On Beyond SEO--to Online Audience Optimization (OAO)
Remember that wonderful children’s book, On Beyond Zebra? In it Dr. Seuss took the reader past the limits of the alphabet to the wondrous possibilities beyond.
Smart publishers are doing the same now with Online Audience Optimization. I like to think of OAO as SEO on steroids. A more accurate description would be this: OAO is search and engagement optimization expressly designed for publishers.
OAO is a holistic system for maximizing your online visibility and profitability. It provides instruction in the optimal ways to use social media (such as Facebook and YouTube), mobile applications, and your own site in a way that is attractive and accessible to users (not just to search engines!), as well as conveying valuable insights into how you can maximize the transactions that result from visits to your site.
Magazine publishers have a unique advantage online, since publishers are in the business of providing great content. Internet search engines, social media sites, and web pages connect people with content--a continuation of what publishers have been doing for centuries. Because publishers have a wealth of content as well as extensive experience in determining what content is of interest to which people, there is no reason to see the internet as a threat to our livelihood or, at best, an unavoidable nuisance; rather, the current massive online dissemination of content and products is an extraordinary opportunity to expand and diversify.
The role of Google is to take search terms and determine what the best and most appropriate content is for someone using these terms. What Google does is connect people with content on the basis of what these people tell the search engine they are looking for. It’s easy to see the potential for Google to be beneficial for a publisher. But it is crucial for publishers to understand how Google works and to design sites to enable the people who want what they have to find it.
Of course getting audience to the site is only the first step. The second step for an effective site is getting people to take action. OAO goes beyond SEO to maximize engagement, to keep people on the site and returning again and again.
OAO also adds the element of branding to SEO. SEO can use any keyword, any search term, to entice traffic to a site. Is the anchor text appropriate to the publisher’s brand? Is the SEO work done throughout the content sharing and social media world consistent in brand and message? These are concerns, ignored by SEO, embraced by OAO.
The publishing world is changing, and the only way to maintain a robust publishing business in the 21st century is to find a way to make the internet work for your business rather than against it. Fortunately, if you are a publisher, you have a leg up, since you have already been putting quality content in people’s hands for as long as you have been in business. OAO puts the tools in your hands that you need to make the internet work for you.
Linda Ruth, as president of PSCS Consulting (www.PSCSConsulting.com), offers communication companies worldwide the keys to magazine launches, search engine optimization and audience development online and at retail. She is a pioneer in the fields of Online Audience Optimization (OAO) and gamification for content publishers. Her books, "Internet Marketing for Magazine Publishers" ; "How to Market your Newsstand Magazine"; and "Secrets of SEO for Publishers" can be found on Amazon. Find her online at Google Plus, Magazine Dojo, LinkedIn, and Twitter @Linda_Ruth.