Q&A With Joe Hall – His thoughts, tips and recommendations

Posted by Melissa in Business Tips on May 25, 2011

What are some of the recent online “fads” that you have noticed and what do you think of them?

I am not really in-touch with what’s hip so this is a hard one for me. I have noticed that we are starting to see more mobile image applications like instagr.am and color. I think on the surface they look like total time sucks. But if you look closely you can see that many of them are having an impact of traditional networks like facebook and even twitter. I mean, heck, even the service that I use, yfrog recently redesigned their site to act as a formidable competitor.

What do you think of those that think Social Media can replace SEO or is equal to it?

When I hear folks say stuff like that, it is a clear sign that they don’t understand SEO, or social media. And because of that I wouldn’t trust them with my company’s rankings or brand.  Jim Tobin has been doing Social Media Marketing longer than most and he says that social media is just a set of tools. I think that thinking about social media this way is extremely important. As marketers we should be using social media to leverage traditional marketing and public relations efforts, SEO included.

So saying that Social Media can replace SEO is like saying, “Hey, let’s throw out these blue prints and use this hammer instead.” That statement doesn’t make any sense and anyone that says it shouldn’t be building things.

What are some sites you feel SEO’s and businesses could be utilizing better?

As an SEO and tool developer, I get asked this question a lot. And to be completely honest, I hate it. Here’s why: There are a lot of different sites, tools, and services out there. Some of them are awesome and some of them suck. But none of them matter if you don’t have a strategy. And, all you need to build a strategy is a good idea and something to write with.

Build your strategy first. Then go to Google, Twitter, or your colleagues and start looking for the right tools/services to use. Also, it is important to note that some of the best things I have ever seen out there are things that no one else talks about. This is in large part because many of my fellow tool developers suck at marketing. But if you start looking in odd places you are likely to find these gems!

Because I am such a nice guy I am going to go ahead and answer this question like most people would, with a list of fun tools….Just don’t forget that strategy! 😛

  • MyBlogGuest is an awesome community of guest bloggers. If you want free content you can list your sites there and guest bloggers will submit stories. If you want a place to guest blog you can search through the sites and submit your stories to them.
  • Do it yourself video services are awesome. With GoAnimate.com and xtranormal you can quickly and cheaply make some really cool promotional videos for your product or service.
  • With fiverr you can pretty much outsource anything for $5. Understand that you get what you pay for so don’t expect over the top products here. But, you can sometimes find some really good work.
  • For bloggers that want to include rich media in their post, take a look at Apture and Zemanta both of these make it really easy to create pages that “stick”.
  • Twiends is a bit on the risky side of social media, because its sole purpose is to boost social media metrics. This type of service can aid developing a personal brand by creating “social proof”. However, most seasoned social media devotees will tell you that it isn’t the size of your metric that counts, its the amount of influence you have over them. But, if you don’t care about any of that, and you just want 200 or 300 new followers in a few hours, then Twiends is for you.

What common online mistakes do you see businesses making?

I know I sound like a broken record, but I constantly see businesses jump online without any strategy. If they are doing SEO they might start building links without any content strategy. These same folks will jump on Facebook and Twitter with no clear goal in mind. All of this is fine and dandy if you are a local business that doesn’t make its bread and butter online. But, if your business is completely depended on the Internet and you don’t have a strategy for every aspect of your marketing, then you might as well start eating cat food now, to get used to the taste.

Do you have any SEO or marketing suggestions for 2011?

With the Panda update we are seeing more emphasis on quality content. However, it is important to remember that robots like Google’s web crawler are incapable of understanding “quality” like you or my mom (average web user). So I think in 2011 Google and the other engines will be looking more at social signals to gauge quality. Like I said above, social media is just a set of tools. In 2011 you need to start leveraging these tools to build perceived social value both for humans and robots.

About Joe Hall:

Joe Hall is a bona-fide web head, code poet, marketer, writer, and the man behind Contact Plugin. Follow Joe on Twitter today.

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