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September 4, 2012

A Curated Look: SEO, Conversational Marketing and Brands as Publishers

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Announcing the 2012 SEO Industry Survey
via SeoMoz

Every other year SEOmoz polls thousands of search professionals to report on the industry’s priority marketing tactics, budgets, demographics and salaries. For the 2012 SEO Industry Survey, 92% of respondents of reported that SEO was in their multiple-service mix. Content marketing was reported by 71% of respondents to be in the mix.

To me this reveals that the industry undervalues the importance of content in a viable branding and marketing strategy. Content is the core of communication, as obvious as that sounds. An effective brand strategy first understands its own voice and then the channels where its voice will best be amplified. How, then, is content development not reported by 100% of respondents?!

Industry Survey Underscores How The SEO Industry Relies On Google’s Free Tools
via Searchengine Land

Another interesting conclusion uncovered by the survey is the industry’s love/hate relationship with Google. Google tools were reported far and away the most used marketing tools in each of their respective categories; Google Analytics for analytics, Google Website Optimizer for conversion, and Google Webmaster Tools for SEO. So on the one hand, SEOs vocally criticize the search engine and on the other they are a slave to it’s offerings. Of course it’s clear why these two states of mind co-exist within SEO. SEOs rely on Google for their success, so any changes the search engine makes, the job of optimizing search rankings is made more difficult.

Monday Signal: Get Yer Red Hot SXSW Panels Right Here
via Federated Media

This brings me back to the first point about focusing on content marketing and meaningful brand communication. Instead of algorithm chasing and the marginal benefits of Title tag tweaking, online marketers mustn’t be myopic about the brand’s goals and marketing’s role in assisting those goals.

Brand conversations on the social web will be the topic of discussion if the proposed SXSW Interactive session “Brands as Publishers: Defining Church and State” is chosen by voters. The session promises to answer questions like “Do audiences who read branded content know what it is driven by brand goals? Do they care?” These are critical questions for brands looking to have meaningful interactions online.

Obvious Corp Previews Medium, A Publishing Platform That Gives Anyone An Audience
via TechCrunch

The ease and reach the average Web user has for publishing is only accelerating. Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone last month announced a new publishing platform called Medium. The format is being promoted as an elegant and easy way to gain a wide audience for a user’s content collections. From Williams’ introduction: “Lots of services have successfully lowered the bar for sharing information, but there’s been less progress toward raising the quality of what’s produced. […] Collections give people context and structure to publish their own stories, photos, and ideas. By default, the highest-rated posts show up at the top, helping people get the most out of their time in this world of infinite information.”

What this democratization of media will do to the brand and publishing worlds remains to be seen. Almost certainly, though, if you’re not spending the majority of your resources on creating the best content you’re missing the mark.





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