Thursday, May 26, 2005

What's old is new again!

There has been a lot of talk among search engine optimizers, or "optimists" as I like to call them, about the increasing importance of content in the SEO process. Most specifically, its role in helping to "convert" visitors to some type of next-step action. This may seem like a revelation to some, but David Ogilvy and his contemporaries realized fifty years ago that words translate to action. And still do.

Knowing how to "content optimize" (not simply search engine optimize) websites is key. And the skills required are closer to the newspaper ad writer of 50 years ago than they are to today's technology hotshot.

This article by Gord Hotchkiss in Search Insider makes the economic case for putting the emphasis on conversion, not just traffic.

I appreciate the blog message to emphasize content optimization as a primary driver of viewer satisfaction. And the metrics in Hotchkiss' article back that idea.

A B2B site visitor might have 3 or 4 agenda items in mind on his/her visit to a site:

1. To obtain information to self-educate on a planned purchase
2. To have a successful user experience in this visit
3. To find a clear path readily available to get more info as needed (conversion: 800 #, e-mail address, download, etc.)

But a site owner's agenda might look like this:
1. Drive traffic to the site via SEO or PPC campaigns that...
2. Drive conversions that...
3. Drive sales
4. Make certain the visitor has a successful user experience

I see this post and the linked article as reminding us site owners to not lose focus on #4... and even suggesting making it our #1 priorty.

If the movie were called, "Field of SEO Dreams," maybe the line would be, "Build the fulfilling user experience, and they will come."
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