Trying to retrain customers might be as hard as training Harley, my 9-year-old Dachshund. There are a lot of similarities too. Neither understands that I tell them no not because I’m a big meanie, but because what they are wanting to do will hurt them. Sometimes they do things and try to sneak it by me because what I don’t know won’t hurt me. In Harley’s case, he likes to steal the food off my plate. In the case of the customer, sometimes they have their developer add features; rewrite their home page, or tell me ‘What do I care what their website looks like?’
And if you know anything about Dachshunds, they are fiercely independent and always do things their way. They rely on their gut. And this is the same with the Entrepreneur or small business owner. They most times want to do it their way. I’m the same way, and it may be why Harley and I get along so well.
I keep finding myself having this conversation. “You just do your SEO” and we’ll worry about (fill in the blank). Unfortunately, SEO no longer functions that way, and now Google has accountability built into it called engagement. So now SEO is about everything. And really, is it about search engine optimization, or is it really VEO (visitor experience optimization)?
All too often SEO is considered a piece of the puzzle. It is understandable after all because historically it was its own animal. If you did certain things correctly you ranked. And if you didn’t you didn’t rank. Pretty cut and dry. But as search has become more personal, the results need to better address each individual user. What does that means to the marketing company? The click needs to be induced, and then when you get the click, the entire page needs to address the needs of the visitor or they bounce away, and that bounce is logged.
Good search engine rankings are now dependent on good user experience. What that means is content needs to be outstanding. It has to be authentic and the page the person lands on from the search engine needs to address their needs. I am of the opinion the SEO company should borrow the SEM landing page concept that each page is optimized not only to rank in Google, but to convert to a sale. Intrinsically, this will benefit both the search and the visitor.
#1: Know Your Client
This requires us, as well as the site owner, to adequately identify their visitor. I’ve said before that I know my hosting clients and what they need for us to do, and my blog and my site has been geared specifically for them. As business owners, it’s hard sometimes to view ourselves how we are instead of how we want to be, but that now can have a very negative impact on the visitor experience. Understanding who your users are is important. If you don’t understand who that user is and you land them on a page that is inappropriate, you will end up with a bounce and be penalized.
Personally, this is the hardest part to get across to customers. Whether it is vacations, jewelry or Christmas decorations, it’s imperative your site design and call-to-action be clear for your specific audience, and that sometimes requires you to step out of your own self to evaluate that. It’s in part why we have minions here.
#2 Understand How You Compete With Your Competition
Understanding your competition is also important because if you sell customized vacations or customized jewelry, that is a different market share than a person who wants to take a trip and buy it on Expedia. If you want to sell custom jewelry, then you need to carve that niche out that is both personal and intimate. That means the site needs to address those challenges. If you look like Expedia, your clientele will measure you against Expedia.
Good SEO is now dependent on Good User Engagement Reviews and Feedback. Because of the advent of Social Media, it is necessary to properly represent what and who you are. Marketing messages, Web design and content all need to support what or who you are properly. Not addressing your business challenges in your design or content can quickly cause a high bounce rate or bad feedback across the Internet.
#4 Get the Link
As we all know SEO is dependent on the link. As I was reading this morning, Matt Cutts floated by in my twitter feed that said something to this effect. Don’t build a link that looks like you did it naturally. Naturally build a link. Now this can be confusing, but since I’ve been writing all my Blogs myself and actually made them meaningful, I’m picking up links 3-4 a week on average now. What this really means is to do this legitimately you have to put out good, useful information. And you have to work towards getting a following.
I think the real issue with SEO is that for far too long it was compartmentalized. And now everyone is having an issue adjusting that everything from messaging to graphics to color to buttons affect how your website sells. And until the day your website is not the #1 salesperson on your team, you can’t just put SEO in a box and isolate it, which makes SEO everything, not just a thing.