Oct 22, 2009
SEO has become a recurring theme for me at this conference so I was very curious to check out Li Evans of Serengeti Communications’ presentation on search and social. I’m glad I did. Here’s what I learned. I hope you find it helpful.
First learning: Search is not JUST about text. Current Google search results, for “charleston dance,” for example, include images, video, etc. as well as static, text-based pages. “It’s not just your ten blue links.” This also means that Google is giving you access to content within the search results themselves.
I asked a follow-up question around this because, while Google will not only return text-based results, search is still driven by spiders which do better with text (meta tags, content, etc.) than with pictures. In other words, from a machine perspective, search is still text.
Second learning: Search is not just taking place on search engines. People search on YouTube (beating out Yahoo!), craigslist, eBay, and so on.
Third learning: Google is using the Google Toolbar and Chrome in order to gather ever more data about your online habits and behaviors and this data increasingly influences search (while also providing good content fodder if you follow the trends and create content accordingly).
Fourth learning: SEO isn’t just for the few, it’s for everyone and it’s not magic. There are very specific, knowable things that you can do to optimize your content for search. “Content is not king, OPTIMIZED content is king.”
Fifth learning: Google knows you through your accounts and will show you results based on your behaviors, your location, etc. NO ONE can guarantee you a top 10 ranking because Google is personalizing results to fit YOU.
Sixth learning: THEREFORE, you need to understand your audience and optimize towards that. How do they search (which engines, what devices, etc.)? How do they consume media? What lingo (vernacular) do they use (i.e., do they say “commode,” “john,” or “toilet”)? How do they prefer their content served (video, audio, maps, etc.)? Are they national? Local? Global?
Seventh learning: It’s not about the technology, the engine, the platform, or any of that. It’s about being found. To get found, you need to optimize around keywords, the way people really search for you, and the way they are talking about the things that are relevant and valuable to them.
Eighth learning: “Other people make it easier to find you, not just search engines.” Make your content valuable, shareable, and actively engage with the online community that plays where you play.