Entries Tagged as 'search engine marketing'

game changer alert – google will now index audio and video into keywords


It is not new technology per se but because it’s being executed now in beta by Google Labs, Google’s introduction of a new service that will catalog all the words uttered from a posted an audio or video clip is news. It’s a game changer.

A company with billions of dollars and oodles of clout can do that.

This new audio indexing service directly impacts the businesses of voice over, marketing and advertising (and, well, actually every business that uses the web) in a monumental way.

Of course I’ll tell you why. 😉

A company’s success or failure on the web can be attributed, in my opinion, to one primary element: words. How a company manages and places its words on the web, whether it be in text, header bars, and ad words etc. creates results and rankings in search engines like Google that can mean success or failure.

Do you think companies interested in buying your product or service are going to sift through 10 pages on Google to find your 100th ranked search results after they have find what they need in the first two or three pages on Google? The odds are very low.

Using words correctly on a web site, key words particularly, is both an art and a science. But our audio and video clips haven’t had much of an impact on SEO save for maybe a tag here or there. But Google is ratcheting up the game of tag now.

If Gaudi (a bit like audi-o’connell don’t you think?) will catalog words on audio and video clips on your site…the SEO possibilities seem quite enormous. Posted commercials maybe written entirely for the web to enhance optimization. Audio demos that have brand names featured in copy might then have that brand more closely associated with a voice talent. The web becomes a more valuable tool with the automatic transcription of sound into words.

Possibilities = endless.

Want to know what else occurred to me, just for a nano second while ruminating around all these possible changes?

Because of all the words that will eventually be added to search as a result of Gaudi, what it becomes too much for the Google algorithms used as the basis of its current search platform? Or what if they determine that words are not the best element upon which to base their optimization tools? What if they are working on that completely new search engine model right now that will force all of us to totally revise our web strategies?

Wrap your head around that for a minute, won’t you? Don’t worry, the panicky feeling goes away eventually.

screwing with your voiceover brand

Every business has a brand and as Mitch Joel will tell you, every individual has a personal brand.

In the case of voice over, most folks are one person shops so the individual voice talent is often the brand. And by virtue of their sole proprietorship, their personal brand is often front and center.


How prospective clients and even the general business community or passersby view your brand impacts your bottom line. You’ve got to understand this as fact. If you don’t, the rest of this post will be meaningless.

We are only aware of about 1/3 of the opinions people have of our brands (my very rough estimate, no science here) meaning that 66% of opinions on our brand…that thing on which we base our livelihoods…never makes it back to us.

We don’t know what potential clients are saying about our brand – personal or otherwise (yikes!)…which is why we must be ardent stewards of our own brands.

So when I see web examples of really poor branding (in my opinion) my head starts to throb. Not in anger or anything like that…more like pity because I know that I am hardly the only person who’s noticed these mis-steps. And they are too often so easy to fix/avoid.


Now of course, you want to see (and thereby have me “out”) the sites and their owners I will reference here because you’re also the person who slows down to gawk at accidents, I know. Well no dice.

It’s hurtful to single out someone specifically and that’s not my goal nor is it the point of this post.

“But,” you ask, “isn’t it hurtful to speak badly about a person’s branding even vaguely?”

Yes which is why I won’t be speaking badly about anyone. I will be pointing out mis-steps in branding and design which you can be sure to avoid. I will do this without specifically “brand-spanking” the sites that incited this post (I call copyright on brand spanking!).

“Yet by not being specific, aren’t you speaking behind their back, you backstabbing bastard?!”

Firstly, watch your language, potty mouth 😉 . Second, the point here is to get everyone to look at their own web sites and branding more critically. For some readers, the concept of branding is totally new. If you see some of yourself in any of my forthcoming comments, get offended if you wish but that would just be a waste of time. Rather see if you might want to at least think of revising your branding or presentation. Branding is an ever evolving process anyway…on-going analysis is always good.


The first site is from a fairly well know media professional and educator. The site looks like it was designed in 1997 and really hasn’t changed much. There’s a blog that isn’t really a blog, text in sooooo many different colors that the Rainbow Coalition may sue for copyright infringement and its almost nothing but miles and miles of copy in 8 point font. It is jumbled and disorganized (to the eye) and if there is great content somewhere in there, you’ll burn your retinas trying to find it.

Note I said this media professional is an educator….credibility must be one of the hallmarks of his/her brand. Smart and somewhat sophisticated must be some of the other immediate impressions. They seem to be using a do-it-yourself web program and have put no thought into web design. Bad idea.

Based on this site, I could never train with this person even if they were the Albert Einstein of voice over. It would never be apparent how talented they might be. And isn’t that the saddest part of all…one who might be enormously talented gets ignored because (personal opinion only) their brand, their persona sucks?

Ours is not a bricks and mortar business, as it used to be. Often the web is the building. The wrapping paper matters and assuming that using the Sunday comics will be good enough for a web design (as is the impression I get with this person’s really bad design choices) well, that is a really bad plan for branding.

Simple, clean, uncluttered design is best. Among the most simple and effective voice web site designs out there are Bruce Miles and Dan Nachtrab. Certainly, their great voices are what sell you but their personal branding is professional…in two very different ways. Both enjoy good SEO success too.


Now let’s chat for a minute about how you position yourself in the voice over market place and how that fits into branding. This is going to be a sensitive area for a lot of industry people because the site I saw tonight positioned itself on being one the cheapest voice over service out there. They said they were “good” but their primary point of difference was low price….clear as a bell.

Point of fact, not opinion: every business has a low cost provider and there’s money to be made in them thar hills. Full disclosure (more on the opinion side of the fence here): I have a tremendous bias against such providers in any business because I think it lessens the value of an industry. And (completing the disclosure) I have, on occasion, shopped at Wal-Mart.

I think that low ball providers in voiceover are so bad because technology has given birth to thousands of talentless hacks who think they are voice talents and are willing (it seems, anyway) to pay their clients to let them do their voice work. “Cheap” is becoming synonymous (if not a standard expectation) with the voice over industry and that devalues everyone’s product. (Let the battle begin on that little paragraph).

The individual whose site I referenced this post was not talentless. The voice I heard was a fine radio voice doing spots…nothing bad there. The design was not awful either. It wasn’t inspiring but it did seem functional and that won’t hurt his branding. The mis-spellings on the copy might.


Back to the brand’s major point of difference: cheap. While maybe profitable volumetrically (and God bless ‘em for putting food on the table…that part I get and respect) I heard a level of client on the demos and saw a level of client in the testimonials that I kind of expected. Not exactly Chico’s Bail Bonds (that of “Bad News Bears” fame) but in the neighborhood. When you say you’re the cheapest, there will always be a certain client you attract….and many more you won’t.

Check the synonyms for the word “cheap”. I don’t want to be high priced Harry but I know the value of my talent and of my brand. Cheap and its associated meanings are not something I think are worth promoting. There are tons of branding options…stay away from cheap.

Thanks for reading.

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links (dead and otherwise)

Just finished going through the blog links on this blog (cast your eyes to the column on the right for a moment to see the list).

You’ll probably not notice that the list is shorter by two names of folks who’ve stopped publishing a blog or just haven’t written in a long, long, long (you get the idea) while. Not looking to punish anyone but if they’re not writing what’s the point of the link?

Writing a blog is tough and at least one voice talent who dropped off the blogosphere acknowledged that writing a blog just wasn’t for him. I say kudos…one should only keep a blog if they want to keep a blog…sure it’s a great optimization tool in many ways but if you’re not churning out content (and readable stuff at that) or worse don’t want to churn out content then spend you’re valuable time elsewhere.

So while we’re on the subject, please make sure you:

a. Have a link to this blog (and the audio’connell web site if you like)
b. Advise me if I am missing your voice over blog on my list (my apologizes)
c. Have freshened up your blog list too
d. Mow my lawn and wash my windows (just kidding, unless you really, you know, want to)

if your web site is your store, are you displaying a “closed” sign?


People look at me funny for many reasons, one of them being my preoccupation with Search Engine Marketing or Search Engine Optimization. I personally understand about only 1/16 of the rules of SEM, most of the content being like Sanskrit to my brain. But I get its importance (both to web sites in general and my business particularly) and I hang on every word of the experts I know personally to try and derive some nugget of information that will help my web site perform better on search engines. That’s a big chunk of my marketing focus, always has been.

Well recently, it wasn’t so much for monitoring progress and Google rankings (though I do check my key words) as it was adding to my Google bookmarks the web sites of some of my fellow voice talents whom I know, respect or can otherwise learn from (no, not steal from, but sincerely learn from). The bookmarks are placed on my Google toolbar which has become a very handy resource for me because it’s available to me on any computer in the world. If you don’t have it or something like it, boy I sure would recommend you drop your Explorer or Firefox tool bar and use Google’s.

I thought an easy way to find my friends’ web pages would be to just Google my own big generic keywords for our industry and my peers would show up in the first ten pages of any one of 4-6 keywords. Those keywords didn’t include Peter O’Connell or anything regarding audio’connell as I search those keywords only when I need a significant ego boost (less than I used to, now it’s only daily instead of hourly).

Most of my peers didn’t show up. Gulp. 10 pages (or the top 100 sites) on keywords that most should show up on. Not there.

It’s extremely possibly that their marketing objectives for their web sites are different than mine. I know there are a few that use their sites solely as a web brochure and have really no interest in keyword search. For others, their brand is only their name and their city. For still others, it’s their specialty like radio imaging or promo voice. I’ll leave it to them to know whether those words are popularly searched by their target market or whether they’re just hoping they are popularly searched. God speed on that one.

But to my mind, if you’re not aggressively working on keywords in your web site’s text – first knowing the best ones (a herculean task, I’ll admit) then second, using them effectively – I don’t understand how your web site can be truly effective/found. If people can’t easily come upon your site (because let’s assume they don’t know you or your company exists) they aren’t going to find you on page 20 of Google. They won’t go that far. And you’ve lost a sale…oops, there goes another one right now.

But, maybe I’m wrong.

mirror, mirror on the web, who’s the highest ranking schleb?


In what is arguably an exercise in either search engine optimization or humongous vanity, I very infrequently check the position of my name on Google.

Because my name is a key element of the branding of my voice over business, I think it’s a good idea to know where I stand.

I know that for many industry key words, like voice over talent, Google likes me just fine, ranking me in the first three pages (first page being best).

But where I would like to ensure I am also well known, my name, I’m doing pretty well as far as Google is concerned as well (at least as of this moment, these things do change).

Now the ultimate test of SEM prowess (read: enormous ego) is typing in the key words on the Google home page and not hitting the button “search” but rather “I’m feeling lucky” which leads the visitor directly to the domain of the top ranked site for those keywords.

For company branding, I’m right there with audio’connell, audio’connell Voice Over Talent and the like.

Like wise for Peter K. O’Connell, Peter O’Connell…number one. Well that’s good.

And while I’m not number one for “O’Connell” I am on the first page, which I’m cool with.

What this exercise did teach me though is that I am no Madonna.

If you Google the name “Peter” I am not on the first page or the fiftieth page or even the last page (which for Google I guess is one hundred). Peter Tork’s web page (he of “Monkees” fame) is listed but not me. Not once. So there, Herr Hubris, take that!

Peter Coyote is the first voice talent that comes up under “Peter” on Google and that’s not until page thirteen (the one hundred and twenty ninth most popular “Peter” on Google.) But he should be there…he’s one of my favorite voice talents, anyway….loved when he announced the Oscars a few year back.

So I guess I have my SEO, SEM and PR work cut out for me. And that’s OK, otherwise I’d get complacent and that is not a place I’d like to be ranked first.

Oh, by the way if you do Google the name “Peter” and you do scroll through all the pages to find me….we need to help find you a hobby 🙂

BUT, I do want to know where you ranked on Google in your name searches! Do tell!