The New SEO: 3 Pillars of Community

3 Pillars of Online Community graphic on Curagami

The New SEO: Winning Hearts and Minds

The New Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is VERY new. We are writing a series of “New SEO” posts. Today’s post, The New SEO: 3 Pillars of Community starts at the beginning.

We are ALL community builders now whether we recognize it or not.

Team Curagami got into a spirited debate today. “Community” vs. “making money” was the distinction without a difference being discussed. “SMBs want to make money,” our brand marketing expert Frank Pollack insisted. ” When asked how SMBs make money. Frank explained how his favorite Durham athletic shoe store (9th Street Active Feet) creates events, educates and shares content.

You see it right?

When asked how Frank’s favorite Durham, North Caroline shoe store made money he described the “content” they create. Offline content and service creates loyalty. Loyalty leads to Word-of-Mouth advocacy and money. Curagami helps Small To Medium Sized Businesses (SMBs) move what they’ve been doing offline, online:

Curagami helps SMB’s do what they’ve spent years doing offline…online. We help SMBs extend their traditional service, branding and Word-of-Mouth marketing to an online community that’s engaged, informed, empowered and gamified.

As Gary Vaynerchuk wrote so brilliantly in The Thank You Economy online “service” becomes CONTENT and SOCIAL PRESENCE online.


Muhammad Ali Fight Is Won Graphic

Why Community Starts Where You Aren’t Looking

Fights aren’t won under the lights on fight night. Fights are won in the gym, doing road work and working harder than the other guy. Building online community is like fighting.

The real battle is fought between YOU and YOU (lol).

Before anyone shares User Generated Content or provides consistent advocacy you must set a stage to encourage, support and “seed” community. “What is all this talk about community,” Frank asked. Online community is made from the same ideas great offline businesses have about creating loyalty to win customer hearts and minds.

We can VISIT 9th Street’s store. Instead of bricks, mortar and display racks content creates their online store.

9th Street Active Feet moving offline business online picture on Curagami

Online Community’s 3 Pillars

3 Online Community Pillars:

  • Creation Story.
  • Authority Content.
  • UGC.

Creation Story – More Than An About Page;
Creation stories share history and they build values. 9th Street BUILDS values with actions taken today, tomorrow and next week. An ABOUT page should share a company’s journey and map their values. REI’s about page is one of the best.  Why REI’s about page is great is outlined in Storytelling Is The New SEO:

Storytelling Is The New SEO from Martin Smith

Content with Authority
Understanding online authority and reputation is hard. Google searches for content experts. They want to DUMP traffic to sites with authority.  Websites with authority lower Google’s costs by converting better. When your website shares content with authority online Klout goes up. You become an “authority”.

Imagine a Paris coffee shop, Seth Godin asked in his book Icarus Deception. Godin described a Paris coffee shop willing to educate on ALL the great coffee in Paris. Godin’s Paris coffee shop was so sure of their quality they ACTED LIKE GOOGLE.

What kind of community can be built when a website only talks about themselves? Community is about US not YOU.

UGC: THEIR Content on YOUR Website

Imagine we are sipping coffee in Paris. We take a picture of our spring day in Paris and share the picture on Instagram. We are having a conversation with our friends about being in Paris drinking coffee. Savvy community builders know to ASK for a copy of that picture and story.

When THEIR content is on YOUR website you win.

When customer content is on your site you gain social shares. You reach the magic land of “friends of friends” – people who don’t know you EXCEPT through the community member who just made an introduction. Reaching “friends of friends” via community is the new advertising.

When Godin’s Paris coffee shop asks for, supports and rewards sharing our picture the third leg of online community is formed.

Important steps help build, maintain and grow online community:

  • The ASK – no one volunteers User Generated Content, you need to ASK for it.
  • The Support – when UGC is provided how is it treated? Does it matter? Is it valued?
  • The Control – any online community is attacked with spam an trolls & both must be vanquished.
  • The Game – an important part of support is defining the game community members play.
  • The Job – those valuable 1% Contributors should be asked to take over much of community operations.
  • The Governance – communities aren’t “owned” or “controlled” they are “shared” and “curated”.
  • The Game Within The Game – 1%er Contributors want to play a harder game than everyone else so successful online communities build a “game within the game”.

Tapping friends of friends or the “new advertising” will be our next New SEO post.

What about you? If you want like to write a guest post on the New SEO we would love to have your input, thoughts and words. Our ASK is simple. We have nothing to give you but our thanks, admiration, respect, appreciation. We promise to pay your generosity forward. If our “payment” is enough you are a mensch and thanks. Email your New SEO post to martin(at)

Paris Cofee Shop on Curagami


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