What is SEO?
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a collection of strategies and tactics to help your Website perform better in the search results.
Companies like Google and Bing go over your site to see what it is about and then they index your site and match it up with people searching for things that your site is about.
Google puts a lot of thought and a lot of effort into making sure you are finding the best results for your search. Google would go out of business if they couldn’t tell the difference between a legitimate Website or business and a website just randomly mentioning the same keywords.
This is just the beginning. How a legitimate business improves its rankings in the search results sometimes feels like playing chess with a blindfold on. And in a way you are. You can’t tell what Google is thinking, but what you do know is that it should make perfect sense. So even though you are blind when it comes to what they are doing you are not blind to the common-sensical way people think and feel. You are, in fact, a person. If you went to a business called “The best tire store ever” and asked them if they knew what size tire fits on your car, and all they could say was “We are the greatest.” Would you trust them to put on the right tire? Probably not. Compare that with the tire company everyone is talking about and recommending. Even if they were named Snorglefitter, you would much rather have them change your tires than that other company. Right? They sound much more branded too, which is also more appealing than generic company and domain names. SEO is the same way. A ton of common sense is involved.
Push vs Pull Marketing.
It is a rather big deal. In all my life the only marketing I ever saw anyone do was push marketing. Even the AIDA format was a push style of marketing. It was a more tricky way of doing it, but it was still push. You can use AIDA in a pull marketing plan, but when I grew up that was extremely rare.
So what is the difference?
- PUSH MARKETING:
Make something that you think people will want and then go to them and try to convince them of why they need it. Push it on them.
- PULL MARKETING:
Find out what people need and then give them what they need. Discover a problem a company may be having and then solve that problem. Your solution draws them to you.
I have heard it explained somewhat like this. You hire two photographers to get a winning shot of a cheetah for your magazine. One of the photographers gathers the most expensive gear, hires a few guides and sets out to chase down a cheetah. Every time he gets close the cheetah runs away. Ultimately he spends time and a ton of energy only to get a picture of the cheetah as it is running away. A butt shot.
The other photographer asks people in the village and experts on cheetahs what cheetahs need and want. They explain to him that the local watering hole is dry this time of year so the cheetah spends a great deal of time and energy looking for water. The photographer buys a watering trough and fills it with fresh water every day then sits nearby and waits. Soon the water has caught the attention of the local birds and wildlife. The activity at the water trough brings other curious animals to it which eventually gets the attention of the cheetah. The cheetah checks out what is going on and finds the fresh, clean cool water, and comes down for a refreshing drink. The photographer then gets his photo and the cover of the magazine.
You still need to be strategic when it comes to pull marketing though. Like putting yourself in front of the right audience at the right time for example. I will give you a person example. I have noticed that if I want to get the attention of the Brazilian jiu jitsu community the best time to do that is around 10 at night on Instagram. So for me, posting my jiu jitsu designs after 10 is much better than 9 in the morning. For Ffacebook, I do best if I post just after 9 in the morning or 5PM when people are getting off work and checking their Facebook accounts. When I post items on Facebook to sell I rarely get any attention. But when I post to increase my circle of friends I do much better.
Social media can benefit your business and is part of the whole SEO strategy, because of the pull marketing approach. Pat Flynn, of SPI, reminds us that we should be trying to better serve our customers. Social media can help us do that.
It is really interesting, especially in this narcissistic society that we live in today, how it is in our best interest to be thinking of others! – Timothy Eberly
Site Usefulness and Site Trust.
My wife wrote a paper once explaining to an employer just what it was the business of owning a website was all about. She started out with the very obvious and yet overlooked fact that everyone comes to the internet to get something. Everyone is looking to get something, whether that is information, services or a product. Even entertainment, because it is a service. So, if you put yourself in their shoes, what are they getting from your website? And, possibly even more importantly, are they getting the right thing? If I visit a steakhouse website, am I doing it so that I can read up on its history? Probably not.
If I am selling a service or a product it would be very useful if I had some testimonials, ratings, phone number, and contact form easily located. Would you hire someone if no one recommended them? You probably are not as likely to do so, right?
Amazon puts the rating and a link to the comments above the price it is that important!
If it is information you are sharing on your site, allowing people to comment and carry on the conversation is key. Let people share your content on their social media.
Most people don’t know the answer to this question:
Is your site doing a good job of serving its customers? This reminds me of the chess prodigy’s father that was explaining to the kid’s coach about how he was playing better than ever. The coach said, and how would you know this? My paraphrase, but I think you get the point.
Here is a way for you to check. What you are looking for is whether your site is matching the searcher’s intent. If it isn’t, your visitors will not stay on your page for long. We call that bounce. If your bounce rate is high it means your page is not what people are looking for. Maybe your title and content are great, but some reason it is not quite what people expect.
By using Google Search Console we can get a better idea of how our page is performing.
“You are trying to improve your page’s rank; not your whole site.”
By using the search console I found out that one of my images that I was selling of sunflowers was found by the query “photo paper”. That is not what the page was about so obviously it needs to be tweaked a lot.
How did I figure that out?
First I went to the search console and selected the search analytics.
Then select dates range and set it to 90. Select pages and at the top select clicks and impressions. What you are looking for is a page with a high number of impressions and low number of clicks.
Then click the link to see its stats.
As you can see the results 3 and 4 indicate that Google thinks this page is about profit share SEO, but the people seeing that listing don’t think that is what the page is about at all. Of course my site has been changed from the topic photography to SEO recently, so this may be a false positive type of misleading statistic. 😉 But this is what you would be looking for; high disparity. A high number of impressions and low clicks. In order to make our page more accurately reflect what the user is looking for we have these five areas we can make adjustments on.
- Title tag
- Meta description
- Page title and headers
- Body text
- Call to action
Once you get people clicking on your site you have to make sure you are doing all you can to satisfy their needs. Put yourself in their shoes. If you are looking for natural ways to clean your kitchen, you probably want a description and a list of products that will do that job. If you are looking for a service to clean your kitchen naturally, then you would probably expect to find, hours, availability, an easy to way to schedule an appointment, and a list of recommendations.
Once you make the adjustments you want to make to your page you will need to have Google reindex the page.
So that is the method behind fixing some of your pages. Watch these pages and retweak them as necessary.
What are your thoughts on this article? Was it helpful? Leave me a comment.
Author: Timothy Eberly
Timothy is a web design and graphic artist that has been working in the business for over 20 years and has designed and built thousands of websites including one for a major ad firm in Spokane. In addition to graphic design and web development he also worked as a photographer on several films made in the Spokane area. You can connect with him on facebook and Google+.