Separating truth from fiction in internet marketing isn’t always easy.
Sales letters are designed to be plausible and copywriters are taught to use exceptionally precise figures in headlines.
That’s why you’ll often see claims along the lines of “How I made $2,716.81 in 24 hours”
The precision is maybe true, maybe not. But we tend to believe it because it’s so precise.
Google do the same with their keyword tool.
The figures are ultra precise: 2,900, 33,100, 590, 170, etc.
Not 3,000, 33,000, 600, 200 or whatever.
They’re designed to be believable – as though Google’s computers have actually gone out and checked the exact number of searches that were made recently.
Which most definitely isn’t the case.
The keyword planner is aimed at advertisers and it wants to convince them to spend more money on more adverts.
And if it gave woolly figures, potential advertisers wouldn’t be as convinced to spend money.
But that means we probably can’t trust any figures that are put out there.
As an aside, that goes for lots of things.
How many people were in a crowd for instance – that’s based on the average area a person takes up on the ground including personal space and then extrapolated to the area the crowd covered.
Or government figures – the UK is currently deciding whether or not to stay in the European Union and there’s a big gap in the figures about how much it costs us to be a member of the EU.
Depending on which side of the argument, anything from £5 billion to £8.6 billion.
Quite a big difference so it’s hard to know which figure (if either) is true.
But back to internet marketing…
Most of the truths out there are hiding in plain sight.
What ranks at the top of the search engine queries for instance.
Well, just do a search yourself.
Check a few of the pages.
Chances are they’ve got a lot of relevant content.
It probably isn’t “clean” code.
Modern websites (unless they’re an ancient design) tend to have a lot of code behind the scenes so that they display well on different devices and keep track of your preferences.
But the sites probably load reasonably fast most of the time.
They’re maybe mobile friendly if you’re viewing them on your phone.
They’ve probably got decent on-page SEO – things like title tags, headlines, alternative text for images, a fairly high word count, etc.
That kind of thing you can check for yourself and prove whether or not Google are telling you the truth when they say they’re getting rid of spam results.
But what about other things that people claim are true?
The answer tends to be “it depends”
If you’ve followed the person for some time and checked out some of the things they’ve said, there’s a decent chance that their latest words are true.
But even then, not always.
In reality, you need to test things for yourself.
Then you’ll find out whether or not they’re true for you.
Because we’re all different.
It’s a bit like following a recipe.
You could give the same recipe to a dozen different people and chances are that you’d have a dozen slightly different dishes at the end of it.
The same goes for internet marketing.
Partly because you can’t actually recreate the exact conditions.
Let’s say that someone is promoting a way to use Twitter to increase website traffic.
There’s a lot of variables even if you mimic their approach.
- How many followers?
- Are they real followers or are they fake followers (think Fiverr)?
- What time of day were the Tweets?
- What hash tags were used?
- What keywords were used?
- How much space was left in the Tweet for people to be able to re-Tweet?
- What else was happening at the exact same time in the world?
- And so on…
You can’t exactly replicate what happened before so even if the idea was totally true that doesn’t mean it will work in the exact same way for you.
So you need to test to find the truth!
That’s the only way you can really find out what’s true and what isn’t in internet marketing.
And even then you can’t be totally sure that it’s not the online equivalent of a placebo.
Most of us don’t have the budget to run a test on a million websites or keywords.
So the phrase “your mileage may vary” comes into play.
It’s a bit like the butterfly effect.
Most of the time if your initial instinct is that you don’t believe it then you’re probably right.
Over time you’ll be better able to spot the obvious fakes – so long as you don’t subconsciously want to believe them and therefore buy into the idea even though you know deep down it’s a non starter.
If you’d like more help with internet marketing that works in the real world – mainly “boring” stuff that you’ve probably dismissed as too basic rather than some shiny stuff that doesn’t work – then click this link to find out more.