Content Marketing & The Evolution of SEO
We all know the importance of having an online business presence. It’s 2014 now, and the internet is pretty much the first way people try to figure out anything. Of course, this has business implications.
An effective online business presence all begins with having a quality website. That is the foundation, but it’s only the beginning. Additional measures must be taken to make sure that people know your website exists! This practice is called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.
Old School SEO
In the past SEO was about 2 things: keywords & links. Techniques like keyword stuffing, and excessive linking (both outbound and inbound to gain domain authority), could get a website to the top of search results quickly.
Think of it like this: SEO used to be about your ability to manipulate or game the system. In essence, we were “tricking” Search Engine’s to index higher in their results.
Today, there is no gaming the system, because the game has changed.
The Present & Future of SEO
SEO strategy has changed drastically over a fairly short amount of time. Search engines are so smart now, they can understand context, and other distinctly human traits. They’re intelligent enough to interpret how people actually use them. In short, search engines like Google are much better at identifying what the user wants than ever before**.
Today we have to look at achieving SEO through a more holistic approach, because we’re now aiming to optimize the user experience. Moving forward, if you want to rank in search engines, success lies with the effective practice of content marketing.
For all practical purposes content marketing is the new SEO. So what does that mean? Here is the textbook definition of Content Marketing courtesy of the CMI:
“A marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience.”
There are 2 major elements that compromise content marketing:
- Content Creation – Generating useful content in the form of blogs or webpages, designed with the consumer in mind.
- Content Amplification – Taking measures to make sure that the intended target or prospective customers see the content.
Without content marketing, it’s incredibly hard to earn the types of links that will confer domain authority & rankings in search engines. As content on a site earns clout, it helps every other page on that domain rank better in search engines.
The blog is your chief portal for content creation. When writing, keep the consumer in mind. Your writing should be authoritative, interesting, useful, honest, and good-natured. You want to convey transparency. The objective isn’t to try and make a sale through your content. Rather, you’re just hoping to make a respectful impression that’s memorable.
3 Important Factors When Creating Content: quantity, quality, and consistency
- Quantity – Simple rule of thumb: the more the better. However, not at the expense of quality
- Quality – The content needs to be useful, authoritative, and honest.
- Consistency – you need to continue to produce fresh content. The more often you publish content, the chances increase that people will learn about you.
Creating the content isn’t enough – You need to make sure people see it. There are a variety of ways to accomplish this. Social Media & Email are some of the most effective channels. The NYT says that your Email list is still the most effective channel. In addition to Email, you’ll want to share your content throughout social platforms. Studies show that Facebook, Twitter, Linked-IN, and Google+ dramatically effect search rankings.
Be advised that paid promotion is a big part of social media amplification. It’s actually quite cost effective. You can target prospective customers better through Social Media than any other medium these days.
What’s most effective in reaching the right people for your particular business depends. The idea is to experiment, analyze, and adjust. If you’ve stayed true to the holistic ideology, people will eventually begin to find their way to your website.
The Content Marketing Misconception
Many businesses that invest in content marketing have the misconception that this is a quick means to an end. Most quit their efforts too soon. I can’t stress this enough: The content marketing initiative is a long term plan.
Content marketing is not about converting the first visitor, or the second, or third. It’s about earning familiarity and trust, in effort of forming a long term relationship. Keep this in mind, and prepare to be in it for the long-haul. In all reality, if you give up after 6 months because you aren’t seeing results, you’re missing the point. Don’t quit too soon.
**Think back to how we literally used to Ask Jeeves. Search engines didn’t work like that back then. Now, Google can literally understand some searches that are in question form. Because of increased capabilities like these, we’ve had to modify our strategy in terms of how to effectively optimize online business presence.