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Making Miracles: Reality check on organic search

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One of the questions I am frequently asked is “How do I show up in the top five or ten on [insert the search engine of your choice here]?” The easy response is “How much money do you have to spend?”

The real “how” behind that question is, “How do I get my target clients to find me?” Well, let’s start with some basics about search. There are:

Ego versus Goal

Pulling up at the top of Google may be a thrill, but is it what you need to achieve your goal? Clarity about your goal is key. As I’ve said, ad nauseum, “everyone” is not your client. The result of pulling up at the top of Google is reaching “everyone.” That means your ideal clients are the needles in that haystack and you’ll be investing a lot of time and effort combing through responses to locate them. Only if you are selling a commodity, selling in bulk and competing on price alone, should topping the search lists be your priority.

The “Many Roads Lead to Rome” Approach

If your goal is to reach a clearly defined pool of prospects, you need to fish where they swim. Search is only one of the lines in the water. Use all appropriate brand building tactics to keep you top-of-mind and positioned as the expert in your field. Engage in relationship building programs. Know your clients’ habits and which organizations, web sites and publications they frequent. Promote, share technical articles and blogs, present, and sponsor through these venues or vehicles. Be where your prospects are and you’ll reel in your ideal customers.

Understand Prospects’ Needs

Think like your clients. What do they need when they search for your services or products? The terms you use (and place as keyword search terms) may not be what your target client is typing into a search engine. Organic search is only as good as your understanding of the searcher.

So, here’s how to make miracles: Get a very clear understanding of your target client, build a strong brand foundation, be consistent and visible, and speak to their unmet need. That is the real way for customers to find you. Sorry, there are no magic elevator rides to top of search engines.

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