Hot At Sphinn: Email Marketing’s Death, Desert Island SEO/PPC Tools & More

sphinn-logoTwo stories kept Sphinn users quite engaged last week and led to one of the busiest weeks for user comments that we’ve seen in a while.

In our “Discussion of the Week,” we asked readers to choose their “desert island” SEO/PPC tool. Yep, just one. If you were stranded on a desert island and could only use one tool, what would it be. Web analytics — and Google Analytics, in particular — seemed to rule the day, but there were strong cases made for a variety of different tools.

But a different story, Email Marketing is Dead – The Statistics and Social Proof, garnered even more comments and heated discussion. It also included our favorite comment of the week. Sphinn member bmassey of (and an SEL columnist), disagreed with the article’s premise this way:

There are ancillary reasons to choose email lists over social networks. Who “owns” your social graph? Mark Zuckerberg and his friends. Who owns your email list? You do. And you can treat your email subscribers with the respect and security that Mark and company don’t

If you want to weigh on email marketing vs. social media, share your two cents over on Sphinn. Meanwhile, here’s a look at the hottest Sphinn content from the past week.

Most Comments

  • Email Marketing is Dead – The Statistics and Social Proof – Prepare to be confronted! In fact the digital marketing world may claim that we are borderline insane, however the powerful variable which continues to influence the serge of the digital marketing industry into the 21st century is simple – Statistics don’t lie.
  • DOTW: Your 'Desert Island' SEO/PPC Tool? – You've probably debated your "desert island album" with friends — the one album you'd take with you if you had to live the rest of your life on a desert island. Well, what about SEO, PPC and other online marketing tools? In this week's "Discussion of the Week," tell us the one tool/site/service you couldn't live without. And please — in the name of not turning this into a spamfest, just tell us the name, don't drop URLs. (We'll be proactive about editing comments if need be.)
  • Second (and final) Call for Sphinn Editor Volunteers – As promised, we've put out another call as we look to add new volunteers to our Sphinn editorial staff. Please read the blog post for details on what the position entails and how to let us know you'd like to be considered. Thanks!

Most Tweeted

  • How Toyota Perfected Promoted Tweets – Here's an interesting look at Toyota's current "Prius Goes Plural" campaign that begins with Twitter and leads the curious through YouTube and eventually to Toyota's web site. Definitely one of the more involved and creative uses of Twitter advertising, but is it too much to ask users to follow the whole path?
  • HTTP Status Codes – Get it right or lose revenue – In IT We Trust – sometimes too much. Whilst the general awareness of SEO best practice techniques has come on leaps and bounds over the past decade, website operators (especially at large corporations) still rely too much on the knowledge of their IT department or CMS supplier. Here are 3 big mistakes that can cost your business serious revenue if they’re not fixed promptly.
  • Why You Cannot Reverse Engineer Google’s Algorithm – Michael Martinez does a thorough analysis of why attempting to determine ranking factors used in Google's algorithm is a futile exercise; but also discusses what we can learn from such surveys and data. From the article – "…the other missing piece of the puzzle: Analytics Latency. As the search engines figure out new ways to mix up their algorithms at more frequent paces, our analyses of those algorithms fall farther and farther behind. The scale of analysis calls for weeks or months (even if you can cull the results of 20,000 queries tonight) of planning, coding, and testing."
  • Does The Country Tweets Come From Impact How A Page Will Rank – Will a lot of tweets about your page from the UK get you ranking on Google UK but not Google US? This story suggests so.
  • Curation is the New Search is the New Curation – Another great piece by Paul Kedrosky about the current state of Google's search results, or perhaps more about the state of search in general. "The re-rise of curation," he says, "is partly about crowd curation — not one people, but lots of people, whether consciously (lists, etc.) or unconsciously (tweets, etc) — and partly about hand curation…" (And the comments are good, too, at least as of the time I'm publishing this.)

Hot On Sphinn: January 10 to January 16, 2011

  • The Rodney Dangerfield School of Optimism – An interesting article on how to imagine the failure of your new product or service *before* it happens, in an attempt to avoid it happening for real.
  • German Govt. Says Google Analytics Now Verboten – Matt McGee reports that German "privacy nazis" (aka data protection commissioners) are concerned that Google Analytics tracks web users’ IP addresses. They claim that could violate an individual’s privacy, despite the fact that users can opt out, and that the majority of German surfers don't use static IP addresses. A funny side note from the comments: the most annoying data protection commissioner of Hamburg operates a website making use of Web analytics that don't comply to his own privacy requirements.
  • Mr. Cutts Goes To Washington, Testifies Google Has Integrity – As the US government continues peeking over the fence into Google's various businesses, in a (defensive? offensive?) move – Matt Cutts spends some time with the FTC. From the article at Search Engine Land: "The head of Google's search spam fighting team, Matt Cutts, is in Washington DC this week, doing an “educational tour” to explain to US Federal Trade Commission members and congressional staffers that his company’s search results don’t require government regulation."
  • 8 Lessons I’ve Learned From Doing SEO – Important lessons for SEO consultants gleaned from Wiep's experience over the past 8 years.
  • Extreme Email Experiment: How Much Is Too Much? – How much email is too much? Could you send an email every day to a B2B list? This story examines what to expect if you turn up your B2B email frequency.
  • Regular Expressions – Don't Use Google Analytics Without Them – A tremendous post by Annie Cushing that will increase the power of Google Analytics for anyone not familiar with this syntax.
  • Sketchy SEO Company Forces Google To Out Them – An SEO firm advertising "guaranteed first placement in Google" (organic results) is bad enough. Even worse is a sales pitch like "the first company authorized to work directly with Google". Barry Schwartz tells you how a clueless wannabe SEO can top that: try arguing with John Müller and Matt Cutts about those bogus claims in Google's very own forums.
  • Editorial SEO Tactics for the Newsroom – Most editorial sites are employing basic SEO best practices in the newsroom but how many are taking full advantage of every opportunity? To be successful an editorial staff needs to do more do more than just optimize headlines and title tags. A breakdown of the wide range of editorial SEO tactics that need to be employed in the newsroom.
  • Why You Should Never Search For Free WordPress Themes in Google or Anywhere Else – Kinda scary wake up call from Siobhan Ambrose for anyone who gets their free WordPress themes from just about anywhere but themselves.  Check your themes, people!
  • For Large-Scale SEO, Why Compromise Can Often Mean Failure – Why it's frequently essential to "stick to your guns" and be forceful when attempting to get your Enterprise-level SEO recommendations implemented.
  • How to use the link operator in Google Real Time Results – Rishi Lakhani explains why the link operator in RTS is a valuable research tool. He explains how to get the monthly data for an URI mentioned in tweets, as well as bigger timelines based on date, time, and location.
  • The Problem With Being An SEO Consultant – It's Always Your Fault – An excellent post about SEO accountability that debunks the notion that it is someone else's fault when your work doesn't get implemented.
  • How Human Factors May Affect Information Indexing And Retrieval – When we’re information seeking via the Internet, we are seeking knowledge. There’s an unspoken agreement between a search engine and a searcher that says, “I want the best information on my topic that you can find.” Search engine algorithms try their best to deliver exactly that, but we’ve all experienced pages of results that miss the boat.

This is the latest in a weekly look at the stories that were “hot” on Sphinn in the past week. We’ll post these recaps every week.

Related Topics: Channel: Other | Sphinn


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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