Instead of chasing search engine algorithms that are impossible to predict and ever changing, you should focus on ranking the right way. Creative content marketing though blogging, e-books, presenations, videos, and strong social media communications may be a longer road to well ranked keywords, but it is a smarter investment with a clear competitive edge.
1. Search algorithms change constantly
Google’s algorithm has experienced dramatic changes in the last year. Beginning with its Panda update in February 2011, Google has been deploying more and more updates to penalize websites that participate in spammy, or "unnatural" linking.
With every update, SEO strategists have witnessed drastic changes to their client's sites. SEOs that were in violation of Google's changes saw their client's rankings plummet, while professionals that focused on quality content to earn links experienced a positive effect on their client's positions for targeted keyword phrases.
Unlike the old days of SEO, automated link building systems are ineffective, and potentially harmful to your marketing effort. The algorithm is changing quickly to exclude meaningless links, so marketers need to stop looking for a quick fix and focus on providing value.
The solution is a long-term investment in high-quality content. Spend your time writing helpful blog posts, e-books, presentations, and social media posts . With an active value-based content marketing strategy, you’ll be light-years ahead of the next search engine crisis.
2. Word of mouth is timeless
Marketers know that customer testimonials are invaluable, so why should the Internet be any different? Behind computer screens and IP addresses, people are people. Online and offline the same principle holds true – if customers like your product or service, they’ll talk about it, and inevitably link to it.
In Google’s eyes, social media mentions and links are ways that people endorse websites, blog posts, products, and content. For this reason, search engines consider Facebook, Twitter, G+, and other social media conversations to be serious ranking factors.
In the long run, SEO and social media will continue to blend. Rather than compartmentalizing and differentiating the two, marketers need to focus on one straightforward objective – get people talking about their brand.
3. Aim for concrete targets
If you try to be everything to everyone, you’ll be missing the mark. Instead, build quality content to benefit specific groups. Profile your audiences before you develop content for them. This will enable you to discover how you can bring the most benefit and allow you to position yourself as an expert.
The same holds true for SEO strategy. Stop trying to rank for vague, open-ended keywords. Instead, focus on ranking naturally for terms that are meaningful to your brand. So what if you’re a speed boat manufacturer that doesn’t rank for the target word “speed boats?” If you’re number one for “best custom speed boats” and “custom saltwater speed boats,” you’re much better off. If people are searching for something that specific, it’s likely that they’re also further along in the buying-cycle. As you develop your SEO strategy, be true to your customers and brand.
4. Networking is key
Even though the old days are over, the new SEO landscape is still competitive. You need allies who will partner with you and endorse your brand through guest-posting opportunities, social media promotion, and co-branded marketing campaigns. Partner with like-minded companies with complementary products or services. You have a similar target market, why not work together to reach them?
For marketers, the changes to the SEO landscape are for the better. Rather than narrowing your focus to formulaic tricks, you now have an opportunity to improve your search engine rankings by creating valuable content. The more value you create, the more return you will see.
Learn how to use content marketing in a broader marketing strategy: