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The Electronic Recruiting News is a Free Daily Newsletter For Recruiters, HR Managers, Advertising Agencies and Clasified Advertising Operations Read Today's Bugler       Read current Blogging News: BERT

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What's Big?

(May 10, 2006) Catching the PR buzz is an important aspect of building an enduring online enterprise. But, being the talk of the town won't ever pay a single bill. The real work of running a business involves sales, collections and execution.

It's reasonable to think that press attention (or celebrity) is worth exactly what it generates in sales and no more. One school (dominated by SEO experts and journalists) holds that press attention can be the engine of economic growth. The opposing view (often held by engineers and mad inventors you have never heard of) is that attention is a distraction, that real work will win the market.

The truth is somewhere in the middle. It's a Goldilocks problem where the answer is "just right".

This question, which we mull over frequently, places us squarely in front of the traffic development / sourcing issue. Over and over again, we hear gurus proclaiming the value of being "number one" in the search ratings. There's no quantitative objective, just a destination goal. Whenever you see this sort of arm waving, always ask, "Why?"

The simple truth is that you can not predict the results of being number one in the rankings. While you will certainly get more traffic, the real questions, what traffic you want and how much is enough, is rarely answered in the brute force quest for oneness. As if no one believed that each additional resume carries an incremental cost, the inane quest for search ranking supremacy is an attempt to gain quality from quantity. The theory is that enough resumes/traffic will produce the right result.

It's not that clear.

It's not that Search Engine Optimization is a bad thing, it's that the upfront analysis is usually missing. Getting traffic for traffic's sake is like getting publicity for publicity's sake. It may be good for Paris Hilton. It can overload an administrative function.

Great traffic development programs include some SEO. More importantly, they include a lot of "agile failure", experiments that are quickly extinguished once the results are understood. You can not accomplish meaningful traffic development without a series of assessments of the labor market and the kinds of candidate you want to attract.

Although it isn't so sexy, maybe being 16th in the search results is "just right."

John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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