The Kate Middleton guide to ‘digital translation’ and SEO

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In a recent post, I referred to my job as a Digital Translator – both for staff (internally) and clients (externally).

I’m really fond of this analogy because it gives people the ability to make informed decisions about the strategy and tactics available.

One of the most challenging ‘translation topics’ is in relation Search Engine Marketing and Optimisation.

Now, while my knowledge of SEM and SEO is sound, I don’t ‘do’ this work directly – I employ a specialist to implement the approved work.

However, and with all due respect to my SEO pals, the language used to describe this activity can sometimes give ‘regular folk’ severe migraines.

So, my job is to find a way of explaining this process in a way that makes sense.

Here’s an example of a tactic you can employ to break down the barriers.

Explaining on-page versus off-page optimisation with some help from Kate Middleton

Traditionally, SEO can be divided into two parts – on and off page optimisation.

‘On-page’ covers what can be done on the pages of the website itself while ‘off-page’ covers activity that is undertaken elsewhere (e.g. back linking or social signals – the more contemporary form off link-building).

Now, it’s normally at about this point the less than enthusiastic observer will switch off.

On-page, off-page, social signals, link-building…English please!!!

So, I had a think about a reference point that nearly anyone would be familiar with and built my ‘translation’ around it – this example is called the Kate Middleton guide to SEO.

It is no more complicated than that.

Google likes content that is ‘well dressed’ and popular.

Now, before I offend my SEO pals any further than I already have, the process involved in making this happen is much more labor intensive than I’ve made it sound here.

But, that, in itself, is a very important point.

While clients / brand guardians want to know how you make their content sparkle, they only want / need to know to a point.

So, while terms like H1 tags and image ALT text are native terms to a SEO specialist, they only cause pain to general marketeers and communications folk (the people increasingly charged with making decisions about how SEO is integrated into their remit / efforts).

It’s a fine art and one that requires flexibility.

Measurement and evaluation

The other area requiring education and translation is in relation to impact.

If we undertake the SEO / SEM activity with you, what impact will it have.

Where possible, use phrases like:

– An additional XX,000 views of that page / article will be generated
– The likelihood of a ‘searcher’ discovering your content for your desired keywords is X as opposed to X
– The equivalent pay-per-click cost for this activity is X

One final point before I go.

If you work in a marketing and communications function, your life revolves around getting your content ‘discovered’.
SEO and Social Search are a HUGE part of this.
The sooner we all become at understanding the power of truly integrated communications, the better.
Like with most things in life, the first step education and understanding.
Do your bit by using language that everyone can understand.
You’re not making yourself appear any smarter by complicating this stuff, you’re actually doing the opposite.
Adam
Note: A big thanks out to my good friend and colleague Lee Smallwood who continues to help me navigate the Social SEO world and is a great person to follow if you want to see top-notch SEO translation in action. 

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