In the last installment of this series I defined Destination Search Engine Marketing as the process of creating a desired destination point for anyone looking for the product, services, or information you provide. With that as the starting point I further discussed what it takes for you to become that destination point and the effects that marketing campaigns have on sites that are not "Destination Websites."
One of the things many businesses struggle with is how to really make their site stand out. Many of us have dozens, hundreds, even thousands of online competitors. Some are serious competition, some not-so serious, and some not yet even on the radar, but will soon become major players for "our" space. The truth is, everybody wants to be #1 and there is only one #1 position.
Destination SEM isn't about getting that #1 position. With more and more space in the "blended" search results being given to video, images, blogs, etc. getting the #1 position isn't a priority. What is a priority is getting increased visibility for your important keywords. You don't have to be #1 to be successful, but you do have to stand out from your competition.
Many businesses I talk to want to be #1 but simply cannot tell me why they deserve to be. They don't know what it is about themselves that truly sets them apart from their other online competitors. What makes them stand out? Why would the search engines give them preference over the dozens, or even hundreds of other competitors looking to gain tracking in the same space?
The simple reason for that should be because you, as a business, provide something that cannot be found anywhere else.
That's not as far reaching as it sounds, and it certainly isn't all that difficult. It just takes a lot of time and creativity. There really is no limit to what you can do that will set you apart, but here are four quick points to consider to help you toward your destination:
Offer something unique: It's not an issue that you do the same thing that dozens of others do. You just want to do it differently. In a marketplace filled with the same products from site to site, you can find products or create a niche that currently isn't being tapped into. Here you have a chance to become an expert in a very specialized field where there are no other experts.
Be interesting: Blandness abounds on the web. That gives you an opportunity to create yourself an identity that stands out from the rest. You can do this with your website design, the content on your pages, or how you package your products or services. Don't be afraid to break the boundaries for your industry.
Be compelling: There are a number of places on the web to get information. But very few places to find current, up to date or little-known nuggest. By providing these tidbits of data you prove to your audience that you keep current with trends and tools that are pertinent to the service or products you sell. Package this information in a way that it easy to find and even easier to digest and you'll build a very strong customer base.
Provide something valuable: Become the de facto expert and go-to site for your industry. Build a vast resource of information that goes beyond just the products or services you offer specifically. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of competing products or services, add links to other resources, write helpful tutorials and upload how-to articles and videos. By providing value to your visitors you create a site that can be trusted and build a long-term customer base.
There are several key areas that you can focus on with your website that will help you create something unique, special and wonderful for your visitors and that will give them something to believe in!
Content: Make your content stand out. Provide information that can't be found elsewhere in ways that isn't provided anywhere. Make it fun, enjoyable and educational.
Presentation: Don't just use words. Use words, graphics, images and anything else you can to help you get your point across in an engaging way.
Interaction: Interact with your audience. Don't create a one-way communication but find ways to get them participating in the conversation. Use comments, feedback forms, email and general discussion to make them feel a part of the conversation.
Resources: Provide additional resources. Link out to other sites, articles, and items of interest. Build your reputation for knowing where the other experts are.
On-site experience: Overall, you want them to walk away having had a genuine experience on your site. The more involved, engaged and invested they are in your site the better experience they'll have all together.
The bottom line is if you are just doing what hundreds of others are doing, offering nothing truly unique, then you don't deserve to be #1. In fact, if you're no different than anybody else then you deserve no special recognition whatsoever. But if you want top exposure, if you want to stand out from all of your competitors, then you have to make the effort to go beyond what everybody else is doing.
No amount of optimization can make you unique among your peers. That's something you have to do for yourself.
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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