SEO/SEM as easy as 1-2-3

#1) Relevant content and in the language of the users but not accessible to search engines

#2) Relevant content and accessible to search engines but not in the users language

#3) Accessible to search engines and in the users language but not relevant content

This of course lets us understand that if you can get relevant content in the language of the user, and access to the search engines (labeled SEO success in the diagram) you will have success with your SEO.

Easy hey?

Problem solved.

What was I worried about?

Great but even the author Zach Olsen admits this is a one-dimensional view on SEO and what about SEM how do these relate to each other or do they at all? Let’s have a look.

When talking about SEO and SEM we have to define our subject if we are going to proceed in a credible discussion about search engines and the value they bring to business today

As stated by Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land we have grown confused about the understanding of both terms being used in business today. Suliven talks about the many contributing factors to our growing confusion, Yahoo, Wikipedia and today’s business language being inundated with acronyms. Fair enough Danny, but let’s talk about the meaning of SEO and SEM and more to the point how they relate.

Simply put Sulivan says SEM = SEO+CPC. Easy! OK OK let’s look a bit closer at what this means.

Search Engine Marketing was originally, and still should be, defined as the sum of Search Engine Optimization and Cost Per Click payment. It should be clear that SEO and CPC are the components of SEM. SEO (editorial/natural listings) represents the organic listings that appear without anyone paying for them, where as CPC (Paid search/PPC) are a paid for component much like newspaper ads.

Avinash Kaushik at SIM Tech 2010 - Photo by Michael Fienen

A. Kaushik takes us further into understanding the value that SEM can provide for businesses and their on-line presence. Previously online success was evaluated on a direct conversion to revenue bases. But we have to ask is that the only value that SEM has to a company?

Kaushik has started using the term “economic Value” to help provide a quantified assessment of the value to a company the organic and paid listings provide once a user has found their page.  The activity of a user on a company’s page can provide more value than a mere conversion rate can provide. The simple interface between user and company provides the company with a type of user influenced value. Kaushik call this “Micro-Conversions”.

So we have seen the basic steps for SEO success. We have gathered a better understanding of how SEO and SEM relate and finally taken a brief look at the value they can provide. Better understanding of SEM can only provide value to our future endeavors.

As this market intensifies businesses will be given growing resources to get their presence listed higher and higher on the search engine results pages (SERP). To be left behind will be to vanish  from the public eye, will be to become extinct. The big company names right now in the US are functioning on a 2% conversion rate. The future will bring the race even tighter. Be prepared to use every trick in the book!

Identity Confusion?

Last week we talked about Identity moratorium and foreclosed identity. These are two of the four identity stages. A leader who is skilled in identifying these stages will become more adapt at dealing with employees and people in general. To understand a person’s identity stage gives an opportunity for our leaders to relate to and possibly help direct the development of the people around us.  The remaining two stages we will look at today are Identity Diffusion and Identity Adaption.

                Identity Diffusion is a stage in identity development that usually occurs just before Identity Moratorium. In this juncture the individual has just come into a situation of confusion.  A new scenario at work, an unforeseen development at home or maybe a new social opportunity can cause a Diffusion stage.

                In the work place Diffusion can be foreseen and prepared for so it is one of the most opportune times for an astute leader to be prepared. Just as changes are put in place people may react to them by having no information or initial insight on how they will fit into the new system or even how they will react to the new development.

                 Be careful here, make the change seem as unobtrusive as possible, provide support structures and be prepared to listen. The knowledge that the next stage is Identity Moratorium and its characteristics will provide a great deal of insight.

                Identity Adaption is when people sigh and say “oh so that’s how it will work”. After confusion (Identity Diffusion) and “trying on “various identities (Identity Moratorium) Identity Adaption marks the step when people have found a fit they are satisfied will suit their needs. Reaffirm positive Identity Adaption inductees, things are new for them so tread lightly.

Influence. You got It?

In today’s digital world online Presence is arguably more important than physical presents. Being online and connected opens doors to a much larger potential customer base than with any other marketing tool previously employed.  This is the new business driver in almost any field. Those who have it, use it and those who don’t wish they did and are scrambling to get it.

But is presents enough? No, according to Megan Berry of Klout you have to have influence online to truly drive this new business engine. Don’t be fooled by popularity gimmicks’ being an online influencer takes more than a large follower list on twitter or facebook to achieve.

What distinguishes an influencer from a celebrity? It has become very trendy for people with celebrity status to use their media exposure to populate their online list of followers. Paris Hilton and others seem to have, at first sight, a great deal of influence but do they?

To be influential one must conduct themselves with authority and have a strong voice in an industry. This is not just telling people what to wear or that chiwawas are in, it is about engaging people, social media is a two way street.  Listen, comment and drive action. If this is done in a calm, disciplined and honest way people (and potential customers) will turn to you with trust and appreciation as a problem solver. This is influence

Identifying identity development for the new leader

There are four stages in identity development. Knowing the charactoristics of each and how to react to them will enable todays leaders to employ a much more diverese tool set     when motivating their staff. 

The four stages are; Identity adoption, Identity Diffusion, Identity Moratorium and Foreclosed. This week I will look at the later two, Foreclosed and Identity moratorium.

     A person who is in the foreclosed identity category will exhibit characteristics that show an opposition to change on an ongoing basis. These stubborn, “can’t teach an old dog new tricks” behaviours will be unchanging and the people exhibiting them will be highly difficult to motivate (don’t wast your time).

     A person who is in the identity moratorium state of identity development will exhibit quite different signs than a foreclosed case, giving an astute leader clues to their situation.  Unlike the foreclosed cases a person in identity moratorium can be quite easily motivated given the timely identification of their condition and a knowledgable intervention.

     Having suffered some sort of identity confusion (new job, new work place, new co-workworkers, new leader ect.) the person in question is “trying on” new identities to find a proper fit. Expect change from this individual, one day will be quite different from another. If identified early a supervisor should give positive feedback during episodes of favorable identity trials and negative or no feedback during periods of unfavorable personality trails to help guide them through this tough period.

Intuition and Ethics

    Immediate/intuitive responses are acceptable, or even necessary for Non-Negotiable cases. However many elements should be considered in a negotiable case, the immediate emotional responses should be put in check so all possible points of view may be considered.   Points of view may very due to; race, religion, culture, socio-economic standing and so on. It is wiser to approach these issues with rational thought, rather than an emotional reaction. This will allow you to gain a greater insight to the problem at hand and possible solutions.

What is a Negotiable Moral Issue in Ethics?

In response to a comment I received I think it would be prudent to look at the academically defined differences between Negotiable moral issues and Non-Negotiable issues.

      3 contrasts between negotiable and non negotiable scenarios

Negotiable Non-negotiable
Even though we have formed an opinion, we might change our minds We will not change our minds. That IS definitely wrong or right, no question.
We can talk about them and debate points with others Disagreement by others is not tolerated. “You can’t honestly belive that”
We can accept disagreement in others We will not accept toleration of disagreement by others. All people should agree.

A Look at Business Ethics Today

   Christina Sommers states in ‘Teaching The Virtues’ that according to some of her student feedback, a false understanding of ethics is taking place in our universities and colleges. This is because most or all of the topics looked at in a typical applied ethics course focus on cases with negotiable circumstances or outcomes. This has left an impression on students that ALL ethical cases involve some sort of dilemma or an opportunity to argue one way or another. When in fact some scenarios are clearly right or wrong (non-negotiable).    

 In the coming weeks I will be looking at some definitions and examples from the academic side of ethics and morality being taught today. If the message being instilled in students today is that all things are negotiable, then are we being taught that all things can be justified?