Traditional SEO and Meatball Sundae’s
Just back from a rewarding trip to SES Chicago – thanks to Kevin Ryan and crew for a fantastic conference once again – and although I had a truly great speaking session and audience Q&A with Jennifer, Todd, Steven and Adam, the main benefit for me personally, was the consolidation of my thinking that happened from Seth Godin and the folks on my panel: Actionable Social Media (along with many others, but these two relate directly to this topic).
What started it off for me was reading the Q&A with Seth in the conference magazine on Monday, where in answer to the question:
Most search marketers don’t think of you as a search marketing guru. Some mistakenly think you’re anti-SEO. Yet through Squidoo, you’ve helped people understand search engine traffic, its value to marketers, the Google Dance, and how to succeed in search marketing.
… search traffic is vital to just about everyone building something on the web. So the question becomes, how do you get more out of it?
Many organizations, addicted to control, and addicted to spending money instead of time and talent, have resorted to hiring SEO people….
As a tactic, it’s not bad. But as a strategy, it’s a problem. It’s a problem because of competition, and it’s a problem because the search engines could change their rules at any moment. So, my proposal is to skip most of that and realize that you have a clear strategy. Not easy, but effective: make stuff people want to see, talk about, and link to! That’s what the search engines are looking for, and if you build it…
In my mind (and I believe to those on my panel) this is bang on and where social media, online public relations, and content creation come into play. It’s no longer enough to just "do" SEO. Sure, file and url structure, keyword rich content, title, image, description, etc. tags are all important (and will remain so), but what’s more important is a long term strategy for content creation and direct engagement that is beneficial to your audience. Stuff that people want to talk about, that they find useful, that helps add value. Which is where social media and interactive strategies come into play; reputation building, community engagement, expertise sharing, the gamut – but only those that are appropriate to your site or brand. Otherwise it’s just whipcream piled on top of meatballs.
Unfortunately, developing compelling content and sticking to a long term strategic vision takes time, effort, and authenticity, and with too many folks promising oodles of traffic via Digg or saying you ‘must be on Facebook’ too many brands try to take the easy way out and end up wasting valuable time and money on the quick fix without the lasting benefits. There is no immediate direct ROI, and that’s not a bad thing. The long tail / term benefits will far outweigh the quick fix in the long run.
[photo credit: 2-Dog-Farm via Flickr]