If you’re a seasoned SEO practitioner, move on. You are already well aware of the dubious nature of the tactics below (and if you’re not, well then, you might want to reconsider your day job.) But, if you are a marketing manager, business owner or anyone else who relies heavily on others for SEO advice, please make this post a MUST-read before preparing future SEO strategies.
In a previous blog post, we discussed the disadvantages that come with certain “aggressive” SEO strategies. Aggressive strategies try to find ways around search engine algorithms and guidelines to gain an advantage. This results in shortcuts that deliver quick results yet aren’t actually against the rules. As we showed, those types of strategies are usually a poor idea in the long run because they become ineffective once search engine algorithms and guidelines update — resulting in wasted efforts. Therefore, a natural approach to SEO and search engine guidelines is the path to long-term success.
An easy way to tell if you’re on the right track is to ask yourself how much action you’d need to take if Google or Bing announced a new algorithm update. If you’ve done lots of natural link building through a variety of websites, consistently updated your website with useful content, maintained a clean sitemap and URL structure, and basically did all of the hard work of keeping your website running like a well oiled machine, you’re probably not worried about Google tweaking some ranking signals. However, if you’ve spent the past year looking for quick-fixes, trying to build PageRank as fast as possible, or putting all of your eggs in one basket with the SEO strategy that seemed to deliver the fastest results, you might be more nervous — and understandably so.
To implement a natural SEO strategy, you need to stick to the basics and do them extremely well. If all of your strengths lie in things that search engine guidelines will never outlaw — like creating original content and improving your website’s user experience — then your site has a much stronger chance of building rank over time no matter what sorts of algorithm or guideline updates there are.
In an overly-aggressive approach, you can’t focus on the long term because you’re always using resources to learn new strategies when the old ones are no longer effective. By avoiding exploits and shortcuts, a natural approach streamlines efforts and helps you build strength in the areas that matter. Remember that when deciding to implement new SEO strategies.
Across the Internet marketing landscape, you’ve probably seen other blog posts with titles along the lines of “Content Marketing vs. SEO.” At some point (perhaps after some algorithm updates), people made SEO into some bugaboo — when it’s actually a potent ally to content marketers everywhere.
Thinking of SEO as a bad thing is a common misconception, likely brought on by high-profile examples of black-hat SEO. As with any industry, there are ethical and unethical ways to conduct business. While SEO has its fair share of shady characters, it’s far from an inherently underhanded business.
Following that portrayal of SEO, marketers sing the praises of content marketing — us included. Well-written content is an excellent basis for building links to your website and establishing your company as a thought leader in your respective industry. However, if no one can find your great content, it’s not really doing you any good. That’s where SEO comes in.
The purpose of SEO is to take your content and present it within a framework that makes it accessible to search engines and users alike. By using white-hat SEO services, it’s possible to get great, long term success from your content marketing efforts. To be successful in Internet marketing, you can’t have one without the other.
Of course, we can not forget to mention that SEO goes beyond content marketing to address important technical issues, such as Google+ authorship or tag markup, metadata optimization, schema.org implementation, XML sitemaps, and much more.
While content marketing is heralded as the end-all-be-all of Internet marketing, the reality is that it’s only a part of the equation. To be the most effective, content marketing needs SEO to be polished, popular, and profitable. That’s an important concept to remember when designing your future marketing campaigns.