Monthly Archives: January 2011

Mashable.com – 5 Reasons Why It Is So Successful

Mashable.com

So just what is Mashable and why are we discussing it on a blog about Internet marketing and search engine optimization? Well, for the uninitiated, mashable.com is arguably the world’s most popular tech blog. They claim 1.8 million followers on Twitter and consistently rank high in the SERPs for virtually any technology topic.

Mashable.com also happens to claim some 40 million page views a month and they rank around 250 in the Alexa rankings. Rumors were flying for a while that AOL wanted to buy them for something like $20 million.

In other words, the reason why we wanted to talk about Mashable.com is because they are the Wal-Mart of blogs. They cover everything and get it out faster than many other websites.

They are also a kind of a “mash up,” (which is where the name came from). They decided to get together both social media and technology.

So what makes Mashable.com so successful?

They Were There First

Mashable.com started back in 2005 when social media was still dominated by places like Friendster and MySpace, neither of which had gotten to the point of being such a massive success the way that Facebook or Twitter is today. By being early on the scene and providing information people actually wanted to know about, they became successful.

They Post Often and Write Good Content

There are two rules about creating a successful blog that you must follow and they are reasons two and three for Mashable.com’s success. By the way, neither of them has anything to do with search engine optimization per se.

The first rule: write lots of content. It is not at all out of line to expect to post between 20-30 articles a week in order to make your blog a success story, all the more so today when the Internet is inundated with blogs (don’t forget that when Mashable.com got started, blogging was still a fairly novel concept).

The second rule: write quality content. You need to get backlinks to your writing in order to be noticed on the Internet today. The single best way to do that is to write quality content that people genuinely want to read. This way, they’ll choose to create links back to your content.

Mashable.com did both of these things and they did them well; so well in fact that they were one of the top 10 blogs on the Internet within one year of their founding in 2005.

They Are Current

Few things are as stale as old news. If you intend to write a blog which focuses on news, then you need to be posting right away about what’s going on in the world. Mashable.com understands this and they n now have an army of writers standing by to write about the latest trends as soon as the new breaks.

They Follow the KISS Principle

For all that you can make your website look all gee wiz beautiful with plenty of flash animations and other exciting things, Mashable has a very simple website. Why? It loads faster, allowing people to get to what they want to see that much faster. In other words, Mashable.com is so successful because they follow the KISS principle – Keep it Simple Stupid.

Viral Marketing – Is It “Practical”?

Viral marketing acts like a virus -- spreading itself and multiplying exponentially.

Asking whether viral marketing is practical is like asking whether it’s possible to do any kind of marketing at all. Any kind of marketing strategy, from viral marketing to pay per click to search engine optimization is practical if you are able to do it correctly and you have a bit of luck.

Okay, now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, let’s examine what viral marketing is and why it can be practical but often isn’t practical.

Viral Marketing Defined

Viral marketing, at its most basic involves getting others to do your marketing for you. Rather than having to get your message everywhere by paying for it, people tell their friends about your product or service and they tell their friends and so on and so forth. If it sounds simple, that’s because it is.

The concept works in exactly the same way that a virus works – one person keeps it while passing it on to the next person, who passes it to still more people. The catch however, is that unlike a virus, you need people to consciously choose to share your product or service with their friends and or family. And that is one of the two problems with viral marketing.

Getting People to Share Isn’t Always Easy

In a world where we are inundated with new ideas every day, getting people to share an article, a video or a product isn’t the easiest thing to do. Your idea has to be something that is truly unique and which will have wide appeal.

The classic example was Hotmail, which started out giving away free e-mail accounts at a time when few others did. The product became popular, especially because Hotmail appended a message to every e-mail they sent out for you saying “get your own free Hotmail account at hotmail.com.”

Hotmail then had the two things that make a product go viral – it was a valuable product that people could get for free (free is always the best way to do viral marketing) and it was something people would naturally share in a passive manner because they were e-mailing their friends with their shiny new Hotmail account.

However, when you have a video or a product that needs to be downloaded (or an article), it’s a little harder because you don’t have that passive spreading of your “virus.” People need to actively choose to share it, which makes the threshold required to go viral that much higher. Not impossible to achieve, but more difficult (of course, you can make it easier for them by providing the tools to allow them to share, but it still takes a conscious decision to share on the part of your users).

Scalability is Important as Well

The other thing that makes viral marketing something which is not always practical is scalability. There are over six billion people on the planet and if even 1% of them all decided they had to have your product, would you be able to manufacture it fast enough to give it away?

Or, if you are giving away software or a video or article (most likely for viral marketing today), are your servers able to take a pounding if hundreds of thousands of people suddenly start clamoring for whatever it is you are giving away? If they can’t, then viral marketing will not be practical in your case either.

Bottom Line

Bottom line, in order to make viral marketing practical, you need to find a product or service to give away which has real value and which people would want to share with their friends. At the same time, you need to create a product or service which can easily be scaled upwards to meet demand if your product does go viral.

So, yes it’s theoretically practical. In practice however, viral marketing is tricky at best.

What is Long Tail Marketing?

If you’ve never heard of long tail marketing, then you are missing out on a golden opportunity for getting some truly great traffic to your website. Not only that – the traffic you’ll get on your website is also going to be much higher quality traffic than what you would get with more traditional search marketing.

So What is Long Tail Marketing Anyway?

Rather than tell you, I’ll show you what long tail marketing is. I run a blog about personal finance in addition to writing this blog. Let’s say I want to attract people who are interested in finding a quality tax preparer.

I could target the keyword “taxes,” which, according to Google AdWords has around two million searches a day. Of course, I’ll be competing against millions of others who also want to attract searchers for the word “taxes.” This makes it virtually impossible to get to the top of the SERPs without spending a tremendous amount of time and effort on it.

Now let’s assume that my blog wanted to target people interested in tax preparers in Columbus, Ohio for whatever reason. Instead of targeting the keyword “taxes,” I’d target “tax accountant, Columbus, Ohio” as my primary keyword.

Suddenly, two things have happened: One, my competition has decreased dramatically since there are relatively few people targeting that keyword phrase. Second, the people who are searching for that keyword phrase are much more likely to actually purchase the services that I have to offer.

How to Do Long Tail Marketing

I like to go to AdWords and look for a keyword that I can think of on my own. For example, I recently wrote an article for my blog on commonly overlooked tax deductions. I put in the word “tax deductions” and out pops a list of variations of the keyword.

I then look for phrases that number in the high hundreds or low thousands for searches. I then check the competition on those keywords. I’ll try to throw in around 3-5 long tail keywords for my blog post so that it picks up organic searches for those phrases. Then, even though I’m targeting fewer people as a whole, I’m actually getting better results.

The Best Part About Long Tail Marketing

Now, as if that wasn’t enough to get you excited about the possibilities of long tail search marketing, here’s an even better reason to consider it: the majority of searches are actually long tail searches. Think about it: yes, people target “taxes” and yes,” taxes” gets more hits than “tax preparers in Columbus, Ohio.”

However, as a whole, more people will be searching for a long tail keyword than will be searching for a shorter keyword. Take a look at the picture above and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Ultimately, long tail marketing is going to make you more money and get you better searchers than any short keyword you could think of.

by EricHammer, on       1 comment