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Why Iran, Perez Hilton, and The US Open relate to SEO

By Frankie Fredericks

“There is only now.”  Eckhart Tolle

A common problem for those who have already optimized their website, and have created a wide array of content across social media outlets and networks is how to fight the traffic stagnation that comes after the initial launch of your comprehensive search engine optimization and online marketing campaign.  The key to fighting this is as true in traditional marketing as it is in search engine optimization and management.  This key is relevancy.

Whether you are selling a product or service, promoting a mission, campaigning for a politician, or just pushing for internet PR, you must cater to the impeding change of focus from static content of websites to fresh content available on blogs and social networks.  Such things as Twitter Trends and blog search engine WhosTalkin.com.  In short, your content must be relevant to now, as in THIS MOMENT.

Each of these topics at the title came from Google Trends today, and represent different approaches to making your constant need of traffic relevant to changes.  This is not about using black hat techniques, but legitimately connecting your project to the topics of the day.  Firstly is Iran.  While those of you in the consuming sector may not have it as easy as politicians or organizations, there are examples of companies offering services for free to Iranians, such as proxy servers.  While their website is optimized for their general online needs, having a blog post dedicated to their Iranian promotion, which is optimized with best practices of titling, tagging, and keyword density, is not only good SEM, it is also great PR, and reaches whole masses who haven’t otherwise learn of the company.  To be clear, this is not about exploiting or diluting a movement, it’s about utilizing technology to become a part of it.

If you are news source this is even more relevant.  The Huffington Post has had such higher traffic because unlike most networks covering the Iranian protests with one or two stories daily, like CNN or Al Jazeera, they are blogging more than once an hour with updates.  Furthermore, the use of social media has completely changed activism at the same time.  Using Marshall Mcluhan’s “hot” and “cool” media philosophy, these constant videos, tweets, and stories are making it impossible for the sort of detachment that occurs with print, radio, or even traditional television.  Now it is real and in your face.  I am using this as an example, because while my day job is working as on Online Marketing Consultant, I am also the founder and Executive Director of an international NGO, and am becoming involved in the Iranian activism online in collaboration with my Iranian friends.

In a complete departure from the previous section, next we will explore Perez Hilton.  While he is currently in Google trends due to a run in with Will.i.am from Black Eyed Peas, bloggers have become the newest legitimate form of PR.  If you product, organization, or candidate gets blog coverage, utilize that coverage with best practices on your own.  Tweet it, blog it, link to it, etc., because you never know when the blogger is on his way up.  I used Perez Hilton because of my own involvement in the music industry.  While I run an independent record label these days, I used to work as a manager and booking agent, starting off with my client Stefani Germanotta.  She got mentioned by then little-known blogger Perez Hilton under her pseudonym Lady Gaga.  As he become increasing popular, his interest in Stefani also grew.  The growth in incoming links was obviously giant, and his constant coverage was one of the foundational launches of her pop legitimacy, now with several #1 hits.  They attended the Much Music Video Awards last night together.

The last example is the US Open.  This is where there is little harm done with being less relevant.  Perhaps you can make a promotion with tennis in the title and during the timing of the US Open.  Perhaps you continue this with a PPC campaign as well.  This is fair game, and predates the internet.  But now that SEO exists, the potential for new clients is great considering the huge increase in search traffic.  What would be especially prudent is to come up with something particularly outrageous for viral potential.

What these are all examples of, is how SEO best practices are not the answer to your online marketing needs, but they are an important tool to your greater marketing campaign.  Too often as an Online Marketing Consultant am I put in the position of translating between a technology-challenged Marketing Vice President and a marketing-ignorant techie.  The end goal of SEO is traffic, with highest conversion to your goal action (e.g. purchases, donations, or incoming links).

You are also looking for virality.  Viral marketing is word of mouth in the digital age, and thus, the same rules apply as do to traditional marketing.  People want to laugh, be touched, see the underdog win, and be privy to the next best thing.  The best practices are only a means to a viral end.

Today, as “search engines” as a term is no longer limited to Google and Bing, but includes blog search engines, video search engines, and other new media search technologies, fresh relevant content must be created, and optimized.  So you have an optimized website, great.  Now you have to still engage your target audience, and do it now.  This starts offline, and then the SEO comes into play with using best practices on your blogs.  But beyond best practices, you must evaluate what terms you are using, and how you are backing up your relevance to them offline.  I suggest you implement this in your online strategies… NOW!

This is an entry to Marketing Pilgrim’s 4th Annual SEM Scholarship contest.