Should you spend your hard earned money on SEO, content marketing or social media marketing then? And what does all this mean anyway?

You may have seen headlines such as:

SEO is dead…

Content Marketing Overtakes SEO…

Google Penalises Websites For Shady SEO Practices….

Social Media Eclipses SEO As Traffic Driver…

In my opinion these super-hyped headlines are misleading and show very little knowledge of truly effective online marketing. The way I see it, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation, i.e. Google and others’ rankings, in case you were wondering), content marketing and social media should all work together as part of a diversified strategy to reach your marketing goals. And I will explain how in a minute.

But before, a bit of history. For the past 15 years, Google and other search engines have never stopped tweaking their algorithms with the goal of helping users find the most useful and relevant content possible. And during all this time, SEO experts have never stopped trying to crack their algorithms to get their customers to appear at the top of searches or at least on the first page. After all, 94% of Google users do not bother to go past the first page of their search results!

Search engines often use the number of backlinks that a website has as one of the most important factors for determining that website’s search engine ranking, popularity and importance, and therefore the position it will have on a search results page. Back links are also called incoming links or inward links, and they are the links received by one website from another.

In the mid-naughts shady SEO businesses went into frantic back-link-building missions for their customers, flooding search engines with large volumes of content that was highly optimised but of very low quality. This was a booming business until Google responded by implementing the Panda update, which penalised websites that engaged in dodgy link tactics, downgrading them indefinitely.

SEO, Content Marketing and Social Media are all pieces of your digital marketing puzzle

Search engines are becoming better every day at delivering contextually relevant and great quality results. There is a shift from individual keywords to concepts; if you search for movies about man of steel, Google will likely understand that you are looking for Superman movies and will not show you pages optimised for those individual keywords.

What does this all mean for your marketing strategy then?

In my view, you can’t go wrong if you follow this golden rule: Optimizing your content for SEO is important but it should not be your primary consideration. Given what search engines and the public are looking for, which is original, in depth and quality content, writing compelling and engaging stories for your audience should be your Number 1 priority.

Once you have this quality content though, you want to get eyeballs on it, in other words, we create content to support our marketing goals. This is where keyword research and SEO strategies still matter and optimisation in this area is crucial to increase the chances of your content to be discovered via search.

Since Google implemented its Hummingbird update, social media is having a greater impact on searches than ever before. It is important to realise that although search still remains the primary way people find great content, people not only search on Google or Yahoo or Bing; people also search all over Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social networks. Social media and searches are more interconnected now than ever before and this trend is not likely to change.

In conclusion:

Write interesting and original content and ask the experts to do the work to get people to discover it. It won’t happen overnight but be patient, the results will come.

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