Marketing has never been in a greater state of flux, diversity, and opportunity than it is at this moment, right now. The digital age has heralded a generation of possibility for small businesses and corporations alike, and at We Do Web Content, it is not only our prerogative, but our privilege and our passion to make the great rewards of strategic marketing available to your business.
While it’s not always an easy task, it’s one that we enjoy so much that we wanted to share a bit about what these changes mean and how a company like ours interprets them when we’re hard at work for our valued clients.
Content Marketing in a Brave, New World
A 21st century marketer must be accountable not only to a rapidly diversifying demographic of consumers, but also to the ever-changing technologies that facilitate marketing messages. From an SEO and content perspective, these changes are more important than ever, because they signal an important and invigorating new direction for content marketing strategies.
You probably already know about the massive shifts that have been underway at Google and the ramifications that have been felt across the webscape as a result. Ranging from hints at over-optimization penalties to the Panda updates to new keyword encryptions, the search giant has been in a state of self-evolution, and the ripple effect has spread far and wide to all reaches of the content marketing industry.
We’ll touch bases on some of these shifts in a few short moments, but first, let’s talk about the single most important ingredient in your marketing recipe: your content marketing plan.
“Um… What is a Content Marketing Plan?”
We get this question a lot. Optimized content marketing is the art of understanding exactly what your prospective clientele needs to know and producing search-optimized content that responds to those needs. This content, in order to be successful, should be optimized based on keywords that drive organic search traffic, and it should be shared through social networks that maintain the tone and brand of the overall organization.
Keep in mind, it’s easy to make content that produces traffic. Just take a look at YouTube and you’ll find thousands, if not millions, of videos of cats doing cat-like things. That content drives billions of visits, but that content probably wouldn’t be useful for your business – unless you happen to own a pet accessory store, in which case, you need a YouTube channel immediately.
What’s more difficult is creating content that is not only shareable and “likable” but that also brings visitors who are seeking, whether actively or passively, the services that you provide.
What constitutes content? It’s essentially limitless, but the usual suspects include:
- Website content
- Press releases
- Case studies
- How-to guides
- Current events
- White papers
- Social networking updates
You get the point.
It’s not enough to create these products and send them out into the ether – Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt told a packed crowd at the LeWeb 2011 conference that social signals are a crucial ranking factor, so your content has to be accessible, high-quality, and well-positioned for not only maximum visibility, but maximum sharing.
Okay, so let’s get back to those SEO shifts that we were talking about earlier, because you’ve probably realized by now that SEO, social networking, and content are tightly integrated with one another.
First, SEO’s performativity and metrics are changing, and that’s a good thing.
Measuring traffic and page rankings is no longer the only, or even the most effective, way to gauge SEO and content marketing success. Advances in ROI analytics and a plurality of dashboard providers have upped the ante. Google has expanded its keyword cache from 30 to 90 days for webmasters, SEOmoz and Majestic have made it easier than ever to track keywords and assess competition, and social signals have finally become dissected into their relevant parts and integrated into metrics and objectives.
So, basically…? SEO is changing, and that’s great news. The trajectory is arcing the way the search engine community has been dreaming it would for the past 10 years. It’s a new day, and it’s sunny outside.
Second, and more importantly, SEO is inherently built-in to good marketing principles, and that is not going to change.
SEO is more vibrant than it ever has been before. Organic search represents a multi-billion dollar industry, and too much would have to happen in order to diminish the significance of SEO.
Just take a moment to think about how we look for things. We describe them. When we walk into a book store or ask a grocer for help in the aisles, we either use the name of what we’re looking for, or we use strong and clear descriptors that verbally illustrate our intent. SEO makes that possible in the digital realm, so until the technological equivalent of telepathy comes along, SEO will continue to play the most crucial role in being found because, as was mentioned in point #1, SEO is changing – and that’s fantastic.
Web presence optimization incorporates a number of different strategies, but instead of pitting those strategies against one another, it’s more useful to think of web presence optimization as a hierarchy of processes that each fulfill and augment certain aspects.
This illustrative breakdown from our good friends over at Search Engine Watch captures the essence of this optimization hierarchy:
The placement of each of these steps is as important as their weight. Good SEO must be done from the bottom-up, and even though “technical SEO fundamentals and foundation” may only comprise 10% of your efforts, if it’s not done first and not done adequately, it will hamstring the rest of your efforts and confound search engine variables.
The largest component of an effective strategy is the organic content marketing campaign. This plan should represent 55% of your efforts. This goes so far beyond blogging – your marketing plan is your customized blueprint to web presence in all of its forms, including press releases, ebooks, newsletters, videos, social shares, leveraging Google+, and so on.
So, listen: don’t get caught up in the panic about “what Google’s changing this month” – there will be algorithm changes every month, and every week, and maybe even every day, far into the foreseeable future. If you sweat the details, you’ll drive yourself into a panic. However, by putting your marketing efforts into perspective, you can adjust your strategy so that your efforts are reflected in your results.