Whistler, Wild Kids & WiFi

Well, it’s been a little over a week since my last post. I would apologize however the delay is due to a week long hiatus in beautiful Whistler, BC in no small part due to my friend Bryan who manages some property there (www.whistlerretreats.com)and was kind enough to let us stay in one of his condos. This stay allowed me the time to do two things:

  1. Relax, mountain bike, and spend some real-for-real time with my family, and
  2. Think seriously about all the realizations I had regarding business and SEO in San Jose while attending the SES Conference.

As I’m positive you aren’t visiting an SEO blog to find out about Whistler and my own personal vacationing hobbies I will keep those to a minimum.

So we shall now discuss the latter of these two things which is the serious considerations I was allowed to delve into due in no small part to he lack on interruptions and the increased ability to simply jot down notes and keep my train of though focused knowing that aside from the occasional call to the pool when my youngest got in a little to deep, I would be free to follow that thought where it might lead.

One of the first considerations I stumbled upon was born in San Jose at the Strategies Conference itself. Perhaps ego or perhaps not realizing that I would have the opportunity to speak to the people I did, I was actually surprised at the information I picked up there and at how the Conference itself would help adjust the way I approach SEO and online marketing in general.

For example, in a session with Dave from 360i and their further research into consumer buying patterns I began thinking outside the pure-SEO box and a little more into the way consumers react to organic listings with the addition of PPC campaigns. This of course got my brain asking a thousand questions:

  • What about TV ads?
  • What about print media?
  • What about newspapers vs. magazines?
  • What about strategic banner ads?
  • Billboards?
  • And on and on it went with every possible media source flooding into my brain as some point or another.

I then recalled an article that I was reading in the New York Times while waiting for my flight back to Victoria from San Jose on the AOL blunder of revealing all the search phrases users entered and the reporters ability to track down individuals by their queries (some of which can get a bit embarrassing). This then got me thinking of some of the disadvantages in the modern print world and their inability to keep up with the advertising initiatives in the Internet realm. I know this is an odd thought to have when reading about privacy issues but I am a marketer at heart after all.

What were the ads that appeared around the article I was reading? What were they again? To this day I can’t recall and unfortunately the paper I was reading has long since been relegated to the great recycle bin in the sky however the point I came to and was further reinforced after looking at a few papers at the newsstand here is that the advertising has virtually nothing to do with the articles on the page unless the stars are lined up just right and chance is on your side.

When I buy an ad in a newspaper I pay a fixed price no matter what type of person is interested in the content on that page. If there had been a system in place to know that the article I’m reading is a tech article and make sure that the ads on that page are for computers, they would make gains in value to advertisers. Additionally, to dig further and make sure the ads that run are for firewalls and other privacy equipment/software the value would be further increased.

And thus I would call on the newspaper publishers to think outside the box. Sell advertising in advance and schedule it to run whenever a related article is printed. At this time can print ads possibly produce an ROI equal to AdWords when virtually every ad displayed on the paid results of Google are related in some way (that you get to define in fact) to the topic of the page? (though in their defense I have yet to determine how ClickFraud could be an issue with a print advertisement … if there’s a way to do it however I’m sure someone will).

So what does this have to do with online marketing? Good question and it brings us to the next realization that I had. Admittedly, it’s a fact I’ve always known but have been testing a lot more lately and with great success. High rankings are nothing more than bragging rights. It’s business that counts.

This may seem like a contradiction coming from an SEO but bear with me, it will all make sense soon.

SEO is an important and even integral part of any marketing campaign, be it for sales, leads, traffic, or just branding. Sites that appear on the first page of the search results are viewed in the searchers eyes as leaders in their field. More and more people are turning to search engines and the Internet in general to find their information knowing that, while biased, is no moreso than the general media is and is certainly more vast in the information it collects. The implied democracy of the Internet creates an environment where being found makes you a leader, but does it convert?

Remember now, there are still 9 other leaders around you on the front page – distinguishing yourself from them has become an increasingly important factor. There was once a time when simply being one of the first to be found was enough. Fortunately the general public have become more educated (read: cynical) relating to what they find online. So how does one set themselves apart? That is more than can be covered in a simple blog post and will be covered in an article next week. Keep watching for more information on this important subject but know, the subject matter of converting searchers into visitors and visitors into buyers is the stuff of MANY books. I will be writing a Coles-notes version and list off some important resources to check out including a book I’m in the middle of right now which, despite the horrible cover, is a great read entitled, “Waiting For Your Cat To Bark“. Weird title, bad cover, great book that lends excellent advice on how to open your mind to your clients, methods for increasing conversions and client retention, and a variety of other useful tips to help you make the most of your business, both online and offline. It costs a few dollar but definitely sits high in my recommended reading list. And I’m only half-way through.

So what else is there to know from my trip to Whistler. Well, for one thing – if you don’t have a laptop and a WiFi connection: get one! There is nothing quite as rewarding as sitting outside on a beautiful day and responding to the “urgent” emails though admittedly, not conducive to putting in 8 hour days (which is why my current work load sits at closer to 12 – 14 hour days … well worth the trade off). As Jim Hedger noted in his amusing and informative article “War-Driving Muskoka?” – you’d be surprised how easy it is to find an open wireless connection when one simply tries (though certainly easier in Whistler than Muskoka I’m sure). As it turned out, I could also sit at t
he park, away from my wireless router (secured from other War-Drivers of course 😉 and watch my kids play while typing away.

Or you can lock yourself into a dark room, as far as I’m concerned it’s well worth the investment. 🙂

And as a final note of thanks, once more I’d like to extend my sincere appreciation to Bryan. It was a great stay as usual. 🙂

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