Sean Jackson of Copyblogger recently said, “SEO is dead.” He continued, “not the practice, but the term.” Jackson felt, rightly so, that in recent years SEO had come to stand for the spammy, often unethical practices ofsneaky “black-hat” SEO practitioners.
As Google has cracked down on these practices and as consumers have moved to other avenues of finding content (social media sites, blogs, aggregators, etc.), SEO has been swallowed whole by a much broader set of necessary considerations.
Jackson readily admits that many legitimate SEO best practices are still not only relevant but are highly effective with the rising importance of all forms of content.
Instead of simply declaring SEO dead, Jackson argues that it should be incorporated into a new, more comprehensive framework for outlining the necessary approach content marketers should take to promoting and building content effectively — a framework he dubs OC/DC, or optimizing content for discovery and conversion.
OC/DC is a more holistic and goal-driven approach to content marketing. SEO’s narrow focus not only does not address all the avenues through which consumers now discover content, but its tight constraints also can negatively influence the content creation itself.
The rest of this article will highlight various strategies and guidelines, showing you how to optimize website content for SEO, discovery and conversion in the coming year.
Readers First, Algorithms Second
Google has made it crystal clear that it will always favor content that is valuable to people over content that is written primarily to rank for Google. Not only have they emphasized this over and over on their blog, they’ve made dozens of changes to their search algorithm that reflect this decision.
There are certain SEOs (the ones who don’t seem to heed Google’s warnings) that live in constant fear of the next Google algorithm change. The reason for their concern is that the content they produce and the SEO tactics they use, in large part, pander to Google’s algorithm changesinstead of actually suiting and serving real readers.
Creating quality content is hard, and these workarounds and hacks can seem like tempting avenues to high search engine rankings. However, constantly having to pick up the pieces when Google penalizes your efforts is probably more costly in the long run.
That’s because creating quality content from the outset might require more initial effort, but will all but guarantee that you will be immune from Google’s constant updates and very well might be helped by them. That’s because your content will be the material that Google hopes to promote instead of the keyword-stuffed spam their engineers look to punish.
As we will discuss later, many SEO best practices are still very much necessary in ensuring your quality content gets discovered, but these optimization considerations are much better reserved for after you focus on creating high-quality, targeted content created to serve your audience.
What Is Quality Content?
Before you even begin strategizing on how to make quality content, you need to pin down exactly what constitutes high-quality content in the first place. This is a daunting task, but luckily Google provided a wonderful outline of what they see as indicators of quality content.
The format of the linked blog post is a series of questions, as seen above. The one question of particular relevance to this discussion is:
“Are the topics [on your site] driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?”
This question is so important because any rubric for judging quality content will be intimately linked to the readers and audience you are attempting to reach and appeal to. The first stage of content planning and strategy should be to seriously consider your audience and their genuine interests.
Know Thy Niche
Every business or product has something unique about it. Even if you are competing in a crowded space, if your business has enjoyed any kind of success it’s because you’ve offered something that no one else has. Whether it’s a focus on cost-savings, or a quirky sense of humor, or an emphasis on professionalism. Any one of a variety of factors can be identified as part of your brand’s true story.
As a content marketer, your goal is to create content that appeals to your audience in a way that mirrors the appeal of the product this content marketing is calling attention to. In fact, a smart content strategy can naturally lead to conversions if it is appropriate to your product.
The more you can narrow down the unique appeal of your product or service, the more likely your content is to appeal to the “genuine interest of your readers.” Considering these are the very words that Google used, any content marketing that makes good on this goal will likely be favored by Google’s current and future algorithms.
The Quicksprout blog has put together a wonderful step-by-step guide to developing a content strategy based on a unique set of customer interests. This guide is quite in-depth but the main ideas are fundamentally simple.
- Find a niche that is narrow enough to be unique, but broad enough to meet your business objectives.
- Locate your ideal customer within this niche and discover what blogs they read, what social sites they use, what kind of events they attend, etc.
- Create a persona reflecting this average customer and try to gain an understanding of their demographic makeup as well as their psychology, beliefs, etc.
- Use this persona as a guideline for focusing your content marketing efforts.
What makes this approach so powerful is that it makes discovering and appealing to you customer’s genuine interests a central focus. This aligns your content with the goals of Google and other search providers.
So even though this is not “SEO” in the sense that the term has come to be understood, creating content from a plan that looks like this will certainly go a long way towards optimizing your content for discovery by search engines.
Semantic Search and Concepts Over Keywords
Further reinforcing the importance of this kind of content creation strategy, and the SEO benefits it can translate into, it’s important to understand Google’s recent focus on something called semantic search.
Semantic search takes the often fragmented, non-specific search terms people naturally use and attempts to parse them and extract a more robust meaning. In simpler terms, Google has begun to focus on taking a string of basic, broad keywords and teasing out the core concept they all belong to.
This is important for content marketers because it diminishes the overall importance of isolated keywords in determining search rankings.
As Google’s algorithms move to favor concepts, this gives content creators more freedom to tailor content to their audience’s genuine interests without having to worry about this content being buried under results that rank highly for isolated keywords searchers commonly use when they are looking for content.
Instead, focus on covering a few key issues of importance to your audience with each piece of content you’re creating.
“The reason behind it is that Google is trying to work out the meaning of pages and favoring pages that answer several questions a person may have,” he added.
“The implication of this new approach is that, as a marketer, you need to produce longer content that answers several possible search queries, queries that include data points would feed Google’s desire to understand details about the topic,” said Newlands.
Since the incorporation of Google+ and personally tailored search results, a focus on keywords, links, and anchor text has become less important than making sure your overall site, and each piece of content on your site, addresses and has authority on certain concepts — especially multiple topics within your niche.
Building Authority and the Four Vs
Now that I’ve highlighted the importance of defining your niche for SEO, and how to develop and plan quality content tailored to that niche, there is one important piece of the puzzle remaining. The aim of all your separate pieces of content, as well as your overall content strategy, should be to ultimately build authority for your site in a certain topic.
Authority has always been a component of Google’s search. Even in the most rudimentary iterations of Google’s PageRank algorithm, outbound and inbound links were used to gauge authority.
However, as Google has moved more toward personalization and semantic search, authority on a narrower subject has become not only more important, but actually has become a lot less difficult to achieve. Especially if you define a niche well enough and choose this niche appropriately for your business.
In his book “Google Semantic Search,” David Amerland argues that the “four Vs” that govern big data processes can also be used to inform SEO and content marketing decisions (if you think about it, understanding Google’s search engine is nothing but a big data problem).
The four Vs are:
- Volume. This is the simplest of the four, but the amount of material you put out about your topic of choice will be a big indication to Google of your authority on the subject.
- Velocity. The overall frequency of your content will also give Google a hint as to your expertise. Posting once a week for a year, likely looks better than posting once a month over the course of four years.
- Variety. While you don’t want to venture too far with your content’s subject, covering a variety of areas within your niche of choice will signal to Google that you have authority on the topic.
- Veracity. Having content that is received well by readers (that is shared, talked about, etc.) is perhaps the strongest indication to Google that they should serve content from your site to readers interested in the concept you chose to focus on.
Focusing on making sure your broader content strategy satisfies the conditions of these four ideas will ensure that your individual quality pieces of content end up constituting search benefits that are greater than the sum of their parts.
“Traditional” SEO as the Final Step
Once you have ensured that you have identified your audience, understand what interests them, are producing quality content for your niche, and are doing so in a way that is establishing your site’s authority, then you can start thinking about “traditional” SEO considerations.
Traditional SEO is kind of like rainbow sprinkles. On a vanilla ice cream cone, sprinkles can improve the whole experience and can actually offer people additional value. But if you give someone just a pile of rainbow sprinkles, you won’t be giving them anything they really want and will likely just leave a bad taste in their mouth.
In much the same way, legitimate SEO best practices such as linking to other relevant posts within your blog, providing accurate keywords within headlines and anchor text, and properly tagging and categorizing your content can really offer a lot of additional value to readers.
If these best practices are followed in addition to providing quality content that people want to read, then they will not only enhance the user experience, they will make this great content easier to find. However, if best practices are not incorporated into a broader content strategy they will likely do more harm than good.
In fact, this is exactly what Sean Jackson was saying when he claimed “SEO is dead.” It doesn’t mean that these practices are dead, but if you’re notcreating awesome content, they’re essentially useless.
How do you incorporate key SEO tactics when creating content for your business? Share your experience in the comments below.
Are you taking advantage of the most recent Facebook features?
Want to know how to improve your Facebook marketing?
Staying on top of the latest Facebook updates will help your business get better results.
Here are five ways to incorporate recently revealed Facebook features into your marketing.
#1: Craft Multi-Product Ads
Traditional Facebook ads include an image, a headline, post text, a description and a display URL. Each ad has a unique landing page.
Basic Facebook ads have an image, a headline, post text, a description and a display URL.
Facebook now offers the ability to create multi-product (also known as carousel) ads, which allow you to rotate several products in one ad. Each product has its own title, image and landing page. All products share the same text and social (like, comment and share) buttons.
Set up these Facebook ads only using the API or Facebook’s Power Editor. While you’re able to add two or more images to the multi-product ads, the best practice is totest to find out what number of displayed products maximizes your conversion rate.
Here’s how the Ad tab of your editor looks while you’re creating a multi-product ad:
There are a few things to keep in mind when creating a multi-product ad. First of all, keep the headline and description text short so they’ll fit the screen. For best results,limit your headline to 25 characters and your link description to 30. As per other ads on Facebook, you can’t have more than 20% text in the image. You can measure the ratio using the Facebook Grid Tool.
Remember, multi-product ads work on a square dimension of 600 x 600 pixels (both for desktop and mobile ads), so don’t use large, wide images. Multi-product ads only run on the news feed and are not allowed in the right column of Facebook.
#2: Add Featured Videos
One of Facebook’s latest updates is encouraging pages to upload a featured video and show it prominently to people when they visit your Video tab.
t’s easy to set up a featured video. Simply click Videos in the tab below your page’s cover photo. Note: Your videos might be in the More section. Upload videos if you haven’t already done so. Then, click Add Featured Video.
Featured videos effectively bring attention to your page.
#3: Create Video Playlists
Facebook has also created video playlists, which should engage users to watch and share more content.
Setting up your video playlist is easy. Just click Videos in the tab below your page’s cover photo (which you may find in the More section). Then select Create Playlist.
Now, add a title and description and click Next.
Select the videos you want to add to your playlist and click Next.
Now, click and drag videos to order them and select Create Playlist.
Your video tab will now display one section with your playlists and one section for all videos. This is an excellent way to group and share themed or topical video content.
#4: Customize Advanced Remarketing Features
In addition to people visiting any or specific pages of your site, Facebook added two preset options. These are designed to make it easy to create lists that exclude conversion pages or to try to bring people back into the funnel after their first visit.
One of Facebook’s preset options is for “people visiting specific web pages but not others.”
The other preset is for “people who haven’t visited in a certain amount of time.”
There are some best practices you can incorporate to take advantage of these advanced segmentations. Create promotions to attract people who visited your site but did not yet buy. Also, give visitors information that supplements what they already know; added value may help conversions.
Finally, set up list sizes that make sense for your business. For example, if your business has clients who make fast decisions, even 30 days may be too long. However, if your clients take part in a lengthy decision-making process, you can increase the list size to up 180 days, and keep your business in the front of their minds.
#5: Explore Dynamic Product Ads
Facebook is rolling out dynamic product ads for advertising accounts. This feature, currently available only using the API, enables you to promote relevant products from your entire catalog on any device.
This ad type is going to show items to Facebook users based on what products they have seen on your website or mobile app.
This approach is similar to a remarketing campaign, but with a couple of add-ons. Facebook will show additional products that might be of interest to the user. Plus, you will be able to use lookalike audiences to expand your reach. This means that you can have Facebook match people who are interested in a product with other Facebook users with similar profiles, since they could potentially be interested in products from your catalog.
Finally, dynamic product ad campaigns will be automated, so there will be no need to manually create ads for your products.
Even though Facebook dynamic product ads are available only to selected partners, Facebook announced they will be available via the Power Editor very soon.
Test all of the newly available Facebook features to find out what works best for you and your business.
Original Post Credit – http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/5-new-facebook-features-marketers-use/
Original Author Credit – http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/author/rocco-alberto-baldassarre/
Content marketing is more popular than ever with 91 percent of B2B marketers and 86 percent of B2C marketers employing content marketing initiatives this year. As the number of businesses embracing content marketing grows, more resources become available. The following educational resources — from blogs and videos to training, events and more — can help any marketer learn the significance of content marketing and how it can be applied successfully in any business’ online marketing strategy.
Content Marketing Blogs
- Content Marketing Institute – Formerly Junta42, Content Marketing Institute was founded by Joe Pulizzi, the leading evangelist for content marketing
- Marketing Land – Content Marketing Channel – Marketing Land is led by search journalist Danny Sullivan and provides content about Internet marketing, marketing issues and the online marketing industry
- Convince and Convert – Social media and content marketing strategy posts by the Convince and Convert team, led by president Jay Baer
- Marketing Profs – Real world education for modern marketers by many of the sharpest minds in marketing
- Vertical Measures – “How to” Internet marketing information on a variety of topics from SEO and social media to content marketing and strategy
- Brian Solis – Business and marketing online resource blog ranked among the top 1 percent of blogs tracked by Technorati
- Copyblogger – Tools and training for smarter content marketing
- TopRank Blog – Insights, resources and commentary on a range of digital marketing and public relations topics
- Heidi Cohen – Marketing related insights grounded in digital and direct marketing
- Find and Convert – Relevant, informative content on digital marketing topics to help you optimize your marketing results
- Kikolani – Blog marketing and blogging tips for personal and professional bloggers
- HubSpot – Inbound marketing content on a variety of topics for marketers of all skill levels, from introductory to intermediate and advanced
- Social Media Examiner – Content that helps businesses discover how to best use social media blogs and podcasts to drive traffic, awareness and revenue
- Marketing Experiments – The first internet based research lab to conduct experiments in optimizing marketing and sales processes
Content Marketing Whitepapers, Free Guides And Case Studies
- 2013 State of Content Marketing – Fresh perspective on what marketers are focusing on in 2013
- How to Improve Content Marketing Results with Predictive Models – Learn how to improve content marketing campaigns, why predictive analyses are superior to CRM and what kind of data you need to get started
- Creating Content that Sells – How to create a mix of content and social media that generates demand and revenue
- A Practical Guide to Building a Killer Content Strategy – Take the guesswork out of content planning and learn how to create a successful strategy custom to your business
- An Introduction to Using Dynamic Content in Marketing – Learn what dynamic content and how it increases conversions
- Better Yield in the Content Marketing Field – Results of a survey of more than 400 B2B buyers and content seekers
- A Field Guide to the 4 Types of Content Marketing Metrics – Learn the four key categories of metrics, how and when to deploy them, and how to measure real ROI
- The Advanced Guide to Content Marketing – 40,000 word, ten chapter guide about the ins and outs of content marketing
- What is Content Marketing? – Content marketing experts share their knowledge of content marketing: what it is, what it isn’t, why it is the “modern marketing” and more
- How to Content Market – Understand the trends and dynamics driving content marketing
- Content Marketing Tools Guide – Explores eight efficient content tools to strengthen content operations
- CMI Case Studies – Learn how 4 businesses are using content marketing and seeing positive results
- 11 Examples of Killer B2B Content Marketing Campaigns Including ROI – 11 B2B companies employing successful content marketing strategies
Content Marketing Training
- Marketing Profs University – Comprehensive online training in a number of areas of marketing including digital advertising, email marketing, campaign planning and more
- Content Marketing Crash Course – How to create a winning content strategy to drive business
- Inbound Marketing Certification – Nine classes that cover the core elements of inbound marketing strategy
- Content Marketing Training for Your Business – A variety of options from a one hour webinar to a ½ day, full day or multi day content marketing workshop
- Content Marketing Certification – Learn what content marketing, is, isn’t, its history and its role in marketing today
- Content Marketing 2013 WebConference and Certification – 21 on-demand sessions on topics ranging from keyword research and persona based content marketing to content marketing measurement
- Content Marketing Boot Camp – Available both in person or virtually, learn all there is to know about content marketing in 2-3 days
Content Marketing Infographics
- The Dos and Don’ts of Content Marketing – Best practices and dos and don’ts of blogging, press releases, infographics and guest posting
- The History of Content Marketing – A look into content marketing from the past, from 4200 B.C. through 2011
- Content Marketing vs. Traditional Advertising – Content marketing use and budget compared to traditional advertising
- The Anatomy of Content Marketing – Explores how content marketing can help businesses grow online
- Taking Shape with Content Marketing – Why creating custom content is important for your business
- Content Marketing Matrix – Use the four quadrants: entertain, inspire, convince and educate to generate ideas
- Content and Inbound Marketing Blueprint – How inbound marketing and content marketing work together
- Content Marketing Landscape – See how all Internet marketing disciplines come together
- History of Marketing Channels – Timeline of marketing channels dating back to 1839
Content Marketing Videos
- What is Content Marketing? – Content marketing explained in less than 4 minutes
- Coca-Cola Content 2020 Part One and Part Two – How Coca-Cola has approached content marketing
- How Long Does it Take Content Marketing to Work? – Find out how long it will take to get ROI from content marketing initiatives
- Content Marketing and the Power of Story – A brief history of content marketing and where it is today
- How to Measure Content Marketing – Learn how to measure content marketing ROI
- Next Wave with Gary Vaynerchuk: Content is King – Gary Vaynerchuk discusses how content marketing is changing advertising
Content Marketing Podcasts
- Content Marketing 360 – Hosted by Pamela Muldoon, Content Marketing 360 features discussions with many of the top marketing minds from all over the world
- Content Marketing Podcast – Rachel Parker of Resonance Content Marketing helps listeners understand what content marketing is, why it is important and how to use it successfully
- Content Warfare Podcast – How to succeed at content marketing, social media and content creation
- Social Pros Podcast – Real people doing real work in social media
- Explore Marketing Uncensored – Your way into the minds of some of the top digital marketing and social media experts
What content marketing resource(s) have you found to be helpful? Let me know in the comment section.
Author – Arnie Kuenn