One of the toughest challenges that we encounter at Clix is selling a marketing strategy (SEO) that is often misunderstood, undervalued, and/or perceived as intangible. The glamorous thing about a billboard, television, radio, and print is that they’re tangible media. Insert money and see or hear your ad. It’s that simple. This tangible element of traditional outbound marketing was not reciprocated by “what was” search engine optimization. We’ve had clients refer to search engine optimization as “magic”, “trickery”, and “manipulation”. Why? Put simply, that was their incoming perception of SEO. Whenever this occurs, we raise a red flag and immediately enter “education mode”. Today, one of the most important components of your online marketing strategy (besides proving value) is catching your client up with an environment that is always changing.
I’m sure you’ve happened upon a magician at least once in your life. And, hopefully that magician was relatively decent at what he or she did. From elementary card tricks to elaborate hoaxes, magicians of all types have built their craft with the intent to entertain and perplex. However, what if every magician you met revealed how they do every trick? I think of this analogy when clients refer to SEO as magic, trickery, and manipulation. The reality is that humans (us) inherently question or push aside what we don’t understand. We try to lump the complex with what we feel is “digestible”. In this case, SEO is largely perceived as complex by small business owners, especially baby boomers. And, what is complex is categorized underneath an umbrella that is comprehendible, i.e., “online marketing” or just “marketing”.
Part of our job as online marketers is to reveal the secret behind what business owners perceive as magic, trickery, and manipulation. Hopefully after educational meetings, emails, and phone calls, the intangible becomes a bit more tangible and understandable. Today, SEO/Online Marketing is a recipe (minus the fixed quantities), not a series of magic tricks. Backlinks should not be brought, exact match anchor text abuse is not permissible, microsites with the wrong intentions are wastes of time in the long-term, and so on…
Given the in-depth nature of online marketing, capable and willing search engine optimizers are evolving into online marketers for better or for worse. On the other hand, search engine optimizers who solely relied on manipulation are drowning. Changing how small business owners perceive SEO by expanding their understanding of online marketing as a whole is crucial. Communicate the importance of:
- Technical Efficiency
- Site Performance
- Proper Code
- Social Media
- Content Marketing
- Webpage content
- Blog content
- Newsworthy content
- Press Releases
- Conversion Optimization
- Grammatical mistakes in content
- Site Colors
- Local Search
In the outline above, it is obvious that optimizing your site for search is not what it used to be. Optimization is comprehensive. Additional weight has been placed on the importance and value of engaging content that is marketable both online and offline. And, today it’s not so much about redefining search marketing as it is re-evaluating it so that we can answer consumer questions for our clients like:
- Is this site credible?
- Does this site give me information I need?
- Where can I make a purchasing?
- Do they have special offers?
- Are they active in Social Media?
- If they’re local, where can I find them?
By catching up with online marketing, understanding where search is headed, and adopting the attitude that SEO is about marketing-not magic-a website online (even if it means through offline methods), then you’re ready to leave “what was” SEO behind and embark on a more collaborative and long-term online marketing approach.