Search Engine Marketing: Good attention vs bad attention

I remember the first time I heard that old line “There’s no such thing as bad P.R.” I never agreed. Admittedly, Google won’t totally care if the comment that links to your site is negative or positive, it’ll still give you some “link cred” for having that link. But your clients care. And more importantly, potential clients care.

When it comes to getting some viral cred, a lot of companies will do anything to go viral. Recent articles talk about how to get people passing around your link or video, and often mention being shocking or controversial to get more mentions and more forwards. But the question still remains: is that good cred or bad cred?

If you’re a babysitter and make a video of you picking on one of the kids you babysit, do you really think that mom will hire you again? What about all the other moms in your neighborhood? A kid won’t necessarily think in such a common sense way, being stuck in high school and not having the benefit of years and experience. As businesses, we often don’t give our marketing efforts that type of common-sense analysis either. And we should — every message we put out into the world needs to be looked at from the common-sense point of view of “what might this do to harm me” not just “will it go viral?”

Creating a youtube video or funny picture that goes viral with your name on it might make your inner high-schooler really happy at all the attention, but your business might actually suffer from being associated with a message that drives away potential clients. Always have a cynic look at what you’re posting and tell you the truth about whether or not that video or joke might tarnish your brand.

SEO Factors for Web Site Design

There’s a new article out that talks about some of the SEO ranking factors for Google. To me the most interesting bit is in the first paragraph, where it states that the volume of Facebook and Twitter shares of a web page will help a web page rank. Why is this interesting? Because the most shared item on FB has to be photos of kittens. Not business info, not product info, but cat photos. Especially funny cat photos.

Much as I love cats, I’d hate to think that the way to game the system is to put a caption on a cat photo, upload it to my blog, and hope it goes viral. (And I have to admit that the temptation to test that by uploading a photo of one of my six cats is pretty much overwhelming.) But knowing the “I want results now” attitude of most of the human race, I’m fully expecting that the volume of blog posts on funny cat photos and twitter posts about those posts will be pretty much grow exponentially over the next few months as people try to get around the latest Google changes.