SEO 101

The concept of the ‘golden circle’ is one that many SEOs will not have heard of, but is also one that could prove to be instrumental in helping you take your business to the stratosphere if creator Simon Sinek is correct. Those of you who have heard the term, will most likely have done so after watching the author’s inspiring TED talk on the subject. Or perhaps you will have seen his website at ‘StartWithWhy’ – but you may still be wondering how the idea could apply to web marketing.

Here then we will look at precisely what the golden circle is, we will look at why it is such a powerful tool for marketers of any kind, and we will look at how you can apply the concept in practice to your SEO and other web marketing.

What is the Golden Circle?

According to Sinek, the golden circle is a tool used to illustrate a ‘naturally occurring pattern’ that may be able to explain how great leaders and speakers manage to create social movements. The diagram is composed essentially of three circles one inside the other with a word labelling each. The outermost layer here is ‘what’, the middle layer is ‘how’ and the inner circle is ‘why’.

Essentially this is supposed to identify the way we make decisions versus the way that most companies communicate. While most of our decisions start with the ‘why’ and the emotional impulse, most businesses when trying to persuade you to buy (or visit their website) will instead start with ‘what’.

A company trying to sell you a computer for instance might tell you that they have a great new computer and that it’s laden with the latest specs. They’ll tell you the price and where you can get it and they’ll show you pictures, but they often forget to show you why you should buy it or why they made it. This, according to Sinek, is the difference between companies like Apple that have a huge global impact and those that do not: the big companies are more adept and showing people why they do what they do and what they believe.

Applying the Golden Circle to Web Marketing

The central argument here then, is that people don’t buy ‘what’ you do, but rather ‘why’ you do it. So if you want to get people to buy your product, you need to make that product seem interesting and seem like it’s worth caring about by showing them what you believe. A more powerful advertisement then would start by saying what you believe (that laptops should be beautiful, powerful and desirable) and then by backing that up with the details.

This can apply to SEO easily if you look at your website and your individual articles/posts as your ‘products’. Throughout your website itself then, you need to show why you do what you do and you need to show what you believe. If you don’t have a mission statement, it will be much harder to sell what you’re doing.

Next you need to show this message at every opportunity – including in your articles, the article titles and in your author bios. You need to demonstrate why you do what you do and what you believe, so that every time someone reads any of your writing, you get them behind what you do and you get them to believe what you believe.