More than 98% of the traffic to your site is coming via search engines, which makes search one of the most important ways to connect with customers and prospects. Many studies have confirmed that the higher the rank on the search results, the more traffic you will experience. So, high rankings are critical to visibility. Over the years search engine optimization (SEO) has changed and evolved as the search engines refine their algorithms and weighting formulas to serve up the most relevant results to users.
Without SEO, websites are invisible to search engines. Recent updates to Google search include artificial intelligence to evaluate the quality of the content and the level of engagement of the brand. Although there has been a lot of effort invested in trying to trick the search engines, the best strategy is to play by the rules.
So what are the rules?
- Create a content-rich, useful site.
- Use key words and links appropriately.
- Engage with your users through your own site and social media channels.
- Produce fresh content regularly whether original or curated.
- Check what people are searching for and match it to your content.
It is common in companies for different departments to take responsibility for SEO, social media and content marketing. As a result, many promotion efforts are less efficient than they could be. Sometimes, various parts of the program are outsourced to firms specializing in SEO, social media or content marketing, making integration even more challenging. The result has often been fragmented and disappointing.
Integrating content + SEO + social is a winning formula to attract and engage more customers. Identifying and serving up content is what search engines do. Sharing content is also the primary “word of mouth” activity on social networks. The key to success is balancing support of the content through responsible use of keyword and link-building strategies and to attract and engage more visitors through social media.
As search engines refine their methodology, they are increasingly able to assess the level of engagement between brands and their fans in social channels as well as at the brand’s website. Brands that use social media to push out constant marketing messages with no evidence of real engagement with their community of users will not be valued as highly as a brand that frequently engages its community.
When integrating your marketing, check the search terms your customers and prospects are using to locate content and social communities. By understanding what terms they are using to search for you, you can tailor your keywords to your content and fully optimize your marketing to be “discoverable.” Use these terms in your website, emails and social media engagement, and the increased optimization in your marketing efforts will land you at a higher level in the search results. The SEO investment should pay lasting dividends in your increased visibility to searchers. The higher level of visibility means that more people will have the opportunity to evaluate your products and services, and that means more business for you and your company.