search engine optimization

Where Social Media and SEO Fit in Today’s Content Marketing Mix

Search Social Content Marketing

Whether your role is in search, social media, marketing communications or PR, the importance of content marketing is unmistakable.

Brand content budgets and participation are up with the vast majority of B2C and B2B marketers now using content marketing. The industry is coming together on best practices and organizations are evolving their structures to include roles like Chief Content Officer and Brand Journalist.

While there is growing synergy between search, social media and content marketing, they don’t often function collaboratively in organizations. There are also some misconceptions about what content marketing really is.

This post will dig in to some of the realities of incorporating an integrated approach that leverages the best of search, social media and content marketing, while dispelling some of the myths that keep integrated efforts apart.

How to Incorporate SEO and Influencer Content

Optimize Influencer Content for Search

Make no mistake, discovery of content through search engines is more important than ever. But the practice of optimizing content for search visibility has changed substantially.

As search engines look for signals of credibility amongst content and links, humans do the same thing. In the way that links alone used to drive the search visibility of a web page up, endorsements and mentions from industry influencers can still boost the visibility of a brand. As a result, the trend towards influencer and advocate marketing is on the rise.

While SEO and influencer content might seem more meatball sundae than PBJ, I assure you, the combination can be whatever you want it to be, because it’s content. Understanding demand for topics reconciled with the brand’s ambitions around a topic, search optimization insights applied to an influencer content program can boost both the quantity and the quality of attraction.

How SEO and Inbound Marketing Can Grow Your B2B Marketing Performance

B2B SEO Inbound Marketing

Call it organic marketing, call it inbound marketing or even content marketing – the practice of creating useful information to generate demand and attract an audience of buyers vs. buying ads to push messages out to them is one of the highest impact, low cost approaches to digital marketing a business can take.

The practice of optimizing content for better search visibility goes hand in hand with the broader approach of inbound marketing. SEO best practices can be applied to content across the entire sales cycle to surface brand content during awareness, consideration and purchase behaviors as well as after the transaction to reinforce retention and advocacy goals.

What Google Hummingbird Really Means and What Marketers Can Do About It

Google Hummingbird

Note from Lee: You know the phrase, kill two birds with one stone? That’s what we’re doing with this post format and the topic of Hummingbird.  Our team at TopRank is known for liveblogging conferences, but this co-created blog format is something new. At the same time, we’re covering a topic (Google Hummingbird) and search + social media that I think warrants some clarity and practical advice. In this post, you’ll see insights our team members took from the SMBMSP event followed by “TopRank Tips” from Eliza and myself.

In the digital marketing world, change is inevitable. At some point in life we are all forced to adapt, change paths, learn new skills or face something we definitely weren’t expecting.

Why A Transition From Optimizing for Search Engines to Optimizing for Customers is Essential

optimize for customersJudging by the daily new business inquiries we get every day, there’s a groundswell of companies that have become frustrated at the lack of cause and effect data from their SEO programs.

Sure, there are workarounds for things like “not provided” keywords, but the lack of information and uncertainty about what Google will take away next is causing many marketers to diversify into other owned, earned and organic areas: social media, content marketing, online public relations, and certainly into online advertising.

At the same time, as SEO practitioners have matured as marketers, the shift from keywords as the driver for content optimization and creation have been displaced by a focus on answering customer questions along the sales cycle.

Does SEO Still Matter?

SEOWe’ve all heard “SEO is Dead” from alarmists, the uninformed, and in countless link bait articles (irony?). But is there any truth to it?

While Search Engine Optimization may look completely different than it did even a year ago, I firmly believe that SEO is not only alive, but thriving. Here’s why:

Some of SEO is Dead

Many tactics that have fallen under the SEO umbrella can safely be considered dead, either because they don’t work anymore, never worked, or still work but are in violation of Google’s guidelines. I’m not going to spend time discussing why they don’t work or are risky, because that’s not what this article is about, and there has been plenty written about the topic.

The Truth About Content Marketing & SEO

SEO tunnel visionOver the past few years, there’s been a tremendous focus on content creation in the search and overall digital marketing world. Once you get past the hype, there are plenty of well documented case studies showing the ROI of a content marketing approach.

Unfortunately, content marketing campaigns are often guilty of paying little more than cursory attention to the optimization of digital assets for search. There might be a “keywords” or “SEO” check box on a task list, but it’s not anything that takes full advantage of search based discovery. The content might be engaging and inspire action, but good luck finding it on a search engine.

Why is this? It can be a mix of factors ranging from the ambiguity of SEO cause and effect to prioritizing tactics according to the ability to implement and understand how to measure their impact.

7 Steps to SEO at Scale: How to Ramp Up Your Search Engine Optimization Strategy

Scalable SEO in brands and organizationscomScore reports that in April 2013 there were over 20 billion search queries and of the 13 billion+ handled by Google, 16% of daily searches have never been seen before.  Each of those attempts represents buyers looking for solutions at the moment of need. Online marketers that take advantage of modern, scalable search engine optimization best practices as part of their overall digital marketing mix can gain a significant advantage over competitors to become “the best answer” when it matters most.

Understanding the basics of search engine optimization can be challenging given how often major search engines update and change the rules. However, buyers’ overwhelming use of search to find solutions is too great to ignore its influence on the buying cycle and achieving sales growth goals.

Online Marketing News: Facebook’s Redesigned Newsfeed, Google Attacked Over Elephant Ivory Ads

2013 Social Media Roadmap

Intuit Shares a Social Media Marketing Roadmap for Brands in 2013

Intuit shared an incredibly helpful infographic on their Small Business Blog to guide marketers in their social strategy this year. Path to Social Success in 2013 assigns a theme for each quarter; we begin the year by taking a social media inventory. As we enter the second quarter next month, it’s time to focus on working on relationships. The third quarter is all about integrating everything, while at the end of the year it’s time to take stock and look forward.

Of course, these are all important aspects of social media management throughout the year. Intuit’s guide is a good reminder to help marketers remember to revisit each area and concentrate on it at some point in 2013.

War of Words: Myth-Busting Search Engine Optimization

Mythbusting Search Engine Optimization SEOIn last week’s post about myth-busting social media, I asked what other marketing tactic or channel has attracted as much conjecture, blind advocacy and malarkey.  Only SEO can compare to social media when it comes to the volume of misperceptions and out-dated information posing as “best practices” online.

They say that the only things you can count on in life are death and taxes. Also, that search engines will change.

Google runs over 20,000 experiments per year and at any given time, 50-200 different versions of Google’s core algorithm are helping billions of searchers find what they’re looking for.   Add to that, personalization by location, past search history and the influences of the social graph and you have one of the most complex and fast changing systems ever created.

A Strategic View of Search Engine Optimization – Where Does SEO Fit in Your Content Strategy?

strategic search engine optimizationCompanies large and small, in industries from retail to manufacturing, publish content online with an expectation that a certain audience of people will find, read and act on that content.  While most Search Engine Optimization efforts are rightly focused on marketing goals like acquiring more customers and increasing revenue, making purchases is not the only reason consumers use search or ask for referrals through social networks.

There’s a lot of tactical advice online about search, social media and content marketing for companies that want to better connect with customers but that advice doesn’t always consider the differences between types of companies or even content within companies. For the best return on marketing investment, it’s important to understand that there are notable differences in tactics for effective optimization depending on who the audience is, how they prefer to discover, consume and act on information.  The very nature of B2C vs. B2B or small company vs. large company content, audience and outcomes can be different, so the approach to optimizing content for search and social media must be tailored accordingly.

Be Afraid: 33 Scary Online Marketing Tales of SEO, Social Media & Content Marketing

Scary Online MarketingHappy Halloween to all the online marketing ghosts, ghouls, and goblins out there.

Have you ever heard or received a really bad piece of online marketing advice?  Maybe the recommendation was founded on total hearsay, completely out of date or you discovered that the suggestions actually hurt, rather than helped? Scary! At one time or another we’ve all received the trick and not the treat in our internet marketing candy basket.

In this post you’ll find 20 scary SEO, social media and content marketing tales from the team at TopRank Online Marketing and from our friends on Twitter @TopRank, fans on Lee’s Facebook page and the TopRank Facebook page.

BOO! Scary Stories From the Crypt

1 – Classic scary: “Build great content and it will attract visitors all on it’s own. SEO isn’t necessary for good content to stand out.”