A Business Technology Place

The dance that matters

e-Marketers and Product Managers spend a large number of planning, measurement, and adjustment cycles trying to position their product/service within search results.  Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are now job functions in many corporate hierarchies. Rightly so, search results from Google, Yahoo, and Bing collect both prospective and repeat customers.  Getting to the top of the natural search results or managing a successful pay-for-advertising campaign can make a tremendous difference in the bottom line each month.

The thought occurred to me this week that in the quest to move up the search engine rankings we are in a dance with a computer algorithm.  The top dancers are awarded places in the results equated to order on the search results page.

The Dance

Are you in synch with your customers?

Successful dancers use style element such as keywords and content. Just like with human judges, our dance results are biased based on reputation (back links).

The thing is, we base our understanding of the algorithm on past results, educated guesses, and recommendations from the algorithm designers.  What’s the purpose of this dance? It’s to attract others (prospects and customers).  This brings me to my point. Who is left out of the dance if we focus all our attention on this one partner? The customer.

The real dance in the equation is with the customer, a real person. The SEO/SEM dance is important, but it’s just the warm-up for the dance that matters.  I hear the expression “content is king” quite a bit. That’s because good content that is customer driven is the key to getting a customer to use the site and to repeat their purchase (the dance!).

So here’s to the dance that matters.  You can warm-up with SEO/SEM strategies and tactics. But remember, the real prize is to dance with the pretty girl who didn’t come with a date. She’s looking for a partner. Will you dance with her?

Photo: Odissi by Iqbal Saggu is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Increase your search results rank with social media

This week, while at the eTail conference in Baltimore, I heard vendors and speakers talk about increasing Internet search results rank by contributing content to sites classified as social media sites. How does this work and what does it really mean? I’ll translate into simple talk to explain.

Search engine ranking basics

The complete system and criteria used by search engines to rank pages are not known. Marketers and search engine consultants base recommendations to clients from pieces of information that are published by the search engine providers as well as best practices and experiences from things they have done to effect search engine results in the past.

One common principal behind using social media to increase search engine ranking is called link building. In basic terms, the more external web sites that link to your web site the better. This is because the search engines see external links to your site as an indicator of authority and relevance. The higher your authority and relevance, the more likely your site will show in search engine results. Think of it as people voting for a candidate in an election.

Using social media to build links

Each time content is created on a site, it’s an opportunity to write your about brand and you’re your product/service can solve problems or benefit others. Typically each time you do this, you would also include your web site address. When the search engine robots look at the social media sites they will index and count that external link to your site.

So how can you create relevant content on social media sites with links back to your site? Here are few examples:

  • Leave comments on blog entries. Make sure your comments are relevant to the topic of the blog entry and add value to the discussion. This is not a space for a sales pitch.
  • Create blogs entries about your brand, product, or services. Explain how they add value.
  • Pay others to create blog entries about your brand, product, or services. If you do this, the bloggers must disclose they are being paid for writing their review.
  • Create views on Squidoo that reference your products and services and how they meet customer needs.
  • Share links to your site on a book mark site like delicious or digg

Caution here: Not all social sites allow search engines to index their site content. Individual posts on Facebook and Twitter are two examples. While that content may not count in the number of back links, they could still end up creating more links from Internet users that follow them and subsequently create their own content.

Let the web be a web

Once you start posting your brand, product, or service on these sites then others will copy, forward, repost, or tell others about what they see if they find your information useful and helpful. This is basically like spreading your message via word of mouth. But the great thing is that once the information is published on the Internet, it becomes a little sticky because it stays published for others to see and read.  It’s like a testimonial that keeps on testifying.

Checkout this publication from Google to see other tips on increasing your search engine results rank.