Boy did Andrew not have any idea what he was invoking the other day when he posted about the Ad Age 150. In what turned out to be an interesting Monday and I read about multiple bloggers who rejected this idea to spend two minutes to submit their blog to a Marketing Ranking service. What’s so ironic is the debate has taken exponentially longer than the amount of time it takes to submit, you have to love a good debate! If you don’t want to do it no problem that’s your decision, but something has been eating at me and as I laid down in bed last night one of those few barely twitching electrons is my head hit a spark that can only be described as a nuclear reaction. Anyone who’s considering starting a blog be warned because those nights where you used to sleep peacefully will now be consumed with an unending river of blog post ideas and occasionally the dam will burst and a tidal wave will crash down impeding sleep until you have the flick of a thought on paper. Here goes.
Inside The Light Bulb by PakyuZ
I’ve had multiple discussions with some of the other incredible Higher Education bloggers out there and one thing seems to simply not be fitting. I guess it first began with a finger numbing six hour type off I had with Karlyn Morissette over GTalk last week and kind of hit tonight.
Robert French left in what he describes in his own words as a rant about the irrelevance of submitting his blog to the Ad Age 150 a sentiment that is shared by others. Similar to Karlyn’s stance Brad Ward told me that, He blogs because he enjoys it and could care less about the SEO aspect, I bet the two of you didn’t know you had so much in common!
So that’s good and to each their own, but the more I think about it the more it bothers me to the core. I’ve been labeled as a SEO and Web Analytics person so I’m sure I’m biased, but I just can’t get it out of my mind… What is the point in spending the time to create good content if it could be optimized just a little better to be more easily found by more people and then learn from the tracking how to do it better next time?! This whole rejection to embrace, strive for the best, and network is fundamentally against all my beliefs of Internet Marketing. If nobody can find or understand your website it doesn’t matter how good your content is… PERIOD.
If you blog this way then it’s only natural to take this exact same stance to the way you operate at work and by doing this you are performing a disservice to your institution! My blog is my sandbox to learn how to create better content, to better optimize link anchoring, to do a better job of cross linking, page layout, build buzz, and finally track/analyze and do it better next time. If there is an opportunity that requires all of two minutes for me to sign my blog up for another list that can bring me an additional backlink along with potential people being able to find my work and hopefully learn something of value then is this not part of my mission? If you don’t believe your content is worthy to be read and strive to make it as good as possible then why should anyone care? If you truly believe this then it also obligates you to network. There is a lot of ethics and responsibility required for this to work properly, but we aren’t talking about a spammy site or link farm here, it’s a resource of marketing blogs.
Do web developers in higher education believe that they are of an elite breed that doesn’t need to build links to their websites? Do they think that because Google and the rest of the search world hold .edu sites as more trustworthy and because we have domain names that have been around for eons in the world of the web that it isn’t necessary to optimize our sites and present content in such a way that users of the web demand? In fact I would argue just the opposite. Search engines and the web in general trust .edu domains because they are rock solid and because of these we are obligated to hold our standards to a higher level.
SEO is about Accessibility
The next evolution of the web, the semantic web, is really going to leave sites behind that don’t learn accessibility and SEO before it’s too late.
Web Analytics is Trend Research
Web Analytics finally provide us with the tool to take to upper management and say I KNOW this is happening on our website. No longer is it I think, but here let me show you the data to prove it!
It Doesn’t Happen Overnight
Every day that goes by and a website isn’t optimized properly or you aren’t tracking data is a day that you can’t get back and you become less relevant. SEO and Web Analytics are the heart of Internet Marketing. Social Media and the rest come later. What I’m proposing here isn’t revolutionary and I’ll admit it definitely isn’t very sexy, but it is absolutely vital and effective. Every day that you create content without properly optimizing it you are losing untold opportunity. Also, if you’re not tracking it then you don’t even know what you’re missing.
So why do I blog? I blog to teach, I blog because these important lessons need to be heard and by not following them you have no idea what your leaving on the table.
Ok so wow that got a little long winded and I was hoping to share an awesome trick I learned to syndicate content across social networking sites as a follow-up to my syndicating status update post from last week.
Hopefully Robert you will see this is definitely nothing personal and if anything thank you for finally inspiring me into finding out a way to express all this. To everyone else I challenge you to step up to the plate and truly experiment with taking your skills to the next level.
So while you’re gathering your thoughts and a plan of action watch this hilarious video. Hopefully you will get some ideas about some things NOT to do. In many ways by not accepting and fully participating in these two best practices your message on the web could be as silly and jumbled as Gabe and Max’s.
Also while you’re at it spend the minute to subscribe to .eduGuru. I’m felling extremely motivated now to get some of these more technical posts off the drawing board and into reader’s hands.