Stop Ranking for Keywords and Start Ranking for People

It sounds trite. It sounds almost Fishkian in nature. That if you want to get high quality traffic through natural search you should stop thinking about your audience and not yourself. I left one of my early SEO jobs purely because of this beliefs : ranking for keywords is how we get people  in (it’s the what in the equation) but we’re really looking to make sales (the why in our little equation), rankings are merely how we drive people.

Think of it from a client perspective when they employ you as an SEO agency/contractor. What do they care about? Really think about it. What are their goals? It’s a business goal, and every time it’s likely to be something measurable. A sales target, a visibility goal or a traffic metric (and yes I did put that in declining order of importance from my point of view. It’s our job as marketers to achieve this goal. We prove this by measuring what we’ve achieved and what we’ve done to achieve it and refine and implement as we go.

The Simplified SEO Process

Select Keywords -> Fix some content stuff -> bung in some links -> Cross Fingers -> Hopefully get results and achieve goals

And this is often what I see people doing and talking about.

  • What does Google want from content?
  • Whats the minimum amount of content I need to get the traffic?
  • How many ads can I jam on a page without being smacked by Panda?
  • How do we get links?
  • How do we get links and not get spanked by Penguin?

Most of the SEO I read about is like a procedural drama. Its flow chart SEO. If we do this and then do that we get something and then we add some more. Baking a cake is probably more interesting than being an SEO in these situations.

And here’s my real rant. So many SEO’s seem to forget about anything that isn’t the machine in all this. Feed the beast. With a disregard for the human element.

SEO puts sellers and buyers together. And keywords are the path between them; think of it as dating. Keywords put these people together but we still need to help them get into bed. We need to close the deal.

And if all you’ve done if keyword stuff some content and flung in some links that managed to game a computer program then it feels like you’re a spammer not an SEO.

SEO needs to be about the life cycle of the audience relationship with a website. Why would they come back. How do this couple  from a one night stand to a marriage? What does the audience need to turn the impulse to buy into a sale.

This whole post was ranty and angry and TBH not what I intended. But let the record show that I was angry about my chosen industry on this day.

Post By Michael Briggs (154 Posts)

Twitter handle : @michaelkebriggs

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