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How to cure your SEO blindness

Alan Bush
How to cure your SEO blindness Alan Bush

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most effective marketing strategies on the internet, so why do so many marketers take it for granted by developing SEO blindness? The SEO process is multi-faceted and detailed, requiring coordination between client and agency, as well as among many departments such as marketing, IT, and more. It also takes time to implement and realize results. But despite these obstacles, the rewards are huge and long lasting. Many companies have SEO blindness, as shown in the examples below.

Instant gratification as SEO blindness
The advancement of technology gives near-instant access to any bit of information at your fingertips in search engines. Instant gratification is more apparent than before, and people generally feel they don't have time to develop strategies for the long term. People want results now. This is especially true in the world of internet marketing, where specific placements of keywords in search engine rankings can lead to huge increases in traffic and sales. The brass ring is very clear, but often the time, effort, proper planning, and biggest opportunities for gains get ignored for the sake of a quick fix.

SEO is favored as an internet marketing strategy for the following reasons:

  • Reach -- Search engines have access to potentially millions of searchers. Even a small niche percentage of searchers can lead to big payoffs.

  • Free advertising -- All marketing is a cost investment. However, if a search engine likes your website, this is in essence "free" to get your site in front of those thousands and possibly millions of potential customers. Keyword rankings equate to "free" marketing once in place.

  • Good ROI -- Time and money spent on properly optimizing your website yield extremely lucrative and profitable long term results, once optimization is implemented.

  • Increased brand awareness -- Saturating the web with your brand not only yields keyword related traffic, but also elevates your brand as an authority on your specific products and services.

"Build it and they will come" mentality
That being said, business website owners are still under the impression that if they build a website without SEO in mind, stuff it with keywords, and launch, people will flock to it -- and they will magically increase sales. Then, when this tactic isn't as successful as they hoped, they turn to an SEO strategist to improve their site. Often, they feel the results should be instantaneous, and they don't account for shifts in search engine algorithms, search trends, the competitive landscape, and tragically, almost completely ignore the failings of their own site and the contribution it may have on their lack of search engine presence. SEO experts often come aboard and have to fix previous attempts of what I've deemed "website malpractice" -- sites that were not built with SEO in mind from the beginning.

Business owners often lack patience and an understanding of how SEO works. It is definitely not a quick fix that will obtain instant results. While it is possible to see results quickly, this should not be the expectation. SEO is not just cramming keywords on a website for rankings. It involves keyword analysis, traffic analytics measurement, identification of end goals and how they relate to the search trends, analysis of the competitive landscape, website architecture design review, content revisions and additions, analysis of missed opportunities, as well as offsite factors such as content syndication, natural link building, and brand awareness techniques that could involve social media as well. SEO takes time, focus, and proper planning and analysis to be truly successful. Once successful, the opportunities will present themselves and yield immense results.

Nonbelievers have SEO blindness
The other way that SEO gets taken for granted is by the nonbelievers who think internet marketing does not apply to their line of work. One example: I suggested SEO to a friend who runs a small deejay operation. I pointed out that improving your visibility can lead to a steady list of clientele. He said, "Well, the market is saturated, but even if it's successful, I don't want to be overrun with people asking for me." I was stunned by that reply and responded, "If anything, that's the best problem to have. For one, there is no guarantee that you will obtain those results, but for two, how could you not want too much business? That's the best problem to have. You could defer for a small fee the leads you get that you can't take for yourself." I went on further, but he got my point.

Every business, no matter how small an operation, should have SEO as a marketing strategy. If you do not build your website with SEO in mind, you will have to use grassroots marketing tactics when your well runs dry. This takes time away from making sales and working gigs, as the case may be above. SEO, though a long-term strategy, can often take on a life of its own.

Missed opportunity SEO blindness
Here's another more recent example of SEO blindness when discussing a company website with a friend. Somewhat randomly, we got into a discussion about what the company did and the lack of sales that month. He stated that much of the company's sales are generated by cold calling. I asked whether the company generates any leads from its URL. Right off the bat, I could see the site was not properly optimized and said it could use this as a benefit to help generate "warm leads" rather than cold calling. "We sell [product], etc. We aren't the type of business that gets found online." No, but you could be!

Every business can benefit from an online presence, whether it's through getting the brand recognized or generating potential leads. If you do any form of cold calling, internet leads can potentially turn those cold calls into warm leads.

Often, people within the business are blind to the opportunities that other people thinking outside of the traditional box are utilizing. The company above thought its customers were generally large scale people and "don't look online" for what they sell. Yet, when looking at search trends, it's obvious people are searching, whether it is just to find more information or gathering data to make a significant move or change in their company. And out of those people, even if a very small percentage of them are big decision makers in major corporations, one conversion lead can generate $50,000 in revenue! Believe it or not, people making decisions for large scale businesses also use the internet to find information. Put yourself in front of their eyes, whether they are looking for useful information or specifically to hire you. Providing valuable information is what search engines see as useful, and this increases your likelihood of gaining customers significantly.

Without SEO, you will miss growth opportunities when your industry does become more internet based. SEO offers an opportunity to really dig into your core by identifying how your products and services sell, observing patterns in how people are searching for your products, and seeing who your competition truly is and how they are obtaining sales where you are not. It's a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on volumes of potential clients. Regardless of the business, leaders of industry reside on the cutting edge in every form of marketing. So why don't you?

Alan Bush is the director of SEO at Best Rank Inc.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.


to leave comments.

Commenter: Eugene Suei

2011, October 25

while SEO is important, it is more important to focus on customer satisfaction regardless of what business you are in. SEO may put your website / information on top in an organic search, but if you don't treat your customers well, there are most likely plenty of other alternatives (your competitors with less invested in SEO) that customers can choose to do business with instead.

Your best customers will be your best friends. They can tweet about you, talk about you on their facebook, and give you an opportunity to engage them on these social networks. Just like a double-edged sword, your popularity may un-make you if you do not treat your customers right. New customers will always shy away from brands with negative feedback / experiences / reviews.