|More than just ”search engine” optimization?|
How broad is our business (SEO) today and how far do we want to take it?
I have recently been thinking about how we (SEO’s) can expand our business. What other areas could benefit from our experience and where is it possible to make (more) money using the knowledge and skills we have?
I have been thinking of a few obvious things but I would very much like to hear what the rest of you think, if you have any great ideas, if you are doing any “off search engine” optimization work today and if you think this is interesting or not :)
One place to use our skills is in any kind of searchable online ads. I came to think of this as I had a bit of old merchandise I had to sell and I used a local (and very popular) online classified ads service. The algorithm was a piece of cake to break down and with the instant indexing they have (not to difficult as they “only” have 10’s of thousands of ads – not billions of listings as the SE’s do) I positioned my ads exactly where I wanted them and shaped them with titles and descriptions I know (from experience) provoke clicks.
How many people or companies do you think do that today? The ad cost the same but I am sure I get a lot more out of it than most of the other advertisers.
I have also been researching cars lately. MSN Carpoint, Autotrader.com and Edmunds are a few of the major sites I have been using. I have never advertised a car for sale but as far as I can see on the listings and search results it would be very easy to do some extensive optimization here.
The same thing goes for real estate of any kind - not only at large online services like Realtor.com but also in the various newspapers online listings. Optimization can be done here and I believe the outcome would be great.
And we could even go further…
What about all the online rating services around? You can find ratings for almost anything today. Getting a top rate for your product, brand, service or whatever you do at the biggest of these “rating-sites” can be very profitable. All these rating systems are basically build on some kind of algorithms not too different from what we know from the search business. They can be broken down and analyzed to find out what factors influence the system, how and how much. There are always some factors that can be tweaked to improve results.
I would guess that the job market is a very popular one, and i was asked to optimize some ad's for a company which wanted there ads on the top of the jobsites like monster etc.
i think it will be a bigger income for SEO's, it's a safe way to know you will get relevant traffic, because the site your optimizing the ad is for a specific theme.
But i still think that the SE, will be "the" place to get income, people are getting more and more dependent of the net, and even thou stats says that SE is losing clients, i think that they will see an increase.
Another small area is advising SME's on offline traffic generation. It's quite astonishing that their urls often don't appear on:
- Business cards
- Regular advertising
- and on and on....
A small thing but worth considering?
SEO has been more important to me as a publisher/editor than any other skillset. The study of keyword phrases, link pop, click pop, loading speed, and even text and graphic placement has given me great insight as to what content is likely to be worthwhile and what is simply spider fodder.
Something that always seems to come up when I talk to clients now and in past work situations is a lack of logs information. I'm working on offering stats as one of the options for my clients. Even the most knowledgeable people I contact do not always have their logs set up to track visitors, keywords, etc.
Even if it is PPC that they use, they will be able to benefit from proper management of it, and ESPECIALLY good keyword research.
I agree with Travoli. With the new iterations of PPC such as Adwords and <cough,hack>LooseSmarts</cough/hack> and whatever comes next, someone will have to keep up with best practices, and manage the process. To assume that all PPC is the same, you just bid and sit back is sillier than buying banner ads. There is far more to it. Many commercial newcomers to the web have not even considered keyword research, and proper web writing is totally foreign to most conventional copywriters and PR folk. They need to know that research beforehand is critical to get even a small slice of the "free" traffic that still exists, and to get ANY of the PPC traffic.
There are aggressive tactics, and borderline tactics, just like in SEO. I consider a major shift to PPC as an opportunity - based on the fact that it is NOT free, and hterefore advertisers would be wise to find a company that knows how to effectively manage that process- much like hiring a media buyer or agency rather than doing it all in-house, and learning by expensive errors.
Ebay is a great place for optimizing ads. You can even use hidden keywords with no problem. Hmm, should I share this secret?
Ebay, nice idea, never thought about that search engine..
We have been taking our business beyond SEO for two years, mostly due to customer demand for increasing Web-based leads, or increasing online sales. It seems like we're much more than search engine marketers, we're basically Web site marketers.
Analyzing web site traffic logs, combined with search engine marketing is extremely time-consuming. Most companies don't have the time, nor do they want to do this. But, it can double if not triple a monthly account with a client. And, those clients that spend the most in having their sites analyzed, optimized and strategized are usually the most profitable.
That's where we have taken our business, and there is no shortage of demand for our services. It's keeping up with it all that's challenging.