SEO in 2014: The New Model of Authenticity
In 2014 the SEO world has shifted from one-size-fits-all tactics to individualized marketing programs that are integrated with ongoing company goals and initiatives. Today’s SEO is better described as inbound marketing; encompassing SEO, social media, content strategy, online PR, and even brand development.
The Old SEO Model
There are a number of tactics that have been exploited over the years to get results in SEO, we used to be able to simply add more instances of a keyword within content, instantly buy high page rank links, build the same directory links for every customer, post bogus blog comments, and manipulate keyword anchor text to increase rankings. These are all outdated SEO tactics that used to work and now leave a clear footprint of manipulation for Google to discover and penalize you for. The bottom line… the tricks are out, SEO is hard. If someone offers cheap or easy SEO to you, run!
The New SEO Model for 2014
The new model for SEO is more in line with traditional marketing than it is technical computer hacking. We still address keyword research, on-page SEO, and crawl errors, but off-page SEO (link-building) has completely changed. The name of the game today is creating REAL content that addresses REAL needs and gets REAL attention and engagement from REAL people. Forget about tactics, you need to find out what your audience cares about and create awesome content that drives an emotional response… sound like traditional marketing? It pretty much is, with a touch of journalism, design creativity, and technical savvy. The companies successful at SEO in 2014 will develop key people into thought leaders who produces influential content within their niche, and cultivate relationships with other industry thought leaders for cross-promotion. This content should primarily be published on the company site, but may also be submitted out to other reputable and relevant websites in the form of guest posts. It is important to note that mass guest blogging only for SEO is dangerous, it must be authentic.
So How Do I Create REAL Content for SEO?
Start by identifying current thought leaders in your industry, the bloggers and journalists that are on the cutting edge, have a respected voice, and have a strong social-media following. Research the top issues in the industry and make a list, these are your potential topics. Try using Google News or Trends to help research topics. Next read the leading articles by those writers and develop your own opinion and standpoint that is relevant to what’s already being said, but offers a new take on it. Make sure to directly reference and link to these other articles (and even your own web pages where relevant). Take your time and ask yourself if this is something you would take the time to read and share with your friends, if not maybe do some more work on it. Remember, the quality of this content is directly related to the response you will receive.
How Do I Promote My New Awesome SEO Content?
Social Media. The next step is to post your content to social media channels, if you already have a strong following this may be all that’s needed to get you piece off the ground and driving traffic. If you don’t have a big following consider using paid social media ads. Facebook and Twitter are two great options to promote your piece, you can hyper-target your audience to match your content, and if done right you will definitely get a response. Having keyword relevant content that ranks predominantly in your niche WILL impact your rankings once done enough. You should also contact the authors you referenced to let them known about the article, you might get lucky and get a tweet or share that could make all the difference.
But How Does This Web Content Help With SEO?
The bottom line is that you can’t fake trusted relevant engagement, producing the right web content will get you the likes, shares, +1’s, re-tweets, and even links that come from authentically connecting with your audience. If you use Google authorship and connect each piece with your profile you will develop a trusted connection between your G profile and the keyword relevant content you are producing. If you want to rank for SEO terms and you regularly produce SEO content that ranks well and is linked by other trusted SEO sites it makes a clear distinction that you are actually an SEO expert, and thus more trusted in your vertical online. This is one way Google can filter out the bogus content by bogus writers, it just won’t receive the same engagement and online votes via links and social signals.
So Why Do I Need an SEO Company?
Good question! The truth is that even if you can create expert content you still need someone who can manage your overall SEO campaign and help you make strategic decisions based on work performed and results received. A solid SEO company will interpret all the data received from website analytics and respond with a customized SEO plan of attack that addresses the individual company and website needs. Lastly, the more successful you are at implementing this strategy the more guidance you will need to take full advantage of the opportunities that arise. Only a true professional will know how to best leverage SEO opportunities as they arise.