The primary goal of marketing is to attract consumers to your brand. In today’s online world, they best way to attract interest is by properly using search engine optimization (SEO). There are several factors that form a successful SEO synergy, from creating high-quality content and legitimate link building to building trust and authority and managing your brand’s social media network. This will show you how to attract interest using SEO.
What Makes for Successful SEO?
In order to ensure that the Internet is not overrun with spam, Google has been aggressively policing SEO tactics that don’t adhere to web standards, and punishing violators by essentially “blacklisting” illegitimate websites in its efforts to clean up the worthless online clutter. There are three different groups of SEO factors to consider:
On-the-page directly relates to a web page (i.e.; content, HTML, architecture)
Off-the-page factors indirectly relate to a web page (i.e.; links, trust, social)
Violations are undesirable SEO tactics (i.e.; spam, cloaking, piracy)
For obvious reasons you do not want to include any questionable SEO tactics in your campaign, as this will bring Google’s ax down on your site, effectively killing it by relegating it deep into the bowels of its search results pages. We will get to that, but first we will focus on using the effective SEO factors that will attract consumer interest.
The on-the-page SEO factors are important because of how search engine result pages (SERPs) rank web pages. Arguably the most prominent and important of these factors is content. Original high-quality content, from copywriting to videos, will increase your chances of achieving higher page rankings, particularly since Google holds valuable content in the highest esteem.
Then there is your website’s HTML. If your HTML adheres to current web standards and/or mobile web standards, your pages will be more easily found in the SERPs, resulting in greater exposure. This means that your pages must have relevant page titles that integrate keywords likely to be searched by users, include meta tags and descriptions for SERP “snippets” (a snapshot of what is shown in search results), and use page headers and sub-headings with relevant keywords as well as structured data that enhances your pages.
Finally, you have your site’s architecture. This is important to SERP web crawlers, which scour your site for search result relevancy. Your site will also need to manage any duplicate content issues that arise so that it doesn’t get flagged as spam or worse—challenge your authority with your audience.
Your site’s architecture is also important to keep it efficient. Slow load times equate to high bounce rates (when users exit the page out of frustration and/or impatience). Your URLs should also be relevant to the page content and include keywords. Of course, your site must also be optimized for mobile to rank high in searches.
Using these on-the-page SEO factors as a guideline for designing your pages and respective content will enhance the success your site. The combination of providing valuable content, writing good code and having a strong architecture for your site is like digital steroids for your page rankings.
As equally important as their on-the-page counterparts, off-the-page SEO factors tend to be geared toward the distribution of your content via your link network, audience engagement on your brand’s social media channels, and localization.
Your link network needs to have links that are legitimate, reputable and valuable. If you are trying to build trust with your audience, you would never link them to any spam because in the future, they will not trust you. You are who your friends are. This adage applies to off-the-page SEO factors to the nth-degree, as your brand ‘s reputation is its livelihood online.
Being authoritative within your niche will garner consumer interest and brand loyalty. If you aspire to be an authority in your niche, building your reputation as an expert is your prime directive. To build authority with your audience, you must be willing to share your knowledge and expertise with them.
Many brand websites rely on their history online. If a site that was launched 10, 15 or even 20 years ago is still thriving, there is something to be said for that history. Newer startup sites may not have that same kind of online history to fall back on, but depending on your niche, your brand may rely on real-world experience and history that will be the introduction to building its online reputation. You will also want to verify the identity of the your site and any contributors, which will increase your authority.
Social media quite possibly plays one of the most significant roles in building your brand’s authority and reputation online. By tapping into the power of social media, you will be able to connect with your audience on a more personal level. Consumers want brands to hear their opinions, accolades and criticisms, which depending on your response, can make or break your brand. Never underestimate the power of your audience on social media. It is also a great way to connect locally with consumers.
One argument happening in the search engine world is the contention that “SEO is dead”, which is mere hyperbole, but illustrates the fact that SEO as it used to be has evolved into new strategies that work for today’s Web. Too often, brands try to cut marketing costs by using poor SEO tactics that simply don’t cut it when it comes to user and web standards.
One SEO violation is when pages are loaded with ads. Google’s 2012 algorithm update checks pages for excessive ad code in what is known as above-the-fold content (content that is visible without scrolling). Shady SEO practitioners like to fluff pages with ads above-the-fold that obscure content and ruin the user experience. Online ads are ubiquitous and unavoidable, and they must follow web standards.
Next, there is the issue of paid links, when lazy SEO “pros” pay for links in an effort to raise their own page rankings. On top of contributing bad links to the Web, paid links are a waste of money that could be allocated elsewhere in your SEO and content marketing strategy.
Oftentimes, these links are farmed and sold to the highest bidder, but the buyer may have purchased spam or broken links. Any way you cut it, paid links are a lose-lose gamble for everyone. Everyone knows that spam is bad and no one likes getting spammed with branded content. Just don’t do it. In many cases, you can even be banned for spamming.
Keywords are excellent tools to help boost your SEO, but content mills and bots are notorious for stuffing as many relevant keywords into each piece of content as possible. Original content should be well-written using keywords naturally and always have substance so that when users view your content they will see value and authenticity as opposed to algorithmically generated prose.
The last SEO violations are what are known as hiding text and “cloaking”. Hiding text is when keywords that are relevant to what is popular on SERPs are hidden on the page by changing the text color to match the background color. This way, users can’t see them but search engines can. “Cloaking” is when a web page is presented to users as one page but shows up as another page to SERPs. Fool me once…
This first step of Lifecycle Marketing examines how to attract interest from consumers using SEO, which is an extremely effective if used properly. There are even free SEO tools available. Web standards and SEO guidelines are strictly enforced by SERPs like Google, whose wrath does not want to be felt by your brand. Remember, be authentic, honest and professional in your SEO and content marketing efforts to gain the trust of your influence while building your brand’s influence, reputation and audience.