As a full time international SEO consultant, I live, breath and eat SEO daily. But for the rest of the world, anything relating to SEO (or god forbid an SEO strategy) has long been the red-headed stepchild of the digital marketing world.
To begin with, let’s make it clear that there’s more to building an SEO strategy than keyword stuffing and chasing the latest Google update. Here’s a news flash: a well-designed content strategy will ensure that your marketing weathers the Google storms and survives each and every update, no matter how many SEO-driven pages crash on the rocks.
That’s not to say some campaigns won’t focus on keywords. That happens with PPC, hashtags and branding. But the problem with focusing solely on keywords is that your potential clients are people — they don’t think in keywords and in all honesty, they don’t give a rat’s !!@#! how many you stuff on your page. Especially if nothing on that page relates to the information they need. This is why well-planned and executed content-driven marketing continues to thrive, despite constant search engine revisions. If you’re still relying on keywords to drive customers to your site, it’s time to rethink what you’re doing. It’s not that keywords are meaningless, but there’s a lot more to great marketing than keyword stuffing.
Build Your Marketing on Solid Footing
The Internet was built on a foundation of information. Long before pop-ups and Viagra emails, it was a place where researchers and academics shared information across hundreds or even thousands of miles. The currency of the web is still knowledge, even if that knowledge is in the form of user reviews or the latest news headlines. When you’re dealing with people who are seeking information, it doesn’t make sense to hope they’ll click on your site simply because you’re keyword-rich. You have to bring more to the table.
There’s never been a better time to plan a content-driven marketing strategy. Social media loves the web and the web loves social media. Today the rules for both are the same: to survive, websites have to give something to the reader, just like social media must give to the fans. Many site owners realized this before Hummingbird landed and began blogs as ways of adding value to their marketing websites. But in 2014,those that haven’t yet learned to give back and continue to rely on keywords alone will be left behind.
Added Bonus Tip: Consider building a community of like-minded users, readers, and followers.
Content-Driven Marketing is Key
By providing your customers with something to read other than advertisements and a list of your product’s colors, you’re doing more for your marketing than keywords ever could. For example, I have good news and hard work scenario. If you’re a realtor, consider spearheading a content-driven, lead generation campaign in the next 3 months based on the latest foreclosures, sales, local regional updates, meet-ups, and new realtors in your state. You’re probably thinking, “There are oodles of places where other realtors or readers can find that information”. Sure, but they have to go to 15 sites to gather all of that, and it takes a few hours out of their day. Whereas by subscribing to your newsletter, blog, seminars – or whatever digital medium you go with – it’s all located in one place. The beauty is, when done correctly you eventually rank for some of those keywords… naturally. Even if you are promoting another realtor, that’s the beauty here. You are establishing transparency; trust and most of all, your readers will come to know your brand.
Here is the hard work scenario. Do this as a FREE Service. Here’s the benefit, for every reader that signs up, (eventually you start using a sign-up feature) you acquire a new email in order to continue the conversation. They, in turn, will continue their conversation within their circles, communities etc. Voila – you’ve established a connection with your readers and you’re on your way to building that community with keyword-driven content.
So now you’re building a brand image and demonstrating your expertise in the field. If you sell raincoats, you don’t have to stop at the catalog — show your readers that you’re passionate about raincoats by hosting a blog that showcases articles about their history, modern uses, rain coat fashions and the latest in raincoat news.
But don’t stop there — put your social media to work. Tell some raincoat-related jokes, get customers to participate in raincoat contests and in short, raincoat it up. Content-driven marketing won’t bring you all the website hits overnight, but it will set you in motion to develop a loyal fan base who will refer their friends. After all, you want a community of users who come to you for questions and think of you as their personal expert on your topic.
Sure, putting up high hit numbers overnight looks impressive, but what is a hit really? It’s someone who looked at the website and nothing more. Hits don’t equal purchases, they don’t have monetary value and they certainly can’t promise you long-term success. By designing a content-driven marketing plan, customers will find you naturally, increasing your customer retention and repeat business. You’ll establish yourself as an authority – a preferred resource – you’ll become their go-to. Businesses thrive on customers, not on drive-by glances in your window. Make yourself valuable to them and you’ll receive value from them.