My #1 SEO Tip

 By Linda Pophal

Ever since websites became a reality, marketers have been interested in finding ways to drive traffic to their sites. One of the traditional ways of doing this has been through search engine optimization (SEO)—a “fancy” phrase that really just means posting content that contains the words and phrases that potential visitors are likely to enter into search engines (like Google) when they’re looking for what you have to offer.

We work with clients regularly on content management/marketing projects, including the review and management of websites, analytics, social media, etc. My background is in traditional marketing and direct mail, but over the past eight years, I’ve become very involved in the digital landscape, writing frequently for EContent Magazine and speaking and consulting on topics related to SEO, digital marketing and content management.

We believe that the very best—and relatively most simple—way to boost organic search is to really get into the heads of your target audience members and write to them. Too often businesses will use their own language, which rarely resonates with general consumers—whether business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C). To capitalize on search engine traffic, you need to incorporate language into your online copy that is based on the way consumers think, not the way you think. You simply know too much about your products or services, and the language you’re likely to use is probably not familiar to consumers.

As a former copywriter, this is both simple and complex for me. It’s simple because I have cultivated a very “inside-out” approach to marketing over the years. I feel I am adept at getting inside the heads of target audience members and considering how they might search for information on a particular topic (and, of course, I can use online tools to compare actual numbers). However, it’s complex because it’s a very different way of writing—when writing for traditional markets, you can use “creative” language; when writing for online consumption, you must use the language of your audience—and the potential variations in language use among that audience.

For instance, if you’re in the healthcare industry, you need to understand that even though the “official” term might be “radiology,” there are still a substantial number of people who will search the term “x-ray” or “xray.” If you’re selling online training programs that you refer to as “webinars,” there are likely people out there who are searching for “online training,” “seminars,” or even “information.” If you’re a marketing consultant and you’re really enamored with the concept of “diffusion theory,” that phrase is not likely to resonate with most of your target audience; “sales” might be a better term!

Here’s the bottom line: effective SEO is based on the logical consideration of your target audience and the types of words/phrases they might be looking for when they search for you.



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