If you know me, or any E-Webber in general, you know there is nothing we love more than an excuse to dress up. This month we’re holding an 80′s dress up party, just because we can. This “just because” attitude has seen me rocking into work as a go-go dancer, Michael Jackson and very scrawny looking Rambo. And it dawned on me that there is a lot of dynamics and strategy involved when attending a costume party. For instance, when you’re attending a costume party, how many times have you been asked, “What are you going as?” or “Where are you going to get your costume from?” or “Are you going to hire that costume, create it yourself or just buy one?” These questions, as natural as they sound, are actually part of an overall strategy that I see in the day to day world of SEO. Don’t believe me? Just keep reading…
Lesson #1: First In, Best Dressed
There’s a reason why people ask what you’re going to wear, sometimes weeks in advance. It’s part of a strategy to make sure that when they attend the party, they’ll be the only one rocking up as Beyonce. Otherwise, if another “Beyonce” had already appeared by the time they arrive, all the glory would have already been passed on, leaving you with second hand, “Cute outfit” remarks. All that planning, for a little bit of glory.
The SEO world is no different. There are numerous studies to show that the most clicks on a search result page go to the website ranked first. In findings by online ad network Chitka, it was reported that nearly 33% of users click on the top result, decreasing steadily down the page with the 10th result grabbing only a 2.4% share of traffic.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to be the first to be optimising for a particular keyword (or costume). Other factors come into play. Which brings me into the next lesson…
Lesson #2: Quality is everything
Let’s continue with the Beyonce costume idea. You could be the first to arrive as the multimillion dollar diva, but if you’ve made little effort into perfecting her outfit, mannerisms and accessories, people are going to be questioning who you are. Then when another “Beyonce” turns up with the perfect hair, make-up, clothes and handbag, first “Beyonce” is quickly forgotten about. With Beyonce #2, people know exactly who she is and can see how relevant she is to the “Famous Singers” costume party.
In SEO, the quality and relevancy of your website (costume) to a keyword (theme) matters. Both quality and relevancy can be measured using Google Analytics by observing your website’s bounce rate; and in Google/Bing Webmaster Tools by observing your search queries Click-Through Rate (CTR). To put this into context, if your costume sucks, people are going to look at your costume but they may not want to say anything about it and “bounce” to the next person to talk to. But if you’ve gone all out to meet the costume brief, you will instantly “click” with people who want to enquire about the costume and perhaps even convert with you by getting you a drink (hey, it happens).
If they haven’t chosen anything yet, they just want to make sure they don’t wear the same thing as you. And if they already have a costume in mind, they want to make sure that you know they have already thought of that. Let me go on more about relevancy…
Lesson #3: Be Relevant
In my time attending themed costume parties, there is always at least one person who misses the target altogether. It could be a Halloween party and they’ll come as a sexy nurse. Sure the costume might get a few looks, but it won’t be memorable. Not like that guy that went out to buy 100 medical bandages and wrapped himself as a mummy, bought white contact lenses and doused himself in real cow blood.
Relevancy, in conjunction to quality, is what can make or break your SEO strategy. Dressing up has taught me that if you’re not going to take the time and effort to create something that will impact your “audience” and meet their expectations, then don’t expect a big “impact” in your results either.
Lesson #4: Stay in Character
In my experience, the best costumes at a party are worn by people who choose to stay in character for most parts of the night. No matter how hot the costume gets, or how itchy their fake beard/moustache/wig may be, they suffer for the sake of their costumes. Think of the latecomers who discover you in your Scooby Doo suit, without your head. Or a Charlie Chaplin without the moustache. People are instantly confused and often ask, “What are you supposed to be?”.
Could you imagine your visitors arriving at your website from search results and having the same reaction? That situation does not make for a good bounce rate!
To stay in character with your SEO, maintain your meta titles and descriptions and ensure they are as descriptive and reflective as the content on your landing pages as possible. The same applies to your blog headlines – if you are going to have a post that says, “The best kept secrets about Unicorns”, your audience is going to expect to read some best kept secrets about unicorns. So get your content to stay on character and deliver!