SEO is not a big enough term for all the processes a web site needs to succeed.
Is SEO a thing of the past?
According to industry buzz, SEO is dead in the water – the term anyway.
“Search engine optimization,” sounds like a very limited and spammy practice that has to do with, say, meta tags and stuffing key words, doesn’t it?
So What is Really Meant by “SEO?”
The truth is that when people talk about SEO they are usually referring to an entire menu of content marketing activities. They certainly include what traditional SEO, but they go way beyond that, which is why a new term is needed, one that truly reflects the process.
Traffic from Google is definitely a top goal for most webmasters, but it’s important to cast a wider net. Site traffic can come in from other web sites, blogs, newsletter links or social media as well.
The New Rock Star of Content Marketing
One term that’s been kicked around, courtesy of Copyblogger, is “Optimizing Content for Discovery and Conversion,” or OC/DC for short. If it sticks, this term would be ideal, as it expresses the depth and breadth of what SEO has really been trying to do for years.
So how should this new marketing rock star of content marketing be defined?
OC/DC includes optimizing a site for external search and traffic from all sources, as well as internal traffic.
External optimization should focus on positioning within search engines, and garnering traffic from social media and blogs as well as aggregation sites – Business Insider and Slideshare.net for instance.
Internal optimization focuses on keeping visitors on the site, getting them to visit several pages and return often. This involves user friendliness, accommodating design, content usefulness and so on.
Content, Content, Content
Of course, as always, it all comes down to quality and volume of content first. The more useful information a site provides, the more problems it solves, the better it does so and the more easily a user can find and navigate that information, the more successful and popular a site will be.
Make That Web Site Pop!
Here are some first, easy OC/DC steps to take:
- Go for a consistent look and feel: Implement an intuitive, consistent design, format and menu throughout the site.
- Rework headlines until the grab the reader.
- Rework your own internal links to make sure there are links to recent, most relevant related content (Pay the most attention to pages that regularly draw the most traffic!)
- Improve calls to action: Make sure that every page entices readers to click on another page, share a page, make a purchase – they need to take a next step. Every page should have a purpose.
- Create list pages that have each list item converting to its own page where that topic is elaborated on. This is a well-known successful strategy.
Get your hands involved!
Context is King
Google’s Hummingbird now focuses heavily on the context of keywords within your content.
- Review and hone content on a regular basis to make sure articles are as tight and relevant as possible.
- Experiment with a tool such as Scribe, test and retest to make sure you’re getting it right and hone the context of content.
- Make sure your site loads quickly. Three-seconds should be the maximum, or users click elsewhere. Consider highest-speed hosting, or even virtual or genuine dedicated servers.
- Make sure there is no extraneous code hiding out on pages to slow things down. A tool such as WebPageTest.org can help identify issues. Keep testing and figuring out new strategies.Spread the Word
Google authorship has become more and more important for content marketing but there are other sources as well. Bing is integrating LinkedIn content, for instance.
Get more mileage out of existing content. Don’t simply recycle it though.
- Use author attribution methods, and look beyond Google.
- Repurpose existing content, updating it to include newer, more relevant content.
- Change the format of the same content for different vehicles; photo-centric for Instagram, survey on Facebook, social question on Twitter, list form for a how-to platform, and so on.
- Find reputable syndication sites that can give you exposure and link back to your original content.Don’t Stop There
Once the base site has been perfected, don’t stop there. Remember, a huge portion of web traffic is coming from smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices.
- Optimize for mobile users. This user base is growing ever-larger. Leaving out the mobile user will significantly reduce traffic.
- Identify mobilization tools that work with your site. (StudioPress is one example of a tool that works well with WordPress.)Is it New, Diversified and Shareable?
Step back a moment. Before you blast full-site and mobile users with all you’ve got to give, make sure it’s the absolute best you’ve got.
The web is filled with information. Many users experience information overload. Make it short and sweet, but also find ways to provide new, relevant and useful information.
Deliver it in many forms: Use polls, surveys, infographics, webinars, videos, press releases and guest posts.
Start a conversation at every turn
Each piece of content should be a conversation starter. Do more than just adding social media buttons.
Instead, ask a question that begs to be answered, and have that link to a social media account, so that users are clicking through and continuing the conversations that start on your site, all over the web.
Start local, go viral! It all begins with high quality, shareable content!