A very entertaining and insightful conference from ad man Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy Group, on TEDTalk. I particularly like the bit about Shreddies breakfast cereal and the process of creating intangible value.
By now you’ve seen “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” TV ad campaign, featuring Isaiah Mustafa, that pulled the Old Spice brand back from the brink of irrelevance and effectively restoring it to the #1 spot in market share.
The campaign launched in February during Superbowl XLIV and by the time Procter & Gamble’s Global Marketing Officer Marc Pritchard described its success at the ANA Conference in October, Old Spice had generated 1.8 billion PR impressions (globally) and an incredible explosion of online engagement with a 2,700% increase in Twitter followers, 800% increase in Facebook fans, 300% increase in website traffic, and over 140 million YouTube views (collectively). All this translated into double digit sales.
Did you know that you can claim any number of online business listings absolutely free?
That’s right. Most online directories like YellowPages (AT&T), SuperPages, Google Places, and Yahoo! Local, automatically create a free listing on your behalf (whether you like it or not) for at least one city (most likely where your “physical” location is thought to be). They do this because they ultimately want to up-sell you other offerings for a monthly fee. Whether these other offerings are worth the money really depends on the nature of your business. A plumber may very well benefit expanding their listing to include neighboring towns.
Regardless, we recommend to all our clients that they claim these free listings if for no other reason than to protect their brand, ensuring all the information is up to date, including the links to their site, blog, Facebook profile, and online store. But there is another compelling reason to claim your free listings: Link Building.
What is Link Building?
If you have done any kind of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your website (or your clients’ websites) then you no doubt have spent a lot of time on Keyword Optimization. Well, the flip side of Keyword Optimization (which focuses on what you can do on your site) is Link Building, also know as Link Popularity, which focuses on what you can do off your site. Simply put, the more people who link to your website the higher your ranking on Search Engines Result Pages (SERP).
It used to be enough to just have lots of inbound links but the spammers and scammers started using link farms (and other black-hat techniques) to spoof the search algorithms and now such tactics will get your site banned for life.
Google and company now give greater weight to the quality of inbound links not just quantity, meaning that it is better to have links from sites and blogs well-established as authoritative sources (e.g. Wikepedia, Technorati, Psychology Today).
Claim Your Listings, Build Your Inbound Links
So, having links from authoritative sources increases ranking and visibility on search sites which in turns drives quality visitors. Without costing a cent! Why wouldn’t you do this? Before you shout out time let me remind you most of these listings already exist, all you have to do is claim them and make sure the info is correct. Five minutes tops! And although many of these directories offer a lot of additional features like microblogging and social networking (intended to keep you coming back, not necessarily a bad thing), by no means are your obligated to use them, therefore, you can update and forget.
Here is my shortlist of free listings worth claiming:
- Google Places for your business and Google Profile for your personal.
- Yahoo! Local
- Bing Local Listing Center
- AT&T YellowPages
I suggest you search for your listing first before creating a new one; start with your business address and if it is not there, try your personal address. By the way, the data entered under a search engine’s local listing appears on their corresponding map. Google now enables businesses to include videos, tweets, and such right on Google Maps (read this post).
One point of clarification: claiming your listings is not the end-all of Link Building, it is really just the least one can do to protect their brand. It is an easy way to boost your standing with search engine without needing to be an SEO expert to do it. Link Building is an ongoing effort that should be part of your overall marketing strategy. I will elaborate on this in future posts.
What other listings have you found useful? Feel free to drop a comment below.
The next great passion of Chris Anderson
Chris Anderson of TED Conferences aggregated advertising research from a number of authorities (e.g. Forrester, Nielsen, Yankee Group) and discovered the market value of one hour of attention is worth $1 in print, $0.25 on TV, and less than $0.10 on the Internet, suggesting that the industry has yet to figure out how to best capitalize on the nearly 2 billion people online (carrying over the interruptive ad model is not the way to).
To help figure it out, TED is inviting the business community to submit videos to the Ads Worth Spreading Challenge by February 7, 2011. Up to 10 winning ads/videos will premiere at TED2011 in Long Beach, CA, February 28-March 4, 2011, before 1,500+ thought leaders as well as subsequently appear on TED.com for free for one week in March. Winners will also appear on the YouTube homepage and as ads across YouTube content.
Appearing as post-roll after every TEDTalks videos for a week, the company claims, is about 2 million impressions (views). That’s a pretty sweet deal! Learn more on how to enter here.
Google asserts that 1 in 5 searches are location based.
This gave impetus for Google Places (formerly Local Business Center). Google Places expands on Place Pages, which allows a business to “claim” their own MerchantCircle-like listing that feeds Google Search and Google Map (e.g. California Pizza). In addition to such banal things as hours of operation and coupons, Google Places supports customized QR Codes (via Favorite Places) and — for just $25 per month — businesses in select cities can make their listings stand out with Google Tags.
Aside: For the uninitiated, Google automatically generates these pages regardless of whether or not you have a physical business address so it would be wise to claim your listing if for no other reason then to ensure the information is accurate. It is free for one location (city).
Yesterday, Twitter announced you can tag Tweets with specific places and create new Twitter Places. You can also click a Twitter Place within a Tweet to see recent Tweets from a particular location. A really cool feature here is you can publish check-ins from Foursquare and Gowalla directly to Twitter. This means that if you click on a Twitter Place you’ll see standard Tweets and check-ins from these location-based services. Twitter will be rolling out Twitter Places in 65 countries over the next few weeks so expect to see a “Add Your Location” link below a Tweet box near you.
As far as Twitter challenging Google? Not really. Incorporating hyperlocal features has been a big trend in social media and online marketing at large. Both Twitter Places and Google Places are powerful weapons for any marketer to have in their arsenal.