SEO Second, Relevance First

by TedV

Have you ever made a Google search and gone to the top picks on page 1 and been frustrated with what you found? You said to yourself, “This isn’t what I’m searching for.” You wonder what the website was thinking when doing SEO to get to that particular ranking to post that particular information.

That is not the most important question. Its most important to ask yourself, “Are people going to my website just as frustrated?”

I am in the process of changing this site from just a blog to a website for my business as well as a blog.  I have been reading a good bit about SEO for years, and even more now that I am going through this planning exercise.  I don’t see a lot of meat in the SEO discussions about making sure that once your site hits the first page of Google and once a prospect lands on your landing page, that your site actual says anything the prospect can relate to.

People pay homage to Content Marketing, but then websites scramble after Google placement, and I cannot blame them at all.  SEO takes priority and sometimes you can find well-SEO’d pages that are painful to read.

Of course if you have buckets of money to throw at SEO and content you can solve this problem. But I am writing for small and medium size businesses on an Internet budget. And, I have scads of examples of irrelevant copy from Fortune 1000 company sites, written all about the company and the product and little if any about the prospects using and benefiting from their offerings.

Here is a slightly exaggerated example I have NOT posted assuming I want to rank for relevance marketing:

RelevanceSells.com is the premier site to learn about Relevance Marketing. Relevance Marketing is the practice of making sure that you have relevance in your every marketing effort. Relevance Marketing is the key to make sure prospects find all of your marketing relevant.

The Department of Redundancy Department.

As overstated as that is, I have read articles, blog posts, and other web content almost as painful.

Granted, Google has made better content more effective in SEO work through it’s efforts with Panda, but excellent internal linking of writing nearly as disconcerting as the example above can also give great Google juice to painfully redundant prose.

The New Battle – Equivalent to Sales vs. Marketing

There has been a battle between Marketing and Sales since the two disciplines became two disciplines. Both claim primacy over the other and both grumble about the intransigence of the other when revenue goals are missed – and even when these goals are met.

I do plan to discuss this historic battle in a future post, but I believe I see the startings of SEO and Content at similar odds with each other as the struggle for page 1 becomes more and more difficult.

SEO says, “We’d be on page 1 if they didn’t change our optimization work.”

Content says, “What they wrote isn’t going to make sense once someone visits our page.”

It has not come to this yet, but it could, unless there is a truly joint effort to work together.  I have heard rumblings of this sort of disagreement just a bit. Perhaps I’m trying to play the prophet.

Of course, having the other as antagonist may come in handy when goals are not met.  Just ask any sales pro or marketer if they’ve been stymied by the “incompetence” of the other.

The Final Word

It is a futile effort if visitors come to your site at number 1 on page 1 and then these prospects leave frustrated in, oh, let’s say seven seconds or less.

Potential clients have to relate to your message almost immediately if you want them to “hear” all you are saying on your website.  SEO has to work with good copy – no – make that great copy.

But the best copy in the world is rarely read if it shows on Google page 47.

So, it is best we all learn to work together with success as the true goal, and not solely great content or great optimization.

My stance on this issue is clear. That’s why I titled this article “SEO Second, Relevance First.” But rest assured, I emphatically state it must be both, a One-Two Punch.

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