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Search Marketing vs Search Manipulation

Friday, December 13th, 2013 by Lee Wilson

The new SEO

The new SEO

For a long time, search engine optimisation has been seen as a means to manipulate search engines into increasing the visibility of one website over another.

When you consider the term ‘manipulation’, it implies that you are attempting to falsely inflate the perceived value of a website and trick the search engines into placing artificially higher value towards an actually lower-quality website.

There are still lots of people who stand by this perception of what SEO is and, without intending to offend, these same people often talk about link numbers, single key terms that are everything to them and see SEO as smoke and mirrors and intangible to measure. All of these things are incorrect.

SEO is not about tricking websites

If you are doing any of the following SEO techniques, or even worse you are paying someone to do any of the following for you, STOP now and contact us:

  • Keyword stuffing
  • Scraping content
  • Mass reciprocal linking
  • Buying large volumes of exact match domains (if you have no practical business requirement for them)
  • Using the meta keywords tag
  • Generating long URLs that are intentionally keyword heavy
  • Cloaking pages
  • Using doorway pages
  • Accepting links from everyone because “it’s the numbers that matter, right?”
  • Cross linking between every site you own because each site is lifting each other’s value
  • Systematically getting external site wide exact match links – “the more the merrier”
  • Adding your site to every directory so as to “add me to 100 sites save me so much time link building.” Really?
  • Using lots of popups because people will have to click on one of them

I stopped there but could have gone on. My intention here is not to put water on peoples’ fires; I just want you to be able to associate the type of SEO you are doing or paying for with the SEO that works.

SEO is about making the most of what you have & identifying what you don’t have

Make the Most of It Speedometer Opportunity Potential SEO is about positioning what you have in the very best light and marketing it to the widest and most relevant audience possible.Just because you have great content, invest lots of time adding valuable assets to your website and really understand what your target audience want, it doesn’t mean that you will have the visibility so they actually see it.

It’s about fixing the areas that are impeding your online success and boosting what you already have so that it maximises its true potential and finds it correct target audience.

SEO is also about filling the gaps in your current online strategy and continuing to build genuine value-add areas into your website to truly become a proactive thought leader in your niche.

Removing the blinkers

Pair of Shire Horses Imagine if you spoke to someone about getting visibility and traffic on 20 exact keywords, and you were told that you could get visibility and traffic on those 20 terms plus every single other term currently relevant to your business.

Then imagine that the same person told you, in addition to every term currently relevant to your business, you could also add in new areas of identified future visibility and growth potential so that your online visibility constantly grows without stagnating. This is what you can see and chat about when the old SEO blinkers are removed.

SEO is keywords still though?

see the big picture When we reinvented SEO, our pioneering approach took a clear stance – it’s about entire visibility and traffic for all search phrases.

SEO is about big data – all the data. Looking at everything gives you the opportunity to impact everything in a more positive way. So keywords are a part of the picture but the picture is so much bigger now.

Agility is a key. Agile marketing enables the delivery of results in shorter timeframes – and who doesn’t want results right now?

Let’s talk SEO metrics that matter

I still find it somewhat of an annoyance when people imply that SEO is not measureable – this is simply not true.

You can measure pretty much every single aspect of SEO. More than that, you can accurately measure almost every action you complete in SEO.

Where people often fall short when it comes to SEO metrics is clarity of purpose and accuracy of reporting.

Before you complete any action for SEO you should be asking yourself the following questions:

  1. What am I looking to achieve with this action? (“What is my goal/desired end result?”)
  2. How can we measure this goal? (Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, Enquiry form completions, micro goals)
  3. Where are we now? (Metrics based on current data)
  4. How can we measure success of the action? (Metrics post completion)
  5. How can we improve this? (A/B testing, scientific approach)
  6. What’s next? (Continued improvement)

We have written a number of blog posts on SEO metrics that matter and whilst they all offer a different insight unique to the author, one underlying factor which I feel matters the most is that the metrics need to be derived from your goals and your desired end results.

If you want more visits to your website the key metrics might include; impressions, click through rates, average ranks etc. This will be a very different set of metrics than if you were looking to increase the number of online enquiries that you get from your website.

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About the author

Lee Wilson

Lee Wilson

Lee joined Vertical Leap as an SEO Campaign Delivery Manager in 2010 and heads up the SEO team after successfully managing the online and direct marketing development of a financial services company for over seven years. Lee is a certified web applications developer (Cert WAD) and a regular LinkedIn user. Follow me on Google Plus