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Why Online Businesses Have Gone Cold with Content Marketing and Social Media

(Scroll Down and Read is dedicated to discuss about the minute details of life in the hope that, in the end, the reader may find something that allows himself/herself to see an inspiring story hidden within the miseries human beings experience daily. Yours truly works in the field of SEO, social media, and web content marketing. So in this article, I am taking the pleasure of writing about the ordeal endured by many of my colleagues in the field.)

If you own a business and you want more exposure in order to get more sales, having an online presence via owning a website and creating and managing social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google Plus, et cetera) are inevitable tactics in an era when people converge as virtual communities in cyberspace. With the recent trends in SEO (search engine optimization) and the ever changing and improving Google search algorithm, webmasters and eCommerce managers cannot ignore the fact that Content is indeed the King. Dynamic websites with regularly updated and interestingly relevant content are IN, static websites with no regular updates and boring portfolio are OUT.

Yet, even with all the updates and trends, there are still online business owners who stubbornly insist on sticking to the old SEO ways of keyword manipulation and aggressive linkbuilding. They assert that their websites should contain only their business or company profile, descriptions of their products or services, and a few pages about their branches and affiliates. If they do practice blogging or news and press releases, they would rather publish it somewhere else but never on their website (backlinking).

SEO and Web Marketing Tactics

I have seen how SEO evolved from focusing mainly on keywords and relying on the number of inbound links placed on third party sites (not social media) to the new content driven strategy, reputation building, and community engagement (via social media). Some online business owners were left behind and chose to stay on the extinct stages of SEO evolution. In my encounters with such, I have taken note of the beliefs and reasons why they would rather avoid content marketing and social media engagement.

1. The fear of bounce rates


Ok, so maybe the website owner dabbled into writing a blog, publishing news, and posting updates and relevant content in his website. He also created social media profiles in Google Plus, Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter; he promoted the website's content in these platforms while building his community. To aggregate his website's visibility further, he also shared the content in Digg, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Delicious, and in other social bookmarking and discovery sites.

Voila! As days go by, the website's traffic goes up - visits and pageviews. Yet, here is the thing: As the site traffic increases, so as its bounce rates! Because of this, he concludes that the website is just getting bad traffic and he degrades the quality of its visitors. Afterwards, he retreats from his strategy and rethinks things over.

There is a misconception about bounce rates. Some online business owners think that a bounce is a visitor who left the site at once - PERIOD - that definition is half-baked. A bounce is when a visitor visits your site and views only one page; he may read the content for an hour or so but if it is the only page he visited in that particular day, it will still be counted as a bounce. What we need to understand is that an increase in site visitors is mainly brought about by the increase of first time visitors, and first time visitors almost often amount to high bounces. Seldom do new comers go beyond the page they first landed on. The challenge here is for the content to be compelling enough to make them bookmark and remember the page, and convert them into returning visitors; because returning visits are the ones that contribute to your site's reputation and they normally will convert into leads and sales.

2. The one is to one ratio


In a sense, this belief is related to the fear of bounce rates. Some online business owners insist that any visitor coming to the site should convert into a lead or sale; if it does not, then it is bad traffic - it is worthless and should be thrown into the sea. Webmasters and web marketers know this is not going to be the case, not all visits will convert into leads or sales. Sometimes you will have 50 visits or more but only 1 to 3 will bring about conversion. So if the business owner believes that having more visits with less conversion is detrimental to his eCommerce, he will be inclined to put a halt the content effort and social media campaign. I have seen this happen because I know a web marketer who got fired because of this.

Again, I would go back to the concept that new or first time visitors usually do not bring about conversion. The challenge is to make your content compelling enough to make them remember your site and eventually return with the conversion you desire. Besides, traffic whether from new visits or returning visits build reputation and give signals to Google and search engines that your site is a highly visited website, affecting your search ranking performance.

3. The only performance indicator is the ranking in the SERP


SERP means Search Engine Results Page; it is the output whenever you type a keyword and hit the "Search" button of a search engine, such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

Online business owners who insist on this kind of belief usually take Google's SERP as vox Dei (or voice of God). They do not care how much they are getting from direct traffic, referral traffic, and social media traffic; they do not even care how much traffic their website is getting overall. What they want is to have their website on the top page of the SERP whenever their chosen keywords are typed and searched in Google.

They will go on to say to themselves and to their online marketers, "What more logical tactic to achieve this goal than focusing all our online marketing efforts in keyword research, manipulating them in our website[s], and building links with other websites that have keywords related to ours. Content strategy and social media engagement are nice to have but they are not SEO, because SEO is all about KEYWORDS."

Now, that is a very ill-advised online business strategy. With that said, we go on to the next one which is so related to Number 3.

Connecting to Customers Online

4. SEO, content marketing, and social media engagement are separate and contradicting strategies


Search engine optimization depends on your website's content and reputation. You build your site's reputation and community through social media engagement, and generating traffic from social media to your website depends on how interesting and relevant is your shared content. SEO then is the umbrella that covers your content marketing and social media efforts, and SEO depends on such efforts to make itself effective.

Yet, some web owners think that these 3 are different tactics and should be dealt with separately. This leads to the temptation to take priority on one over the other. "As of the moment, I want to focus mainly on SEO. Content marketing and social media can take the back burner for now," they would say to their online marketers.

5. Competitor (and even popular) websites with less content and without blogs perform well


If your only key performance indicator is your site's ranking in SERPs, then I would think that this is probably one of your reasons why you do not want a blog within your site and beef up your content strategy. You are probably obsessed with monitoring you competitors' ranking in Google's search results against your website's chosen keywords.

The thing about SERP is that it can differ depending on the timing, date, trending, location, and IP address of the searcher. If you and I type the same keyword, on separate locations, different timings, and distinct devices, the scenario of getting different search results is very likely. There maybe tools to help you monitor your competitors' rankings, and they are a big help, but constantly focusing on them is not healthy to your website's uniqueness and quality. Making your own unique yet high quality content with a push from social media is something that you can control without being stressed by competitor envy.

6. My ten year old son/daughter can manage a social media account


When an online business owner thinks social media as a trivial and childish activity, he/she is surely discouraged to pay someone whose only task is going to be reading, sharing, liking, and commenting on posts and shared content. This kind of boss feels that money is wasted on the salary of such employee because the latter's duty is so easy and effortless that a 10 year old child can manage it.

This thinking is probably laughable to most of us, but I tell you, I have met not a few managers who think in such a way about social media and social media campaign specialists. If money is indeed wasted on someone's salary, I am inclined to believe that it is on these bosses for failing to be updated and informed about the Internet and its community.

7. Products and/or services contain business secrets.


Some businesses may have products and/or services that are advertised with the least possible information and details; reasons can range from ethical standards to client-confidential agreements. In such a situation, divulging content such as stories and testimonies from satisfied customers may not be a viable strategy to the online marketing campaign. Thus, source material for you content strategy also becomes limited. Surely, your site's exposure and activity in social media will also be constrained. Some of these businesses may include those that deal with term paper writing for students, online betting, government servicing contracts, private detective and security services.

As a conclusion, it is understandable for online business owners to ensure that what they are getting at on their Internet marketing efforts are their targeted audience. They do not want randomly thrown messages which they think will not bring in their needed revenue (they are still businessmen, remember?). The challenge for web content marketers and social media campaign managers is for them to make a convincing presentation, and eventually the RESULTS, that their strategy is indeed intended to bring in the leads and the necessary ROI or return of investment.



Photo credits:

SEO and Web Marketing Tactics c/o KevinKing / Pixabay

Connecting to Customers Online c/o geralt / Pixabay
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Protect Yourself from Envious Attacks

Bullies lurk everywhere. They reside in your neighborhood, they wander around in schools, they stay in offices and other workplaces. Nowadays, in this technology driven era, bullies can also be found on the Internet.

Do Not Be a Bully
There are variety of reasons why people choose to be a bully. I used the word “choose” because I am under the notion that being a bully is not ingrained in a person's character; a person can act as a bully to another person while not being one to someone else. A bully is not a type of person; it is an act of choice one decides on a particular situation and individual. Anyone can be a bully to somebody, even if he/she will not admit it to be so.

One of the reasons why people choose and act as bullies is because of insecurity brought about by envy. It is a societal evil that nobody will want to acknowledge in practice. Envious people who resort to bullying will often blame their victims why the former choose to act that way. It is never their fault because they will find ways and reasons to make their victims look bad in the eyes of the public.

You can only do as much to influence those who would be bullies. More often than not, they have made their choice, they will stand by it and they will be ready to justify their reasons in court. I guess this is another cause why people become bullies – their stubbornness allows them to be so.

Also, you should not confine yourself to the idea that bullies always look like the huge guy with big torsos and stuff. Physical attributes do not determine a bully. It is how the person deals with his/her feeling of insecurity – the feeling of envy towards another person.

Since you cannot control the mindset of bullies and envious people, what can you do within your circle of influence? Before you think of fighting back and arming yourself with an arsenal of lawyers, I have a few suggestions and I surely hope they can work for you.

1. Stay low key


There is this Turkish proverb which says...

Always the trees that bear fruit are stoned.

Keeping a low profile, even if you are a person of significant achievement, is an excellent way to filter yourself from covetous smearing. If you keep on boasting your accomplishments, whether through your words or your gestures (and sometimes you unwittingly do so), then you become a target of envious attacks. In defense of yourself, you might say, “I do not arrogantly boast of my successes; they speak on their own and I have no control if people see them.” This thinking may have some valid points, but if you do not accept the reality that the gaze of green eyed creatures are lurking around the corner, you may see yourself as a prey being pounded on by merciless predators.

Remember, to their eyes you are a prized catch.

2. Be likeable


Does it give you gratification when people see you as smart, good looking, and a person of high competence? The thing is, making yourself look smarter, stronger, or more competent than others does not necessarily guarantee that people will like you.

Most people want to hang out with their equals. In most occurrences, if they see you as someone who would steal away attention because of your smartness, good looks, or competence, they will just think of you as an asshole or dickhead. So if you believe yourself to be an important person and you want others to give you recognition because of it, then the x-factor of likeability may not work for you.

If you want to be likeable, you will need to make each one around you feel important. Well-known author and self-improvement expert, Dale Carnegie, said...

Dale Carnegie on Being Likeable

Yes, do it sincerely – minus the flattery – just add an ounce of smile and multiply it with humility.

3. Avoid the green circle


To avoid being a target and eventual victim of envious bullies, as much as possible, avoid getting inside their inner circle.

Now this is difficult to do, that even the most judgmental individual has no way of being certain. As mentioned previously, anybody can be a bully and anyone can be bound by the feeling of envy without he/she knowing it; bullies might already be in your circle of friends.

If notoriety has tailed people of envy and they are coming near you, better go the other way (if there is indeed no other way around it). How about if your own circle of friends have become infected by the green disease? Then I advise you to return to numbers 1 and 2 of this list, if you want to bring them back to their normal sweet state.

4. Love your enemies


This concept was coined by a historically well-known and benevolent Man from Galilee, and I bet the quote is not new to you. Let me continue with what comes next after that instruction...

...and pray for those who persecute you.

If you are non-religious, then you might not appreciate this fourth item on the list (sorry about that). If you believe, though, prayer and faith have a leviathan effect, not just on those who smear at you, but on your psychological makeup as well. It will contain your own inner insecurities and put your desire for vengeance under control.

Last point


Some sociologists and behavioral experts believe that social media, particularly Facebook and Instagram, evoke a feeling of envy and jealousy among its constant users. I will not advise to avoid being online, especially if your work compels you to surf the Internet including social media. Besides, my article is intended for those who are victims of bullying caused by the bully's envious tendencies.

If you are a person who is easily led by ill-feelings of envy, please... and please do your best to put them under restraint lest you hurt someone who does not deserve it.

The Silent Epidemic

Courtesy of Youtube channel The National



Photo credits:

Do Not Be a Bully created/edited by Antennor Squad from Pixabay photos

Dale Carnegie Meme created/edited by Antennor Squad via Memegenerator.net
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False 'Facts' I Believed to be True until I Grew Up

We all know that our parents and elder guardians have tremendous influence on our thinking and beliefs, particularly when we were children. Yet aside from the pedagogy of elders, the environment and how the growing child observes and deciphers it can have an enormous impetus on his/her perception of the world and of reality. If the youngster does not ask to verify his/her theory, it becomes a fact inculcated in his/her belief system.

As time goes on, he/she will learn that the things he/she believes to be factual are not what it seems. Experience and education will come in; they will verify and validate his/her claims. As a result, maturity will gradually take over.

I myself am not excused to such experience. Before I reached adolescence, I was a victim of false perception of facts. It was not anyone's fault – not my parents nor anyone of my mentors. It was just plain childish judgment of what was going on with the world I was living at during that time.

Confused Child

The following are the “false” facts that I believed to be true, primarily because there were likely evidences to support them – so I thought. And yes, I had to shake them off from my head due to some historical events that would occur later.

1. That Marcos was president forever


Modern youngsters in the Philippines have the chance to experience 2 to 3 presidencies during their childhood lifetimes. For my generation who spent their infancy to puberty in the 1980's, Ferdinand E. Marcos was the only Philippine president we knew. Philippine presidency became synonymous to the name of Marcos. And why not? He was the only one to rule the country for 21 years.

As a child, what do I remember during this period? Watching cartoons on a fine Saturday morning was an activity routinary among kids my age. Guess what? It was also a usual occurrence when, suddenly, the face of Marcos talking on a pedestal, would interrupt the show. The thing was, you dared go to another channel and you would see the same face all throughout the TV stations. Every time he had some speech going on somewhere, his media henchmen would have to take down every show on TV being broadcast on such an hour and replace it with the rousing face of the president.

2. That John Paul II was the only Pope


This is similar to #1, albeit in a better sense. Who would blame me for believing so? He ended his reign as the Vicar of Christ when he died in 2005; I was already a yuppie during this year. Though I had wished that Pope (now Saint) John Paul II was going to be Pontiff forever, God had far better plans for the Church and for the world.

3. That all white people were Americans


I really am not sure where this impression came from but I think it was brought about by the Hollywood movies and American shows on TV I was watching during those years.

Whenever I saw a Caucasian looking person in a park or somewhere else, I would always think that he/she was from America (even if he/she was not).

Now I know that this is untrue. I have the strongest assumption that some of my fellow countrymen still have the notion that anything white is American.

4. That all other Asians spoke Chinese only


Another influence of foreign films, I bet this one I got from watching Chinese martial arts movies of Jacky Chan, Yuen Biao, Samu Hung, and the likes.

So whenever I saw Japanese, Thais, Koreans, and Vietnamese chatting and roaming around the corner, I would just say they were all Chinese speaking their native Mandarin tongue.

5. That Indians pertained to Native Americans


Native American
I guess I was not the only kid who believed this. History itself attested to this thinking. Cowboys versus Indians – I would assume no lad was ever exempted from playing such role-playing game. I even remember a song taught in school. We had to bring out the fingers on our hands one by one while we were singing it:

♫ One, little two, little three, little Indians ♪

♪ Four, little five, little six, little Indians ♫

♫ Seven, little eight, little nine, little Indians ♪

♪ Ten little Indian boys. ♫

Then we would imagine our fingers wearing feather crowns on their tips.

Of course, we now know that, to be called an Indian, you must have come from the great country of India.

6. That a meal was not a meal without rice


At this point, I cannot deny that item #6 is an influence of elders. Even adults of today have this kind of thinking. In Filipino culture, eating rice is mainstream. A lot of Pinoys will say they cannot be fully satisfied on a meal without rice on the palette. Pasta, pizza, breads, and noodles – they are all reserved for merienda (the word for snack time).

Now, as a grownup, I can eat anything I want during meal time. Whether it is breakfast, lunch, or supper, I can choose to devour any other food aside from rice. Yet of course, rice is still the main course. ;)

7. That imported goods were definitely better than local ones


Colonial mentality is what you call an attitude that gives unpatriotic preference to anything that is not made in his/her country.

Growing up, I had to realize that item #7 was not always true. I learned to appreciate things as they truly were and not because they came from another country.

8. That Voltes V was cut short because of its violence


Voltes V
If you were a kid growing up in the 1980s, you lived in Metro Manila, and you had a television at home, surely you could not afford to miss tuning in to Voltes V. Voltes V (as in V for 5) was a super robot anime series popular among kids during the later part of the Marcos years.

I am not going to put in detail of what the story was about, but the point I want to make is that the show was put to a halt by the government. Nobody was able to see its concluding episodes until long after Marcos was out of the picture. The reason (they said) it was discontinued from being aired on TV was because of its violence unfit for young viewers.

More than a decade after Marcos' overthrow from the presidency, we would find out that Voltes V was abruptly terminated because of its revolutionary undertones. Watching the final episodes, it was revealed that the main bad guy in the story was a conceited overlord who would be kicked out by his own enslaved people.

Epilogue


I am sure I am not alone in this situation. There are others out there who grew up believing stuff that turned out to be false. How about you, dear Reader? What did you believe which later on you found out to be a hoax?



Photo credits:

Inside a growing child's head c/o MarkoLovric / Pixabay

Indian Chieftain c/o tpsdave / Pixabay

"Voltes V Commercial Banner" The media may be obtained from Toei Company, via Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Voltes_V_Commercial_Banner.png#/media/File:Voltes_V_Commercial_Banner.png
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