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.