SEO experts are now content marketing’s biggest advocates – here’s what you need to know.The SEO and content marketing worlds have been moving closer for years now. This is main because high-quality, relevant content has proven to offer benefits above and beyond old SEO techniques, causing a major shift in the SEO space. It’s hard to believe it was only a couple years ago that SEO was one of the most popular marketing terms – and knowing how to optimize your content through keyword stuffing was an invaluable skill. It’s safe to say times have changed though. Today, SEO experts believe the key to high-performing search is high-quality content and many outspoken SEO thought leaders have come forward to vault content marketing as the forefront of an SEO strategy — here’s what they have to say:
1. Google Has Become a More Integrated Service
Debra Mastaler, President of Alliance-Link:
“Google is more than just a search engine these days.
Mastaler notes that Google has grown dramatically; not just in size, but in scope as well. It offers a host of wildly popular services like Gmail (425 million users) and Youtube (1 billion users), and a bevy of other services, like Google Helpout — a page which allows live video chatting with various experts, in addition to Google Print, an app that allows mobile devices to send documents to a home printer. These aren’t a random assortment of niche services, it’s a network of applications designed to make Google a central part of users’ lives. Because of this, Mastaler expects Google authorship — the process in which Google verifies authors of online content and groups search engine results by authors’ results — to become more important in the future.
2. SEO Is The Norm & Sophistication Is Needed
Duanne Forester of Microft’s Bing:
“[T]he future of SEO is that it becomes an accepted, normal marketing tactic like all others. This means search engines will need to give up fretting over the hundreds of pointless details they love to fret over and start focusing on the bigger picture the rest of the business is focused on: what do customers want?
As Forester points out, almost every business engages in SEO tactics to try to drive up it’s search results. This overabundance of SEO means that search engines require more sophisticated programming to deliver the most accurate results — ensuring the most deserving pages rise to the top. The quality of content, rather than the amount of links or keywords a page has, generate better results.
3. Customer Search Habits Tell Businesses What Customers Need
Adam Audette, Chief Knowledge Officer of RKG
“I believe the future of SEO is already here: understanding and marketing to specific and defined audiences through search engines.
Audette argues present search engine algorithms are teaching marketers to create content by examining what their audience is searching for, instead of writing articles based on guesses of what users want to read. By tailoring content to their target audience, marketers have a much better chance of engaging customers. Though keyword inclusion is still important for SEO, Audette argues it’s no longer the only widely accepted SEO strategy.
4. Social Media Sharing is the Most Effective Lead Generation Technique
“Since people tend to share links (content) that affect them emotionally, it’s more important than ever to understand the demographic you’re selling to.
Mastaler also argues that search is now inherently social. Google has continued to further integrate social media activity in its rankings, beginning in an algorithm update in 2009, meaning optimizing content for social media is essential. How do you do that? Research shows posts that tug at readers’ emotions are more sharable than dry how-to articles. Content that evokes positive emotions, complex emotions — meaning feeling a mix of positive and negative emotions — and surprise. Dull content that follows all the SEO rules won’t get you attention; you need to think like a content marketer rather than an SEO marketer to get the results you need from social resources.
5. Good Content Attracts Readers
Chris Bennett, CEO of 97th Floor
“People will come to your site because you have good, compelling content.
Since SEO became commonplace, exotic, mysterious and questionable SEO techniques have shown little worth. This has led to a grounding of content marketing, showing the only worthwhile content is content worth reading. To keep visitors interested in a brand, they require a steady stream of relevant content. Not just keyword-stuffed blog posts, but rich visuals, infographics, data, emotions and humor.
Don’t Call SEO Dead
Experts agree that basic SEO is still important, however. Without keywords and other necessary elements, finding relevant content would be like finding the bathroom in the dark. The challenge is to hone your storytelling and article idea skills to the point where readers won’t want to leave.
What do you think about SEO and content marketing merging? Share your thoughts with us below.