As holiday family gatherings loom it’s once again time to prepare for the annual Update on Your Life talks with family members that we rarely see. I’ve been trying out various versions of this speech since I started working in SEO/Internet Marketing several years ago, but lately the spiel has been marred by some bad press.
Do I really try to fool Google and get my unsuspecting relatives to click on porn sites disguised as legitimate search results? Is my professional goal to place spam comments on every single blog in the world? In short, do all SEOs belong on Santa’s naughty list?
Of course the answer to all these questions is a resounding, “No,” but with the popular Showtime series Dexter promoting an alternative search engine that “uses an algorithm to aggregate content without getting tripped up by SEO bull****”, The Good Wife equating all SEOs with spammers, and The New York Times outing nefarious online marketing tactics by well known companies (remember last year’s JCPenny debacle?) we may need to send a letter to Santa showing off some of our good deeds just to be safe.
How Search Engine Optimization Helps
So, in an effort to add to the positive PR for SEO (and avoid a lump of coal in my stocking), here are some ways that our sometimes misunderstood industry helps companies (and customers) everywhere:
- Improving website code so sites load faster, making visitors more likely to stick around. And really, who doesn’t want websites to load faster?
- Helping local businesses connect with local searchers, which translates into more local business and real money coming in during difficult economic times.
- Providing advice and/or management for Facebook, Twitter, Google + and more. For some smaller businesses these sites may make little sense and take up too much time, but if used properly they can boost brand awareness and sales. SEO (and its good friend social media marketing) bring these valuable tools within reach.
- Making it easier for customers to complete a purchase on ecommerce sites. If we work hard to push a site up in the search engine results only to have potential customers get frustrated and leave without buying anything, nobody is happy. Consequently search engine optimization often leads to better checkout processes, more intuitive buttons, and other improvements that bring joy to both customers and businesses.
- And of course, getting sites that you want to see on the first page of search results. People searching for information online don’t want yet another poorly written article cluttering up the first page of their search, and neither do SEOs. We want to help our clients get in front of customers by helping them provide good, solid information and products because at the end of the day we live on the internet too, and we want to find what we’re looking for quickly and easily.
So Santa, if you hear any of the elves talking bad about the SEOs on your list, or if you happen to catch the Dexter episode, please don’t automatically load up on coal. Some companies and individuals may deserve it (I’m looking at you, JCPenny), but most of us have the best interests of our clients and searchers at heart. Happy holiday searching!