The search marketing world is assembled at SMX West today. The irony is that the talk of the conference isn’t even at the show. Instead, he’s sitting pretty back at his headquarters for world domination at PC Mag. He, of course, is John Dvorak.
His article “SEO Fiascoes: The Trouble with Search Engine Optimization,” in which he compares the SEO industry to snake oil salesmen, has the blogosphere, Twitterverse, Facebook-o-sphere and everything else afire.
This is classic Dvorak. Anyone who has followed Apple for any period of time is no doubt familiar with his twice yearly proclamations of Apple’s doom. Other common tropes are Microsoft’s domination. The pillorying of SEO just before a major conference fits right into his M.O. Need further proof? He published a related rant on November 17, 2008, “Why Google Must Die.” The title is deceptive, if you read through it, you will see that the focus is really on search engine optimization. You will notice that 3 days earlier, on November 14, 2008, Pubcon, another large search / social / Internet marketing conference took place. The timing was a little off.
Coincidence? Maybe it’s just me, but I want to believe.
Of course, being an optimization scientist, I want to go beyond belief and prove my theory. How can I do that? It is simple really. If my theory is correct, then the next Dvorak SEO rant should come just before the next big SEO or social media conference, such as SES, Search Analytics, or Found.
Time will prove this out one way or another.
This session was presented by Tina Schweiger, the President of Spoonbend, Inc. last Wednesday at SEM for SMB, a SEM conference in Austin for small-to-medium businesses.
As Tina and her assistants handed out several fun things including sheets of company logos, legal size paper, safety scissors and glue sticks, I knew that this was going to be a different kind of session. Our assignment was to cut out the logos we liked and paste them onto our sheet of blank paper. She later used examples of attendees’ logo sheets as a tool to help the attendee talk out what they want out of their brand’s identity.
Tina’s goal for this session was to show the small-to-medium business owners how their identity is at the core of your brand, especially online. When evaluating your company’s online identity, creative decisions should be made in relation to website design & increasing conversions.
This notion struck a chord with me as a search engine marketer. In SEO, we focus on optimizing websites, evaluating keywords and attracting qualified leads for our clients. However, while a site may have the best, optimal SEO campaign ever, it’s not going to provide the value it should when qualified leads come to a website with an archaic site design and an unattractive color scheme, causing the traffic to hit the back button while shielding their eyes.
What encompasses a brand identity?
• Logo – Tina called it the “visual nugget” that delivers your brand’s promise.
• Color Palette – The colors chosen to represent your brand can influence and sway your potential customers. Monochromatic color schemes are often viewed as more sophisticated, while colorful palettes can signify excitement and youthfulness. Tina also noted that some businesses need to be aware of cultural responses to color, as correlations do differ around the world.
• Typography – Font style can also visually indicate a level of sophistication.
• Voice/Tone – How content is written sets expectations with your audience.
• Design – The layout of your site needs to help your audience get to the information they need quickly.
Tina suggested re-branding about once every 10 years, which is when design trends seem to turn over. This also allows a business to utilize new technology while re-branding, such as using improved software and web design techniques to help develop an updated identity. Companies should also consider refreshing the brand’s color palette more often. This can be done by keeping the same core colors (if desired) and altering the hues or bringing in a new secondary set of color. Be aware of “micro-trends” when choosing a color palette – just because the patriotic red-white-blue scheme has been popular does not mean it’s the best choice for your brand.
Overall, I was glad I attended a session a little outside the realm of SEM from the others offered because it focused more on branding design, which is a key part of online business success along with SEM. Tina presented her creative process in an accessible, common sense style and left everyone thinking about how their online brand identity influences their site’s visitors.
I’ve spent the last couple of days at the inaugural BlogWorld & New Media Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada. While there have been numerous mentions of search, there has been little that was blogworthy for a search marketing blog. One session, “A Futurist Look at Web 10.0″ was different. The presenter, Thomas Frey, is executive director and senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute.
He pointed out several areas where search is effective today:
- Text to text
- Text to image
- Text to audio
- Text to video
There are a number of areas where search is not effective today:
- Image to image
- Image to video
- Audio to audio
- Video to video
In other words, we only have effective search when the input mechanism is text.
In the future, we will be able to search on smell, taste, texture, reflectivity, harmonic vibration, or even specific gravity. I wonder how many of these are being worked on by Google currently.
Thomas also pointed out that while we have effective search online. We have very rudimentary search abilities in the real world. He used the example of losing his glasses. He couldn’t exactly connect to Google and have it tell him where the glasses were. While RFID is an interim step towards this, there is much room for improvement.
This past July Apogee Search took part in Affiliate Summit Miami. Affiliate Summit was started in 2003 with the mission of providing educational sessions on the latest search engine marketing trends and fostering a productive networking environment for affiliate marketers. Throughout the 3 day event Apogee Search helped usher in more support and education for the SEM and Affiliate industries to marketers and consumers alike.
As one of the premiere marketers attending the event Apogee Search’s CEO, William Leake, was interviewed by Affiliate Summit and asked a series of questions concerning Apogee’s place in the market place, as well as his thoughts on the progress of the latest Affiliate Summit. To view the interview click here.
Apogee Search is proud to announce its new list of Internet Marketing Conferences. This is now the most complete and authoritative list of online marketing events on the internet.
Blogger David Meerman Scott reviews LCG president Bill Leake’s speech at Software Marketing Perspectives in Cambridge, MA.
Margery Weinstein reports from the Annual Catalog Conference on ways to improve website conversion.