Putting the Cart Before the Horse

How did we get from search engines to social media? It’s been a long journey.

We know that the fastest way to improve your search engine rankings is to pay a couple of thousands of dollars to a Search Engine Optimization consultant to tell you how to clean up the title and description tags and content on your page and to get your webmaster to follow through. The second investment you make is to build unique and compelling content. That’s what we did for customers in 2005.

We know that getting inbound links helps search engine rankings. We used to write press releases and put them on sites like prweb.com, or if we had the budget, prnewswire.com. We also wrote unique content and put them on sites like articlecity.com. This was called PR and article marketing, respectively, and that was so 2006.

We believed that providing information about moving resources and local business information would be a great amenity for residents. We launched cartandhorse.com and then followed up with a property-specific version with 5000 business reviews, called eRetriever, in 2007. We got 160 properties to sign on in the Philadelphia metro area, but it didn’t take off nationally… and the service was free.

And now, we’re doing exactly the same things with Respage, only this time the content management system is called a blog and we’re syndicating through sites like Twitter and Facebook. In 2009, we call it Social Media Optimization and Social Media Marketing. But has the concept really changed?

Back then, the cart was full but many a horse refused to budge. Some thought that Search Engine Optimization was voodoo, others got burned by unscrupulous consultants and yet others didn’t know where to start.

Now, the horses are racing ahead, but what are they packing? The idea that tweeting a mile a minute is the way to get ahead? We should never forget about the one thing that matters: content. Whatever you want to call it these days, it’s the real information that we have helped our customers provide over the years. Useful content is the ultimate social, and sometimes, search engine solution.

Maybe it’s just that I have trouble with names. I should have never put the cart before the horse.

[photo credit: everystockphoto.com]