According to a poll conducted by Smart Insights only 4.3% of digital marketers polled named SEO as the most commercially important digital marketing trend in 2015. Why would we include it? That 4.3% doesn’t include how many people see it as the 2nd or 3rd most important trend. We all know that ranking in search is important, and the more relevant our content is to the person searching, the better chance we have of developing a sales lead.
But what worked a year or two ago, doesn’t—or it’s less effective today. Don’t just take my word for it.
SEO is definitely becoming harder.
Neil Patel over at Quicksprout predicts that SEO is going to get harder. While his insight (in this instance) isn’t terribly shocking (it’s based on more Panda-esque updates), he’s absolutely right. Google is going to continue making their search engine smarter and releasing more updates and “it will become harder to manipulate search listings”.
Neil isn’t alone in his view regarding how you should address this challenge. In doing your own Google searches, you’ll see any number of blog posts on how content is going to be more important in marketing than ever.
So what can you do about it? We think the following predictions and SEO resources will help you focus on content, social and other ways that you can squeeze a little more SEO juice out of your marketing efforts.
Before we dig in, how does content marketing lead to higher search rankings?
As you learn when you get Inbound Marketing Certified through Hubspot, a critical component of content marketing is distribution. And distribution right now is primarily through your social channels. Yet what does this have to do with SEO?
In a post on Forbes.com, Jayson Demers notes that “better, more frequent content will attract links, shares, and other brand-building signals that will boost rankings.” What this means for you is that frequent content (that is relevant to your buyer’s journey) will attract traffic, and when shared through social media, will generate more shares. Major search engines look at:
- how many tweets/retweets;
- # of Facebook shares/likes;
- # of +1s
More tweets or shares mean higher search engine rankings. People aren’t going to share lousy content. So it’s critical that you create the highest quality and most compelling content that you can.
Why create creative content for SEO?
Steff Green at WorkflowMax makes a great point: for you to succeed in the digital space, you need to be “creating stunning articles, videos, images and infographics we love to read”. Why does your content need to be creative?
EVERYONE is creating content—blogs, videos, infographics, and more. With all of this content out there, it becomes noise. Think about a sound you hear in the background, or a smell when you walk into a room. At first, you notice it, but soon your brain catalogues the sensory information into a “non-threatening” category, and you ignore it. In the digital space, people more actively tune out those things that aren’t of interest. Welcome to the problem advertisers have faced for decades—how to stand out.
And if your content is boring, or unremarkable, people won’t want to share it. We’re all protecting our personal brands, and who wants to seem boring? If people don’t share your content, search engines aren’t going to see it as valuable and won’t rank your site as highly.
How can I be more creative (where do the ideas come from) with my digital marketing?
“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club” – Jack London.
This is absolutely true. I’d like to be able to tell you there’s a specific process that I go through to generate creative ideas for the campaigns we create, but there isn’t. There are some common things that I do, and those certainly help:
- Read and consume everything you can get your hands on that seems even remotely relevant (with 3 children, my time to read has dwindled, which drove me to discover Audible.com).
- Walk away from your subject matter for a day (not always practical, but required).
- Talk through your ideas with people who have no idea about or stake in the project (they won’t be driven by business concerns to provide input—they’ll just give you feedback based on basic human nature).
- Make stuff that doesn’t have to do with your subject matter (I choose to make music).
- Be afraid. Very afraid. It’s amazing how useful our fight or flight can be in inspiring us to develop creative ideas.
- Get good with your tools. The better you know them, the less you have to focus on the mechanics of the tools and the more you can create with them.
- Throw away your first idea. I learned this a long time ago when I first started out. I can’t remember where I read it, but it went something like “the first idea you come up with—your baby? Someone already thought of it.” You have to push past those initial ideas to really get to the creative stuff. Trust me, that idea you had to use a globe for your international business, it’s been done before.
So how can you easily deliver remarkable content that will stand out in 2015?
Leverage SlideShare to increase SEO Juice, says Likeable Social CEO Dave Kerpen. Featured on Social Media Examiner, Dave also notes you can use SlideShare to drive page views, leads and evergreen content. But not everyone is a brilliant visual content creator, or understands the proper way to create a presentation that is a compelling part of their marketing strategy. Enter Haiku Deck. It’s a fun and easy way to create great marketing presentations, and it now integrates nicely with SlideShare.
Ok, that was cool, but I’m going to Focus on Blogging. Any suggestions?
A couple, first, make sure that you keep an eye on length of content. As noted by David Wells, Founder of Inbound Now, Google is labeling content of 200 words or less as “thin content”, and that will most certainly impact your rankings. While we shoot for content that runs 1,000 words or more, you shouldn’t focus on length, but more on relevant, helpful, shareable content.
Next, Jonathan Long of Market Domination Media, suggests that you switch your Digital Marketing Strategy focus from Rankings to ROI. Why? How often does ranking for a keyword (or keyword phrase) lead to leads or sales? Instead, you should be looking at key metrics like leads and closed deals as true measurements of success.
Are you stuck doing all of this on your own? You might want to consider a tool that helps you manage SEO, Social and Content from one place like Moz. At a mere $99/month, you’ve got great SEO, analytics and social researching tools in one place.
If you’re like our clients, and managing all of this might seem overwhelming, the good news is that Marketing Mediums are Merging. We pulled together 114 trends and predictions for 2015 from sites all over the web, and that number grows every day. How can you possibly stay on top of everything you might be able to do? According to George Deeb at Forbes.com (and what we’re seeing as well), “Content marketing, SEO, PR, social media are all blending into one skillset” and there’s no need for you to use a specialized boutique agency or a self-proclaimed “SEO expert” for each of these disciplines. For example, your buyer persona and buyer journey should be informing everything you do. No need to go through that exercise, or educate multiple teams or consultants. The same agency should be agile enough to handle the full suite.
Is SEO a large part of your content marketing strategy this year? If not, why?
Contact us today to talk about how you can more creatively incorporate SEO in your digital marketing in 2015.