SEO: How to not FAIL at getting search traffic – BlueGlass LA
Second session! Your speakers are Vanessa Fox, Founder, Nine by Blue and Adam Audette, President/CEO, AudetteMedia. They are, obviously, awesomes.
Vanessa is up first. (Buy her book if you haven’t already.)
Search is about more than just ranking. It’s a process. Search > Rank > SERP display > Page Content > Conversion
You need to know your business goals and what kind of problems your business audience is having that you can solve. Use the Title to meet the needs of the audience as well as the needs of your own organization. Don’t let yourself get too close. For you, it might just be “the tools” or “the act” but to everyone else, it has a specific longer name. Use that name, identify yourself the way that visitors will.
Every page of the site is the home page with search. You need to have an explanation and call to action on every page because you don’t know where people will first come to your site. State who you are, what the page is about.
Ranking reports aren’t all that helpful. You might miss /what/ is ranking. If it’s your 404 page, you have a problem.
You don’t have to tell them it’s your home page. Use your Title real estate well.
Build search into the content development process.
Clarify your business goals. Most people have not figured out what their business goals are. “I want a lot of traffic” is not a good goal. Porn will get you a lot of traffic. Figure out what the traffic is for. It’s okay if your traffic goes down as long as your conversions go up.
What is the project goal?
What is the brand objective?
What is your value proposition?
She defines her personas next. Write down each task that can be done on your site, group them into categories (newbies, dabblers, experts, etc). Use Google Ad Planner or similar tools to define what your audiences are looking for. Use social media to see what topics people are discussing. That builds your persona.
Adam Audette’s up next. As usual, we get a picture of his two adorable little girls. Aw.
What elements and concepts of SEO are important for success?
“If you build it, they will” come is wrong. You might build it and no one will care. (Adam attempts to throw in some swearing like our first session speakers but fails adorably.)
How do you create value? Answer users’ questions, solve their problems. Great content doesn’t guarantee traffic. Great content + great user experience + SEO does increase traffic.
You need to precede SEO with content and user experience. SEO needs to support and leverage content and UX. Crap SEO thinks only of itself. Good SEO thinks about users and information architecture. SEO should be the invisible layer below the user experience.
[This next bit harkens back strongly to Adam's presentation at SMX Advanced on site architecture.]
Build SEO into the business flow but don’t bring SEO into the flow too early. Get designers who know SEO.
Give SEO teams their own dev resources. The single biggest problem in SEO is things not getting done.
When you launch new stuff, tell your SEO before you do it. Encourage and facilitate creativity. Allow your SEO team the freedom to take risks. Hold them accountable to ROI but don’t make them a slave to it. SEO should fail quickly to succeed long term (Do It Wrong Quickly)
- Good SEO integrates with the business – Beware of reactive SEO
- Good SEO stays hidden behind the user experience. Its success hinges on it.
- Good SEO is patient. It’s a long slow road. Invest long term.
- Good SEO accepts risks and encourages failure.
Take smart risks, not stupid risks. Calculated risks are worth it.
[Skipping Q&A for my hand's sake. Check out SEJ for more coverage.]