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Search seals the deal

If you own or work for a bike company and you're on the fence about whether or not to start a blog, consider this: If you don't, you're at the mercy of Google.

Simply put, Google loves blogs and other forms of Consumer Generated Media like forums and review sites. They get placed high in search results very quickly.

In many cases, a blog entry about a certain brand will be ranked just as high (if not higher) in Google than the brand's own, corporate site.

Blog and PR guru Steve Rubel pointed out that a Google search for "kensington locks" returned his post in the #3 position. And guess what, the post was all about their recent, Kryptonite-esque crisis.

Here's a bike industry example of the same phenomenon:

If you work at Raleigh and you're doing some search engine research and you type in "Raleigh m80" just to see what comes up....guess what the results look like? The entire first page is blogs and entries in forums and customer review sites. The third result is a review from a blog. This review happens to be pretty harmless, but it could just as well have been very negative (whether the bike warrants a positive or negative review is beside the point). The point is, this sort of thing will happen more and more as consumers start to lead the conversation and realize the power of publishing blogs give them.

The moral of the story is that the best defense is a good offense. Join the conversation, start a blog, empower your employees to join online discussions about your products and the niche they operate in, train them to become respected experts in the online community. BUT, do it carefully and do your homework, because without the proper etiquette and knowing the "rules of the game" you could get burned.


At 11:17 AM, June 08, 2005, Blogger Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

These are exceptionally relevant points for those of us making and selling products. If you aren't part of the conversation, you don't know what is being said and are not in a position to combat negatives or pump up positives.


At 9:52 PM, June 08, 2005, Blogger Fritz said...

My bike blog ranks very highly in search engine placement on any searches having to do with my city and bicycling. However, that has more to do with basic search engine optimization techniques than blogging. Blogging is one of the tools that can be used, but there are other basic things your typical bike shop or vendor website designer needs to do.

Regarding being part of the conversation, I suggest reading The Cluetrain Manifesto. It's a little dated, but the prevalence of online storefronts and electronic brochures tells me that a lot of designers still need to read Cluetrain.

And as far as being part of the conversation: You guys really need to implement trackbacks. Without trackbacks a blog is nothing more than an online journal with a guestbook. With trackbacks, you truly become a part of the conversation as you enter the blogosphere. Even on blogspot you can put trackbacks on your blog.

At 10:17 PM, June 08, 2005, Blogger Jonathan Maus said...

About trackbacks. I agree with you. I actually had Haloscan installed on this blog a few weeks ago, but I decided against it because it erased all existing comments. I'm thinking of moving over to Typepad, what do you think?

I love what you've done with your blog. Keep it up.

And by the way, I have read the Cluetrain Manifesto...if you read my posts you'll see how it has influenced my thinking. But I'm still glad you mentioned it. Hopefully more people in the bike biz will pick up on it.

Thanks for the comment, and let me know what you think about Typepad.

At 1:02 AM, June 09, 2005, Blogger Fritz said...

Thanks for your comments, Jonathan; you're very kind.

Regarding Typepad: My thought is that I already pay for hosting and I would download the free version of Movable Type if I ever get some free time :-) It's certainly more versatile than blogger.com, but blogger.com is working fine for me right now. To be honest, $50/year seems high to me for what they offer.

I also have this paranoia that hosting something on a server I don't control will result in years of work just disappearing if they suddenly go belly up.

I just recently added HaloScan because of the trackback capability. I agree that migrating is tough, and I hated loosing my comments. Haloscan's trackback feature is a pain to use, also.

I'll probably install some real trackback software on my server when I have a few spare hours (yeah, right!). That way, blogger.com commeents are seperated out from the trackback capability. Or I might just download the limited free Movable Type software.


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