Advanced Social Media Marketing? Go Back to Basics First!


Advanced Social Media Marketing? Back to Basics First!

by Massimo Burgio

I keep reading about companies and brands “investing” in very expensive internet marketing and social media “executive reports“, where the only things they get is aggregated data that doesn’t reflect at all their business, their market and, most of all, the level of resources, professionalities and skills these companies will have to actually deploy in such fields.

At a recent meeting a potential client asked me: “Do you know that on Instagram there are 58 pictures uploads per second, 5 million pictures per month“? I looked at him and, with my best “consultant’s smile” I said “Sure!” – but at the same time I was thinking “And what do you care, when your website is not even optimized for search engines, your social media presence is risible, and the Instagram users are not your target audience?“.


Q:Did you know that on Instagram there are 58 pictures uploads per second, 5 million pictures per month“?

A: “What do you care, when your website is not even optimized for search engines and your social media presence is risible“?

gsi-logo-oldiesThis section of the site used to be very active as a blog, but we stopped blogging at the beginning of 2013. This article is from December 2012, but we think that its insight can still provide value, so we included it in our new site, in this “ex-blog” section that we now see mostly as a “online marketing resources” page, a sort of oldies but goldies.

We hope you liked the article, feel free to share it. Sorry if some references are dated; we “remastered” our blog posts to fit the new GSI site design, and we included a few updates while republishing the content, while deciding to leave the articles mainly untouched, as they also represent some sort of “family photo album” for us.

Thank you for reading our blog, and for following GSI.
Massimo Burgio

Other classic things I hear at meetings are the need for a “viral campaign“, the desire to “develop an iPad application” or even to implement an “e-enterprise model” – and this is when, respectively, their company websites are not even SEO-friendly, their target audience is not tablet-ready, or their internal resources still cannot get the difference between a browser and a widget (yes, this still happens in 2013). It’s about time to stop this hype, and to go back to basics!

I don’t need to write a long article about it, as I’ve always been advocating the need for a rational approach to internet marketing, and a strategic approach to search and social media marketing.

Let me just drop a memo: before engaging in internet marketing activities, specially if expecting quality results and some form of return on the investment of money, time, resources and reputation, companies need to refocus on the following basics:

  • a solid internet marketing strategy;
  • clearly defined internet marketing goals, supported by achievable KPIs;
  • a skilled and constantly trained internet marketing team;
  • a website optimized for search engines, performance and conversion, social media ready, and of course responsive, for best visualization and interaction across all platforms, including mobile and tablet;
  • a solid social presence across several social media networks and platforms;
  • content, editorial and engagement plans, consistent with strategy, goals and target audience;
  • a social media / internet marketing policy for employees;
  • constantly monitored analytics, and an actionable analysis of data.

Does your organization have all the above basics in place? If not, don’t waste your time, money and resources trying to achieve a level of internet marketing you are not ready for. Just take a step by step approach, and you’ll eventually get there. But, first of all, remember to go back to basics! The key to a successful re-engineering of the entire internet marketing and social media marketing set-up are two major interventions, and both gets filed under “training”:

  • strategic training for top management and A and B level executives, that will allow to re-focus, re-plan, re-structure and re-organize the internal resources and the whole company focus;
  • operational training for all employees, specially for those whose whose activities have an internet marketing impact, so they can learn the basics, and also the advanced topics of social media marketing.

To learn more about the importance of internet marketing and social media marketing training, check out my relatively new blog article about training – while the article has been published more than one year ago, the content and the Slideshare presentations included are still very valid to today’s internet marketing training needs. Or you can just get in touch with us, and we’ll figure out together what are your organization’s training needs.

Video SEO Optimization (and a Speaker Award) at International Search Summit Berlin

Earlier this month I had the pleasure and the honor to be invited at the International Search Summit (ISS) in Berlin. I already spoke at ISS in the past (ISS London 2009), as the series of conferences hits some of the major cities in Northern Europe, including Oslo in the Scandinavian region.

international-search-summit-localization-world-berlinISS is a series of conferences organized by WebCertain focused on a specific vertical in search: multi-country, multi-language search marketing. This is also the reason why the ISS Berlin show is included in the much larger Localization World Conference, another international show with a global coverage, focusing on everything local global business.

For ISS Berlin I got back to a search topic after speaking a lot about social media strategies in the latest month: video SEO optimization. Well, the topic is borderline, as the online video optimization lays is somewhere between SEO and the “new” social media optimization techniques, so I could have bridged search engine optimization and social media marketing.

Just to get straight to the point, here is my presentation on video SEO optimization for ISS Berlin, posted on Slideshare as usual and embedded here below.

Just to give a brief summary of the presentation, I started with the now classic SEO Detox Clinic, my idea of 12-step program for hard core SEOs who want to step into SMO (social media optimization). I thought it was very appropriated since the focus of the presentation, and it is always a slide well received by the SEOs in the audience.

The presentation continued with a definition of video SEO, actually the only solid one around, provided by the video search engine Blinkx: “Simply put, video SEO is the art and science of ensuring that your video content attracts as much traffic as possible“. As simple as that. But not so simple…

I contextualized the topic of video SEO talking about the how video are important in the new social web, touching base on social media enablers, that include Google’s blended search results as well as RSS, mash-ups and social networks. I took the opportunity to introduce the Conversation Prism designed by Brian Solis and Jess3 Thomas, the one in the great infographic below, which I love to call “social media mandala“.


After talking a bit about videos on SERPs (including the now classic eye-tracking study by Enquiro) and the new video search features at Google, I introduced a research by German search engine marketing agency SEOlytics that showed the change in video penetration in German search engine results (Google only, as it’s the predominant search engine in Germany) from January 2009 to January 2010. The presence of videos on SERPs grew over the last year from 4.53% to 17.58%, and the presence of organic search results among the “blended” Google results “shrinked” from 82.74% to 39.62%. Very interesting (see presentation above for detailed charts).

After all, video is better than porn is an always popular line when I speak it out at conferences, specially when it is associated with the image in the slide below, where Google Insight for Search shows that the volume of searches for “youtube“, “video” or “videos” is bigger then the volume of searches for terms like “sex” or “porn“. This is an analysis that stands also for a comparison of those terms, that once were “kings of the web“, with other search terms such as “facebook” or “social networks“.


The presentation then moved on to analyze the opportunities and the strategies for video optimization, with tips for optimizing both “hosted” and “posted” videos, meaning both videos published on a company website, or published on third parties sites, such as video sharing sites as YouTube, Metacafe, Dailymotion, Yahoo! Video, MySpace Video and more.

I shared a list of 10 video SEO tips for hosted videos – nothing new, for those already engaging in SEO:

1 – Content is king, make it relevant and interesting
2 – Title: make it catchy and keyword-rich
3 – Video formats: make different formats available (file type, size)
4 – Use optimized tags and video thumbnails
5 – Video length: internet-wise timing
6 – Keyword-rich localized descriptions / transcriptions
7 – Include URLs at the beginning of description
8 – Share it: allow rating, responses, embed, download, share/send to friends
9 - Distribute it: adopt RSS/ MRSS feeds, video sitemaps and social bookmarking
10 - Localize your videos: replicate content in multiple languages or replicate videos with subtitles + create local video sites

Followed by 10 video upload SEO tips for posted videos:

1 - Make sure video tags are relevant to the video content
2 - Be generous with tags, and adopt keywords variations
3 - Match video title and description with top tags / keywords
4 - Have one common tag for all your videos (related videos)
5 - Don’t use natural language and conjunctions in video title
6 - Choose clear, appealing, creative and HD thumbnails
7 – Use one video channel per language, and optimize it
8 - Try to make it to the “Most view” or “Most discussed” tabs
9 - Generate more views by changing Title and Headline
10 - Try the new features: inclusions and annotations

The ISS Berlin presentation concluded with more advice about the use of some of my favorite video upload tools, such as Tubemogul or TrafficGeyser, who allow maximum distribution with little effort, and with a quick view both at video long tail, video analytics, and how to create video RSS, MRSS and video XML sitemaps.

My final advice at ISS Berlin was to always hear a word on the topic from Rand Fishkin at SEOmoz, and I introduced one of the “SEOmoz Whiteboard Friday” educational search videos featuring Randy giving always good SEO advice. I embed here below the suggested video SEO optimization podcast, but I strongly suggest to browse the entire series of the SEOmoz videos on Vimeo, you’ll find plenty of SEO good tips!

Beside of my presentation, other speakers delivered very interesting presentations, such as those by Andy Atkins-Krüger on Top 10 Tips for International SEO, Isabella Ballanti on SEO Localisation, Dixon Jones on Identifying and exploiting local links, Sébastien Monnier on Achieving European Search Success and Thomas Bindl on PPC Techniques for long tail optimization. Unfortunately I missed most of the presentations as I have been working a lot that day on urgent projects, but of course I managed to have a look at the presentation and to keep the conversation going with some of the speakers also during the networking moments!

ISS Berlin has been a great experience for me, also thanks to the great organization support provided by Gemma Birch of ISS, and also because – you won’t believe it since I travel so much – this has been my first time ever in Berlin, and I really enjoyed it!

Also, did I mention that I have been awarded a ISS Medallion Speaker Award for getting (ex-equo with my friend Dixon Jones) the most votes from the audience as best speaker? This put me in the International Search Summit Hall of Fame, in good company with other great speakers such as Dixon Jones and online PR legend Greg Jarboe? =)

From Reykjavik: Social Media What? How to Design a Social Media Strategy

rejkyavik-internet-marketing-conference-logoI came back last week from the amazing experience of discovering Iceland, where I spent a week to participate to the Reykjavik Internet Marketing Conference 2010 (RIMC 2010) organized by my good friend the “Viking of search marketing” and now also a fellow Director at the new SEMPO Board of Directors Kristjan Mar Hauksson, who has been the perfect host for the Icelandic event.

Even if I find challenging and honored when I get invited to speak or moderate panels at great conferences at big venues, (like SES London 2010 the week before), I still love the atmosphere, mood and networking of smaller conferences like RIMC 2010. When there are less than 300-400 people in the room I feel free to walk among the audience with a microphone (or two) in my hand, make eye contact with the attendees and shoot the occasional question to the audience, even during my presentation and not just for Q&A. (more…)

Interview to Robin Good: Empowering Users, Search Engines, SEMPO and more

Robin-GoodIt’s a little bit of a shame that I took so long to publish this interview to Robin Good. Originally recorded on a sunny december morning in Rome, these files ended up in a back-up hard drive I lost track of, and that I finally found more recently (with a lot of other “lost files“). Nice that I finally got them back.

Robin Good is one of my favorite references when it comes to internet marketing. Despite of the Sherwood-esque nickname Robin Good decided to be public with, Robin (real name Luigi Canali De Rossi) is an italian chap living in Rome where he set up the headquarters of his organization, that keeps growing behind the efforts of the knowledge sharing website Master New Media and other independent publishing ventures such as

robing-good-tv-personal-broadcasting-independent-publishingAs a matter of fact, independent publishing is what made Robin…. independent, as he has been the very first pioneer in Italy (and among the firsts in the world) in setting up a business model based on Freeconomics (the free Economics recently discussed in a book also by Chris Anderson of Long Tail fame) – giving knowledge away for free, empowering web users towards the adoption of internet tools that can actually make them free to set up any publishing initiative on the web.

Robin Good’s business model is based on advertising, and Robin has been the first independent publisher in Italy to be able to get a steady stream of profits generating uniquely from advertising on his web properties.

So I put my SEMPO hat on and, on a sunny december morning in Rome, I finally met and interviewed Robin Good! please note that, even if the recordings are 2 years old, the topics discussed from both Robin and myself (below) are still hot and valid today – maybe because we both are internet visionaries? =)

Independent publishing has been of course the topic of the first part of the interview, a good way for Robin Good to introduce himself and the topic. Watch the video!

In the second part of the video Robin Good touches base on search engines, and compares search engines to “The Great Librarian“, a very interesting metaphor that really amused me – but very true! Watch the second part of the video interview.

Third and final part of the interview to Robin Good went back to independent publishing and, more in detail, on the vast availability of internet tools that can allow any user to set up any publishing venture on the web for free.

Watch out, free from buying big platform, but still costly in terms development and maintenance. Setting up an online publishing venture is not a game and requires vision, skills and plenty of time material. And yes, some money too – because Freeconomy is good, but then you will find out that to make a great job you still need the premium version of most of the free tools… anyway, Robin’s vision at this regard is pretty clear, and I personally support it. Watch the third and final part of the video interview on internet tools.

Just to make this post complete, I need to post also the videos that Robin Good shot while interviewing me! That’s right, as a Master publisher and video evangelist, he didn’t waste the opportunity to interview me for about SEMPO, search and social media marketing.

My videos distributed by Robin Good have been around online for a long time. I can recap them all here in this post for your convenience, and to recreate that cool mood of a sunny december morning in Rome with Robin talking about giving out and sharing on the web.
The first set of videos is an interview in 5 parts titled “SEO and Social Media: Q&A with Massimo Burgio

Part 1 ……………….. Part 2 ……………….. Part 3 ……………….. Part 4 ……………….. Part 5

Robin Good also edited other two fragments of the interview, one still on SEO topics “SEO: The importance of good content“, the other one “What is SEMPO?” to introduce the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization I proudly represent. Enjoy the videos. Thanks Robin!

SEO: The importance of good content ……………. What is SEMPO?

Travel 2.0 Strategies and Tools: Blog Marketing, Social Media Marketing and Viral Videos Workshop in San Sebastian

A couple of months ago I have been hired, via my friends from Spanish search engine agency Overalia, to design and deliver a two-day workshop on the topic of Tourism and Travel 2.0. The workshop, two full days of Spanish content, training, site clinics, tools and exercises, has been offered to CICtourGUNE, the Center for Cooperative Research in Tourism, a Basque governmental agency dedicated to generate knowledge excellence in the areas of tourism and mobility, with offices in the very cool technology Park of San Sebastian (Basque Country, Northern Spain – Euskadi, in Basque).


We had about 25-30 people in the room, all related with the Travel and Tourism industry: some from local hotels and local tourist services, people from a museum and from the local Tourism Board at the San Sebastian City Hall. The rest of the attendees had ideas and business plans to launch in the Travel industry, and were looking for some good advice to be successful on the web.

Good audience at CICtourGUNE – very interested people, strongly motivated to put things in being and to launch projects straight away, but unfortunately lacking of all the foundations about basics of search and internet marketing – difficult for me to get them started in the 2.0 arena, and to vertically enter into the online Travel / Tourism industry topics, so I decided to invest day one of the workshop in providing the audience with a solid understanding of what internet marketing is about, before dedicating day 2 to social media and its applications and declinations for the Travel 2.0 industry. (more…)

Search versus Discoverability: What is your Search Strategy?

As I often say, it is good to serve at the SEMPO’s Board of Directors, as I can have very good exchanges with some of the smartest minds in the search and online marketing industry. A couple of months ago (maybe a little more) fellow SEMPO Board Director Duane Forrester asked a question: Search or Discoverability? What’s your search strategy?

SEMPO Board of DirectorsI believe Duane is in the process of writing a(nother) online marketing book, and the search versus discoverability topic surely seemed to be of some interest to him.

A good conversation raised around the topic, in a closed circle of emails with inputs from the likes of Dana Todd, Sara Holoubek, Jessica Bowman and Chris Boggs among the others, so I dropped my 2 percent to the conversation.

Today I found that old thread and decided to copy and paste my input on the matter, so to share it with you all – I would like to get your comments and your opinion on the search versus discoverability discussion, use the comment box below and feel free to tweet about this article.

Here we go – enjoy the reading!

Rock on – I like the question. In my opinion it is all a matter of positioning and target audience. Some “things” (businesses, events, organizations, brands, products) are not meant for a broad publicity, and do not need to be visible to everybody, but are meant to be discovered – by the right audience.

Some example? The first that comes to my mind is, of course, the Burning Man Festival and year-round community, but this can be applied also to products (niche-specific products such as specialty medical treatments or specialized construction or boating gear etc), organizations (i.e. Rotary Clubs, Masonic groups, exclusive Golf clubs, Museums Donors Funds, etcetera), businesses (highly specialized products and services) and brands (cult underground clothing brands, cult alternative music bands or film productions, etc.).

Search versus discoverabilityBasically, there is a whole word out there who doesn’t need to be slapped into everybody’s face – in advertising terms, they will never buy Superbowl airtime nor outdoor advertising.

These brand, products, organizations, etc. need to be discovered – not to be visible to everybody. In marketing-advertising terms, this can be achieved thanks to the recommendations and trust circles generated by the 2.0-social world (discovery by trusted input) or (and) thanks to search marketing, of course! =)

Search marketing (SEO and SEM) can definitely fit both needs, allowing to achieve either the largest possible audience (full-on visibility) or a very niche-specific, long tail target (can I call “meet the demand” a “piloted discovery“?). (more…)

MediaCamp Perugia: Innovation in Information, Personal Broadcasting and Citizen Journalism

Third Italian MediaCamp unconference after MediaCamp Sicilia and MediaCamp Roma, the first MediaCamp Perugia was hosted last sunday april 5 at the International Festival of Journalism of Perugia.

Of course in this case the MediaCamp topics were about media as information/news, not as marketing/advertising!

MediaCamp Perugia has been brief, but intense. It started at 2PM on Sunday and, even if scheduled to close at 7PM, I had to rush to the train station at 5.30PM in order to catch the last train to Milan, where I has a client meeting the next morning. Bummer, I would have liked to stay a little bit more to be more active within the final Q/A session.

The event has been very successful, and I enjoyed it even if I had to go away early. Kudos to Vittorio Pasteris, journalist of the Italian newspaper La Stampa, who organized the event and moderated the entire unconference. Great first intervention by Carmela Modica aka Asia Connell (my partner in the MediaCamp Italia initiative), who talked about information and dynamics of communication in the Second Life 3D world.

I followed on agenda with my presentation on Personal Broadcasting and Citizen Journalism embedded above (you can also download it from Slideshare). As you can see, I couldn’t resist to put my SEMPO and search marketing hats, and spend a few words about the importance of optimizing any piece of content, from copywriting to links, images, and videos, specially when hitting the social networks. I also proposed a new paradygm shift for the journalist 2.0, as well s for the information ecosystem, and for those “people formerly known as audience“, the users, now at the core of the information revolution. Find it all in my presentation.

After my intervention, scheduled as second in the stream of unconference interventions, I started tweetting live, of course. If you browse my Twitter profile you can still find all the live tweets, that I choose to produce in Italian to better share among the Italian community of MediaCamp.

I really enjoyed the presentation from the students and Alumni of the School of Communication of Perugia, and mostly the passionate intervention from the RAI2 journalist Francesca Romana Elisei, who unveiled the generation gap in journalism, “one of the bottlenecks to innovation in information“, she said.

Stefano Valentino, a free-lance journalist, presented, a project for a collaborative journalism platform that actually remunerates bloggers/journalists for their articles, and aims at being the marketplace of citizen journalism.

Leonida Reitano, President of Giornalismo Investigativo, a school for investigation journalism, scared the hell out of me for the depth of topics they are expert on, from the “basic” of computer forensic to international and terrorism investigations. Wow, a true school for 007s!

Asia Connell told me this is nothing, with terrorists and militant groups of all sort being active on the Second Life grid. Now I got even more scared…

I took a break to have some late lunch and a talk with Michele Moro, a long time virtual friends from Facebook chats and LinkedIn groups, so it was the first time we met.

Michele has great ideas on the business front of the social web, and wants to work together on the organization of a next Italian Mediacamp in Florence! Excellent, I’m in! You will be hearing soon about MediaCamp Florence!

Went back for the last part of MediaCamp Perugia – at least for me since I had to escape to catch that last train.

The closing of MediaCamp Perugia has been very interesting, with an intervention of Luca De Biase and Guido Romeo of Nòva24, who talked about the journalism of innovation, and innovation in journalism.

I started shooting a video, but I was tweetering from my phone at the same time (because, again, this was a room full of bloggers with no free-wifi….), so the video quality is bad, while the audio is good, and you can have the chance to hear Luca De Biase talking about the methodologies for a true innovation. Audio in Italian language.

Very passionate, firing up questions at the Q&A session, was also Enrica Garzilli: journalist, blogger, hacker and into robotics, who asked Luca De Biase about the possibility to predict innovation through the analysis of trends happening at the Nòva24 platforminteresting question, let’s see where this can take the conversation, and the innovation…

Last intervention on the MediaCamp Perugia agenda, and last before I left the room, was the one from Luca Schibuola, University of Udine, who presented a research project on usability and advertising in online newspapers – very interesting, but mostly academic. It was time to go for me…

Wow, such a rush! I thought I wasn’t going to make it to Perugia, but I did it – and I was again on my way towards other destinations, this time Milan, where I hope we could organize a MediaCamp soon! In the meantime, big kudos again to Vittorio Pasteris for organizing MediaCamp Perugia, to the International Festival of Journalism for hosting the event, to all speaker participants for sharing, and to all people in the audience for contributing! Want to see who was at MediaCamp Perugia 2009? Check out the photo set on!

Another successful Italian MediaCamp! Now on to MediaCamp Firenze!

Case of the Month: SEO DETOX!

Not really the “case” of the month, but surely I will publish in this section cases, presentations, interviews, research and more insight content on the topics of online marketing and, of course, search.

As a first episode of this “case of the month” series, I will start sharing a presentation I prepared for the SMX Stockholm conference last month, the SEO Detox presentation!

SEO Detox is a funny idea I had after a nice chat with Kevin Ryan in New York, right after SES NY 2008. It is a 12-step program for SEO-addicted, so that they clean up their minds from SEO stereotypes, and successfully move into Social Media Optimization!