Bad SEO may cause depression, hallucinations, and suicidal thoughts

It is generally widely known that optimizing for search engines is an important aspect of managing a website. Getting on the coveted first page of Google for your target keywords is crucial to driving traffic and maintaining proper brand visibility.

Unfortunately, for many companies and organizations, paying attention to SEO is still only treated as an added bonus to simply having a website to point people to. It is true that SEO makes a good website great, but could NOT paying attention to it actually cause harm to your brand?

Rozerem learned the hard way.

Rozerem bad SEO example

This is a Google screenshot of the search result for Rozerem. Apparently, in addition to helping your insomnia, Rozerem may also cause “worsening of depression, including suicidal thoughts and completed suicides, hallucinations, and nightmares.”

Unfortunately, the company did not include a meta description in their HTML code, and when Google could not find it to display during search results, nor could it find any other sensible write-up thanks to its obsolete and previously un-indexable Flash site, it grabbed the only text it could find: the fine print at the bottom of the site.

Where this poor SEO example probably did give the folks over at Rozerem nightmares, it goes up on my list as one of the greatest things I could ever dream about.

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When Google can’t find something, it asks Jack Bauer for help

If you watched the series finale of 24 and, over the past 6 episodes, also witnessed Jack Bauer completely lose his mind, you probably pondered the following question: How many people has Jack Bauer really killed?

Well, it is now safe to say that you and I are apparently not the only ones.

How many people has Jack Bauer of 24 killed?

By the way, the final count is 266.

Total Cost of Finding a New Job? Apparently $6

In today’s long-tail, low-budget advertising world, Google AdWords has developed quite a long line of success stories. With anywhere from lanyards, business cards, restaurants, and events, this pay-per-click system has become the most cost-effective way of reaching consumers.

Now let’s say you don’t want to reach consumers, but rather you want to promote yourself. How about dem apples?

To help with his job search, Alec Brownstein targeted top advertising executives using just that, Google AdWords.

As a social media professional, an active member of the job search community, and a former Google AdWords Halloween costume, and I am appaled that I myself did not come up with a tactic so clever. Let the brainstorming for best-idea-ever-2.0 begin.

On an unrelated note, anyone hiring?

One reason everyone should engage in social media: Brand management

Social Media Bandwagon and Brand Management

Still today, I find myself fighting the social media battle. Why should companies use it? Why is it relevant? What is in it for me? If you are a consumer-based organization, then yes, the benefits are generally apparent. But what if you are targeting a different audience? The advantages aren’t so clear.

Every organization is different. Because social media is a very consumer-focused media, many groups are skeptical and have difficulty in validating its use. In response to these concerns, I found that there is always at least one reason to engage in social media that applies to everyone: Brand management.

Facebook and Twitter are both social networks on which people spend a lot of time. A presence on these sites will increase the probability of people coming across your content. If they cannot find you on these networks, or if they find a page that is out-dated or abandoned, it reflects poorly on the parent organization. These days, people are expecting a certain level of information from these pages. If it is not received, credibility can be lost.

By entering social networks, companies would benefit from their high online visibility. Facebook is currently only 1 of 12 sites on the internet to have a Page Rank of 10. As opposed to “groups” on Facebook, “pages” are searchable. Creating a page on such a high-ranking site as Facebook would allow your content to become more visible.

At a Page Rank of 9, Twitter is also relevant. In recent news, major search engines Google and Bing announced a deal with Twitter allowing them to index tweets directly from the Twitter stream. This makes content created with Twitter much more searchable, and in the end, more valuable.

In a quick search for any topic or organization, it is very often that both Facebook and Twitter accounts show up as first page results. Since these pages have impressive Page Ranks and are highly indexable, they will be more likely to show up in searches for your company and your issues. Creating these pages and managing them, even if only on a minimal level, is crucial for any company’s online brand.

Say ‘hello’ to Glee’s new songs, cracking the top 100 downloads… again

Glee's Triumphant return in April with songs cracking Top 100 itunes downloads

In light of Glee‘s epic return to primetime television, I decided to revive one of my previous posts about the show’s outstanding marketing ploy in releasing songs for download on iTunes after each episode. During the first half of the season, as the show grew in fan base, I noticed that each of the songs performed cracked the Top 100 downloads within minutes of the show’s end. Now, after its 5-month break, is it possible for Glee to continue this impressive track record?

Rather than divulging into one of my lengthy-and-usually-alcohol-induced obsessive over-analysis on the unparalleled success of Glee (much of which you are free to read here), I will just give you the straight facts.

This week’s show’s numbers, only one hour after the episode ended:
#15 Like a Prayer (Madonna cover)
#62 4 Minutes (Madonna cover)
#69 Borderline / Open Your Heart (Madonna cover)
#92 Like a Virgin (Madonna cover)

And if you think this instant-reaction to download these songs is just a one-hit-wonder, take a look at the songs from last week’s show that are still holding strong in the Top 100, a full seven days later:
#35 Gives You Hell (All-American Rejects cover)
#50 Hello (Lionel Richie cover)
#63 Hello Goodbye (Beatles cover)
#84 Hello, I Love You (The Doors cover)

The ability to download songs on sites like iTunes has given the show the power to market its content it venues outside the television world and spread the word to potential new followers. I am gleeful to find that apparently the show hasn’t lost any of its luster during its 5-month hiatus.

=============UPDATE 4/21 9:30 A.M.=============

And why not give my mandatory update of where the songs lie 12 hours later? I rest my case.

#7 Like a Prayer (+7)
#29 Borderline / Open Your Heart (+40)
#32 Gives You Hell (+3)
#34 4 Minutes (+28)
#92 Like a Virgin (+54)
#40 Hello (+10)
#57 Hello Goodbye (+6)
#62 Espress Yourself (new)
#67 Hello, I Love You (+17)
#83 What it feels like for a girl (new)
#95 Vogue (new)

Why Grooveshark is the best online music player around

I could go on for hours about how Grooveshark is the best online music player in the world today. I could tell you that on it, you can find every song known to mankind. I could explain to you its “pandora-like” functions where it can autoplay a series of songs, allowing you to explore new music. I could also tell you stories about how Grooveshark has lead to new band discoveries. And the best thing I could tell you, is it’s all free.

But you know what? I won’t. I will just let Grooveshark show you themselves why they are so awesome. This time, it has nothing to do with their music playing ability; it has to do with their brilliant sense of humor (and maybe also their Where’s-Waldo-hidden ‘that’s what she said’ reference).

Grooveshark Maintenance Landing Page

Nooooo Pickles, not the coder!

(And since this is a social media-centric blog, I will also give props to their clever functional use of Twitter to update their maintenance status, essentially accessible from anywhere regardless of the website’s status.)

Bravo, NBC, Washington Post make Twitter accessible to all with aggregators

Even with all of the positive Twitter hype over the past few years, the social networking site still harbors a bad rap among non-users. People ask themselves time and time again the same questions: Why do people care if I just went for a run? Why should I announce to the world I had pasta for dinner? Why should I tell all my followers what I did every waking second of every day? Although this is not the sole focus of Twitter, that is what many non-believers point to when supporting their negatively charged arguments. It is sometimes very difficult for them to justify being apart of the Twitter community.

As much as I can personally advocate the merits of Twitter, some people will just never listen. However, when reputable businesses start using Twitter to produce and manage their own content, people start to pay attention. Twitter then becomes less of a nuisance and more of a necessary tool, even for those who don’t already use it. Yes, everyone now has a Twitter feed where they re-post content from their website, but what about repositioning other users’ content in order to tell your own story? Many highly regarded groups have begun building their own tailored Twitter aggregators, and through their usability and necessity, successfully diminished negative connotations Twitter has created.

Bravo Television’s Real Housewives of New York City Viewing Party

Bravo has always been a pioneer in terms of merging television with the interactive online world (insert shameless plug for a past post of mine on Bravo’s blogs). Adding to their most recent partnership with foursquare, Bravo built their own Twitter aggregator to host “Real Housewives of New York City” virtual viewing parties. Every week, Bravo encourages viewers to join a live online chat on Bravo.com where they can connect with the shows’ stars and fans alike to talk about what is happening on the show in real-time. Through Twitter and Facebook, users can post their own thoughts about the show, and have them appear on the virtual party page. The aggregator allows you to filter through the posts based on “Bravolebrities” only, Twitter only, Facebook only, or all posts simultaneously.

This Twitter aggregator furthers diminishes the gap between the real world and the online world. It allows viewers to gather in one location and celebrate the show, no matter where they are actually located.

The viewing party also allows people to be apart of a Twitter world without actually signing up for an account. If you want to submit a comment, yes you will still need to do so via Twitter or Facebook. However, if you just want to be a fly on the wall at the hippest online party around, the aggregator allows you to read through everyone’s conversations without joining (what some still consider) the taboo Twitter network.

Bravo TV Real Housewives of New York City Viewing Party - Twitter Aggregator

NBC’s Olympic Pulse Tweet Sheet

Bravo is not the only company around to utilize Twitter in this manner. Back in February, NBC provided a comprehensive coverage of the Winter Olympics. In addition to countless hours of television footage on 7 different networks, this exposure included in depth social media endeavors, notably online video cast, an intuitive iPhone app, featured blogs, and of course, a Twitter aggregator.

This Twitter aggregator allowed the user to sort tweets based on specific athlete/consultant, by sport, by NBC Olympic tweets, or by seeing tweets from all categories at once. Similar to the Bravo viewing party aggregator, this device allowed all web users to follow people on Twitter without actually creating a Twitter account. This raised the accessibility of Twitter, demonstrating its usefulness in seamlessly compiling information from topic-relevant people and sorting them in a user-friendly manner.

NBC Olympics Twitter Aggregator

WashingtonPost.com’s NFL Twitter Aggregator

Though this aggregator was built a few months ago, it still remains active and relevant today, and was the first I had ever seen of its kind. At the beginning of last NFL season, the Washington Post wanted to create one location where users could read tweets from NFL players, and naturally with all the hype around some NFL players’ posts, they created an aggregator.

As the two previous case studies demonstrated, this aggregator allowed site visitors to follow players on Twitter without having to themselves sign up for an account.  It also allowed them to filter based on their favorite team or position, and displayed the athletes’ real names, instead of their Twitter handles.

The Washington Post also designed two other Twitter aggregators: one to follow latest updates on the Ft. Hood shooting, and one to follow the last Virginia election.

Washington Post's NFL Twitter Aggregator

I agree with many of people’s woes on inappropriate use of Twitter, and I too get annoyed with constant monotonous updates. But Twitter has become so much more than that, and this new fad of building aggregators demonstrates this. More and more, companies and organizations are finding their best practices in how to run their own Twitter accounts. However, from what we have seen, the next steps will be to see how well we utilize other people’s content within Twitter – and monetize it.