Posts Tagged ‘SEO’

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Among all the terminologies for digital marketing, “SEO” (Search Engine Optimization) used to be the most terrifying one to me since I always associate it with “algorithms”, “mysterious technology”, and headache. Until recently when my New Media Drivers License course “forces” me to study it, I finally get an opportunity to correct my misunderstanding.

It’s not about technology. It’s about grasping the rules in order to play best in the game of digital marketing.

“The Power of Defaults”: What is a #1Google ranking worth?

How important is SEO? My answer is: Adapt or Die.

Let’s think like a search engine user. How many times do we go the second page of search results? According to 2006 iProspect report on Search Engine User Behavior Study, 62% of searchers don’t look past the first page. By 2008, this number has increased to 68% (2008 iProspect report).

Search engine user click-thru behavior (2006)
Image source: Search Engine Land

Another example is even more extreme. The search records leaked by AOL showed that more than 42% searcher clicked on the #1 ranking result vs. 11.9% on the second result. Almost 90% clicks come from the first page results.

Traffic by Google Ranking (2006)
Image source: SEO Book

Now you know why my answer is that extreme. In the era of information explosion, SEO helps individuals or organizations stand out from the crowds. Only when buyers find us can we show them how great we are and drive them into action.

The Formula of Successful SEO

So what’s the rule of successful SEO? I find a convincing guideline from David Meerman Scott’s book The New Rules of Marketing & PR: “True success comes from driving buyers directly to the actual content they are looking for.”

An effective SEO is to show your buyers what you can offer them in the most organized, user-friendly, and attractive way. In order to achieve this, understanding your buyers is the first step. When we design our web contents, we should think like a buyer. Consider what we will type into the search box if we want to buy a laptop, a car, or a shampoo. If we design our web page with detailed contents and frequently-searched keywords, we will increase the probability that our target consumers find us top ranked on Google. Moreover, there is a greater chance that our buyers will click on our page, because what we are offering is exactly what they want in their mind.

On the other hand, SEO is also about how much you understand yourself. I believe every person or business needs to find at least one unique characteristic. That’s your sparking point. SEO is to amplify this sparking point with keyword, links and other tactics so that you can stand out from the crowds.

To illustrate the two points above, I’d like to show a great example from my social media research experience. Last semester, I was doing an informal research for one of my course projects. I want to analyze some twitter accounts of automotive brands and showed the results in a visualized way. So I googled “Twitter statistics”, and I found Tweet Stats. The reason I was attracted to this web site is its header line: “Graphin’ Your Stats.” It’s not counting, or analyzing. It’s graphing! That’s the sparking point of this website. Besides, it ranks on the top of Google search results when I search “twitter stats”, “tweet statistics”, and “tweet stats”.

In short, the basic formula for a successful SEO practice is to understand your buyers, to understand yourself, and to write great web contents which describe what your buyers want and what you can offer uniquely. Besides that, we still need a little catalyst, which is SEO tactics.

I find reading SEO tutorials painfully fun because they are all new and strange to me. No matter how complicated SEO seems to be, I think we can always start to redesign our sites/blogs in some simple steps. I recommend this video from Google’s engineer Matt Cutts talking about the simplest tips of SEO.

Ingenex Whitepaper on SEO is also a concise and helpful tutorial. When I’m more familiar with the basic practices, I will dive into Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide.

From a marketer/PR practitioner’s perspective, however, I recommend thinking like a buyer first, then thinking like a “Spider”.

* This post is originally published as an assignment on New Media Drivers License Seminars.

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