SEO Guru Taps Facebook To Support Israel

Joel LeydenMarketing and SEO Guru Joel Leyden is reaching out through search engine optimization and social media to help Jews and Christians express their support for the Israel Defense Force and Israeli civilians.

The Facebook forum, "I Support the Israel Defense Forces In Preventing Terror Attacks From Gaza"--created about three hours after the first strikes were made in Gaza--explains Israel's position to the world, Leyden said. "The stickiness makes it a medium that lets people feel, rather than remain passive," he said. "You can put messages in MySpace or Facebook, but it goes nowhere until you drive the content through search engines like Google News. Now you're reaching 60 million people instantly."

The combination of social media and SEO creates the "most powerful voice" to which most people are completely oblivious, Leyden said. Although efforts are still somewhat disorganized, Leyden said he has been approached by the U.S. State Department to educate government officials on how to reach wide audiences with SEO and social media, which he refers to as "Web 2.0."



Crossing international boundaries in a world where the Internet has become a tool to reach people globally also requires marketers to remain sensitive to other cultures and how people respond to campaigns.

For marketers, the key benefit of social media marketing is connecting with as many people as possible, which is Leyden's approach. Citing a survey from Marketing Executives Networking Group, research firm eMarketer said that 85.4% of survey participants noted customer engagement as the main benefit of social media marketing, followed by direct customer communications, at 65%; speedy feedback/ results, at 59.9%; and learning customer preferences, at 59.1%. Brand-building and reach fell much lower on the list, at 48.2% and 37.2% of respondents, respectively.

Leyden, which owns the Israel News Agency, said his Facebook page pledges support for brave men and women in the Israel Defense Forces who by air, water and ground protect Israel's democracy and sovereign borders. The site's friend count quickly climbed from 3,232 members on Dec. 28 at 9 P.M. EST to nearly 17,000 members on midday on Dec. 30. A link to a video on Google's YouTube also provides insight as to why the Israel Defense Forces confront Islamic terrorists in Gaza.

It's not "hasbara," which means "to explain or PR spin," Leyden said. "It's about using social media and SEO to get the facts out. Israel lacks professional manpower and the budget. We put the money into weapons to defend ourselves, but public opinion has an influence on many lives."

3 comments about "SEO Guru Taps Facebook To Support Israel".
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  1. David Kaplan from Kaplan Consulting, December 31, 2008 at 9:49 a.m.

    Why do you think that "SEOs" should stay away from politics & religion?

  2. Henry Blaufox from Dragon360, December 31, 2008 at 10:35 a.m.

    This is an excellent way to spread the message. In fact, we did the same thing to help get aid into Georgia after the Russians pillaged the country last summer. We did SEO for the American Friends of Georgia site (www.afgeorgia,org) and a small PPC campaign that yielded seven times the PPC spend in donations for relief efforts. Georgian government sponsored relief groups linked to the site as the best way to pursue relief efforts. The Russians were so angry they left less than polite posts and spent a lot of time browsing to see what was going on. We surmise the last from Analytics results. Don't overlook the power of Analytics in these critical efforts.

    If it worked for Georgia, it can work for Israel.

  3. Nathan Rice from Haberman, December 31, 2008 at 11:26 a.m.

    Almost seems too obvious to report now - SEO, PPC campaigns, and Social Media strategies are a must to get cause related information out.

    Looking forward to seeing more of this in 2009!

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