According to Wikipedia, Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.
So what’s VEO? Visitor Enhanced Optimization is the practice of making sure that your readers can enjoy, understand and relate to your blog, site, content, message, call to action and more. For example, you can’t dump keywords into your site copy if the paragraphs they sit in don’t make any sense. VEO is about building relationships and trust with your visitors. It’s about offering quality content, value and information.
If you only do SEO – link, metatags, keywords, etc. and it brings you good search rankings – but you don’t have good content, readable content, interesting content – then why would anyone stay? Why would they come back?
On the other hand, if you have great content and VEO – but you don’t metatag your site or the site map is difficult for the search engines to read, etc…it’ll be harder for people to find you, but if they do find you, you’ll have a good chance of getting them to subscribe and possibly hire you or buy your product.
SEO and VEO really do work in concert with each other. I think they feed each other well. And, truth be told, the search engine algorithms strive to mimic the human mind. They’re not just looking for links or keywords.
Could you change your search rank by being social?
What about social media? How do you classify social networking? Is it in a class of its own? And can you build a strong readership, a nice Alexa rank and good search engine results if you replace hardcore SEO with a blog that you use well and a large, positive presence on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn?
At the end of the day, I think that using all three components will get you the farthest. But…
- If you hate networking and just can’t be social like that – use VEO and SEO.
- If you’re a born networking and you love promotion, building relationships and connecting – use VEO and Social Media.
- If you want many one-time visitors with no punch or staying power – use SEO and Social Media. I feel quite strongly that losing the VEO will destroy you. There’s just too much good stuff out there and people can smell crap a mile away.
I’m tempted to say that Social Media could replace traditional SEO if you’re really good at working the networks.
Think about it: Are 20K followers on Twitter that adore you and feel like they know you better than thousands of dollars worth of keyword research and placement? I think so. And that’s because I’m a proponent of relationship and ‘word of mouth’ marketing. I also believe that if you’re an expert in your field, the keywords you need are going to naturally fill your site.
Of course, SEO can be good and full of quality, But, some SEO gets a deserved bad rap – because it’s black hat, or dirty pool, and to be honest it isn’t “natural” or “organic” – it seeks to reach a goal of high rankings without taking the reader into consideration. I suppose the spammers on social networking sites are the same – but they don’t usually come out on top, do they? I, for one, give them the big old BLOCK.
Bottomline: traffic drives your search engine ranking. And good content drives traffic. Social media has given us, the writers and readers, the opportunity to have a say in what sites are popular or not. The writers can populate with good content, the readers can share the site with social bookmarking and networking – even through email.
To answer my original question, ‘Which is more important?’ I’m going with this order:
1. VEO: have the goods
2. Social Media: build relationships, market, manage your PR, promote, be real
3. SEO: follow the basic guidelines and best practices, making it easy for your site to be searched, ranked and found
Image by alborzshawn