Monday, November 11, 2013

Water Hole Optimization (Leading the Horse to Water)

If you have heard me speak, you may have heard some analogies.
One is that Search Engine Optimization is like "leading a horse to water".

The key take-away is... SEO is not Conversion Rate Optimization or Landing Page Optimization, (ok, it is kind of... but...), SEO is simply leading the horse to the water... someone types in a keyword in a search result... and clicks on a website... or "pond/watering hole/oasis" i.e. where the "horse" drinks. The water hole, you got them there... the website.

As in... "You can lead a Horse to water, but you can't make it drink". SEO's can get you to the website, but not all of them are going to make the visitor contact you or purchase your services and/or products.

The process to make that happen is called "SEO" or Search Engine Optimization. From Google to a website... Stop... Do NOT collect $200do NOT pass GO! Someone searched for some keyword and clicked on a link to your website. End of Story. SEO worked.

Why do we use an analogy?

"The keyword matrix suggests the probability of a visit, the impressions estimation shows people have visited, social media data can be used to catalog the visits and provide re-introduction, top of mind awareness targeting, persuasion architecture, online reputation management defense as well as usage and demographic research."

Read the above; read the analogies below, if the above sans analogy is better, please say so. 

That is Search Engine Optimization... or is it? To some it is, to some it is not. Some say anything outside of organic keyword optimization is Search Engine Marketing, (Anything that is not organic search, but works in search as long as you pay for it.) 

About SEM, SEM could also be used to make the horses drink... once the SEO got them there. Yes, SEM does include the ads above the organic results so they can always click on paid ad and get to your website too. But that is basically picking up horses, driving them to water hole, feeding them and letting them go.

So you get the SEO part, right? How does this relate to equines or livestock management?

We are talking about Water Hole Optimization

So how do you optimize a water hole?
(Water Hole = Metaphor for client's online digital ecosystem or footprint

What are the aspects of the searcher/visitor/horse/water hole drinker, how do we influence them to make them drink once we get them there?  What are the factors for Water Hole Optimization?

 With the splintering of the ways users, (Horses), and how they are accessing water hole information.
Ranchers (Water Hole Marketers aka Digital Strategists and SEOs), have to reach across multiple disciplines, multiple query engines across varied OS for different screens. Ok, I know it's far-fetched, but pretend Horses have phones... laptops and tablet too of course... 

Is there an effective strategy for Water Hole Optimization, what are the aspects?

Organic Search = leading the horse to water

Paid Search (SEM) = Signs and Salt Licks paid for by humans to lead those horses to water...

Social Media - Horses sharing information about water quality, predator issues, etc...

Content Marketing - adding hay and other horse incentives for horse to visit water hole in their thirst search.

Conversion Rate Optimization - actually measuring the act of the horse drinking.

Local Search - Horse tracks, Horse trails that lead horses to water within the area around the water hole. Usually Geologists have maps of these things. Please consult an expert.

Digital Asset Optimization - widening the water source for the water hole... upstream...

Online Reputation Management - The 5 or 6 ranchers on the ridge around the water hole, sniping the coyotes, wolves and any other predators that would scare the horses away from the water hole.

Behavioral Targeting, Re-Targeting - Horse has been there before; they already know the way back to the water. BT or RT would be something that makes the horse thirsty again; they know where the water hole is that they just came from.  p.s. Be careful not to spook the horse... by following it too closely.

Naturally we will have Ranchers (Lead Strategic focused SEOS) and Ranch Hands (Search Developers), as the operation grows with scale... normally a ranch foreman (Search Scientists) will communicate with other ranchers about advancements in Water hole optimization... which is basically leading the horse to water.. With scale...
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