Google is My Boyfriend is a single search engine optimization marketer's struggle to balance her work and her love for a search engine. A not-so-serious approach to search engine news, social media and marketing. Not affiliated with Google in any way, until he puts a ring on it.

January 3, 2014

My 2014 Resolution - Less Time on Facebook

2014 is the year I will cease using Facebook personally on a daily basis. I know, I know, I've said it before. But for a number of reasons, I'm really going to do it this time.

Don't get me wrong, I think Facebook is a necessity for businesses and it can be a great way to keep in touch with friends and family. I just can't do this anymore for the following reasons:

1) Facebook's algorithm change for pages
This happened in December. The "brand reach" has gone down significantly. This pisses me off so much. You want me to pay to play? No. I will spend my time elsewhere. I love the MANY other social networks I'm a part of. Some of them actually bring significant traffic to my pages or are a great source for branding. One of them has a giant impact on personalized search. I think I'm going to continue to establish my personal brand on Google+, where I have a larger audience.

2) Time suck
I can't sit at my laptop with my fingers not typing in "f..a.." unconsciously. It's an issue for my productivity both personally and professionally. Sure, I am entertained by your links (sometimes) and actually get a lot of interesting reads from Facebook, but most of the time I don't. I really don't need to read a list of animated gifs on Buzzfeed ever again. It's an endless quest for something I can't find... which brings me to number 3.

3) Noise
I'm sorry to say this, but a lot of what is shared or discussed on Facebook is pure bullshit. NO ONE CARES. You're more than welcome to post your opinions, but to me it's beginning to look like just noise. Will this all matter in the larger picture? I would suggest you take a second before you next post and consider if you are really adding value to anyone's feed. But someone you know cares, right? then you should...

4) Filter
Y'all do not know how to use this fabulous function of Facebook (not so fabulous, because they don't make it easy). But for the LOVE OF ZUCKERBERG people outside of your city do not care about your local posts. If you are asking if school is closed today, post that locally. If you are asking for friends to hang out or meet you somewhere, post that locally. Facebook makes "local" posts super easy - instead of posting to all your friends, just post to the ones in the city that you're posting from. Just post to a filter of people who care about xyz. Most of you are just talking to each other anyway. Again, are you polluting my stream with noise?

Why don't I just tailor my newsfeed? Oh, I've tried for over two years. It's not helping. Other social networks have better algorithms to show me what I'm interested in - Facebook fails at this. I do get a lot of ads in my stream now! Because brands are forced to do this! Yay!

Are you an internet marketer? Isn't Facebook your job? I believe in Facebook marketing for businesses. They should be posting and people should be seeing their posts. I have deleted  Facebook off my phone but kept the Pages Manager app. This is more of a personal decision. I will continue to use my personal Facebook page as a distribution channel for my content.

How are we going to keep in touch? There are many, many other ways. Again, please take a look at the other channels I'm on. I would welcome you to diversify your social media time as well. I still post plenty on The Queso Queen and TopSpot's page. I will continue to post weekly on 52 Houston Dates. You can always email, text or call. I will be checking my messages from time to time on Facebook.

Here's to a less noisy and more productive 2014. 

July 29, 2013

Internet Marketing: Career of the Future.

On May 17, 2013, I was selected to represent  TopSpot Internet Marketing in Space Center Houston’s Careers of the Future. In attendance were middle school and high school students from all over the Houston-area. TopSpot’s presentation neighbored other very cool careers such as “Working at Mission Control” and “Professional LEGO builder.” My coworker Israel and I, decked out in our Team Geek shirts, set up shop next to the very cool Felix Baumgartner exhibit.

While I finished setting up, Israel walked around Space Center Houston, looking for the breakfast we were promised. A group of teens saw his Team Geek shirt and one girl rolled her eyes and sarcastically said, "Oh, well that's cool." This is was our audience, folks. I was genuinely intimidated.

Luckily for us, a large group of girls from Klein Intermediate School’s AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program attended our career seminar. They were great listeners. 

We began by asking them questions about their internet use and behavior. We learned:
  • Most of them accessed the internet at home
  • Some of them had their own phones, many of them used a tablet to access the internet 
  • Google is their preferred search engine
  • They all had email accounts, but generally didn’t write long emails
  • They like to watch videos on YouTube
  • Most of them were on Facebook, but only a few were friends with their parents and one only willingly
  • They can’t wait to be able to shop online

I found two things rather insightful based on our conversation: first, that they had email accounts. We hear often that the younger generation considers email passé and many don’t even have accounts. This wasn't the case with this group. Secondly, when I asked them what social media service they used, they all answered Instagram. Likeable Local CEO Dave Kerpen recently remarked on the pervasive Instagram use of his young daughters and their friends. The Pew Internet and American Life Project published a report that mentioned teens being burnt out on Facebook:
For Facebook in particular, while some focus group participants enjoyed using it, far more associated it with constraints through an increasing adult presence, high-pressure or otherwise negative social interactions (“drama”), or feeling overwhelmed by others who share too much . . .In contrast to the widespread negative feelings about interactions on Facebook, the focus group participants who used Instagram expressed particular excitement about this social media site.
This speaks volumes when it comes to the future of mobile use and the visual aspects of the internet.

The rest of our presentation included explaining how search works, the importance of social media and why you should learn to code.  We then described all the various roles of Team Geek and typical characteristics of someone with that job.

To engage the students with an activity, we showed them this internet marketing career advice video we made them and asked them to market it. We published it on YouTube, and the students titled it and wrote a description. We then asked where we should share the video and after their answer of “INSTAGRAM!” we settled on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Our final message was “Whatever you want to do, be a geek about it.” 

February 6, 2012

Send an Android Valentine - SEO Valentine

My workplace, TopSpot Internet Marketing Solutions, is participating in Relay for Life Sugar Land. For Valentine's Day, we are having a bake sale with proceeds going to our team:

If you appreciate nerdy love, order Android cookies here! If you're local, you can pick them up at our office in Houston. Maybe you're not local, here are some ways you can send an Android Valentine or support the Relay for Life team.

  • Order a heart and Android cookie combo and send them to your favorite SEO specialist who is in love with a search engine and say it's from Google (it would make her day, really - she doesn't have a Valentine)
  • Order Android cookies and send them to a CRT or a TopSpot department: SEO, PPC, Web Design, Website Development or Tracking
  • Bypass the cookies and donate to our team or purchase a luminaria
  • Purchase Scentsy products - 20% of all sales through that link in February will go toward the TopSpot Relay for Life team

Support the American Cancer Society in the sweetest and nerdiest way possible: with an Android Valentine!

January 3, 2012

Tech Resolutions for 2012

I've made a LOT of resolutions for 2012. There are several that are tech related.

#1: Less Facebook
Like most, I spend WAY too much time on Facebook. It's a time suck of little to no value to me and it's affecting my efficiency.  I vow to only check it at first a few times a day and once I'm weaned, even less. I'm not even a fan of the platform, I definitely shouldn't be awarding it with my precious time, energy or advertising revenue.  I have a horrible habit where I feel like I can't be online for 15 minutes without pulling it up. I've changed the majority of my friends' update frequency to "Only Important" or have unsubscribed, hoping it will give me strength. Facebook is like crack, man.

#2: Foursquare Specials
Not only am I blogging on 4sqDay weekly and help organize monthly meet-ups, but as co-community manager of Foursquare Houston, my goal for 2012 is every week to convince another local business to run a special. Houston needs more specials and perhaps 52 new specials will encourage other businesses to sign up.  Lofty? Perhaps. But let's give it a shot.

#3: Learn to Code (More)
With my job as an SEO, I find myself frustrated with my lack of coding skills. I can do the basics (uh, sometimes), but I spend way too much of my day attempting to decipher pages of code. SEO can be extremely technical and to advance myself in my career, I need to be on top of my code game. I've signed up for Code Year, which will send me weekly, interactive lessons.

#4: Let me Upgrade You
I still have the original Motorola Droid, which loses charge easily and has some severe senioritis going on. My Mac is celebrating its fourth birthday and its disk space is constantly full. I watch TV on a tiny boxset, without my DVD player hooked up (both hand-me-downs, by the way). I own the original Sirius radio in my car (hooked up with a tape deck!). I have a PC from 6 years ago that I need to turn on (hopefully) and salvage any special data. The fanciest console I own is a Gamecube. I don't need anything fancy or to upgrade everything, but I'd like to be able to clearly see the score of the football game when I watch. I just need to be on top of things.

Things I Won in 2011

another year of winning stuff of the internet. Let's make this a tradition, shall we?  Here's a tentative list which I will add to as I remember.

I also won this hangover and a trip to Cracker Barrel
  • Vote for Mayor McCheese t-shirt for becoming the mayor of a McDonalds on 4sqDay
  •  the Likeable Social Media book (two, actually)
  • a Crave cupcake and t-shirt during their 4th of July giveaway
  • Won the Little Bitty Burger Barn's new burger contest and now have my very own burger on the menu
  • a Bizzy t-shirt (sniff)
  • Second place for my work Halloween costume and second place for my Batty Bacon Balls.
  • Got runner up in the Whole Foods' Smile for the Camembert photo contest (and scored a gift card)
  • Won a $100 CB2 gift card in Kevin's MSI Chicago Month at the Museum sweepstakes

September 30, 2011

Comparing Check-In Apps 2011

Last September, I wrote a blog post detailing which check-in apps I used, what I checked into, and why. Things have changed a lot in the location-based world since that post, so I thought I'd write an update. I am a check-in all-star.
4sqday shirt with a GetGlue sticker

My 2011 check-in app roster:

1. foursquare
Last year: "I haven't been granted the editing power of "SuperUser" status (yet).... I'm even working on building a local foursquare community to encourage more usage and awareness in my area."
I did become a Superuser and I started Foursquare Corpus Christi.  Foursquare is my favorite location-based service and has grown up a lot since last year. They hit 1 billion check-ins last week!  They are LBS king. I have become heavily involved and err, somewhat emotionally attached to foursquare.  I really like the new direction they are going- with the "explore" feature, deal partners, and lists.  They still have a lot room to grow, especially in regards to NFC transactions and their recommendations.  I'm excited to see what their future brings.  I am the epitome of a foursquare fan girl: currently 1/2 of Foursquare Houston.

2. Gowalla
Last year: "I honestly am not as an avid user of Gowalla as Foursquare..."  Yeah, still not.  I like Gowalla, I do. I liked their attention to detail. It's pretty. It's from Texas! But.. I don't get it.  I'm even sure what to do with it, exactly. This month, Gowalla made it's "mivot," relaunching itself as city guides.  While I do think there is a disconnect between the majority of Convention and Visitors Bureaus and the LBS movement, therefore creating a void, I'm not sure if this is the answer.  The guides are nice, I guess - a list of popular places with "stories" - Chris at AboutFousquare sums up issues with the new Gowalla nicely after his recent trip to Disney World.  Win me over, Gowalla.  

3. GetGlue
Last year: GetGlue is addictive... I still check into my tv shows, books, movies, music, etc, almost everyday. It's mostly for myself or whoever is paying attention there (not sure that's anyone). I'm interested in my friend feed, in what entertainment my friends are consuming. It tells me a lot about them, somehow... how they spend their downtime.  What do I get out of it? Not much. I've looked at their recommendations - there's been some really great stuff, but I haven't run out and bought anything. I've gotten my stickers (one in the picture above). I've seen some contests and campaigns from brands and this weirdly unlocked "say GetGlue at the register" GAP discount that's going on right now.  The DIRECTV partnership announced today is promising. Media companies seem to be extremely interested in advertising with GetGlue because it seems I can get a sticker from just about everything I check into. It's almost ridiculous.  I do wonder if Netflix's partnership with Facebook with give more credibility to GetGlue or leave it in the dust.  Also, they took the wine I mentioned last year out of the mobile app completely. Dang. I've got tired of checking into both Miso and GetGlue - so I've abandoned Miso. 

New apps since last year's post:

4. Untappd
In last year's post, I checked into beer using Beerby. In October 2010, Untappd was launched and after checking into both, I switched over to Untappd after a month or so.  Untappd is unique because it's an app on a mobile web platform with a great UX.  They have a partnership with foursquare, a well-maintained database, and a lot of awesome badges. They recommend beers I might like to try, I get to see what my friends are drinking where, and I have a record of my alcohol usage online for anyone to see! No, really, I don't care. I love Untappd. NB: the only reason I haven't checked into Untappd in a month is because I've been on a stupid diet. Come Halloween, I'm knocking back some check-ins. EDIT: Breaking news - Untappd launched native apps today - now we have a picture function!

5. Foodspotting
I LOVE Foodspotting. Foodspotting is a picture sharing app where you check-in to dishes at restaurants. I'm a huge fan of foodporn - so I really enjoy sharing dishes and looking for dishes around me.  Now that they're partnered with Facebook, I'm sure they'll blow up like they deserve.

6. Bizzy
Bizzy is a check-out app. Sure, a place might be "popular" on foursquare, but does that mean it's good? Not necessarily.  When you check out on Bizzy, you easily mark if you Loved, Hated, or if your experience was just OK. You have the ability to comment and add pictures.  Bizzy is developing a very smart recommendation engine.  They're also working with foursquare so now you get a reminder to check-out. It's super helpful because I wouldn't use it often because I would forget. Bizzy sent me a free t-shirt! Awesome!

my blog is just pictures of me in t-shirts
I've checked in through Google+ (and formerly Latitude, twice) but it doesn't mean anything. I no longer use SCVNGR, but their new product LevelUp has an amazing concept which I'd be all over if it was available here.

Is there a check-in app you've abandoned in the last year? What is new that you use? 

May 19, 2011

MozCation in Houston

I <3 SEO moz

In case you missed my I-changed-jobs-and-relocated-post, I am brand new resident of Houston. The Bayou City - hometown of things I adore - Beyonce, Shipley's Do-Nuts, Saint Arnold's Brewery, and the Galleria.  Needless to say, I am in love with this city.  What I didn't expect to find: a nerdy underbelly of tech-savvy, app-wielding search enthusiasts!  A true marketing community with digital conferences, tweet-ups, and a foodtruck-catered 4sqday.

When SEOmoz announced they were hitting the road on MozCation, I knew I had to nominate H-town. All of this has happened in the month that I've been here:

I would love to see "first official MozCation destination" added to this fabulous list. Please, SEOmoz, come to Space City. I want to go exploring with the Mozzers and Roger! 

I think your Google search after reading this post should go something like...

If you would like to support Houston's bid for Mozcation - please tweet the following:

I nominate Houston for an @SEOmoz #MozCation - More info here:

May 17, 2011

New Job, New City, New Posts

Apologies, it's been a while since I've posted here! I did want to give an update on what I've been up to -
I left my previous employer,, in Corpus Christi and now work for TopSpot Internet Marketing Solutions in Houston. I'm excited for the life change and career opportunities.  Their social media/blogging policy (yay! they have one!) forces me to say this blog and viewpoints expressed within doesn't necessarily reflect their own.

USDM taught me a lot about how an agency operates and what a true office environment entails. I learned to be passionate about search, social, and standards. I developed deep, lasting relationships with my bullpen-mates. However, I felt that certain things kept me from truly learning, gaining experience, and delivering the results I wanted. So, I made a change. Contrary to popular belief around the office, I did not leave to pursue social media. In fact, I'm doing much less social due the nature of the clients for which I am working.

I'm in my third week at TopSpot and perhaps I'm still honeymooning, but I adore it. My favorite thing about the company is their emphasis on education. They request you spend a good chunk of time keeping up with the latest news and not only sharing it with your department and conversion team but with other departments as well. They attend and send employees to important conferences - which is a big deal to me. As you may have seen me complain for an entire three months on twitter - I REALLY wanted to go to SXSWi. Our department even requested for a few of us to go, but received zero response. It was very disheartening to me and kickstarted this whole change.

I have a lot to say about the future of CVB/DMO websites, social, and location-based services, but I'm going to save that for future posts. In the meantime a few photo-memes from my USDM days.

First: a collection of pictures taken upon exiting late. I normally left way after dinnertime and it was a drain on me. Below are a tiny, tiny fraction of my late nights. In fact, my new year's resolution this year was to leave work on time. It lasted 2 weeks. For the record, USDM did not condone or comment on my late night work. However, it allowed me to research and get work done. My parents did not appreciate not seeing me most evenings. They thought for sure I was seeing someone. My response... "Google is my Boyfriend." My favorite was when I left one night at 3:45AM to find my car had a flat tire. Fun times!

April 9, 2010 6:53PM

Garrick & Me Showing off his new Droid
Not too late - July 20, 2010 5:52PM

October 5, 2010 1:05AM

October 7, 2010 1:03AM

January 14, 2010 12:35

January 20, 2010 12:48AM

January 22, 2011 1:26AM

Second: Pictures taken during meetings.

Real posts and real content coming soon!