Gary Vaynerchuk & Friends: SEO Gems in Boston

You and I put our socks on one at a time, which I imagine Gary Vaynerchuk doesn’t. He probably just hurls a cussword at his sock drawer, like Zeus tossing a thunderbolt, and a pair leaps out and scampers onto his feet.

Gary VaynerchukDuring his recent talk at Inbound 2012 in Boston, Vaynerchuk used language that could debark a pine tree. Here are some of his pithier statements (after treatment with a mild cleanser):

  • The only reason I love and adore social media is because it sells sh*t.
  • Email open rates used to be around 87 percent. Now we’re lucky if they’re point-87-percent. Display ads get less than 1 percent clickthrough. How do we break through?
  • [Customer acquisition] tactics are a [expletive deleted] commodity. Caring about the end user— how you scale that— is not.—
  • We’re saying things on the social web that we never said in a phone call. What that does is create context.
  • Here’s context: there are grown men in this room who have in the last 24 hours texted “OMG.”
  • Technology is bringing us back together into a small town. For the first time, being good— and caring, and following up— matters.

Marcus SheridanAnother excitable guy, Marcus Sheridan (alias The Sales Lion), put on a couple of riveting sessions with his wacky drill-sergeant act, the second of which covered his experience saving his business, River Pools and Spas, after the recession hit and he couldn’t make payroll. He said:

  • It stinks to be a pool guy when the market crashes.
  • For us, blogging was not an option; we had to make it work. We had no money for advertising.
  • We used to spend $250K a year to do about $4 million in business. Now: none.
  • You gotta blog toward a keyword.
  • Answer consumer questions.
  • Teaching is what we do.

Marcus works a room like nobody else, and these quotes don’t really convey the rapt attention he elicits from everyone in the room, including, on this occasion, one carefully observant Dharmesh Shah.

Dharmesh ShahSpeaking of whom, Dharmesh Shah, co-founder and chief technology officer of HubSpot, gave a presentation titled “How to Make the Most of Social Media with HubSpot.”

  • Social signals are increasingly important to Google. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest.
  • Problem: distraction while working with social media. Solution: tools like HootSuite give you blinders to some extent. (See my post 5 Social Media Time Management Tips on handling social media distraction.)
  • To succeed in social media, learn to write great short-form content.
  • It’s actually relatively easy to emulate pithy insightful writing… in short form.
  • GOOGLE+:You can’t ignore it because of the characters before the plus.

Rand FishkinRand Fishkin, head of SEOmoz (and, like me, not the tallest guy in the building) had fun debunking some common misconceptions in a talk entitled “Choose Short Men and Tall Women:”

  • Everybody’s obsessed with showing up in the top few positions in Google results. But click-through rate is influenced by more than high position: star ratings, reviews and price… author photo… date of publication… video snippet.. all these are shown in Google results.
  • People think if their attempt at viral content effort fails, it’s over. Oh well, I tweeted it, I Facebooked it, I mailed it to a few folks… I give up, I guess I’ll try something else.  You have just driven a bus to Crazytown. Crazytown: population you!
  • The idea that spending money for links is always “black hat” is wrong.  There are things that cost money that earn you links, like an event, like sponsoring research, like a press release cleverly written.

Dan ZarellaFinally, Dan Zarella, the social media science guy, shared some interesting statistics about what works and what doesn’t:

  •  Sixty to eighty percent of your tweets should have links in them. That’s the sweet spot.
  • Adding “Please Retweet” got 51 percent of people to retweet on Twitter. “Please RT” got 39 percent; not asking at all got 12 percent retweets.
  • Best time of day to get retweets: 4 to 5 PM.
  • Tweet on Saturdays and Sundays; I call that contra-competitive timing. You should be looking to speak when nobody else is.

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5 Responses to Gary Vaynerchuk & Friends: SEO Gems in Boston

  1. Chris Jones says:

    I’m jealous. Your lead-in for this post is one of the best I’ve seen. Funny, too. Who knew cuss words could be hurled, Zeus-like, at inanimate objects and a desired result ensues?

    And here I am trying to write an article for client one and ad copy for client two…as I stare at the blank screen…and become distracted by reading blog posts on the Internet.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Owen Blevins says:

    Ken, thanks for reminding us all about how great Inbound 2012 was! I enjoyed the convention so much I bought another ticket again for Inbound 2013 for 50% off again! The diversity and depth of the speakers was tremendous. While not everyone was of Gary Vee’s or Marcus Sheridan’s level of excellence, there was information packed into every presentation. Your review was spot on and a great motivator for those of us who attended to pull out our notes and watch the scads of HS videos online. Keep up with the great posts and rock on…

    • Ken says:

      I couldn’t have done it without you, my friend. I think we agree that HubSpot’s Inbound conferences are a screaming bargain when compared to the other online marketing events out there.

  3. Aaron says:

    Hilarious intro and great content. Thanks Ken.

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