For some reason I have been bombarded with SEO questions this week. With the ever increasing competition on the web to be top in your keyword rankings, concerns and confusion about SEO best practices are a hot topic right now.
Let's be clear–there is no silver bullet. SEO practices have changed and will continue to change. It used to be that you could build a website, have your SEO guy work his magic at the back end of the site, and be done with it. But those days are long gone. SEO is an ongoing process that requires frequent attention. Google and other search engines are evolving–and so must your SEO strategies.
The New Approach to SEO
SEO today is less about finding loopholes and exploiting the search engines algorithms and more about getting authentic validation that your website is a good source of information. It is still necessary to add meta tags, descriptions, and keywords when building a website, but providing new and unique content is the key.
Steps to take to get that validation include:
- Creating a visually appealing website
- Providing a good UX (user experience)
- Having a website that loads quickly
- Having a website designed to be easy for search engine robots to find, understand, and fully index
- Having a blog within the website that allows comments
- Having unique and informative content that's updated frequently and consistently
- Having content that other people want to share, link to and talk about
- Having links to multiple social media channels
- Having multiple landing pages
Developing A Content Strategy
A content strategy begins with understanding your target audience. Once you determine some basic similarities in your prospects you can develop content that speaks to them in the form of blogs, ebooks, infographics, videos, white papers, how-to guides, case studies, etc. Don’t assume you know what they want. Ask them–you may be surprised at their responses. You'll need to give them what they want, when they want it and in a format they like. This is an ongoing process. As you provide more content for your visitors you'll begin to notice trends and patterns in their consumption of your content.
Place Education Above Selling
It’s interesting to me how many websites are still overly focused on the sell. No one likes to be sold to–they want to be educated. And with the endless choices available to todays consumers, building trust through education is the surest path to a sale, and more important, a lasting relationship with a customer.
Content marketing is focused not on selling but on simply communicating with customers and prospects. The idea is to inspire business and loyalty from buyers by delivering consistent, ongoing valuable information. ~ Wikipedia
Create content that inspires and educates people. In turn they'll want to share it, tweet it, like it, bookmark it, comment on it, quote it, link to it, +1 it, pin it, subscribe to it, give it a thumbs up, write a review of it, and so on.
Successful Strategies Require Planning
To have an effective content strategy, one must plan it. Start small if you feel overwhelmed by starting a blog and a few landing pages. Or if your budget allows, hire an inbound marketing specialist. You may find it is more efficient and cost effective than spending your valuable time on it. I would not recommend going down the “hire my friend’s brother” path. A specialist will take the time to learn about your brand and industry, and that will be visible in the content they create, making your message unique and special.
- How many blogs per week?
- How many landing page offers per month?
- How many social media posts per week?
- How many eblasts per week?
By focusing your SEO efforts on consistent and regular content marketing, your relevance among search engines will remain high. Take a look at your competition to see what they’re doing, if anything. It might give you some fresh ideas. Plus, it’s always good to know what they’re up to.
- Identify and segment your target audiences
- Create content relevant to their needs
- Track how they interact with the content
- Send out content on a consistent and frequent basis
- Rinse & Repeat!
Contact us for more information about SEO, Content Marketing Strategies and Plans and how to incorporate them into your marketing.
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