SEO Is A Complex Topic
Recently I was asked to speak at the Social Media Breakfast in Central Minnesota (smbcmn). When I was asked to speak it was decided that the topic would be Search Engine Optimization. Being a complete attention hog I jumped at the opportunity and thought about how great my presentation would be. However as I began to structure the presentation I realized just how big this task was going to be. For those of you who don’t know the focus of the smbcmn is to gather marketers together and discuss topics related to social media and using social media to market their businesses. The speaker generally provides a little background on the topic and provides tips and advice that the attendees can use to improve their marketing efforts. This is where the panic sets in. How do you explain search engines to a crowd of people and then explain what you do as an SEO without getting extremely technical? After quite a few drafts ended up in a crumpled pile by the garbage can I realized just how easy this can be. Forget about the technical stuff, let’s just talk about content and being user friendly because ultimately that is what will drive you to perform well in search. In addition to content we can talk about important ways to make it easy for people to find that content.
How Search Engines Work
After I decided to focus on content I figured I would have to provide an understanding of how search engines work. I decided that it wouldn’t be an SEO presentation without Matt Cutts so I let him explain how Google works with this Youtube video.
Why Content is Still King
I love watching that video of Matt explaining Google. I know that at this point it is kind of dated, but it reminds me of just how essential content is to your SEO efforts. Without fresh original content Google is isn’t given anything to index. In addition to that, content is what drives people to your site. The way content is crafted has an impact on the actions those people take when they reach your site. For example does your content contain a call to action? Does your content drive people to a conversion? Is your content unique enough or helpful enough that people will want to share it? Is the content delivered in a user friendly way (is your site easy to navigate)? Ultimately you need to make a decision as a marketer. First ask yourself, “what is my target market?’ Secondly you have to ask yourself “what do I want people to do when they visit my site?’ After you answer those two questions you create content that attempts to achieve those goals.
After I settled on content I came up with a few tips that will help users find the content you publish on your site. Those tips included social media, claiming local listings, and having a mobile strategy. After discussing this with Steve Gasser he pointed out that with those tips I was also presenting the concept of SoLoMo. SoLoMo is an internet marketing philosophy that focuses on Social, Local, and Mobile. My tips for SoLoMo where pretty straight forward and as follows.
- Social- Make your content easy to share and share your content with others
- Search engines like this because it helps to identify the importance of the content
- Local- Consistently claim your local listing and monitor them for accuracy and reviews.
- Search engines like this because it verifies that information is correct.
- I like this because people can find you in your actual building
- Mobile- Have a strategy to reach mobile users
- Mobile sites are very friendly to mobile users. Mobile users increase every day. You need to provide a friendly experience to mobile users
My final tip for sharing content is to try paid search advertising. I stress paid search advertising because you then have a unique opportunity to target users who are showing intent to take an action. I really hate it when I think about users getting great information from my site and learning exactly what they need (because my blog ranks well for all of the good keywords). Then when the user actually needs to buy my competitor has paid search ads and steals my customer. DISGUSTING! Furthermore paid search advertising is measurable. You know when and how it’s working and you can easily throw out ideas that aren’t working. It is so much harder to change a billboard than it is an AdWords campaign.
Finally we discussed tracking our efforts. The amazing thing about Internet marketing is that you can track and monitor almost every effort that you are taking. When a user visits your site you can identify how they got there, what they did, and how much they engaged with your site. This allows you to rinse and repeat with every action that is working, and allows you to pull the plug on what isn’t working. I personally use Google Analytics for this and have no real complaints. For a free product it is very robust and user friendly.
I know that I have left out many important parts to SEO. We didn’t talk about Authorship, redirects, or rel=canonical. Mainly because I didn’t want everyone to be rel=confused (see what I did there?). My main goal was to provide actionable items that everyone can walk away with and make a difference. If you would like to see the slides used in my presentation they are the ones featured below. We also have a whitepaper called ‘Five SEO Essentials Made Easy with WordPress” feel free to click the link for a copy of that. As always feel free to comment in the section below.