The Myth of SEO


The myth of search engine optimization

Slay the mythical beast known as SEO.

I’ve been to many meetings and job interviews where I am asked “What do you know about SEO? We want to make our page more search-optimized.”

This is the first sign you are dealing with someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about. There is a common misconception that SEO is some mystic practice where the right combination of keywords will put you on the front page of a Google search, and many web marketing groups would be more than happy to perpetuate this myth.

The truth is that Google’s ranking formulas are always changing.  The way to boost your pages searches is to create content that people like. That means you may need to actually transform your website from a corporate-mission-statement billboard into a place where people come to for valuable information and come back on a regular basis.

Keep your content fresh! Stale page = stale search results.

Keep it fresh

Give me a reason to come back to your site.  Find some way to update content frequently, at least in some part of the site.  That could be through a blog, a newsroom, photo galleries, videos or something great that I haven’t even thought of! Stale site = stale search results.

Give it away now

This requires you to give something away.  I don’t mean promotional t-shirts.  I mean information.

If you run a tax service, offer a weekly tip on financial fitness or deductions people might not know about. If you make carburetors, host a car-talk blog on your site.

Turn your site into a place where people know they will find new and engaging content on every visit.  Also, don’t be afraid of giving away your valuable information for free.  When you see restaurants giving out free samples, there’s a reason.  They know you’ll like it and you’ll come back when you’re hungry. If I read your baking tips every week, guess where I will come when I need a wedding cake? That’s called building affinity.

listen to your customers

Are you listening to your customers?

Listen to your customers

Instead of brainstorming terms you think are most important to your business, use Google Analytics look at the monthly keywords that are bringing people to your site. These are the keywords that are important to your customers, and they may not be what you think they are. Your customers are telling you what they want – are you listening?

Make it sociable and sharable

Okay, now that you have started creating great content on a regular basis, make sure people can share it.  Add social sharing options to all of your content and maybe even allowing comments on your blog posts or videos.

Consider creating interactive forums where customers can share tips and even troubleshoot product problems (saving you some customer service headaches). Your experts can participate in the forums too – a great way to monitor what people are saying about your company/products and to see any possible PR crises before they hit.

Also, use a strong social media presence, email marketing and a solid website to support each other.  You can read more about this concept here.

Say ‘so long’ to SEO

Now I want you to put your hand over your heart and swear that you won’t ask anyone about how to improve SEO again.  The truth is that SEO is a byproduct of having a site that provides information that is helpful – a site that people like, visit frequently, and share with their friends. You won’t get good search results just by being there – you have to be worth finding.

Until next time…

A handbook for Facebook success


Optimize your Facebook content and engage your fans!

I was perusing my email and found that Click-Z has issued a new “Facebook Casebook”, which documents some ways large and small companies are using Facebook successfully in their marketing.

It is free of charge, you just have to sign up and have it emailed to you.  I would highly recommend getting it. I am in no way endorsed by or affiliated with Click-Z, but I consider them to be a highly reliable source of news for social media and online marketing.

Some of the features:

  • How Nutella’s Facebook ads outperformed their TV advertising.
  • How Domino’s used Facebook to create an event, driving 542,000 users to the Domino’s ordering sites on Dec. 8, 2011.
  • How to use Facebook e-commerce to allow customers to create “wish lists”.
  • How to optimize paid Facebook ads.
  • How CNET socialized their website content with Facebook and Twitter links. In addition they used HootSuite to plan out posts in advance. They raised CNET’s Facebook likes from 69,000 to 842,000, while pushing Twitter followers from 24,000 to 212,000.
  • CNET Social Media Manager Nathan Bransford notes:“It’s not the result of some huge ad campaign or anything we’ve done spending a bunch of money,” he said. “It’s all about organic growth. My philoso­phy is that there is not a social media bullet. You can’t do ‘X’ to get to ‘Y.’ People always say, ‘What do I need to do? What do I need to do?’ There’s not a magic to it. What’s important is being consis­tently good, and consistently giving people things that they want…. I think you can get in the weeds of social media and forget the important things.”

Take a look, because it won’t cost you anything but time.  What tactics have you used to optimize your Facebook marketing?  Please let me know!

Until next time…

Optimizing and boosting your YouTube Rankings


Figure 1 – check out all of the search terms people used that landed them on a tennis instructional video. Expand your keyword!

Heidi-ho friends!

I was reading this article by Chris Sietsema about optimizing your YouTube content. I think the author is mostly right on, but I’d like to augment his ideas with a few tips of my own. Remember, YouTube is searchable, and anything that is searchable can be optimized!

1)      Make entertaining content. I think entertaining is the wrong word here; it conjures up painful images of corporate suits ordering the marketing department to create a “viral video.”

I think a better word to use is relevant.  Make your videos relevant.  Every business has knowledge to share. It’s just a question of when and how you share it.

A good example is this video about the odds of filling out a perfect NCAA bracket. This video was released just before the 2011 NCAA tournament and got the majority of it’s views around that time.  Now, you may be thinking, “Hey, this video only has 5,000 views.” However what you are not noting is that this video will be relevant every March, anytime someone searches YouTube for “perfect NCAA bracket.”

Sietsema also cites the ingenious “Will It Blend?” video series, which manages to make product demonstration entertaining.

The “Will it Blend” series is a great example of entertaining YouTube marketing and it costs almost nothing to produce. The videos are brief, informative and entertaining. Plus, they provide tangible product benefits.

Find some bit of important knowledge that your business can add to YouTube and start to plan not only what you will release but also when would be the right time to put that content forward.

One more note – keep it brief. I would keep your video at three minutes or less if possible.

2)      Find your keywords. This is absolutely essential in order to get your video noticed.  Whenever you upload a video, you have the option of adding keywords.  Think of any possible search term that someone interested in your video might use in the YouTube search box.

Take a look at the search terms people plugged in that brought them to this instructional/promotional video about tennis lessons (figure 1). The video profited from those searches by adding in keywords like Serena, Roddick and Sampras.

Additionally, Sietsema notes the importance of the YouTube Keyword Tool.  This is a great, free resource that allows you to see the top search words that have led people to videos on that topic.  You can also past in the URL of a video and see the search words that brought people to that video.  Try it now – and then incorporate the phrases that have garnered the most searches into your keywords.

Don’t worry about making the most polished video in the world. Just make something that is interesting, brief (three minutes or less), authentic and – hopefully – entertaining.

I encourage you to check out the rest of Sietsema’s article, where he goes into detail about optimizing video on your website. More so, I encourage you to think about ways you can create optimize your YouTube presence for improved marketing.

Until next time…