12 July 2013

SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is more than just about page ranks. It is, at its core, about relationship marketing.

Rather than getting confused about SEO, page ranks, meta data, and a host of other jargon used by many SEO professionals, the best place to start is with the notion of relationship building.

Whereas SEO used to be about using keywords to gain search engine result page-ranks (with the goal to be at position #1); now it’s about the relationship between your site and its users. Search Engine Optimisation is all about relevance.

Simply putting a website online, and targeting keywords, is no longer the be-all and end-all of good SEO. With the rise of social networks, and greater levels of information-sharing, you need to make sure that your website is interesting and valuable to your end-users.

The notion of “value” is an important one. Continued relevance, and search results rank, depends on your website changing often. You need to write currently relevant content, respond to issues, provide educational links. You need to share those things that you, or your company, finds interesting and valuable.

If you have a good sense of who your end-user is, and what he or she wants, then the people who visit your site will find the shared items that you find interesting, relevant, and valuable, of similar value.

By keeping your website relevant to its users, and by being visible to those users, you will gradually build up a good relationship with your target market.

The social networking society is one that values shareable content. Whether or not the content that you post is shared, depends on whether or not your audience finds it valuable. The natural links provided by content sharing generate traffic to your site. The more natural links there are, the higher your website’s relevance becomes.

Similarly, users of social networks highly value good interaction, too. Being active in blog comments on your site, being active in social networks with your consumer market, about both very important.

You can see, therefore, that SEO is more of a full-circle system. End-user value is your site’s greatest strength. The reality now truly is that if users don’t find value in your site, they will go somewhere else. This is also the case if you do not update your site often, because what was valuable six months ago may be out of date and irrelevant now.

Keywords are still valuable, and the ability to relate your content to focus keywords is important. But it is not the only thing that is important. What you also need to do is use your content to build a meaningful relationship with your audience. Then, once you have achieved it, to maintain it.

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