Establishing Findability in the Age of SEO Obsession
The term Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a deceptive one. SEO gained popularity for its methods to attract search engines to websites, which in turn bring visitors. It seems so simple, but with the ongoing evolution of what SEO means and what search engines seek out in a top site, it takes more than tricks, smoke, and mirrors to get visitors and that’s where Randy Milanovic’s book Findability: Why Search Engine Optimization is Dying: + 21 New Rules of Content Marketing comes in. In his 2013 book Findability, Milanovic manages to detail the concept behind SEO and 21 ways to approach the problem. The key thing that is reiterated in various ways throughout the book is that search engine giants need to adapt regularly in order to stay on fleek and seek out the best, reputable websites, not just the ones with a certain phrase enough times. The title itself is what the new SEO should be about. Not optimizing for a search engine, but optimizing for people. Create websites that are easy to find for humans – make them findable, if you will. Text should be thought-provoking and drawing admiration from humans, not bots. No spoilers here because the 80-page book is worth reading, but of particular interest is the message that good content isn’t always what makes good SEO. The code that seeks out trends that make a website attractive to the magical internet indexing bots is not well-read and doesn’t know the difference between well-educated, informed content and articles of jumbled text that optimizes certain phrases or words. Milanovic details several important elements of a website that are evaluated by a good indexing bot. However, he emphasizes that content marketers should be focused on crafting a quality website worthy of being a destination for humans, not just indexing search engine bots. Milanovic emphasizes the importance of building a website to be a destination for actual people, not just one that garners attention from indexing bots. He also breaks down what is shown in search results to illustrate how useful videos can be in the drawing of readers. Our five favorite take-away points from the book are:
Keywords are like hot sauce. A little goes a long way. Use only two or three drops to spice up your post, but more than that drowns out the content’s unique flavor.
Transparency builds trust. This can be transparency of what you’re selling to who is writing the content (if it’s not one in-house person or team), and always cite sources and credit contributors.
Don’t assume if you post it, they will come. Milanovic states, “Great content is too valuable to simply let it sit.” Engage people internally and externally to bring the content alive through discussion and sharing.
Be inspired by things within and beyond your focus. Amazing, and even mediocre, ideas come from unexpected places.
Don’t be bland, vanilla, or beige. Harness interest and enthusiasm to craft content that nourishes your soul and it will probably spark the same reaction in a few others as well.
Milanovic’s hot sauce metaphor is a reminder that sparing use doesn’t just apply to keywords, but also for all approaches that cater to indexing bots over real people. Real people want real nourishment, not just a bowl of hot sauce. It’s not as tasty as a hand-crafted thoughtfully-prepared dish with a dash or two of keywords and SEO strategy. Randy Milanovic’s book Findability: Why Search Engine Optimization is Dying raises a combination of interesting points to consider alongside practical take-away elements to implement. Offering that medley in an approachable 80-page volume makes this book an ideal read to stay grounded in reality and humans in an age when SEO often takes over the content of lesser websites. It is a worthwhile read and a handy reference manual for newcomers and seasoned marketers seeking to remember authenticity is the best optimization. NOTE: This post is part of our focus on Marketing for the month of September. If you are in sales or marketing, you may enjoy also reading our interview with Jay Baer of Convince & Convert, our interview with Jayne Burch of Marketing Monsoon and Dave Davies of Beanstalk Internet Marketing, Inc., and our interview with Maricka Burke-Keogh of Online Marketing in Galway. Also for our Marketing Industry of the Month, we have a guest post about structuring a marketing plan in Teamwork Projects, and an interview with marketing industry leaders. Next month, our Industry of the Month spotlight shines on the Customer Service.