My Take On Search Engine Optimization (SEO), The Attraction Marketing Way
I often see discussions or questions about the latest search engine optimization (SEO) tactics. How do they work? Are they effective? How can I implement them? Do they still work with the latest search engine algorithm?
In case you don’t already know, SEO is the practice of customizing (“optimizing”, at least in theory) your content and other factors (such as external links or “back-links”) in order to try to place higher (closer to the top of the first page) in the search engine results pages (SERPs). The reason for this is that more highly ranked sites tend to get much more traffic (visitors) than lower-ranked sites.
SEO tactics often involve factors such as keyword frequency, page length, page layout (does the main content appear before sidebars in the page description), and so forth.
Many companies charge a lot of money offering services to help try to improve search engine placement. They often get a lot of repeat business because the search engine algorithms are frequently changing.
So why do the search engine algorithms change frequently?
It’s driven by the fact that users want a search engine that provides the most relevant results, and search engines want repeat visitors for more ad revenue.
As people discover aspects of the search engine ranking algorithms (generally through experimentation, as the algorithms are highly proprietary and closely-guarded), they often try to “chase” the algorithm by trying to trigger as many positive and as few negative ranking factors as they can.
This does not typically make the content inherently better, so the search engine designers are constantly changing the algorithms to try to compensate for the “chasers”. It’s a vicious cycle.
This will likely be unpopular in SEO circles, but I suggest a different approach.
There is a marketing technique that is currently popularly referred to as “attraction marketing”. In case you’re not familiar with it, the concept behind attraction marketing is that prospects have generally been bombarded with advertising messages to the point that it’s all seen as “noise” and simply tuned out, and that it’s better to focus on providing “value” (whatever that means to your visitors) and education instead. The goal is to have prospects come to you (especially when they’re nearly ready to consume your product), rather than pursing them.
If we take the concept of attraction marketing and apply it to search engines, we should, again, focus on providing value and education, rather than chasing particular ranking factors in the latest search engine algorithms. If you go back to why people use search engines and how they generate revenue, I think this just makes the most sense for a more consistent, long-term payoff, and it doesn’t require constantly changing your content or strategy or losing your earlier investments.