Simpler Ways to Determine Effective SEO
Posted on January 01, 2014
Stop Mistaking Noise For Signal
This post was originally titled "Wading Through The SEO Swamp" and I had intended to focus on clarifying simpler ways for people to determine effective SEO - But about halfway through I realised I was writing about a subject that is much broader than just SEO and could benefit you in many areas of your business. The complexities of wading through noise to get value from true signals is both a talent and something most find hard to detract emotion from. So instead of focussing on SEO in particular, let's delve into how to bypass the stuff stopping you making the most effective decision.
The first step in choosing any effective solution is to know what you need it to do. You do this by establishing a clear set of needs, which can be updated over time if you are a little unsure on some things. This set of needs is necessary later, so don't be too blasé or vague!
Before you can establish if an offer is effective or not, you need to fully understand it. Look at each offer and first determine if understanding a particular part is necessary, and if so, then educate yourself. Consider attribute and focus on whether you can understand the value it will be providing, and if it's worth the price you are paying. Don't get caught up in jargon or superfluous commentary, learn about it so you know what is in the offer so you can compare two or more different offers side by side and evaluate effectively.
Unwrap The Offer
Any service or product in the market is wrapped up in something saleable, be it explanation, packaging or bundled with something else. It's this fancy (chintzy) wrapping that you need to toss aside when comparing anything, but particularly something like SEO. You see, a good salesman doesn't ever sell you a 'thing', they sell you a dream. It's your belief in the dream that is where he claps his hands all the way to the bank, and you end up with something you either love or hate. It's when you hate it that the salesman is actually a con-man and not a good salesman. But to avoid that ever happening, you need to peel off the wrapper, and dig deep to the actual core of what it is you are wanting to buy.
Without delving too deeply into the psychology of selling, there are always a few different layers that need to be peeled back. Here is a bit of a breakdown:
You are buying a car, you are standing in the lot and the salesman is convincing you it's the best investment you'll ever make. He's offered you free add-ons, plus he's even spoken to the boss and been able to give you a discount.
What needs to be thrown away:
- Free add-ons are not add-ons. They are what the dealer is willing to include in the price he is charging you. Don't mistake this as you somehow winning or getting something extra, because at the end of the day he doesn't care about you, he has the capacity to offer anyone else the same deal, you are only getting more than the other guy who didn't think to ask.
- 'Speaking to the boss' is not authority. Again, this is not something that would be any different between you and the next buyer - It's a feel-good tactic to make you feel special and exclusive. If you truly want to be looked after, expect top notch ongoing support.
- A discounted price is not really a cost saving, it is just the price the dealer is willing to accept. Nothing comes for free, so nothing is going to come for less than free.
I know many of you are going to have a go at me for saying that, but I really don't need to hear about why people charge the prices they do etcetera - I get it - I am not saying profiting is a bad thing, I am saying don't mistake a discount as necessarily a good thing done as a favour just for you.
Whenever there is human involvement in something that is customised for you or your business, there needs to be a level of honesty and trust that you can say you have in the solution provider. The reason this step sits at the end is because when you can put your mind into a state that naturally dispenses with the 'fluff', you also recognise that salesmen are just doing their job. It's their job to move product, and them being creative to do that job isn't lying, it's being creative (yes I realise there are liars out there, my advice is to avoid those people). If you re-evaluate at the end after the offering is broken down to it's core elements, you can determine if the offer (note I say the offer, and not what the salesman are selling - two different things) is honest. Is the salesman selling you a gold necklace or a gold-plated necklace?
Close The Loop
Now is the fun part - Closing the loop. And yet it's the step so many people don't reach because they've based their decision on what the salesman is selling (remember, it's different), or they've been distracted by other variables. What do I mean by closing the loop? Well you have a set of needs, and it's time to evaluate which offer meets those needs. Realistically, the best way to approach this is to quickly collect only the offers that meet your needs, and determine whether the difference in price is worth the differences between the offers. By focussing on the differences, you are taking a critical view at how they impact on your business and how you can leverage them now that they are part of a service or product you are consuming.
When you can approach problems from this angle, you become a more effective consumer. The acronym to remember is that you want to "NEUHC the noise" (pronounced "nuke") to make good decisions! Determine needs, educate yourself, unwrap the offering, determine honesty, and finally close the loop - It can be applied to any decision in business or even in life, and will be invaluable to you.