A Preface to my Bouncing Baby Benchmarks

Question: What did I want from my 101 days?
Answer: A sense of direction. An orientation beyond web design.
Question: Why couldn’t I just pick some keywords to write about? Use that to form a bridge between my beloved web stuff and a prospective audience?
Answer: Because keywords are only a part of the picture. Very often, the target audience is no longer a passive receiver. The Internet is in the midst of a paradigm shift that won’t be mastered by tactical logic… and, you know, maybe I am, too.
Question: Paradigm shift?

Answer: The one-to-many mass marketing that works so well via old school SEO is increasingly intermixed with not-so-little blips and sparks of one-to-one communication, and we natives are restless. Sometimes we don’t like being at the other end of one-to-many. Badly done online one-to-many is spam – the kind of thing that gives marketing a bad name.

With the explosion of social media, one-to-one is intermixed with one-to-many. People “talk.” Sometimes online one-to-one WOM is not marketing or gossip; sometimes it’s a real someone, or a someone we really know, who talks to someone else we know about the specific features and benefits of something that makes a difference in our not-so-unimportant, everyday, face-to-face lives.

Did Google see it coming? Was anticipating user’s hunger for one-to-one and social media part of why Google devalued potentially spam-like strategies? Did they read the writing on the wall, see that people wanted people, and there would be a backlash against being marketed at? Maybe it’s a chicken or egg situation. Some of the famous algorithm updates of the last few years were crushing to sites optimized for old school SEO, or Text Link Ads, or even sites optimized for Google’s own Adsense.

What’s a little guy to do, after Google rolls over? Erm… blog and network, perhaps? Try sharing, face-to-face-ish style, clumsily or slickly market-spammer-like, whatever you have at first, using whatever tool bypasses the search engines?

Those tools look a lot like social media, and…

Question: Excuse me?
Answer: …huh? Oh. Yes?
Question: Could we get back to the part about tactical logic and keywords, please?

Answer: Well, by tactical logic I mean strategies that give results that can be measured and anticipated in a quantitative way. If 100 people searching for brand x see a page about brand x’s product named keyword y, how many are likely to buy, move on, or ask for the product named keyword z? These things can be projected with statistical guestimates.

Social media and word of mouth traffic is more of a qualitative thing, more emotional logic than tactical logic. With social media you may get 1,000 people on the keyword y page, but if they’re not there for a reason targeted to looking for keyword y, the old quantitative projections are out the window.

Question: Why else would someone go to the keyword y page, if not looking for keyword y?

Answer: I believe that often those reasons are going to be less directly connected to wanting to acquire a product or service. There will be more dreamers, readers and self-educators, and fewer buyers. Want specific reasons? You name it, it’s possible.

  • Browsing favorite topics, for entertainment
  • Interest in a cause
  • Very early stages of research
  • Compelling title
  • Compelling image
  • Curious about what someone from some country across the world would bookmark
  • Curiosity about why someone notable liked it
  • Wanting to be seen bookmarking the same things as a rock star
  • Trusting the taste of someone you’ve “friended”
  • Building a social media profile
  • Promoting one’s own site
  • Curious about a friend’s site, or a friend of a friend’s site
  • Checking out a big brand’s really dumb typo
  • Looking for beautiful pictures of far away places, or of cats
  • Hunger for information and ideas
  • Browsing for recipe blogs
  • 101 things I haven’t thought of yet
Question: Remind me of what this philosophizing and social media speculation has to do with a business blog, or a business blog strategy?

Answer: OK. It’s like this. There are about a gazillion small brick and mortars out there who lack a good web presence. A majority of their keywords are not intensely competitive when combined with local search, especially if there is some existing brand recognition from existing face-to-face marketing.

They’re out there among social media users who are not Internet marketers or make-money-online bloggers. And they’re watching. And when they feel ready they’re going to want a site that gets votes on Yelp or reviews on Stumble, or whatever. They won’t have a corporate budget. They’ll want a lower cost site that still has web 2.0 perks – perhaps a customized WordPress theme, and they may need a coach and a writer or ghost writer to help them get started. That’s probably where I’ll come in…

Question: Erm…

Answer: I know, I know. What does all this have to do with my 101 days?

OK. It’s like this. For me, at least, emotional logic – empathetic, qualitative judgment – requires getting in there and stretching but good, with an open mind. Change and growth must be both learned and felt, and I need a sort of an emotional and informational immersion boot camp to get there. Eventually, I start to surface with a strong philosophical frame of reference that helps to give me an anchor.

Besides, this web thing is not natural for a lot of the people I’ll be focusing on working with. If I stretch my own comfort zone I’ll have more clues and cues for how to help them through stretching theirs. That’s the theory anyway.

Question: Noooo, I was going to ask myself if I knew, when I started blogging here in November, that I’d be having these thoughts about this target market.
Answer: LOL. Well… Not really. There is so.much.change in our world today. Sometimes I really need to shed my skin to find out what’s underneath, and what shape and size I am. IMHO everyone should try it.
Question: And why is this post called “A Preface to my Bouncing Baby Benchmarks”?

Answer: Because statistics are meaningless without a frame of reference, there’s no way I’m talking benchmarks before making you read this other stuff. It’s all about the brand, baby.

It’s not about the traffic. It’s about the relationships.

My Blogging Benchmarks Post

Tomorrow I’ll bring out some observations about my traffic and content. I’ll be chatting about my own ideals, plus some of the benchmarks Jenn blogged about over at Search Engine People a week ago.

Today, me, myself and I are closing by asking if any of you reading this have ever wanted to interview yourself? This is new for me! I started off by asking myself a few questions to write about, and the Q & A format started to flow.