Hey, What’s The Deal With Microsoft?
That’s right, Microsoft has enlisted the help of Jerry Seinfeld for it’s next round of Ad campaigns against their arch-nemesis Apple. Check the details of this new alliance at WSJ, some good information here.
Why The Microsoft Marketing Team Needs To Be Shot
Nothing says 90’s relevance like Jerry Seinfeld. Instead rebranding themselves as forward-thinking and futuristic, they have relegated themselves back to 90’s when Microsoft was king and Apple had yet to break through with the iPod. The days of yore.
Of course Seinfeld is going to be just one of the many celebrities promoting Microsoft, but if this is any indication of where this $300 million dollar campaign is headed, then Microsoft is about to piss away a fortune and end up in worse shape than they already are.
This is a stroke of less brilliance and more trying to capture a middle-aged/Boomer market that has drifted to Apple in the past 5 years.
Why It’s Going To Fail (Just Like Everything Microsoft Does Lately)
There’s no innovation whatsoever. They’ve always been a johnny-come-lately (i.e. search engine algorithms, AdCenter, Live Maps, etc.) , and they will always be. They are continually five or more years behind the curve on just about everything they do, outside of their Office Suite. (Which, by the way, is quite possibly the only thing Microsoft does well)
Microsoft reads the focus group reports, crunches the numbers, and come up with a strategy on that. They are always, always aiming for the where bar is TODAY not where they want the bar to be TOMORROW. That’s the problem. Apple has the market cornered on the “satirical” ads between the two, and to green-light this marketing strategy, is just another example of today-thinking, not tomorrow-thinking.
Perhaps Microsoft should actually build themselves a “Wall” before they completely throw their money and their brand “Out the Window”.
Here’s the first of the Seinfeld/Gates/Microsoft Ads: (Note: Wow. Not Great)
Even Bigger Update: 9/18/2008
Microsoft announces the end of the Gates/Seinfeld Ads. When I’m right, I’m right. Check out this ValleyWag Article.
Redefining What Search Engine Monopoly Means:
The question whether or not Google is a monopoly is a sound one. And, inherently, the answer I can come up with is, “yes” it is a monopoly, based on the proof the Hitwise image provides (see above). Google has been steadily drowning the competition for over two years, each year pushing them (Yahoo, Live, and Ask) further in the undertow. But are they are true monopoly?
The definitions of monopoly are as follows:
“Exclusive control by one group of the means of producing or selling a commodity or service”
- “A market containing a single firm”
- Investment Dictionary: “A situation in which a single company or group owns all or nearly all of the market for a given type of product or service. By definition, monopoly is characterized by an absence of competition – which often results in high prices and inferior products.”
It’s the last definition that gives me pause. Based on this definition, one could go either way on the monopoly vote. And, based on the last definition, my answer changes. I don’t think Google has a monopoly, just a better products and services that a populous prefers. They’ve revolutionized search and the clarity of search. Google has competition in the market (albeit poor competition in the populous’ eyes). Moreover, this competition produces inferior products and services.
So, if others will continue to insist that Google is a monopoly, then we will have to redefine monopoly for the Digital Age. Something to the effect of:
“Dominant market control in an individual industry, made up of several sub-industries, in which market competition produces inferior, under-caliber products and services.”
There are, as I see it, only three possibilities from here and monopoly-hood:
- Google continues on its current path. And, by 2010, will have effectively crushed all their competition, owning over 90+% of the search market share. Read this as: Google Officially Becomes A Monopoly
- Yahoo does eventually, team up with MSN/Live (MicroHoo). This partnership creates enough innovation within search and its sub-industries to cause a slight reverse in trends. Google will still own 50+% of the search market share.
- A new search engine firm will emerge and help create destabilization within the search market. (The most unlikely of the three)
Personally, I’m rooting for the second or third option, because, frankly, it’ll make my life pretty boring if all I have to do is think: WWGD (What Would Google Do). I’m not saying that Google is/will become Skynet or the Matrix, but it could happen. Anything we can do to help shake up the market is a good thing.
UPDATE: 10/08/08: Googleopoly
Check out this post by Rusty Brick (a.ka. Barry) posted on SE Roundtable. More great information about whether Google is truly a monopoly or not.
4 Tips To Build Your Solid SEO Core
The discovery phase of every SEO program is possibly the single most important aspect an SEO does to build successful organic optimization. Your keyword analysis is the central core to every program; it’s where the success starts and where the failure can begin. Here are some tips to keep in mind and build great keyword analysis in hours:
- GIGO Syndrome: Garbage In, Garbage Out
- Talk To Your Clients:
- “Take Only What You Need To Survive”:
- The Long and Winding Road:
The SEO program’s success, initially, is only as good as your keywords and the diligence you put toward it. Generally, if you start with “garbage”, that’s exactly what you and your clients can expect: garbage. Prepare yourself to dive deep into the keyword universe, exploring multiple variations of similar keywords, picking apart client site content, and continually refining until you attain your core keywords.
Someone has to break it to you. You aren’t omniscience. This is the best way to find out what you should actually be targeting, and a great way to keep from falling in the GIGO Syndrome. They’re coming to you for a reason: you’re a professional in your arena; they’re professional in theirs. And, chances are, their site is a complete and utter mess, so it’s not a reliable source to hone in on what they actually do.
Talking to clients BEFORE you begin your analysis is a great way to discern what their primary service or products are and what their secondary products and services are. It’s going to tell you what the client makes the most money on and what they need to be competitive for in order to keep their doors open. These are going to be your seed words. The words you’ll use to start your keyword research. More importantly, it’s a great way to get client buy-in on all things you’ll be doing in the future and to build confidence and trust.
Create and organize two separate spreadsheets: one for the client and one you use internally. Why? It’s pretty simple: you don’t want to overwhelm or start negotiations with your client. Through your refining process you’ll have hundreds of viable keywords, and the last thing an SEO wants to do is start “keyword nit-picking” with a client. If you show them your entire keyword universe, make no mistake that you are offering the client a say in what keywords they think/would like to be using.
The client-facing spreadsheet should show information that will only be valuable to the clients: primary keywords, secondary keywords, and long-tail keywords. If you have access to WordTracker or Keyword Discovery, or even Google’s Keyword Tool External, you’ll want to use the data they can provide support your keyword choices.
The best way to avoid a GIGO situation is, as I mentioned above, to put in your due diligence. Below is a process that works quite well for me:
Use Google’s External Keyword Tool Run your client site through the “website content” analyzer and check off the “include other pages linked from this URL”.
WARNING: unless you are doing PPC research, you just want to look at the “Common Terms” and “Keywords” columns. The traffic numbers aren’t going to help you out here as evidence for keyword choices, but they will give you an indication as to if the term is searched, as they include the entire content network and search partner network. This is not just Google Search Queries.
Review The Client Website:
Even after your sit down with the client, you still need to review ALL the content on the website. You need to know what content is on the site and what’s not. It’s not going to do you any good to find primary keywords if the content doesn’t exist on the site. Building targeted content to target keywords comes later; at this point you need to target what already exists. Chances are you’ll get more keyword ideas (and you might even find a hidden gem)
- Invade the Competitors:
- WordTracker or Keyword Discovery:
- Refine One Last Time:
Simply put, you need to know what the client competition is targeting and how well they’re doing it. You can use Google’s keyword tool and drop in the client URL, or use a couple of great paid tools like SEO Digger or SpyFu. Those two, I find, offer great results at a cheap price. Check this post by Ann Smarty for an in-depth look at these tools and others.
Once you’ve got an expansive list of keywords that all seem like a fit, it’s time to test their mettle. I like to drop each keyword, or group of similar keywords, in by themselves. It won’t do you any good to drop the entire list in at one time, especially if the settings are set for the standard 100 top keywords. Be sure to allow for misspellings or plurals or both, and let er’ rip.
Pretty soon you’ll have squeezed that list down from hundreds to about 30-40 keywords that get traffic and aren’t ultra-competitive. But, let’s face it, you’re going to have to target a few ultra-competitive keywords because that’s where the searches are happening and you have to be there.
Take another 30 minutes and review your keywords one last time. Match them up to the content pages of the client site and make sure they fit. If they don’t, lose em’.
It’s a big task, and a lot of work, but by putting in the effort up front, you’ll be saving yourself a headache and a lot of questions down the road.