I hate SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and you should too. It’s a stupid concept that was first built off of (almost) cheating the system by creatively thinking of as many keywords as possible. Then it morphed into this idea that you had to be legit and even more creative in your approach to your content. NOW it’s getting even MORE complex because it wants to rank you based on how others engage with your content and website, forcing you to be MORE creative in your approach. Stupid free internet.
SEO is probably the most annoying marketing asset to work with because it feels like the moment you strategize the right way to use it, it changes. If you were to take a webinar today, they would give you the directions on how to rank your website well, but also that this is NOT the “end all.” It’s only the start. And it MAY help. It’s not a one-size-fits-all plan. At the end of the day, you still have to figure out how to stand out and be more creative in the process.
Okay, so that’s what I “hate” about SEO as a marketer who always wants to be on the top of my game and offer an excellent skill to my clients. It’s a hard service to sell and promise results because there is no exact formula and the system is always changing.
But here is what I love about SEO: It is always making you chase the finish line.
If there was a finish line that everyone could cross, then ultimately money would be the only thing you need. That’s what made marketing so hard before. It was owned by the big guys and the small guys had to turn up their hustle just to survive. But the internet created a much more even playing field. You just had to be creative in your approach. SEO makes you keep working to be more creative, which gives two great scenarios:
- The game is competitive for everyone
- The consumer is grateful as their needs are met.
If the consumer’s needs are not being met, they stop using the internet. The moment they stop using the internet, this glorious playing field is lost and we go backward.
So why did I start this off by saying “I hate SEO and you should too”?
It’s a love-hate relationship. Whenever my brother, John, and I see a fantastic marketing agency killing it on the creative spectrum, we always say “Ah. I hate them.” Really what we’re saying is, “Darn, I love what they did and I hate that I didn’t come up with it first.”
SEO keeps growing and becoming smarter, which makes it hard to conquer. But that is VERY GOOD NEWS for smaller businesses.
So now that I have cleared up my definition of “hate,” I wanted to share with you some very important facts about SEO that you should be aware of in the year of 2018 and going into 2019.
1. Don’t be fooled, it still takes money
How does the question go?
“Do you have more time or do you have more money?”
The answer to that is always “neither” for most small to mid-size businesses. It’s OK. We all feel that way. But that’s also never the true answer. The fact is that SEO is a time-consuming process and takes time to develop. That is the one true trait SEO has always carried.
When I say that it still takes money, it means that you’re going to have to invest either time or money. Time for you to do it or money to pay someone to do it. There is no program to just “fix it.”
The reality is that it takes multiple aspects all gathered around content. These days, it’s not JUST blogging, or video, or social media, or pictures; it’s kind of all of those things. But it’s also not JUST having them. It’s about how they work with each other (more of that in the next topic)
So when it comes down to it, you need a creative mind. You need a creative team that plays by the SEO rules and is creative in the approach. Your creative mind is how you set yourself apart from the competition. Think about how the consumer wants to be treated and what the consumer actually wants. Creating this takes time – and if it costs time, it often costs money. So have this in your budget. It is not something to skip.
2. Don’t just make content. Use it wisely and connect it.
Google and other search engines are becoming smarter each day. And like I said earlier, they want to make the user (consumer) like the internet more and more, feeling as if it’s catering to their very needs. That means one of the aspects of ranking your website has to do with how users engage with you and your website.
If a user goes to your website, stays on there for a while, goes deeper into the website and so on, that shows Google great user engagement. If you are providing positive user engagement, search engines like you more. Thus, you are ranked better.
The way to accomplish this is honestly having a good, well-thought website that works for the consumer. It needs to communicate very well and lead the user throughout the website.
Let’s use IKEA as an example. IKEA, to me, is like walking through an online E-Commerce store. It funnels you through all of their categories of products, showcasing them first. You are able to interact and engage with it and every part is for sale. It’s brilliant. Then you go downstairs and it’s a like “closing the sale” by filling your cart with everything. meanwhile, it is still taking you down the route they want you to walk. It almost guarantees that you are there for an hour in the least. That may seem like an issue to some people, but because of their design and strategy of how you engage with the store and they engage with you, the consumer actually appreciates it more.
So when it comes to your website, it’s important that your UX (a geek phrase for design) is attractive and engaging. Guide them where you want them to go. Make the correct call-to-actions. Find creative ways to push your content and ALWAYS have it lead somewhere else on your website.
(I wrote a lot…6 points to be exact. So instead of being Peter Jackson, I made this a two-part blog. Read Part 2)