SEO is hot, smokin’, on fire. Everybody wants it, even if they don’t know exactly what it is or how to do it. It’s coveted almost as much as Tickle Me Elmo was a few Christmases back – we’ll call it Tickle Me SEO.
Thing is, SEO is just another marketing tactic. It’s not a strategy or plan, but an actionable pursuit that you can – but don’t have to – use as part of your larger marketing strategy. So when companies rush to jump on the SEO bandwagon before evaluating if SEO really belongs as part of their marketing strategy, they’re not doing themselves any favors and may be wasting money.
Before you pump oodles of cash into your website and press releases getting them “optimized,” follow this list of action items to make sure you’ll get the best of what SEO has to offer.
1. Know the purpose and goals of your online marketing. This means spending some time determining what you want your website to do for you and what level of return would deem the SEO a success. After all, if you don’t know where you want to go, how will you ever get there?
2. Know your audience, what makes them respond and take action (also known as psychographics in Big Words Land). You may know that women between the ages of 18 and 24 want your product or service, but those women have a few different reasons for buying. Only if you know those reasons can you appeal to them.
3. Create relevant content. You need your website or press release to pique interest and motivate people to take action. What does this is information, not flashy ads and declarations of how many years you’ve been in business.
4. Present your content well. If you have a pot of gold on your website but it’s buried in a fourth-tier page, no one will take the time to find it. People want to find what they’re looking for with as little effort as possible, so make sure your site delivers that. If you need to bring in a navigation expert, do it – the investment is well worth it. This step also means designing and arranging your site for your visitors, not the search engines. People first, machines second – it’s the people who buy!
5. Test it out. Have employees, clients, and friends spend some time on your website or read your press release. Take their questions and comments to heart, because if they’re wondering something you can bet other people will too.
After you’ve built and tested an easy-to-use site with lots of great content you’re ready to optimize – if you even need to at all. And now you know you’ll get a great ROI instead of just guessing and hoping like those poor souls who stood in line for hours to get a doll!