Search engine optimization has continued to rapidly evolve over the past several years. The days of working with an SEO professional to simply optimize on-page factors and build backlinks are long gone. On-page factors and quality backlinks are still important, but if you’re going to be successful in increasing organic traffic you have to do more.
Historically, SEO was an internet marketing tactic that stood on its own and could be executed independently of other online marketing strategies. However, this is no longer the case. If you’ve been following us, you know what we think about those who say ‘SEO is Dead’. Today, the practice of SEO is intertwined with and dependent on many other tactics. You have to be engaged in all of these if you’re really serious about increasing organic traffic.
The key inbound tactics, besides traditional SEO practices, that affect your ability to get found are your website, content marketing strategy and your content syndication plan. So, how do you do it?
Treat Your Website like Your Top Salesperson
Your website is integral to the success of your inbound marketing efforts. It’s your 24/7 salesperson and you should treat it as such. It is no longer acceptable to build a website and let it sit for a year or more. Would you hire a salesperson to work 24 hour a day, 7 days a week and never check up on them? It sounds silly, but that’s what you’re doing if you’re not actively working on your site.
You have to work on it consistently. Here are a few basic ways you can do that:
- Review your site’s performance monthly looking for opportunities to improve
- Consistently add new content in the form of new pages, blog posts, premium content offers, video, and more.
- Create new landing pages and enhance existing ones
- Change Calls-to-Action and where they are placed
Content Marketing Doesn’t Happen By Accident
Content Marketing has always been around, but it's become a buzzword in SEO circles over the past several years. The content you create directly impacts how you rank for organic search. Google is looking for consistently fresh, keyword-rich content that is shared across multiple platforms. But good content marketing doesn’t happen by accident. You have to develop a plan and strategy, and then Do the Work.
“We can always revise and revisit once we’ve acted. But we can accomplish nothing until we act.”
– Steven Pressfield
A Content Marketing strategy is a comprehensive plan designed to educate, offer solutions to problems and opportunities, and tell your story to the people who need to hear it using a variety of media across a variety of platforms. You need to know what keywords are important, but you also need to know what questions your prospects are asking. Then, you need a complete content marketing strategy that delivers content for those keywords and questions. Skip this step, and your organic search results are sure to disappoint.
Blogging – Just Do It
A key component of your content marketing strategy is your blog. Your blog is your main venue for creating and sharing content that can be found in organic searches. At a minimum, you should be blogging at least once per month. We recommend blogging weekly if you really want to make an impact on your organic search results. Listed below are the main things you need to think about when blogging.
- What questions are people asking?
- What content can I provide to educate prospects and customers?
- Does the blog post provide something of value to the reader?
- Does the blog support premium content offers in your overall content marketing strategy?
- Does the blog promote a Call-To-Action?
Remember, you’re not blogging just because you heard you had to do it. You should have a purpose, goals and expect results in the form of increased organic search traffic and lead generation. At the end of the day, the primary reason you’re engaged in SEO and all the other inbound tactics is to attract visitors that convert to leads which turn into to customers.
So, now you have an active, optimized website, a solid content marketing strategy and your blogging to create fresh content that people want to read. All of this is part of your overall SEO strategy, but that’s not it.
Social Media Matters
Social Media marketing is important for two primary reasons. Firstly, it gives you a channel to promote and share all the great content you’re creating. If you’re not actively promoting your content on social media, who’s going to know about it and share it besides the people that find you through organic search results? And if your content isn’t creative and remarkable, no one’s going to want to share it anyway. But, social media marketing is more than just posts on social media. It needs conversation starters and engagement with your followers and community.
Secondly, social media is important for SEO because social signals are becoming increasingly important in search engines ranking algorithms. They are an indication of the value of your website and your company. Social signals are things like
- Facebook LIKES, Shares and Mentions
- Twitter Mentions, Retweets, and Comments
- Google Page +1’s, Links and Shares
- Customer Reviews & Recommendations
Each social media platform serves a different purpose and audience. As part of your overall strategy, you should also determine what types of content and in what context you are going to promote it on each platform.
In summary, we view the practice of SEO in a much broader context. Yes, the traditional practices still matter but you absolutely have to incorporate a broad range of other tactics if you’re serious about improving your website traffic and conversions through organic search.