Prior to becoming an inbound marketer at Revenue River, I had been working for a small branding and marketing agency that focused the majority of its efforts on producing creative items such as logos, web designs, sales collateral, presentation decks, so on and so forth. Needless to say, I didn’t have a strong background or understanding of SEO services and how it could be beneficial to a business. Now, the relevancy of my employment history is much less significant here than the first SEO conversation I had with my Senior Web Developer at the time, which consisted of:
Me: “Hey, I just had a client ask if we help out with SEO. What should I tell them?”
Web Guy: “Tell them that SEO is a bullshit practice.”
Me: “So, that’s a no...?”
Call me naïve, impressionable, or both, but at the time I didn’t think twice about his response. After all, he was the expert. And as you’ve probably guessed by now, this is where my previous misconception of where SEO stemmed from. Like so many other misguided souls out there, I was under the impression that SEO was the equivalent of the ‘close door’ button in an elevator; absolutely useless, but there to make you feel like you’ve helped your chances just by using it.
Now, fast forward about a year, and here I am, doe-eyed and bushy-tailed at the dawn of a new marketing adventure. I came into Revenue River eager to learn, and learn I did. In fact, in just one short month, I’ve learned that the stories are actually true; SEO is indeed a real practice that provides a real value to businesses. More importantly, I’ve learned that in order to optimize SEO it’s essential to be aware of 3 key facts; content is king, keywords are everything, and trial and error is inevitable.
Content Is King
According to Contently’s, 5 Stats That Prove Great Content is the Key to Great SEO, in 2014, an Ascend2 survey reported that only 57 percent of marketers said that content creation was the most effective strategy for SEO. In 2015, the same survey reported that 72 percent of marketers worldwide said that relevant content creation was the most effective SEO tactic. As you can see, I’m not the only one who has jumped onto the SEO bandwagon.
It used to be that slapping an excessive number of links and keywords into crappy pieces of content was enough to boost your SEO ranking. This is also probably why there are a number of people out there who still view SEO as a ‘bullshit practice’. However, this is no longer the case. Google has gotten smarter. Producing mass amounts of content is no longer sufficient; your content must be high quality and relevant in order to rank competitively. However, this is not to say that all previous SEO practices have been thrown out the window. It is still just as important to produce content consistently and frequently as it was before. The only difference is that now, quality holds much more value than quantity.
Keywords Are Everything
Simply put, the proper use of keywords will get you more search engine traffic. Target keywords are terms relevant to a specific piece of content that help to connect a user’s Google search to the most applicable piece of content. For example, if I was looking to purchase a new pair of running shoes, I might type ‘women’s running shoes’ into Google. The product of my search would be a list, ranking from most relevant to least relevant, of applicable content that would help to fulfill my search query. Keywords go hand-in-hand with SEO because without them, it would be very difficult to get your content in front of the right audience.
Just like content strategy, keyword strategy has evolved over time. ‘Keyword stuffing’ was a tactic that was used, and is occasionally still used, to improve SEO rank. The thought behind it was that the more ‘relevant’ keywords that you could jam into a single piece of content, the more likely you would be to rank competitively in a search. Seems logical, right? Wrong. Like I mentioned earlier, Google has gotten smarter. Google is now able gage the relevancy and integrity of content better than ever before, so it’s important to remember that too many keywords can have a negative impact on your SEO. With that said, the same concept that is applied to content creation should also be applied to keywords, ‘quality over quantity’.
Trial and Error Is Inevitable
SEO strategy isn’t something that you do one time and never touch again. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. It is an ongoing process that needs to be tested, evaluated, and adjusted accordingly based on your results. And although a nice thought, it’s extremely unrealistic to assume that you will be successful in all of your SEO efforts.
It is more likely that you will need to work closely with your SEO expert to perform keyword research, determine the target keywords you are going to leverage, and apply those keywords to your content. From that point, you will need to analyze what’s working, what’s not, and create a corresponding strategy to address your shortcomings and further enhance your successes.
So, there you have it, folks. SEO isn’t just a fairytale, it is an immensely valuable tool that when used correctly, can act as a huge catalyst for improving your search engine ranking, drawing increased site traffic, and driving lead generation. At the end of the day, just remember that quality is more important than quantity and good things come to those who wait.