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The Care and Feeding of the 800 Lb Gorilla in the Room Named Google

07 Feb 2013 | Posted Under Internet
By Carl Weiss

When I was a boy I first saw the movie King Kong. It was a truly amazing movie moment for me. King Kong was a giant. He could do whatever he wanted on his island. He was the undisputed ruler of his world. Like King Kong, we now have a new undisputed ruler of the online world: Google. Our reigning gorilla is often gracious in what he provides and yet he can be ruthless when obtaining what he wants. 

Google is the King Kong of search engines, controlling more than 80% of search worldwide.   According to ComScore, 1n 2011, consumers made 4,717,000,000 searches per day on Google.  That accounted for more than 65% of all searches made worldwide.  In comparison, the number two search engine, Yahoo, only accounted for 16% of the search market in 2011. Since then, Google has gobbled up even more of the search engine market and is getting stronger all the time.  

Aside from being one of the most profitable companies on the planet (their Q3 earnings in 2012 were in excess of $14 billion), they also own a number of other wildly popular sites, including YouTube, Google+, Blogger, Picasa, and many others. When it comes to succeeding online, you need to make friends with this largest of all online primates.  

What do you feed an 800 lb gorilla?  Anything it wants.

In case you haven’t noticed, Google is one picky eater.  He wants what he wants. And what he mostly wants is to be fed his own brands.  Therefore, when you think video, think YouTube.  When you think blogs, think Blogger.  When you think social networks, think Google+.  If you want the gorilla to like you, then you have to feed him what he likes to eat on a regular basis. 

The Names Remain the same, but the Game has Changed and Google makes the Rules

When Google started back in 1998, there were a number of other search engines that offered the opportunity to create page 1 placement in as little as 24 hours. Back then, everything you needed to generate page 1 results was right on your homepage.  In 1998 there were no blogs, no social networks and no YouTube. Bandwidth was so tight that it could take several minutes for a website to load if it contained a lot of graphics.  Literally everything the search engine spiders needed to make their ranking decision was contained on-site. 

Jump ahead fifteen years and while many of the names remain the same, the whole game has radically changed.  Nowadays on-page SEO only accounts for 25% of the ranking criteria used by search engines.  The other 75% is made up of backlinks, blog posts, social posts, videos, podcasts, etc.  In other words, content is king in today’s World Wide Web.

Here’s where many people fall short.  You see, it isn’t enough just to have blogs, videos and social networks connected to your website.  If you want to succeed at search engine marketing, you need to create content on a regular and continuous basis.  With blogs you need to post at least once per week.  When it comes to social networks, you need to feed the need on a daily basis.  As for videos, the more the merrier. 

If your going to play the internet marketing game, play to win.

When it comes to working the web to win, there are winners and there are losers.  Just as in the casinos, the players with the most chips tend to dominate the game.  In the case of the Internet, this means that big businesses can muscle their way to the top of most searches.  That’s because they can afford to hire armies of bloggers, and social networkers, and video producers galore to create content, content and more content. 

Most small businesses on the other hand find it hard to come up with enough chips (meaning content) to even get into the game.   Does that mean that small business owners should throw in the towel?  Hardly.  Small business need to work smarter not harder. It means you need to find a way to level the playing field or at least tip part of the equation in your favor so you can walk away with more chips than you started with.

The Principle of Together We Stand.  Divided We Fall, Works Here Too!

The same principles that built our nation can be used to build your web presence. What I am talking about is people power and guerilla marketing.  Use people power to create an “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” mentality and use guerilla tactics to hit the big guys where they ain’t.

Having trouble writing a weekly blog?  Either outsource the task or get a blog buddy.  What’s a blog buddy?  That’s someone who will read and more importantly comment upon your blogging efforts week in and week out.  (It’s what used to be called an editor.)  When writing a weekly blog it sometimes gets hard to see the forest for the trees.  A blog buddy can let you know if you are going off the rail, or are chasing the wrong story.  They can help you clean up your copy and can even suggest new blog topics.  The catch is that in order to avail yourself of these services you need to either pay for or trade out these services.  (My CFO is my blog buddy.)

Writ large you can use these same tactics to create a peer group that not only produces, but reads, comments upon and reposts one another’s blogs to the social nets.  This is the concept we used to create, the Internet blogging, social networking and search engine marketing club.  We recognized the high value that Google placed on blogs, reviews, recommendations and reposts and created a mechanism that allows members to efficiently provide these services to one another.

Google Loves Mixed Media.

Another thing that Google loves is called mixed media.  This consists of visual elements such as photos and videos.  A properly optimized video can jump from YouTube to Google page 1 way faster than a properly optimized website.  Plus a video is five times as likely to generate a click as is a website.  Best of all, videos don't need to be lengthy or flashy.  A sixty second video that is entertaining and /or informative is all it takes to get into the game.  You can either hire the job out or you can shoot your own videos using your laptop, tablet or smartphone. (Please invest in a tripod if you plan on using your cellphone, since there is nothing more annoying to viewers than Shaky-Cam.)

Even better is the fact that YouTube now includes a complete editing suite on-site that anyone can use to spruce up their efforts.  Everything from image stabilization to royalty free music tracks are there for the taking.  So there’s no need to spend a bundle to let out your inner Steven Spielberg. 

The Table is Set

When it comes to putting on the feedbag for the 800 lb gorilla, it doesn’t take bushels baskets of cash to bring home the bacon.  All it takes is patience, persistence and a bunch of bananas to get you into the game and on Google’s good side. 

Carl Weiss has been feeding the gorilla since its birth in 1998.  His company W Squared Media Group specializes in helping companies generate online results.  He also owns and operates Jacksonville Video and can be heard weekly on his Working the Web Radio Show that is broadcast on Blog Talk Radio every Tuesday at 4pm Eastern.

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