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…

Advertisements

Make it easy to socialize your website


By now, we all know that social media is the place where most companies are now focusing their efforts.  That means that your website needs to be equipped for social sharing.  Attention is the currency of the internet, and you can’t get attention without word of mouth.

Image 1 – Puma’s social sharing

In image one, you can see how Puma all0ws you to socially share their products, encouraging you to post the image on Pinterest, to “Like” it and to Tweet about it.  This allows the customer to share things that they are passionate about.  Puma is not scared of you using their copyrighted images on Pinterest, they are encouraging it.  That’s because they will reach a much bigger audience through social sharing than they ever could through traditional advertising.  What’s more, the message is more trustworthy because it is coming from one of your Facebook or Pinterest friends.

While clothing is a great product for social sharing, this can be applied to many types of businesses. At your next brainstorming session, have a discussion about what items on your website would be good targets for social sharing.  I’d be interested to hear the results.

Another great item for social sharing is news.  If you put any type of news on your site – press releases, articles, blog posts, whatever – make sure it has social sharing functions attached.  Not only will this share your content, but it will also allow you to track the sharing via Google Analytics.  Keeping track of which items generate a lot of shares can give you a better idea of what appeals to your readers.  This is what you call Actionable Analytics.

Image 2 – This news article from Stanford University encourages social sharing.

In image two, you can see some social sharing links, which you should incorporate into any type of “news” that you put out.

(A side note: I’m of the opinion that you should put out news as much as possible.  Anything that happens at your company.  Cast a wide net, see what people like, and then start crafting your messages to meet the audience’s tastes.)

Showing the number of Tweets and Likes helps encourage sharing by showing the reader that others are doing it.  Adding your page to StumbleUpon will also help people find you (more on StumbleUpon in the future!).

What items on your website have you made sharable? What website items are you thinking about adding social sharing to?  Please let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…