Yesterday I introduced the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing (Destination SEM) which emphasized that SEO isn't about "getting" top rankings. Getting rankings leaves open the implication that you're achieving a result that you don't necessarily deserve. Destination SEM focuses on building a website that is truly exceptional in meeting your audience's needs and actually earns top search engine positions.
Today I want to go a bit further into defining what Destination Search Engine Marketing is and how, pursuing such a marketing strategy is ultimately far better for you than just focusing on search engine rankings.
Let's take a minute to create a definition of what Destination Search Engine Marketing really is. To boil it down to the simplest terms, Destination SEM is defined simply as:
Creating a desired destination point for anyone looking for the product, service or information you provide.
I bolded the words "desired destination point" because that is critical to the success of any online marketing campaign. It's not about tweaking your website in order to achieve top rankings, but rather about tweaking a website for the purpose of becoming the go-to destination (Destination Website) for your industry.
When you focus on building up your website site to meet the needs, wants and desires of your target audience, then you're building a Destination Website which your audience will return to time and time again. Bringing SEO into the mix, you're able to achieve top search engine rankings not because you outsmarted the algorithm, but because you've created a site of significant value.
All too often SEO focuses on rankings alone. This creates a conflict between getting ranking "results" and allowing the website to do what it was created to do--to get customers, leads, sales, etc. When the measure of success is rankings then the ability of the website to convert is secondary. Rankings can be achieved, but it's a half-victory, at best if the site itself underperforms.
Destination SEM doesn't focus on rankings, but focuses on the site itself. Rankings are a means for exposure, but not the end. The end is a website that becomes the one place in someone's mind that they can go to go get [insert your topic, product or services here]. By focusing on the site rather than rankings, you earn the rankings without compromising the ability of the site to do it's job as sufficiently as possible.
Destination SEM recognizes that when you put the visitor first, you'll not achieve rankings because you've beat the search engines at their game, but because your site has earned the right to be there. You're not sacrificing conversions for rankings, but neither are you sacrificing rankings for conversions. Build the site to be a Destination Website and the rankings will follow.
So how do you build a Destination Website? We'll get to the seven building blocks of creating a Destination Website later in this series, but for now, let's star with a question:
The problem for most sites seeking to get top search engine rankings is that they are looking for a shortcut. They want something they have not yet earned.
But let's go with that for a second. Let's say you get those top rankings, not by creating a site with any particular value, but because you were able to manipulate the search engine algorithms to bend to your will. Well, with all this exposure, what are you going to get out of it?
Having more traffic and sales is never a bad thing. It's great for business and increased profits. But if that's all you're getting with your newfound exposure then you're missing out on a huge chunk of additional profits.
Studies have clearly proven that it costs more to get a customer than to keep a customer. The traffic and sales you get from your new exposure is what you paid for. Whether you paid an SEO, running PPC campaigns, or engaged in any other marketing campaigns, the money you spent on those campaigns is fueling this new traffic and sales.
But because you don't have an exceptional website then you're really not going to get any word of mouth or repeat customers. So you have to keep paying for traffic and sales, just to get traffic and sales.
On the other hand, if you build a Destination Website, you still might be paying for traffic and sales, but that will come with the added bonus of getting repeat customers that evangelize your company through word of mouth.
By building a destination website you now get additional exposure and sales that costs you nothing at all, other than the cost of building and maintaining a great website. So while you still will want to keep investing in SEO to bring in new traffic and sales, your Destination Website is able to convert that traffic and sales into additional long-term growth and revenues month after month and year after year.
So, what would you rather have? Do you want an average website that may get decent search engine rankings and sales, or do you want a Destination Website that gets traffic and sales that multiplies into repeat customers and word of mouth which builds even more traffic and sales?
When you build a Destination Website, you're not just one of a million, you're one in a million.
Read more about Destination Search Engine Marketing:
Seven Building Blocks of a Destination Website
#1: Expert Information
#1b: Seven Types of Expert Information
#3: Website Design
#4: Unique Value Proposition
#5: Time and Presence
#7: Trust and Credibility
Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.
If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.
Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.
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