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April 13, 2009

SEO is a fools errand (Pt. 2)

Seth Godin had a great post on SEO  over the weekend. It inspired me to revisit this theme because it is one of the most important marketing concepts of the early 21st century in my view. 

I have written before that I think SEO is very much a fools errand . I have even wasted the last three months trying to convince myself otherwise and now I am more certain than ever. 

The basic concept of SEO is to have your blog, website, product (whatever) pop up when people search on related subjects. It is a carry over fromt he days when all you needed to do was pay exorbitant amounts of money to interrupt people while they were watching TV, driving, reading a magazine or even sitting in a public toilet.

The whole concept revolves around being where your prospective customers are and shouting at them to get their attention. (The sort of thing Spam does)

It used to work... it doesn't anymore. In fact, it hasn't made the phone ring for at least a decade now according to my own experiences.

And even if it did work, even if you could turn up in a search for related subjects and convert that into more readers, more leads and more revenue - the odds are significantly against  you pulling it off.

Too many people trying to do the same thing, and low use of searching tools to help everyone sift through the stuff online.

The alternative, as I stated in the Street Smart Consulting newsletter series, is not to be where they are - but to be what they are looking for!

If you put ConsultingPulse  into Google my site is the first to come up. If you put "Daryl Mather " into Google you see this site and a range of other things I have been doing.

Yet - if you put the word "search" into Google , you don't get the Google site until near the end of the first page! (Even though they are the clear market leader)

In the past year I have grown our newsletter from 50 people to 1000 people just through word of mouth advertising. Not a lot you say? Sure... but I have also only lost 20 readers.

20, in a year. That's nothing! Why? Because they heard about the newsletter, or this blog. They decided it was something that they would be interested in, they chose to subscribe and confirm their subscription, and they read the newsletters that I send them. (80% open rate)

Think of the things in your life today. Google, Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, Alan Weiss, Daniel Pink, Dan Roam, Google, LinkedIn, CreateSpace, Squidoo, Facebook, Amazon,, Twitter... have you ever seen an ad for any of them?

No... at least I haven't in thirty or so different countries. I heard about all of these from trusted sources. Either friends, colleagues, the news, a blog I read, or some other referral source.

Regardless of whether you are looking for work , looking to expand your business, or just looking to increase you brand for future business aspirations, This is the most important concept in modern marketing; do not try to be where they are, try to be what they are looking for! (And be extra-ordinary when they find you)

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