Embracing Your True SEO Potential

written by: Mike Granetz

June 2, 2009

Had an interesting meeting with our friends at Principle Gallery this week. The thumbnail: well-run, successful gallery on King Street in Old Town Alexandria, all skylights and exposed brick — an ideal space for showcasing the work of emerging and established artists. While you can’t ask for more from brick-and-mortar, ownership is tired of being in the cellar when it comes to the gallery’s online presence, specifically SEO.

The course of the conversation revealed a common frustration: Businesses underestimate the inherent power of their website; it’s more than a means of providing basic background. It should be a magnet for your key audiences, provided you stock it with the right balance of information and interactivity.

Here’s one example: Over the years, Principle has earned a reputation for finding and showcasing new talent. Several well-known painters got their start there, and have gone on to enjoy successful careers. Collectors and enthusiasts often search for work by a specific artist. Shouldn’t the very gallery where those artists got their start come back near the top of the list? Sure. So what’s needed is a bit of build-out.

The inclusion, for example, of an artist profile page featuring short bios and style synopses of some of Principle’s favorites. Add some links to related exhibitions and portfolios (internal and external), make sure the copy is rich with appropriate keywords (I don’t know my expressionism from my elbow, but I imagine that would help). Suddenly you’re drawing a lot more attention.

We have this discussion with clients and prospects all the time. The dialogue usually goes something like this:

Prospect: I wish people realized how much innovation is behind this great new product I’ve developed.

PeakTwo: Do you tell that story anywhere on your site? Do you invite people to share feedback and explain their experiences?

Prospect: You mean my site can contain more than contact information, company background, e-commerce ability, and some cool graphics?

PeakTwo: How about another cup of coffee?

This is a profound departure from old school outreach. Think public relations, which, while effective, has a definite crapshoot component. Send your info to a media influencer and hope that he or she bites on the story. The best results? You get front-page placement in front of thousands of people who may or may not be interested get your story.

Boosting your online visibility doesn’t usually deliver the same deluge of attention, but done well, it means a steadily increasing stream of awareness. Again, however, you have to make sure the information is out there.

Nobody can find what you don’t make available, so take the steps to share your content. Sure, wrap it in appropriate design and frame it with reliable functionality. We’ll be the first to say that user interface is imperative. Just remember that when it comes to SEO, users need something to interface with in the first place.

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