Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Google as Real Estate, Blog as Room

A few days ago, Chris Brogan posted a blog that suggested one consider a blog personal real estate. It's a good analogy and very effective in terms of describing the "care and feeding" of your blog, but I view things in a slightly different way. I like to think of placement on a Google or Bing search results page as the real estate. Your presence on the internet is your house, and each individual account is a room in your house. A blog, a Twitter account, a Facebook page - these all need to be cared for or your house can crumble. But even if your house is in brilliant condition, it won't do you much good if no one can see it.

Think Outside In

With all of the excitement about Social Media, it's easy to concentrate hardest on your individual rooms. Some companies are beginning to push hard on integrated marketing, which would be a holistic or "house" approach. I still see a lot of questions, though, that reflect a seeming lack of focus on the search results real estate that can be gained through Social Media and other efforts. Here are a couple of examples.

Should I have a personal blog and a business blog? If your personal blog is very niche to a hobby or completely separate from your business blog, I think it's fine. However, if you talk a lot about your business in your personal blog, you could run into a situation where you are using a lot of the same keywords, a lot of the same links, and a lot of the same reference points. What could happen? Both blogs, as separate entities, could end up fighting against each other for position on the first page of Google. People searching for you and/or your company will have to make a choice about which blog to visit. Do you want that to be out of your control?

Should a large corporation have individual accounts for each division? This question came up last night during the #custserv chat on Twitter. If a corporation has separate divisions spread across a large region, should each division use Social Media autonomously? Again, the corporation as a whole could end up in a situation where each division is fighting for first page real estate. If a company has five or more divisions, it will be difficult for each division to receive equal treatment in terms of Google real estate. Where possible, it's beneficial to incorporate divisions into an all-encompassing account. Links to each division's website from this master Social Media account will optimize SEO for that website, but individual Social Media accounts won't be knocking each other out.

D-Fence, D-Fence

Social Media can also be used as a defensive measure when it comes to search results pages. A LinkedIn account, a blog, an optimized website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account could fill out most of the first page for your company. As far as real estate goes, you could be the Donald Trump of that search term. Not only is this excellent news for your company, but this also means that wherever you show up, your competitors aren't showing up. They say that the best offense is a good defense, and in this case that can certainly be true.

Who is in charge of your house?

Another question that comes up a lot is "who should handle my company's Social Media account?" An argument for grabbing "real estate" is an argument for integrating as many people as possible into your efforts. Everyone should be cognizant of important keywords, powerful links that will help optimize your accounts, and what kinds of search terms your competitors seem to be focusing on. This is information that everyone can use, from customer service to PR to marketing to sales. It should become part of the lifeblood of your company. Think of it like the staff of a huge manor house. Everyone has their job, but they all work together to make sure things run smoothly.

Are you keeping an eye on your real estate as well as your rooms? If you aren't, I can guarantee that someone else is. It's time to think big picture.

1st image: Image Credit:

2nd image: Image by Miguel Saavedra.

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