Can You be Successful in the New World of SEO?
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The way that marketers approach and interact with Search Engine Optimization has changed dramatically over the past decade. In recent years, marketers and company owners could approach SEO and its value to Google and other search engines by producing quality, relevant content that would interest their audience. Unfortunately, with the rise of dishonest PageRank practices, it seems that producing that same quality, relevant content is no longer the most effective way to rank in the search engine arena.
As 2014 rolls on, however, additional ways to stand out in the SEO world have moved into common practice, and those of us who are looking to keep up with the time must adapt. What exactly are the new rules of SEO and how should you incorporate them into your own marketing practices? Keep reading for more information.
High Rankings Can No Longer Be Your Ultimate Goal
In years past, ranking high on the search engine results page was the only objective of people utilizing SEO strategies. In 2014, your success depends much more on providing your readers with actual, stimulating engagement first. When your audience is interested in what you’re posting and feels engaged with your brand on a regular basis, they will feel compelled to share your content. Impressive ranking on search engines is a spoil of providing quality content, but it shouldn’t be your main goal.
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Social media has never been more important to SEO than in 2014. People are interacting and engaging with the brands and companies they like more than ever on social media; putting out content that gets attention and shares on social media communicates an appeal to the discerning eyes of actual readers, not just the slick manipulation of embedding tons of links into content that could very well be meaningless drivel.
In addition to helping give your content a boost with legitimate shares and interest in your content, taking on the social media universe this year extends your company’s reach into all new territory; establishing yourself on Facebook or Twitter allows you to diversify the types of content you release and appeal to people in ways that you haven’t been able to before. Consider adding video content, memes, pictures and industry-relevant blog pieces to your social media network. Focus on popular tags and find creative ways to insert your company into relevant conversations.
The Old Tricks Don’t Work
If your company has traditionally used sneakier methods for succeeding at SEO, it’s time to change gears. Packing low-quality content with linkbait is no longer enough to impress the search engine rankings’ algorithms. “SEO today is holistic. It demands that you build signals real brands have that, in years past, could be artificially overwhelmed by large quantities of links or other tactics,” says Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz.
Content Creation: Sophistication is Key
As we’ve said before, creating and distributing quality, relevant content is a key component to succeeding at SEO. How exactly do you accomplish the task of creating this content? Firstly, you must see the content you create as an extension and representation of your brand. This means that the content you create must serve to engage current customers, interest potential ones, and attract brand strangers into your company’s stratosphere.
Avoid creating or curating content that falls too far outside of your industry; after all, your customers found your company’s blog or social media site because of a particular interest. In order to compete in your industry’s blogosphere, you need to have a blog that exhibits expertise in your field. Don’t detract from that expertise by dipping your toes into unrelated territory.
Additionally, the old practices of creating titles and headlines solely to pack in popular keywords is no longer relevant; diversify your titles based on a variety of trending topics. You’ll open up far more room for your content to be creative, interesting and catchy to your audience.
Your Use of Guest Blogging Must Change
Guest blogging, though it does have benefits, must be used wisely. In the past, when a company wanted to strengthen its reach across industry lines and appeal to a wider audience, guest blogging worked great. You were guaranteed a reputable author and quality content to put on your own company’s blog, guaranteeing diversity of content and exposure for your guest blogger. It was a true symbiotic and harmonious relationship.
Unfortunately, guest blogging is by no means what it once was. If you run a company blog that is open to guest bloggers, you probably get your fair share of spammy, low-quality link bait wizards, who want to use your blog as a platform for content that isn’t relevant, engaging or interesting but just so happens to hold lots of links to their own websites.
Screen your guest bloggers carefully and look for the warning signs of dishonest link piling; your company’s reputation could suffer.
As the year wears on, one thing is clear: SEO must be approached differently than in years past. Focusing solely on numbers, outcomes and rankings is no longer enough to succeed in the Search Engine Optimization world. Your brand must produce quality content that your audience on social media will notice and want to share. When you’re producing the content that they want to see, read and recommend to their friends and family, you’ll reap the benefits of a solid presence on search engine results and enjoy the esteemed reputation in your industry that you’ve earned.
Image Credit: freedigitalphotos.net/Stuart Miles