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November 29, 2008

SEO is a fools errand !

I have never been a big fan of search engine optimization. In fact, I have gone out of my way to ignore it in all my Internet marketing work.

The World Wide Web has become so large, so crowded and so busy that searching it is like dragging a net across the surface of a vast ocean. In fact it runs anywhere from 60 billion pages to  "massively" more than 550 billion web pages including Deep Web pages.

Add to this the fact that few of us actually use all of the very powerful query language tools that Google has to offer, and you get the double whammy; lots of stuff to look through and not very effective ways of looking.

If you read all the blogs, papers, articles and tip sheets floating around you would think that this was pretty easy right? So isn't everybody doing it?

And everybody is... the chance of you finding your way to the top of Google, for the searches that are relevant to your companies business, are small and getting smaller.

It is, I would suggest, a fool's errand. Don't take my word for it. See what happens when you Google the word search. (Expected Google didn't you!)

You don't want to pin your hopes on being where people are looking. You want to to be what they are looking for!

When I look for SAP, their site turns up first. When I look for Bob Burg, or Kevin Hogan their sites turn up first. When I look for Accenture their site turns up first. (And when you put my name in shows up first!)

All sounds very easy, so how do I do this?

1. People have to talk about you. I rarely publicize the email series on Street Smart Consulting (the sign in box of the side of this page) but over the last 3 weeks I have had over 600 new subscribers.

Why? people talk to each other, they send emails to each other. And when something adds a lot of value to them, or if they are truly inspired by something, they can't help but tell others about it.

2. Good content doesn't generate repeat visits. Good variable content does. I get a lot of hits for presentations and for the stuff I write on consulting cash-flow. But if I continued to write just on these topics it would soon get old.

3. Send reminders. Email newsletters remain fantastic forms of marketing and promotion. Particularly ones that offer value, build a relationship, and deliver personal information.

That is why, I believe, we do pretty well here. The readers of this blog are interested in consulting, marketing and selling professional services, a being able to use their experience and skills to create personal wealth.

If they subscribe to the newsletter thats what they get.

If I subscribe to a newsletter from a PR site, I expect to get information on that subject and so on. So I am listening, I am open to getting my curiosity pricked, and the newsletter is something that I can relate to.

I just forget that its there sometimes. Heck, I forget to tie my shoes sometimes I'm so busy!

4. Blog it all! Blogs are great reminders to like minded people to continue an ongoing discussion with them. Enuff said, there are far too many people out there pumping up the commercial value of blogs.

In the end the blog feed, the email newsletter and the Street Smart Consulting series is just permission to continue speaking with everyone. And that is the essence of my blog.

5. Post to communities. I am not somebody who advocates commenting for the sake of commenting. Just so you can get your site registered as an outgoing link from one of the "A" list bloggers. (Who are these people anyway?)

But there are other means. I post to groups on Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace. Again some of these are my own groups, created for consulting and marketing types, so there is already an implicit permission there.

Others I belong to are also related so I post there to capture the attention of like minded people. Not spam! if they want to check out the news items, and read my post, then it is totally up to them.

If they like it they often comment, which draws other people and so on.

I also use Twitter a lot. A heck of a lot. And I really like it. I'm still pretty new to Twitter, but now I get it. Every time I send a link there the 800 people who follow me have a chance of seeing it.

And again, I only follow people who talk about consulting, marketing or similar authors to me. So it is likely that they will be interested in what I am talking about.

6. Link back from articles and guest posts. Articles, guest posts and interviews are a great and untapped way of getting links back to your site. BUT - this is not for any SEO purpose. it is because if someone is reading their blog, they could follow the link back to you.

The more things you have out there, the more likely you are to be recognized as an authority or an expert on a subject, and the more likely you are to be what people are looking for; rather than trying to fight your way to the top of a very crowded haystack!