If you’ve been ignoring SEO in favor of other marketing efforts, it may be time to change your strategy. In its annual report, out this week, Forrester Research stated that more survey respondents found websites by organic means then any other method — up 4% from 50% in 2011 to 54% in 2012. In other words, the importance of SEO continues to grow.
The report also indicates the growing influence of social media marketing, as its own numbers climbed 7% from last year to 32%.
While this doesn’t mean you should dump your Adwords budget in favor of SEO, it does mean that it’s time to take an “all in” approach to internet marketing — combining SEO, Social and PPC marketing — for a powerful cocktail that creates the kind of ubiquity needed to build brand recognition and drive conversions.
How Do You Get Started?
SEO is a complex combination of technical configurations, on- and offsite keyword optimized (and user-friendly) content, and website popularity.
Before you do anything with content, it’s extremely important to make sure that there are no technical configurations standing in the way of having your content seen — and crawled — by the search engines. Then, it’s time to determine how your users are searching — and what they want to know.
Then and only then should you begin creating content. This content should live on your site and on other relevant sites, including social networks.
While time consuming, SEO is an extremely rewarding marketing method. Should you ever again doubt the importance of SEO, just look at the numbers. And ask yourself: How important is it that the majority of your potential customers find your website?
How do you stack up against your competitors? Request a FREE Search Engine Visibility Report.
As SEO awareness has grown over the years, more companies from all walks of industry have striven to address it in some capacity in their marketing programs. Unfortunately, they sometimes turn to strategies that are outdated and/or do more harm than good. These are some common “strategies” we’ve seen from clients and around the web that your company should avoid:
Content spinning — “Content is king” has been a rallying cry in the SEO world for years, but the phrase should be revised to “original content is king.” Content or article spinning involves taking an article about a topic related to your business, creating multiple, slightly different versions of that article, then distributing them across the web. This was a popular technique for fledgling SEO programs years ago. But as data shows, such shady strategies aren’t effective for very long. Google and other search engines have consistently gotten better and better and recognizing and penalizing spun content. It may take more time and effort, but the payoff is much better when you write original content that is posted to relevant websites. This is important to remember when starting a link building program.
Commenting on blogs — Everyday, millions of bots spam the comment section of blogs across the web. Most blog platforms enable “no follow” links in the comment section by default. So, not only are such spam posts quickly deleted/filtered by site moderators, but they’re not even effective while visible. It’s possible for blog commenting to be an effective form of marketing, but the process is beyond the scope of any spam bot. Write a thoughtful, in-depth response to a blog that includes a relevant link to your site. By doing so, you establish credibility and interest for other readers, who are then more likely to click on your link.
Outsourcing your SEO to the wrong talent — SEO is a complex field with lots of variables that contribute to success. If you decide to outsource your SEO, make sure to vet your vendor carefully. Talk about the goals you have for your website, ask about the kind of campaign you could run to achieve those goals, and of course, check the vendor’s previous experience and clientele.
It is a well known fact by most of those who own or operate a website that having links to your website on other companies or people’s websites is beneficial for a few reasons:
But many people wonder, “How do I find out who is linking to my website?” Google provides a tool to see when your website has been linked to, what websites are linking to yours, and what pages on your website people linking to.
All of this data and more can be found in your Google Webmaster Tools account. If you are unsure if you have an account, check with your webmaster or IT team in order to verify that you have access. If you do not, it is very simple to set up. Have your webmaster or IT professional visit this link to the help article from Google about how to verify your website with Google’s Webmaster Tools.
Now let’s go over how to find out who is linking to your website. Once you have verified your website with Webmaster Tools, visit www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ to log in to your account dashboard. If you are managing multiple sites, they will all be listed in your home dashboard once you log in.
Next, select the website that you wish to collect your data from and you will see a more detailed dashboard than the previous one. This dashboard is specific to the website that you have just selected.
The next step is to click the option that reads “Traffic” on the top left side navigation of the page. This option will be the third possible choice below “Messages.” A drop down menu will appear that gives you the following 3 options:
*Note: They will not be numbered in your webmaster tools account.
Select “Links to Your site” and you will see 4 separate sections of data.
Lastly, the data for numbers 2, 3, and 4 above can be downloaded to a .CSV or Google Docs file. This is done by clicking the “More »” link beneath any of the sections then selecting “Download this Table” near the top of the page.
You also have the option to:
Now, take this data and make use of it. What pages on your website have been more popular than others? Is everyone only linking to your homepage, and not specific internal pages? Are there websites linking to yours that would make a good partnership?