The shift from SEO to Content Marketing has happened.
As someone who came into the SEO/online marketing world as a copywriter in 2000, I’ve been a big believer in using quality content as the basis for any online marketing efforts. I’ve preached that point, ad nauseam, to colleagues and clients for years. After all, search engines like Google have said all along that they want the same thing that any real person wants: quality content that’s useful for actual people as opposed to keyword-stuffed pages meant for search engines.
In the past year or so, Google has taken additional steps such as the Panda and Penguin updates to weed out some of the ne’er do-wells who use link farms and loads of unnatural backlinks to try to make a website rank better. More changes like that are coming. For many years, the thinking was that more backlinks equated to higher rankings. It did work, but not so much anymore. Quality linking is still important, but the way in which the links are acquired is a much more significant factor than ever before.
SEO has changed.
So yes, the “SEO game” has changed. I would argue that the shift from SEO to content marketing is the most significant change in years because the focus is really, truly on the content now more than ever. The bottom line is that you can spend time and money finding ways to exploit Google and the other search engines or social sites and risk severe penalties or you can spend time and money building quality content and establishing your authority. To me, it’s a no-brainer if you value the long term viability of your company’s online presence.
And that’s why ‘content marketing’ is now a thing.
Just so we’re clear, SEO is not dead. Far from it. Optimizing websites and the content on the pages is still a significant and important step. The on-page or on-site factors are still very important. But writing, designing, building and optimizing a website is no longer a one-off, one-and-done project. You need to have a plan for how you are going to stay in front of your customers on an ongoing basis that makes sense for your business.
That plan is your content marketing strategy. You might consider SEO a sub-set of that plan.
Here’s where social media comes into play.
People connect via social media. Lots of people, actually. They’re on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, etc. etc. You may not be on any of those social media platforms, but that doesn’t mean your prospective customers aren’t. Some are on all those, others prefer just one or two. The point is, there are customers and prospects out there for you. The question is, do you have something of value to share with them via those platforms?
More importantly, do you have something of value that they would share with others or make them take action? Social media sites are basically the new way to build links, spread your message and engage people. This shifts the focus dramatically and it has changed the game.
This is the kind of thinking you need to apply to your marketing. You may not think that your business has much to say to people, but I would argue that you’d be wrong. If you have one customer, chances are there are other customers out there who want what you have, even if it’s boring or super-specific to a small niche audience. In fact, consider that an advantage because you can become the authority in your particular field.
The main reason I am sharing this is because I still encounter people—even some in the website and marketing business—who are confused about what “SEO” is, how it works and what they should be doing about it. Some want to sell “SEO” as a bolt-on service to a website design, but it’s not that simple. Every business has unique needs and it is worth the time and cost to understand those needs and develop a solid plan that makes sense. Most businesses know they need it, but far, far too many forget that it this an ever-changing monster that can hurt you every bit as much as it can help you.
And that’s exactly why Johnny Website is here to help! Contact me today to ask questions and to figure out your plan for content marketing.