I'm not trying to coin a new phrase here, just looking at SEO from a different perspective. See, I never really liked the term Search Engine Optimization. That seems like the job of the math geeks behind the search engine algorithms. Its their job to optimize the search engine, not mine.
To be more accurate, SEO should be called WO, or WSO: Website Optimization. That's what I do, I optimize the website in order to help it gain more exposure, increase traffic and get more sales.
But what are we optimizing the website for?
Back when the term Search Engine Optimization was coined, we were optimizing for the search engines. Rankings was the goal. Very few in the SEO industry cared much about what happened to the site beyond that. If they could achieve top rankings on Excite and AltaVista, their job was done and they were a success.
But today's SEO goes so far beyond optimizing for the search engines. Rankings matter, but so does site performance, visitor engagement and conversions.
Instead of optimizing the site for the search engines, we are really optimizing it for the search person. let's look at what SPO (Search Person Optimization) means.
Search Person Optimization = Rankings
Yes, rankings are important to the searcher. The searcher has gone to the search engine first because they are seeking information. If you provide information want then you want you also want to be at the top of the search results so they can find you. The more relevant your site is to their query, the more the searcher will be served by your site being there.
Search Person Optimization = Click-thrus
It's not enough to be at or near the top of the search results. A top ranking is just another car on the showroom floor. You have to make the searcher want you; you need to entice them to click on the search result link into your site. Throwing keywords in a title tag can help get you rankings, but that's not enough to get the click-thru. You need to optimize your title tag to be compelling enough to make the visitor click your over someone else's.
Search Person Optimization = Visitor Engagement
Once the visitor lands on your site you need to keep them there until they take the action(s) that you desire. Not every user will, of course, but that doesn't mean that you cannot make improvements. Tweak your site so that you provide more of what more visitors want and need, or ensure they are more likely to take the action you're looking for.
Search Person Optimization = More business
As you improve the SEO aspects of your site, thereby increasing rankings, you will in turn, increase the traffic to your site. Traffic alone can increase the amount of business you get, but improving the site itself you are able to get more conversions without ANY increase in traffic. Add traffic increases to that and your sales go up exponentially.
The thing to keep in mind is that search engines don't buy your product or services, people do. You're not optimizing your site solely for the search engines, or at least you shouldn't be. You need to start optimizing the site for the people who come to your site through the search engines.
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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