search engine optimization

9 Steps towards Optimized Content Marketing Nirvana #sesto

optimized content marketing nirvanaSearch Engine Optimization has been around for at least 15 years and has undergone many changes as search technologies and consumer behaviors evolve. At the same time, Content Marketing has captured the attention of companies and consultants in many industries as one of the latest areas of focus for better digital marketing performance.

As a practitioner of SEO and Content Marketing for many years, it’s interesting to see SEOs work to get their arms around building more content focused search marketing strategies. At the same time, content marketers are evolving their skills at SEO to attract qualified traffic to all the great content being created.

It’s Not SEO Anymore, It’s Marketing. Deal With It.

Customer Centric SEO

Optimize For Customer Experience

When people learn I’ve recently written a book called Optimize they usually ask what it’s about. I say it’s about optimizing customer discovery and engagement with content. The response I usually get is something like, “Oh, cool. I thought it was about SEO.”

Well, in a way optimizing content and customer experiences is SEO. That’s because what most of the better SEOs practice today is really more about the promise of marketing: attracting, engaging and inspiring customers to buy.

Whether it’s Google, Social Networks, Online News Media, Digital Assets or any other channel/format for content – best practices optimization is in effect for smart companies that want an advantage.

3 Ways to Optimize Images: Search, Social Media & User Experience

Optimize your images for search, social, and a target audience

Optimize Your Images for Better Digital Asset Optimization

From Marketing to PR, digital assets are an essential part of the content used to tell stories and communicate brand messages.  For publishers and public relations professionals, optimizing the images used in news stories and press releases can have an important impact on visibility in search engines.  Images not only add flavor to news content, but they are also an opportunity to extend the reach of your message through image specific search.

Images are essential for both search and social media marketing with growing popularity as a social media asset. Long time image hosting and social network Flickr hosts well over 50 billion images and social media image sharing services like Instagram and Pintrest have exploded in popularity:

A to Z Internet Marketing News: Happy Birthday TopRankBlog!, 2012 Marketing Predictions, Social Disasters, Cashing in on XMAS

21 Social Media Marketing Trends for 2012

Curious to find out what 2012 could have in store for online marketers?  This presentation from DreamGrow shares 21 predictions on what 2012 could look like.

Highlights include:

  • Social CRM making inroads
  • Social media influencing more sales
  • Social commerce on mobile devices

Facebook IPO and Most Popular Social Sites:

“Nielsen: Top Web Destinations, Social Networks and Video Sites in 2011”  As 2011 comes to an end, Nielsen released a review of the top online destinations, social media sites, and smartphone devices.  It is no surprise that Google was the most visited U.S. Web Brand and Facebook was still the leader among social networks and blogs.  Via Nielsen.

The Dynamic Duo of Business Blog Marketing: Optimize & Socialize

optimize socialize business bloggingBlogs are often rated one of the top content marketing tactics for attracting and engaging customers and eMarketer has reported blogs reach over 50% of the internet audience. But many companies fail to combine two of the most important tools for boosting relevant traffic and reach: Optimization for search engines and for social media.

Most marketers and bloggers understand the basics of a good business blog and the notion of search engine optimization but often focus more on keywords than the customers that are actually searching.  Adding keywords to blog posts is a common SEO tactic but developing a blog content plan around both search keywords and social topics that represent what customers care about can result in content that is inherently more search, social and customer media friendly.

Search, Social, & Content Work Together at SES Chicago 2011

Wednesday morning’s panel discussion on search, social, and content was flush with information that was easy to digest and provided helpful tips for implementation. The session was moderated by Anne Kennedy from the SES Advisory board and featured speakers:

• Aaron Kahlow, Chairman & Founder, Online Marketing Summit & SES Advisory Board (@omconnect)
• Arnie Kuenn, President, Vertical Measures (@arniek)
• Lee Odden, SES Advisory Board & CEO, TopRank Online Marketing & SES Advisory Board (@leeodden)

Kahlow Presents the What, Why, How, and Who of Search, Social, and Content

Aaron Kahlow focused on some very basic but essential areas that all marketers should focus on when creating a campaign either online or offline. In regards to search, social, and content he had this to share:

7 Principles for User Generated Content: Michael DeHaven SES Chicago 2011

SES-Chicago-Michael-DeHavenMichael DeHaven’s presentation at SES Chicago on “User Generated SEO” started with some actual user generated content from the audience. Before the session DeHaven gave 5 volunteers a bite sized Ghirardelli chocolate bar. In exchange for the treat he asked that each of the volunteers write a review of the chocolate and then share it with the rest of the audience.

What Was the Response?
The chocolate was called everything from waxy, to too sweet, messy, and melt in your mouth goodness. In contrast the packaging created by the Ghirardelli marketers was quite different, “take time to slow down and feel yourself melt with each bite.” As you can see the professional marketers took a much different approach than the consumers.

Grab Your Jacket – The Windy City Blows In Big Talent For SES Chicago 2011

With over 70 sessions SES Chicago running November 14-18, 2011 is a virtual smorgasbord of information for Marketing and SEO professionals alike.  Many topics will be covered including: PPC, keyword research, SEO, social media, local marketing, mobile marketing, link building, content, optimization, usability, and so much more.  With so many sessions to choose from where should you begin?  Below are a list of ‘must see’ sessions that I will be sure to check out while I’m there.

#1 – Winning! Measuring Social Media Success

While I doubt that Eli Goodman and Tami Dalley will be channelling Charlie Sheen I am still very interested to hear their take on measuring the success of social campaigns.  I would recommend having your social media metrics handy if possible ( I know I will), so that you can apply the speakers instruction on estimating the value of your fans and followers in real time.  Who knows, we may find that we score better than anticipated.

MarketingSherpa 2012 SEO Benchmark Report

MarketingSherpa SEO GuideOne of the report categories from MarketingSherpa that I’ve been reviewing for a long time, as in 5 or more years, is their coverage of Search Engine Marketing.  In particular, the Search Engine Marketing Benchmark Report – SEO Edition.  (See last year’s review here).

The sub-title is appropriately a great indication of the theme for this guide: “Research and Insights for Creating and Capitalizing on a Rich End-User Search Experience. This is a far cry from the days of “Boost Your Search Engine Rankings and More!”.  As Online Marketers have matured, there is an increasing focus on optimizing for customers and customer experience vs. the sole KPIs of rankings and traffic.

#Optimize Your Online Marketing With Social Media, SEO & Content

OptimizeWith the boom in brands publishing content and the explosion of user generated content from social networks, the competition to stand out is only going to get more challenging for companies that rely on the web to attract new business.  Online Marketers that adapt, evolve and scale through a more holistic approach to marketing online gain both short and long term benefits, distinct from competitors reliant on the latest tactic du jour.

The process of change starts with acknowledgment that change is needed and then extends to identifying goals, understanding target audiences & communities, developing an approach and tactical mix for reaching business objectives. Assessing a starting point is usually accomplished through an audit, research and benchmarking for future performance tracking.

How SEO Can Work With Content Strategy

Content Marketing OptimizationRecently I spoke with Content Strategist, Margot Bloomstein, who was conducting research for an upcoming publication about Content Strategy intended for a variety of audiences. In particular, we discussed productive interactions and exchanges between Search Engine Optimization professionals and Content Strategists.

Organizations advance their reach and engagement goals through content and Strategists work to audit, develop strategy, plan, create and maintain that content. Ahava Leibtag provides an excellent and practical approach at CMI in her post, “Creating Valuable Content” which outlines how content should be: Findable, Readable, Understandable, Actionable and Shareable.

SEO and content strategy intersect in more ways than optimizing web pages with keywords. My take on Margot’s question, “How does SEO and content strategy interact?” starts with understanding customer segments, behaviors and preferences for information discovery, consumption and sharing. Knowing what customers care about and how those concerns and interests manifest as search keywords and social topics folds very well into the keyword research practiced by professional SEOs.

Effective Use of Keywords in Content Marketing

Keywords Content Marketing

Wordle Cloud Using the Text of This Article

I recently had an interesting discussion with Ron Jones who is writing a book specifically on using keywords for online marketing called “Keyword Intelligence“. He was researching for the content marketing portion of the book and we talked about where keywords fit. These kinds of discussions are great for blog posts so here are a few ideas for you on keywords, SEO, Social Media and content.

Content marketing is customer centric and therefore often focused not only on creating information to educate prospects and customers about product/service features and benefits, but also about topics of interest relevant to the situations that cause people to need or want those products and services.