Sunday, July 13, 2014

Note From Scotland: SEO & Self-Marketing

This week, the Organic SEO blog is traveling in Scotland, the birthplace of golf and Scotch whiskey. Of course, Scotland is much more than golf and Scotch, but this simple distinction is relevant for a blog about SEO, which is all about making simple distinctions. For an online business, for example, the work of SEO often begins by answering a few simple questions:

Who are you?

What do you sell?

Who is your customer?

The answers to these questions might seem simple--deceptively simple--but you do not want to take them granted. After all, you might think you know your business and product, but can you express both in a way that will appeal to online customers?

Try this simple exercise now: tell me about your business.

Well, obviously, don't tell me--I'm in Scotland! But turn to your husband or wife or friend--anyone--and tell them about your business. If you're alone, tell yourself about your business.

OK, we'll take a short break while you explain your business. While we wait, here's the view from our cottage in Scotland:

Are you still talking? If so, you might want to re-think your marketing strategy.

If you want to succeed online, you should be able to explain your business and your product in one or two sentences.

SEO is often about refining your marketing. In fact, a successful SEO campaign will help you express a crystal clear view of your online business.

This is an aspect of SEO that most neophytes do not understand. SEO isn't simply about getting the technical details right. SEO is also about marketing. This is why we promote SEO specialists who understand website design and marketing.

Finding this sort of SEO specialist is not so easy. The work of website development and marketing just might require opposite sides of the brains. Website development just might be the perfect job for Spock. But marketing might be better suited to that relentless self-marketer, Rembrandt.

In a 2006 article for Smithsonian Magazine celebrating Rembrandt's 400th birthday, Stephanie Dickey wrote:

"Rembrandt painted, etched, and drew some 70 self-portraits, more than any other well-known artist of his time. By making his face the centerpiece of his art, he engaged in a uniquely personal means of self-marketing. Rembrandt was certainly not unique in this way. Self-portraiture has been a viable means of “self-marketing” at least since the Renaissance. Giotto included himself in a cycle of “eminent men” in the Castle of Naples. Botticelli made himself the hero of the Adoration of the Magi."

Are you good at "self-marketing"?

Since website marketing is about the way you present your website, the best marketers are often right-brained--like Rembrandt.

Those with a dominant left-brain are more logical. Since website development is about the technical aspects of the website, left-brained people are often the best developers.

Did you have trouble explaining your business offering? If so, don't be too harsh on yourself. Perhaps your expertise lies elsewhere: in product development, for example. The key, of course, is to understand your strengths and weaknesses. You might've developed a tremendous product, but that doesn't mean you have the talent to market that product.

Instead, leave that work to someone who understands the nature of online marketing--an SEO specialist like Alex Stepman, the sponsor of The Organic SEO Blog.You might notice Alex's picture on the right side of the blog. Like Rembrandt, Alex understands the value of self-marketing; yet he also understands his own strengths and weaknesses.

Alex is the rare mind who can accomplish the work of both development and marketing, but he is not the best writer. That is why he outsources his writing work to professional copywriters. And that's why I'm lucky enough to be writing a blog for Alex while traveling in Scotland--the land of gold and Scotch.