Say Optimize One More Time

10th Mar 2015

Read Time: 3:13

Say Optimize One More Time

and I'll try not to curse too much.

Disclaimer... if there's a C in your title and you work for a "Search Engine Optimization (SEO) company," you might want to click on to some 'related' link on BuzzFeed about Kim K's built-in beanbag chair or her latest sibling alienation. You're just going to want to argue with me.

Background

Back in the budding days of the web, ahead of the Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, and even the infamous Weblog, the only way to get noticed on caveman Google was to code your page in a way that those mysterious spiders could quickly read, classify, and index your information. The tech was slow. They didn't bother with full page content, and if you knew what you were doing, you could trick the algorithm into placing you ahead of those folks that didn't know what a meta tag was. There were all kinds of tricks and hacks, and they changed constantly as the search engine spiders matured. These were the heyday of SEO startups. Code talked to code, and no one talked to each other. Early weblogs started talking at people but the conversation was one way at best.

And then Social Media showed up...

Social media came into the lime light in corporate America about 5 years ago; 2 years after the launch of twitter and at least a year after the global realization that people want to talk to each other... not sales people. And what did we do? We put sales people on social media.

Marketers, agency types, and 6 billion (with a B) interns took to the streets, singing the praises of the almighty impression. We grabbed followers en masse, we automated posts to make it look like we were doing something. We checked in to EVERY PLACE WE WENT. And you know you were jealous of my dinner while stranded the Grand Rapids airport during a tornado, so don't hate. I've seen the analytics.

So, what have we learned?

What we've learned is that beyond the tricks, the hacks, the meta tags, the keywords and insidious bullshit, that IN FACT, genuine content is the real money maker. Content providers write to a trusted audience of people that genuinely care about what that writer is saying... so long as it's genuine, but that's this whole other post.

People trust people, not marketing.

Whether you're buying a house, a car, a trendy new top, or a bag of kumquats, you rarely trust the brand first. You ask your friends and other people you trust. For that first taste of a new product or service, people connections are paramount. Need proof? (Good) salespeople pride themselves on being trustworthy and being able to connect to people instantly. Why would that be if the brand sells itself?

Authentic content, generated by trusted authors and delivered to their engaged following create brand trust. All the brand has to do is maintain quality, availability, and service and they're done. Who needs to optimize? Content posted online, consistently linked to, and from other genuine content, all speaking to product use and personal experience creates SEO as God intended it... Authentically. The Google, Facebook, Twitter, and probably even Ask Jeeves have figured it out. Now its time to stop the rhetoric and start engaging with your customer.

Brand champions with engaged followings are key.

We're not talking about impression hounds here. I get TONS of impressions from my 9,900 Twitter followers but couldn't convince any subset of them to throw me so much as a retweet, much less have them go buy something based on my recommendation. I just don't have that type of relationship with my Twitter followers. Find someone that loves your brand, your category, and is an expert or trusted source for information on that type of product.

Example: Don't ask me about baby diapers, for the same reason you wouldn't ask a housewife and mother of 4 about tech startups.

When do it right, you don't need 500 influencers either. Find the perfect influencers to get your messaging across in the right locations and you eliminate waste and lower cost... a topic on everyones' minds these days.

Final thoughts.

Influencer marketing isn't overly complicated and when done right, achieves remarkable results for less than you would pay for equally effective traditional campaigns. It's all about getting to know the community that is already talking about your brand, product, or service. Need help finding those influencers? Get in touch. I've got a few folks you'd love to meet.

-jt

Blog by Jay Thornton