Search engine optimization is killing marketing
One of the greatest things about the Internet and marketing is the data. Sure I love the immediacy, but the data is really what’s intriguing. You can hold focus groups, track responses from ads, yet nothing beats the voyeuristic look-over-the-shoulder of the buyer data that the Internet provides. For example, I don’t know how many times a person looked at a newspaper ad before they picked up the phone. Click-data on an ad can tell me that and more.
Let’s focus on search engines and optimization. Very basically, Google and the others (need I mention them?) all retain key phrase searches, among other data about their viewers. (We’ll explore that in an upcoming post.) At a very basic level, SEO leverages the key phrase data to create relevancy to a site or its content. A very basic process might consider the following:
- Research phrases.
- Select the most relevant.
- Optimize content.
Provided you’ve selected optimal key phrases, that is, those that best represent an alignment of your client’s needs to what you can provide for them, this should be a no-brainer. Most often, it’s not. Most people want to see everything everywhere. The “my site is full of great stuff for viewers” attitude, and “let’s be sure we have lots of link to improve Google Page Rank” prevails. So while your site might show up, you are likely to turn viewers away because the content lacks direction and isn’t showing value. These SEO efforts are killing the very same thing they were originally intended to do: marketing…providing messages to their customers or viewers to increase an action or achieve a goal. Instead they focused on tactics and made Page Rank the goal.
Search engine optimization is actually viewer or customer optimization. Taking your focus off Google Page Rank and redirecting your efforts on Page Value – that is, the value and alignment with viewer intent and goals – will help you to choose what pages should be optimized with phrases and links, where you should get more aggressive, and when to ease up and provide direction to the viewer.
Make Page Value Your Goal
Instead of diving head first into super-optimization, consider strategy first:
1. What phrases are similar to each other and can work together to connect with the viewer?
2. What phrases or phrase groups are most relevant to which pages or topics?
Once you have mapped phrases to pages, then ask these questions:
3. If this page shows up in the SERPs (search engine results page), is this where the customer should land, or the page they should be visiting?
4. What is the next step or goal page?
Ultimately providing value will help you to guide a viewer to a goal. Remember, your viewers are there for a reason, why not help them get there in the most efficient manner possible?
Take the “Value to the Viewer” approach and you’ll find your optimization will be more focused, providing very clear relevancy clues to both your intended audience and search engines. And in helping the viewer land on the page that is most relevant to their request, you will likely see an improvement in your bounce rate: they are less likely to bail out quicker if they have better clues that your site can provide what they are looking for.
What’s your Plan C when it comes to SEO?