SEO–search engine optimization–can help prospects for your investment or wealth management firm find your blog. That’s good. But taken to an extreme, SEO can sabotage your business development. This is what Claire Cain Miller’s “Web Words That Lure the Readers” in The New York Times (Feb. 11, 2011) made me ponder.
SEO that goes too far
Miller describes SEO gone wild. There are online articles that use “a wide range of behind-the-scenes tactics for getting search engine users to visit a Web site, like choosing story topics based on popular searches,” as Miller states. Additional strategies include “filling articles with keywords that people might search for, writing teaser headlines that people cannot help but click on and including copious links to other stories on the same site,” says Miller.
Taken to extremes, these tactics result in highly ranked articles with little useful content. This is not a good strategy for bloggers like you who want to develop relationships with readers. These articles repel readers. When an audience doesn’t find what it expects on a blog, it’s not likely to explore or revisit the site. This is no way to start a relationship that leads to new clients for your advisory business.
Use SEO in moderation
I’m not suggesting you ignore SEO tactics. In fact, they’re good in moderation. That’s how I use them.
Blogger Russell Dunkin has done a nice job of using celebrity names to attract readers to his firm’s blog. Here’s what differentiates him from the tricksters I discussed above: He provides meaningful content in posts such as “Jim Cramer is a clown” and “What do hot waitresses, dead cats, and Paris Hilton have in common?”
I like the suggestion of a Google engineer quoted by Miller. “…don’t chase after Google’s algorithm, chase after your best interpretation of what users want, because that’s what Google’s chasing after,” says Matt Cutts.
Social media may beat SEO as a tool
Promoting your content via social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook may be more effective than SEO, suggests Miller. SEO alone won’t make your blog post go viral on Twitter. “…the best way to get links on Twitter is to write a story people want to share with friends,” says Miller. Folks who share your posts may also refer you or become your clients.
How important is SEO to YOUR blogging strategy? What has worked for you?