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Ten years ago, there was no such thing as “social media.” But there was social friendly content (blog posts, video, infographics, etc.) and social networks (we called them forums) and guest posts. There were also plenty of influencers for virtually every niche in existence. Granted, there were a lot fewer of each of these things, and they didn’t get nearly the amount of mainstream press that they do now, but any marketer (particularly of the SEO variety) worth their salt was already leveraging these elements to build the links that ultimately provided the foundation of their SEO success.

Fast forward to 2012, and it’s clear to me that the only way sustainable way to build SEO-friendly links for an enterprise brand is via this thing of ours that we now call social media. Paid links definitely still work, but big brands that rely on them usually end up as NY Times article fodder. Cookie cutter techniques like directory submissions and article syndication likely have some value, but for competitive niches such as my new employer’s online shopping universe, these outdated approaches simply don’t have the juice to be a game changer.

But building links via social media is, for lack of a more sophisticated phrase, really freakin’ hard.

Why? Because it requires close coordination and alignment with a variety of parallel business divisions and stakeholders.

You have the usual suspects such as brand marketing and public relations. These are key because they can provide leverage and connections that get you in the door with top tier social influencers like celebrities and traditional publishers. Then there’s the social media and content marketing team (or teams depending on how your organization is configured). Trying to develop the content assets needed to facilitate social media-driven link building without having buy-in and support from those folks is an exercise in futility and frustration (all too often, I see SEO teams attempt to create link-building content assets in a vacuum, and 99% of the time those efforts fail before the content even has a chance to be created).

And for some verticals, there can also be legal or even tax-liability hurdles that need to be overcome before any significant link building efforts can begin.

This is no small task. It’s time-consuming and potentially painful, with plenty of need for education and mentoring along the way.

That said, the brave and patient souls that are willing to work through this myriad of communication, presentation, and approval end up reaping truly massive rewards. After all, Aaron Wall is right when he insinuates that it’s nearly impossible to outrank a big brand that’s got all of its ducks in a row.



A lot of people will tell you about the tactical details of managing a search program (and by “search” I’m referring to paid and natural search, not just one or the other). Some will tell you about the strategic details.

Very few will talk about the financial details.

Yet in some respects, it’s finance-driven principles that can sometimes make all the difference between mediocrity and true success. And unfortunately, I find that more often than not, an organization’s finance department has only minimal exposure (if any) to the inner workings of a search marketing program. That’s a mistake in my opinion, especially for organizations that can directly tie online conversion to revenue (e.g. e-commerce businesses and lead-gen businesses that can track online leads all the way through to sales conversion).

If you find yourself in this situation, here are some initial steps that you can take to bring a more finance-centric approach to search marketing:

  • Start by managing paid search and natural search as one portfolio instead of completely separate programs. This is especially important if you manage a large brand that drives a significant amount search traffic from branded keywords. Understanding how paid search spend impacts paid, natural, and aggregate search revenue can lead to significant strategic insights that can drive an increase in overall program efficiency.
  • Understand the concept of paid search cannibalization. Believe it or not, there are several types of cannibalization, and not all of them are bad for business. Moreover, there are a variety of tests that you can setup in order to get a better understanding of how paid search impacts natural search and vice-versa.
  • Set specific goals for incremental search revenue and efficiency. Start by setting a goal for the year in terms of YOY growth. So for example, if you generated $100,000 in revenue from search in 2011, set a goal of growing by 50% (e.g. $150,000) in 2012. Then break down what your monthly and quarterly totals need to be in order achieve that goal. Then factor in your costs (yearly, quarterly, monthly) and use that number to figure out how efficient your program is (e.g. how much revenue you generate for every dollar that you spend on costs).

Enterprise-caliber brands already utilize these techniques to more tightly manage and grow their search marketing programs, but there’s nothing really stopping you from doing the same. All it takes is a little financial planning.


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Nobody likes to be ignored.

And because of this fact of life (and yes, I supposed there are some exceptions to this rule) most human beings automatically respond to someone that addresses them verbally. In other words, if someone talks to you chances are that you will respond to them in some way.

It’s just the right thing to do. Because again, nobody likes to be ignored.

And yet every day, as I meander in and out of social networks like Twitter and Google+, I notice people and the brands that they represent doing the exact opposite. They literally ignore @ replies, comments, etc.

Mind you, I think it’s perfectly ok to do this if the initial communication is spammy in nature (ex: someone @ replying about some sex site or pharma pill out of the blue). In fact, I actually encourage that you not only ignore such intrusions but also take steps to flag and report them because it helps clear up all of our streams.

But back to my original point.

I’ve thought long and hard about the possible reasons and motivations for this type of digital behavior. One of the more obvious things that came to mind is that certain individuals and brands might have such a high frequency of inbound communication that they literally can’t keep up with the onslaught of @ replies, comments, etc. However, this is simply not the case for the vast majority of individuals and brands. And even for entities that do suffer from this affliction, it would seem that they are missing out on a golden opportunity for 1 on 1 consumer engagement by not devoting the necessary resources to address all of these communications as they happen.

Another reason that occurred to me (and this one applies mostly to brands) is that they are so accustomed to the traditional, one-way, broadcast approach to marketing that they simply haven’t considered (or don’t feel like doing the legwork to scale) 1 on 1 interaction with consumers that attempt communication via social channels. If you or your organization are in that mode, now is probably a good time adjust your strategy so that it’s a bit more in line with the current millennium we live in. You know, the one where your company saves money on call center activity, returns, and PR missteps by leveraging digital tools to socially engage with the consumer base.

I also thought of one other reason, and this is the one that really gets under my skin because it has to do with ego and hubris. I honestly believe that many of the individuals and brands guilty of digitally ignoring individuals that try to interact via social media channels do so because they feel that they are too important, famous, or influential to bother with individuals that don’t wield a strong social following of their own.

You’ve probably seen this in action yourself. You see an industry luminary (in our digital marketing space or otherwise) @ replied by a fellow luminary and quickly respond and engage. But if another user with much weaker credentials attempts to engage in a similar manner, their @ reply is utterly and completely ignored.

If someone did this in real life they would at the very least lose face with just about anybody within earshot. And at worse, they might get a physical comeuppance, because again, nobody likes being ignored.

Yet somehow, this behavior persists in online channels.

I get that nobody’s perfect, and I’m pretty sure that on occasion I myself have failed to reply to someone that has tried interacting with me on a social channel. But that doesn’t make it right and it certainly doesn’t make for a smart social media marketing strategy.

And on the flip side, personal experience has proven to me that when you take the time to respond to any and all comers, you quickly turn those loosely engaged consumers into increasingly engaged social followers. Sometimes, those same folks turn into paying customers and willing word of mouth advocates. Oh, and by the way, some of those non-influential folks that you choose to engage with gradually become influential. And I find that those folks never forget the brand or individual that was willing to engage when they were a digital nobody.

So if you’re in charge of social media for a brand, or even if you simply represent a brand via your social media presence, take some time to revisit how you choose to address inbound attempts to communicate with you via your social profiles. Then take a minute to apply some basic rules of common sense and decency.

Your reward just might be an incremental share of followers, retweets, likes, +1, SEO-friendly links, positive reviews, word of mouth customer referrals, etc. You know, all the stuff that makes social media marketing worthwhile



Some of the earliest and fondest memories of my dad and me involve weekend fishing trips down in the Florida Keys. There are a lot of aspects of those excursions that are near and dear to me, which is why – now that I have a son of my own – I look forward to taking young Sebastian on his first fishing trip with dad and grand dad.

But the aspect that stands out most to me has to do with a specific technique that is key to becoming a good fisherman of any kind:

Patience and self-restraint.

If you’ve ever gone fishing (and actually caught something) you know that you can’t try and hook a fish the first time that you feel a nibble. Instead, you have to show some patience and self-restraint to make sure that said fish has fully taken the bait. Otherwise, when you pull up on your rod, you’ll likely lose that fish forever.

Note: For those of you that have moral/ethical issues with fishing, I feel you. I’m conflicted on this front, so I don’t fish often anymore. I will, however, show my son how to fish, because I think that there is a very deep emotional and intellectual value that he will take away from the experience even if he doesn’t become an avid fisherman.

Anyways back to the point of all this.

In a lot of ways, this analogy applies to SEO link building as well as general social media influencer outreach. How?

Because I’m firm believer that you have to show patience and self-restraint when trying to establish rapport with a potential link-building partner or social media influencer.

More specifically, you can’t make your first communication a hard pitch for a link, mention, etc. That type of approach is bound to result in an extremely high failure rate as well as the potentially permanent burning of bridges. Why? Because most webmasters and social influencers get pitched all the time and they don’t appreciate being asked for a favor by someone that they don’t know and have no relationship with. Therefore, that hard initial pitch is that extremely similar to that initial pulling up of the fishing rod in that it will likely result in losing that prospect forever.

So what should you do instead? Here are some ideas that have worked for me and my colleagues in the past:

  • Start with a simple introduction. If you’ve found a potential link-building/social target, start by reaching out with a simple introductory email/call that doesn’t actually ask for anything in particular.
  • If you know that they have interacted with your brand in some way (example: their site shows up in your referring site data) send them a “thank you” email to let them know that you noticed the gesture and appreciate it.
  • Instead of asking for something (a link, a mention, etc.) start by offering to come up with a mutually beneficial relationship (e.g. thinking about ways to help them out instead of just asking for stuff that will help you out)
  • Think ahead. Reach out to potential influencers well ahead of any specific campaign that you know is on the horizon. That way, you actually give yourself enough time to develop some communication and rapport that will facilitate your eventual request for a link, mention, retweet, etc.

Webmasters and social influencers aren’t fish. They’re much smarter. Moreover, unlike fishing, your goal shouldn’t be to trick them into taking the bait. That said, the lesson that my father taught me so many years ago still applies.

Show some patience and self-restraint. The long-term social and SEO ROI is well worth it.



It seems like hiring remote workers continues to be a hot topic, at least in online marketing circles. Why do I say this? Well for starters, there has been a flurry of posts in recent weeks (one positive, two negative) from fairly high profile industry bloggers.

Interestingly, the two negative stances both come from folks that:

a) working in an agency environment

b) Have a somewhat primary focus on organic channels like SEO

Having spent half a decade in a similar situation, and seeing the good, bad, and very ugly sides of remote work arrangements (both domestic and overseas) I can totally relate to John and Wil’s points of view. Further still, I have direct experience dealing with very ineffective (and downright ugly) employee/employer conflicts that were the direct result of a remote work arrangement.

The lone positive stance comes from someone with more of a design and development background, and based on my experience with that particular neck of the digital woods, I can definitely appreciate his plea for a more open-minded and accepting viewpoint on remote work. Moreover, having had a three-year stint with a fairly successful startup that boasted a strong culture and operational efficiency despite having over 90 percent of their workers operate on a completely remote basis (I think that at it’s peak, there were like 15 remote employees/contributors) there’s a certain part of me that wants to completely dismiss John and Wil’s arguments.

So gun to my head, what would I recommend to someone weighing their options with regards to remote work?

I’d say go for it.

But before you do, please keep a few things in mind:

  1. Culture is always paramount. It leads to improved employee morale and employee retention, both of which can have a very real impact on operational efficiency and ROI. So figure out ways to include/indoctrinate your remote worker(s) into the  company culture even if they’re not physically in the office (P.S. Sometimes, just encouraging funny, edgy mass email strings can do the trick in my experience)
  2. Preferably, only offer remote work arrangements to employees that have proven their ability to be self-directed, entrepreneurial, and organized while working in the physical office environment. This is doubly beneficial because a) there’s a much better chance that said individual will continue to produce at a high level outside of the office b) said individual has a chance to truly absorb the company culture and is therefore more likely to retain it and reflect it even after they’ve departed from the physical office environment
  3. If you do have to bring someone in on a remote basis from the get go, consider bringing them on as a contractor at first. This will give you some wiggle room in terms of compensation structure and incentives (and I find that folks open to this arrangement are usually very entrepreneurial in nature, which is almost always a good thing in my experience). Once they’ve proven that they are a good long-term fit, you can bring them on as an official employee.
  4. Consider going the outsource route (including overseas). In other words, if remote is the best fit for whatever reason (cost efficiency, lack of local talent, etc.) you might be better served to find an agency or freelancer that can do the work. If you find the right partner, it could prove to be a real boost for your business, since said outsource partner will be able to leverage learnings and expertise garnered from having worked in different business verticals outside of your niche.

Note: More often than not, when it comes to U.S. based SEO, outsourcing overseas will result in a mixture of heart break and frustration. The only exception that I’ve come across is when you find a U.S. or Canadian expatriot living overseas. SEO requires a high degree of English proficiency and a strong understanding of Western cultural idioms. If your remote/outsource resource doesn’t have these things, you’ll end up doing a ridiculous amount of proofreading and cultural education.

One final thing that I feel is worth pointing out is that remote work has benefits that expand beyond the marketing and business realm. When you allow someone to work remotely, you often accomplish the following things:

-help that individual save money (less gas, less eating out for lunch, etc.)

-help that individual cultivate a better home life (this is especially true for folks with spouses and kids)

-help ease traffic in places that are not walkable and have crappy public transportation (one less car on the road)

-help the environment (one less car emitting crap into the air)

Please remember to weigh these facets as well. They matter too, even if they don’t impact the bottom line.


I remember it like it was yesterday. I was killing time between sessions at Pubcon Las Vegas 2008. Next thing I know, this guy is standing right next to me:







Lee Odden one of the most recognizable digital marketers in the industry. He always seems to be a featured presenter at industry conferences and he’s the man behind the well-known digital marketing portal, Top Rank Blog.

Now at this point, some of you must be wondering why in the hell I’m writing what amounts to a written advertisement for Lee and his company?

No, I’m not star struck (although I gotta admit that Lee’s a looker).

He didn’t pay me or compensate me in any way for this post.

He didn’t solicit a link or mention or anything else.

In fact, I haven’t spoken in person with him since that day and other than the occasional Twitter or Google+ exchange, we don’t really communicate with one another at all. And yet, I will go out of my way to share his content with my friends, followers, and work colleagues when applicable.

Why? Because he went out of his way to be personable with me in that hallway at Pubcon and he took a few minutes to engage in a real conversation with me (e.g. not just talk about himself and his agenda, but actually ask me questions and generally shoot the breeze).

If I had to guess, Lee probably doesn’t even remember our encounter (he likely talks with hundreds of conference-goers on a yearly basis). I can also surmise that he didn’t expect to gain any measurable, digital ROI from our encounter. And yet, over three years later, he’s cashing in on an SEO-friendly, unsolicited inbound link as well as social-friendly mention from this blog post (and any subsequent retweets, Google+ shares, etc).

And all because he took the time to genuinely engage with me in “real life.”

I spend a lot of time writing about the value of digital (e.g. social media) engagement and it’s impact on marketing ROI. However, it’s important to note that the same applies for actual human engagement. It’s something the both small-business and enterprise marketers can benefit from. So the next time you’re presented with an opportunity to engage at an industry gathering or company-organized event (or even just an informal neighborhood get-together) make sure to do so and be sincere about it. You’d be surprised at the potential digital ROI those interactions might bring.

P.S. Lee isn’t the only one that left a lasting impression from a single real-life encounter. Industry luminaries like Aaron Wall and Jill Whalen were equally cordial and engaging. And then there are old souls like Rae Hoffman (aka “@sugarrae) who actually took the time to drink beer, play pool and compare tattoos with me (and a few good industry friends) despite the fact that she likely didn’t know me from Adam.


2012 is almost upon us, and that means it’s time for New Year’s resolutions. But resolutions don’t always have to be about losing weight or picking up that obscure hobby you’ve been daydreaming about.

Instead, you can focus on actionable resolutions that will drive measurable results for your marketing program.

Here are five that I think are worth considering:

  1. Take some time to understand how other aspects of a business might impact your marketing efforts. Reading up on the concept of social business is a good starting point, because social mediums are the foundational glue that connects not only the various marketing channels/platforms but also the very foundation of most forward-thinking business models. From there, take some time to understand and document exactly how your particular marketing channel(s) intersects with other marketing channels as well as with other non-marketing facets of the business. I promise you that this will be time well spent.
  2. Master your analytics platform. Those of you using Google Analytics have it easier than those that are on more complicated interfaces like those offers by Omniture and Coremetrics. But either way, you should make it a point to increase your level of competency in terms of direct execution (both in terms of tracking implementation and custom reporting/analysis). This applies to both the novice and the expert. There’s always more to learn when it comes to analytics.
  3. Get your head around the power of actions and objects. Facebook is set to begin approving  Open Graph actions other than the “Like” in January, so if you haven’t already done so, take some time to understand the concept of actions and objects (also known as nouns and verbs) and then brainstorm ideas on how you can create unique combinations that can help drive your marketing efforts. And keep in mind that this isn’t just about social media. This new, deeper layer of social interactivity is a way to help amplify all of the positive interactions that you have with your consumer base. In laymen’s terms, you can move beyond having folks simply “Like” your brand (what does that mean exactly anyway?) and instead share more meaningful interactions like “eating” at your [INSERT RESTAURANT NAME HERE].
  4. Accept that television is getting closer and closer to becoming just another digital channel. When that happens, entire business models will rise and fall, and the advertising/marketing industry (and its budget) will go through a titanic shift in prioritization. When TV is fully internet-enabled, socially connected, and subject to the Adwords advertising model, how can your marketing program (and your business) benefit?
  5. Stop worrying about the death of ________. SEO isn’t dead. Tech blogging isn’t dead. Social media isn’t dead. Email isn’t dead. Heck, print isn’t even dead (not completely anyway). So try to spend less time on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ quarralling over such ROI-unfriendly topics.

Matter of fact, that’s my bonus resolution; to spend less time wasting time on social networks. I’m pretty sure that all of us could benefit from spending less time reading and responding to all sorts of random items in our social stream.

Marketing work starts when the tweeting ends. Remember that.

P.S. Yes, I know that like all generalizations, this one also has its exceptions.

Happy New Year everybody!


Recently, it occurred to me that social media influence (and branding in general) is all about forming habits.

To put it simply, if you can get a consumer to get in the habit of engaging with your brand on a regular (better yet, frequent) basis there’s a very good chance that said consumer will continue to engage with your brand due to force of habit. Moreover, that same force of habit will likely to lead to socializing of said brand with said consumer’s peers.

Older, well-established companies know this well because for decades –  or centuries in some cases – they’ve been using traditional mediums like print and television to habituate consumers into trusting and advocating their brands.

Then along came the internet, search, and social media. Supposedly, these new mediums turned the traditional marketing and branding model on its head, but if you think it through for a moment it’s  clear that the old goal of forming habits is still alive and well. The only thing that really changed (and is still in the process of changing) is that smart marketers have shifted away from interruption marketing formats and inauthentic messaging to a more personal and believable form of communication with their customers.

Note: I just realized that I’m four paragraphs in and I’m still setting up the meat of this post, but please bear with me. I’m going to eventually tie this back to something actionable.

So to recap, engaging social influencers (and branding in general) is all about getting consumers to form habits. And while the formats and messaging have changed drastically, the general idea is still the same.

Repetition, consistency, and frequency is key.

So how do you apply this to your marketing program? Here’s how:

  • If you’re going to go through the trouble of creating a blog, make sure that you’re prepared to update your content frequently (no less than once a week based on my experience)
  • If you’re going to go through the trouble of creating a YouTube channel, make sure that you’re prepared to update your content frequently (no less than once a month based on my experience, and even that is probably not quite enough)
  • If you’re going to go through the trouble of using Facebook to engage with consumers, make sure that you’re prepared to update your content real frequently (at least once a day)
  • If you’re going to go through the trouble of using Twitter to engage with consumers, make sure that you’re prepared to update your content really really frequently (more than once a day)
  • In addition to creating fresh content, be prepared to monitor and respond to consumer interactions (comments, retweets, blog mentions, etc.) in a timely manner. And by timely, I mean that same day (within seconds or minutes when possible) not in the next few days, weeks, months, years, etc.
  • Understand that no interaction is too small and no consumer is insignificant. I hate it when I see a fan of a brand publish some sort of compliment or acknowledgement of said brand (example: an @ mention on Twitter) and to then see that consumer’s communication go unnoticed. Respond!
  • The “habit” principle also applies to blogger (and all other forms of influencer) outreach and engagement. Don’t wait until your big product launch or promotion to reach out to influencers. Start identifying them now and start engaging them now. Build a relationship with them. A line of communication. Trust. An attitude of reciprocation and general good will. That way, when your big promo rolls around, there’s no need for a real “pitch”. Instead, it’s really little more than asking for a little help from your friends.

This last one is a biggie and it applies to both big influencers and smaller up-and-coming ones. Treat even the smallest of bloggers, Tweeters, forum mods, etc. as royalty. Because some of those little fish are sure to become big ones in the future. And they’ll remember you if you treat them right from the start.

And if you can get them in the habit of engaging with your brand from the get go, you’ll reap the ever-increasing rewards of their growing influence into perpetuity.



As the old saying goes, today is the first day of the rest of your life.

And thanks to Facebook’s Timeline feature (which is out of Beta and is now live) it’s very likely that said “rest of your life” will be chronicled and archived publicly for the whole world to see. Granted, if you’re meticulous in nature, you can go back and mark certain less favorable life events as private, thereby protecting your personal and professional reputation.

However, I’m pretty sure that Facebook’s Timeline is really just the tip of the iceberg. Kids that are born today will likely never know what a truly private life is, and it’s likely that most if not all of their actions will be chronicled and archived in one way or another. Whether you want to believe it or not, we are only the infancy stages of the “lifecasting” era.

As intense as this is on a personal level, one might argue that that businesses and brands are bound to be even more impacted by the manifestation of lifecasting.

How so? Because in time, the “mark as private” option simply won’t be available. In fact, anybody who’s involved in reputation management (particularly that of the search engine variety) knows just how difficult it is to erase a stain from the past. Moreover, as social media and online commerce matures, the history of consumer interactions and options will be publicly archived into perpetuity and structured in chronological order for all the world to see.

Let me give you a small example to help further paint the picture. Take a little-publicized feature that Facebook rolled out on brand pages a few month ago called the Friend Activity Tab. In a nutshell, this functionality automatically shows any interaction that your friends have had with said brand. This might not sound like much on the surface, but if you think about it for a minute you begin to realize that it marks a shift from “manual” word of mouth (e.g. asking your friends what they think of a brand) to “passive” or “automated” word of mouth, where technology automatically provides you with word of mouth feedback without you even having to ask for it.

And once again, this information will be available for all to see basically forever.

What does this mean? Simple. It means that if you’re a marketer or business executive, and your company isn’t 100% invested in addressing consumer sentiment online (as well proactively improving your product, service, and marketing messaging in an effort to prevent negative sentiment before it happens as well as amplify positive sentiment when it occurs) time is running out.

The days of one-way, broadcast oriented, sweep-the-crappy-stuff-under-the-rug marketing practices are quickly coming to an end.


If you’ve ever been in charge of marketing for an e-commerce site you know just how tough it can be have success engaging with social media influencers or potential SEO link-building partners.

This is particularly true if said e-commerce site does not have any social-friendly content formats (e.g. blog posts, videos, infographics, etc.). What’s more, the very nature of an e-commerce site can sometimes work against you in that static product pages do not make for very enticing link bait or social influencer currency. Sadly, these very common conditions can result in a demoralized social media marketer (or link builder) that is limited to only the most basic of techniques (things like paid engagement campaigns or directory submissions).

But the good news is that more often than not, e-commerce sites have access to a steady stream of potential social (and SEO) influencers available to them. And this steady stream is usually untapped and sitting right under their noses, just waiting to be found via advanced analysis of referring site data.

Still not sure of what I’m referring to? Let me give you a concrete example:

Let’s say I’m a blogger writing a blog post on weird christmas gifts. I’m going to need some examples, right? So I’ll probably do some searching, and when I come across a nice example (like this iPhone-compatible toilet paper holder) I’ll likely link to it from my post. And if my site has any semblance of influence (and site traffic) chances are that at least one of my readers will click on the link and be referred to that e-commerce site, which means that my site will be listed as a referring site in his/her analytics data.

This happens more often than you think, and it’s one of the ultimate forms of social media engagement (an unsolicited link or mention). Moreover, it comes in many forms (blog post, blog comment, forum thread, review site, etc.). And best of all, the individual or business entity responsible for the link/mention is indirectly expressing a desire or willingness to become an influential ambassador for your brand. In other words, if they were willing to link to you or mention you without being asked, they will likely be willing to do it again (and perhaps on an ongoing basis).

But here’s the catch; you have to be looking for this unsolicited engagement in order to cash in on the full social media (and SEO) value it can provide in the long-term.

For example, I’m 99% sure that the owner of the e-commerce site with the aforementioned iPhone toilet paper holder will not notice that I linked to him/her today. Why? Because like most e-commerce site owners, he/she is likely not filtering through his referring site data to check for new referring sites.

Mind you, it’s not enough to simply review your referring data on a daily basis (although that’s probably fine for smaller sites that have minimal referring traffic). Instead, the key is to filter referring data so that you can isolate sites that have referred traffic for the very first time or for the first time in a long time. For very large, enterprise-caliber sites it’s a good idea to review referring traffic data on a daily basis so that you can identify new referring sites and strike while the engagement iron is hot (e.g. within a day or two of the link/mention occurring).

This technique actually works for all sorts of sites, not just those of the e-commerce variety, but I chose to focus on its value for e-commerce portals because this particular technique circumvents the common e-commerce obstacles that I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

If you’re not already mining your referring site data in this manner, you know what you need to do. From here on out, every day could be filled with social media engagement gold that’s yours for the taking, and that has been slipping by you, unnoticed, until now.