By Ben Gibson, Managing Director of The Search Agency
Whether or not you are actively allocating marketing budget, you’re employing SEO.
That company blog you’ve been managing? Those social media updates, videos, and website content you’ve been creating and scheduling? The public relations team placing your content and name all on other publications? They are all key elements in your brand’s search engine optimisation efforts and turning you in to an online marketer.
A recent article confirms that it’s time to admit that you are already spending money for SEO efforts whether you know it or not. The next step is figuring out how to integrate a holistic SEO strategy into your already existing inbound marketing plan. With the current state of search in rapid evolution, you’ll be thankful to know that you unknowingly set yourself up for success in online inbound marketing, even if you aren’t executing a fully fledged SEO strategy yet.
Take this year for example, significant changes in the search landscape, including new Google algorithm updates, the growing popularity of passive search platforms and the unification of social search has caused a fundamental shift in SEO tactics, rendering most traditional SEO strategies ineffective and outdated.
In the past, nearly all SEO strategies were built around three key onsite components: page content, link building, and site URL structure. The most important factors in moving your site to the top of the search results page were having sufficient amounts of keyword rich content, back links, and a ‘crawlable’ site; these tactics were never really included under the umbrella of general or inbound marketing.
With search engine algorithms becoming smarter, their criteria for determining rankings have become more rigorous, looking at factors beyond traditional elements. SEO has outgrown this onsite exclusive optimisation structure and moved into offsite territory, activity outside of the search engine, because search is no longer just happening on search engines. These new ranking factors have blurred the lines between online and inbound marketing, causing a need for a shift in how both strategies are managed.
Blending a holistic SEO strategy into your existing inbound marketing plan will boost your brand’s relevance and authority, while allowing you to better engage with and monitor potential online traffic. Overall, you will see an increase in brand awareness, site traffic and even conversions because the right people will have a much easier time finding you.
Here are some ways to realise the online optimisation potential your current strategies hold:
PR and Social Media
No doubt your offsite PR and Social Media strategies are focused on gaining exposure, authority and credibility in your space. In today’s search world, off-site authority is established when a company/brand is recognised as a topic expert that provides searchers and search engines with reliable, relevant and valuable information.
Just like face-to-face interaction, online expertise is recognised through authentic relationships with well-known brands, companies, individuals or organisations through common interests, mentions or valuable connections. Using social media platforms to interact and build relationships with industry names will gain the trust and respect of people using your site and increase visibility within your sector.
In traditional SEO practices, the only offsite optimisation was link building. This is still very crucial, even in today’s changing search landscape. Be very sure that your social media distribution includes frequent links to credible sources, as well as your own site and social profiles. When providing guest content on an outside publication, insist on links back to your own properties.
PR and social media will drive traffic to your site, but post-click actions are what matter most. A user’s behaviour on your site send signals to the search engines – and other users – about whether a user’s initial search intent was satisfied by the website. Search engines have placed increased emphasis on post-click metrics such as social sharing, authority paths and amount of time spent on page before the searcher returns to the search engine results page.
It may be as easy as including prominently placed social buttons on key pages to ensure that users can easily tell social networks – and search engines – that they find your site trustworthy, relevant and valuable. However, it may take more thought as to how to actually keep users on the page with compelling content, clear call to actions and multimedia.
Having great content is, of course, fundamental for any online marketing strategy and will play a key part in online marketing success. However, it’s not just about producing high quality content, this content also needs to be relevant. It is up to your site to give demanding and savvy online users exactly what they want; otherwise you might as well make another notch on your bounce-rate bed post.
It is important to consider how users find your site when you are considering how to satisfy their intent. One way to help develop your online content topics is to preform keyword research; this will provide insight in to what your site is ranking for. Equally, if you are not ranking for the keywords that you would like to be, creating and posting content around those key terms should gain some momentum on the search results page.
Leverage your onsite content and blog to gain visibility to the right users at the right time and you’ll see an increase in both volume and value of organic traffic.
Analytics – Metrics that Matter
Traditionally, the number of clicks has been the primary metric to gauge SEO success, however now with the possibility for inbound marketers to gather data and analyse factors like reach, frequency, social sharing, site speed, citations, traffic volume and conversion metrics; the cross-over into inbound marketing means a much improved method of measuring and analysing optimisation efforts.
If you haven’t got an in-depth understanding of search engine optimisation it can seem intimidating to think about incorporating it into your marketing plan. That said, when you break it down and realise you’ve been optimising for search all along, it becomes clear how you can give your strategy the boost it needs to be more competitive online. Both your SEO and Inbound Marketing strategies will be stronger if they work together.
Occupy SEO brought to you byPoster by The Search Agency