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Old 23rd June 2004, 01:17 PM   #1
Old Welsh Guy
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Default What is SEO?

I wrote this earlier today in reply to a question elsewhere, I though it might be an idea to post it here as a starter to get things rolling so to speak.

Professional SEO is about EVERYONE winning, it is a complete symbiotic relationship

Search engines - They win as they are provided with a set of pages that are easy to understand, and contain the quality information that their visitors search for.

Searchers/clients - They win as they are getting what they ask for from the search engines, they search for buy blue widgets, and get a page about blue widgets, where, in fact they can buy, blue widgets.

Site owners - They win as they are getting quality visitors who are doing what they want them to do, be it post, read, register, buy, whatever the end goal for the site is.

SEO's - They win because they get paid for making all parties concerned happy.

That IMO is how professional SEO should be considered, it is not about getting pages ranked, it is not about beating the search engines (although most good SEO's have this inbuilt desire to win) it IS about being the catalyst for a win win win situation, where the only losers are the people who have not hired you, and see their competition leapfrog them in the results, or often don't even see this, as they are actually appearing for and optimising for the wrong phrases. All they know is that their bottom line is dropping away, but can't for the life of them work out why.

Optimisation in my mind is all about taking a site and making it as good as you can get it, this includes navigation, usability, and function. The site should have a reson to exist, be it selling or informing, but the job of the Professional SEO is to make sure it does it's job.


Optimisation goes way beyond what is on the page, it encompasses usability and selling, but in this forum I guess the mani questions will run around seo methods, keyword researching, coding, tags metas, copywriting density and lots of other boring stuff.

The trick is to ask the question, and don't feel shy. I am self taught, and like Newton said, ' he made his discoveries by 'standing on the shoulders of giants', ask the questions that many others are simply to scared to post.

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Old 23rd June 2004, 01:25 PM   #2
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Couldn't agree with you more, James. When you are able to provide a complete solution like this to your clients, you'll find that they stick with you a long, long time. Heck, I have SEM campaigns that are 5 plus years old. You don't get that kind of longevity unless their sites are not only ranking well but converting as well.

Unfortunately some times (actually a lot of times) a client is their own worst enemy. They ignore your suggestions, have the site updated or redesigned and in the process remove all your optimization efforts, change your optimized copy, etc. They can get in the way of providing a complete solution. But oh how I love the ones who give you complete liberty both with site modifications and ideas. Those are the ones that make SEO fun and exciting.

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Old 23rd June 2004, 02:59 PM   #3
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I have had one this week, " here is my product database, here is my logo, do what you want" fantastic when you get given that much freedom. They gave me their list of 6 keywords/phrases somehow though in two days this has turned into almost 100 to go into a Google adwords campaign for market testing.

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Old 2nd July 2004, 08:51 AM   #4
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Default Old-Fashioned SEO

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Wallace
Unfortunately some times (actually a lot of times) a client is their own worst enemy. They ignore your suggestions, have the site updated or redesigned and in the process remove all your optimization efforts, change your optimized copy, etc. They can get in the way of providing a complete solution. But oh how I love the ones who give you complete liberty both with site modifications and ideas. Those are the ones that make SEO fun and exciting.
The elephant in the room is SEO that does a great job of bringing traffic to the site, but then turns the viewer off because the site is so obviously atuned to spiders rather than humans. In an unheard of test--putting up a site with ZERO SEO, but fascinationg copy--we got 8 out of 13 articles into the Google Top Ten ranking. Again, with no substantive SEO at all. (See: http://www.velocityassociates.net/pages/Rankings.php )

The metric should be the number of sales (not the number of hits) a site receives. Although 10% of 10,000 hits will be better than 25% of 1000 hits--so in that sense it is all relative...

Clearly both mechanical SEO and outstanding copy quality are necessary. (It's just so seldom one sees any mention of high-quality copy...)

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Old 2nd July 2004, 09:01 AM   #5
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Welcome Tholzel!

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Old 2nd July 2004, 09:06 AM   #6
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SEO is about as useful as dung if you don't throw some usability and marketing in with it. You're absolutely right that a customer landing on a page that was clearly written for spiders rather than people isn't a great way to sell products.

But, there are plenty of ways to keep an eye on things like conversion rates, usability, etc... and to make changes to your site as needed to make sure that the traffic that comes is buying. It only makes sense...search engine traffic is about the best traffic you can get when it come to targeting and likelyhood of conversion, so if you're not doing the work to provide them with an environment that they'll want to buy in, you aren't doing your job.

I think that's part of why you are starting to see so many SEOs hooking up with design companies, usability companies and other marketing firms. SEO is simply another marketing outlet. You wouldn't celebrate a direct mail piece that you managed to send to 50,000 people if you didn't have a strong conversion rate, the same should hold true with traffic generated by search engine marketing.

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Old 7th July 2004, 12:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
You wouldn't celebrate a direct mail piece that you managed to send to 50,000 people if you didn't have a strong conversion rate, the same should hold true with traffic generated by search engine marketing.

Amen! This has been something I've been working with a LOT of clients on lately. The understanding that balance is not only extremely important, but downright vital to the success of any SEO campaign. You can't focus 100% on the engines or your sales will suffer. You also can't focus 100% on your sales or your positioning will suffer. Balance... balance... balance.

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Old 11th July 2004, 11:09 AM   #8
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Default Suicide by ego-mania

<<Unfortunately some times (actually a lot of times) a client is their own worst enemy.>>

That and ignorance are probably the only enemies. I have had the board or directors task me with reposition a do-it-yourself website, a conversion the CEO claimed to be happy to off-load on some one who is an expert at it.

So we met on several occasions to begin the brainstorming process. But each meeting ended acrimoniously, with the CEO demanding to know "What's wrong with the website, anyway?" That is, what's wrong with the website that he so lovingly designed and copywrote?

The short answer is that this ego-mania leads to blindness that is almost incurable. Certainly mere reason won't do it. Thus, I now am forced to spend a lot of time searching out the stoppers to any web repostioning before I take on a job--but that is such a downer because you are asking negatively laden questions.

But the harsh reality of it is, that unless you can some how get an equal and opposite force to shield you against ego-mania. you probably won't get your repositioning accepted, and you probably also won't get paid!

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Old 12th July 2004, 08:17 AM   #9
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Hi Tholzel, you seem to have a tough situation on your hands there.

Without knowing all the human dynamics and relative power positions of the participants, it's difficult to know how best to open up the discussion. If the boss sees the website as the electronic equivalent of his Cadillac and he just wants it polished up a bit, then your job is clearly defined.

If on the other hand the website has some business objective, then you can start some kind of process, including how it's performing now and where improvement is needed. If there is a willingness to discuss business objectives, then you may find one of my articles, "Make Your Website Your Most Powerful Sales Representative", one way of opening up the discussion.

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Old 13th July 2004, 07:37 AM   #10
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First off I think I should point out that IMO, SEO is NOT about getting your site a good ranking. THAT is just a part of it. 'Optimisation' means just that, to bring something to optimum performance. Anyone who thinks that SEO is about placement in the SERPS are talking about search engine placement companies, NOT SEO consultants or companies. No decent SEO would consider getting a bag of bones to the top. <rant over lol>

back to the dilemma

I think you have to reflect back his defensive position and his defence of something that is broken.

Personally I would ask him what it is that made him think that he needed SEO, I find that it is no use trying to tell someone what is wrong with soemthing they love, as their love of tht something just entrenches them further!

get HIM to tell YOU what is wrong. The simple fact is that it is not doing the job it was put there to do. that IMO has to be the very cornerstone of your argument. Until such time as you get the guy to admit it is not working your up against the brick wall.

Has he told you whta he expects the site to do for him? His aspirations for the site? try to drag him into collective reasoning rather than agreement of your proposals.

You need him to
1) agree it is not doing what he wants it to do
2) agree what it is that he wants it to do.

From that point you can lay a ath collectively piece by piece, element by element until the old site is completely blown away.

it is not going to be easy, but I can see no other way. You need to a psycologist in this scenario I think, you have to try to get him to believe that everything that has been agreed is his doing.

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