I learned everything I need to know about SEO from watching TV

Alright, that’s probably true because I know very little about Search Engine Optimization. But I’ve always been a big-picture guy frankly. And the big picture here is that a print designer who grew up in a in-house design environment who worked solely on those type of projects, my best education is looking at the world outside of the web and creating associative experiences. One such corollary is the use of the satellite television guide to manage my television watching.

In the past, not to distant if you ask me, when I wanted to watch tv, I just turned the thing on and sat down and watched. I’d start movies in the middle, I’d hunt and peck for shows I like. I’d watch stuff I otherwise wouldn’t AND I’d know when the shows I wanted to watch were coming on.

It seems to me that I’m now smarter and dumber about the way I watch television. Nowadays, the biggest difference between tv now and tv then is the use of the guide information that networks use to tell me a bout the programs coming on the tv. Guide information can be as detailed as to tell me if the Top Gear episode I’m planning to watch is a rerun that I may have seen or can be as empty as letting me know that there is simply a show called Top Gear. These are big differences and not every network uses them to their fullest extent.

Every channel would benefit from having the most detailed information on episodes to accommodate the modern television-watching habits. Some years back, a lecturer to MICA (sorry, can’t remember whom) referenced research that showed that MTV watchers watch an average of six contiguous minutes before turning. I hadn’t thought about whether the research asks or answers if they turn back!!! But the fact of the matter is when I channel-surf, I’m surfing around the dead-spots and surfing into the live moments. Can the guide help me with that? Probably. Could the guide help me tune in at just the moment when Snookie gets punched… (I know, I know. Too much TV.)

What if the NFL Replay broadcast told me the exact moment to tune in to see that great interception in an otherwise boring game, it might revolutionize Sundays for men. (BTW: I had a female client once who lamented that her husband watched all three games on Sundays. I told her accept the first two—1pm and 4pm starts—and ask him to be reasonable about the third—8pm.)

How does this relate to your website or your artwork? Doing the work to adequately tag your posts, your artwork, build meta keywords into your site allows your universe of followers and those who don’t follow you to find you and educated themselves on exactly what you and they have in common interest. While you may have a more tightly-knit universe of followers who follow you just for you, recognize that many of us are tangential followers. We follow similar and like interests.

Keeping your tags focused can help solidify your audience and represents a “brand promise” to the potential or current consumer. If on the AIGA Baltimore blog I only talked about sports—which I totally could (I struggle not to)—would the true value of the blog be reached for creatives? Possibly, but not certainly.

We live in the world of the iTunes single track download, the single Google image search and the Today Show interview of the unknown who no one ever heard of who is expert at that one thing and all these are examples of the fleeting attention of the consumer. Build adequate planning for these experiences as well as the more in-depth experiences which you may already have and reap the added attention that can be gained from it be it more hits to your site or more attention to your initiatives.

By AIGA Baltimore
Published January 12, 2010