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There’s this common thinking that marketing and engaging the customers online means tapping into Search Engine Optimization. And for many people, it’s all about working with SEO professionals who will tweak the site’s infrastructure, paying attention to title tags, Follow and No Follow Links, Meta tags and even the layout of the website and content that is rarely created for actual people to read. The understanding is that if the website is attractive for Google spiders, then traffic will easily stream into the website.
Business owners can’t be faulted for thinking this way, and for its overdependence on Google. After all, Google is still the most used search engine. And according to a press release, Google processes an average of 100 billion searches per month. If one can tap into a small percentage of the searches, just imagine what it can do for your business! But don’t get too excited, SEO may be overhyped online as the marketing of choice, because SEO is not marketing. More to the point, SEO should not serve as your primary tool when it comes to marketing your business.
Market Your Business to Customers, Not to Google
The problem with SEO and why this is not marketing is that there’s no human element involved. Marketing is all about engaging potential customers, and drawing them to try out your products and services. This is not the case with search engine optimization. In real marketing, there should be a direct interaction between customer and client. Sure, this relationship is present when one taps into SEO, but unfortunately you are the customer of Google. Remember, Google will not buy your products so why waste time and resources boosting your site’s standing in the eyes of Google? You can say that SEO is not marketing, rather appealing to a cold infrastructure called Google.
There’s no denying the fact that customers will find you through Google, and your standing on SERPs will increase your chances of being clicked first. But keep in mind that there are other ways customers can find you online. Customers will find ways to find you if they know you. Potential buyers will find you if they heard (or read) good things about you. For example, if you have established your business as a reputable provider of car parts and accessories and you back it up with premium customer support, then customers will find you only irrespective of your position in SERPs.
A customer will find your site through Google because he is already looking for you, and he is already a ‘lower funnel customer’. This is a customer who has already made up his mind and ready to purchase due to actionable marketing tools like PPC or even the use of traditional media like newspapers.
Using SEO for Google is not marketing; marketing is engaging your customers directly and in a personal manner.
Marketing Should Have a ‘Personal Touch’
Now is the best time to understand what real marketing is. Real marketing and advertising is reaching out and showing customers what you are. The best form of marketing is one that has a human element- this can be done by writing contents not for search engine spiders but for actual readers and tweaking the site for the readers not for Google. Your website is marketing yourself, marketing your products, marketing your sales people. So make sure that the website has the elements and contents that ‘can talk to people’ and entice them to learn more about your business.
SEO has its place online, but when it comes to marketing and engaging customers don’t get lost.
Don’t fall into the Google trap- Google is not your customer, rather you are Google’s customer. Don’t build for Google, build for your customers.