Recently, I was invited for a session, to teach startups on SEO strategies. I believe that any SEO strategy is effective only as long as the business is willing to invest time to create a strategy that is in line with the business goals and objectives.
I had been writing often about treating SEO as an extension of your overall marketing strategy. Unfortunately I see too many businesses treating SEO like a quick gimmick to enhance sales. And this a fundamental flaw to your success.
SEO is not an overnight “Get Rich Quick Scheme”. It is not a strategy to find loopholes in Google’s algorithm and exploit them. The objective is never about ranking.
Therefore the focus on SEO should be about creating a strategy that is in line with your other marketing channels.
Do not treat SEO as a part of growth hacking. It does not give you instant results. Rather treat SEO as a way to “build your brand which Google rewards”. There was a time when website owners used to develop websites keeping only the search engine algorithm in mind. This resulted in very low quality websites getting tons of visitors from organic means.
But times have changed and the search engine algorithm has evolved. Google is focusing more on websites which offer value to users and have a very good user experience. It is about users first for Google. And since Google’s revenue depends a lot on how many people and how frequently they are using their search engine, it is but natural for them to promote websites which are targeted towards value creation for its users. So, if you are having a plan to build a crappy website just so that you can take advantage of Google’s yet to be fully evolved algorithm, you are missing the big picture.
Often I see companies use exact keywords as their domain name. Why? Because keywords in URL give some boost to organic results. But do you know how weird in can get sometime?
Try to get into the shoes of your user for a moment and think of this as an example.
A customer is looking to buy men’s shirt online. He has 2 options to buy from:
Let us say, the user visits both the stores after finding them on Google. Which name do you think will stick in your user’s memory after a week?
If you need to use other channels such as social media or offline media to promote your store, which name do you think will be more brandable?
Unfortunately I don’t see businesses think this in deep before making a decision on the website name.
SEO is an important channel. But it is not the only channel. Focus on a strategy that is more holistic and can help you create a brand.
So if you are only building sites for search engines, you are missing out on 3 important things:
- Google will catch up to you sooner than you can think of and you will lose all the rankings
- Users will not convert if you have a crappy website even if you are on top of search engine results.
- You are not creating a brand.
So take time off to figure out these important things:
- What do you want to convey to your users through your website?
- How you should convey your message?
- What will your users find most valuable?
- Is your website device responsive?
- How is the user journey going to be once he lands on your page? Is he able to navigate to the information he is looking for?
- Is your website loading too slowly which will piss your user off?
- Can your website build trust with a first time user?
- Are you using Google as your only channel or are you diversifying your inbound marketing efforts?
Think of how you want your brand to be perceived 1 year down the line. Users trust a brand. They do not trust a website.
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