Preschoolers are a handful. I know, I know, that’s not an earth-shattering observation. Every day feels like it’s the same, but different. More than his older sisters, my three-year-old challenges me, pushes me, and motivates me. I wouldn’t be the first to say I’ve learned quite a bit about life from my children, but what is even more fascinating to me is that I’ve observed quite a bit about affordable SEO from him, too.
It may sound odd, but something I’ve learned from one of my daughters is to point out even the most uncommon patterns. This girl can find a connection even when there isn’t one — so when there is, even when it seems irrelevant and obscure, she feels the need to point it out. Take a look at the connections between my preschooler and search engine optimization…
Lessons About My Strategy
One of the most important components of successful search engine optimization is a strategy. SEO is a valuable piece in the marketing plan puzzle, helping to direct traffic to your Web site, where they’ll learn more about your product or service, and, ideally, take the next step through your sales funnel. A marketing plan provides “a guideline to ensure that your activities maximize the marketing budget by targeting the right consumers through the methods that are important to them.”
Breaking down your marketing plan to the specific search engine optimization component leads to the importance of knowing what you’re doing, and when and how you’re doing it — just like a preschooler.
Anyone who knows kids or has kids understands the value of a routine. From bedtime to mealtime, parents work hard to establish routines that give the toddler comfort and consistency. For example, every weekday morning, my preschooler knows that his older sisters wake up, eat breakfast, and get ready for school before hopping on the bus. For the next month, though, they will getting to school early for a program; even just the slight shift of coming along to drive them to school instead of staying home while they get on the bus has thrown off the balance in his life.
In SEO, routine is also important. Think about the systems, processes, and procedures you have in place for your SEO. Even from the most basic — automating social media so that blog posts are shared there — makes an impact on how and where your audience is finding you. If you find your SEO strategy lacking routine, consider looking into an automation process that will give you the consistency your plan needs.
From the ever-popular “mom, mom, mom!” to “I want a sandwich, please. Where’s my sandwich? Can you make me a sandwich now? When are you making my sandwich?” toddlers, preschoolers, and really, kids of all ages, understand the importance of using the magic words. We teach them please and thank you, but there are quite a few other magic words — the ones that make you take action. Because, to be honest, it can be easy to ignore please whether you’re a parent or a child. On the other hand, words like, no, ouch, hurt, promised, now, grounded, and “I’m-leaving-if-you’re-not-in-the-car-when-I-go-you’re-staying-home” are almost guaranteed to evoke a response in my house.
These are my kids’ keywords. I’m sure you have your own. I know what will get a response from them. If I were to tell them, “Please, go to the car and buckle up so you’re ready when we leave in a minute,” I wouldn’t get the same response (trust me. I try every time we leave the house). A key to making your affordable SEO work is finding the keywords that connect with your audience, the words they’re searching online, and the words that inspire and encourage action, whether that’s clicking on your Web site or filling out a contact form.
Looking at the sandwich example above, and hearing it every morning, has shown me one thing that my preschooler has mastered — and we all need to master if we want success from our SEO activities. Affordable SEO must include a component of patience and persistence. Seeing results doesn’t happen overnight. As this Forbes article points out, “it can take a long time to build a solid following of 20,000 unique monthly visitors.” Strategies exist to get to that many visitors in 90 days, but they require patience, persistence and consistency. Not sure how to do that? Observe a preschooler who wants something. The child doesn’t let up until they get what they want. We all need that kind of tenacity to see success from our affordable SEO strategies.
Lessons About My Audience
The interesting thing about taking lessons from a preschooler is that it goes beyond just what he’s doing. Parenting a preschooler leads to a completely different set of life and career applications — especially when it comes to connecting with other people. Your audience is made up of everyone you knew, everyone you know, everyone you want to know, and everyone who you think you should know. Just as you’ll find your preschooler’s mood changes without warning and at the drop of a hat, you’ll find that each of these different target groups has a different opinion on your business, Web site, and overall buying habits. As a result, brands address each groups with a slightly different plan, but three commonalities rise above every other strategy — and they’re all things I find myself practicing as a parent on a daily basis.
Meet Them at Their Level
Many parenting experts are tremendous supporters of getting down to your child’s level to comfort, console, explain a difficult concept or dish out a punishment. In doing so, you’re helping to build a bond or connection, rather than creating an atmosphere that belittles the child. By the time my third child came along, I guess he appreciated how I spoke with him and his sisters. To this day, when he wants something, he will stop at nothing to climb on something to get to my level, cup my face in his hands, and talk to me. If he needs to show me something, he’ll actually turn my head to see what he wants to show me.
Whenever he does this, he immediately catches — and keeps my attention. The same is true for connecting with our audiences. If we want to see the biggest return from our investments in affordable SEO, we need to make sure that every piece of copy we write and publish, every infographic, and every keyword we choose is one that will make an impact with our audience members. We need to meet them wherever they might be in the buying process, whether they’re just searching online for a company that provides the services they want, or they’re ready to move ahead. We need to make a connection with them.
Get to Know Them
Part of building that connection is knowing your customers. My son knows that his cousin’s favorite color is red; when he wants to make him happy, my son will let his cousin play with his favorite red toys. Likewise, I know my son’s favorite dinosaur, color, and TV series. Getting him something else won’t elicit nearly the same reaction as it would if I surprised him with one of those.
Take the time to get to know your audience. Affordable SEO needs to be efficient, and efficiency is found when you’re giving your audience what they want, when they want it, and where they want it. You’ll get a bigger bang for your buck if you invest your SEO dollars into building up the activities that will help you learn more about your audience, from thorough keyword research to interesting blog content.
Give Them What They Want
When my son asks for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and I give him a bowl of cereal, I can’t expect that he’ll eat the cereal — or remain calm. If I know what he’s asking for and consciously choose to give him something else, I won’t see the results I want and I won’t have a very happy child.
If I’m doing the same with my audience, I’m not going to see very good results, either. If my content isn’t meeting their needs, they’re not going to care what the call to action says — and they’re not going to click through. If my keywords are off, they’re not going to scroll through hundreds of pages just to find my blog post. If my Web site is hard to navigate, they’re not going to spend hours trying to find what they want (one study found that if you want someone to stay on your page, you need to “clearly communicate your value proposition within ten seconds.”)
To see the best results, once I know what my audience wants, I need to be willing to give that to them. Just like I do with my children, I want the best for my customers,; if I’m not willing to learn about them, though, I’ll never be able to give them the best
Lessons About Life in SEO
Parenting is about recognizing the unique characteristics of your children as people and striving to meet them. It’s about building people up, encouraging them to be the best versions of themselves. Isn’t that what life is like? Showing compassion, meeting needs, and helping each other out?
When you choose to incorporate affordable SEO into your marketing strategy, that’s exactly what you’re doing. You’re striving to meet the needs of your audience and then working to show them exactly how you can do so.
My son loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He is overjoyed, though, when the sandwiches are cut into triangles. Such a small step, that takes only a few seconds of my time, takes his sandwich from good to great, and it didn’t cost me anything.
That’s adding value. I took something that he already wanted, and made it even better. It was worth more to him than if I’d left it whole. What’s something you can do today in your business that will enhance the lives of your audience members? Because, in essence, all of search engine optimization — and content marketing — is really about enhancing the lives of your audience. When you not only meet a need, but you also make even better for your customers, you’re adding value, increasing their joy, and will more than likely see better results from your actions.
The benefit is that when you add value, you’ll see more people linking to your content. You’ll see more people sharing your site. And you’ll be building trust with the search engine, a crucial ingredient, as one expert says that “the first real guiding principle of SEO is trust. When you have Google’s trust, you’ll consistently rank highly.”
Follow the Rules
Some children live to follow the rules. Others live to break them. Mine have found that whether they’re in school, in sports, or at home, they’ve seen positive results by following the rules. The same is true in search engine optimization. Each search engine has different rules for what they prefer; some are still being developed and discovered with each algorithm update, but others are well-know. Keyword stuffing, using unrelated or irrelevant keywords, cloaking, spam blogs, page swapping, and stealing copy as your own are all rule-breakers that can cause serious repercussions from search engines.
Affordable SEO Might Be Right in Front of Your Face
Any parent can attest to the fact that probably 90 percent of the time your child is missing an item, you’ll find it right where you said it would be. I’m willing to bet the chances are even higher that the item is within your child’s reach.
Affordable SEO is similar. Don’t spend hours searching for something that is right in front of you. When you consider that search engine optimization is about meeting the needs of the people you want to reach, there’s nothing unattainable about anything involved in SEO.
Not sure where to start? Let us help. For a limited time, we’re offering a free SEO analysis. Our experts will take a look at where you are now and where you want to be, and will help you map out a strategy to get there.
I’d also love to hear what you’ve learned from the children in your life. Tell me in the comments the one lesson (life, career, or otherwise) your littles have taught you.
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