If you are involved with online business, you’ve heard about SEO – Search Engine Optimization.
It’s created a huge online industry who will try to convince you of it’s importance. It’s relevant, not important. You might get slightly faster success if you apply SEO techniques properly, but it is not essential. I will always return to the topic, if only to warn you of the dangers of over-emphasizing SEO. However, if you need to optimize something, look at your visitor experience. VEO, Visitor Experience Optimization, is always more rewarding than SEO.
VEO and SEO share many techniques and procedures. Page speed, for example, is important to both. If you care about your visitors, you do not want them to wait more than 2 seconds for a page to load. Or, at least, load enough so they can start to experience the content they came to view. The SEO approach is to take pagespeed scores and game them to get the lowest penalty, or highest score. What is the point of optimizing page speed if it does not enhance your visitor experience?
SEO is most useful as a filter. Identify factors that might harm SEO, and avoid them, but never put SEO first. If SEO measurement tools suggest you can make improvements, always use that information to test VEO. If visitors are happy, move on. If SEO warnings show visitor experience can be improved, then improve the experience, not the SEO score.
The top results for most searches do not get there through SEO. Pages rise in search engine results because people want to read them. Any temporary rise will soon be offset by permanent oblivion if your content quality is poor, or not relevant to the search phrase. Are you going to be fooled by that temporary rise long enough for an SEO company to take your money? No, you’re shrewder than that.
So, am I saying VEO is the biggest topic a website owner needs to know?
No, I’m not. AIDA is far more important.
If you build AIDA into your content, it sells itself. It’s a brilliant marketing concept that affects all you do. Use it on every page you write (at least twice). Use it in your adverts. Use it in your social network messages.
Let me explain why you need to use it at least twice on every page you write, and you will see why, and how, it applies to every communication.
AIDA on a Website Page
AIDA stands for Attention-Interest-Desire-Action. Graphically it should be an inverted triangle, a funnel, or some other device that depicts falling numbers at each step of the process. Occasionally Attention is replaced by Attraction. I think this is wrong, as attraction develops through the process, but first you must gain attention.
A more common misinterpretation is replacing attention with awareness. Awareness is too weak. You do not want people to be aware of you, as they surf past you. You want them to stop and give you attention.
Attention happens with your page title. Your title tag is vital to getting attention as people navigate your site, but more important in your search engine results listing. That title must gain more attention in the search results list than those around it. Your title words get visitors attention.
When you are writing a web page on any topic, search for that topic first. Put yourself in the mind of the audience you want to attract. Don’t be an SEO loser, and copy the first title in the results. Look down the list to see which is most attractive in your visitors mind. Make your title better.
Your opening paragraph(s) must create interest. A brief summary of what the page is about, emphasizing the benefits of reading further. Scroll down or click away? Your words will decide what visitors do next.
The same applies to the first sentence of your meta description tag. Google might not always show it in the search results, but it does no harm to suggest it. Other websites will always show it in full. Your words will make you more interesting than the next guy.
Your main content has to build towards your call to action. Is there a clear conclusion? You wrote your page for a reason, so make sure you have clear benefits that attract visitors to carry on reading to the end.
In your meta description of 156 characters, you get about 2 sentences to create desire. Read more about the importance of meta description and how to manage them.
End with what you want your visitor to do. Never be frightened of placing extra Calls To Action before the end.
You only get good at AIDA by writing and reviewing every day. Be aware as you write your draft. Be aware as you read it aloud before publishing. Be aware when you review as you seek to improve your website traffic.
AIDA is so important, you should forget SEO until you have mastered it. But if it’s so important, what could be bigger?
What’s bigger than AIDA or SEO?
I touched on the bigger picture above, when I mentioned awareness. The trouble is, awareness is too vague. The best I can come up with is Audience. I’m tempted by Market, but I want a personal connection, and I refuse to use the word Demographic. Let me explain why the biggest concern of any website owner must be their Audience.
I love stand-up comedy, and love it even more if I’m in the audience. I’m part of the engaged audience, and it’s easy for the performer to target me for his Facebook page. But the promoter has a wider view of audience. People see posters and other event advertising. I’m a target for other comedy events I might see on their website. The venue owner knows I’m probably part of the audience for music and other entertainment. I’ll see those on their mailing list and billboards.
So one comedian is part of a network of social and commercial websites, mailing lists, flyers, and other advertising. It’s a massive audience, and so is yours.
You will never get the attention of all your audience, so focus on the ones you want. Make it clear who you are, and who you want to reach. Then you can use AIDA to work for you. Make some money and pay somebody to manage your SEO filters. It’s too boring to do it yourself. Just never forget, they are your SEO filters to maximize your value to your audience. SEO will never make an audience, but if you use it badly, it can soon destroy one.
It’s time to think about segmenting your audience, measuring it, and targeting better. That’s for later, so subscribe to Shrewdies update service if you don’t want to miss it.