Last week in this space, I posed the musical question, "Are You Optimizing for Search Engines or for Customers?" Then, on Friday, I continued this theme in my talk at Search Insider Summit by focusing on the choice between search engine optimization vs. customer connection. One reporter summed it up as "search marketers need an attitude adjustment," which might be true, but I want to go a bit further.
I want to be clear about the choice here. It's not a choice about whether you optimize your Web site for search or not. Clearly, you need to use those techniques. What I am asking is whether you are only using those techniques and nothing else.
In my talk Friday, I posed a list of things to do for improving your search marketing campaign:
That's not terribly controversial advice, but suppose you had a somewhat different list:
Image by Litandmore via Flickr
The lists sound almost the same. Almost. The difference is in the attitude. The first list is a bunch of ways to optimize your site for the search engines while the second list is a way to connect with your customers that goes beyond technical search activities.
Again, it's not a choice between optimizing your site and not optimizing it. It's a choice in how you spend your time. If you only think with an optimization perspective, you're likely to miss the ways you can be helpful to your customer that don't fit neatly into search optimization. Home Depot has posted hundreds of how-to videos on their Web site and YouTube, knowing that by answering customer questions that they'll increase sales. Does this tactic help their search rankings? Yes, but that probably was not the primary motivator.
Think about how you can connect with your customers with better content that truly helps them by answering their questions. That content will be found by searchers, too. It's likely that some of those customers will stick around and buy from you.
Mike is an expert in search marketing, search technology, social media, publishing, text analytics, and web metrics, who regularly makes speaking appearances.
Mike's previous appearances include Text Analytics World, Rutgers Business School, SEMRush webinar, ClickZ Live.
Mike also founded and writes for Biznology, is the co-author of Outside-In Marketing (with James Mathewson) and the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (now in its 3rd edition, and sole author of Do It Wrong Quickly, named by the Miami Herald as one of the 11 best business books of 2007.
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