Saturday, 30 June 2012

SEO tweets for twits from an ex twit: second step to web domination

Keep at it, spin that wheel... let me know if I should get wiggy with it

Yesterday I was having a conversation about SEO in a professional forum and realised that not all companies know what an SEO specialist is. I did a google search and found an article revealing that SMEs don't invest in SEO because they don't know what it is nor recognise its commercial value. It's nearly two years old and is a tad biased but it still rings true. It reminded me of when I was an inhouse subeditor and people didn't have a clue what my job was. They didn't know that articles are not published as they come from the reporter/writer, they are nearly always rewritten by the features editor then checked and rewritten to fit the design by a subeditor, who also writes the heads and sells. And yes, one article came once on a piece of paper torn from a notebook and it was handwritten in green ink.

Back to SEO, so who is an SEO specialist? Unless massively talented and with the brain the size of a computer it's not just one person. There are links & optimization people, content writers, social media consultants, marketing consultants, web designers. Some offer ancillary services in cooperation with other professionals, others work with big digital agencies as contractors (that would be me!). Apologies if I forgot a specialism here, feel free to correct me.

However there seems to be a misconception out there that only the links people are SEO specialists. That might have been fitting (but only just) prior to Panda and Penguin updates, where a lot of dubious practices were stamped out (i.e. links galore but poor content). Having gone through the restructuring of two content websites (as a writer, not an SEO specialist), I can tell you it's not the case any more. So if you don't know what hit you (i.e. a Panda or a Penguin), read this great article on how to assess your website.

Now, if you still don't have a website and my previous post (containing a link to an article on how to build one on a budget) didn't inspire you, read this recent article about infographics. Apparently, 80% of customers trust a company more if it has a web presence. Now, again, there might be a bias there, but with high-street sales languishing and online sales going up, it's not far from the mark. 

So if you are building or thinking of refreshing  your website, do consider investing in SEO. Hire a copywriter, designer, link specialist or a social media consultant (or all, depending what you need) and raise your game. I showed you how to find the keywords your competitors use, now gather the ones that are relevant to your business (blitz your site and pick all the services, products you offer) and send that brief out. 

Many SEO specialists have different packages on offer, so there might be something in your price range. If you don't have any budget, visit and take the DIY approach. I warn you (and I'm talking about my own website here), it's time consuming, so if you think that your time is better spent getting clients and looking after your regulars, I'd outsource this out to the relevant SEO specialist  (designer, copywriter, social media marketing bod, link person). If you need a full makeover, then you might need to find a digital agency that caters for small businesses (so you can afford an SEO A team of your own).

So you might well ask me: "Why didn't you hire a specialist but spent hours reading about SEO?" It was a career move, transitioning from print media to digital and from journalism to marketing/advertising. I haven't got a marketing degree so you might say that I studied at the University of Google.

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