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Wednesday October 25, 2006 2:09 pm

Live-Blogging Blog Business Summit: Dave Taylor Keynote, The Future of Findability

We are here at the 2006 Blog Business Summit in Seattle. Dave Taylor just took the stage to give his keynote.

9:00 AM: Dave begins by asking how many people updated their website in the past seven days. Of course, many of them have, since this is the Blog Business Summit. However, maybe 5% of site owners update at least weekly.

9:03: Google aims to provide good, fresh content. Same with all search engines. Since most info on the web is out of date, this is the dilemma of the search engines.

9:04: What is findability? When customers try to find your product or service, can they find it? This is what is critically important to your business - especially if they find your competitor instead of you. Every time someone finds someone else, they aren’t finding you.

9:05: No one really understands what the best practices of blogging really are - they are case by case. If you can’t be found, you’re already dead. If I ask my cellphone for the closest Chinese restaurant, and the Chinese restaurant across the street doesn’t show up as a search result, they’re dead.

9:10: It’s not numbers, it’s influencers. Go read “The Tipping Point”. Book talks about that we all believe that we have free will, but we don’t. We are influenced by outside thoughts and opinion-leaders. If you are releasing a gadget, you had better know about sites like Gizmodo and Gear Live.

9:12: PR folks do not get to control the message anymore. The best you can do is try to influence thought and opinion leaders (i.e. Walt Mossberg). Pray that they like your product.

9:14: Home pages are obsolete. It’s not 1999 anymore. When we stopped using Yahoo’s homepage directory and moved to Google’s page-based structure, your homepage became obsolete. Now all your pages are equally as influential and important. There will be pages in your structure that are ranked higher than your actual homepage. It’s rare to search Google and click on a result that takes you to a homepage.

9:16: Findability changes marketing and sales. Marketing are the balloons tied to the antennas to the car in the car lot. sales is closing those sales once people see those balloons. Use affiliate programs. You can double your sales force by using an affiliate program, which is really just a sales force paid by commission, and you set the parameters.

9:18: Offline business in an online world. Using Second Life is getting more popular. Your company should also have a presence on MySpace, it’s the single busiest site on the Internet. However, we have a real life world as well. Put your URL on your bags, have fun, and remember your branding.

9:20: Finding your next employee and JV partner. Asks how many people are on LinkedIn. 5 million professionals all in one place. The blogosphere exists, and the bloggers are the people you need to be aware of. You want the thought and opinion leaders aware of your brand.

9:23: Rethinking the 21st century business. It’s a good time to think about how to reinvent your business to take advantage of this space. The companies that rise to the surface tomorrow are the ones that are starting today. You need to own your customers.

9:24: The importance of fresh content. There is a whole world of people looking for new fresh content from the search engines. Google is completely focused on providing the best search results for any given search term. Google updates their algorithm every single day. Focuses on the “Google Dance.”

9:27: If there is one compelling reason to blog, as a critical move for any department, the more you put genuine effort into the blogging, the more the search engines will look for you, and the more you will rise to the top of the search results.

9:30: Disclosure. The blogosphere has been abuzz about sites like PayPerPost. Companies want bloggers to write about their products and want to pay them - but should you tell people as a blogger that you were paid to write about something? The obvious answer is yes, but there is a deeper level of questioning.

9:33: A blog is just a tool. There are no preset requirements for a blog - it’s just a tool. Dave says he is right, despite what others say. If you don’t want comments, turn them off. If you don’t like negative comments, delete them. There are trade-offs for that kind of stuff, but anyone can do anything they want with their blog. Blogs are great content management tools.

9:36: Question - if a blog is just a tool, is the act of blogging simply the use of a tool? Dave says yes.

9:37: Cool blog attributes:

  • Cheaper to build than a website
  • More search engine friendly Easy to manage, fun to produce
  • Establish a dialog with your customers (think “focus group”)
  • Schedule publication in the future
  • Others can produce your content

9:39: Question - is Dave saying that there is no need to advertise in the real world, like in a magazine for example? Dave says that wasn’t what he meant. If that is how you communicate with your customers, then you have to be there. If you need a trade show booth at CES, do it. There are costs to business. However, there is a new reality. You cannot be successful by only doing trade shows and magazine ads anymore. The world is moving online.

9:43: Smart blogging techniques - none of these are requirements, as there are no rules:

  • Allow comments
  • Have an authentic voice
  • Identify your bias and relationship
  • Establish credibility
  • Write about what you know
  • Share testimonials
  • Follow your industry and market news
  • Stay focused

9:52: Question - Why would you future post rather than post all your entries right then? Search engines like constant new content. By posting daily, you teach search engines to visit you every day. They visit on a basis of how often they see updates to your site.

9:55: Dave recommends the following books for reading:

  • The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell
  • Influence, Robert Cialdini
  • The Long Tail, Chris Anderson
  • Growing Your Business With Google, Dave Taylor

9:59: Question - Are search engine results a direct correlation to the amount of time and work you put in to your blog? Absolutely. That is where the whole question of authority comes in. If you have been blogging about something for two years, you have more authority than someone who has been doing it for two days, and that will reflect in the search engines.

10:00: Done.

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