Friday, February 29, 2008

Social Bookmarking, SEO, and Selling Books

Some notes on Social Bookmarking and SEO (and selling books):

::We are social by make-up. We'd rather party than work.

::Our traditions are social. Our oldest histories and philosophies were transmitted aurally - with great presentations by remarkable storytellers.
- Huna was/is spread only by answering questions. The kahunas would never prompt, only answer. Serge King tells a story where he was given a stone by an African shaman - only to figure years later that there was some significance to that gift-stone.
- Most of our oldest records (Vedas, most books of the Hebrew Bible, New Testament) were told as stories for generations before they were ever written down.

::Our Internet usage is trending back to the social mechanisms (podcasts, videos) as the technology improves and broadband becomes more available.

- The written word is composed of letters, which were originally individual pictographs. People wrote with pictures first, which became letters, which were grouped into words - and somehow associated with meanings, grammar.
- Books were heavily illustrated first, then became more and more words later on. [See Scott McCloud's "Understanding Comics" - I've misplaced my copy somewhere in this mess :( ]

::Social bookmarking/Networking are simply expressions of our continual need to explore, to grow, to evolve.

::People prefer to grow and evaluate their data through stories. Give a group of people (or students) a simple list of important facts. Unless they are made to memorize them (repeat over and over and over), they won't retain them. However, tell them a joke, or a moving story or something they can associate with themselves somehow, and they will have that memory tucked away somewhere.
- Probably the basis behind advertising's slogans and jingles.
- Same could be said for popular songs (country-western even today lives on the richness of it's stories-in-song) which have telling stories and then repeat the chorus over and over.
- Religious hymns and spirituals...
- Religions in general form behind great figures/martyrs. It's their story which is retold - in terms which involve the listener through their own personal life stories.
- Collier and others are known as sales people/advertisers because they told effective stories. Check out Joe Vitale for a modern version...

::Analysis (evaluation) is based in comparisons.

::Any study of social bookmarking/networking must involve work in Gladwell's Tipping Point, as well as Anderson's Long Tail. Both are integrally related to the Bell Curve, which describes many aspects of each.

::Social bookmarking/Networking is a different cat and only now are tools beginning to be developed to enable its easy use.
- The Internet is enabling niche-users to find each other. And of course, people are involved with many Long Tail niches (which is why most advertising fails - they try to lump people into major demographics instead of major - and minor - conversations).
- Flock is a browser based on Mozilla (Firefox) as a means to do this. It has various toolbars which help you see your friends/groups/channels as well as what's become "traditional" surfing.
- Other tools are beginning to become available which enable graphic representation of people with similar interests (me.dium.com) - which looks similar to tag clouds, among others.
- Digg has a "swarm" beta going, but this is more for the end-product, rather than building niche-communities.

::One very smart SEO author said she did an experiment by working solely with social bookmarking and got remarkable response on the search engines (and to her blog).

::Both Michael Campbell and Dr. Andy Williams have been touting the results of social bookmarking for some time. They say you can get first page of Google keyword searches in minutes and then hold that page. A comment on Williams' recent newsletter said that one SEO'er said he not only got that ranking, but several related keywords as well.
- According to Williams, Google is "camping out" at Digg. My own experience tends to confirm this - that whatever I Digg, that particular Digg-post will show up well before the blog or mini-net page that was dugg.
- And it is in minutes.

::Communities - Article marketing used to be top-dog in terms of organic SEO. This deals in stories and links to your site. And it is still useful. However, the top article directories are more social-network-oriented - they form communities. (And the way you can add hyper-drive to your articles would be to Digg/Stumbleupon/social bookmark your articles...)
- Success of Linux/Open Source is their community
- Success of MAC/Apple is community (and they upgraded their OS to an open-source base...)
- Failure of corporations (especially per ClueTrain Manifesto) is that they are silo-oriented - basically having a one-way flow of information and considering their public to be "consumers", consuming their product over and over.
- However the success of new marketing experts such as Robert Allen and Jay Abraham, is their approach in treating their buyers as "clients" - some one to be served and assisted, not just sold and forgotten.
- Best and longest-lived, successful corporations have supporting communities who are consulted with for all "improvements" before they are implemented. This isn't surveys and focus groups. People got too smart for these along time ago. They have an open interface with their publics (niches they serve).
- Best management, like the original Hewlett-Packard and Wal-Mart (under Sam Walton) and McDonald's (under Ray Kroc) were done by personal interaction and visits to the individual stores and franchises. H-P had "management by walking around", where they would talk to nearly every person in the shop every day. Employees (associates) were elevated to near-partner status and honestly consulted on what needed to be done. Shops that don't do this have incredible turnover.

::At this point (temporary conclusions): The real mind-bender is to see the whole Internet experience in terms of widening spheres of interconnection and influence. As a concept, it's different from many linear approaches. But it is the way Google is heading.
- Sites should build and serve their communities. This is really the reason for the top-run (short head) blogs. Communities have formed up around them.
- Internet sales are built on the idea of providing real service to clients. You only keep people buying when they are continually improving their lives through your services.
- You involve people in conversations, just like the open-air markets of old. Reviews (like Stumbleupon, Digg, Amazon's rating system) do just this. A variation of this is "Tell-a-Friend."
- Like it or not, you are in the Tipping Point envelope. (Gladwell's Connectors, Mavens, Salesmen all sneeze in your world.)
- The new approach of utilizing social bookmarking/networks is an evolution of organic SEO, where you worked to build optimized sites replete with emphasized keywords as well as LSI-themed content. You now build these, then blog about them, then social bookmark that blog and site - in that order. Then you article market to send traffic to your site - and social bookmark these articles. What you are doing is teaching the web what you think is important. Others will have different ideas. Meanwhile, knowing this, you are ahead of the curve and will consistently enable your creations to show up on top of Google/search engine rankings.
- This of course means you live in the social bookmark world and contribute to others. Comment marketing now has a much greater influence than before. Blogging has a greater influence. Having and finding friends is more important than ever before.

And that's the brave new world we now live in. Oddly, one interesting tertiary result would be a leveling of the playing field, aka, world peace.

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Thinking at Internet Speed

by Dr. Robert C. Worstell

Here's a guide to thinking beyond any box, learning how to swim through floods of data, and developing your own world view to make your own success, prosperity, and happiness.

You have within you all the capability for happiness, power, success, becoming rich and famous. The only true limits to your achievements is within you.

The trick is figuring out how to release these capabilities and make it all happen.

This is the original doctorate thesis which evolved into a popular version: Go Thunk Yourself, Again!

A Go Thunk Yourself(TM) Reference.

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