Meet Bonnie Sainsbury, a proven expert on social networking and marketing. She’s the founder of Left Brain Marketing and blogs at Social Media Smarter. She has a Twitter community of over 100,000 followers, over a thousand Facebook friends, and her linkedin profile is connected with 500+ businesses. And she is a Google+ fanatic.
Bonnie was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the Top 20 Women Social Media Influencers of 2013 and among their Top 50 Social Media Influencers. With her friend, Margaret Reynolds, Bonnie also co-hosts Women Talking Tech every Thursday, a show on which I have become a regular guest.
Having heard Bonnie’s opinions on Search and Social Media, I cornered her on Google Hangouts to find out which is more important: SEO vs SMO. You can watch my first attempt at a Hangout interview, or skip to the transcript below for the major takeaways.
Is SEO dead?
I don’t think search as we knew it, as in “I have to pay anything to be on page 1 of Google,” is as relevant as it used to be. First of all, page 1 of Google on [my phone] is quite a bit different than page 1 on my laptop, or on my computer. Part of that is because of the way that I can scroll. On a touch screen page 1 of Google means nothing anymore. Google is nice and even on my desktop I usually go to about page 3, so if you can hide a body, better hide it there. I know that there’s often good content there.
If I’m gonna find a plumber, I’m probably going to ask somebody on Facebook or on social media.
What about Adwords?
Pay per click is still valid, but expensive. You have to be very careful about who you hire because there’s lots of charlatans there. So search and being found is one thing, and then converting someone is the second part of it. And that’s the part that traditional SEO, as in “I will help you get to page 1 of Google,” just doesn’t work anymore. Call it relationship marketing.
What are you going do when you get to the page 1 of Google, as if the riches are just going come to you? If you get to page 1 of Google you have to have an exceptionally well-designed site. But if you’ve got a badly designed site, whether it’s a blogsite or made by one of those freebee things, then it’s called Friction. If you look at a landing page and go to buy [a web design seminar], and you can’t get to Paypal, you think, if she can’t figure out that, how can she teach me how to market my blog?
What is the value of review-style retailers?
When I’m looking for a product I go to e-Bay or Amazon. If I want it fast to go to Craigslist. If you have an Amazon store they’ve already vetted you. Certainly they’ve gone through some hoops to get there so if there’s an issue, I have something to fall back on.
Trust still works in selling. People will not buy if they don’t trust you. And the best way to get trust is to become a thought leader. To become a thought leader you need some kind of content, you need a blog, you need videos, you need a strong internet presence.
What are other ways to promote a blog?
As a blogger I like joining groups like Blogher It’s a very large community and they’ve been around for about 10 years. Triberr is another one that one didn’t work for me, but that’s a tribe of bloggers and they all promote each other.
Is Yoast SEO still worth using?
I like Yoast because it’s easy for people to use all the time. When you hire someone to set up your site, all that should be done. But you should not be paying twelve hundred dollars a month to get to the front page of Google, especially if you’ve got an ugly old site.
What is the importance of titles?
I regularly monitor – that is, twice a day – over 200 blogs. The only thing I have to go on is the title, and you could be writing the most amazing content that is exactly what I’m looking for, but if you don’t have a title, well, forget it.
I bought a DSLR camera not that long ago and I did a search for reviews of those. So if you had the most brilliant review of the top five cameras and you called it, “What color should your camera be,” then I’m never going to get there. Even if it gets you to page 1, if you don’t grab me by the throat, then I’m not gonna click on it if it’s not a good title.
How do you write titles for Search or Social?
I regularly use a document called 52 Headline Hacks. It’s a PDF of 52 headlines and blanks and that’s what I do my headlines with. I do the title of my blog post last and I go back to that document and look for what fits. On some of the most popular blog posts from my clients, the titles come from there.
(As an experiment, I used 52 Headline Hacks to compose the title of this post. We’ll see how it grabs people by the throat.)
What social sites do you endorse?
Some bloggers and business people focus on Google+. I know nobody understands it, but you just have to trust me. The links work properly and depending on your niche, there’s a higher quality of people at Google+. That’s just the way it is.
Twitter is #2. 15% to 20% of your content can refer back to something you did and the rest of it should be about the world. Don’t do a lot of chatting because truly we are don’t care about your conversation with XYZ. That’s the reason to have direct message. Your followers and following should be equal and you should have as many followers as you can manage.
I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook, although are I use it a fair amount for something other than kitty videos. I use some kind of graphic on Facebook and I support other people by liking their posts. I think that’s fairly important, it’s something that people don’t do.
Any final thoughts on SEO vs SMO and blogging?
Something I keep saying over and over again is it’s not about you. If you are a legend in your own mind it shortly gets old.
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