In an era dominated by content and inbound marketing, is search engine optimisation even relevant any more? The answer to this question is a resounding “Yes!” but its relevance has changed since “back in the day” – the Stone Age of online marketing. Today, SEO alone achieves little; without it, however, you’ll achieve even less. In this post, you’ll learn how to find the perfect middle ground.
WHY USE SEO AT ALL?
Even the best content marketing and inbound marketing strategies will yield few results if search engines do not happen upon your content. Because of this, it should be written in such a way that from first line to last, it’s easy to find.
The upshot of this was that just a few years ago, it was common practice to write content primarily with the search engine in mind. Today, marketers find themselves in a conflict between optimisation and the search engine itself, since those who write texts solely for findability end up quickly flooding the internet with content-poor writing and pointless links. As you write, it’s better to consider what both the search engine and the reader will deem trustworthy and useful.
FOCUS ON THE READER, THEN ON THE SEARCH ENGINE
People who enter a query in a search engine generally have a problem to solve – or at the very least, a question to answer. At this point, both they and the search engine are seeking the same thing: the fastest, most reliable route to the solution. For you, this means: “feed” the search engine with exactly the information that will help your potential customer most.
Let’s say you sell smartphone accessories. Try to imagine what your potential customers could be looking for. Your readers might be searching for something specific, or they might have a problem that, in the first instance, cannot be solved by your products at all: “What can I do about water damage to a smartphone?”, for example.
Thus, if your shop sells waterproof smartphone cases, your content should be optimised for questions like this one: with advisory texts that tell the reader how to proceed without an implicit or explicit advertising message! Sparking the reader’s interest and supplying useful content are two of the basic tenets of an inbound marketing strategy, since both will ensure that interested customers return to your site and, at some point, end up engaging with your products.
HOW CAN I ENSURE I AM FOUND?
The list of ranking factors on Google is long, often opaque and impossible to consider in its entirety. However, there are a few standard rules which you can (and should) bear in mind. The most important of these include:
- Meta Description: Keep it under 156 characters (incl. empty spaces) and give your focus keyword centre stage.
- URN: Include your keywords in your URN. Avoid the use of special characters.
- Headings and Subheadings: Formulate headings to include your keywords.
- File Names: When naming files, be sure to incorporate your keywords. Don’t forget to formulate alt text with keywords for embedded images.
- Links: Place high-quality links to external webpages – namely, links to trustworthy, established sites, such as to particular terms, people or sources. Include a link description with keywords.
- Backlinks: Aim to have high-quality links leading back to your own webpages – that is, links from trustwrothy, established third parties to your website, such as through interviews or guest posts. Assign a link description with keywords.
SEO AS A PIECE OF THE INBOUND MARKETING PUZZLE
Remember that you want to appear as high up in the rankings as possible. Around 60% of all clicks after a search query fall on the top three results – with the upshot that SEO should still be considered an important component of your marketing strategy. But SEO alone won’t enable you to achieve your strategically formulated marketing goals. Only when you consider SEO as part of your wider inbound marketing will you be in a position to unite the many pieces of the puzzle in an effective whole.
Conventional SEO strategies aim to subvert the interests of search engine operators in the hope of achieving better rankings. This is not only frustrating for the searcher, but is systematically punished by Google and other big players. With this insight becoming increasingly widespread amongst marketers, we are currently on the edge of a paradigm shift.
For you and your online marketing, this means: produce high-quality content, tick off your personal SEO checklist and don’t force anything. In doing so, you won’t just avoid being (justifiably) devalued by Google; you’ll also be of much more use to your readers. While this approach might appear more labour-intensive than other keyword tactics, it’s far more sustainable – and when combined with the right inbound marketing strategy, it will offer long-term payoffs such as increasing visitor numbers, more leads and ultimately more customers.
Curious to discover how your firm measures up when it comes to SEO and inbound marketing? Crispy Content answers questions like this on a daily basis – and we’d be delighted to help you:
Founder & CEO
Gerrit Grunert is the founder and CEO of Crispy Content. Always revved up, he is a goldmine of creative ideas which are infectious to everyone around him. Gerrit knows how to utilise the full potential of this explosive mixture - both at work and in his leisure activities. While he continues to work towards his childhood dream of becoming the fastest guitar player in the world and tests his endurance in cycling races, he is also instigating the content marketing revolution from the Crispy Office.Unser Team