SEO is the process of making your web site more accessible to search engines. Google’s algorithmic updates the last 3-5 years (“panda” “penguin” “hummingbird”) have changed the SEO marketing permanently.
It’s s a myth to think you can and should be manipulating search engines with back links, page keyword stuffing, duplicate content development, etc. That’s like mass mailing CDs as AOL did in the early days of the modern web.
Today SEO rankings are a combination of creating and sharing great content coupled with basic on page SEO best practices we’ve outlined below.
How to Adjust your SEO Strategy
- Think of Twitter as Google’s new SEO discovery engine – use Twitter to tell Google what new content has been added to your site, with hyperlinks embedded in your Tweets to the blog post or page.
- Build your site on WordPress with these page attributes to drive SEO: Title and Descriptions consistent with your copy. Use the Yoast plugin.
- Make sure your page construction HTML “score” is correct – use the W3C Validator to check your code by pasting in a URL and checking.
- Write shareable copy; by “shareable” we mean with excellent, well writte copy that educates and informs your audience and use the ShareThis WordPress plugin so visitors can easily share your content across their social accounts.
- Don’t have a slow web site! Google penalizes sites with a negative ranking of 25% - checkout Pingdom’s site to understand your critical load times for a page. You want to be less than 2.5 seconds of load time per page.
- Use PlexiSearch (click on search insights) to understand how keywords are rated and ranked by Google and Bing – back links are passé – “social” really drives SEO rankings.
- Monitor comments via your web site and/or use Disqus for on-baord commenting to make the job easier: site popularity will drive spammers; know this going in.
- If need be, outsource a portion of your content marketing to help you brand get more lift in the marketplace; this blog post will give you a sense of content marketing costs.
- If consumer facing brand and/or you have sufficient marketing budget make sure your updating Facebook on a regular basis; this will drive Bing search results which are picked up by Google.
- Be proactive with Google: makes sure your Google Webmaster Tools account is working with Google analytics and monitor Google’s “read” of your site.
- Create relevant “intelligent” URLs that have keywords and informative text embedded in the URL string. This helps to drive more traffic by letting a viewer doing a search quickly get a sense for what your page is about.
- Make sure your Google Analytics account is working properly and Webmaster Tools is connected.
A critical takeaway for savvy SEO Marketing is understanding SEO is just one critical part of your overall marketing mix and should be integrated with other strategic marketing initiatives: content, ads (don’t forget about re-targeting), social media, email, offline and commenting on other sites.
Effective SEO 30K Foot Edition for busy Execs
- Don’t obsess about SEO! It’s an important part of your overall marketing strategy but it is not as important today as it was 3-5 years ago.
- Do an informal or formal SEO audit depending on your marketing staff and/or budget
- Create great content with embedded keyword phrases. Their are a ton of keyword research tools: Wordtracker is one of the best and we’ve been using them for over ten years.
- Share and syndicate your content across the social web. Consumers and other businesses are ignoring search and increasingly relying on content accesses ed via social and/or smartphone apps, search is being bypassed.
- Three key metrics your brand should be aware of today are: Search, Social and Mobile.
- Great web site design is still critical to driving search engine rankings: visitors should be able to easily access your web site and engage with your brand. Pay attention to time on site, bounce rates and the number of pages accessed via your site.
- Data is exploding with 10X growth with 44 Gigabytes of information online by 2020 - critical to create great content that helps your brand stand out from the crowd, with associated SEO rankings.
- All brands today are becoming publishers chasing a digital audience that is increasingly fragmented.
Responsive web site design has a significant impact on SEO and your overall marketing efforts: 30-50% of your web site traffic is accessing it via Mobile and Tablet.
Content Marketing Best Practices that Drive SEO Marketing and More
- Start slow: content marketing is a marathon process that is inherently iterative: you learn as you go.
- Establish benchmark measurements at the outset: social engagement, revenue, email subscription, eBook download.
- Keep moving forward: don’t get bogged down in the proverbial trenches.
- Align content marketing with other strategies.
- Involve your entire organization whether it’s five or fifty people: great content ideas come in all shapes and sizes: sales, customer service and/or exec staff.
- Great content marketers “newsjack” and “borrow” from others. Content curation (great research) is critical to success.
- Mix and match snackable short form (images, under 300 word blog post, videos) with long-form “evergreen” high value content.
- “Chunk” and repurpose and syndicate content to leverage costs. An image curated and sourced for your web site should be featured on your pinterest board, shared on Twitter and recycled via multiple blog posts.
- Great images help to make your brand stand out, which is increasingly important with today’s crowded markets.
- Used an Editorial Calendar (this link will take you to our blog post with an embedded Editorial Calendar sample): it imparts discipline to your ongoing content marketing and can be integrated with a site like Trello to drive collaboration via teams of people.
SEO marketing is still a critical part of your overall marketing strategy: but, much of the old school strategies are no longer relevant! Smart marketers and brands realize an integrated marketing strategy drives SEO rankings.