they got their arm cut off by a penguin (take another look at Christopher Lee as Count Dooku, and tell me I’m wrong).

    So they come to me wary, wanting to ask all the right questions so that their next SEO expert doesn’t cause them to get their other arm lopped off too. But, their understanding of SEO from their previous consultant–master of the Dark Side–has them asking all the wrong questions.

  • women-seo-industryA better title would be, “Outspoken Media’s Winter/Spring 2013 Speaking Schedule,” but I decided to do more with this after reading aimClear’s recent study on gender diversity among SEO industry conferences.

    The question of female speakers and gender diversity within the SEO industry has always been a hot topic. Even among women it’s been widely debated because many don’t see an issue, simply don’t want to speak for a variety of reasons, or feel the bias against us so strongly that it becomes demoralizing to speak or even unsafe.

    To understand whether search marketing conferences were adequately representing gender diversity, aimClear conducted their study and found that on average, only 25.3% of conference speakers/coordinators were women. The last time I checked we have a majority share of the world’s population, so there’s still a lot of work to do if we want to give women an equal voice. This extends to women wanting to speak, which again, many don’t.

  • This past Sunday, the Super Bowl aired and, as marketers, we were glued to our TVs to see who would win the Brand Bowl. After a year of planning for some brands, the ones that actually caught our attention did so during the unexpected blackout. From Audi to Oreo, these brands and the agencies behind them were fast to respond with clever tweets that won us over and earned them thousands of retweets!

    Andy White, Senior Social Media manager for AudiHere at Outspoken Media we love seeing the data behind those epic tweets, but we recognize that this kind of genius happens because of people–teams built on trust with open collaboration. We wanted to find out how these brands were able to cut through the red tape and let their personalities shine, so we went straight to the source at Audi. Big thanks to Amanda Orson for pointing us to Andy White, the Senior Social Media Manager for Audi who has been trailblazing social media success for the brand for years now.

  • With the New Year comes a fresh start, but in many cases our past likes to follow us online in the search results, especially on Google. That’s where online reputation management is needed to displace negative results with more favorable positive mentions and notable achievements. In an effort to better understand the types of content users prefer when evaluating companies, brands, and individuals, we’re working on a series of posts and independent research that will hopefully provide interesting insights that we can all apply to the demands of a modern, Google-powered world.

    When looking for an authoritative list of CEOs and brands, where better to start than Forbes? Every year they put together a series of lists that document the top performing CEOs, companies, richest Americans, world’s billionaires, etc. I decided to take a closer look at those top 10 highest earning CEOs to see what kinds of reputation management insights we could learn from these powerful individuals.

  • You’re working on your New Year’s Resolutions, right? Run every day, talk more to distant friends, and stop eating cake for breakfast, right? Let me suggest a small addition to your ever growing list: use good judgment. It may seem obvious, but in our industry good judgment can mean the difference between success and failure real quick.

    In my spare time, I review children’s books. I swear that I can read at an adult level, it’s just that sometimes I prefer to curl up with a fantasy YA novel. I’ll spare you any long-winded explanation on why I think it’s important to invest time and energy into a genre that most of my peers stopped reading decades ago, but I will tell you that I have more picture books than your average family of four. What does this have to do with SEO? At first glance, nothing at all. It’s not like reading Where the Wild Things Are is going to give you some secret link building tactics, and yet, on closer examination, the process of judging quality is uniform across industry, genre, and subject. (more…)

  • foster-creativityI know I might sound very naive due to my short time in the search marketing industry, but I believe creativity is more important than ever before. The recent shift in the SEO industry (due to two fuzzy animals) has placed a greater weight on relationship and content-based strategies. This forces search marketers to take on additional creative responsibilities.

    Traditional on-site expertise remains important, but I’m talking from a link building perspective here. Our industry is now less about gaming the system and more about creating creative content that fosters organic “link-earning.” Whether you like it or not, I think it’s time to get on the content train before it leaves you behind.

  • new-seo-glossaryThe SEO industry is full of acronyms, abbreviations, and industry-wide inside jokes. There are other publications that have extensively covered what SEO industry jargon means and how to interpret it–that isn’t my goal here.

    The elephant in the room for any SEO firm or individual consultant is that SEO has a massive reputation problem. The issue is part lack of regulation, part scale, and part perception. As an industry we can’t hunt down every person who claims they’re an SEO who will get you “first in the search engines, guaranteed!” We can’t stop the mountains of spam that fall into small business owner’s email inboxes daily. The Internet is a very large place, with a lot of hidey-holes.

    One of the few things that we can control as an individual or company is how we talk about ourselves, how we speak to our clients, and how we speak to other industry professionals. When your industry is the Internet, nothing is private; the only face that we have is our public one.

  • building-client-agency-trustAs search marketers, building trust and relationships should be second nature, it’s vital to what we do for our clients. Maintaining expectations, effectively promoting brands, and finding new avenues to drive qualified traffic are all dependent on trust. However, building trust is a two-way street and in the past clients often had to take a leap of faith when investing in a search partner to achieve results. Money was exchanged for various services and engagements grew longer and larger depending on the results achieved.

    As the landscape has changed from recent algorithmic updates, so did the model of how agencies and clients interacted. Some engagements have shifted from full-blown promotion to damage control, cleaning up fallout from past engagements, establishing new baselines, and auditing internal client activities.

  • social-media-fatigue The secret to “social media fatigue” is that we need to stop calling it that! Seriously. We have “social media fear” or “social media disappointment,” but we are not fatigued.

    Very few of us use social media to the point that we are so mentally and physically exhausted that we can’t go on. I get fatigued from pregnancy, because I’m growing a human being! I get fatigued from growing a business, because I have to provide for my team and my client’s teams. I get fatigued from exercise, because my frail ginger body only has so much strength.

    We all have life events that leave us truly fatigued–social media isn’t one of them. Social media doesn’t cause fatigue, it causes an emotional block about how we prioritize our time and the success we are or aren’t having with it. At least that’s my non-expert, anecdotal opinion. After hours of calls, coffees, and emails exchanged with folks recounting their trouble with social media, that has to count for something.