by Scott Zeller
SEO. Three letters that strike fear in the hearts of business owners everywhere. They know they need it, but don’t know what it is, or how to do it.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it’s basically the discipline used to improve your natural (or organic) ranking or position on the search engine results pages. For example, when someone is searching on Google for your products or services, you want to be on the first page of the search engine results - ideally in one of the top three positions, as they get more clicks and traffic than all the rest. Seems a bit overwhelming, yes? As an SEO professional, I want you to know that it’s not as intimidating as it sounds.
In the act of full disclosure, I will tell you that there are a lot of technical aspects and strategies involved in optimizing your website for the search engines. From doing the proper keyword research to linkbuilding to on-page coding, there are numerous variables involved. Plus, search engine marketing is a dynamic discipline that requires constant monitoring of the Google algorithms and market shifts.
Don’t be intimidated by what you just read, as we’re going to be discussing none of that today. In fact, we’re going to discuss ways you can get started building your SEO without applying any of the aforementioned strategies or tactics. Today, we're going to slip behind the curtain. We’re simply going to discuss storytelling. Specifically, telling the story of your brand to your market using your social media outlets.
The more I learn about SEO, the more I’m convinced that what you need going forward on your team is not necessarily an SEO professional, but a storyteller. Someone who can tell and share your brand’s story using vehicles such as Facebook, Twitter, your blog, Pinterest, Instagram, and so on.
While keyword research and website optimization are definitely important, I encourage you to simply focus on two strategies to jump start your SEO: unique, relevant, high-quality content creation and customer engagement. That’s it. Create a social media strategy designed to tell your story that triggers an interactive, emotional connection with your target market.
So from this perspective, you’re going to approach SEO much the same way you approach all of your marketing endeavors. You simply want to tell your story. Take your products and your services, and translate the features into emotional benefits for your target audience. The only difference is you’re telling your story online.
If you’re successful in emotionally connecting and interacting with your audience, they’ll share your information with their friends. This idea always reminds me of this Faberge shampoo TV commercial from the 80s. They’ll recommend and comment on your content and your brand. You’ll gain valuable information about your markets. You’ll build relationships that will benefit your company in the long-term, both online and off. And they’ll visit your website.
Google’s algorithms (the formula they use to determine how your company will rank in the search engines) are smart enough now to connect the dots, take notice of social activity, and they’ll add value and authority to your brand. The end result will be better rankings and more traffic. And the more traffic to your website, the more business you’ll receive.
So when it comes to SEO, don’t focus on how overwhelming the entire process can be. Remember these valuable steps. Tell your story. Be active on your social networks. Build your audience. And do everything you can to interact and connect emotionally with them in a positive way, including addressing negative feedback quickly and appropriately. And you’ll be well on your way to strengthening your online brand identity and authority, and ultimately, your SEO.