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Sep

SEO 2017: User Experience Optimization is What Matters Most [The Poodle Update]

Barry Feldman: September 23, 2016 | Search/SEO | No Comments »

SEO 2017 - Poodle

I’m going to scope out my take on SEO 2017.

Take it for what it’s worth. See, I don’t know what most SEO experts know. I’m a different kind of search engine optimization expert.

I’m a reluctant SEO expert

I never used the term “SEO” to describe my services or myself. I never liked the term “search engine optimization.” I never liked studying it. And I certainly never considered myself an expert.

Until I became one.

I learned how to separate the wheat from the chaff (oy) and do the research and writing required to publish content that appears on the first page of search. A lot of my posts and pages appear there. A lot of them got there fast—with no link building, buying or bartering.

What can I say? I should write a book about SEO to help simplify it for you. Wait, I did that.

Learn the essentials of SEO in under an hour banner

So heed my disclaimer. Want scientifically extracted theories about causation and correlation? I’m going to let you down.

Want me to reveal, review or re-order the 200-plus search ranking factors you need to know to form more informed hypotheses about the world’s most mysterious algorithm? Goodbye and good luck.

You’ll have to settle for some simple speculation

The future of search is about the user experience. If it needs a name, we’ll call it user experience optimization. UXO? Why not?

The history of search was about relationships. Not human relationships, but relationships between websites, a.k.a., links. I’m not dissing links. They played an immense role. They still do.

Links fuel the machine. The Google database, enormous beyond comprehension, stores the locations of pages that are published, what’s on the pages, and which pages point to the pages. It wouldn’t work otherwise.

For better or for worse, links became the name of the game. The game became seedy. An endless appetite for backlinks gave birth to a business where ethics became optional.

I should know. Because of my achievements in guest blogging, and to a lesser degree, the momentum of my own blog, I’m often perceived to be (and pursued as) a link in the chain to bigger and better links. Translation: link seekers seek me. Everyday.

But there’s a problem with all this lust for links. People don’t care about links. Search engines do. People care about content.

We’re all outsiders trying to look into how Google does its thing. We know far less than we’d like, but we can agree on a few things:

  • Google sells ads and allocates its most valuable page real estate to those willing to pay for them.
  • Google’s less concerned about rewarding non-advertisers with clicks than it once was.
  • Still, Google aims to reveal pages containing the content its users want.
  • Google tracks and analyzes what happens after we click.

The point I’m making is based on that fourth bullet. What happens after we click, the user experience, is what will matter most going forward.

User experience optimization is based on three things

  1. Clicks
  2. Consumption
  3. Action

Got it? There might be better names for these things and I suspect us marketing folks will throw everything we’ve got at labeling them. Let’s settle for clicks, consumption and action for now. And let’s get into ‘em a bit. Get to the point >>