Sunday, June 22, 2008

Which Search Engine to Focus On, Publishing and Marketing our Digital Content?

Just about every day, I use Google - probably at least 20-30 times a day. I'm not alone, obviously, as by many measures Google is the most utilized search engine on the Internet. There are others, of course - even Google points this out in its analytics results. But which ones are best for what kind of tasks, and what kind of people use each? (The diagram in this post isn't mine, but has been distributed about the web for some time...).

From a pure organic Internet Marketing perspective, your organization's website really should focus on page ranks in Google - both for the volume of search traffic probable (since Google's indexing reach is so large, and their paid content distribution is so broad), and the fact that Google's results are very tied into the overall context of the Internet and relationships among online content, including websites, blogs, social media, discussions, wikis, documents, etc. Google is also leveraged as the core index behind other, 3rd-party search engines like AOL and Netscape).

It's apparent, however, that MSN and Yahoo search are much more focused on the specific content and relevance of the actual webpage, vs. the webpage's popularity or connectedness to others. This may be why, in pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns targeting consumer products (i.e. people looking for specific items), it's typical to get much better results (i.e. "clicks") with a Yahoo campaign, while PPC campaigns focused on generating "buzz", exposure or simply large increases of broad-based traffic (i.e. those searching for information, guidance, resesarch) do better with Google.

Persons surfing the Internet using search engines do have a choice, but typically gravitate towards one or the other based on the kind of "Internet Information Consumer" they are, and have been. Don't use the Internet much, but want recommendations and guidance? Try or Altavista. Are you a real newshound, with a predilection towards online portals and email
provided by a provider like MSN or Yahoo? You'll probably use their search tools most. Really into comparison-shopping and deals? You'll probably start with Google, but may also know to use meta-aggregators like Dogpile (which aggregates paid ads along with organic) or More experienced Internet professionals, looking to focus in on particular topics might use tools offering advanced categorization and analytics, such as Vivisimo ("Clusty") or Surfwax. For those looking for opinion or perspective on particular topics, the best places to visit are sites with Web 2.0 feedback technology, that focus on the topic (or have specific sections). Flickr's an example of a place to find recommended or popular photographs of specific subjects.

Here's a real good index of Search Engine tools to use, for particular purposes. Note it includes not only pure search engines, but pre-built directories with search built in.

The point of this topic for organizations and businesses, is to know your customer, and understand how your digital assets (i.e. websites, documents, blogs, comments, articles, ebooks, etc.) are managed. Digital content destined for publishing and distribution on the Internet, to be indexed by search engines or commented on by readers, should be carefully organized, managed, monitored and tracked for maximum effect. By carefully monitoring how your content is used and what others do with it, it's easier to create a marketing plan that's correctly targeted to the right search engines and audiences. Focusing on Google may get you great traffic, but it may not be the traffic you're interested in.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Information Management and Sharing Policy

A new "Enterprise Data Management Policy" was signed this week within the Homeland Security Department - to those unconcerned with the business and technology of information management, this won't create a stir...but to those "fighting the good fight" across the Federal Government information-sharing and management parochial boundaries, it's a valuable new tool, at least 2 years in the making.

In essence, the Directive, administered by the DHS CIO, outlines the department's policy with respect to sharing, contributing and leveraging wherever possible Enterprise data, and the Enterprise data management procedures and assets made available through the EDMO (Enterprise Data Management Office). Having lived through many of the difficulties associated with sharing and reusing data between Federal components, agencies and departments, with respect to policy differences, metadata and semantic disagreements, security classification issues, or simply reluctance to participate and share, this Directive and the work that went into it is truly a sea change for this sector of our industry.

The Directive by itself doesn't necessary accelerate or improve information management solution implementations or associate business and mission outcomes - but it gives some teeth to the sincere efforts of information management professionals and public servants, business data stewards and IT governance managers in seeking to facilitate their efforts through consistent, collaborative application of Public and Federal Information Management standards.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Information Management and Local Social Media

To start things off, here's a locally interesting Government 2.0 story that kicked off 2008, where a local government official complains via email about a real estate blog's veracity, demands material be removed, and refuses to "respond via the blog" - thereby provoking, as we understand all too readily in the Internet Marketing and Social Media industry, a firestorm of comment and much broader exposure of his unfortunate position.

Information Management, as an IT discipline to care about and pay attention to, includes not only the information you and your organization generate within your "domain", but also the information you, your organization, and everyone else generates on the Internet regarding your virtual domain.

Welcome to Information Management Consulting

This blog will focus on many subject areas regarding Information Management Consulting