The Rise of Web Marketing

In today’s whiteboard Friday segment by SEOmoz, Rand Fishkin talks about how SEOs can no longer just be SEOs anymore. Rand suggests, that as an industry, we broaden the definition of SEO by incorporating web marketing techniques like unique content, social media and branding into our daily practice. And I would have to agree. This is a hot topic in our industry right now, and something I felt the need to delve into a bit further.

Old School vs. New School SEO

As an Internet marketing agency, we’ve seen a lot of companies rely on SEOs to keep them at the top of search results. For ecommerce sites especially, it’s a constant struggle between the latest Google update and outperforming peers. As a result, some of our best clients have gotten hung up on old SEO tactics simply because they worked in the past. However, it’s our job as the professionals to tell these clients that buying links and keyword stuffing is no longer appropriate practice.

If you are considering hiring a SEO company to improve your search engine rankings and you plan to measure their worth solely on how high they get you in rankings, you may want to reconsider your short-term and long-term business goals. For example, a spike in search engine rankings is a short-term fix for any struggling website, but creating high-quality content and posting it regularly will ensure long-term SEO growth. Also, if a SEO company tells you that they have easy “tricks” to increase your rankings, don’t fall for it. Nothing compares to natural links and original content.

Focus on Creating Quality Content

Now, back tracking a bit, I mentioned in February that Google has made significant changes to its algorithm to ensure quality websites outrank their inferior counterparts. While keywords are still important, Google now rewards websites that create great content for the benefit of the reader. As SEOs, our objective should be to create better content, not climb the search engine rankings.

Utilize other sources of organic traffic

In addition to high-quality content, search engines also value other sources of organic traffic like social media, blogs, video, and email marketing. These sources can also drive substantial traffic to your website. More important, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have transformed into customer engagement platforms.

SEOs should become brand communicators by listening to customers and understanding what’s important to them. Customers today are bold enough to go directly to a Twitter handle or public forum to engage directly with a business. And they expect brands to communicate back. What SEOs can do is encourage customers to place reviews on social media and other websites. These reviews will serve as their public endorsement of a brand. When a customer shares your content through their social media profiles, they are providing quality inbound links to your website.

Leverage Your Online Authority

I’ve talked a lot about thought leadership as a powerful SEO tactic, so I won’t bore you with all the details. However, when a customer already trusts you they will come to you for professional advice. And one way you can do this is through content management.  Creating SEO-friendly and engaging content is the first step. If you sell all natural health products and you write a blog post about “5 Natural Ways to Heal Acne,” SEOs can ensure that when a consumer types “natural ways to heal acne” into the search field, your blog will show up in search results. Whether it’s through blogging or email marketing, the goal of content management is to get customers visiting your website.

Over the years there has been a lot of “black hat” or shady SEO practices, and search engines are starting to catch on. Regardless, SEO is still a valuable tool when building your business. Therefore, if you can do it the right way and take advantage of these web marketing techniques, you can naturally position yourself as an industry leader and the search engines will graciously reward you.

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