As we mentioned in last week’s post, the vast majority of product research begins with a click of a mouse, and buyers are “self-selecting” more than ever before. And, as indicated in our recent infographic, Demystifying SEO, 60% off all clicks go to the top three results. Not only do you need to be found – ideally you need to be found first.
Depending on how crowded your marketplace is, ranking high for meaningful searches is easier said than done, but following best practices will significantly enhance your chances of success.
SEO best practices are constantly evolving as Google modifies its algorithms. There are some base concepts, however, that will likely remain important for years to come. As Forbes contributor, Jayson DeMers noted in “The Three Pillars of SEO in 2014,” the two things that Google has consistently rewarded are quality content and quality links – the operative word in both cases being quality. The third he mentions, which we will touch on later, is references to your site and brand on social media.
This post, which features a number of links to third party resources, is intended to be an introduction to some proven methods of moving your site towards the top of the first page –with special focus on DeMers’ “Pillars.”
Quality content can be defined as content that is unique, authoritative, informative, relevant to the intended audience, and optimized for search. As we wrote in Content Marketing 101: What’s in it for Me?, “Good content is content that will educate, inspire and fill a need.”
As far as how to optimize that content, there are a number of ways to do that, most of which start with a good content strategy. A good read on this topic is Marketing Land’s Top Tips for Optimizing Your Content, which features content optimization tips from nine experts.
Quality links are inbound links from reputable external sites back to yours. These can be achieved in a number of ways – from writing awesome content that others want to use to bolster their own ideas (like we did with the Three Pillars and Top Tips articles mentioned above) to guest blogging and syndicating content on sites like Slideshare and more. It is also important to note, however, what quality links are not. Although somewhat dated, this HubSpot post titled “The 5 B’s of Bad Link Building: Borrowing, Begging, Bartering, Bribing and Buying” explains some of the more critical link building practices to avoid.
The third pillar DeMers speaks of is Social Media. He states, “Social media gives companies an additional platform to interact with customers, build their brand, and create a community, all while also driving traffic to their website.”
The more quality content you post to social media, the more opportunity you have to be found by a wider audience. The better and more relevant your posts, the more likely they are to be shared.
When it comes down purely to search, not all social sites are created equal. Although Google+ is not as commonly used as other social media sites, it is the platform with the highest search benefits. Social Media Today has an excellent post on this subject: 10 Ways Google+ Will Improve your SEO. The post really drills down into why and how having a strong Google+ presence will help with your search rankings. Jeff Bullas.com also offers some good advice on the topic in How to Increase your SEO with Google Plus.
While search important, it is only a part of an integrated marketing strategy. The best digital marketing strategies don’t just include posting content to a website and waiting for it to get found – they include a consistent cadence of steps to actively drive traffic to your site to get eyes on your content, minds on your organization and leads to your sales team.
If you are looking to initiate or improve a consistent content marketing program, NuGrowth Digital can help. To find out how, contact the NuGrowth team at 800-966-3051 or fill out a contact form and we will be in touch.