Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO IS NOT DEAD. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. That’s a clickbait headline that people write, but they might as well say “marketing online is dead”. There is always going to be a place to Optimize your products, sites and content for Search Engines.
Have you ever heard the expression “if you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve always got? Nowhere is this truer than in the world of SEO. If you’re contacting vendors who are primarily selling you link placements, that’s not SEO. If they are primarily selling $5 an article copy, that’s not SEO. If they are rewriting your pages to include keyword stuffed copy, that’s not SEO.
SEO to this point has been a pretty straightforward process of onsite optimization, content syndication, and back link acquisition. Many agencies and SEO professionals even have a routine down for doing this kind of formulaic SEO, however, it’s simply not going to work any more- at least for Google. In fact, it’s almost as if Google looked at those tactics and specifically decided to smack them down It’s time to change the model.
On Site Optimization
There is still a place for on site optimization; that will never change, but it’s really a commodity now, nearly everyone does the same type of onsite optimization of meta tags, navigation, internal linking, and the like.
You need to start fresh with a clean link profile. This can be a long and arduous process, and it might not show much fruit as it can be very difficult to get bad links removed (when you can find them) but especially if you have received a notice from Google in the form of a Webmaster Tools message or even a letter, you must scrub that profile.
Social signals are being used in the major search engines’ algorithms. Social media and SEO can’t be placed in separate buckets any more. They are one and the same.
Conversion rate optimization
What good is it bringing a horse to water if you can’t make them drink? By using advanced techniques such as geotargeting or behavioral segmentation, you can make the traffic that does come to the site more valuable. A/B testing and multivariate testing are also very valuable, and can provide insights into the client’s customer base that they’d never be able to get anywhere else but online.
A good SEO makes themselves a partner with their client. It’s not about squeezing another month of fees out of them with a song and dance about the latest update and how valuable your knowledge is, it’s about partnering with them to learn their industry, learn their customers, and learn their demographic.
Google has made this even easier for us to do with their new multi-touch reporting, which is able to give insight on what the purchase/conversion funnel looks like. From “the percentage of visitors who touched the site first via PPC, but then purchased via organic search” to “how to drive traffic to the site using social media”, SEOs can provide business owners great insight about how their clients behave online. For example, if you have a product that skews young, there’s a good chance that people are first discovering your brand on Social Media- how can you capitalize on that? How can you optimize for the right channel and purchase path? How can you keep that sales funnel full? Multi channel attribution and the resultant optimization can answer all of these questions and many more. This is a newer area of SEO/marketing- unless you have an analytics solution that does these things already- and it’s a great first step towards selling an integrated campaign, as well.
Content Creation and Marketing
Content marketing now is about the same thing I’ve always personally advocated- give people some value! Give them a reason to come to your site, give them a reason to click that inline link. Infographic link bait, guest posts, and at the heart of it- good, original, valuable useful content- are the future of content marketing. Google needs good quality content to wrap its ads around, and the best way to get to the top of the SERP isn’t a secret to be figure out- it’s to be the most valuable resource.
Adaptive/Responsive design recommendations
t’s important that client sites are flexible, as web content is being consumed on a dizzying and ever-increasing array of devices from phones to tablets to desktops. Architectural recommendations about how to build a site to scale properly so that all visitors see all the clients’ content, in the best possible presentation, is part of both SEO and the previously mentioned conversion rate optimization.
Mobile Website Recommendations
It doesn’t make sense for every brand to have its own mobile site, but it does make sense to build the site in a way that maximizes visibility across a lot of different devices. There’s a whole separate mobile algorithm that takes things like scalability and site speed into account; so it’s important to optimize for that algorithm. Some clients would be better served by building an App for their customers- it’s an SEO’s job to make that consideration/recommendation as well.
Site Speed Optimization
Regardless of what you sell or to whom you sell it, the Internet is getting faster, connected devices are getting faster, and mobile website access is becoming more common. Site speed is an important part of the algorithm and an especially important part of the mobile algorithm.