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SEO & the Dawn of Visual Social Media

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seo-vsm-fishThe days of the single task "SEO and done" marketing are over. Today’s fashion statements include a mix of marketing color: local SEO, Pinterest, and social media. These are the areas small- to medium-sized businesses should focus on, according to CEO of WebmasterWorld and PubCon founder Brett Tabke.

If you know Tabke, you may know that he coined the SEO term SERP (search engine results page) and is a founding board member of SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization). What you might not know about Tabke is that he is a news junkie.

SEO Business & Technology Daily Reading List

Tabke spends two to three hours a day reading the news, from the latest on the Apple versus Samsung patent wars, to the pulse of tech funding, to the social media darlings and the search engine warlocks. What is he reading?

  • Google News to look for international and national "alerts"
  • newsnow.co.uk, to track what is going on in specific segments
  • Techmeme Apple news
  • Washington Post and NYT for opinion and debate
  • Flipboard for quickies on the run
  • Gizmodo for gadget news
  • Mashable for social news
  • Reuters for direct news
  • A pure AP feed

2012 SEO & Social Highlights

lisa-buyer-brett-tabke-sfimaAt this month’s SFIMA and DFWSEMM meet-ups, Tabke mapped out search engine optimization trends to watch, drilled down to the future of social media and highlighted what he recommends marketers focus on: visual social marketing (VSM) via visual social media (think Instagram and Pinterest).

Other highlights Tabke noted:

  • Internet growth continues at a healthy and robust pace
  • Highest tech investment rate in 12 years
  • Highest startup rate ever (Fast Company)
  • Bing inches forward with its latest Amazon deal
  • Mobile Mania: Growth Continues

Tabke pointed to economic factors including the growth of social media and how even though Facebook’s IPO tanked, nobody died and everyone is still drinking the Kool-Aid.

He also noted technology sources are cheaper than ever thanks to the Mac’s creative output, and website costs are at an all time low. That makes it possible to have a website up and running within five minutes after registering a domain.

Mobile continues to explode into our lives. Ninety-one percent of all U.S. adults have a mobile phone in arms reach 24x7 and 90 percent of all text messages are read within three minutes of being delivered.

Trends - Analog to Digital

If we take a walk down memory lane (like, say, five years ago) at what used to be in our desk drawers and on our desktops and what is now in our phone and on our iPad, there is a clear connection. What’s old is just new and reinvented into the next big app.

Yesterday… and Today

  • Notebook ... Evernote
  • Diaries ... Path
  • Scrapbook ... Pinterest
  • News/Mags ... Flipboard

The Dawn of Visual Social Media

As much as 2012 is the year of Facebook’s notorious IPO, it is just as much the year of the Pinterest glorious pin-fest for online marketers.

“We are close to the tipping point of Pinterest,” Tabke said. Brands need to take note of the visual social marketing opportunity.

Players such as Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, and Pinterest make it easier to snap a picture than post a tweet.

Pinterest Power by the Numbers

  • pinterest-79-female-21-male79 percent female
  • iPad- and Android-centric
  • Affluent
  • 80 percent of the top 15 Pinterest categories are connected to commerce
  • Number 16 website in the world (Alexa)

“The growth of both Instagram and Pinterest over the past year has been phenomenal. The reason for their success is that they haven’t tried to be ‘another Facebook’,” said James Murray, Digital Insights Manager, Experian in a previous Search Engine Watch story. “Instead, they both identified a gap in the market and used the scale of Facebook to reach consumers.”

For Pinterest inspiration check out this board on marketing infographics started by Search Engine Watch columnist Angie Schottmuller. Also see:

To-Do Lists for SMBs & Brands

Three things SMBs need to do:

  1. Local: Tabke noted that “local” is to 2012 what “links” were to 2002
  2. Pinterest: If you aren't building this community, start now before you're playing serious catch up
  3. Social Media: SMBs need to experiment and see what works best

Three things big brands need to do:

  1. Realize there is not one thing. There are 50 things and you need to be working them all in a competent fashion. Not so breaking news from Tabke: "The days of the single task 'SEO and done' marketing are over."
  2. Get into visual social media.
  3. Understand that technology is now ubiquitous. There are so few differences between boxes, that what you purchase actually isn't a technology decision, but a fashion statement. If you have products in the tech space, the differentiator isn't features and services. It is branding. It is fashion.

Mobile Matters

pinterest-smartphone-tablet-laptopWhen it comes to mobile, here is what all brands should think about, according to Tabke:

A "responsive" web design is a growing part of the development cycle. Businesses need to have to have a website that looks good on:

  • Phone
  • Tablet (both 7- and 10-inch)
  • Laptop (small screen 1024x768 in 4:3 as well as 16:9)
  • Big old desktop machine with massive resolution

Winners & Losers

Tabke also revealed his list of who's hot and who's not:

  • Traditional print publications: Wired, WSJ, and NYT
  • Twitter's new profile pages: It is a step in the right direction. No reason they shouldn't start to compete with Facebook.
  • Favorite new startup: Pinterest
  • Biggest tech winner 2012: Instagram
  • Biggest tech loser for 2012: Yahoo, Groupon

When it comes to 2013 planning, pinning boards with local, Pinterest, and social media with mobile in mind is the trending fashion, according to Tabke.


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