Search Engine Optimization is best known by its common acronym term, SEO. Is it the biggest scam on the internet? Is it the difference-maker for all online businesses? A puppet show? Is it the controlling factor of online success, or just a hype?
Personally speaking, if you depend too much on SEO, you're likely doing something else wrong!
The internet is so much bigger than just search engines.
Advertising is important and so is communication. Maybe consider the reasons why people are “searching” to find you (your business) and then maybe you will discover important factors that SEO really doesn’t matter that much?
There are many ways for consumers to find you now more than ever before. Some of the very best of the past still remain important and are more important than ever: word of mouth advertising.
Advertising is like a hamster wheel. It just keeps going around and around and never really stops until the hamster jumps out of the wheel. The hamster is you and the wheel is the expense of advertising. Every time it goes around, the expenses go up. It's needed but shouldn’t be needed all the time.
Making great products, offering exceptional services and being different are things that will help your offerings stand out. Starting small, doing good and making a difference goes a long way. During the journey, little things make a difference and one very important factor is communication and the clear path to you.
You are the destination!
Consumers are always discovering and that comes in many forms. Yes, advertising is one form of discovery. People constantly have a problem and are looking for a solution. Once you are discovered, it's so important that consumers can easily share with others the path to find and patronize you.
You get one chance, maybe two if you're lucky, and in that time frame you must make your brand name stick by being memorable and providing that easy route to your virtual front door—your domain name.
Your domain name should match your branding exactly because that just makes sense. .com is natural. Fancy is fun, memorable is magical.
Inventing a brand name that isn’t memorable is dangerous. Adding on words to your brand so people have to remember even more to get to your website, is a really bad idea. The same could be said about using something other than .com in most cases. Reduce friction, every chance you get.
You and your employees are the brands best ambassadors if you truly believe in your offering. Word of mouth advertising is your friend. Affiliate advertising is your friend. Social media can be your friend. Occasional advertising can be your friend. SEO is really just a term to drive business TO search engines IMO.
I typed domain name into a search engine, just to see how much it could help me and what all the hard working SEO teams have accomplished? A full page of ads above the fold is what I was presented. Hmmm, not the kind of information I was looking for.
There is nothing worse (I’m sure there really are worse things but, you get my point) than knowing a service / product and not being able to remember the name (brand). It’s so frustrating as a consumer to have this happen but it’s often preventable with a powerful and memorable brand name!
Real life example: I had seen an ad for a newer company, that allows you to design a machine, test it and they send you all the parts and pieces to build it within days. Pretty cool. I literally wrote down the companies name on a piece of paper and wrote “build a machine” next to the brand name/domain name because I couldn’t relate the two.
Fast forward a couple weeks and I am ready to act on that build a machine company. I can’t remember its name though. I go to a search engine (er, this article is NOT about SEO. Don’t tell them you went to a search gines) and I typed in, "build a machine." Nothing catches my eye. I type in build a machine startup. Nada.
"If I could recall the brand name, it certainly would be helpful," I was thinking to myself.
I search a few documents on my computer, nothing. I take a sip of water and set my water bottle down, right next to my notepad that has my build a machine note on it. Ah, literally right in front of me! I type in the brand name and add .com to the end and—it's really slow to load and then the page is basically blank. Maybe they went out of business? "That’s sad," is my first thought.
I take a second look at my note and then realize the brand name contains an "io" in it and it also ends in .io—not .com.
I didn’t remember the brand name. Not even a little bit. After literally discovering the brand name on a piece of paper right in front of me, I still typed .com instead of .io that was also written right in front of me. I’m not sure if the "io" within the brand name made me exclude the .io at the end or if it’s more along the line of the natural aspect of typing .com all the time but I did it.
Conclusion: Offer something great, back that up with a very memorable brand name, and the last thing you could care about would be SEO.