Up-Close @ SMX West: Time To Think About Life Beyond Google

Up Close SMX West 2014

With algorithm updates happening more frequently than ever and Google continuously working to keep searchers on the result page, companies need to make a conscious effort to broaden their marketing efforts and move beyond Google.

In the “Life Beyond Google: Diversifying Your Efforts” session at SMX West 2014, the speakers showed us how to do just that. While there were a ton of great tips, three main themes stood out:

Focus on the Customer

Our customers are consuming content in a variety of ways that don’t include search engines and it’s up to us as marketers to give them the content they want, where they want it.

According to, Ted Ives, Owner of Coconut Headphones, this really boils down to the notion of “What are we going to communicate to whom, and how?” To figure out the answer to those questions, there are three things to focus on:

  • Message
  • Channel
  • Audience

By understanding your audience, you can start crafting your message and identifying the channels to place that content.

Ives suggests starting with a content marketing process. Decide on what type of content you’ll be creating, where you’ll be promoting it, and how you can make the content creation process routine. Be sure to design the process with realistic expectations. After all, it doesn’t make sense to come up with a process that can’t actually be executed by your team.

Once you have that process in place, start by creating one core message that can then be used in different ways. Ives gave a great example of creating a whitepaper and then repurposing it into a webinar, podcast, blog post series, newsletter, tradeshow presentation and more.

Don’t think you have the resources for all of that? Ives pointed out that you only need your thought leaders involved in the original piece. Once you have that piece to build off of, utilize your junior people to create the next phases of content.

The best part of this process is you have now created a number of content pieces that can be shared across multiple platforms with multiple audiences.

By using this method, you naturally diversify your marketing.

Build Relationships With Influencers

With the advent of social media there is a huge opportunity to expand your reach beyond Google. However, just throwing some content up on social media networks isn’t going to do it.

Eric Enge, Owner of Stone Temple Consulting, says the key to success beyond Google is establishing brand authority and reaching influencers. The company you keep defines you even on the web, so it’s important to align yourself with the right people. When an algorithm update occurs or Google stops showing your site, the relationships you have built in other places are going to be what’s sending you traffic.

Building relationships with influencers is easier said than done, right? You don’t just suddenly become best friends with people you meet online. Relationships take time and higher valued relationships take more effort. You have to get to know them, interact with them, offer them value and build up trust. Enge says to climb the ladder one step at a time. Get in front of them often, go deeper than “check this out,” and give them something they haven’t seen.

He also notes that content is key. Great content is “a gift to social media” and will be the backbone of your success so make sure your social and content strategies are aligned. Know the type of content that does well on each platform and know the type of content your influencers (and audience) like on each platform. For example, images tend to do much better on social than a standard link. Create images that add to your content and can be shared on Twitter or Google+.

Brands must become authorities and influencers are the key to this.

Act Like The Stock Market

As mentioned earlier, we live in an unpredictable time when it comes to Google. Updates are occurring often and having major effects, sites are being pushed below the fold and data is disappearing [not provided]. What can you do about this?

Joshua Moody, Lead Enterprise Digital Marketer, 97th Floor, says to act like the stock market. Mitigate risk by diversifying your traffic sources.

Start by going social and thinking visually. Social postcards, or micrographics, are short powerful graphics that can be shared all over the place. Moody says that they are using them for a number of clients and they share extremely well on social. They can be pinned, used as Twitter cards, or integrated into Open Graph tags for Facebook. People will also display them on their own sites, creating links to the main site.

SlideShare can also add social value. An old piece of content sitting around can be repurposed into a SlideShare and promoted on your blog, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Moody also recommends becoming a part of communities that already have traffic. Buzzfeed for example, had 941 million pageviews in the past 30 days. Imagine if you could even get a part of that? Apparently you can. The Buzzfeed community allows anyone to sign up and start posting. If your post gets enough traffic and shares, it may be promoted to home page, which is where the real results come from, according to Moody. Even 5% of total views can translate into huge amounts of referral traffic. The key is to create robust, picture/gif heavy posts.

Becoming part of different communities and placing your brand in a variety of places decreases your risk for disaster and opens you up to new audiences.