Really Bad Search Marketing Advice Abounds

Idk what’s going on this week, but it’s only Tuesday and I’ve gotten more than the usual number of questions that fall under the heading of “Really Bad Marketing Advice.” To the credit of my friends and clients who’ve been asking, they knew something was fishy. So they got a second opinion from, well, me. And for those of you who know me, I always have two cents to add 🙂

This week, the questions all relate to search and mobile marketing. These are complex topics; if anyone tells you either are easy, they’re lying or they don’t know what they’re doing. It’s incredibly easy to waste a lot of money on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, search optimization of web sites, and mobile marketing.

Today let’s focus on Blogsvertise as this is a sink hole for technology marketers. (No, I’m not going to link to it to give it any inbound link points; it doesn’t deserve them.) This site has a dual purpose:

(1) They pay bloggers to blog about advertisers’ products and services, and to run PPC ads from same on their blogs.

(2) They take money from advertisers who want their products blogged about to raise their search rankings, and/or who want to run PPC ads on blogs.

If this sets off your warning bells, there’s good reason. First, why all this focus on blogs? Because Google has taken steps to give blogs more visibility in search rankings. So Blogvertise has come up with a way to talk unwary marketers into parting with their Internet marketing dollars by claiming to help you get higher search rankings. ThomasNet and GlobalSpec say the same thing, but at least they are in the technology / engineering / manufacturing space and their site visitors are engineers and purchasing agents. Who knows what you’re getting with this other site?!

Kinda reminds you of link farms, eh? If you don’t already know, search engines don’t like link farms cuz they only exist to trick them into thinking you have more incoming links than you deserve so you get higher search rankings. But search algorithms are looking for RELEVANT incoming links, not random ones. For more info, see the article “How Google Works.

Second, who are these bloggers? From what I’ve seen so far, they are mostly people looking to make a few bucks. I’m a big fan of capitalism, but when it comes to talking about my product, I want someone who comes out of the industry and is familiar with the underlying technology. If they aren’t, I run the risk of associating with people who can undermine the brand I’ve so carefully built (another strike against link farms, too).

Third, this approach undermines the whole world of blogging. The money is lousy unless the bloggers do a lot of these paid gigs. That means their blogs will, over time, end up being one big advertisement…either a copy/paste of press releases or a hatchet job on a lot of different topics. But for you, the marketer, blogging is like public relations — its power lies in its IMPARTIALITY & CREDIBILITY. As soon as you lose those, the blogger loses all reason for anyone to read his/her blog.

On a related note, there are still a few 3rd-tier tech magazines out there that will run your press release for a fee. Most are out of business because quality readers abandoned them, but I still get the occasional request for $$.

Last, let’s look at the PPC advertising side. Yes, there is a time and a place for advertising. Oh look, Blogvertise offers PPC ads, too. But why would you want to pay for a random blogger to run your ad when you can find a higher quality blogger via Google’s AdWords / AdSense PPC program?

Ok, rant over…for today 😉

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