The modern SEO tool box is a pretty big one with far more tools than were available just a decade ago. But like tools in a carpenter’s toolbox, there are right and wrong ways to use SEO tools. This concept goes way beyond the difference between white and black hat practices. It’s possible to use a white hat tool the wrong way and damage a website’s online performance while doing it.
The main point to grasp here is that there are right ways to use every SEO tool in the box. It’s incumbent upon digital marketers to know and believe this. It is also incumbent on them to learn the right way to do things. A digital marketer who uses his or her tools the wrong way only harms his/her clients.
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Goals Are the Starting Point
There is a significant difference between an SEO tool and the hammer you might find in a carpenter’s toolbox. That hammer has limited functions while many SEO tools are multi-functional. So how do you decide just how to use a given tool in a given situation? You start with goals. Let’s talk about social media as an example.
Social media is one of the most powerful SEO tools in use today, according to Salt Lake City-based WebTek Interactive. It is a tool that can be used to engage customers, boost an organizations online reputation, and generate tons of backlinks. It is also a tool that can do more harm than good.
Consider the fact that a digital marketer can essentially purchase Facebook ‘likes’ by pouring a ton of money into paid advertising. That paid advertising is certainly considered white hat, but all it does is accumulate a large grouping of likes that is otherwise uncoordinated. Through those paid ads you have created a muddled pool of disconnected people who will likely not follow you.
If the goal is to use social media to engage with customers, don’t attempt to do it with ads. Instead, do it with conversations. That’s the strength of social media anyway. Save your online advertising for targeted ad campaigns that are focused on creating new customers.
Take an Outward Approach
Another mistake digital marketers frequently make is trying to slay the dragon in one swing. In other words, they start thinking in terms of the largest possible audience and then target that audience from the onset. It doesn’t work. Moreover, this kind of thinking causes the digital marketer to use his/her SEO tools incorrectly. A better way is to target the smallest audience possible and then gradually work out.
Localization is a good example of how this works. Let’s say WebTek began working with a company in Salt Lake City. While the firm does offer SEO services throughout Utah, they would focus on establishing a local audience first. As such, they would use SEO localization as a means of driving local results among local searches. Notice the number of times ‘local’ has been mentioned here.
Once a solid local audience has been established, WebTek can start branching out. They can start going after a regional audience, then a statewide audience, and so forth. The idea is to set smaller, attainable goals that gradually add up to achieving bigger goals over time.
Think Like Your Customers
Even something as benign as keywords and phrases can be detrimental to SEO success if used incorrectly. When you strip away keyword analytics, searches, and the like, you are left with a simple reality: using keywords the right way involves learning to think like your customers think.
This is a good place to conclude this article inasmuch as getting into the minds of customers is what separates highly successful digital marketers with those merely getting by. Regardless of the SEO tools being used, understanding how customers think allows a digital marketer to use those tools to his or her advantage. This is one marketing truism that will never change.