Michael Streko died, SEO, blogging lessons, & WTF to write about

Posted in SEM Poetry Slam, Streko

I woke up Monday morning, scheduled to write a blog post, and at first couldn’t think whatever to write about. Our colleague and friend Michael Streko passed away Saturday, still another casualty of a sad-you-can-imagine outcome. Streko was an important marketer, early evangelist of all shades of SEO (cough), aggressive social marketing, and blogging. He used his blog as the central social feed among early social feeds. He was inspirational to Aimclear’s early success, teaching us the power of emergent social marketing. 

So, me blogging today about marketing Xs and Os, retargeting, data, or creative seemed trite. Then, remembering Streko, I waxed nostalgic about the Zen of 2007 blogging, using our blog to feed my life as a metaphor for personal and business branding purposes. Then there was always something to write about. 

Blogs used to be another thing. In 2007, blogs were the center of “Social” distribution. Before Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other modern social sites, blogs were huge instruments for engagement. Blogs are still crucial as publishing asset SERPs-anchor, the vessel for our content, PR machine, SEO, conversion and lots more. And, blogs still receive some engagement, especially larger publications. However, most engagement now happens spread out, person-to-person, in groups, public, etc. by way of other social channels.  SO, in honor of our lost pal, this blog post uses Aimclearblog to feed our company’s thinking and life, back to the future. Let’s make this personal. And, let’s remember germane lessons.

Many years ago, Streko goaded me to join Twitter, pointing out that Twitter unmasked when users were online, and proclaiming it was going to be f’ing huge. He called me up repeatedly until I joined as @aimclear. Michael was already evaluating Twitter indexing in organic SERPs, pinging tweople with @ mentions, using Twitter to crush his payday loan SEO gig at the time.

When he had nothing to say, Streko wrote about his vacation, swore, poked fun, pinged people with mentions – spraying personal brand and company-line in the SERPs, in your face, stronger, more intense.  He was an unfiltered genius. 

The week in the woods fishing referenced in the 2008 post below stemmed from an amazing Boundary Waters trek with Michael’s dad. Take a minute and read the screen capped post below. It’s some crazy shit.

Streko made contributions to the CONCEPT of personal brand. No matter your continuum of love/hate for Michael, he was a master of distribution.  Streko’s goal was to BE there – in his blog, Twitter, Squidoo, any prominence, ownership or SEO he could own. So, he dug deep and shared his authentic life to come up with enough content. “Life” is a metaphor for “Personal brand,” or vice versa.

“Streko was one of those visionaries of SEO that saw the matrix, and was often more than happy to tell his friends what he saw. He was too f’ing smart.Merry Morud

Back then we all learned to be authentic, even in our spamming. The timeless lesson is to be yourself as a FEED, in as many relevant channels as possible. BOOM! Were there risks of doing that? Of course, but remember, the Internet and this whole social thing was new. Big risks could yield big reward.  

In 2007/08 Streko went off in his blog, “I hate your SEO.” Look deep at the blogroll, the posts, writing-the book on candor, chops, & raw whatever-the-F nerve. Streko was king of calling out the 800 LB Gorilla, playing brand. His approach was radical, deadeye, and game changing. Think Lenny Bruce of SEO, black hat gone public. He did lots of cool stuff like publish chat logs, make fun of the difference between black and white hat SEO, and Rickroll spammers.

Dude blogged a lot for a couple of years before he went mainstream-PC, co-founded KnowEm and tried and got right with corporate. That meant he couldn’t swear in print, publish blog posts about black hat underworld, etc., and he worked hard to wash up. KnowEm’s early marketing whilst under Streko’s charge was epic.  Of course it was.

Let’s remember Streko as somebody who taught marketers about integrated social feeds pumping authentic, personal and corporate brands. And, prayers for peace, even as another beautiful, incorrigible, creative human left us way to soon.  Here’s the GoFundMe page to support Michael’s son Everett. Peace, Out.