Doing vs. guessing

Part of an SEO’s job is to guide their company in the right direction.  This happens on a couple different levels.  On one level, you’re focused on the detail work, the technical side of things.  On another level, you’re focused on the bigger picture, the future content plans the company has, platform changes and other high-level decisions which could have downstream effects on your world.

Your typical SEO usually has closer access to information important when making big decisions in the online arena than most people in the company.  An SEO’s job is to stay focused on one of the prime drivers of traffic to almost every website – search.  Thus, anything that impacts this, from announcements the engines make, to trends in online content consumption usually comes to an SEOs attention at some point.

That is a lot of ground to cover for sure, but it’s very important that ground is covered.  If you’re handling social, the importance expands even further.

We’ve tried to help cover some of this by integrating thoughtful tools into the Bing Webmaster Tools product that help you get from researching what to do, to actually identifying it and doing it.  That’s the job of the SEO Reports and SEO Analyzer.

As an SEO, you have to expand your view to include topics such as usability, conversion optimization and user engagement.  Long gone are the days where an SEO could state “I got the people here, what they do from here is the Product Manager’s concern.”  That kind of over the fence thinking simply won’t fly today.

This means you have to understand your users.  Those visitors that make up the page views, clicks and revenue of your company.  If you’re guessing at which way to communicate with your visitors, you’re playing a dangerous game.  Teens, for example, apparently don’t engage on Twitter today.  The article says, given Twitter’s best use is as a news delivery device, this isn’t alarming, as those same teens don’t consume news. Still, this could prove eye opening to some businesses trying to turn teen heads on Twitter.

And if you’re seeking exposure as a news source, here’s an interesting article that points to Facebook as a prime consumption location, so you have to make sure you’re truly well represented there, as well as in search today.

If you’re reading this blog, chances are good you either are a Webmaster, or at least hold some of the responsibilities of one.  While much of your time might be invested in the detail work around online marketing, be sure to keep an eye on that bigger picture.

We’ve talked a lot over the past year about social and search, and this trend won’t go away any time soon.  If you’re on the fence about social, or only dipping your toe in the water slowly, it’s time to get into high gear.  Conversations happen around you unless you’re involved in them.  Either way, they’re happening, so you should be involved for two reasons:

  • If you’re involved, you can influence the direction of the conversation
  • If you’re involved, you can respond as needed, helping build your community

The lines continue to blur, and for SEOs this is either the end of an era or the dawning of a new generation.  Old school SEOs must continually adapt to these new shifts as they have since SEO first started.  Those new to the world of SEO as a career will see the influence of social as less of a change, and more of the “way it is”.

What remains constant, though, is your ability to see a relevant path based on what Bing does.  We’re focused on social for a reason, and we’re focused on helping people get things done for a reason. The question is, are you aligned to move the right work in the right direction?