One thing is clear, the pace of innovation is increasing and basic SEO building blocks are no longer enough to drive traffic and leads to your website.
Jen Doyle of MarketingSherpa and Nick Stamoulis, President of Brick Marketing and a blogger with the SEO Journal, shared their thoughts on the five key SEO questions we’ve asked several other thought leaders.
Here are a few specific tactics every SMB should employ to get found online.
What’s Inbound Marketing? It’s a cost effective, customer friendly style of online marketing that focuses on using content to get found by the right customers at the very moment they are actively looking for your product or service.
It differs from traditional outbound marketing (like typical print and online display ads) that focuses on broadcasting a message of the company’s choosing – at the time they choose to send it – far and wide in the hopes that it will get noticed and resonate with a portion of the target audience at the time it is delivered. Simply put, Inbound Marketing is getting found by customers, and Outbound Marketing is us trying to find them.
The Inbound Marketing Certification acknowledges detailed understanding of inbound marketing principles and best practices including:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and web site analytics
Lead conversion, lead nurturing, and closed-loop analysis
Online and email marketing campaign building, optimization, and analysis
Business uses for blogging and social media
Before I could take the certification exam, I first had to complete 16 courses that cover the following topics:
How to Blog Effectively for Business
SEO Crash Course to Get Found
Social Media and Building Community
Successful Business Uses for Facebook and LinkedIn
Viral Marketing and World Wide Raves
Advanced SEO Tactics: On Beyond Keyword Research
Calls to Action and Landing Page Best Practices
Inbound Lead Nurturing
Successful Email Marketing
Midway Inbound Marketing Review
PR for Inbound Marketing
Twitter for Business
Advanced Marketing Analytics
Passion-Inspired Video & Other Creative Content
Social Media for Big Business
Internet Marketing Comprehensive Review
The courses are taught by several industry experts including Avinash Kaushik from Google, Chris Brogan from the New York Times, Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz, and and Mitch Joel, author of Six Pixels of Separation. Although a good bit of it was recap of things I already knew and have been actively practicing, the prespective offered by the instructore was often times invaluable. It was a great program and I gained a lot from it.
Did I mention that it’s free? Check out the Certified Inbound Marketing Professional Certification
“The Three ‘R’s” is my basic philosophy on SEO strategy. It’s where I begin when starting any new content or search optimization project.
Optimize your site for specific key words and phrases that address your specific target demographic. Your key words and phrases should be common and standard terminology in the industry for your product type. They should be words that someone would actually use to search for your product. If you have more than one target demo – like wholesale contractors and homeowners – with two very different information needs, you will have to optimize your site along two distinct paths to reach these two demos effectively. The bottom line here is that your optimization efforts have to focus on reaching the right people.
Based on your key words/terms, create content that is relevant and valuable to your target demos. It must address their specific information needs, be differentiated from that of your competition, be considered valuable by your potential customers, and be accessible as they need it. Things like “How Tos” for your home owners and project calculators for your contractors might be examples. Here, the focus is on providing the right people with the right content at the time they need it.
You have to build a relationship with your customer. Weather you go the “trusted advisor” approach by consistently adding new and valuable content and making your customers aware of it, or the “community host” approach by actively cultivating a rich online community, the relationship aspect will be integral in establishing your brand over the long term.
What do you think? What’s your philosophy?
There’s something people often forget about when doing SEO – search engine optimizing printable online collateral such as brochures, datasheets, or PowerPoint presentations.
PDFs and PPT files regularly appear in your Google search results along with web pages. Why? Google crawls PDFs and other file types and indexes them like web pages.
Why should you care?
Any PDF or PowerPoint presentation on your site can potentially effect your overall search results. Additionally, ANY ONE in your organization who produces brochures, documentation, presentations, or any other collateral you post to your site can impact your search results. It’s not just your web content people that have to be knowledgeable about search engine optimized content any more.
Depending on the key words used in a search, your competitor’s search optimized Widget instruction manual could come in above your poorly optimized whiz-bang Widget campaign landing page.
You can really expand your overall search visibility by making sure all of the documents and collateral on your site adhere to basic principles for search engine optimized content. If you look at every document as a potential search result, you’re crazy not to make sure those docs are are optimized for specific key words or phrases.