SEO (search engine optimization) has become a popular buzzword with companies looking to increase their ranking in online searches. But aggressive search engine optimization has had its day. For a time, it seemed easy enough to stick in some Google-friendly keywords and, hey presto, the website would shoot gratifyingly to the top of a search.
But Google became wise to this lazy marketing technique and realised that it wasn’t actually very consumer-friendly. I’m sure, like me, you’ve googled something and been frustrated to find that the site at the top of the search list wasn’t actually what you were looking for after all – it just happened to have a few similar words or one key phrase that matched your search. Do you order something from that website or subscribe to its feed? Almost certainly not – because it wasn’t what you were looking for.
So Google adapted its ranking criteria – not to make it more difficult for SEO marketers but to make it better for users. Its webmaster guidelines even state:
“Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.”
Using keywords is no longer the silver bullet of web marketing. Great content is.
By great content, we mean items that people (that’s people with a capital P – not computers) are interested in reading – and are therefore likely to share on their social media platform of choice (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr etc). Content such as:
Although this might seem a daunting list, Smashingmagazine.com reassures us that “the content you post does not have to be long, it just has to be link-worthy”.
And, I would add to that, regular. You want your customers and readers to not only like what you give them but to come back for more. To rely on you providing them with regularly interesting and helpful content. So pick one or all of the above features and think about how you can add them to your site.
If you’re not confident about writing news-worthy content yourself, you can outsource it but be sure that the copywriter understands your field and can deliver you relevant copy.
As Paul Boag explains, “If you create great content, people will link to it, and Google will improve your placement. It really is that simple”.
For more on this topic, read smashing magazine’s article
Here’s a nice infographic to complement a point I made in an earlier post on search marketing. In the US, although over 90% of search marketing spend is allocated to paid search, only 10% of traffic actually comes from clicks on paid ad slots. As you can see from the graphic below, the overall majority (nearly 90%) of clicks are from organic listings. Businesses take note. SEO should be a key component of your online marketing activity.
Did you know that the first ten links listed on the first page of a search engine’s results receive just over 89% of all traffic! Of that traffic, the first ranking position in the search results receives 42.25% of all click-through traffic, the second position receives 11.94%, the third 8.47%, the fourth 6.05%. So where do you want to be? Page 1, position 1? Try typing various different keywords into Google, Yahoo and Bing and seeing where you currently appear in the results. If its not somewhere in the top 3 then straight away you’re losing 60% of your potential customer base. If you’re not on the first page, then there goes another 30%!
PPC vs SEO: Many of you will have heard of organic search (SEO) as opposed to paid search (Pay-per-Click). Well did you also know that although 90% of Search Engine marketing budgets go on Pay-per-Click adverts only 10% of web traffic actually comes from clicks on the paid for results. Conversely, with only 10% of budgets spent on search engine optimisation techniques (organic search), in reality 90% of traffic comes from the organic search listings. That’s why it’s important to budget for ongoing SEO to maintain good organic placement.
Why is search important as a channel? To start with, the numbers: over 50% of Internet users use search on a daily basis. Add to that the general decline in acceptance by web users of display advertising – banners, buttons, pop-ups etc – and search becomes a major way to find and advertise goods and services to new potential customers. Not only that but search is unique in that it gives brands the power to be in front of the consumer at the very time of consumption. Search is an intent driven activity. We don’t search casually, we search to find answers, information, and goods and services to consume. What does that mean for you as a marketer? It means truly qualified leads and it means greater return on your marketing investment as a result.