Social Media Breakfast Montreal (SMBMTL) last Wednesday gave me much to think about.
The presentation and conversation that followed reflected the fluid state of digital marketing: content, Social and SEO.
The best content is storytelling, and Joe told a great story of his transition from employee to entrepreneur and the challenges he faces with social media marketing.
When Joe said: “our content is our marketing”, I thought as a magazine, it’s also his business.
I asked for a definition of content marketing in last week’s Google+ Tips & Topics Community lunch hangout. Sherry Nouraini who has her own great Friday HOA broadcast:#OpenSM, gave one of the most succinct ones I’ve heard.
“Content marketing is content with strategy.”
As Joe continued to describe his challenges with social media, the “pin the social jello to the wall” analogy popped to mind.
How do we measure success?
How do we leverage it?
How much should we invest?
When an animated conversation followed about the whether SEO should take priority over social media for scarce company resources, I found it very interesting how fluid and undefined the term SEO has become in a short period of time.
A few months ago, SEO was “keywords” and “links”.
These have since been devalued by Google.
Should we just drop the SEO altogether and call what we do, BMO – Business Marketing Optimization?
As Jayson DeMers points out in his Forbes article:The Three Pillars Of SEO In 2013: Content, Links, And Social Media:
“In 2013, success in SEO hinges on businesses putting together a robust combination strategy that brings together an integrated web of great content, credible links, and social signals.
Each of these pieces supports the other, providing tremendous value to readers, building your authority and brand value, and distributing your content across new channels.”
While Jayson speaks of the pillars in terms of how they support SEO, the relationship between them is not so much parallel, as it is integral.
They are interdependent. While links still have an important role to play in search engine page ranking, the value of those links are increasingly reliant on the quality of content they come from and the authenticity and authority of the creator of that content.
Whether parallel or integral, the tips Jayson shares in his post will get you to the same place. Here’s just a sample. (Be sure to read the full post for more excellent advice.)
1. Content Keywords
Use Google’s Keyword Tool to better understand the range of keywords people are using to get to your site. Try these three strategies to get started:
1. Brainstorm a list of phrases related to your business, brand, products, industry, location, and customers. Once you’ve developed that list, enter each of these words into the Google Keyword Tool to see what related terms are recommended by Google. Google’s suggestions will greatly expand your keyword list. Pay attention to long-tail keywords .
2. Enter your site URL into the website box in the Google Keyword Tool. It will scan your site, and come back with a list of recommended terms that you are currently ranking for or could target. Many of these suggested terms are will be great keywords for your site.
3. Create a list of competitor sites and enter each of those URLs into the Keyword Tool. Your competitors may be ranking well for specific terms that you hadn’t thought about. While you never want to directly copy a competitors’ keyword strategy, it can often inform your approach and round out options you hadn’t thought of yet.
2. Inbound Links: The Infrastructure of Connections
Links give Google one very important signal: another site or reader found material on your webpage valuable and relevant enough for them to link to it.
The more links you get, the more valuable your content is deemed to be by search engines.
More likes also builds trust and authority, causing your pages to rank higher, driving more traffic.
Repackage existing content: Building links to your site doesn’t require an army of writers constantly developing new content (although it certainly doesn’t hurt!).
Instead, look at your existing content and see how it can be repackaged across platforms and mediums.
Do you have a great, data-driven blog post?
That could be the foundation of a fantastic and highly viral infographic.
A case study or white paper could be paired with some simple imagery and turned into video content for YouTube and Vimeo.
A newsletter distributed by email could be turned into guest posts or social media content.
3. Social Media: Making Friends, Engaging & Sharing Content
Today, social signals are having a direct impact on how sites are ranking in the SERPs. Here’s what you need to think about in making the most of social media
From a purely SEO perspective, it’s important to have a presence on Google+.
Here’s why: Google has been explicit that social signals play a role in its algorithm.
Twitter and Facebook matter some, but many of the search results from both networks are restricted.
Therefore, the network that’s carries the most weight is Google +.
Ensure that you have a profile that’s connected to your site, and spend time building your audience there.
Share content, and make sure that a Google+ button is available for people to like and share your content.
While it’s important to invest in all three pillars support your marketing strategy, remember:
“The best investment you can make in marketing is the quality and experience of your product.” – Lee Odden
Not all the marketing dollars in the world will matter if your product sucks.
About Ray Hiltz
Ray Hiltz is a Google Plus Specialist and Social Media Strategist helping small businesses establish their brands and build their communities on the social web. A strong proponent for the power of collaborative communication and "humanized" digital networking, Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus. His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and individuals just trying to make sense of "social". Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.