Change.org Magcommute Online Campaign

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Magcommute Petition campaign

Change.org Magcommute campaign page

I’ve recently started promoting a site called change.org. Specifically, there’s a campaign on that site petitioning government officials to commute to work. Or in the case of President Benigno Aquino III, to ride the public transport at least once a month. He lives and works in the Presidential Palace and there’s no need for him to leave the place to go to work. He can work from home if he wants to.

As I was saying, change.org has about a hundred petitions asking different local and national government officials to take the bus, jeep or train to work. On the surface, this looks like a quixotic quest as there is no reason these public servants should accede to the petitions. They have access to government vehicles with allotted fuel budgets which they can use for whatever purpose they want. They do not have to justify their use of these vehicles.

The problem with mass transit in the Philippines is inadequacy and lack of focus. In Metro Manila there are an estimated ten million people living or working within its boundaries. This number includes those who live outside of the metropolis but work or study in the city. About 80% of the population do not have their own vehicles and have to commute.

There is a mass transit system built around three light rail lines. There are at least two light rail commuter lines set to start construction soon. There is a new elevated rail line connecting Clark and Manila. There is also the continuation of the Skyway project connecting the South Luzon Expressway with the North Luzon Expressway.

What these new projects will do would be to make it convenient to for commuters to get to the city. What THAT would result in would be a lot more people commuting to Metro Manila. Meantime, travel within the city will continue to depend on the existing light rail, buses, jeeps, and UV shuttle vans.

There is no space for road widening, and no space for new roads. The traffic is expected to worsen and then worsen some more. After it gets worse, it will get a lot worse.

Government officials have not been seen doing anything about the ordinary citizen’s daily plight. Commuting is a hardship for a lot of people. For office workers it could take up to two hours to get to the office. Some spend a total of as much as six hours daily getting to and from work.

The petitions aim to get public officials to experience firsthand the daily stress of the commute. There may be small chance of that but it is a way for citizens to express their disgruntlement before things get ugly.

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Words and Meanings – Differences between SEO, social media, social networking, internet marketing, and others

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Sesame seeds are ground by dinners at Yabu to start off the service.

We found Yabu through the social media and passed through social networking sites. It’s fun to find new things as recommendations in blogs.

 

There are a lot of things to know about search engine optimization, internet marketing, online reputation management and so many other buzz words which are related to internet technologies and tools. The lack of understanding of these technologies and strategies have given rise to a new and distinct field in marketing. It has also created that most hallowed internet personalities, the internet marketing guru and the SEO master.

I say bollocks to those terms. The reason I say that is because for the most part, the only thing these people will agree on is how to gauge if something works. The important questions are “Did the rankings rise?” or “Was there an increase in sales with the larger online visibility?” If the answer is “yes” then whatever strategy they implemented works, if not, then it didn’t. The problem is that given a room full of gurus and masters, there would be two rooms full of contradicting ideas.

If you attend a seminar by a guru, what you most probably will get would be two days of introduction to ideas and techniques. If you map out those ideas, you would end up with a whole new section of people to do the work. You’re a one man entrepreneur working out of your home and you need that many people to promote your brand. Crazy, right?

In truth, there is no single correct answer. There is no single strategy which will work for all situations. At the end of the day, you have to understand what you want to happen, and also understand the theories, terminologies and strategies, but you do not need to use them all. I prefer one strategy, but if the client wants some other approach, and I see there’s no harm in it, it’s okay by me. I know it will work, sooner or later.

To begin with, all these terminologies are not the same thing. Neither are they exclusive of one another. When someone says that SEO no longer works, and that PPC works better, that guy is an idiot who doesn’t know that PPC is an SEO method. I don’t want to go there, that is an advanced topic. Very debatable.

Internet marketing is simply marketing using ideas, concepts and tools which work online. It means no billboards. It means that online ads are used differently from TV ads. The videos may be the same as TV ads, but these are used differently.

SEO is a goal. It is also a set of guidelines. It is also what a strategy is called. It is also the platform or environment. It starts with the rules search engines use to come up with their search results, going up to tricks and hacks, and simple things employed by practitioners to rank on those search engines.

Online reputation management (ORM) uses SEO techniques to manage reputations on the web. It could be organic and natural as if you were chronicling your life. It could be paid, like buying all the adwords for a particular keyword on Google.

Social media are web sites where various electronic media are shared. Social networking sites are where people get connected to other people. Depending on the social media site, these people may or may not know each other beforehand. They just need to connect and network, that’s why they are on the social networking website. If the primary reason of a website is to share a particular type of media (drawings, paintings, short stories, songs, speeches, music, pictures) to the public, then most probably that’s a social media site. If the site mostly is about allowing people interacting with other people, like sharing, commenting, chatting, online real-time videos, etc, then it most probably is a social networking site.

Web 2.0 is like the old Web (beta) just more interactive, and more responsive to the users.

So the first question is what do you want to promote? The follow up question is where do you want this to happen and what kind of people do you want this to happen with?

You want to promote a soap? What kind of soap? What kind of people do you want to reach? Where do you want to reach them? Rather, how do you want them to reach you?

Hold that thought, and think about it.

 

Organic ORM and Its Limits

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A few years back A friend of mine asked me if I can help him with his online reputation. Around the year 2000 he was suspended from practicing law. When he asked for my help he wanted to know if it was possible to lower the search rank of that web page mentioning his suspension. At the time of our discussion he didn’t have any online presence. He didn’t have a website nor a blog and was not active on Facebook.

I said I can help him with his concern and I quoted a price.

Unfortunately, he turned it down possibly for being a bit pricey. I did inform him afterwards that if he followed a couple of simple steps he can help his online reputation.

The gist of the advice was to be active online. In the past two years since we last met Luis Pangulayan has been very active on Facebook.

A search for his name on Google would show almost the whole first page with references to him and his activities during the past few years. Except for that one suspension Luis has managed a successful organic online reputation management (ORM) campaign.

However there are some things which even ORM cannot overhaul. The first entry on searching for Atty. Pangulayan is a link to the judge’s ruling which lead to his suspension. It is a link to the Supreme Court web page.

The reason it could not be overhauled is the sheer bulk of links and references to that page. At the end of the day, Google puts more weight on credulity of source and the number of times a site has been linked to or accessed. It is not impossible to make the link rank lower. But it would be hard work.

SEO Begins at Home (Page)

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Among tech TV comedies, “The IT Crowd” stands out as a stereotype of the stereotype. Besides being British, the series is also about a four-person IT department located with offices at the basement. (If you are familiar with the show, think about it and you will be able to count all four members of the department.)

The head of the department is Jen, who doesn’t know anything about computers. One quotable quote sprung on Jen is that searching for “Google” on google can break the internet.

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The reference, of course, is to the reach and power of Google the search engine. If you think about it, if Google for any reason suddenly disappears, it would seem as if the internet suddenly went balls up.

Google has become one of the biggest internet companies, and one of the most influential companies in the world. But what is search, really? How does a website get itself on Google’s search results?

First off, search is a service where an online user would enter a keyword, and the search engine would provide a list of websites which fit the parameters. To come up with a list, the search engine crawls the web and indexes websites according to the keywords it finds on the individual pages. Google has created a set of rules and guidelines for websites, which would help webmasters and web developers to comply with Google’s search algorithm. When a search is requested, Google matches the keyword with the index to provide a list of results. However, Google has also implemented some changes to improve the user experience and enhance the results. Google has filtered spam sites, and those with low value add. If a website does not have original content, the page gets a lower ranking. These and other considerations are part of Google’s commitment to provide a relevant search service.

If you have a website, and you want Google to rank your site, the first step you need to do is to see if your website follows Google’s guidelines. Download a copy of the Google Starter Guide and understand the philosophy behind it. This is a link to Google, where you can begin reading on search engine optimization (SEO).

Search engine optimization is not magic. It is based on rules and how a search engine implements these rules. Each search engine would have their own algorithm, and rules. Google just makes better and faster search.

If you are in the market for a web developer ask your candidates about the Google Starter Guide, and if he has implemented it before. If you already have a website, ask your developer if your website follows the guidelines outlined in the Google Starter Guide. You would be surprised at how many website developers don’t know about the Google Starter Guide, which would explain why a lot of websites are not search engine optimized.

Only after you have audited your website, and ensured on-site SEO compliance, then you can begin thinking about off-site SEO strategies and techniques. I will discuss various aspects and strategies about offsite SEO in later posts. Suffice to say, that there is a lot of discussion and points of view about how to do off-site SEO.

If you need any help or any questions, please feel free to leave a comment.

What is Your Internet Marketing Person Doing Right?

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A lot of people and businesses have their own websites, or Facebook pages, or Twitter pages, Instagram accounts, and so on. For those who have just started an online presence, there is the belief that they have already started on online marketing. There are even some companies who believe that online marketing can be done by a single person handling Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Usually, that single person is the one in the company with the most real world marketing savvy and the biggest number of friends on Facebook, the most followers on Twitter or the most posts on Instagram. This is a good start, actually.

But what is keeping the internet marketing initiative from taking off are several things: integration, website updates, and a continuing conversation. I did not include on-page SEO, because, ironically, for most people who already have an online presence, that is a technical topic which takes too much time. Besides, it’s not as much fun as Facebook.

Integration is when there is a single social media strategy which uses all available outlets. It is not about using social media sites in a discrete manner, and for different purposes.

So here’s a person who’s tasked to do the online marketing efforts of the company because he has a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and Tumblr account. He posts on Twitter maybe two or three times a day. He spends an hour or two on Facebook. He posts a picture on Instagram maybe when he has dinner at a fancy restaurant, or when he meets his friends. He takes a look at Pinterest every once in a while. He opens Google+ because he uses Gmail. For laughs, he goes to Tumblr. That is not online marketing. That is a waste of time.

food porn commonly posted in picture sharing sites

If all you have on your corporate image sites are personal pictures, you might want to rethink your internet marketing focus.

Integration is relatively simple and could be done painlessly. You only have to post once, and the post cascades to other social media and social networking sites. You post once to Facebook, and it gets tweeted, and also posted on Google+ and Tumblr. A picture is posted on Instagram, and a link appears as a tweet, with a change in status on Facebook. A person can spend an hour, and all of these can be scheduled over the course of the day.

A website update can do wonders for social networking as well as for SEO visibility. Of course, it has to be interesting. Unless something is interesting, only the bots would follow social media accounts. An interesting blog post can attract the right people. It makes them keep coming back to take a look, and see what else is new. An interesting post is something that people want to share. On top of that, assuming that the website has proper on-page SEO, updates ask the search engine to crawl the site. Again, website updates help with search engine visibility.

[At this point, I have to say this as part of full disclosure: I am still populating this site. As such, this is not yet the very interesting part. This is still the introduction. Additionally, I have not added any links to this post or the first one. That will be for later.]

An interesting thread and an equally interesting website leads to a continuing conversation. The difference between Web 2.0 and the one it replaced, is that there is feedback. Sharing posts, liking them, giving comments for and against, are the best parts of Web 2.0. It means that someone is listening, paying attention, hearing what you are saying, and acting on it. They can be spreading the word by sharing the post, picture, video, or audio. Each click on Like, means a vote of confidence, and there is an audience waiting for more of these posts. Each comment is a person agreeing or disagreeing. A discussion is being conducted on several levels. A company’s internet marketing person should be listening to the conversation. If there is no conversation, then it is his job to start one.

To start off this conversation, let me ask you this: How is internet marketing working out for you?

The Hello World Post

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The beginning is usually hard. I have been thinking about this blog for more than six months. It has been a while since I last started a blog for a specific content or business. Before this, I have never had a blog which capitalized on my SEO and internet marketing experience. But here it is.

The purpose of this blog is to be a resource for Philippine internet marketers who are just starting out. I want to promote interesting businesses. The promotion on this site will be free. I might even have giveaways on social media sites where I promote businesses and internet marketing ventures for a month. The promotions will be a proof of concept, that the things I know and will write about on this site do work.

The way search engine optimization is being practiced is usually with the use of the term “guru,” with an emphasis on the American definition, of an expert, or a leading authority. The word itself is Indian (the sub-continent of India) in origin. I just don’t know which of the Indian languages it came from. But it is also used in the Philippines, where a guru is defined as “teacher.” I have been working on SEO projects for the past five years. I would like to impart the things I have learned through this blog.

So, yes, hello world, and here, have a pie.

Mom and Tina's Banana Nutella Pie