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Crossing 10,329 Miles with Communication Consultant Lee Hopkins

Last week I had the honour and pleasure of being interviewed by Australia’s Lee Hopkins for his provocative Better Communication Results podcast. Despite the fact my Skype connection kept disconnecting us every 6 minutes or so, Lee and I had a lively 30-minute discussion about search engine optimization, business blogs, and social media.

One of the questions Lee asked me triggered me to tell the story of a friend who recently launched an online store and was looking for help with the search engine optimization.

Because my friend’s store was created using a database-driven e-commerce solution that was not designed with search engines in mind and would therefore be impossible to properly optimize for search engines, I recommend that my friend focus his efforts instead on creating a blog related to the product he was selling.

I told my friend that this would be a far more effective way to generate targeted traffic than trying to optimize the existing site. Not only would it be good for the search engines, it would also be good for prospective customers. This is not the first time I’ve made this recommendation to someone, nor will it likely be the last. That’s right, yet another great reason to consider launching a blog.

You can download an MP3 file of the full interview (14 MB) or, better yet, subscribe to Lee’s podcast feed so you can receive this and future episodes of his Better Communication Results podcast.


  1. Ari -
    Ari - July 19, 2007

    An interesting suggestion, but do you not find that you are “treating the symptom rather than the illness?”.
    A blog is just a marketer’s buzzword for a content management system (CMS). An E-commerce software package is also CMS, albeit one with a focus on commerce rather than article distribution.
    So in recommending an e-commerce site to setup a blog to help with their SEO, you are basically instructing them to launch a new site (regardless if you call that website a blog, wiki, shopping cart system or forum).
    Although it may be true that the new site will be more search engine friendly than the old one, they’ve now got to deal with the fact that
    A) The new site has its own backlink structure, pagerank, admin interface, software update cycle, etc..
    B) What do you focus SEO efforts on? The blog, the e-commerce site, or split between the two?
    I would think if the e-commerce site owner is looking for long term success, it would be more in their interest to just choose a higher quality software package while the website is still young, rather than attempt to create a satellite website and siphon traffic off it.

  2. Bill Sweetman
    Bill Sweetman July 21, 2007

    Ari, thanks for your comment. You certainly make some very good points, and, in theory, I agree with you.
    In the scenario I cited, though, and in most practical cases, telling a business owner to “just choose a higher quality [e-commerce platform]” means you are telling them to scrap the time and investment they’ve made to build their online store in the first place.
    While on paper this could very well be the smartest solution, it’s a rare business owner that would be willing to bite the bullet and do this. Should they? Probably. Will they? Not bloody likely.
    It’s funny, sometimes the right answer can be the wrong one! ;+)

  3. Ari
    Ari July 22, 2007

    Thanks for the reply Bill – I agree with you that your suggestion is significantly more likely to be implemented by the business owner.
    I’m just sitting here mad at myself for doing just this a few years back – now I’m stuck with two somewhat high ranking websites rather than one super ranking site 🙂

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