The Saturday Summary – 5/2/2015

Another week goes by and another grouping of news from the online marketing world is ready. Among the stories that caught my attention during the week of April 27-May 1, 2015 were some that covered news about the Google/Twitter agreement, Google search, a new Facebook offering, some online reputation management news and a piece on leadership by Marty Weintraub …

Another week goes by and another grouping of news from the online marketing world is ready. Among the stories that caught my attention during the week of April 27-May 1, 2015 were some that covered news about the Google/Twitter agreement, Google search, a new Facebook offering, some online reputation management news and a piece on leadership by Marty Weintraub …

Monday

Several years ago, I wrote about what I consider leadership genius from Marty Weintraub. The way he runs his business should be an inspiration to business leaders everywhere. This week on the aimClear blog, Marty shared some thoughts on how he has adjusted the main philosophies of aimClear to account for a growing and changing world. Self-assessment and reassessment of business goals and philosophies are important for a leader. It’s key to growth, not only of the business but on a personal level as well. This are certainly worth reading.

Tuesday

  • The Twitter “firehose” will soon be turned on in Google searches. How this will be implemented and shown to Google users is not known just yet. There are also signs that Twitter data is starting to show in spotlight searches in Apple iOS and OSX. Martin Beck has the scoop on Search Engine Land: Twitter’s Full Google Search Integration Is Coming In May
  • Facebook added two new features to its Messenger service that allows for searches within the app as well as easy-to-use video chat. This bulking up of of Messenger is obviously an attempt to hit Google and Microsoft users with competing services to G+ video chat and Skype. Debbie Miller brings us the news on Search Engine Journal: Facebook Introduces “Hello” and Video Calling for Messenger

Wednesday

From the world of online reviews, Wendy Davis on MediaPost tells of a bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that is aimed at protecting those who review businesses online. In essence, the bill makes it illegal for businesses to require non-disparagement clauses in contracts with customers as well as those that force customers to transfer copyrights of any online reviews to businesses. You can read more about it here: New Bill Aims To Protect People’s Right To Post Reviews

I completely understand the desire to protect consumers in the area, and I completely disagree with businesses trying to quash honest reviews with these tactics or through lawsuits. I am also very disappointed that this type of legislation is considered necessary. Businesses need to realize that the best way to deal with negative reviews is by providing the best products or services possible and by taking care of things on those occasions when things don’t go as intended. If you have to force people to not write reviews, you have some fundamental problems with your business that need to be corrected or you will eventually go out of business.

Thursday

There was a pretty lively discussion between me and Rockfish colleague Steve Plunkett regarding Expedia’s use of emoji in title tags as a way to increase click-through rates from organic search. We’ve all seen studies that show images do have a positive effect on click throughs, so this seems like a great idea. You can read all about it in this Search Engine Land piece by Barry Schwartz: 🏨 💺 Expedia Adds Emoji To Its Title Tags To Increase Click Through Rates In Google

Friday

On Search Engine Roundtable, Barry Schwartz shared some great information about a Google test going on in Indonesia that “strips down” heavy content to speed up download times when slower mobile connections are happening. Exactly how Google is doing this is open to conjecture. It is an interesting idea, and one that might spread to mobile searches around the world. It’s another great reason to make sure you mobile experience is as good as can be, including with scaled down graphics to help ease data congestion. Read more here: Google May Strip Down Your Web Page On Slower Connections

Bonus

Is the job market in the online world still hot? You bet it is! Check out this piece on Inbound.org by Dharmesh Shah: The Top 14 Skills In The Red Hot Market For Marketing Jobs

 

Is Uber Too Useful To Fail?

I’ve been a fan of Uber for about a year now. It, along with services like Car2Go and B-cycle, help to fill a gap for convenient transportation. Uber has been in the news a lot lately. Not all of it has been good news, either. Uber is becoming one of those organizations that almost seems to have a “Jekyll and Hyde” personality …

Uber LogoI’ve been a fan of Uber for about a year now. It, along with services like Car2Go and B-cycle, help to fill a gap for convenient transportation. Uber has been in the news a lot lately. Not all of it has been good news, either. Uber is becoming one of those organizations that almost seems to have a “Jekyll and Hyde” personality.

First: My Positive Uber Experience
Before trying Uber for the first time, I heard a lot of talk about them from several of my coworkers. They all raved about the convenience and savings over taxis and other for-hire services. This past Spring, I had a business trip to Chicago looming, so I signed up for Uber so I could try it out.

When I got to O’Hare airport, I almost forgot to use Uber. I got in the taxi line and almost took a cab to the suburban hotel at which I was booked to stay the night. After the cab driver explained to me the almost IRS-like rules governing Chicago taxi fees for leaving the city limits, I remembered Uber and decided to see what the cost comparison would be. The estimated fare the app showed me was nearly half of what a cab ride would have cost. I hit the button and requested a ride.

The app showed me the name and license number of the driver who agreed to come pick me up along with his phone number and the type of car he was driving. The car pulled up, and I was on my way to the hotel in a very nice Lincoln.

Wanting to learn more about Uber from the driver’s perspective, I asked the young man piloting the vehicle what he thought about the service. He spent the next 30 minutes telling me his story and how Uber was great for him. He was a young man from Turkey with a wife and newborn son. He was putting himself through school to get his Masters so he could return to Turkey and teach English to college students there. He earned enough money working 3-4 nights a week doing Uber to support his young family and pay his tuition. This, even after paying the limousine service their cut of his earnings to use the car. My other 3 experiences with Uber in the Chicago area were equally good. I was sold.

When Uber (and other ride-sharing companies) were lobbying the Austin City Council to allow the services to run in Austin, I gladly sent a message to Mayor Lee Leffingwell in support of allowing ride-sharing in Austin. I thought it would be a great way to enhance transportation options in the city.

Now: The Darker Side
Fast forward to the past week or so and the very negative stories about Uber telling about some privacy problems and their philosophy on winning against their competitors. This is the part that makes me wonder if I might be a fan of a company doing things that I normally would not support.

First was the story about how Uber’s Senior VP, Emil Michael suggested that it would be good for Uber to pay people to dig up dirt on reporters who did stories that were negative towards his company. Spokespersons with the company, Mr. Michael and other executives tried to backpedal and deflect, saying that his comments were “off the record” and stemmed from the frustration he and other Uber executives were experiencing with certain reporters.

Within days of that story came another telling how a New York City-based Uber executive used data from the service to track another reporter as she traveled to Uber’s Long Island headquarters to meet with him. This, despite Uber’s policies stating that employees will not do this.

These two stories show that Uber has a bit of a dark side. The question is: Does it really matter? Scott Stratten calls those brands that people will use no matter what they do, “impenetrable.” Is Uber impenetrable in the eyes of its customers?

So, Are They Too Useful to Fail?
To be sure, Uber has taken a pretty big online reputation hit. From my perspective, the fact that Uber is convenient and can also save me some money (at least in Chicagoland) may be enough to outweigh their privacy shortcomings. But, if I were a woman who frequently traveled alone or a reporter, my opinion might be quite different.

My “jury” is still out on Uber. I’d like to see some changes in how they operate and some news about them taking some positive steps to protect the privacy of us who use their service – including from their own employees and executives.

What Say You?
If you are a current Uber customer, will you continue to use their service? If you’re not, will news like this keep you from giving them a try? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

In-House Team Building & Training – Pubcon NOLA 2014

During Pubcon NOLA 2014 I was, once again, privileged to do a presentation during the In-House Team Building & Training session. While I was up first, Brian McDowell and Dave Rohrer followed up with some excellent information. Here are some notes I took during their presentations …

During Pubcon NOLA 2014 I was, once again, privileged to do a presentation during the In-House Team Building & Training session. While I was up first, Brian McDowell and Dave Rohrer followed up with some excellent information. Here are some notes I took during their presentations:

Brian McDowell – In-House Team Building and Training

  • SEO Function scales horizontally instead of vertically
    • Starts in Marketing or IT
    • Eventually moves across the whole organization
  • Find the proper fit for what you need
    • What talent do you need?
    • Where can you find that talent
    • Look at the maturity of your organization in order to see where you need to fill in skill sets
  • Understand the needs of your business
    • Education – Why
    • Advisors – How
    • Evangelism – Who
    • Analysis – What
  • Look for people who intersect Technology, Marketing and Sales
    • You’re director of SEO will fit right in the middle
    • Other roles will have skills that skew in one direction or the other
  • It’s difficult to train someone right out of school who doesn’t understand SEO
    • Someone from PPC can really understand SEO, that’s a good place to find talent
    • It’s sometimes valuable to hire someone right out of school and put them into PPC and then migrate them to SEO if they are good
  • There are over 1 million people who claim to have experience in SEO
    • Create pressure
    • Do a group interview
    • Have the interviewee do some code on the whiteboard – how comfortable are they in figuring out a problem?
  • Don’t forget about training, consultants, coaching, conferences and dedicated time to do research when figuring out how much a person will cost to hire
  • Don’t forget digital resources when estimating costs of everything. You have to make sure the person has the right tools to get the job done
  • SEO is really more about web presence management – remember this!
  • Be a coach –
    • Build your playbook
    • Identify your position needs
    • Attack free agency
    • Call the plays

Dave Rohrer – In-House Team Building and Training

  • Don’t skimp on CPU and RAM in computers for your team members – there’s not much worse than a huge Excel file crashing in the middle of something
  • Align your goals
    • Company Goals
    • Marketing Goals stem from company goals
    • SEO Goals stem from Marketing goals
    • This way everyone is supporting the next level up
    • Break your goals down into strategic initiatives and tactics
  • Consider hiring a journalism temp or intern to interview people during content creation
  • Keep meetings short and to the point – pay attention , make an agenda and follow the agenda
  • Agencies use task and time management to track projects – in-house should use them, too. Tools can help get you more time, people, budget or other help

Dave Ramsey and Pubcon – What’s Happening At The Crossing

Long time readers of The Crossing will know that I am a fan of Dave Ramsey. It all started when I read his book, The Total Money Makeover, and continued as my wife, Jen, and I started coordinating Financial Peace University (FPU) several years ago. At one point, I collaborated with some coworkers to bring the Workplace Edition of FPU to Wilsonart when I was the webmaster there. I also got a lot out of his book, EntreLeadership, which I recommend to any business leader …

What About Dave Ramsey?
Long time readers of The Crossing will know that I am a fan of Dave Ramsey. It all started when I read his book, The Total Money Makeover (Amazon Affiliate Link), and continued as my wife, Jen, and I started coordinating Financial Peace University (FPU) several years ago. At one point, I collaborated with some coworkers to bring the Workplace Edition of FPU to Wilsonart when I was the webmaster there. I also got a lot out of his book, EntreLeadership, which I recommend to any business leader.

Jen and I were invited to an FPU Coordinator Rally coinciding with a live event Dave and his team were holding in San Antonio. It was great to hear Dave, Rachel Cruze and Chris Hogan talk about how the different programs run by the organization are doing and what the future holds.

Dave Ramsey presents an award to Jen and Elmer BoutinThe highlight of the evening was being presented a 2014 Outstanding Coordinator Award for hosting 12 FPU classes in 5 years. This was a total and complete surprise to both me and Jen. Coordinating FPU classes brings its own rewards that have nothing to do with recognition or awards.

On the way home as we were reveling in the excitement we felt in getting an award from Dave, we both agreed that we’d do it regardless of anything else. It’s our way of giving back and helping others win with money.

That’s the best reward of all.

Coming Up: Pubcon
I have been extremely privileged to be invited to speak at Pubcon events over the past several years. I will be presenting again at Pubcon New Orleans next week: March 17-20, 2014. All the the sessions in which I’m involved will be on Tuesday the 18th:

  • Interactive Site Reviews – Focus on Organic
    11:30-12:45 in Salon E
    I’ll be on a panel moderated by Dixon Jones doing site reviews with Craig Paddock, Bill Hunt, and Eric Enge
  • Keyword Research
    1:30-2:40 in Salon A
    I’ll be moderating this session, which features Craig Paddock and Bill Hunt
  • In-House Team Building & Training
    4:00-5:00 in Salon A
    In this session I’ll be presenting “Elmer’s Leadership Lesson version 2.9” along with presentations by Brian Mcdowell and Dave Rohrer with moderator duties performed by Mark Barrera

As always, I love to meet readers of The Crossing. If you find yourself in NOLA next week, please stop by one of my sessions or catch me at lunch or breakfast and say “hi.” As is my custom, I’ll also be posting my notes from the sessions I attend here. Keep an eye out for them.

Leadership Unplugged – A Google Hangout Event

Last week at the Pubcon Austin Regional, I had an opportunity chat with Rebecca Murtagh, author of Million Dollar Websites, before the final keynote. Rebecca has been hosting Google Hangouts after several recent Pubcon events, and I asked if she was going to do that again. In our pursuing conversation, she asked if I’d like share some of the ideas about leadership I talked about during the “In-House SEO” session earlier in the day. I thought that was a great idea, so we will be having a Google Hangout called “Leadership – Unplugged: What Every Leader Should Know” on Thursday, February 13, 2014, 2pm to 3pm Central …

Last week at the Pubcon Austin Regional, I had an opportunity chat with Rebecca Murtagh, author of Million Dollar Websites, before the final keynote. Rebecca has been hosting Google Hangouts after several recent Pubcon events, and I asked if she was going to do that again.

In our pursuing conversation, she asked if I’d like share some of the ideas about leadership I talked about during my “Elmer’s Leadership Lesson 2.8” presentation I did in the “In-House SEO” session earlier in the day. I thought that was a great idea … so we will be having a Google Hangout called “Leadership – Unplugged: What Every Leader Should Know” on Thursday, February 13, 2014, 2pm to 3pm Central.

Leadership Unlugged Google Event

This is listed as a private event. When you click the link above, please click the “Request Invitation” button. Of course, you’ll need a Google account to join in. Accounts are free … just sign up for one.

I am always pleasantly surprised how well my leadership talks are received at Pubcon events. Certainly, the main reason why people attend Pubcon and other industry events is to help hone their technical skills. While this is certainly a critical aspect of working in a technical field, those of us who lead people are sometimes not as dedicated to honing our non-technical, people-related skills. That’s not to say we are neglectful or bad – not at all. It’s just that we sometimes are so heads-down and focused on work, that we don’t think about those other skills needed to build a great team. That’s where I come in.

During the hangout, I’ll highlight some points from last week’s presentation, then have some time for Rebecca and I to do some Q&A, then we’ll open up the discussion to anyone for questions, discussion or whatever.

Sign up and join me and Rebecca. I’m sure you’ll learn something you can take back to help you be a better team leader.