It's Not a Sign, It's Good Advertising

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It's Not a Sign, It's Good Advertising

Recently, in conversation with a friend it was mentioned that she/he/they saw something on Facebook. (Sorry, at this point I cannot for the life remember who I talked to about this or exactly what the finer points were.) They saw it as a sign, that maybe they should pursue something they had been thinking about. 

As a online marketer, I saw it as an algorithm. Wait..that doesn't sound cool. 

I saw it as the evolution of our business/marketing environment to provide catered, unique content.

A little fluffy, but better.

Isn't it funny though? Companies, search engines, and social medias have now become so advanced that we can now offer each individual person unique content and advertising. Somehow, the message hasn't been relayed to the general public. So now shopaholics, eager travelers and clueless elderly every day are thinking life/god/spaghetti monsters, are telling them to take that next step, "buy the stupid thing!"

We have all seen it. The people who can't stop talking about how they want to travel and suddenly they see Facebook ads about trips to Italy. Or the person who wants to diet all the time constantly seeing new programs. It really isn't a bad thing because now you don't have to sit through messages you don't care about. 

The next time you see a sign from life. Take a step back. Is it a sponsored Facebook post? Google advertising? Or do those Twitter cards seem oddly specific? If so, it is not a sign from life. It is good advertising. 

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What is SEO?

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What is SEO?

As originally posted on Ronwavedesign.com 

Search Engine Optimization in the last five years has catapulted to the very core of any online marketing campaign. What once was a new fad has quickly become a non negotiable, vital pillar of any successful business that wants to survive in the 21st century.

This hyper speed growth has produced a wide gap between those who know SEO and those who don't. If your like most people, Search Engine Optimization is a mammath of a term. Knowing what it means is a whole other story that quite understandably is sometimes not worth it for many business people. Today I'll go through Search Engine Optimization, most often represented as SEO, what you need to know and best practices.

What Is SEO? (In layman's terms)

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the strategy of improving positioning on search engines. Search engines are comprised of Bing, Google and others. 90% of search traffic comes from Google so most professionals just focus on Google.

How Is Rank Even Determined?

Rank is dictated by the search engine you are using. (For the rest of this piece I'm going to default my conversation with Google.) The method of ranking is not published by Google or any search engine. Most of our knowledge of ranking comes from trial and error from those in the SEO and marketing industry. However, every time Google updates their search algorithm (Algoithm meaning the formula they use decide what results matches the search terms you inputted) they will announce what they have begun to put more emphasis in.

Let's Stop Here...

I don't want to move too fast because it is really easy to get lost. Here is where I like to use an analogy that often makes more tangible sense.

Think of SEO like a Library

Let's imagine you are a library curator. You have thousands, maybe even millions of books in inventory. What you need to make sure is that the patrons of your library get the books they want.

Let's think about it. Essentially everyone who comes into the library has a certain book they are looking for. Some have a specific title and that is easy. We just have to find the exact title of the book that matches the one they are telling you. No biggie.

How do we find the right book for someone that asks you "How do I make a good tasting hamburger?"

Now what about those individuals who come in to learn how to cook. Someone comes up to the desk and asks for a book that will teach them how to prepare a hamburger. Well now we have a not so easy problem to fix. Thousands and thousands of books have been published about hamburgers, how do we decide the right book to find them? We could randomly pick a book that has the word hamburger in the title. But it is obvious to you and me, probably not a smart idea. What do we do hear then?

Well think about it. When you are telling a family friend or relative where to eat or what to do in your hometown, you will most likely pick something that is popular and of high quality. As a library you should do the same! Pick the book that has received the most reviews, references from other books, highest rate of check outs, of course of the most relevance.

"How do you personally recommend a book or restaurant to a friend? By its popularity, quality, and relevance to what that person is looking for!"

Let's convert this back to SEO terms now. Most Reviews? Sounds like a lot like Yelp and Google reviews. References from other books? These are hyperlinks. Highest rate of check outs? How many other users and visitors accessed your site. Most relevance? Does the content or website address what the person is looking for.

Let's start wrapping this up

So really Google and search engines are nothing more than an electronic library. You go to find information, the search engine helps you find it. This is the essence of Search Engine Optimization. Is your website or web page providing the information that people are looking for?

The more people who go to you for information, the more people refer/link to you, and the more positive things people say the higher Google will place you.

 

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4 Great Marketing Books to start 2015

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4 Great Marketing Books to start 2015

Originally posted on Ron Wave Design Blog 

At the end of the day, books are probably one of the most effective sources for new information and knowledge sharing. They allow for a more thorough explanation of new skills rather than the short articles and videos that exist online. Thousands of business books are published every year and to be honest, its really difficult to sift through all of the mess. I've compiled a list of Marketing books that I have read over the last year and shortlisted 5 of my favorite. Note that these are not necessarily published in 2014.

Jason Khoo - Jab Jab Jab Right Hook

1. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk

Written by Social Media Marketing evangelist Gary Vaynerchuk, this marketing book is one that is a must have for all social media marketers. Gary combines his incredible success with his own family business, Wine Library, and the hands on experience with his media agency, VaynerMedia to create a complete social media tutorial. No social media is spared as he takes you through all the large social media platforms. Inserted are specific steps and examples that puts everything into perspective. The cherry on top is the aesthetically pleasing photos and color he uses throughout he text. It feels less like a textbook and more like a magazine!

Jason Khoo - Web Analytics 2.0

2. Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash Kaushik

We live in a world of data now. Avinash Kaushik's book Web Analytics 2.0 is a refreshing read that presents complex theories in simple easy steps that will make you wonder how you didn't understand any of this. No matter which Web analytics tool you use, Avinash probably knows it better than you! Utilizing a language that mere mortals like you and me will understand, Avinash doesn't delve into the jargon. The book reads as a professional conversation, one that respects both sides and the common goal. With examples and multiple supplemental chapters, this book puts you the fast track to analytics success!

Jason Khoo - Made to Stick

 

3. Made to Stick by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Made to Stick is a personal favorite of mine. Every chapter completely changes how you approach the simplest marketing messages you send. By following a simple acronym SUCCESs, these brothers add a Gladwell-esque type of analysis into every message that your business sends out. This marketing book is definitely one that requires more than one read and it will offer a complete overhaul in the ways you develop what you know about marketing. They back up their theories with relevant anecdotes and eye opening research. I recommend this to anyone who would like to really work on the way they craft and write their marketing message.

Jason Khoo - Epic Content Marketing

4. Epic Content Marketing by Joseph Pulizzi

Despite the cheesy cover, this book was one of the most thorough books I've read. Providing calendars, corporate case studies, and team dynamics that support a successful Content Marketing team, Joe Pulizzi lays out a step by step plan on how to get it done. Pulizzi brings a view of Content Marketing that plunges you out of the blubbery abstract discussions of Content Marketing and into a tangible, solid concept. With a transparent intent, Pulizzi holds nothing back. Once finished with this marketing book you will feel like you experienced the life of Content Marketing and now understand its complete history!

This list makes up my favorite reads of the year 2014 and I highly recommend any of these books  to anyone who wants to really understand the field of marketing. Trust me, get one of these books and you will find yourself bubbling with new ideas! Please comment below if I didn't include a book that you loved because I am a proud Barnes and Nobles member and I love increasing my personal library!

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Why Everyone is Wrong When they Say "All Shampoos/Soaps are the Same".

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Why Everyone is Wrong When they Say "All Shampoos/Soaps are the Same".

JasonKhoo-IsThereADiffBetweenShampoos

Recently I sat through a lecture that talked about consumer products. Essentially the message was, 

All products are pretty much the same thing, its the branding we use to differentiate them.

To me statements like these are what create a divide between consumers, marketers, and businesses.  The exact example  was about Shampoos. With an image of a CVS shampoo aisle, the lecturer quipped that really all of these products are 90% the same. The other 10% are minor adjustments that do not constitute a significant enough impact. Consumers really were just wasting their time and money on all these different products. 

Let's Hold it Right There 

Now this is where I'd have to disagree. Though it may be true that these Shampoos have the same make up of all the other brands, it does NOT mean that they are the same thing. Some people need special shampoos to cure dandruff, some like a certain scent, and some are formulated especially for kids so that they don't burn their eyes. Many of us have used enough of these shampoos to know that there really is a difference. It's not just a placebo effect. I'm really not a shampoo expert though so excuse me while I switch the example.

Let's take restaurants, specifically Mexican Restaurants.

We all have our favorite spots to eat. We have our spots that we immediately go to after a long day and the mere thought of this place launches a tidal wave of cravings. For me, there is a place called El Patio that makes THE BEST Carne Asada Nachos that you'll find in Orange County. 

Jason Khoo - Carne Asada Nachos

Carne Asada Nachos are not a novelty item and you can pretty much find them anywhere. If you live where I live, you can find three other stores within a block that serve the same dish. Think about the relationship between these different restaurants. They all use chips, they all use carne asada, pico de gallo, some sort of beans, etc. Every restaurant will add a little variation in accordance with their recipe, but just like shampoo 90% of Carne Asada Nachos are going to be the same. However, if you told me we were going to get Carne Asada Nachos from some place other than El Patio my response would be ".......really? We might as well not get it."

Okay, okay, I may sound a little haughty, but hear me out. 

Burgers at Mcdonalds, Carl's Jr, Smash Burger, Fat Burger, The Counter, Umami Burger are 90% the same. They have bread, meat and bread. Yet I am 100% sure that most of you wouldn't deem a McDonald's burger the same as Carl's Jr or Umami Burger. If you don't believe me, go take your best friend/significant other to a McDonald's for their birthday. See what happens. Or better yet, tell them your going to get steak and take them to a Carl's Jr. [If you decide to take me up on this challenge, PLEASE let me know how it goes]

Jason Khoo - Chimpanzees vs Humans

One last example to drive this debate home.

Humans and Chimpanzee's according to the 2005 special issue of Nature share 96% genetic similarity. Yeup. Some studies even suggest 99%. You know where I am going with this.  I'm sure we can agree that Humans and Chimpanzees are not the EXACT same being. 

So there! Point made. 

This conversation is really about context. Data is great but we must do our part to interpret it properly. The relationship between corporations and consumers has always been strained because of the false reports and interpretations on both sides. I just want to do my part in clearing up this misconception and breathe confidence back into consumers who choose a different shampoo. So go ahead, choose that bottle of Shampoo specifically made for the problem you may have, THERE IS A DIFFERENCE!. 

 

 

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Optimizing Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

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Optimizing Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

Search Engine Optimization can be difficult. However, there is a lot that is much easier that the local user can easily do to increase their search engine rankings. Today we will focus on Title Tags and Meta Descriptions.

Title Tags

These are the storefront of your business online. This is what appears when users see your content on their search engine.

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