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…

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From Click-Z: 4 Ways to Build a Winning Digital Contest


Hey gang! I have written previously about using contests to boost your social media attention.

In her new article, “4 Ways to Build a Winning Digital Contest“, Tessa Wegert offers some great tips on running online contests that get results. I am going to paraphrase her here, but please check out her article for an engaging read!

  1. Start small – start with a small Facebook effort designed to increase your fan base. Wegert suggests using using a Facebook contest application like Wildfire. Wildfire is a very inexpensive way to run a contest, and they will take you step-by-step through the process.  I am a big proponent of it!
  2. Use hashtags – Wegert notes, “For image-based contests, ask consumers to post a predefined hashtag along with their video or photograph. It’s a small addition to each submission, but it will greatly expand the contest’s reach across Twitter and potentially generate additional online buzz.” I need to start using and emphasizing hashtags more, so this is a good recommendation. Read more about hashtags here.
  3. Use all of your channels to support the contest – Wegert says, “Support your contest with multi-channel ads whenever possible. Contests that are mentioned in TV spots and print ads, display ads, and on social sites are more likely to get moving quickly, and launching with a bang is critical when your campaign is time-sensitive and short-lived, as contests typically are.” I think all of your marketing efforts need to support each other – none should live in a silo.
  4. Socialize your contest – Wegert says, “Give participants the chance to share your contest with their peers. In addition to incorporating sharing functionality into the contest itself, invite consumers to help you judge the winners. By opening a contest to public voting, brands can recruit additional participants and improve word of mouth, and the small act of recognizing the value of consumer feedback can have a big impact on the way consumers perceive your brand.” Again, this is where Wildfire can come in handy.  They will help you set up to receive submissions, like in a photo content, and to let your fans vote on winners. This is another great way of socializing your content!

The article has some great tips, and I hope to hear from you when you decide to launch your own online contest!  Until next time…

Chain ‘em to the radiator – lock down those Facebook fans!


ImageI was helping someone work on some social media strategies for his small business.  One part of those suggestions was to buy targeted Facebook ads.

This morning he told me he was preparing to buy the ads.

This is where it’s time to apply the brakes. Before you lure anyone into your page, you have to have a plan for how you are going to keep them there. In real life you would just chain them to the radiator. In the digital world, it takes a little bit more.

I recommend planning your base interactions about a year in advance.  This ensures that you always have some base level of engaging content.  It also helps you think ahead about things that may take longer to plan, like videos and sweepstakes.

As the saying goes: failure to plan is a plan to fail

So, the question remains:  once you get people to your page, what incentive do they have to stay and, more importantly, to share and revisit? What social media chains have you found to hitch visitors to your radiator, er, page?