How NOT to do SEO for your site and yourself

One of the goals of personal branding is optimizing your name so when people search for you on Google or other search engines, there are numerous sites that come up with good content about you. If you have a common name like Mary Smith or John Jones, you need to work even harder to be sure that results come up about YOU and not someone else who shares the same name. I share a name with famous NPR broadcaster Nancy Marshall-Genzer, so I always have to work to be sure that people can find me online, and not the OTHER Nancy Marshall. Make sure that the content you place online, whether it’s copy that you place on your website or others’ sites, or videos that you post on YouTube or Vimeo, leverages what differentiates you from others.

Making videos is a good way to create content that can be posted on YouTube and then on your site or social media sites. This is an example of a guy named Mike who was trying to establish himself as someone who sells golf clubs. On the one hand, I would say that this is NOT the way to optimize yourself and your unique selling proposition, but on the other hand, this video has gotten more than half a million views, so it might not have been such a bad idea. If you Google the term “we buy golf clubs,” up comes Mike and his absurd video.

I want to thank my 19-year-old son Jamie for sharing this video with me. He has a very good sense of humor.

I asked Drew McLellan, principal of Agency Management Institute, what he thought about this video. This is what Drew said:

Drew McLellen, Agency Management InstituteI guess it depends on how you define SEO. If you simply want the #1 spot on Google, then it’s a great example. If you want people to arrive at your page and be annoyed that they didn’t find what they were really looking for, then it’s a great example.

But if you want to use SEO to actually help your sweet spot customers find exactly what they’re looking and be of value to them, then it’s lousy SEO.

On top of that, counting on anything going viral (the video would be useless without the 500,000+ views) as your SEO strategy is risky and a real long shot.

I don’t think there’s a way to trick the SEO gods. I believe using the best practices of content, SEO writing and above all else — creating useful content that people will use, share and value — is the best and only way to impact SEO long term.

So, Drew and I are in agreement that you shouldn’t make a video like Mike’s, unless you want to have a lot of 19 year old boys laughing at how funny you are. If you want to sell your expertise and position yourself as an expert in your field who people will know, like and trust, then create content that is meaningful and useful to the people who are reading or viewing it.

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