Excuse Me, Your SEO is Showing

underwearshowingNot to date myself here, but I started writing before SEO was part of modern vocabulary. I learned to write with conviction and clarity, to creatively communicate meaning, and to carefully choose words that would draw in a human reader rather than attract a robot. I learned the craft of writing as an art, not a science.

Writing has changed now with the desire to have a strong online presence and to show up first in a Google search or on Digg’s front page. Writing, at least the online sort, seems to have taken a turn for the science, often abandoning the art. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the importance of SEO in online content, but it seems that SEO has become of primary concern in most online writing. There are an overabundance of SEO keyword dense headlines and articles floating around out there, and it always seems so obvious which are written with SEO as the primary goal.

Keyword driven headlines and content may be search friendly, but when they show up in a search, are they compelling enough for a human to respond, click and read? Or does that not matter anymore? Copyblogger recently posted an article by Dave Navarro about the importance of headlines. In the article, it was stated that, “it’s well known that many Digg users vote on articles based on article titles and descriptions without ever actually reading the stories.” I find it a little disheartening that people aren’t reading content anymore, just headlines. If this is true, does this mean that the written word, the actual meaning the words has taken a backseat to searchable terms?

The creative soul that I am can’t help but want to make a pretty sentence that a human might read and respond to. I admittedly spend way too much time crafting and editing everything that I write. I have to consciously force the science in once the art is done. In my book, art comes first and science comes second. Just the same, the scientists among us also have to try to remember to bring art into their writing. Take the SEO formula and add a few swipes of a paintbrush to it, so it is compelling and appealing to humans as well as robots. I guess the trick is for the artists and the scientists to begin to mingle and mix it up a bit. You know, like in the old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercial: you got peanut butter on my chocolate or you got chocolate in my peanut butter. Maybe art and science should rub up against each other a little bit more. When the two elements are put together in the right amounts, they can actually taste pretty good.

Bookmark and Share

If You Build Your Brand, They Will Come.

memorial_10_bg_053004 I am a complete devotee to organic 100% natural SEO/SEM. No artificial words, just pure clean brand building. Your brand name and message is what you should concentrate on building before you worry too heavily about what keywords will drive traffic to your site. If you happen upon the right keywords, yes, it will undoubtedly send traffic to your site, but what kind of traffic? Will they actually care about your brand, product or service? Will they buy? If you focus on getting your brand name out there rather than key words that might relate to your brand, then people who really care about what you do or sell will come looking for YOU specifically, generating more meaningful hits to your website and building a reputation for your name. It’s called brand building.

Case in point here…I am the co-founder of a startup children’s shoe brand called Polliwalks that was founded in ’07. I was responsible for the Marketing and PR for the brand, and was able to build a following that generated hundreds of thousands of results from a Google or Yahoo search for the brand name. How was that done? Primarily by the process of building relationships with select blogging communities, building relationships and trust with consumers and building the brand name recognition within the brand’s consumer group.

Looking at the site analytics, only a handful of people searched for the company site by using keyword search terms. Most visitors found the site by searching for the brand name and/or the web address. Taking a closer look at the analytics, the searches that used keywords, other than the brand name, consistently had a very high bounce rate. They left because they didn’t find what they were looking for. The people that searched by the brand name consistently showed a very low bounce rate. They spent a significant amount of time looking around the site because THEY FOUND WHAT THEY WERE LOOKING FOR! They searched for the brand and they found the brand. I’m not saying that SEO should be ignored, but your brand name should be the main focus of your brand building strategy.

My point here is that it is more important to get your brand name out there, get people talking about your brand in a natural way, and in turn it will get other people specifically and actively looking for you, rather than people looking for something else, finding you instead, then leaving. This kind of essential brand building does take more time to create momentum, but it is by far more meaningful and enduring and will generate true brand awareness, brand loyalty and sales, rather than meaningless traffic to your site. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Bookmark and Share