Your SEO Sucks and You Need Some Friends – Part One

The argument of whether or not traditional SEO is dead is surely settled now given that most sites that were highly ranked using, let’s say “controversial” SEO techniques, have all experienced the negative effects of Google’s Penguin and Panda updates – which tells me it’s over, so let’s move on. But where do we go from here?

As an online marketer I embrace these changes as it has helped me retain my authentic approach to ranking my clients websites, and compete against the online cowboys who trade off black hat SEO or what I like to call “get ranked quick schemes”. I feared they made me, and others like me, appear ineffective until such time as something like Penguin comes along and proves us right. I must admit it was nice to inform my clients their websites were not greatly affected, mainly due to the quality of our content and strategic backlinking. These updates are also great news for “Joe Blogs”, they are the real deal content creators achieving high rankings with unique and informative content. With that said there must be more we can do? Hell yes, there is…

This is the time for REAL online marketers to shine who are well rounded in terms of their skills across usability and interaction design, copywriting, creative design, leveraging social media channels and researching websites with true authority and popularity in Google’s eyes. This takes a very unique set of skills, ones that are acquired over many years of working in the online marketing world.

If you are working with an agency or managing your own websites SEO or should I say “Online Marketing” from here on in since SEO is dead, then you should consider these new techniques to help you grow and more importantly convert your traffic not just achieve a high keyword rank or number of unique visits.

Get Social and Out of Your SEO Box

I am continually amazed by how creative some people are with their use of social media. Take Facebook as an easy example. We have all seen a great many brand, product or company promote themselves on Facebook in the conventional manner, which is creating a page using their respective name and posting content to suit. Pretty straight forward, but here is an alternative that you may not have seen before, probably because you could not even tell you were getting sold something…

How about creating a page dedicated to an idea that builds an audience through viral content? Then feeding your marketing messages into it periodically. Let’s say you have a range of Cookware and want to build an audience around your brand on Facebook. A more powerful way to attract fans is with content that is broad enough and viral enough to get hundreds of thousands of fans, without the equivalent Ad spend, as it will grow ‘Likes’ on pure content more powerful than your typical “on brand” posts.

An example of this would be cooking content as it is rudimentary enough. Typical posts would be about recipes and ingredients but that is overdone and commonplace. Now, what if we created a page called “Food After Dark” and created an audience around food that is sensual and used to entice and excite your partner in the bedroom. Risqué? No question it is, but lets face it there will be no shortage of interaction and ‘Likes’ with fruit as low hanging as this.

Here are some great examples of Facebook pages that are built on viral content not brand or product info:

Who Remembers This

Boss Hunting

LeBron James Vs Kobe Bryant

The other platform to look out for is Google+. Google is not known to do things just for the sake of it. They have a very considered approach to most things and they execute well. Their entry into social media caused most skeptics to say it will be a waste of time given the success of Facebook, however the tide is turning with a more positive outlook. They are incorporating Google+ buttons, which is their equivalent to a Facebook Like button, into their Adwords to basically act as an endorsement feature. Users see Google Ads with a Google+ feature that when clicked will post onto your Google+ wall. This is a very powerful viral tool and a great asset to have as part of your Adwords campaign.

LinkedIn is a great way to connect with business people within specific industries.  You can join groups and clubs easily and you can pay to contact users, which makes it a highly targeted form of lead generation. Sales and marketing people would love this and it is yet another skill that traditional SEO would not even come close to including in it’s is arsenal. Let’s not forget their own advertising engine, which offers excellent targeting and reach across a huge range of professions.

All marketers don’t have to be liars, contrary to Seth Godin’s popular beliefs (Don’t kill me! I say it with respect). When it comes to SEO and the rise of Social Media I believe technology is making it easier for us to be more honest and accurate. I have always objected to the notion that marketers are these pony tailed, Porsche driving twats, but hey we all love a good stereotype. Technology today enables us to sell a brand not just through our own content creation, but also with the help of its existing advocates with their own audience.

The role of “new school” search engine optimisation tactics must encompass unique thought, creativity and moreover a comprehensive understanding of your clients business in order to talk about it with real authority and in an engaging manner across multiple platforms. It has brought to light one thing I have always known about the art of marketing in general which is, it is a daily grind and any which way you think about it there is no fast tracking it. Real success takes time and you need to always be thinking ahead. Get ranked slow and steady and you will win the race.

Part two of this series will focus on the importance of website design, usability and interaction design, and most importantly analysing your website to improve it’s converting power. Finding faults before it is too late!