S.E.O. is dead. How to stop worrying about your Google rank and get things done.

Published in Interesting

SEO is dead

S.E.O is dead. OK, it's not dead, not at all, but for many people there are other things they might be better able to spend their time on that could reap more results.

This is a workshop/presentation for start-ups and small and medium sized businesses. This is to be a workshop for people who are in many different types of business and different skill/experience levels. It is designed to be a group project so that those who have knowledge can help out others.

Sorry for any spelling errors. I am uploading this quick for people who are interested in this as a resource and don't quite have time to to give it the final once over.

 << download the presentation as a pdf here >>

Let's start by getting S.E.O out of the way first:  S.E.O isn't dead, it's continually changing. It's changing so fast, that unless you have the time to become master, you might just want to give up trying to get it perfect. Instead try to simply be good enough to get good results and save your energy for things that might be more useful to you.

People are going crazy about S.E.O it's on everyones lips. For larger companies it's a team effort and really worthwhile investing in because the rewards are so great. If you manage to boost yourself up the rankings it can drastically increase them amount of sales, signups or conversions you get which can result in a huge windfall of thousands (or millions) in revenue for your company. But you need to bear one thing in mind. It takes a lot of time and energy. It just might be possible that the time an energy you spend on S.E.O might be wasted time (that could be better spend on something else).

Welcome to the insanely complicated world of online marketing.

For example if your selling Shoes you could spend many hours and lots of money trying to in vain to increase you ranking for keywords relating to shoes. Also, if you really try hard, you can sometimes accidentally make it look to the search engines like to are trying to game the system, in this case you will actually receive a penalty and damage your Search Engine Ranking Position (SERP). This can easily happen if you don't know what you are doing. BUT if you concentrate on being honest and working on your business INSTEAD of "doing S.E.O" you might actually increase your Search Engine Ranking Position and be rewarded with traffic and conversions (when a visitor take the desired action like making a purchase or signing up). Imagine our shoe example. Imagine you wrote a guid on teaching kids a new method of learning to tie shoe laces. THAT might just promote people to organically link to it and after a while you will rank well in search engines and you can simply advertise your specials on these pages. Sometimes this is easier than trying to do your own S.E.O.

This is a workshop to look a some of the other things you can do to increase your presence and internet chatter and to improve your online image.

It won't cover everything, online marketing is too vast. This is simply to get some things which might really help that can be done in a couple of hours.

Before we do take a look at what you can be doing if your not spending that time and energy on S.E.O. We should al least cover the basics of S.E.O, the things that (in my mind) REALLY work so you can work these into your workflow remember to do any of these you can do quickly and effortlessly and also learn them so they become an automatic part of you internet marketing routine.

S.E.O.tips:

  1. Remember. If you can't do it or you don't understand it, leave it. Use your energy for the tasks that follow because being proactive is a sure fire way to promote internet awareness of your site.

Absolutely Essential S.E.O:

  1. Have an XML site map formatted the way Google likes it and registered with Google through through Google webmaster tools. You must have one of these. MUST.

If you don't know what an xml sitemap looks like, take a look at mine here.

Recommended S.E.O (for every web page on your site):

  1. Clear and relevant Heading using H1 tags which accurately describe the resource (the article/page)
  2. 100% original honest high quality article we the best information you give on the topic. Should be 600-1000 words but really keep it on topic and succinct (Make sure your content is awesome, "does it help people?")
  3. The same heading/a very similarly worded heading should makeup the human readable URL
  4. Divide information into sub headings and use other heading tags for these (h2 or h3)
  5. Use bullet points or numbered lists to display data/info
  6. 3 relevant images or video to help illustrate the idea or at the very least decorate the information in a helpful way (we don’t tend to like reading text only).
  7. Description meat data in the web page which is inviting to the user to your resource, clearly identifying what it's about (“why is this worth reading?").
  8. 1 infernal link (link on your site) with keywords to the resource.

Useful S.E.O, optimise your website:

  1. Well optimised page with unified and compressed resources
  2. Make sure the information loads first.
  3. Make sure your images are optimised for fast load times.
  4. Make sure you have a fast enough server so that server response time is low. A minimum of a Virtual Private server is recommended.

As long as you take care of as many of those thing you can easily, you can carry on with the following workshop tasks.

S.E.O is dead. Where else you can spend your online marketing energy:

Online marketing is a vast, ever changing and every more complex area and it can suck you in like a black hole. If you are a small or medium sized business you might not have the resources to tackle every aspect of it. I hate when I constantly hear people telling other people what they "should be doing" in online marketing when it is clear (at least to me) that the don't have the time or perhaps money and it's easy to tell people you're already an expert and don't need to spend the time yourself. This is why I have organises a workshop to actually get things done rather than just offer advice.

Here are are workshop tasks:

TASK 1) Check your site map, makes sure it's google readable and shows at lest 30 high quality pages about your company, product service or related news and information.
TASK 2) Peer review and critique our company website. Together we should make sure our websites are professional, informative and designed with the user in mind.
TASK 3) Update your content by summarising your advantages, market differentiation and solutions.
TASK 4) Spread your net. Increase you online presence to drive more traffic to your site
TASK 5) Build your social networking presence and engage your customers to increase your exposure. Just a bit at a time. The key is to make sure you have a Facebook page, twitter account and a blog.
TASK 6) Get some quality back links from similar sites and services.
TASK 7) Advertise with Google adwords. You don't need to spend a lot, but you may find that it's a great way to bring in more business (if competition isn't too strong).


I could write for days on all sorts of way you can improve your online marketing, but I want to make sure I cover the things you can do even if your short on funds or time. Of course if you have a team of people and a bigger budget, it's still a great idea in my opinion to spend most of your energy on these topics.

(S.E.O. is dead WORKSHOP TASK 1)

First things first, lets check the site map. You website should have:

1) A homepage with a summary of your business, feature your products and show your market advantage
2) Product or services pages
3) Additional gateway pages which provide more information and direct your customers to your products or services.

I'm sure you have the first two, but do you have enough in point number three. You should have at least third pages which help provide a service to you customer all the while directing them to how you can help them.

Let's acknowledge if your site is deficient in this area and move on.

(S.E.O. is dead WORKSHOP TASK 2)

Peer review and critique our company website to make sure it give the right image.

Make sure your website is working for you.

Basically a website simply has 2 functions.

1) To inform the visitors.
2) To encourage visitors towards action (buy/participate).

Not all websites require the user to take action, wikipedia for example exists to provide the user with information.

For the rest of us, our sites exists to help us to sell a product or a service. So as a Marketing tool it's got be good. In fact it is such a convenient way for the user to find out about you that if you don't have a great website you are doing yourself a disservice.

In the group get people to look at your site. Get an opinion form other users. Ask a marketing professional (like me) to provide some feedback. Take this opportunity to be self critical. Pay close attention to the way you explain things to make sure you are telling your audience what they came to you to find out about (and how they can help themselves by buying product and services).

This task is really to make sure you know your website is doing you justice. There are no hard an fast rules other to see people reactions to your site and get valuable feedback.

Make sure you write down EVERY QUESTION people ask you. Ask yourself, why are they not able to find the answer via the website?

Ask them to:
Rate the site out of ten
Tell you what they learned about your company (did they get it right?)


(S.E.O. is dead WORKSHOP TASK 3)

Update your content by summarising your advantages, market differentiation and solutions.

Do you have an elevator pitch? An elevator pitch is a short explanation of exactly what your business is about. The kind of explanation you would use if you are pitch to an inverter and had to sell them on your product or service before the reached their floor and got out of the elevator. This 1 paragraph  description 3-5 sentences. Should be front and center.

TASK: Elevator Pitch: Write an elevator pitch or review your elevator pitch with a friend. Another idea is to simply explain it to someone anew or try to summarise your business in one paragraph of about3-5 sentences MAX. Then write down what you said and check if its better than what you had before. This is the time we will work together to make sure everyone has an update elevator pitch that they can put front an centre on their web site.

As a last step, summarise your elevator pitch in ONE sentence. This will be the heading to go above the elevator pitch.


TASK: Your selling points:

Now lets come up with some selling points. These help your customers to understand how they will benefit from your products and services.

Here are some questions to help:
What you have to offer?
What problems do you solve of the user?
What improvement do you have over existing products or services?
How do you make their life easier?
What do you offer that sets you apart form the competing (what is your unique selling point that differentiates you in the marketplace).

Write a paragraph answer for each an every different point you can come up with and a single sentence to heading each paragraph.

Also, do this for the every question people asked you earlier while reviewing you website. They were actually giving you valuable feedback about information you can add to you site to help bring in organic traffic and improve conversions buy removing your customers doubts.

When we have completed this, add the information to your website, or send it to you webmaster/web-developer to ask them to add it. If you can do it during the workshop, save it so you can upload it later.

(S.E.O. is dead WORKSHOP TASK 4)

Spread your net. Increase you online presence to drive more traffic to your site.

One of the biggest problems I find is that websites might look good and do well in providing for the customer but they often aren't big enough. They often don't have pertinant relevant content which can bring in addition traffic and also add credibility to you.

The content should be published in two places:
High quality content expanding on specifics about your product or service. This should appear on your website.
High quality content about the industry or relevant subjects should appear on your blog. Yes. You should have a blog.

You main page should be reasonably short and sweet with further explanations available to people to click through to when they need it. You should also have additional pages with more information about your product/service or interesting information about the subject in general.

But you should also have some additional pages with relevant content to your audience which could simply help people find your site.

Some people might call these pages "doorway pages" or call this process "spam-dexing"; adding information to increase your chance of search engines ranking some of your pages. This is NOT what I'm talking about. But also, it sort of is.

Adding generic content just to try and increase traffic is rarely effectual because it offers very little value to the user and will often be a repeat content that already exists on the internet. But adding useful information or content which may help your target market can be fantastic. What is the difference?

What do you know might be new and insightful to your audience?
What lead to you creating this product or service?
What questions or problems might people have that you products can solve?
Guess what? You've already answered these questions in the third workshop task in a paragraph form. So now you should work to expand on these concepts to create more pages for your site.

TASK:  Add a unique page to you website with additional information, one for each summary paragraph you created in workshop task 3. Change the paragraph a little and add anything they you think would further expand on the topic. Make sure the information is unique, valuable and interesting. Add at least 3 images (or video) with alt text (test which describe the image written into the page code).

If you can't do this yourself get some help. Having an extra page on your website for each selling point of your business or device will be a relatively simple step to increase you online presence and garner more customers/business.

Remember: You are not "trying to bring people to your site" you are trying to offer useful information of real value and substance. In thorn this may rank in search engines and also be linked to and shared by your audience because of the way it has helped them

ADDITIONAL TASK: Come up with extra page titles which you can add to you website which might be useful and expand your web site presence. The ideal place to put this content is a company blog using a system which is easy to "Post" information to.
You should later generate separate pages for these and add them to your website.

(S.E.O. is dead WORKSHOP TASK 5)

Build your social networking presence.

You should have a Facebook page and a twitter page. You don't actually have to be super active Here is what you can do:
TASKS:
Sign up for Facebook and add a nice image to your timeline and a RELEVANT image as your profile pic. Make sure you choose the right entity type (i.e. business page etc).
Sign up for twitter.
In twitter follow a few people in your industry, or that you know and make a few tweets.
In Facebook post a few interesting photos so your page doesn't look blank and then invite some of you friends to like your page.
Sign up for an account at IFTTT and set it to automatically tweet your Facebook posts. While you are there, you can get it to automatically tweet you blog posts as well.

(S.E.O. is dead WORKSHOP TASK 6)

Get some quality back links from similar sites and services.

Crucial to getting search engines to scan (spider) your website and also to increase it's value is to have high quality organic links.

TASK: In groups of three write a little bit about your project (about two paragraphs) for the person on your right to add to their site. Write it specifically for their audience and then send it to them. Once they receive it they should add their own thoughts, post it to their website and then link to your site in whichever way they see fit.

That's going to help you. I promise.

The only way you should ever allow links to your site is when it is relevant, useful and valuable.

If you want more links, get involved in a community of like mind people, for example entrepreneurs, startups, opt similar businesses, consider helping each other out with high quality back links. Always do it in a group with the 'help the person on your right' style. Link swapping can create flags with Google and be labeled as a low quality link which will actually HURT your site. What is the difference between high quality and low quality? Value. You can't just ask someone to link to your site. You have to ensure that a link is associated with unique content that is of value to their audience and there is a reason for link to your site. Always provide a few images and leave the linking up to them, just give them you preferred page relevant to any information you have provided and the key words you would like to link to, but let them take care of it their own way. If you can create a quality relevant resource of usefulness then any links included will help your website.

IMPORTANT: Remember. Any other "link building" is more often than not bad and may hurt your rankings. If it isn't honest, valuable and natural then DON'T DO IT.

(S.E.O. is dead WORKSHOP TASK 7)

Talk about advertising with Google Adwords and share experiences.

You don't need to spend a lot, but if competition isn't too strong most small businesses should advertise with Google. It's a great way to bring in more business and you might be wasting an opportunity if you don't.

Our task is just to talk about it.

Advertising with Google Adwords is easy to do. These days Google will help set you up. Here's what to do:

Call Google ask for someone to help you set ups and Adwords campaign. Set a budget of about 5-50 euro a day (depending on YOUR budget). Ask to bid for the following:

  1. Keywords in Google search only (SUPER IMPORTANT!)
  2. Keywords which closely match the action you want you user to take. (e.g. "buy odd socks online" instead of just "odd socks"). You can expand this with "where to buy", "best price for…" things that a motivated buyer is likely to put in when searching for something that they have ALREADY DECIDED TO BUY, or what a person might search for when looking for the solution you provide.
  3. Make sure all your keyword bids are exact math (not broad match)