Teaching, Promoting, Cheering UX and SEO Since 2002

I Am Not A Search Engine Marketer

I’m sometimes referred to as being a “marketer”. When this happens, I immediately know the person hasn’t done their homework on my work. For sure, they’ve never met me. Because if they had, they’d know I have no sales gene in my DNA whatsoever.

What I was, in the years 1996 – 2002, was an SEO and User Interface Engineer. This unique combination of skills and work experience enabled me to understand how to make web pages indexed by invisible mysterious things called “bots”. By optimizing web pages for search engines, they would be found by search engines and lumped in with trillions of other pages in the hopes of being ranked someday.  If they managed to be ranked well, I got a gold star, money and called it a day.

This was not marketing. It was promoting to search engines. It was making something work for computers rather than people. Web design, back in the early days, was limited to whatever technology existed at the time. When I started out, there was no such thing as a background color. I remember emailing a friend when I wanted to learn how to make nested tables because we had no how-to books. Today, they shun you for using tables at all. I wasn’t thinking about selling anything in those days. I was having far more fun learning how to make pretty pages show up on my computer monitor and supporting my kids on the money I earned from doing that.

The term, “search engine marketer”, came into vogue when optimizing for search engines evolved into making people click into web pages. Rank became the trophy. To get rank, you needed to beg, borrow, steal, lie, pay money and do this insane thing called link exchanges. This is when my BS-radar started screaming. Using people to get something I wanted or that a client wanted? Not in my DNA.

For those who were not there, I stopped offering SEO services in 2002. Why? Because I couldn’t sell things nobody wanted from web sites that weren’t designed for people to use. Today, the only SEO I will ever do is down home, get your hands in the dirt, organic SEO because it’s natural. Organic SEO requires time, patience, nurturing, and oh yeah, knowing exactly what your site is for. (Hint: NOT search engines.)

Consistency Equals Credibility

The reason Cre8pc does so well in search engines is because it’s been around a very long time. I never yanked the site from search engines, only to put it back later. I’ve never made web sites whose only purpose is to point to the main web site.  I didn’t have Twitter, Facebook or MySpace, and frankly, still don’t. My paying clients come from word of mouth, testimonials of my work, untold thousands of hours of volunteer help at Cre8asiteforums, volunteering articles and live-blogging conferences for larger blogs, plus my magazine and online articles. Traffic and “followers” come from Twitter, Facebook, etc. Not corporate level hiring for my services. Traffic is a good thing. It may convert for some companies who know how to use it that way. I don’t. Like I said, I don’t have the marketing gene.  (Just ask any of my marketing friends who have lectured me on how to market myself.  My eyes just glaze over…)

What I do have is the ability to understand what web site visitors want and need when they get to your web site. I live and breathe human computer behaviors. I know we each arrive to a web site with feelings, different reading level abilities, various cultures, different disabilities, dial-up, and real fears about our budgets, privacy and trust.  The passion I have for this stuff supports marketing efforts.  Oddly enough, one of the first things I point out to my clients is that their homepage is missing a USP (Unique Selling Proposition).  Not even their search engine marketer told them that!

My job is to make sure your web site succeeds, not search engines. Search Marketers are those who create the illusion that a web site is exactly what a user is searching for. This is, by no means, an easy task. In fact, it’s a combination of several skill sets that I have deep respect for. The top tier search marketer WANTS traffic to come and then WANTS that traffic to convert to something tangible like sales, reservations, call back leads, subscriptions, etc. To do this, the web design must focus on what site visitors will respond to. This is where user experience comes into play.

Most people do not respond to threats, put-downs, marketing hype and a long list of missing credibility signals, but some will.

I’m not one of them and I don’t work that way either.

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