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Why SEO Is Shortsighted

Have you ever been in this situation?

You’re sitting at a bar watching your favorite game of choice (possibly the World Cup, go #USMNT!) and the guy or gal next to you strikes up a conversation.

2001 Actor Hugh Jackman at a bar. Image by Anders Overgaard/ CORBIS OUTLINE


This can go one of two ways:

  1. They tell you something interesting, maybe some fun World Cup facts.
  2. They start on a long diatribe about an unrelated and miserably boring topic.

Now, imagine your marketing content is the conversation topic.

Would you try to escape the conversation?


Marketing is Like a Conversation

Last week, a few of us had the opportunity to participate in a marketing summit for one of our clients in Charlotte. It was a great meeting with tons of info sharing and collaboration (and a fair share of beer drinking) with people from all across the country.

During our meeting, we had the opportunity to hear the client’s CEO speak, and during his presentation, he made a point to say that marketing  is like a conversation. In other words, be personable and remember that you’re simply trying to connect with human beings.

So, why does that matter?

First, it makes sense.

Marketing communication can be creative. It can be catchy. But if it doesn’t resonate with the people it’s trying to reach, it’s worthless.

Second, it gave me the motivation to explain why I believe search engine optimization (SEO) is shortsighted.

Search Engines Aren’t People

If you recently launched a website, or are currently in the process of redesigning one, think about why you started the project in the first place. If you’re like most companies, you did it to grow your bottom line. And the last time I checked, a search engine is not capable of turning into a new customer. It is the people you’re targeting that do that.

Focus on High-Quality Content

Don’t get me wrong - SEO is important. If your site can’t be effectively indexed by the search engines, you won’t have as much traffic on your site. If you aren’t targeting the right keywords, you won’t get quality leads. But building a website and then focusing only on what a search engine thinks about it neglects the people who visit your site.

In summary, search engine optimization is important, but should be considered a means to an end.

So next time you think about how your website can help grow your business, think about that interesting conversation you had at the bar.  And remember that people are the reason you built the site in the first place! 

What helps you develop conversational content? Any helpful resources you have to share? 

Image Credit: “Hugh 1” By Cool Guyz Is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. Photo by Anders Overgaard/ CORBIS OUTLINE