Do you have a ‘phone-a-friend’ in search marketing?

Who wants to be a searchonaire?

You’ve no doubt seen the show “Who wants to be a millionaire.” Contestants answer questions hoping to become filthy rich.  Along the way they have three life-lines to help them determine the correct answer.  Sometimes the life-lines help, sometimes not.  In the end though, the decision is left to one person – the contestant and they are either right or wrong.

We have life-lines to guide us along our tasks during the work day.  We can check with Twitter for an “ask the audience”, perhaps a co-worker can help identify things that just won’t work for a “50-50.”  If we are very lucky, we know an expert in the business and can “phone a friend.”  Like on Millionaire though, in the end it’s up to us to decide what is best for us, our company or clients.  But how do we know we chose wisely?  It would be nice if sirens wailed and confetti fell each time (though house-keeping may not care for it), but how DO we know?  What if there is more than one correct answer? How do you know if you picked the MOST correct answer?  The answer is TESTING.

Test, test and then test some more

If you have read more than a few of my articles, you know I’m a fan of testing everything and not just following the wisdom of the crowd.  If you are doing email marketing, test and measure every aspect – day of week, time of day, subject lines,…you get the point.  If you want to know if the keywords meta-tag works or not, you can either do a Twitter survey and guess at the 50-50 results, or you can test it yourself.  Create a page and use the tag, test for placement in the SERPs.  If you think the tag is just one piece in the puzzle, then you have to build the puzzle one piece at a time and test between every step.  When you are done, you will KNOW what works best for you, not just what works best for the twitterverse.

Sometimes the gains are minor and do not justify the time of testing, other times the gains are huge.  But how do you know….well, testing – sorry, I couldn’t resist.  Eventually,  you will develop a feel for what may or may not be worth the trouble.  Sometimes, you may just discover something that would  be fun to test, like perhaps is it possible and how quickly can you rank for the phrase “vp of internet strategy“.

Now you need to decide, is good enough good enough for you, or is best what you need.

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