SEO is not a means to its own end

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I recently had a chat with the director of a small engineering company who wanted to improve search engine rank. They had been advised by a representative of a well known business directory (that has something to do with the colour yellow) that by tarting their website up with some new content, graphics and a whole bunch of keyword-laden hidden text (I can only assume this guy had been on a loooong holiday) that their search engine results will trump those of their competitors’ – ergo, their company would somehow, perhaps by osmosis, become more successful than their competitor.

I couldn’t conscientiously take this work on without enquiring why the gentleman thought a better search engine result would guarantee he would get more business than his competitor. A higher ranking does not mean you will crush the competition. Only high quality, relevant and helpful content is going to convince them that you are the guys for the job.

Your website might be beautifully presented, but if it’s a boring mono-drone of marketing and self promotion, then people are going to turn off pretty soon. However, if your website is full of useful hints and tips, relevant industry news, and the kind of information your customers genuinely need, then you are more likely to enjoy repeat visits and maybe win business – despite not winning any design awards. One way to maintain this kind of information without spending a fortune on web development is to add a blogging application to your website.

Blogging – a new philosophy for old thinkers

OK, so every website should have a blog. Well, maybe not every website – sometimes it’s just not relevant or appropriate. However, most small businesses betray the true depth of knowledge and experience they possess by not sharing some of it online.

Arrghh! Sharing knowledge? This is the biggest hurdle to traditional thinkers, and requires a leap of faith to break the old habits of protecting information from your evil competitors. What benefit is there in hiding knowledge that your (prospective) customers might find elsewhere (or worse, find it on your competitor’s website!)

If you help someone understand something, they are likely to value you – even if they don’t buy something from you, they might mention you to someone else in a positive light. By sharing your experience and advice free of charge via a blog, you can demonstrate a commitment to helping your customers understand what you do, and most importantly why they should trust you with their hard earned cash.

Plus, blogs are very search engine friendly, so in addition to providing the vehicle for providing the kinds of information your customers will find useful, they are incredibly good for your search results – a real 2 for 1 result!

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