This is a blog post I’ve been debating internally about publishing for a month because I don’t want anyone to know about this cool little piece of bragging rights I’ve added to my ego collection, but I figure if I document it here, then the world can go on its marry way. After all, if there is anything in the digital world that is certain to change, it is what shows up on page 1 of Google. After all, I’ve spent much of my professional life seeing to that very thing.
Again, I’ve been apprehensive about posting this, because it is silly but it is a really good SEO case study and frankly it has been very beneficial to my bottom line in the last 30 days, so why not share. If anything it is an example of how important it is to be even the slightest bit edgy and controversial in both search marketing and social marketing endeavors to increase likelihood of actual human interactions. You know, click through rate, conversion rate, reduced bounce rate on your own website, as well as the ever slippery like, comment, and share actions on social networks.
Exactly a month ago today, I put out a press release announcing that I would be giving an encore presentation at the upcoming Kim Flynn Internet Marketing Bootcamp. In fact the exact press release title was Utah’s “SEO Badass” to Give Encore Lecture at Internet Marketing Bootcamp. The reason for the press release was to have a fresh case study for the event that was just a few days from then to show the audience what can be accomplished with some good content that is optimized to the hilt.
The topic of the press release was an announcement that I would be giving a short Google+ Hangout On Air live broadcast to announce what my topic was going to be at the upcoming event. As if that is actually noteworthy, but even still as I constantly remind myself, my staff, and my clients; you are what you publish! And for anyone who has never heard of me, based on the sample content, why would they have any cause to doubt that I am indeed a badass in the art / pseudoscience of search engine optimization?
I just wanted to combine a few pieces of fresh unique content to demonstrate what is possible in the search engines in 2014. The press release was on a reputable website, the photo I grabbed off of my iPhone was unique and optimized to the hilt, and it contained and promoted a yet-to-be-broadcast Google+ Hangout that would turn into a YouTube video. The combination had to result in page 1 rankings for something. So I decided to combine a few really competitive keywords with less competitive in the headline of the release and the resulting YouTube video.
The release went out on February 27, 2014, and the embedded a Google+ Hangout On Air broadcast was scheduled the following day. Being my badass self, I promoted the crap out of both newly created pieces of content, and to my delight within 24 hours (just before I actually broadcast the Hangout On Air, both the press release and the yet-to-be-in-existance YouTube video were both ranking on top of page one in Google search results for the query “utah seo badass.”
Completely satisfied with myself I looked at the actual scheduled Google+ Hangout planning to execute on it early, and there were actually people who RSVPed to the live Hangout announcement and confirmed that they would be watching the actual live broadcast. Remember this was just supposed to be a demonstration for a presentation a few days later, not to actually be consumed by a live audience!
I’ve done hundreds of live hangouts for my companies, and my clients. Nobody ever watches these thing when the actually happen. My goal is to simply leverage the quick page 1 ranking power the the resultant YouTube video you can achieve by broadcasting these things. I’m interested in the residual effect, not the actual social interaction of a live Google+ event!
Well, the result was me babbling for a few minutes, nervous because real people were actually watching it in real time. I don’t seem to have any issues with doing live broadcasts, or recording videos, or even speaking in front of large crowds. I do all three often. But if you want to see me shooting from the hip and fumbling all over my words, you can watch it for yourself right here.
One week later on the day of the actual event, March 7, 2014, I checked to make sure the rankings were still there, and they were! Not only that but I had the first two positions at the top of Google for the phrase “seo badass” and “internet marketing badass” without the geographical modifier “utah” anywhere in the mix. Of course I still ranked for the geographical version too, but who cares?!
Oh, and not to mention that 3 out of the 5 resulting images are my mugshot! You better believe that I was extra energetic during my presentation that day, and people were amazed. They were even more amazed that I showed them on the spot exactly how to do it for themselves.
At one point during the presentation when I pulled up the press release on the projector screen to show them the elements they should consider including in a press release, someone in the audience pointed out that the release had been viewed some 10,000+ times. That was something I didn’t expect to see. After all, how competitive and valuable is a search phrase like “seo badass” anyway?
Let me tell you, that stupid little egotistical experimental piece for a small seminar has been the primary introductory catalyst that has landed me (in the last 4 weeks), 2 high paying consulting clients, 3 paid speaking engagements around the US between now and June, and has helped me close 5 new clients I was in the process of bidding on for my agency. The conversation with clients went something like this:
Client: I’m not sure I’m ready to commit to such an extensive online marketing program. Maybe we’ll just do PPC and some website cleanup stuff for now and see how it goes from there.
Me: Fair enough. What about organic search?
Client: SEO seems like such a gamble, and you seem to know your stuff, but the problem is there are just so many scammers out there pushing SEO. Do you have any case studies or proof that you can actually show us?
(We always have references and case studies that we share with prospective clients, but in this case it was obvious that this guy didn’t read anything in the proposal, and just skipped to the last page to see the price.)
Me: (Laugh) You’re essentially asking me for proof that I’m an “SEO Badass” (as I make big sarcastic quotes with my hands).
Client: (Smiles) I guess so. I’m just wanting to be careful since we’ve been burned before.
Me: I’ll tell you what. Take out your phone and Google “seo badass” and whoever comes up at the top of page 1, you should go with them.
Needless to say the client was surprised, laughed, and signed the contract for the full amount of the first month of services and pre-paid for the second. Was it a cocky move? Yep.
My point is, whoever you are, just stop trying to fit in online. It doesn’t work; not in the search engines, and not in the social networks. It actually doesn’t get you very far in the real world either. As a society we are so jaded by modern marketing inundation that our target audience would love to, for once, experience something genuine, valuable, and different.
Is ranking on page 1 of Google for such a silly phrase of any value? According to the recommended bid in AdWords at the time of this writing, no. But to date, it has been the most valuable keyword I have ever ranked anything for.
My other big point with this exercise and within the actual presentation I gave at Kim Flynn’s event is this. Stop thinking about SEO in terms of getting your website to rank. With the new Google Hummingbird algorithm update, it is a completely new game. Google ranks entities now. Your entity is everything that represents you or your brand online. With the press release, optimized photos, and live broadcast video, I added some unique assets to my online entity. When it comes to leveraging and profiting from search engine traffic, if there ever was a time to get creative, it is in 2014!