OK, so there hasn’t been a REAL street fight, but from the comments I hear a fight is eminent. This is a major problem in the Internet marketing industry. The skill set that makes an individual GREAT at SEO is not the same skill set that makes someone great at social media. The talented SEO guys are brilliant hackers (that’s a good thing), while the most talented social media people are your typical party planners. These two skill sets could not be any more different, yet the the SEO pro’s are often pretending to be party planners.
Here are the three major problems as I see them:
1. Keep it Simple Stupid: Social media, like Twitter, is very simple. The simplicity is the power behind Twitter, and the power behind great websites. Great web pages also need simplicity to clearly convey a message and take website visitors from point A to point B, ending with a call for a consultation, or to order services. Unfortunately, most old school SEO people want to load the pages with a TON of content so that the pages rank high in Google. This is such a misguided strategy because people will be so overwhelmed by the crowded page they won’t stick around. And even though the site is #1 in Google, the close rate is low, resulting in wasted effort.
2. Connection is Key: One of my clients took my advice, and asked their web guy to put “follow me” social media tabs on their web page to connect with LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter profiles. What did their SEO expert from Reuters say? “You don’t want to encourage visitors to leave your page with those icons!”
Are you kidding me? What you want is to be connected, you want followers, you want raving fans. Individuals buy from those they know, like, and trust- in that order. You want your visitors to get to know you, not just read your advertising copy. The best chance of this is by connecting with you through avenues like social media.
3. Pretty is the New Ugly: It isn’t about what your site looks like anymore. The art, the animations- forget it. Are people linking to your site? Does you site provide up-to-date, helpful content? People want sites that are helpful and dynamic. Google search loves fresh content as well, and that is a fact that SEO peeps and Bloggers alike can agree on. Most professionals, and even most companies, can’t afford to have a webmaster step in each time they want to change content on their site. The employees need to be able to do it themselves. They need to jump on, share their knowledge in the form of blog posts, and hit PUBLISH. They can’t worry about everything looking perfect, or they won’t ever post.
I am not an SEO guy, and I am amazed at how talented some of them are at getting high page ranks. But there has to be more. What I really want to know is, can these two groups co-exist? Can there be simple social-media-friendly pages with great SEO? Can we send people away from our site to social media sites AND increase the close rate of our web visitors? Can we have gorgeous sites that can also function as great tools? I don’t know the answer to these questions. After all, I’m just the party planner.
Adrian Dayton, esq is the author of new book Social Media for Lawyers: Twitter Edition published by Managing Partner Magazine. For a free copy of chapter 1, click here.
HA-DO-KEN!!! to the bloggers 🙂
Great read as usual Adrian, I am an SEO that does not dispute the power of social media. As a matter of fact, I believe the only reason my site is at the top of SERP’s in Bing is due to twitter widget and the in/outbound links from LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. To answer your question: Can we send people away from our site to social media sites AND increase the close rate of our web visitors? I believe the answer is yes, because those are two different strategies: people looking for an attorney are not likely to care about your social media outbound links, and people looking for industry leaders to follow are most likely not interested in your legal spiel…until they need it-
It all comes down to “being real” vs. “playing the odds.” Bloggers put their heart and soul and intellect into topics they are passionate about and this draws readership, loyalty, and business. Blogging as part of marketing your business is about connecting with your reader, creating trust, and creating a relationship.
SEO, on the other hand, is about playing the odds, using search terms that are likely to get someone, anyone, to look at your site. But if what people find at your site is not genuine, from the heart, and a valuable product or service, you won’t get the business anyway.
Another great post. Especially being in the legal business, the connections and relationships built are the crux of the “sale”, not wedging traffic counts into volume sales.
Solid article, but there is no need for a war, although that is a catchy headline which is good link bait.
SEO vs. Clean Sites
Totally agree. You have to get your message across and connect.
Pretty is the New Ugly
Yes, speed is crucial, but there is still a need for good design. A good design will keep the user on longer, make it easier to comment, and get more calls to action. There is no reason a good CMS can’t force a writer to publish well. If the system is easy to use, strips out MS Word ugly code, then they don’t have to worry about publishing goofs. Plus a well designed site will plan for user error, long articles, wide photos, and other oddities that break design. Having a training plan in place + a review of the site every once in awhile never hurt too from a design standpoint.
Good stuff, obviously there are ways to satisfy both objectives, unfortunately many SEO “pros” haven’t figured that out yet. Thanks for the great comment.
Interesting read Adrian. It was great doing the BNP workshop with you last month. We have to catch up soon.
It sounds like you are up against the conventional wisdom of a web designer/web developer not a professional SEO. Just to clarify, I define a professional SEO as someone who can make a living on their own doing SEO and not work for a web development company. Any SEO that is worth their weight does not need to work for anyone else.
I agree with you that many web developers have a skewed view of what should really happen on a website. Either they are too focused on design or too focused on development. The missing piece with all of them is marketing.
Social Media Fight with SEO
As an internet marketer I believe that SEO and Social Media should be part of a holistic plan, not one vs. the other. Both complement each other very nicely and can be used to drive large amounts of visitors and customer to a website or blog.
Absolutely, the more people you can connect with the better. I always say that FB and Twitter are like the sprinkles on an already delicious sundae (Your blog).
It’s not so much about having a lot of content on your site but having changing content. Blogging is one of my favorite ways to attract search engines to a site as it is offers fresh content. On the flip side of that, websites that want to compete for very competitive terms have to utilize more techniques than just having fresh content. That is where more advanced SEO techniques come into play.
Pretty is the New Ugly
Love this and totally agree. Companies get so worried about the look of their site. Itâ€™s more about functionality and good content than look these days. It kills me the amount of people that build their entire site in flash these days.
â€œCan there be simple social-media-friendly pages with great SEO?â€
Absolutely, this happens every day with blogs and even static content.
Good read, keep it up. Talk to you soon.
A mere online presence wonâ€™t serve the purpose of reaching out and impressing your target audience, to beat the competition you need a well designed website with a good search rank and for that you need help of companies which provide complete solutions in website designing and development and search engine optimization.