Sunday, January 21, 2007

 

Can You Find Us Now?

Among other things, my husband's company does search engine marketing and optimization, so I get to hear a lot about conferences and strategies. It's interesting to look at the time and resources that some companies put toward SEO/SEM and contrast this with what a lot of libraries do -- which is: get a site up, maybe submit a listing to a search engine or two, and then forget about the issue. (Although I did notice that some of the OCLC folks made it to SES Chicago a couple of months ago.)

This is especially interesting given our inherent professional interest in findability. Perhaps we spend so much time making sure our stuff can be found that we forget the importance of making sure we can be found. Sarah Houghton-Jan addressed this topic a bit in a presentation at the last Internet Librarian conference on Online Outreach for Public Libraries, which is a fantastic start -- and if your library hasn't implemented the steps on her list, it might be a good project to tackle this week.

It's also fascinating to see some of the other tactics people use to get the word out. Maybe I live under a rock, for instance, but the first I heard of PayPerPost was the other night, when my husband mentioned using it as part of a marketing campaign. (I don't think he'll pay ME to post, alas.) This is not, perhaps, a model we wish to adopt -- but getting buzz about our services online can be priceless.

If you're interested in dipping your own toes into the SEO waters, check out Couzin and Grappone's Search Engine Optimization: An Hour a Day. This is probably the most readable introductory book I've seen on the subject, yet thorough enough to keep you busy for quite a while.

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