All Internet marketers are aware that SEO is an important part of their overall online marketing strategy. It is what makes your website more accessible to search engines and helps increase people’s awareness of your brand. Note, however, that the SEO landscape has changed completely in the last 3 to 5 years, due in large part to the series of algorithmic updates launched by Google.
Today, it is no longer a good idea to try manipulating search results with such tactics as keyword stuffing, back linking, and duplicate content development. These old-school tactics are no longer considered relevant and may even get your website penalized. The SEO of today is about a healthy mix of high-quality content, visitor-friendly website design, and basic on-page SEO practices.
Considering the recent changes in the SEO landscape, it has been said that content marketing and social media marketing is now more important than pure SEO. In fact, content marketing and social media marketing are touted as the new SEO. Let’s take a closer look at the various reasons why these two aspects of online marketing may indeed deserve to grab the spotlight as the new SEO.
One of the biggest advantages of content marketing is that it is relatively inexpensive to embark on. If you have excellent writing skills, then you can launch a content marketing campaign on your own and just gradually hire a content creation team as the business grows and you can afford to hire more people. High-quality content also produces quality links a lot faster than if you tried to build links manually. Even better news is that the links produced by quality content aren’t likely to get your site penalized.
Another huge advantage of content marketing is that if you do it right, it can get your website content shared repeatedly on popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. The more your content gets shared, the higher the chances are of more people becoming aware of your brand’s existence. This also provides you with opportunities to gain more website visitors, which, in turn, raises the possibility of getting more conversions and revenue.
Here are some quick facts that should convince you of content marketing’s increasing value as the “new SEO”:
- Based on the experience of KISSmetrics, an infographic (one of the most effective forms of content) costs an average of $6.
- Their experience also showed that publishing a little over 40 infographics within a two-year period can generate more than 2 million website visitors and over 40,000 backlinks.
- If you tried to manipulate search results by buying over 2 million site visitors, you’d have to spend a little over $125,000, assuming you paid 5 cents for every visitor you bought.
- If you choose to manipulate search results by buying over 40,000 links, you’d have to spend more than $820,000, since the average cost of links is $20 each.
- On social media, the KISSmetrics infographics earned more than 40,000 tweets and over 20,000 likes.
- If you bought the same number of tweets and likes at $2 each, you’d have to spend over $120,000.
So, you see, content marketing gives you the same results as old-school paid SEO tactics at a significantly lower cost. When you consider that and the fact that most of the old-school tactics are now deemed black hat and therefore prone to penalties, it definitely becomes clearer why content marketing is now a much better option in terms of getting your website to rank well in search results. Not only is content marketing a lot cheaper, but it is also considerably safer.
Social Media Marketing
Another aspect of Internet marketing that is now being hailed as the new SEO is social media marketing (SMM). Just like the concept of search, social interaction dates back to the olden days of our caveman ancestors. Perhaps the only difference is that we are now easily able to interact socially even with people on the other side of the world, thanks to modern technology.
When people searched for information in the past, they went to other people whom they believe possess the information they seek. And then they graduated to checking books and other references for whatever information they want to dig up. And then the Internet was created, and people started turning to search engines for information. That’s how Google came to be accepted as a verb (i.e., “let me google that”) and SEO became a critical part of online marketing.
In recent years, however, we have seen how the influence of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter on how and where people do online searches has grown. These social media platforms have even come to influence the manner in which search engines rank web content on their search results pages. The influence of social media on search is expected to continue evolving and to become more critical, which is why SMM is now deemed more important than traditional SEO.
Slow Acceptance of SMM as a Critical Online Marketing Strategy
Despite the rapidly growing influence of social media on search, business owners and online marketers have been slow to embrace it as a powerful tool for a strategic online marketing campaign. Only a few are currently using SMM techniques to build awareness for their brand and make their website more accessible to search engines and their target audience.
Perhaps the main reason why business owners and marketers alike have been slow to embrace SMM is that they may not have realized that SMM isn’t a new concept at all. It isn’t something that still needs to go through trial-and-error in order to prove its worth as a marketing strategy. Back when Internet marketing wasn’t the norm, people raved about word-of-mouth advertising, remember? Well, SMM is really just the modern version of that old-school marketing concept.
Think about it. How does word-of-mouth advertising work? If you’re happy about a particular brand’s products and/or services, you tell other people about it. If the people you told tried the product/service and are happy about it, they tell other people, and so on.
It’s the same thing with social media. If you like a particular piece of content, you share it with others on social platforms. If you’re happy about a certain product/service, you post positive comments about it. Your social circles see the posts and comments, give the product/service a try, and if they’re happy about it, they share the news with their own social circle.
When search engines became the go-to tool for those seeking information, SEO replaced traditional word-of-mouth advertising as the main weapon of marketers. Today, SMM is gradually replacing SEO as the primary online marketing strategy, along with content marketing. The world of marketing has indeed come full circle and the sooner you realize that, the better it will be for your business.
Making Content Marketing and SMM Work
Of course, you can’t just launch content marketing and SMM campaigns haphazardly and expect them to immediately become a success. As with everything else in marketing, you have to do it right. Here are a few tips that’ll point you in the right direction towards content marketing and SMM success:
- Think of Twitter as a discovery engine for Google. Use it to tell Google and other search engines what piece of content you’ve just added to your website. Embed hyperlinks to the content in your tweets.
- Make sure your content is shareable. Let it educate your audience and makes sure the copy is well-written. Include a “Share” button to make it easy for your audience to share the post across various social platforms.
- Monitor comments on your website as well as your social media pages so you’ll know what people are saying about your posts and your brand in general. Be sure to respond appropriately to both negative and positive comments, and learn when to ignore certain comments.
- Be sure to update your social media pages on a regular basis, particularly those on popular sites like Facebook. This helps improve your ranking on Bing, information which, in turn is picked up by Google and may help improve your ranking there as well.
- Share and syndicate your content across a variety of social platforms. Remember that consumers are increasingly relying on content accessed via social media.
Now is definitely NOT the time to obsess about SEO. While it remains an important part of the overall marketing strategy of any business, it has become significantly less important than it was about five years ago. In fact, it is no longer the main player in the world of online marketing.
Other than putting more focus on content marketing and SMM, you should also ensure that your website has a responsive design. People should be able to access the site easily on both desktop and mobile devices. Note that up to 50% of site traffic these days come from mobile use, making responsive web design a truly significant factor in your overall online marketing efforts.
The world of marketing continues to evolve, and it is evolving today as it has never done before. You have to understand what’s going on around you and make sure you keep up.