SEO: sense and sensibilities…
…ok, so we have already heard enough about the economy and the dire state we find ourselves in, politician’s, financial ‘experts’, opinion leaders, ‘rent a quote’ (you know who you are, the self-proclaimed experts on everything under the sky!) his merry-men and their dogs, have all taken it upon themselves to voice their opinions with the same misplaced authority usually associated with Michael Fish and his weather predictions. Austerity measures, austerity plans, recession and the EU Budget deals are just some of the buzz words being banished around with the same generosity as Santa on Christmas day.
At present, some 60% of SME’s are not currently using SEO at all or are thinking of downscaling their digital spend. Now, the chances are as an SME you are, or will in the near future have to make some pretty important decisions regarding the direction of your business; and if rent a quote and his kinsmen are anything to go by, the first thing they’ll ‘advise’ you is “yeah, advertising and marketing, you don’t need that mate – get rid of it, waste of money!”.
Ok, let’s just break this thought process down and consider how SEO can fit into this.
As we are all too aware, we are currently feeling the wrath of the dreaded recession, but insofar as your business operations are concerned, why not find the opportunity that presents itself in this problem. Take a retailer for example; your business needs to be scaled down just to ensure that all costs are met, right? So one of the first things you’ll be doing is strategising your approach. It would be foolhardy to make wholesale changes that can adversely affect your business but, by that same token you’ll be strategically implementing changes that can streamline your business. This same approach can be used for your SEO efforts. Think of the ‘S’ in SEO as strategy – be strategic in how your campaign is being implemented. Rather than optimising an influx of keywords on your site, think about the relevance factor. Optimise keywords that are most likely to be of benefit to your end users rather than having a gung-ho approach and optimising everything about your business. After all, it is about targeting and positioning.
Secondly, think about the execution of your strategy. As mentioned above, SEO is not all about rankings (it is, but there’s more to be gained). Execution of your strategy is also about getting the most out of your campaign. Consider SEO as an enhanced advertising possibility, you want to make sure that you’re appearing for relevant keyword searches, any link building that you do is effectively advertising you, your company or your service, think carefully who you ‘link’ with and what the end result of that is. After all, if people are coming to your site you want to convert that traffic to business and this ultimately helps your branding causes.
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, make sure set relevant objectives for your campaign and align these with indicative benchmarks. Are you looking at a campaign to ultimately increase your brand awareness or do you require a campaign that helps you achieve greater sales. Either way you need to know what you require from your campaign then set out your critical path with that in mind. If it is a 6-8 month campaign where are you likely to be on your Gantt chart in month 3? Observe and analyse your campaign. And remember, strategy and execution are dyadic processes, one without the other is an invitation to failure, but if your objectives are not SMART (specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and time scaled), then your campaign is likely to be beset with problems.