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SEO – It’s the Gift That Keeps on Giving

Holidays and SEO

The holidays are once again upon us as, are all of our favorite holiday movies.  One of mine is “Christmas Vacation.”  I laugh until nog almost comes out of my nose every time I watch it.  But, did you know that besides being funny, the Griswalds can teach us a few things about Search Engine Optimization?  It’s true.

“Dad – that thing wont fit in our yard.” “It’s not going in our yard, Russ. It’s going in our living room.”

Clark Griswald understands that with Christmas trees, just like our Web sites – it’s all about the content.  The more quality content you have, the more likely you are to attract and hold on to visitors.  Also, just like Christmas trees, the flashy blinking things may pull people in, but it’s what is under all that flash that will get your visitors to stay around for a while.  If you can provide each of them with a gift – the gift of the information they want – you can be sure it will not be soon forgotten.

“If you scratch his belly, Clark, he will love you till the day you die.”

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Even dim-witted cousin Eddie knows that you have to do whatever it takes keep your visitors happy and give them what they want.  Don’t make them have to stick their nose in uncomfortable places (AKA: awkward site searches).  Reach out to them and make them feel special.  Ask them what they want.  Surveys and polls are a quick and easy way to connect with your audience.  You should be monitoring your site’s search logs – find out what people are searching for and give it to them.  Keep track of your search engine referrals – hopefully people find what they want, but sometimes they land on a page that is barely related.  Use that information to create what they want.

“I’m going to put it in a bag, and smack it with a hammer.”

Poor Clark was fed up with that darn squirrel. Many of us feel that same frustration with the Google-bot.  We see the pesky critter in our Web logs, but he taunts us by jumping from page to page and not getting the entire site indexed.  If Clark had taken the time to create a clean, easy-to-navigate path for the little guy he may not have been so much trouble.  How can we help the Google-bot?  The same way give him a clear path.  Clean, logical site links on our content pages, Alt tags on image links so he knows what they lead to and certainly a site-map would be quite helpful.

“Can I get you anything else? Can I drive you out to the desert and leave you for dead?”

That rascal Eddie sure can get on a guy’s nerves.  Much like those competing sites that have better search rankings (that we wish the vultures would start circling).  No need to resort to kidnapping of Web designers just yet.  We just need to understand what makes these sites tick.  Use Google’s link checker to see who is linking to them and search Google for the Web address to see who is talking about them.  Review the content and code to see how you can improve yours.  It takes time and research, but you can figure it out if you try.

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“It’s the gift that keeps on giving.”

Once again, Eddie is right.  Although, not about the Jam of the Month Club.  Good site design, well-planned content, logical site structure and a thorough SEO strategy is the gift that keeps on giving. Each day your efforts will continue to bring more visitors to your site.  With some hard work and a bit of luck next year all your competitors will be able to say is, “If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am now. I don’t know what to say, except it’s Christmas and we’re all in misery.”

Happy holidays everyone!

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Written By

Jack Leblond is a SEO/SEM professional working for a large corporation full time in Austin, TX. He is not a Realtor, he is our in-house SEO expert. Jack is the Director of Internet Strategy and Operations for TG (www.tgslc.org). In addition to managing the team that develops and maintains the company's multiple Web sites, he focuses on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), e-marketing and Social Media. Jack's background ranges from Submarine Sonar Technician/Instructor for the United States Navy, technical writer, pioneer in internet/intranet creation for McGraw-Hill and Times Mirror Higher Education, former Adjunct Professor for two Universities teaching web-related courses, has served as a city council member and co-founded Net-Smart, a web design and hosting company, where he managed networks and oversaw the development of hundreds of Web sites. As a free-lance SEO consultant, Jack performs SEO Site Audits for small/medium businesses that want their web sites to perform better in the search engine listings.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    December 6, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    Jack – my hat goes off to you once again (even if I don’t wear one). So many of us are so worried about a good SEO strategy and don’t realize it starts with defining an audience and giving them quality content.

    If I knew a year ago what I know today, my site would be in a totally different place – and just to think of what I’ll know in a year from now can be bit intimidating. THANK YOU!! 🙂

  2. Matt Stigliano

    December 7, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    Jack – I would have read this article regardless, but once I knew that it involved one of my favorites, I read it even more deeply. Thanks for teaching me something AND reminding me that I need to watch it again…and again.

  3. Steve Krzysiak

    December 7, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    This is my favorite holiday movie, thanks for making an informative blog that is entertaining as well.

    Btw, my favorite line is “Are you serious Clark??” in regards to the news spotting Santa’s sleigh over NY!

  4. Toby & Sadie

    December 8, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    Amen. Funny. Just got off the phone with a new lead that was commenting on my dog and how much she enjoyed my Web site. Why? Because it gave her insight into Delaware, Ohio and helped her when she visited her ill father to find a place to eat and relax.

    Now, she’s buying a house in town to be near him. Eventually, hopefully in many years, he’ll pass and they’ll sell both homes. So I could get three deals thanks to having a well-defined Search Engine Optimization.

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