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Seeing past internet marketing silos

Picture this: You are driving through the middle of the US. Let’s just say you’re in Kansas, Nebraska, or somewhere like that. You are on a long straight road that is flat and never seems to have a turn in it. On either side of you are fields. They can be fields of whatever you want them to be but remember where you are. Now in the middle of the field on your right is big white house. It’s a classic farmhouse. Behind it are several massive barns and around those barns are silos. Big silos. The purpose of those silos is to keep whatever it is them (corn, wheat, you name it, I am not a farmer so have at it) separated. That separation keeps the contents pure so there is no wheat mixed in with the corn and vice versa. It serves a real purpose and that purpose is to keep things separate so they will never mix because they are simply not supposed to.

Now, as we snap back to reality and you are at your computer on your couch or at your desk, let’s think of the word silo as it relates to Internet marketing. We hear the word all the time. We hear that things such as SEO and PPC are done in silos. We see how an SEO expert is hired but other areas of the Internet marketing puzzle are ignored. In other words, we create our own farms in the middle of the vast Internet just like we see driving through the heartland of the US.

Grain silos
Photo credit: wattpublishing

Silos are functional. They keep things separate and they allow for level of control that in manny cases are necessary. As a farmer you can’t mix your wheat with your corn because who would buy it when all they want is one or the other. Putting a hard product that is clearly defined in a silo makes real good sense.

But guess what? The Internet is not like a farm or crops. In fact, it is the antithesis of the separateness that makes a farm work best. The Internet is about integration and everything working in concert.

Doing SEO without taking a serious look at the functionality of a website (usability, calls to action, speed of site, etc.) is not really doing SEO. Sure you are optimizing the site and building links and hopefully seeing traffic increase to the site, but traffic without a good road map is a disaster. Your website must be inviting and easy to move around or else all of that hard work to direct traffic to it will be for naught.

Making all of this happen in concert can have NOTHING to do with silos. If it does, your online marketing efforts are doomed to mediocrity at best–or just simply doomed at worst.

Same holds true for paid search efforts. Same for social media efforts. Nothing on the Internet happens in a vacuum, so why treat Internet marketing disciplines as complete strangers to each when, in essence, they are all first cousins at worst?

This is a tune that is not unique but it is obviously one that is not being heard as much as it should be. There are many, many, many (did I say many) websites and general web presences that NO ONE should be pointed to as great SEO, paid search or social media tactics and techniques. Why? Because they are not ready for visitors or inhabitants. It’s like having a house that is only framed with no drywall or furnishings. People can get an idea as to how comfortable the house might be, but they will not be willing to test it out when there are so many other houses that are completed and ready to move into.

Are you taking an integrated approach to your Internet marketing efforts or are you “doing” SEO? “Doing” social media? “Doing” paid search? You see how that sounds? Doing something is very different from creating something, from crafting something and ultimately making something of value from start to finish.

If you are not using an integrated mindset to approach your Internet marketing efforts, maybe this is the New Years’ resolution for you. Otherwise, 2013 will be another year of silos and that nagging feeling of knowing that something is missing. You don’t want that, now do you?

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