Saturday, August 9, 2014

SEO’s Two Most Important Tactics

 

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It used to be a fairly accurate statement to say that SEO was a finite task. You executed some keywords, meta-data, and a few tricks of the trade, and then focused on your site’s products and services. Rankings fluctuated, but usually not erratically. New tricks came along from time to time, but SEO wasn’t an all-consuming marketing game.

The harsh reality is, those days are over. You can’t fool your way into top search engine rankings by employing a few tried and true tricks. The game has massively changed, thanks to Google’s ever-evolving algorithms. Nowadays, SEO, content marketing, and social media are intrinsically linked. And each of these focuses is an on-going mission.

SEO involves methodical big picture thinking, intense content strategizing, and a keen eye for metrics analysis. Based upon your results, you then enhance or tweak different key marketing facets to improve your rankings. It’s truly an infinite art form.

Now that you’ve accepted the reality of SEO and the crucial planning and effort it requires, let’s talk about how to get ahead. The good news is there are plenty of aspects of this practice that don’t require constant supervision. Below I’ll analyze today’s two most important SEO tactics, with an eye towards efficiency and resource management.


Your #1 Focus: Viral Content
With every passing day and marketing fad, content strengthens its stronghold as the most important factor in your SEO strategy. Chances are you’re sick of hearing how critical great content is. In order to prove this notion, I’ll share with you some current stats, just in case the urgency to continuously create relevant and stellar content hasn’t yet impacted you.
  • InboundWriter reports that companies with a current and active blog have a 63 percent increase in viable leads.
  • They also report that blogs provide 424 percent more indexed pages and 97 percent more indexed links than non-blogging sites – proof that content is aces at getting search engines to take notice.
  • A staggering 90 percent of consumers report that content is a useful tool in helping them with purchasing decisions.
  • Today, more than 91 percent of B2B and 86% of B2C companies use a content-driven strategy.
  • The Custom Content Council states that people are volumes more likely to make a purchase on an ecommerce site that has custom content related to the products.
  • 55 percent of marketers surveyed stated they intend to increase their content budgets in 2015.

Take heart; this simplifies your marketing strategy immensely. For those that find themselves stretched too thin with SEO, you can forget the long-tail keywords, the incessant attempts at backlinks, and guest posting opportunities. If you focus on only one major prong in the approach, make it consistently engaging content.

Social Media’s Role in Great SEO
The second most important factor in lasting and productive SEO is social media. They are exclusive practices with significant impact on each other.

Before I dive into what works in social, it’s necessary to dispel a core myth on how the two relate. Social signals do not themselves increase your SERPs. They are two completely different metrics. Amassing a boatload of Twitter followers and comments won’t improve your search results. Not by itself.

So why is social so critical to your SEO health? Because the more people engage with and share your content, the more your SEO will indirectly benefit. Here’s how:
  • First and foremost, social media is a viable and proven forum for marketing. The sheer numbers of folks who are socially interacting each day should alone convince you that it’s worth having your brand participating in these discussions. It’s not about whether or not social can help propel your brand awareness and overall success, but how. Many have solved the complex issue for their particular audiences, and you should absolutely do the same.
  • If you are pouring tremendous effort into the great content discussed above, it does you no good if no one’s reading and sharing. Therefore, integrating a social perspective into everything you create is critical to overall success.
  • The most intelligent companies know that consumers use the social space to educate themselves before a purchase. You should therefore be present in the circles where your core audience communicates. Additionally, people use social media to share their experiences – positive and negative – with companies and brands. Responding to concerns and compliments sends the message that your company cares about an individual’s experience; this is priceless marketing.
  • Social is so powerful that platforms like YouTube are slowly edging out the omnipotence of Google. Searchers now go directly to YouTube’s search to find video content they want, rather than use the video tab in Google’s search. This trend will likely continue as people use social networks to search for specific types of content. Consider these sites as mini-Googles – if your content isn’t there, you are invisible to this segment of your audience.
While SEO is obviously a never-ending strategy, there is significant comfort in knowing that the core components of successful marketing won’t change much in the foreseeable future. Valuable and relevant content that is shareable and accessible across the web are your keys to the kingdom. If it’s focus you’re looking for, you just hit the jackpot.

What other key factors have you discovered that are integral to great SEO?


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