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Google Juice and Conversations

John Federico

Google Juice. No, it's not another Google brand extension:

GoogleJuice is the ethereal substance which flows between web pages via their hyperlinks (in both directions!). Pages with lots of links to them acquire much GoogleJuice; pages which link to highly juicy pages acquire some reflected GoogleJuice. (do they? who says?) The level of GoogleJuice in a page thus reflects how well connected it is, and thus, in our world where LinksAreContent, how good it is (well, sort of).

... The term GoogleJuice may have been first used by Don Marti in 1998 or 1999 ...

It's what every business (well, at least those businesses that generate sales or leads over the Internet) strives for. But Google Juice can't be manufactured. (Hey, order up a few cases of Google Juice, will ya!)

Sure, you can practice SEO but pretty soon, everyone will be practicing SEO - so where will that get you? And yes, you can purchase AdWords but again, Google enforces that whole relevancy dimension on your ads.

No, Google Juice can only be made organically. It's like good wine (and almost as intoxicating). The best way to make good wine is to put the hard work into growing the grapes, fermenting in the perfect environment, aging it in casks, then bottling and storing until the time is right until it can grace the noses and palettes of people willing to pay for it (or hoard it for yourself).

Blogs are becoming the preferred method of producing Google Juice, for all the right reasons: high potency, high recency, broad reach (thanks to a number of the indexing services, even beyond Google), unfiltered voices & access to key thought leaders.

What I'm seeing lately are too many companies that are trying to "use" blogs in their marketing mix, but they're going about it the wrong way. They're treating it like traditional PR. They're trying to become the topic of conversation.

You have two choices in the blogosphere: you can be the topic of conversation or you can join the conversation.

For those of you who are familiar with blogs, the blogosphere and The Cluetrain Manifesto, this concept is nothing new. But to marketers who have never read a blog post and are now "using" blogs, this may come as a shock. Using the blogosphere in this fashion is not only the wrong approach, it's unsustainable. It's like any staged publicity event.

Sure, you may enter the public consciousness, but then you're gone, until your next staged event. You might get some Google Juice during the process, but it lacks the recency and potency of long-term investment in the conversation.

Here's an example:

GoDaddy recently had the second airing of their commercial during the Super Bowl pulled due to "decency" concerns or creating a parody on censorhip (Or whatever. Only the NFL knows.). Bob Parsons, the company's CEO decided to use his blog to address the public and in the process, became the topic of conversation throughout the media and the blogosphere.

Bob & GoDaddy could fade away after this event and become the red line in the above concept graphic or, Bob & Company can choose to join in the conversation and become the green line.

Bob is a frequent poster to his blog and a vocal participant in the dialogue that appears in the comments on his postings, so it appears as though they've chosen to join the conversation.

Conversely (and hypothetically), Bob could just fade away after this event, waiting for the next opportunity to become the topic of conversation. That doesn't appear to be his style.

On the Internet, the smarter the conversations, the better the Google Juice. Squeeze some fresh, today.