Online Audience Optimization OAO - The Next SEO?
The death of #SEO
is now official, but not a surprise. SEO was always an unsustainable system. SEO was too small. You could win the first part of the war, optimizing traffic to your site, but winning the second part was harder, much harder.
The second part of SEO was always OAO. Bringing millions to a website that felt like bait and switch never worked, NEVER. Not only did tricking traffic via over optimization NOT WORK, but it was beyond expensive.
Some brilliant black hat SEO is laughing at how naive I am, but those black haters are exceptions to the rule. For those of us who tried to do the right thing in the right way (and that changes all the time online btw) we couldn't win without OAO.
We had to optimize our websites as a middle ground between US and THEM. This is the big change I see in the last two years. Once social gets as large and in charge as it is now the very idea of US and THEM become barriers and useless concepts.
With feedback flowing over the sandbags trying to stay dry seems foolish. Better to let the flood in and figure how to surf the tide. If Online Audience Optimization isn't new to most #ecommerce
merchants what is new is the SPEED, FURY and CONVERSATIONAL nature of THIS TIME NOW.
Here are the 9 pillars of OAO in this defining post:
1. Focus on the brand
2. Be consistent and clear about your strategy and purpose,
3. Cast a wide net
4. At the same time, cast a targeted net.
5. Encourage audience participation
6. Employ engagement mechanics and gamification techniques.
7. Integrate your mobile strategy
8. Don’t obsess about keyword density
9. De-emphasize metatagging
If CONVERSATION is the big change between NOW and THEN there are also hidden new truths. Conversations need to be sustained over time. Ever notice how when you see an old friend who you were close with the period between when you saw them last and now isn't important. You catch up instantly with a certain kind of friend.
In fact quickly it may seem as if no time has gone by. The nature of human interaction is we communicate with more than words. We communicate with gestures, time and nonverbal clues.
Websites, at least great ones, can feel like an old lost and now found friend too. Great websites balance content, design and interaction between clarity, work and mystery. As we make this turn from a solipsistic SEO where talking to ourselves about ourselves was prized to a conversational social commerce some "secret" implications are worth exploring including:
* Telling consistent stories across media is important.
* Listening to customer and advocate stories across social nets is important.
* Relevance is our new info architecture currency.
* Relevance must be subdivided by personas (what is relevant to me is stupid to you).
* Don't make claims, but publish claims others make about or for you.
* Think and act less proprietary and more curatorial.
If you like RULES this new time is unsettling. The only rule now is what is working now. I love a good 9 point list as well as the next guy and about half of this OAO list are on my all time favorite Internet marketing strategies and tactics (like gamification), but the missing idea, the missing conversation, is LOVE.
Love is implied, but smart IMers know in a battle for hearts and minds, and this one is shaping up to be a World War level battle, then the first to broach the LOVE IDEA wins.
Every marketer and business person reading this just got a little uncomfortable and I'm not sure why. Surely every business worth its customer engagement is now and has always been about love. Our Puritan capitalist work first love later ideas fit so well with a rules based SEO where it was possible to win by executing the rules just a little better.
This new time says you and your marketing are only as strong as your last post, share, curation, video, story, comment, LIKE or link. Those ideas cover the frontend. The backend is about creating an experience where time is rewarded by knowledge, connection, community and love.
We want to laugh, play and cry together. We want to shop, learn and be entertained together. If you want to call all of these things by some new three letter acronym cool and OAO seems good to me.
The problem with a new three letter acronym is we pattern creating humans may mistake THIS time for THAT. Not even close. We don't know the new rules yet and that is why every one of the 9 pillars are so general and things no IMer would ever say no to.
We may never be able to write such a clean rules guide for this time. This time may be too dynamic and variable always. Of course NOT having rules is a rule (lol), so relax, wax up the board and get ready to surf OAO.