By: Jacob Parry

The Keyword of the Day: Outreach

November 16, 2012


“Like voodoo and witchdoctors, most of the time SEO is achieved by throwing darts or mixing chicken bones with blood.”

That is what you will find if you look up the term “SEO” on Urban Dictionary (The online “resource” that has no business calling itself a dictionary). Maybe there are places in the world where that is actually how they do SEO…I wouldn’t recommend it though— Google frowns on that kind of SEO.

The point is, there are still a lot of misconceptions about SEO. But when done right, SEO can be a game changer for companies that are looking to establish more of an online presence. More and more businesses are beginning to understand that.

A dose of correct information is all that is needed to cure the bad juju that surrounds SEO. In fact, there are some very cool ways to do SEO that do not require you to delve into black magic.

 If you ask anyone in the industry about what aspects of SEO are the most important you might get a lot of different answers. If you ask me, I would answer with one word: Outreach. If you can get good at doing outreach, whether it is in the local community or the online community, you will be very successful.

Here is an example of what I am talking about:

I recently found a tool online called Tagxedo. In short, it turns whatever you want into a tag cloud.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to see how powerful Tagxedo can be with outreach. I started turning tons of popular logos into tag clouds and tweeting them out to their owners. I spent a few days sending them out and seeing what kind of responses I would get back. Here is what happened:

I first made a tag cloud for Olark:


I tweeted it out to them (@Olark) and waited for a response. I heard from them almost immediately:


Free shirts? Heck yes! They loved it!

Now remember, my goal here wasn’t to get free shirts, it was to build a relationship. I realized a while ago that people are very responsive and willing to engage in open dialogue when you provide them with something in return, and in this case I gave them some twitter lovin’. Everyone loves being recognized for the cool things they do, and Olark does some pretty cool things. (Check out their blog!)

The point is, I spent time developing a relationship with them.

What happened next was magical (All white magic, of course) :

Olark sent the shirts and we all took a picture wearing them. I then sent that picture back to Olark and BOOM…we got a link. (On Facebook)

Not only did we get a link, but we got free shirts. If that wasn’t enough, we also made some new friends at Olark.

You can apply this same principle to expanding your social circles. You can use these same tag clouds to do some online networking.

I made a tag cloud out of SEOmoz’s very own robot, Roger. Then I tweeted it out.

This wasn’t all…I kept going. It was like I was on “tag cloud 9.” People really do love twitter lovin’.


These weren’t the only responses (nor were the Olark shirts the only swag). I was making connections that would otherwise be very hard to make.

Tagxedo is just another way that we can creatively get noticed. What you do with it is up to you; you can use it to network, build links, or even impress girls (or guys). The possibilites are endless. Just let your creative juices flow.

SEO can be fun. Just remember the key word: Outreach. If you can master the art of outreach, you will be a very successful SEO. You wont need voodoo dolls or cauldrons and spells. All you need is a little outreach.

If you don’t end up using Tagxedo for outreach, at least you found a new tool for making some pretty cool tag clouds.

You can check out my twitter feed to see some of the other tag clouds I made (@bocaj03).

Written by Jacob Parry on November 16, 2012

Jacob is a Senior Account Manager at 97th Floor. Follow him on Twitter or add him to your circles on Google+.

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