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Jill's Random Website Marketing Thoughts

October 9, 2013
             
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Jill's Random ThoughtsI had a few interesting topics to write about this week, but none of them seemed meaty enough to spawn a full-fledged article on their own. So I decided to throw them all out there with a little bit of commentary to go with them. I hope some of them resonate with you!

1. Most people don't understand SEO because they're coming at it from the wrong perspective. Ironically, it's usually an SEO perspective that they're coming from. That is, they're solely focused on how they can make specific keyword phrases rank better in Google, when instead they should be focusing on how they can create a great website that Google will have to show highly because to omit it from their listings would be a great disservice to their searchers.

2. If it's not complicated, people won't pay attention. This goes for pretty much everything in life, but we see it big time in the SEO industry. Most of the SEO process is made up of a whole bunch of very simple things. When you do all the easy things the right way, in the right order and with some care, you will get results. Yet so many SEO bloggers and consultants make SEO out to be a complicated and scary endeavor that nobody could figure out without the use of special tools and knowing the secret SEO handshake.

I've successfully helped thousands of companies sort out their SEO process for more than 18 years and even I don't understand the meaning of about 80% of the SEO articles I see every day. They are mostly a hodge-podge of hot air and mumbo-jumbo. Sorry, but SEO isn't rocket science, and it's not hard. You don't have to be a genius to understand it or to do it properly. You just need to learn it little by little and piece together all the simple steps that eventually form the SEO process. (You also have to come at it from a different perspective...a la #1 above.)
   
3. If it seems too good to be true, then dammit, it really is too good to be true! I don't understand why this is so hard for people to grasp. Yet so many are constantly asking about the multitude of stupid, waste-of-time, low-cost SEO services and whether they should try them. No. No. No! There are lots of other ways to express this thought, such as There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Or the fact that "overnight successes" never actually happen overnight. You can keep looking for and trying out all the get-rich-quick schemes that you want, but you will be disappointed. Every. Single. Time.

4. Companies need to offer multiple ways to communicate with their customers. This thought occurred to me when I learned through 2 separate experiences that apparently the new way for big brands to respond to Twitter complaints is to call the complainer on the phone. Having a huge aversion to talking on the phone, this sounds totally weird to me. We're doing things and complaining about things online because that's how we like to communicate!

In my first experience with this phenomenon, I was mildly irritated with my bank because apparently I wasn't allowed to scan as many checks as I wanted to deposit. Instead there was some sort of limit to the total amounts you can deposit this way (even if you have a bunch of different accounts). When I tweeted my annoyance, I received a quick reply asking for the phone number on the account. I gave it to them, privately assuming they were going to look up my account. Instead, they called me! Well, they tried, but I didn't pick up. While many people would think that was amazing customer service (and perhaps it was), I was aghast. Why would you try to call a person who very well may prefer online communication? Sure, I might be over the top when it comes to talking on the phone, but why not just ask how I prefer to be communicated with?

Sadly, this wasn't an isolated incident. The very next week I had strange thing happen with an Amazon order that I mentioned on Twitter. Again I received a quick reply, and yet again a request for a phone number. And yep, you guessed it, they too tried to call. With Amazon, they had sent me to a short form to fill out, but it ONLY asked for a phone number. Why would they not ask how I would prefer to be contacted? In this case, they saw my next tweet complaining about customer service people wanting to call instead of emailing, so they did finally email me. And you know what? The solution I needed was very simple. A quick email should have been the first way to handle the situation, if you ask me. Which they didn't.

Looks like that's it for my random thoughts!

Jill

 
Jill Whalen has been an SEO Consultant and the CEO of Jill Whalen High Rankings, a Boston area SEO Company since 1995. Follow her on Twitter @JillWhalen

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Post Comment

 Brian Benham said:
I think it is great that companies are calling in person. Their are so many people online hiding behind their avatars and bogus screen names complaining about everything, and spreading hate. If their truly is a problem, why not be brave enough to talk to a real person to solve it. By contacting by phone they are shutting down the haters that hide behind their avatars.
 Finn Skovgaard said:
Agree with Brian. I've also had Amazon call back after a complaint on Facebook. I actually appreciate the personal attention, and it can sometimes be quicker to sort something out in direct dialog than several e-mails over several days, not least since those who reply to online communication often seem to read only half of what you write to them. But we're all different.

What I hate, living in France, is that many companies want to impose French communication on me even I prefer English and fill in a form on an English page. All the 200,000 Brits and other expats living in France obviously prefer to communicate in French, right? Mozy online backup once suddenly got the insane idea of automatically changing my client interface software on my PC from English to French, without asking me, without informing me, without giving me any option of switching back to English. Support obviously didn't give a damn, except telling me there was no language option. So I switched back to English by switching to another provider - which was cheaper and had a better offer. Web sites in general also wrongly presume that just because my IP address is in France, then I want a French version. They think 'localisation' just means adapting everything to my zip code instead of adapting it to the user's preferences.
 Beth Raps said:
Huh. I totally agree with Jill, and not 'cause she's Jill. In the fundraising world, it is a given that people like to receive communication along different avenues, and savvy--but I also want to say delicate, intelligent, intuitive--fundraisers learn quickly to observe how an ally communicates with the organization and do likewise. It is a bit like trying to parler francais to someone who frankly prefers a different avenue! It seems SOOO obvious that you would get this if you were a big company but I guess it requires a different (delicate, intelligent, intuitive) tack, n'est-ce pas? I'm so glad you raised it, Jill.
 Meloney Hall said:
The secret reason why companies prefer yo call an upset customer is to avoid a paper trail. By avoiding an email, they guard their brand. People forward emails -- and the sender loses control of who reads it.
 Trevor Oxborrow said:
Averse to phone calls? Let the machine answer? Prefer email and text messages? Describes me to a tee. Well said!
 Jim K said:
Hmmm, I can see your point but not in total agreement. Just because people post something online using some social media or forum method does not automatically blanket those people as having a preference to communicate that way. ("We're doing things and complaining about things online because that's how we like to communicate!") The main reason is that you can type once, broadcast to many. As opposed to writing every single person you know with your message. And you can also have your message seen by others you don't even know.

To me the phone call in today's "face buried in phone or monitor" day and age is like a hand written and mailed thank you letter. Much more personal and warm. Plus, the call can actually reduce the time spent resolving a problem (instead of the multitude of "can you clarify" back-and-forth emails). We all know that many, many people are NOT clear and detailed in their emails or posts.

Aversion can be a strong word (not judging your preference) but to get a call directly from a human really trying to resolve my issues (as opposed to selling me something!) and make me feel better just, well, makes me feel better. Sure, one could argue both sides whether this is to eliminate a paper trail or the likes, but let's all try to be optimistic and assume no ulterior motives in Mega Corporate World.

I say take a breath and enjoy the all but forgotten human interaction of one-on-one conversation on occasion. You just may make someone else's day better knowing THEY helped YOU.
 Jill Whalen said:
I get what you guys are saying, but why not just ask for a preference?
 metz said:
Nice, Jill I like the takeaway.
I was caught off guard in the number two and three: If it's not complicated, people won't pay attention. And If it seems too good to be true, then dammit, it really is too good to be true!
That is self-explanatory, you cannot be rich in just a blink of an eye! Let's face the reality that you have to get through many obstacles and problems that should be solved enable for us to be victorious in the end. And yes, of course, you don't have to be a genius to understand it or to do it properly. A step by step process, I must say!
This post it really great! Nice thoughts! :)
 Donna Wallace said:
Jill, this is the first time I've seen your blog and I enjoyed reading it. I agree with you on all points, especially with offering multiple options for customers to contact you. Adding multiple methods of contacting your company adds so much value, because different customers have different preferences.

I look forward to reading more of your articles.
 James West said:
Thanks Jill for this insightful post. The days of customer-facing businesses using the phone to exclusively to engage with their customers and end users are definitely coming to an end! But I still think it's an important supplement to instant messaging, video and social tools. Like you said an email first might be the best idea, but a phone call can pierce through the anonymous Internet veil and it lets companies know they mean business with their consumer.

The next frontier is integration with consumer social media.