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Choosing the right SEO agency can be a daunting task in itself.
Considering the complexity of what is needed from an enterprise SEO agency adds an entirely new level that can be overwhelming.
With so many SEO agencies popping up all over, how do you know which ones truly know how to optimize a website with the latest in Google’s algorithms without trickery or spam?
My experience over the last 20 years has found me on both sides of the fence.
I started my career building an SEO agency from a few people and a handful of clients to more than 500 clients and 100+ employees in less than a year.
Cut to several years later (2006) and I’m on the other side for chúng tôi (at the time a very large company) and interviewing for agencies to provide extra support.
With each enterprise organization I manage SEO for, I bring in a consultant and an agency (if there isn’t already one on contract).
The jump from working with a small to medium business into a large organization with corporate bureaucracy is not easy for anyone, especially an agency.Partnering with an Enterprise SEO Agency: What You Need to Know
A big factor in how your enterprise SEO agency will perform for you is having a clear understanding of what you will need them for once they are onboarded.
Setting up expectations during the RFP process will not only help you weed out the capable from the not-so-capable, but will set you and them up for success in the long run.
Drafting up a business case with your agency and tools for SEO will help you get organized on your needs and what your plan is for your agency going forward.
The business case will also help communicate expectations with key stakeholders and gain buy-in.Where to Find Enterprise SEO Agencies to Choose From
I personally have a list of agencies that follow me with new in-house roles and I recommend agencies as a consultant for clients depending on their needs.
Agencies will always say they can do anything but, from my experience, I know who can do what better and will always recommend accordingly.
If you don’t have your list, a tweet to SEO pros, or a post to a Facebook Group asking for recommendations can help.
If you have time, attend a few conferences (e.g., SMX Advanced, Pubcon, Mozcon) to gather your list.
Peruse the booths, talk to speakers from agencies on the topics that your needs focus on, and talk to other attendees.
Get to know other SEO professionals at an enterprise level and ask them who they use, who they like, and why they like them.
If you are planning on reviewing a large number of agencies for a specific need, then a Request For Proposal (RFP) is needed, but not always necessary.
As long as you are clear on what your needs and expectations are, you shouldn’t have any problem during the review process.
Allow each agency to chat with you one on one about your expectations, and present to a larger team as a second step.
I usually like to get a list of what the other teams would expect (in Groupon’s case, we had five SEO teams plus several business verticals across the global organization I needed to coordinate with).
This requires several meetings upfront but saves time and follow-up from unexpected questions when it comes down to the agencies presenting.What Makes an Enterprise SEO Agency Different?
Agencies with enterprise-level experience will usually skip past the obvious fixes since they have an understanding that there could be business reasons for them.
I’ve always said that any SEO that didn’t bring that up doesn’t know SEO.
However, they should:
Continue with the understanding that there could be a business reason.
Follow up with the impact vs. effort it would take to fix it.
Be open to feedback with any pushback (or explanation) the SEO team might give during a review.
An agency that hasn’t worked with a complex, enterprise-level site might not understand that:
It isn’t as easy as it appears.
The business might not support it.
There could be legal reasons.
The fix might not be scalable.
Enterprise agencies will also understand that the level of engagement for a larger company might be higher than most of their smaller clients.
Enterprise SEO agencies need to be proactive since the SEO team at the company is more often distracted by all of the work that needs to get done.
Regular check-ins and open communication are critical to the success of the relationship. I have always worked best with agencies that have local offices and/or make frequent in-person visits.
The best agency I have ever worked with has an SEO manager that:
Sits in the office under contractor status with their own desk, company email, logins to tools, and reporting.
Attends regular meetings between engineering and verticals across the organization.
In the end, the relationship is that of an extension of the team that regularly communicates, proactively suggests growth strategies and foundational fixes, and follows through to ensure the work is getting done.Managing Your SEO Agency
The key to managing your enterprise SEO agency is to keep the levels of communication flowing.
Give them the tools and access they need to become successful and help them champion any work they need through.
Too many times I have inherited strong and capable agencies that fell quiet with no actual work done in a matter of weeks, or even months.
Frustrations were on both sides, to no one’s fault.
Contracts are always signed with positive optimism and a solid plan. But with communication dropping, and little to no support, the agency can’t be successful – and your SEO will fall short.
Set up expectations and a plan (roadmap) of deliverables that the agency should follow.
Be supportive where you can when they need you to be, and follow-through with other teams the agency needs to complete work as promised.
Have at least weekly check-ins with a clear list of what they are working on, what your team is working on, and expected delivery dates.
Talk through where you all are at with tasks for each, and always end with any recommendations they might have to keep the work flowing.
Monthly check-ins with key stakeholders always help to hold everyone accountable.
Other teams can make use of the agency, but also need help understanding their role in work that needs to be done.
I like to end each quarter with a report on tasks completed and ROI on the projects or tasks completed more than 3 months prior.
In some cases, I have seen weekly, monthly and even daily reporting, but then the agency becomes a reporting agency rather than an SEO agency, and when the contract is up it isn’t renewed.
Find your sweet spot for communication and expectations, adjust as needed, and review the contract as often as you all feel it is necessary.
When you all are working together then you will see the success for SEO that both sides are there for.
Featured Image Credit: Paulo Bobita
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Although Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are considered as the most popular social media site nowadays, it doesn’t guarantee that it could help promote your business on the Internet. These networks were designed to connect with other people and to create brand awareness, but it all depends on its features and whether it addresses your business’ marketing needs.
Before you hop in to social media marketing, there are factors that you need to consider in choosing which platform might work for your brand.Where Potential Customers Usually Hangout
It’s not surprising that social networking sites enable a business to connect with a wider range of audience. However, it depends on the site’s culture and the type of users that it caters. If you want to reach out to professionals, LinkedIn is an ideal platform. Facebook and Twitter, on the other hand, are ideal for those who want to target the casual netizens from various demographics.The Contents You Want to Share
Various social media has their own way of letting share your content. Thus, each networking sites were not created equal. YouTube is best for video marketing, while Etsy is ideal for those who use the power of photographs to attract customers. If you’re more into text and links, Facebook and Twitter can be an appropriate platform. If you want to attract customers by addressing their issues, a Q&A type of social network like Quora can be useful.Flexible Features and Marketing Platforms Customer Engagement
Many businesses make the mistake of treating social media as the end to their means. What they didn’t know is that it should be regarded as a tool to leverage marketing efforts. The word “social” in social media simply refers to interacting with other people. Therefore, choose a network that won’t just aid you to reach your market, but will also help you engage them to stay
Your SEO agency won’t tell you everything.
There is an excellent chance that you aren’t getting the most out of your agency relationship because of what you don’t know.
If you are a bad client, you are leaving money on the table.
If you delay or make things difficult when your agency needs something, you leave money on the table.
If you treat your agency like a waiter taking your order rather than a strategic partner, you are leaving money on the table.
I’m going to pull back the kimono a bit and tell you some secrets that your agency will never tell you because if they did, they’d likely make you mad. And mad clients are apt not to pay their bills.3 Types of SEO Clients
There are three types of SEO clients.
Two of these clients are good clients.
One is… not so much.
Let’s talk about the good clients first.1. Clients Who Understand What Their Agency Is Trying to Do With SEO
These are good clients.
If clients know SEO, they can frequently work with their agency to ensure they are setting the right priorities.
Clients who know SEO can provide valuable resources to the agency’s work.
These resources frequently result in the success being more significant than what either the agency or the client could achieve on their own.2. Clients Who Don’t Understand SEO… and Know They Don’t Understand It
These are good clients.
These clients typically let an SEO professional do their job.
As long as the results are promising, these clients allow the work to be done.
These clients work best with SEO practitioners who can provide a turn-key solution and not merely a roadmap.
These clients allow SEO pros to flex their creative muscles, as they typically aren’t limited by preconceived notions about how SEO should be done.
SEO pros can do what they think is right, as opposed to doing what the client thinks should be done, as we will talk about when we discuss the bad clients.
And now, the third, and only bad type of client.3. Clients Who Think They Know SEO and Want to Dictate the SEO Process
These are typically bad clients.
These are the clients who will send you every SEO tip they read from folks that, frankly, aren’t that qualified to do SEO.
They will forward you the emails from spammers who claim that the client’s site is not well-optimized.
These clients believe the far-fetched claims of these random, shotgunned emails that aren’t worth the pixels they take up on the screen.
These clients are drawn to the latest shiny object of the SEO world, regardless of whether it applies to them.
Working with these clients can be a nightmare.
As an agency, your only hope is to turn them and either educate them to become a client that can contribute – or get them to back off and let you do your job.
For some client personality types, either option can be difficult to achieve.Trust Your SEO, or Fire Them
The relationship between an SEO professional and the client is over when the client loses trust in the SEO pro.
Sometimes this happens before the relationship even begins.
About half of the clients that come through our door have had a bad experience with a previous SEO.
So, frequently, we are dealing with baggage we didn’t create.
Trust is definitely earned.
But if a client is not open to letting an SEO pro earn their trust, the relationship is doomed from the start.
If you’ve been burned by an SEO agency in the past, make sure that your new SEO agency knows what happened and why you feel slighted.
Give your new agency the chance to earn your trust.
If you can’t, your efforts will fail no matter how good the new SEO agency is.
On the other hand, if you find that can no longer trust that your SEO agency is going to help you achieve your goals, it’s time to part ways.
There is no shame in parting ways.
It doesn’t mean that the SEO agency is bad – or that the client is bad.
It means that there wasn’t a fit.
I’ve learned over the years that there are many competent SEO pros out there, but not all are a fit for all clients.
Once the trust is gone, success is elusive.Try to Be Your Agency’s Favorite Client
The absolute best way to get the most out of your agency is to be their favorite client.
SEO agency work is thankless. When things go well, you rarely get the credit you deserve.
The agency is almost always the one that gets the blame when something goes wrong, whether it’s their fault or not.
As agency workers, we must constantly communicate our success to the client. In most cases, they aren’t going to recognize the program’s achievements even if the results are beyond any reasonable expectation.
On a short-term basis, you can get more out of an agency by wielding a stick and threatening all sorts of chaos if you don’t get your way.
But over time, that strategy will backfire.
Eventually, you’ll be the boy who cried wolf, and your agency team won’t jump when you really need them to.
In some cases, you will get fired as a client. Yes, I fire an average of 2-3 clients per year.
When dealing with your agency, the carrot is a greater weapon than the stick.
If you become your agency’s favorite client, you can get more out of them.
Most agency employees don’t really care how much you are paying.
They know that information, but most likely their compensation is not dependent solely upon your retainer fees.
If your day-to-day contacts like you, they will work on your stuff more than their other clients.
They will look to you when they have extra hours or other perks that frequently come up at agencies such as participation in beta programs, etc.
This isn’t to say that you should just let the agency go and not communicate with them.
Actually, quite the opposite.
If you are silent, you can be ignored.
But if you treat your agency representative with respect, thank them for their work and provide them what they need, you’ll be surprised how much more you can get without spending any extra money.
Bottom line, treat your agency people like friends and human beings and the rewards can be great.
Ready to learn the secret to search engine optimization (SEO)?
Well, I hate to break it to you, but there really is no secret.
There is no secret sauce.
There is no secret recipe.
SEO isn’t about magic tricks or gaming the search algorithms.
What you really need is a thorough understanding of what people want when they search – and why they want (or need) it.
The fact that there is no big secret is what makes SEO so hard. It’s also a constantly moving target.
And we don’t make the rules – the search engines do.
That said, organic search is one of the most profitable marketing channels there is – if you’re willing to invest in it.Where Search Is Heading
If you’re brand new to the world of SEO, I highly recommend you start with our guide, SEO 101: Learn the Basics of Search Engine Optimization, before going further.
Already have a grasp on the SEO basics? Great! Let’s continue.
A complete guide to SEO – and where search is heading – would be impossible to fit into one article.
Many factors impact your SEO success, including:
Technical: This includes anything that affects the performance of, visibility of, or how search engines access your site. This includes indexing and crawling, schema, page speed, site structure, URL structure, and much more.
On-page: This is your content – both what is visible to users on your webpages (text, images, video, or audio), as well as elements that are only visible to search engines (HTML tags, structured data).
Off-page: This is anything that’s not on your site. Ultimately, off-page factors are about growing and demonstrating your website’s authority, relevance, and trust and building an audience. Think link building, social media marketing, PPC marketing, reviews, and user-generated content.
In this chapter, we’ll start exploring the world of SEO in three of the most important areas that will help set you up for success:
Search experience optimization: What opportunities you have to be more present to your customers/audience.
Content strategies for actual people: The importance of content and what it means to be relevant.
The impact of voice search on SEO: We’ll look into the not-too-distant future and show you why the time is now to optimize for voice search. So don’t wait!1. Search Experience Optimization
When you hear the acronym SEO, it usually means Search Engine Optimization. And, as you’d expect, SEO in this context means optimizing your website for search engines (or, far less likely, optimizing a search engine).
But Search Experience Optimization is a newer way to think about the term SEO. Some have even called search experience optimization the “new SEO.”
Search experience optimization is optimizing for people in all the places your brand and content could possibly appear. It goes beyond the nuts and bolts of optimizing for search engines – although those nuts and bolts are still incredibly important!
Search strategies require us to create brand experiences, using the search results to build relevance.
Ninety-three percent of online experiences begin with a search engine, according to a 2006 Forrester study. That means a search engine is the biggest billboard there is for brands.
Search engines also travel with us wherever we go. Google refers to these search experiences as moments, with four of the biggest being:
Contemporary SEO strategies require us to be creative to get visibility.Ranking Above the Fold: Desktop vs. Mobile
Check out these results. What do you see?
On mobile, there are no organic results above the fold.
On desktop, the only organic result you see is a featured snippet.
You have to optimize in every way you possibly can to improve visibility of your brand. Sometimes ranking “number one” in organic search won’t even matter because the page you’re trying to rank won’t even show “first.”
Let’s look at just a few of these search features that come before the first organic position:News & Social Content
Google News and social content are areas where your content can gain great visibility. But news and social are wholly dependent on the freshness of query (how current/hot the topic is).
In order to rank/appear in these areas, you need a good understanding of your space and how Google responds to a query. Not every query will show news or social content, so it’s important to understand how keywords react in different ways.Knowledge Panels
Google’s knowledge panels, which are powered by Google’s Knowledge Graph, display the basics about a business. This includes things like:
Hours of operation.
This is a huge way to build trust in your brand. Searchers have been conditioned to look for certain parts of search results, such as knowledge panels, to get the trusted information they want or need.
Getting these panels is important if you’re a brand (or any other type of entity). If you aren’t in the Knowledge Graph, you might be in a little trouble.People Also Ask
People also ask is another search feature in which content is directly pulled in line with results. These are real terms people are searching for and content from websites is pulled in to populate these results.
You can use this search feature directionally to identify content optimization opportunities or additional new pieces of content you could create to help target the audience you want to reach.Apply SEO to Different Platforms
In addition to optimizing for different parts of search results, you can apply SEO methodologies to any platform someone can search on.
These optimization opportunities, each of which is essentially a discipline unto itself, include:
All of these searchable platforms are completely adaptable to the principles of SEO and provide opportunities for you to gain additional brand visibility.
Plus, when you optimize for other search experiences, content about your brand may be pulled into traditional search engine results (Google, Bing, etc.) as well.
Be visible as much as you can. Use every part of the results to create search experiences.
Optimize beyond the search engine. This will ultimately lead to additional real estate occupation in the search engine results themselves.
SEO assumes a much larger context when the goal is search experience optimization, not just search engine optimization.2. Optimize Content for People
It’s sometimes easy to forget that it’s all about optimizing for people – your customers, readers, or subscribers.
So always optimize for people, not search engines.
Create content for customers, not for the sole purpose of ranking higher.
When you put people at center of your content strategies, chances are you’ll be way more successful in search engines.Content, Keywords & Search Algorithms
Google has made several algorithm updates and changes over the years.
Two key algorithm changes are extremely important in terms of how we think about content and keywords:
Hummingbird: This update gave Google the ability to understand full queries, not just individual keywords as part of a search. It also introduced the concept of semantics, or different keywords surrounding a main topic. Optimizing your pages for a single keyword from top to bottom is no longer a viable SEO tactic, nor does it look natural to people.
RankBrain: This update gave Google the ability to understand queries it had never processed before and create associations necessary to be able to decipher the full meaning of query to deliver results through machine learning. It is one of the top three ranking factors, along with content and links.
So how do these two algorithm updates impact content strategies?
You don’t want to focus too narrowly on keywords. While rankings are important, ranking isn’t the only thing that matters.
Keywords can sometimes betray you. Keywords may have a high search volume but can lack specificity and value.
Take this search for [email marketing] for example:
The search volume for this particular keyword is roughly 18,000.
Even if you were to write content well enough to rank for this keyword, how much of that traffic will be relevant? How many conversions will you be able to generate? Probably not a lot.
The term “email marketing” is very generic. This is why Google shows ambiguous results.
There’s a clear difference in a term like “email marketing” and “enterprise cross-channel marketing platforms”.
What’s the difference?
One keyword is informational, while the other is transactional. Transactional queries are more valuable to conversion-driven businesses.
You can optimize for more transactional queries by targeting long-tail search keywords. This specificity of keywords (even if the keyword has low search volume) will help you create more relevant content and get more qualified traffic to your site.
At a tactical level you have to get creative with your topic and keyword research. Really understand how people search for what they search for.Why Content Matters
There’s no denying the importance of content.
Without content there is no visibility.
To underscore how important content is (and how important the selection of keywords can be to the effectiveness of content), consider this:
60 percent of queries are four words or more.
The average word count for a first-page result on Google is almost 1,900 words.
This begs the question: how do we know what people want? How do we know what people are going to search for?
Give People Content They Want
If you pay close enough attention, your audience will tell you what they want.
Some of the best audience tools are contained right in the Google search results:
People also ask.
Those are all queries/questions that people ask when they search. This data presents real opportunities for additional content.
Addressing pains points and directly answering questions will help you deliver the right content in a time of need to searchers. That’s fundamentally what a search is – a need. It will also help you understand your customers better.Social Listening
Social platforms also provide ample opportunities to learn about people and listen to needs.
Monitor conversations on every social network you’re active (and anywhere your brand is discussed).
What are people complaining about? Maybe it’s:
Customer service issues.
Being unable to find out when your business is open.
Your product(s) or service(s).
You can turn any of these into content.Competitive Research
Analyzing the sites in search results for competitive topics reveal a lot about what is working, and what isn’t, about your business. Do a content audit and find content gaps, or areas you want to emulate.
No matter what you choose, the end goal is always same: gain more context. Expand on topics your audience needs you to show up for.
This type of research can be uncomfortable. You may have to face some hard truths when you take any of these routes. But it’s worth it as you’ll understand the needs of people you want to reach.Make It Mobile-First!
Great content means optimal accessibility, regardless of device. Truly mobile-first experiences that load as fast as possible.
Slow loading pages can potentially impact your SEO performance – and your bottom line. Always be testing and optimizing!
If you’re unsure about your mobile experience, test all your pages. Use any tool you can to optimize the user experience.
There are many great tools, including Pagespeed Insights. Use them to identify problem areas, such as how quickly your pages load and render.Be Prepared for the Mobile-First Index
Google has been telling everyone to go mobile-first for years but now it’s happening with the mobile-first index.
What this means is Google will crawl mobile sites at a higher frequency than desktop versions of sites. It also means that mobile is more critical to SEO than ever before. Watch developments in this area closely.Make SEO Part of Your DNA
Optimize your content from the start. It will save you a lot of headaches in the end.
SEO is a process, not a goal. SEO is never done. You’re never done optimizing.
Every page can be optimized because there’s no such thing as a perfect website. You need to become “least imperfect.”
In other words, you don’t need the best website in the world. You just need a website that’s better than your competition.
Being consistent with the SEO basics is the perfect way to do that:
Optimize your titles and meta descriptions.
Use readable user and search friendly URLs.
Optimize video content (if you have it).
Optimize header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.).
Link to deeper content within your site.
Create and optimize topically-relevant content.
All of these items might seem like no-brainers to seasoned SEO professions. But you’d probably be surprised to see how often sites don’t have the most basic things (e.g., title tags on their most important pages).
Your navigation and internal linking structure is the thematic backbone of your site. Use it to signal to search engines the topics of your site – what you want to be known for.
Embrace long-tail keywords. Don’t limit yourself with a strategy that only targets generic/ambiguous keywords.
Understand audience intent and create content for it. Listen to your audience. They will tell you what content you need to create.
Optimize from the start. Build your foundation and cover all the basics (technical SEO and on-page optimization).3. Voice Search Optimization
Voice search is closer than you think.
Pay attention to changes in search behavior and shifts in search results. Gather insight now to prepare for the future.
A whole new generation of people is coming. Their primary relationship with a search engine is to speak to it – not to type or tap. This is a huge change.
With a proliferation of voice-assisted devices that are easy to use (even for older generations), we’re fast approaching a voice-first shift in search behavior.Position Zero
Featured snippets are already starting to play a critical role in how Google provides search results. This is the new field of play in SEO.
Position zero is largely question-driven. Google provides direct answers to questions, pulling an excerpt of content directly from a website into its featured snippet feature.Optimizing for Voice Search
Voice search has one result. Position zero is the only result spoken back to you.
To have success, it’s important to know the content and context of search:
Identify common questions and queries your audience has.
Create content to directly address those questions and queries.Turn Content Into Actions & Skills
Google takes a few types of published content and makes it voice searchable for:
Alexa skills also make content searchable:
Information searchesThe Future of Voice Search
There’s a lot we still don’t know about voice search.
Voice search data isn’t available: Google doesn’t show voice search data in the same way it does for desktop and mobile search in the Search Console.
How search behavior is changing: When mobile was becoming a thing, we had data to show “near me” type searches, reflective of those on the go, were exploding. We don’t yet know the voice search equivalent to “near me” searches.
What do we know?
We know voice search consists of 10 percent of all searches, and that number is increasing. Just like mobile 6-7 years ago, voice search is coming.
So here lies the SEO opportunity. How will we define the methodology of voice search experience to continue to be present with relevant content when people need it?
Prepare for a voice-first world.
Optimizing for position zero is optimizing for voice search.
Make content searchable on voice-enabled devices.Summary
As you approach SEO, especially in terms of content, make sure your strategy takes these three areas into account:
Creating search experiences is the new SEO. Optimize for every opportunity you can. Take ownership of the search results, including outside of traditional organic search. Be present. Be relevant. Build trust in the people who are searching for your brand, wherever that is.
Create content for people, not search engines. This is how you deliver great digital experiences and understand your customers better. Focus on the topics people want rather than worrying about keywords as much. Use your content assets to listen to your audience and create content that directly addresses their questions and pain points. Build a foundation you need for good SEO going forward.
Voice search is coming. Don’t wait. Aim for position zero in search results and make content voice-searchable.
This post was mostly based on a session at Adobe Summit (The Future of SEO: Is Your Content Strategy Ready?) presented by Matt Young, business consultant, Adobe Customer Solutions.
Featured Image: Paulo Bobita
All other images/screenshots created by Matt Young/Adobe, used with permission.
Are you forward-thinking in your approach to search marketing?
When was the last time you updated your content strategy?
With Google’s ever-changing algorithm, your SEO tactics must continue to evolve.
Search engines are known to reward websites that publish high-quality content – consistently.
Gone are the days when businesses could rank on Google simply by pumping out generic, keyword-stuffed material.
Now, the key to higher rankings is creating content that offers maximum value to searchers.
On October 6, I moderated a webinar with Carlos Meza, President & CEO at Crowd Content.
Meza explained how to optimize your content for user intent and relevancy by using a meaningful content structure.
Here is a summary of the webinar. To access the entire presentation, complete the form.Key Takeaways
Use human-first content. Focus on the user and how you can help them. Ensure that your content leaves them with takeaways.
Topic Clusters answer not only one question but all the questions that the searcher might have.Content Creation: What’s Changed Over The Years
2023 has been focusing on quality content, with 6 out of 7 updates targeted toward content.
Today, some content methods are no longer applicable.
[Make sure you’re not using these old ways & see content horror stories] Instantly access the webinar →
Search Engines are getting better at understanding content as humans would; it now:
Puts context into queries and sentences.
Punishes keyword stuffing.
Analyzes the holistic meaning of a query.
Looks at the meaning/scope of whole paragraphs.
Leverages NLP and AI to predict information people want.
[What’s NLP?] Instantly access the webinar →
In light of these updates, what do you need to do?What To Do Now: Write For Humans
Unfortunately, over time, we became too technical in SEO and forgot that the content we produce is supposed to serve a purpose for humans.
Writing for humans means producing high-quality content. Here’s how.High-Quality Content: 3 Factors To Consider
When you want to start writing high-quality content, there are three factors to look at.Factor #1: Empathetic, People-First Content
Ask yourself, what would you feel if you were in the shoes of the reader?
Humans respond to narratives, stories, brands, and information – and so do search-engine algorithms!
So, make sure you:
Start with intent – the “why.”
Focus on the “who.”
Make it readable & user-friendly.
[Check out Google’s guidance] Instantly access the webinar →
By writing people-first content, you’ll stay aligned with Google’s narrative that great content is the best way to protect yourself from updates.Factor #2: Topic Clustering
Topic clusters are resources that answer all the questions around a topic.
When you think about topic clustering, you can think about it like what you’ll have on your plate for dinner.
[Learn what we mean] Instantly access the webinar →
Focus On Topics & Not Keywords
Now, this doesn’t mean keywords don’t work anymore. It just means keywords should be within the topic cluster.
Topic clusters are great for:
Scaling SEO strategy based on topics.
Increasing web engagement.
[Find out where to start with clusters] Instantly access the webinar →Factor #3: Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
A subject matter expert has highly specialized knowledge of a particular industry or field.
Improve E-A-T score (must-have for YMYL content).
Make content unique.
Provide more organic opportunities for backlinks.
[Discover the recipe to producing great E-A-T content with an SME] Instantly access the webinar →
A Note On Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Is AI good or bad for content? It depends on how you use it.
For example, AI is a tool to help writers be more productive, overcome writer’s block, and create an outline.
However, AI will not replace 100% of what a writer can do.
So, it’s best to proceed cautiously when using AI to create content.
Make sure your content strategies stay up-to-date by applying all the principles discussed in the on-demand webinar.
You’ll find that adapting to the rapidly changing SEO standards will be easier, and you’ll be able to energize more of your online presence.New SEO Strategies: 3 Steps To Perfect SEO Content Creation [Webinar]
Here’s the presentation:
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Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal
There’s so much information out there about SEO—and a lot of it, as you’ve probably seen, is wrong. For example, when I sat down to write this article, I did a simple Google News search for SEO. The first thing that popped up was “7 Common Lies Your SEO Agency Might Have Told You,” from Forbes.
People have been claiming SEO is dead for years. People have been claiming SEO is either “the most important” aspect of your digital marketing, or “irrelevant”. If you throw a stick in New York or San Francisco, you’ll probably hit an SEO expert. (And if you throw that same stick in other parts of the country, you might as well.)
What is the deal with SEO? Where’s it been? Where’s it going? Let’s take a quick look.SEO 101: The Far Past
“In the beginning…” I’d say SEO began as akin to an IT job. It was more about technical best practices and manipulating code. People built multiple sites, microsites, and mirrored sites. From a money standpoint, we thought of it the way we think of technical management budgets. It was a luxury, not a commodity. Most of the work was reserved for foreigners or ‘IT guys’ and it never really factored into marketing decisions or line items.SEO 101: The Closer Past
This is where it got interesting. As SEO became more relevant to core business strategies, you had an explosion in both ‘SEO experts’ and SEO DIY options. Moz, SEMRush, Keyword Estimator, WordStream, KWFinder, and a host of others all popped up.
The sheer economics of what happened with SEO was this: because there are so many experts and options around, SEO buyers expect a low-cost option. I’ve seen this with my work, honestly. I’ll meet with someone interested in SEO services and explain that doing it right can cost $5,000/month and you might not see any tangible results for 6-7 months in terms of ranking for business-driving keywords. They usually balk and assume they can find a cheaper option or just do it themselves.SEO 101: The Present
That’s where we are—and at the same time, there’s a shift within SEO from a keyword focus to a topic focus.
This all brings us to the future.SEO 101: The Future
What’s next? My early thoughts:
Tools or technology may overtake or disrupt the practice again, as is happening in most industries over the past half-decade.
I think SEO will stay within marketing at most enterprise companies for the foreseeable future, but there could be a shift back to IT or even to Operations. I think this would be driven by a better appreciation of SEO’s value when done right. In many marketing departments, it’s just a ‘thing’ that happens around various campaigns; it’s not integrated as well as it could/should be, and that partially explains why the cost is being driven down so much. It makes sense in marketing because of ties to content and PR, but we could see a change there.
Will SEO become the new PR? This idea has been kicking around for years. I don’t 100-percent see it—the people who go into PR and the people who go into SEO are typically
different in terms of how they approach their work and the overall business, so I couldn’t see a CMO telling her PR people, “You gotta become SEO experts now.” It could be a smart business move to align SEO and PR more, but I don’t think many companies are close yet.
In short: SEO is going to continue to change and evolve, especially as we get more and more into mobile as a business driver. We all claim to know the space, or a section of the space. What we need to commit to now is growing and changing with it.
Editor’s Note: To learn more about the future of SEO and where links are heading, listen to this Marketing Nerds podcast with Eric Enge.
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What other short-to-intermediate term predictions do you have on SEO?
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