More and more businesses are realizing the importance their web site plays in their overall marketing strategy. They are also realizing the impact of organic search rankings on branding and sales for their business. And this is creating demand for SEO talent to help them improve their position in web search.
Normally, this is a good thing for the business (and, of course, the SEO). A talented and hard working SEO can bring good gains to a business. For example, if a web site is already producing $500,000 in sales before the SEO gets involved, and their efforts result in those sales increasing to $1,000,000, then there is plenty of room for paying the SEO something for their work.
Unfortunately, it does not always happen quite so simply. It can happen that the business results don’t follow the SEO work, even if the SEO is very competent, and diligently does a good job.
The ethnographic method is an approach of studying a person or group of people by participating in the culture of interest while still remaining a bit of an outsider. At its core is the focus on cultural relativism, which is seeing something through the eyes of the involved. Thus, to get to know someone or a group of people, you have to lose your own set of beliefs and views and start from scratch as you seek out the functional reasons why things happen.
This method is critical for successfully connecting to people, especially online when you have no physical cues to tell you about a person. In essence, you have to lose your own identity at first, in order to get a better idea of how to best connect to someone new. When you approach a potential link partner, you know very little about that person except for a few clues picked up in the analysis of the site that he or she controls. Your best bet is to pick up that information as quickly as possible, because you have a very limited amount of time to make or break that connection.
Personas makes use of the ethnographic method in SEO and are intensely valuable. This process helps you learn about your audience and mindset, and the resulting personas can help you to compare the output of your efforts to the target market in question. It’s commonplace to use personas in areas like usability and social media, but they also can be a tremendous help when written specifically for link development. An audience IS an audience, after all.
As link builders, one challenge we all have is showing our clients evidence that our work is having the effect we said it would. What would make this part of the process easier is if there was one single universal tool that could identify every single instance when a site is mentioned, linked, tagged, tweeted, or feeded. The sheer size of the web and the volume of new content every day make such a tool impossible, but a few weeks ago Delicious unveiled a relaunch, and what was once really a pain is now a breeze.
Delicious will show the which users are linking to (bookmarking) which URLs, sorted by most recently bookmarked. Go here:
Enter your company URL, or whatever URL you want. Click the arrow to get your results.
Here’s where it gets fun. Delicious feedifies that results page, so you can subscribe to a feed for any URL, and by doing so, whenever someone bookmarks your site at delicious, your feed will have that new link at the top of your feed.