Web Presence Optimization and the Evolution of SEO
Web presence optimization (WPO) is an effort to expand traditional search engine optimization into a more holistic approach that incorporates media efforts in search, social, content marketing, PR and reputation management. The general purpose of web presence optimization is to have a broad, consistent and relevant presence across all aspects of the web. SEO is a particularly important part of web presence optimization, but we know that SEO is only the beginning.
The reason for a strong presence is that it gives us the opportunity to “audition” for a prospect’s attention and consideration for the “Who”, “What” and “Where” they are seeking. People using search and social have learned to search more effectively, refine searches to better target concepts, and discriminate results within moments of being exposed to content. Just being present in the SERP’s is certainly a good place to start, but is hardly enough to build trust and establish a relationship.
Essentially there are 3 objectives of web presence optimization.
- Be found for “Who” – Increase opportunity to audition to people searching for your brand or principals.
- Be found for “What” – Increase opportunity to audition to people searching for what you have to offer.
- Be found for “Where” – Increase opportunity to audition to people searching for where you are.
Winning the “Who”
Winning the “Who” in web presence optimization is about name recognition and the public face of your brand and it’s people. For the brand, having an overwhelming presence allows the opportunity to showcase positive attributes (such as reviews, press, and pr) as well as creating a foundation to prevent negative results from suddenly creeping in. For individuals, its an opportunity to aid sales executives to reinforce identity and trust though association with the brand, as well as personal accolades and qualities that have a positive impact on the public’s perception. To complicate things further, personalization and social’s overlap into search means that who you’re connected to socially may impact the search results you see (and most likely without you knowing!)
Winning the “What”
The “What” is where WPO and SEO have the greatest overlap. Being found for the goods and services you have to offer (i.e. “Star Wars Tauntaun Sleeping Bag” or “Motivational Business Speaker“) is essentially the internet dream everyone chases – being found first. What is easily forgotten is the intent of the person searching. Keyword variations, query refinements and triangulation (using multiple sources like search, social and local to identify the most robust result) can leave one-keyword-ponies with nothing more than an impression in Webmaster tools. User research and good old-fashioned thinking can often lead to early-stage opportunities that keyword tools can’t discern.
Winning the “Where”
The web evolves rapidly, and half of any internet marketer’s job is keeping up with the trends. The last year showed tremendous change in how localization impacted search, with Google making (usually correct) assumptions about when a “where” was appropriate, without you having to ask (always thoughtful, that Google). Attorneys, utilities, and professional services were impacted, often finding themselves forced waaayyyy down the page to make room for map and blended results.The use of core location data and the still-unclear impact of schemas and microdata have changed the way we approach being found in different areas, and have actually given some little Davids the opportunity to contend with some massive Goliaths in the local arena.
Winning the Web
Web presence optimization is somewhat like the cell-phone sonar net Lucius Fox created for Batman. There is no one source that provides a full image of an object, but by using many small sources (hacked cell phones in this instance), Batman was able to create a three-dimensional digital image. When trying to create your organization’s three-dimensional digital image, you could approach each of these objectives separately through search engine optimization, social media, public relations (both traditional and modern) local optimization, marketing and advertising, etc. However, our experience has taught us that these are not truly separate initiatives, and a coordinated approach to tackling these objectives increases effectiveness and improves efficiency, and just may give the citizens of Gotham a point of light in the darkness.