Website Marketing and SEO Today
How it all started for me…..
About five years ago, I was asked by a friend to try and find out why his website appeared at different positions in search engine results from one day to the next. I was not involved in the internet at that time, other than as a typical user booking travel online, or searching for information., etc.
Out of curiosity I wanted to discover why my friend’s website should move up and down the results and started from scratch, looking to see where it appeared for different search terms. On the first day of my investigations, I started to notice references to SEO and even though it was clear that it referred to search engine optimisation, I had no idea what that meant. So, I began to learn, spending hours and hours reading SEO blogs and SEO forums. Quickly I began to get a sense of a world within a world. It occurred to me, that neither I, nor my website owner friend had been aware of this SEO thing, and I became captivated by the notion of optimizing a website, as in the title of the famous book “In pursuit of Excellence”
I have been involved in Sales and Marketing for over 40 years. In those years, I began by selling locally grown potatoes door-to-door, before getting serious with office equipment to businesses around Covent Garden, when it was still the fruit and vegetable market of London. I then moved up to exporting mechanical handling equipment to customers throughout East Europe when it was still under Communist rule, and then came home to the UK to work in Media sales. But, I digress..
My interest in the art of SEO was grounded in the background of a lifetime in sales and marketing, and seeing how the cyber business world is having to re-learn the fundamentals. The ‘dot.com’ bubble of the 1980′s was the moment of truth and a reality check for the hyper expectations of mega-fortunes that website marketing was supposed to create.
The State of Website Marketing Today……
Having studied Website marketing practices and the role of SEO during these past five years it is clear that there are layers of awareness with corresponding levels of success in terms of the winning and losing websites.
The winners are those with a dominant product or service offered to the correctly targeted market segment via an SEO efficient, easy to use, well designed website, that is rich in content and information and that encourages loyalty.
The losers are those who place more value on the design and appearance of their website rather than the value of the content, who either don’t know about SEO, or fail to appreciate its crucial role in getting visitors to the website.
From conversations with colleagues involved in Website Marketing and SEO services, as well as discussions with numerous website owners, it seems that a company’s website is as precious to the owner as are children to doting parents. No parent wants to hear you say “Boy what an ugly baby!” and equally many website owners don’t like to be told that their ‘baby’ has some shortcomings. Any criticism of a website’s appearance, or functionality can be met with a firm rebuttal. And yet, it is the responsibility of the web marketing consultant, to point out any negative aspects of a website. From personal experience, it helps to present irrefutable evidence, such as ‘missing metadata’ to support any critique.
Whilst I respect and embrace all matters SEO, it has to be said, that SEO can be a force for good, and also not so good. Many strong performers are at the top of the SERPs ( Search Engine Results Pages ) and therefore most visited, because of their ability to exploit the practice of Search Engine Optimisation. There are both white hat and black hat SEO techniques which can propel an otherwise rather mundane website to the top of the results, at the cost of much better websites which are not fully SEO savvy. Many websites border on questionable SEO practice with links from the most unexpected sources which would not bear too much scrutiny, if challenged. Paradoxically, you must apply SEO as much as possible in order not to be pushed down the listings by this type of competitor, but the real goal is to pursue the full website marketing strategy as practiced by the winners mentioned above.