This past Fall, I learned how much I don’t know about SEO (search engine optimization) and it’s going to change the way we do work here at Big Leap. I was invited to speak at SearchLove in San Diego, organized by the great people at Distilled and while it was attended by CMOs and business owners, there were two very distinct camps: SEOs and PR (content) people. Us content people were way outnumbered by SEOs. I mean, I was so far out-nerded in this conference, I became very nervous about the relevance (or irrelevance) of my topic on storytelling. I felt certain they’d all laugh me out of the room when I started to talk about conflict, resolution, heroes, and happy endings.
I thought SEOs were foreign beings speaking a foreign language who rarely step out of the glow of their computer screens. I was sorely misinformed. I met some super smart, very fun, and talented people who are doing cool things. And they want to understand how to improve the substance of the content they are working to get found. I know this because they walked up to me before my session saying how much they were looking forward to it. <wipes brow with sigh of relief>
There is content and there is distribution. You can tell a great story, but if you aren’t getting it out in the hands of the content consumers, influencers, and prospects, then your story is as good as the proverbial tree falling in the woods. This means everyone can stop talking about the death of SEO, and can stop worrying about writing for SEO or for humans. It means SEOs need to be better storytellers, and PR people need to be better at SEO.
As we inundate the web with more content on a daily basis, most of it being total crap, we have to become smarter about how we’re distributing because scoring one of those top ten slots on Page One gets more out of reach each day. It all goes hand in hand: We need the technical knowledge of the SEOs to understand searcher’s intent to get the topics right, the meta tags right, and the site architecture. They need to look out for duplicate content and blocked crawls, all with the goal of understanding the searcher’s questions, problems, and concerns at each stage of their purchase/decision making cycle. These things, intertwined, work together to inform the content development and distribution.
Search engines are getting smarter, but they still need to be spoken to in their language. and they look for more than that. They want to know people, real people like and I enjoy your content so you need traffic and links and you need to be fascinating, interesting, and what everyone is calling “relevant” but people don’t always know how to be relevant which is proven by the fact that there is so much garbage on the internet and why when I got up on that stage to give five tips on what it means to be relevant and how to be relevant, I got tremendous feedback.
Because SEOs know they need to be better storytellers and PR people know they need to be better at SEO.
This explains why we’ve added an SEO expert to the BLC team and why our 2015 proposals have a more significant line item for that very initiative.
So go ahead, get your SEO in my PR and I’ll put my PR in your SEO and we’ll all agree it tastes much better combined.
Speaking of SEO and content, I have a free ebook for you: 25 things you should include in your website to get your story discovered.