• Thiết kế website bán hàng miễn phí 2018

Chapter 2: The Three Pillars of SEO in 2014

Think about SEO as a holistic discipline: there’s no single tactic or strategy that’ll work to get you top, sustainable rankings in 2014. Instead, achieving good search engine rankings requires being aware of and strategically leveraging three key areas – links, content, and social media marketing. Each of these areas work together synergistically to create a successful SEO strategy. Let’s take a closer look at each one, and what you need to know.

Content Strategy

Content strategy is being touted by experts as “the new SEO”, and for good reason. In the wake of Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm updates (which are discussed in more detail in Chapter 3), many once-popular tactics no longer work. These algorithm updates have forced online marketing strategists to rethink their SEO campaigns from tactically-focused to strategically-focused, with a heavy emphasis on quality content production and publication.

But content strategy goes beyond simply publishing great content. It also encompasses the existing content on your website, and ensuring that it’s optimized from a technical SEO perspective, while also ensuring future published content abides by these technical best practices as well. For an excellent guide to technical on-site SEO elements, see this on-site SEO guide.

Once you’ve covered the technical elements, it’s time to focus on your content strategy. Before you can begin strategically writing and publishing your content, you need to understand your target market as well as what words and phrases (keywords and concepts, discussed further in Chapter 4: Modern Keyword Research) that they’re searching for in the search engines.

The best use of keyword data is to look for places that fill holes in a website’s overall content. Are users within your target market looking for a certain phrase or answer for which there isn’t an applicable article or blog post? Create a blog post, e-book, article, or white paper about it. Start by performing keyword research, then using that research to build your content strategy. Here are some helpful resources for exactly how to do that:

Besides understanding what real users are actually looking for, great content also shapes the user experience and the way they see and feel about a company. A regularly updated company blog with well-written, insightful blog posts will garner a reputation for publishing great content, which will attract more inbound links, social media buzz, positive branding, traffic, leads, and sales. Compare that to a company blog that simply communicates mundane company news or events without offering insight or value to its readers.

Thinking in the mindset of the customer should always been the framework from which content is created and published. An organic vitamin company can safely assume that their customers are going to be interested in content that discusses overall health and wellness. So, an interview blog post with a start-up company that offers organic produce delivery will be more engaging than a marketing-driven post on what types of vitamins are for sale. Content should always provide a benefit or value to the reader. For more information on content strategy, see Chapter 8: Content and Inbound Marketing.

Inbound Links

Link building is a set of SEO tactics that results in the creation of hyperlinks from other websites to your own, for the purpose of introducing external readers to your company’s content. The quantity and quality of inbound links is a major factor in the organic search ranking algorithms.

The mindset in 2014 has shifted around inbound links, from one of building to one of earning. Instead of focusing on excessive link building, the best sites and brands are working on developing their voice and brand in the market. This, combined with creating the best content, is an ethical and effective approach to raising your profile and search rankings with more links. For a detailed discussion of how to approach links in the current SEO context, see Chapter 7: Link Building Shifts to Link Earning.

Social Media

Many SEO traditionalists have taken a while to understand the true benefits of social media as it relates to an organic search marketing strategy, but social media does far more than simply ensuring your company is keeping up with the competition. Social media gives companies an additional platform to interact with customers, build their brand, and create a community, all while also driving traffic to their website.

Social media strategy is different for each company, depending on its target market and what they are interested in. Because of this, not all available social media channels can be a benefit to every company. It’s important to find where your target audience is hanging out online, and to concentrate efforts on those social networks.

Optimizing and engaging within social networks has not always been a goal of SEO, but should be in 2014. While SEO campaigns are mainly performed to attract new customers and raise awareness of a business within organic search results, social media focuses on maintaining customers and strengthening relationships with them through strategic engagement.

To wrap up our thoughts on what SEO looks like in 2014: the best approach for considering SEO is as an integrated framework that uses high quality, regular content to establish authority; social media to gain traction for promotion; and focusing on earning links to build long-term equity with search engines. We’ll now move on and explore some of the recent updates from Google that are impacting SEO and how we think about search.

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