SEO :: A Matter of Perspective

13 10 2009

Stop! The train came to an abrupt halt. Laborers armed with sledgehammers, picks, and shovels lined both sides of the right of way. Enjoying the momentary distraction, they stretched backs, twisted necks, wiped brows, and only casually glanced at the cause. When the door on the President’s car swung open belching it’s occupant, only those in close proximity reacted. Looking up at the white haired “Old Man,” they feigned interest while curiosity was the real basis for their facial expressions.

Climbing off the car with a gait that belied his age and a twinkle in his eye that reflected a deep wit, the “Old Man” strode up to the first (and brawniest) of the laborers. “What are you doing?” he asked in a booming voice obviously accustomed to prompt response. The tentative reply delivered in a gravelly baritone, “I’m shoveling ballast.” The Chinaman said, “Dig ditch!” while the kid said he was, “driving spikes.” The colored boy, barely 16 years old and the butt of the crew’s ongoing jokes and taunts looked the “Old Man” right in the eye. He drew himself up ramrod straight, brushed dust from his coveralls and said with all the confidence he could muster, “I’s buildin’ a railroad, suh!”

From that day forward Isaiah, as his mother knew him, rode in the President’s private car and served as his personal assistant for more than twenty years. The “Old Man” was a good judge of men and easily recognized a young man of vision. While others worked with their heads down and saw only what was directly in front of them, Isaiah could see the world from his vantage point.

Sadly, too many “experts” fail to recognize the need for vision in their approach to search engine optimization (SEO). Their focus on the mechanics enables them to get the meta tags “just right,” the tracking code properly placed, and perfect the key word saturation. While their effort might be a “work of art” to some, the results leave much to be desired.

The obligation is to identify the elements of any business that set it apart from the competition. For some, it may be price, but for others it is selection, quality, service, value, experience, knowledge, or options. Once that difference or differences as the case may be has been identified, the SEO specialist has to work with the website designer, the copywriter, and the programmer to be certain that the message is clear and comprehensive.

Success is measured in performance. Is website traffic up? Are the number and size of online transactions increasing? The job is not complete until the paperwork is done. When you can provide a positive report to the client, then and only then is the job over.

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