As an online marketer, it is your responsibility to gain a clear understanding of how each advertising channel can possibly benefit your organization and allow you to reach as many of your target audience as possible on a regular basis.
Search engine optimization (SEO) has long been lauded as an effective way of driving traffic to a company’s website. In fact, it has long been considered the primary way of getting the kind of traffic you want for your site. These days, however, social media is increasingly influencing the online marketing industry. As a result, the advertising focus is now split between SEO and social media marketing (SMM).
This split in focus doesn’t have to result in deterioration in the quality of your SEO efforts or in half-baked strategies for your SMM campaigns. You have to make sure your efforts in both aspects of online marketing deliver positive results and set your business apart from the competition.
The burden of ensuring success in both long-tail SEO and social media micro-content is definitely difficult to bear. This is why many marketers are wondering if it isn’t a better idea to just focus on one marketing channel instead of trying to do well on both. Let’s take a closer look at how each channel can benefit your organization so you can decide whether to choose one over the other or give your best efforts at both.
Although there are some who say long-tail SEO isn’t really SEO, this tactic has been proven by many to effectively drive long-term results. Keywords and shorter key phrases are significantly more competitive, which means it takes longer for any business to gain the results they expect. This is why optimizing for multiple long key phrases is an excellent idea for many businesses.
Here are some quick facts that drive home the value of pursuing long-tail SEO:
- Searches for a minimum of four words have an organic click-through rate of 56%, which is considerably higher than the 30% click-through rate of single-word searches.
- Click-through rates increase even more as key phrases become more specific.
- Long-tail keywords have been observed to deliver about 70% of traffic to most websites.
- Long-tail keywords post a much higher ranking potential than single keywords and shorter key phrases.
- Web pages that are optimized for long-tail keywords are seen to rank an average of 11 places higher than web pages that are optimized purely for head keywords.
Head keywords can definitely give you some significant short term gains that cannot be matched by long-tail keywords. However, the long-term benefits of long-tail SEO can more than make up for the discrepancy in short-term gains.
Think about it: Long-tail keywords are more specific. Therefore, the traffic they drive to your site will likely be more relevant and more likely to actually patronize your business. The key phrases for which you optimize your site in long-tail SEO are more tailored to your product/service offerings, which is why they have a higher potential of increasing your revenue over the long term.
It can be a bit difficult to predict exactly when you’ll start seeing positive results from your long-tail SEO efforts, but on average, you can expect to reap the first rewards within three months to a year.
Social Media Micro-Content
Before we go into the discussion of how social media micro-content can benefit your business, perhaps it’s best to first gain a better understanding of what the concept is all about. Perhaps the easiest way to visualize the concept of micro-content is to liken it to an appetizer. In the same way an appetizer can get you to look forward to the main course, micro-content can entice your audience to view the larger content from which it was extracted.
Micro-content can be a single image, a few illustrations, some quick tips, mini graphics, or any other form of content that can be quickly digested and which serves as a sneak-peek into larger content your audience will likely find interesting and/or useful. The idea of using micro-content to promote a brand on social media rose from the concept that SMM efforts don’t have to be grand in order to be effective.
Here are the top reasons why micro-content can be very useful in your SMM efforts:
- It is one of the easiest ways to engage your target audience on social media. People have very short attention spans these days. They aren’t likely to take the time to read a 2000-word article or an even longer white paper unless you hook them first with a very interesting sneak-peek.
- Micro-content is highly shareable. By now you should already be aware that one of the keys to success in SMM is getting your content shared by as many people as possible across various platforms. When information is interesting, useful, and SHORT, it is more likely to be shared.
One of the biggest advantages of micro-content is that it is highly shareable, which means it helps you get your message to as many people as possible across various social media platforms. Flickr.com photo by opensourceway
- Micro-content offers more value. It can be extremely difficult to come up with a steady stream of informative and entertaining content. By breaking down a large piece of content into bite-sized posts, you create multiple pieces of content with very little effort.
- You can easily tailor micro-content to specific audiences. The fact that it is very easy to produce also makes micro-content very easy to manipulate such that it targets specific demographics. This helps you ensure that the people who view your content are exactly the ones most likely to patronize your business for the long term.
- Micro-content helps you establish authority. Since you provide your audience with useful information on a regular basis, you should be able to position yourself as an authority in the field much faster than if you relied on larger content to deliver your message.
Over time, micro-content will also help create a memory in the minds of your audience as to the kind of value you offer. It can serve as the fuel on which your social media efforts run.
Creating a Healthy Balance
Judging from the above discussion, both long-tail SEO and social media micro-content can be very beneficial to your business. The good news is that you don’t really have to choose one over the other. In fact, it may not be a very good idea to focus on just one of these strategies. For optimum results from your overall online marketing campaign, you need to find a healthy balance between long-tail SEO and micro-content SMM.
Following are some guidelines on how to create and implement a long-term plan for smarter online marketing using both SEO and SMM…
- Synch Long-tail Keywords Across Content
When you create content, make sure you always optimize for a few long-tail keywords to make sure your SEO efforts are well-coordinated with your SMM efforts. Remember that you’re likely to get the best results if you choose key phrases that cover a few different specific topic areas. This helps when you break the content down into micro-content pieces for SMM.
- Create In-Depth Content
Whether you optimize for search engines, social media, or both, you will need high-quality content. This makes it important for you to create infographics, blog posts, videos, and other forms of content that are available not only on your website, but also on your social media pages and channels. You could, for example, create a blog post that’s optimized for long-tail SEO and then post micro-content extracted from that article on your social pages.
- Create a Content-creation Schedule
People are likely to forget about you if they do not hear from you on a regular basis. This makes it important to post fresh content at least once each week. Unless you map out a content-creation schedule, you just might find yourself without anything to publish within a year. To avoid running out of content ideas, you could create in-depth content once or twice per month and then break them down into micro-content you can post on your social media pages once or twice each week.
- Keep Scaling Your Content Creation Efforts
SEO and SMM always go hand-in-hand with content marketing. One of the keys to success in content marketing is continued improvement in terms of the quality of the content you regularly produce.
Whenever you create larger content for SEO purposes, you should always make sure it is relevant, entertaining, and useful. And when you break this down into micro-content for SMM purposes, you have to make sure the attributes of relevance, entertainment, and usefulness remain.
Aside from creating content and then optimizing them both for search engines and social media, you’d also do well to participate in online communities where your target audiences usually discuss topics covered by your product/service offerings. This is a good way of establishing your expertise and encouraging people to check your website and social media channels.
In the final analysis, there doesn’t have to be an either-or where SEO and SMM are concerned. You can split your online marketing focus between long-tail SEO and micro-content SMM without sacrificing the gains you get from each. The key is in learning to create a healthy balance, and the guidelines outlined above should get you off to a good start.