SEO, or ‘search engine optimization,' is a term bandied around by many in the marketing world. It’s the process of getting ‘free’ traffic from search engines and is also referred to as ‘organic’ search because companies don’t have to pay to be shown in the results.
It’s an important part of any inbound marketing plan because it helps people find (then share) content. We've detailed some of the key tactics involved in integrating SEO into your inbound marketing strategy from the start.
One of the first active sections any company should have on its website is a blog. In addition to providing insights and keeping customers and prospects interested in what they have to say, a blog can also seriously boost your SEO prowess.
Here are six practical steps marketers can take to ensure their blogs are doing SEO work for them:
These days, there’s no competition between optimizing for search in the original sense (i.e. placing keywords in strategic places throughout content) and answering the questions the audience is asking. The latter will win almost every time.
While the Google bots are still working on refining their understanding of each and every user, intent has come a long way in a few short years. SEO elements that were considered an imperative in the past (e.g. keyword density) don’t have the same power that they once did. Instead, user behavior is guiding the SERPs (search engine ranking pages) ship.
Before building a content strategy around keywords only, marketers must take a step back and also focus on customer personas and intent. To do this, they must ask their audiences the following questions:
Marketers can also use Google Trends and Google Analytics to explore search trends, queries and site flow to better understand intent. The graph below from Neil Patel is an example of how users navigate through a website after ‘asking’ Google something. What insights could you gather from these events?
Users are asking questions when they use Google or their preferred search engine. Companies need to be there to answer those questions, whether it’s in content on their homepage, product pages, resources section or blog. It’s all about providing the most value to the audience.
Semantic SEO or basing search engine results on relevancy, is the path Google continues to travel. Before writing a single piece of content for a new website, marketers should create a simple spreadsheet outlining their topics, concepts and keywords. Take a look at this example from Search Engine Journal:
As you can see, the topic is the broad category a business would cover; concepts are based on their customers’ pain points and keywords are the questions their customers ask. Free tools such as LSI Graph can help savvy marketers research these keywords and phrases, while tools like SEMRush help verify the amount of traffic and suggest related options. Once these keywords are established, all of the “old” rules apply. Keywords/phrases should be included in titles, body content, meta descriptions, URLs and alt tags.
Both SEO and social media are inbound strategies, and their similarities don’t end there. Both also rely on great content to fuel their popularity. And while most marketers agree that social has an impact on their SEO success, many leave out the specific details. Here are three of the top ways companies can see their social profiles influence SEO:
Google is still in the early stages of understanding social signals and searching social websites, but it’s quickly evolving. And while social media alone won’t help anyone reach the top of the SERPs, sharing optimized, useful content on social media certainly won’t hurt to get the word out.
For a detailed study of social media and how it fits within a great inbound marketing strategy, check out our Diploma in Social Media Marketing.You’ll learn everything from how to manage content seeding and promotion to using social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for a stellar social media career.