There are essentially three types of people who use the Internet and 3 uses for it.
1. The first (and original) use was to share information.
2. Next became commerce, both buying and selling.
3. Recently, a social atmosphere has developed, where people are looking to be part of and grow a community of like-minded people.
This gives us:
a) Information Hounds
b) Buyers and Sellers
1 and 3 do not like to be sold anything. They distrust a lot of what goes for sales in general. Of course, spammers and Internet Marketing "guru's" have themselves to blame for this. The hard-core buyers don't mind so much. eBay is a way to find exactly what this mindset is.
But people who are looking for information, as well as those simply looking to socialize probably outnumber buyer-sellers by a great percentage.
It doesn't mean that these can't cross. But you have to know that when you are trying to buy or sell something, you are going to run into people complaining that a page is too "salesy". To a real buyer, this doesn't matter. They will simply scroll down to the price point to see if it's in their budget.
The greatest majority of the work on the web is really misplaced. They are trying to please everyone all the time. While the most successful sales people simply go ahead and write the nuts-and-bolts ecommerce site which buyers will look for. Amateur sellers are mislead by the idea that you have to try to mollify these other types in order to convert them to buyers. But that's not particularly going to happen.
Pro sellers simply design their pages around a specific long-tail-keyword product - which is usually a particular brand of something. And then will back up from that and build "non-salesy" pages which link to that and put these on various other types of websites and social properties. All that is to get link-credibility and authority so that their original page ranks higher in the search engines.
When people are looking for a certain product to buy they will search for that specific keyword and they want to know just a few things:
- is it available now.
- can I buy it easily now.
- how long will it take to get here.
- is it overall cheaper here than anywhere else.
The two common denominators are speed and cost. Of course the information has to be accurate. And you want that page to be ranked highly by search engines so that buyers visit your site first.
Practically, you can ignore the other two areas if you are wanting to sell something - almost. The problem is that the search engines are involved in remaining popular. So they are fascinated with the social sites. SE's want to stay popular because they sell advertising that way (yes, converting viewers to buyers.) It doesn't matter that fewer people are even looking at ads than ever before.
But if you want your sales page to be looked at, you are going to have to put some non-salesy pages up on social sites for the search engines to rank. Mostly, these are set up to link back to a set of landing pages on your own domain. That's how you get your own domain to rank highly.
Of course, there are methods to get your main site "voted up" and "bookmarked" so the search engines consider that your site is "popular". And these are all playing the game of search engine one-up-man-ship. And as long as it's not widespread, the search engines don't particularly care. As you "prove" by backlinks that your sites are valuable because they cross all the T's and dot all the I's - then your site is OK.
These complaints about shoddy sites which aren't any good as far as content, are being held to that Information standard. But that's been the complaint forever. What's popular doesn't have to make sense. People looking for just information will probably have to wade through the "McDonald's" and "White Castle" versions of what they want before they can actually get down to someone who knows something. Meaning that you are going to have to modify your search to get to the actual data. It means that forums and discussion groups (and blogs which have a lot of comments on them) will be higher than some person who's been there and done that, but doesn't really optimize his pages to fit the social norms search engines are looking for.
So SEO these days isn't just getting your pages properly titled and back-linked. But this helps more than people generally think. It's also getting social approval for what you are posting - which is another subject entirely.
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