Destination Search Engine Marketing: SEO Without Compromise

In the last installment of this series on Destination Search Engine Marketing we discussed a few things that you can do to build a site that truly deserves to be ranked well in the search engines. Starting next week I'll discuss each of the seven specific building blocks in building a Destination Website, but before we jump to that let's look at what it means to actually employ a Destination SEM Campaign.

Marketing a Destination Website is really not that much different from marketing any other kind of site. We look to the same effective strategies that are employed time and time again by the most successful websites:

  • Strong on- and off-page SEO that thinks beyond search engine rankings
  • Excellent content that delivers on-page customer performance and persuades visitors to take action (conversions)
  • Exceptional offline marketing efforts that merge seamlessly with the online efforts
  • Superb business management and customer satisfaction that goes well beyond the sale

The difference between a Destination Website and any other is that all of the strategies above must be used together and you have to be at the top of your game with each one. Too often businesses focus on only one or two of these areas simply looking for a quick boost in traffic or sales. These boosts are often effective, but are also just as often very short-lived.

Once you get all four of these areas working together you don't just get a boost in traffic or sales, but you get a website that functions like a well-tuned machine. Each piece of the campaign does its job but also helps the other parts do theirs. Your website effectively becomes more than the sum of its parts.

But there is still one more essential component to building a destination website. It's what we discussed in the previous installment. With all the marketing elements in place and working together, you still need to provide something unique, interesting, compelling and valuable. You have to give your visitors something that they cannot find anywhere else.

Driving traffic doesn't create customers

Most sites rely on marketing alone to increase traffic. Marketing drives traffic and traffic is really nothing more than more eyeballs on the site. The site still has to do it's job in selling the product or service you offer. And it has to do it effectively if you want to be profitable. Building a Destination Website rockets you beyond the competition in several key areas.

Why does building a Destination Website do?

Drives traffic: The marketing components work together to drive traffic to the website. Whether its from SEO, PPC, magazine ads, radio, TV or whatever avenues you choose, they all work together to drive traffic that has an expectation of what they will find on the website.

Improves conversion: Because you're focused on the customer's wants, needs and desires--not just on building traffic--this translates in more satisfied site visitors that are more easily persuaded to take the action you wish for them to take.

Repeat customers: Not every customer is a loyal customer, some just always like to hunt for the best deal. But many are more than happy to return time and time again to a place they are comfortable with. They might still shop around, but ultimately they'll return to familiar ground where they've established a good experience.

Builds loyalty: True destination websites go beyond getting repeat customer and actually build a loyal customer base. These are customers that wouldn't think of going anywhere else. You become the default destination first and foremost.

Makes your site sticky: It's nice to have customers come back time and time again, but when your site is sticky, it becomes more of a magnet. Your audience finds it hard to pull away and are often returning far more often than even they would expect.

Creates word of mouth: When your website is truly exceptional, you get more than repeat and loyal customers. You get brand evangelists who go out of their way to tell others about you. This can be in the form of conversion, blogs, reviewed, etc. Good word of mouth can be an excellent source of new business.

Improves ROI: Once you have your Destination Website doing most of the work for you, you'll find that your return on investment improving significantly. That's not to say it's not a lot of work to maintain a Destination Website, but each effort creates a more powerful than the effort going in. This reaps exponential rewards.

With this understanding of what destination marketing is and why you want to build one, over the next several posts I'll discuss the seven building blocks of a Destination Website. This will revisit some of the things we discussed briefly in the first parts of this series but will also provide even more detailed information on how to creating a website that becomes a Destination for your industry.

Read more about Destination Search Engine Marketing:

Part I: Do you Deserve Top Search Rankings?
Part II: What Would Sudden Exposure Get You?
Part III: Standing Out in a Sea of Thousands
Part IV: It's Not Just Marketing as Usual

Seven Building Blocks of a Destination Website
#1: Expert Information
#1b: Seven Types of Expert Information
#2: Usability
#3: Website Design
#4: Unique Value Proposition
#5: Time and Presence
#6: Voice
#7: Trust and Credibility

Conclusion: Why Destination Search Engine Marketing is So Essential

July 17, 2008

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.


Use innovative methods and time tested strategies to establish links to your sites and most importantly to get better search engine rankings.

I am not sure I agree with you on creating word-of-mouth as a website goal. Word of mouth will come naturally. All you need to do is supply tools for pass along to other users.

Omer, you made my exact point. By creating a Destination Website then word of mouth is part of the natural consequence of that. I was merely pointing out that fact, not suggesting you create a website for the sole purpose of generating word of mouth. That would be counter productive.

I am very impressed on your article, I like what you said and for me that's all true, creating a Destination Website really improves ROI, and still have to study new things coming to be updated.

Very good articles !!

BTW, can you define search marketing and SEM?
Do you think SM = SEM?

What do you think the traditional Yellowpages?

I think traditional Yellowpages are SM, but not SEM.
And web Yellowpages are SEM.

Without convenient network connectivity, you can do search marketing activities like traditional Yellowpages, but not SEM.

What is your idea?

If SM means Search Marketing then that's probably slightly different than Search Engine Marketing. SEM focuses most specifically on enhancing a site's performance via the search engines. Web yellow pages would be SM. Traditional yellow pages would be OM (offline marketing)

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Search Engine Guide > Stoney deGeyter > Destination Search Engine Marketing, Part IV: It's Not Just Marketing as Usual