Want to hear a secret? SEO is dead. Ditto social media, infographics, contests and surveys.
I hear you cheering. Hurrah! Best news since the arrival of the new iPhone. No more crafting the perfect title tag, blog post, meta description or Facebook post. No need to respond tactfully to cranky customers calling you out on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp or Foursquare. No more keywords, no more hooks, no more trolls’ dirty looks. Just time for real company stuff. Finally.
Not so fast. The truth is that these things are more important than ever. As part of an integrated, coordinated content strategy. The days of piecemeal content creation and siloed SEO are over. That is the lesson of SearchLove, a two day conference put together by Distilled and SEOMoz which we were fortunate enough to attend.
Not too long ago, Google rolled out two algorithmic updates: Panda and Penguin. Both updates served to penalize thin content, lousy linking strategies and generally shady practices that had grown in popularity. “Grey hat” practices that worked in the past, like buying links, using exact domain matches without relevant content, and faking social media personalities, suddenly got sites reduced in search engine rankings, and sometimes delisted altogether.
Hand wringing and cursing ensued across the web. What to do?
Well, how about what you should have done in the first place? Create great content. Share it with communities for whom it’s relevant. Be deliberate and strategic in your online efforts. Connect marketing efforts online and off. And did I mention, create great content?
Great content is more than a random blog post about you every so often. It’s more than plugging a bunch of keywords into a page title. And it’s way more than trading links and submitting to search directories. It’s a new way of thinking about the intersection of your content, your company and your business goals.
So, how do you get started on this new content journey? Here are a few quick tips:
- Don’t forget the basics. Yes – you still need to do all the nitpicky, little things for SEO, such as create descriptive title tags, meta descriptions and use keywords in your content. These elements tell search engines what your site is about. Traditional, stand-alone SEO might not be as effective as it used to be, but you ignore it at your peril.
- Think about who you are targeting. You might not need to be number one on search engine ranking pages for the entire world unless you are a global brand. Think and focus on local.
- Don’t jump on every new platform that comes along! Where are your current and potential customers? Facebook? Twitter? Yelp? What about industry specific platforms or LinkedIn? Make sure digital marketing efforts are aimed at those places.
- Make sure your content answers these questions: What problem do my customers have? How am I uniquely suited to help fix it? The more you demonstrate empathy with your customers, the more likely they are to look to you to solve their issues.
- Keeping existing customers is as important – if not more important – than refilling the funnel. Use digital and social to keep your existing customers happy and coming back for more.
Yup, online marketing is more important than ever. Getting results requires more care. No more phoning it in. No more pretend engagement. No more slacking. Sorry.