Before You Optimise, Do Your Homework

Jonny Darling Insight Leave a Comment

Like all good SEO geeks, I get a real thrill seeing my work come to fruition. What’s so exciting about SEO is that I never really know what is going to happen! SEO is full of surprises & sometimes I get more than I bargained for. That’s not to say that it’s all accidental. It all comes down to a holistic approach to SEO, understanding that search results are alive with embedded features. A search result aims to effectively encompass all of the information on the web that is relevant to the query. Ergo, to stand the maximum chance of getting picked up by Google, a SEO professional will coordinate multi-variate content dissemination. It’s all about going to where the market is rather than waiting for the audience to come to you. No more building it and they will come mentality. These days businesses are built based on the needs & wants of consumers, as are websites, rather than the other way around.

If that means Map listings are showing up in the target query Google search results, file a business listing on Google Places. If ads splatter the top of the search result, start a lean Adwords campaign. Play & beat your competitors at their own game. If videos are being pulled into the mix, a YouTube channel. Images? Tag ’em up on your website and load them on to a photo sharing site. If social discussion groups such as boards.ie are the go-to, get involved. Start a conversation of your own even. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Too often this industry is prescriptive about techniques and formulas. It’s built on an algorithm after all! If I were to have a working template for every SEO project that I take on, I would be “working in my sleep”. I’m wide awake to the nuances of every new market that I discover. I’ve long since realised that the trick is not to dive head-long into an empty swimming pool. I wouldn’t ever jump in blind were there water in it as chances are I’d crush the person already swimming. Instead, I take a step back from the diving board and pick my spot! Same goes for SEO. Review the composition of the search results, become familiar with industry peers, come to terms with what makes each individual market tick.

I wasn’t going to take credit for the bonus feature below that I secured for a facebook applications developer client of mine, but maybe I should after all. Upfront I flagged the importance of geo-targeting & product channel. Initially the directive was to go after “social ecommerce apps”. I challenged this logic and suggested that we be more specific about the application platform, that is to say, facebook (sure there’s only 600 million potential customers!). Likewise I questioned how we consolidate the platform proposition. Should we rather not go after customers specifically looking to install free shopping cart applications for facebook? As usual, there was no need to be subjective or opinionated about it. All of the data was available to draw a conclusion. facebook page owners looking wishing to create a sales channel on facebook are indeed typing in shopping cart rather than ecommerce!

To arrive on the 1st page of Google amid 53 million other results for “facebook dublin” is surely a bonus, but just goes to show…