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August 18, 2011

The Convergence of Search, Social & Content Marketing

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SES SFModerator: Greg Jarboe, President & Co-founder, SEO-PR

Speakers:
Aaron Kahlow, Chairman & Founder, Online Marketing Summit
Arnie Kuenn, President, Vertical Measures
Lee Odden, SES Advisory Board & CEO, TopRank Online Marketing

Arnie will be the 1st presenter this morning. He is going to talk about how to research and come up with ideas for producing content.  This is always such a struggle for site owners and marketers.

Start with keyword research [doesn’t everything start there?].  Brainstorm for keyword phrases your customers use when searching and use tools like Google keyword suggest and instant search, Google Adwords keyword tool and Bing’s commercial Intent.  Think about the long-tail keywords especially.

Once you have your keyword list you then need to do some online market research.  Check trending topics on Twitter, Yahoo and MSN.  Take a look at answer sites like Yahoo Answers, Quora, LinkedIn or Facebook.  Check sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit and Mixx.  Lastly, look at Google’s discussions in search.  All these sources will tell you what is being talked about in your industry and what’s trending.  Jot down notes about what people are asking and discussing because these are opportunities to create content.

Next, look at what’s working for your competitors. He recommends using the SEOmoz free tool of Open Site Explorer to do this.  Look through the list of pages people are linking to and finding interesting on your competitor’s sites.  Jot down ideas that you come up with and keep track of the sites that are linking to the competitor’s content because they may very well be sites you want to get links from once you publish your new content.

SES conference logo

Determine where you want to push your content and then list your possibilities.  Keep track in a spreadsheet with columns for keywords (short tail), long-tail and content options.

Something useful is to put together a content calendar.  Think about who your audience is and who you are. What is different this year vs last year vs a year from now and where do you want to publish your content.  From that you can put together a publishing content calendar so that everyone is on the same page of producing content.

He reiterates how important the long-tail keywords are.  Long-tail keyword phrases have a better click-thru rate when compared against the short-tail keyword phrases. On short-tail searches, it was found that 32% of searches click on the 1st listing and only 5% on the 2nd. With long-tail 25% click on the 1st, 14% on the 2nd, 11% on the 3rd.  With the long-tail phrases you have a better chance of getting traffic in a lower position vs in a short tail search.

He goes on to talk about how if you commit to content, and you do it right, it will pay off.  This leads into Lee’s presentation.

Lee starts out by saying that content rocks and rocks are hard.  Google and customers care about great content.  Sites with thin content and small social representation will not do well with Panda.  Pay attention to what Google says is good content and then work that into creating good content for your customers.

What is driving the convergence of search, social and content? Angry pandas or customers who consume and share content on the web? Think about how you can create and optimize the content to make the customers consume and share that content.

You can continue to chase after the newest, shiny social toy but it is a distraction.  You have to have social in your SEO bag of tricks, but don’t let it lead the SEO.  Content is where you need to put your efforts.  Approach your search, social and content with customer needs and preferences in mind to help you win.

Customers will go through a process of Discovery, Consumption and then Sharing.  They first have a need and they will maybe ask on social for advice on what to buy – they are discovering options.  Once they do some research in the SERPs they actually will go into the Consumption phase by actually buying a product.  Once the product is bought, they will more than likely go into the Sharing phase by talking about the purchase on her social platform.  Break that information down and decide where you need to be so that you’re in front of the customer at all stages.

You also need to profile your desired customer. Who are they? What do they do? What are their interests? By understanding these things it will help you understand what type of content you need to produce.  Is it going to be how-to guides or reviews or videos, tips etc?  Is it going to require social presence and which social properties matter?  Keep these all in mind when developing your strategy.

Don’t forget to think about the keywords that customers are actually using when talking about your industry and products.  You want to use those keywords and language in your content.  Keep track of the important words so that you know, going forward what you are going to go after.

Develop your content plan.  What content are you going to produce? What media are you going to include?  Don’t let your content be boring but up the ‘interesting factor’ by adding in videos, pictures etc.

Create content for Social SEO so that it appears on the site, social properties etc.  The key is to produce content and then put it out where your customers are.  Produce content that fit all areas of the buy cycle that your customers will go through so that you aren’t missing out on any opportunities.

Lee then gives some real life examples of sites he’s helped by implementing a content strategy.  They just prove how important content is and that if you go about creating and implementing them correctly, it will pay for itself over and over again.

Something to include in your strategy is figuring out how to get in touch with the influencers in the industry so that they can help spread your content and brand to create awareness.

Takeaways from Lee’s presentation:

  • Take a customer centric approach
  • Incorporate SEO, social and processes
  • Practice proactive optimization

Optimized.cc is a guide to help you with content marketing and optimization that Lee offers.

Aaron is up last. He is going to spare us any power points and just read off some notes instead to open up the conversation.

Before you get into Lee and Arnie’s tactics you need to understand and buy into how important content marketing is. If you don’t buy into it then more than likely it won’t succeed because implementation won’t be whole-hearted.

People go to the web to find things, and they use your content to help find it.  That’s why it’s important to have good content.  Aaron disagrees that content strategy starts with keyword research. It should start with the brand and then decide what your objective is.  From there figure out how it fits into the buy cycle and then go into the keyword research.  Just think about the strategy first before doing the research.

He also talks about the ‘push’ & ‘pull’ of content marketing.  Think about if the content is something that will be ‘pulled’ from SERPs or is it something you are pushing out.  Integrating the content marketing basically means that you are going to become a publisher.  Think about how your customers want to come to your site for content but if you don’t have the ability to have quality content to publish, then you’ll have a problem. If that’s the case, then you need to go out and figure out how to get into a publisher’s mindset so that you can create and publish content that will matter.  If everyone does this we’ll all be doing better than what we are seeing today.

It’s been said for years, content is king.  Create, develop and implement a content marketing strategy smartly. Always make the customers your driving force of content creation and you won’t go wrong.

 

 






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