Recently, a friend’s adorable young daughter invited me to play hide and seek. Of course I agreed.
Right away, I realized that this game would be different from most. Each time, she told me exactly where to hide. Each time – no surprise – she found me . . . and was completely delighted.
While this isn’t quite the traditional way I played this game while growing up – enjoying the thrill of hiding in an unexpected spot, possibly outsmarting the seeker – my young friend was still very excited to find me . . . every single time, exactly where she was looking.
Cleverness is great, creativity is great, but if you can’t be found, you’re going to be playing alone.
We all know that seeking information is now extremely easy. Conversations are interrupted constantly by fact-checking on smartphones. Google is more or less an external hard drive for so many of us, replacing the need to remember anything.
Still, how much are you helping people find you?
There’s nothing quite like having the right answer. How will people search for you? Not everyone will use the same search terms, so you need to cover your bases. Imagine I’m hoping that you’ll end up at the SoGoSurvey page. What key words or search terms do I think you might be using? Survey? Online? Sure, that’s pretty straightforward. But really, there are plenty of other terms people might use: easy, simple, inexpensive, research, communication, conversation, features, samples, solutions, create, distribute, collect, analyze . . . the list goes on!
There are plenty of online tools to help you guess at the kinds of hits you’ll get if you include certain high-powered words, but use the Goldilocks rule: use lots of words, but mostly use the ones that are just right.
The point is, use the right words, and use them well! Search engines are smart, but you can help maximize their power by making the most of multiple search avenues. Google and friends will help funnel all kinds of people with all kinds of search terms in the right direction: right to you!
Don’t fall into the trap that so many (“How many words does it have to be again?”) students do – just filling space will not cut it. Even if you enter your key words over and over again, if there’s nothing in between that’s meaty (or, alternatively for vegetarians like me, tasty!), no one will spend long at your site, and they certainly won’t visit it again. As a result, that quality use of search terms won’t be enough to keep you high on the list of results.
Finally, we know that word of mouth is one of the most powerful methods of motivating people to check out something new. For some, sharing excitement with others looks like an elbow nudge and a whisper to a friend, and for others, it’s a social media blast (“Look at this food I’m eating – doesn’t it look amazing?! Check this place out!”). Linkbacks are the equivalent. If somebody comes across your content and finds it compelling, this person will post a link on her blog or site to your page. Nice!
The more linkbacks you have, the more likely search engines and other sites are to find you. Much like popularity, though, don’t plan to buy your friends. Purchasing a package of linkbacks seems like a quick shortcut to success, but it’s not really worth it.
Attract real attention through – yes, again – quality content, engaging infographics (like the one above!), and connecting to the right audiences. Whether it’s LinkedIn, professional organizations, or other places where your target readers and customers are hanging out, bring your game to the right players.
SO . . .
So, whether you’re hiding or seeking, help your friends – and future friends! – to connect. The right words in the right place at the right time, delivering quality information – the perfect formula to bring it all together!