Step aside old-school SEO (Search Engine Optimization). There’s a new ruler in town, and it’s called OC/DC, or optimizing content for discovery and conversion. And yes, it’s already spreading its web!
As savvy businesspeople and marketing professionals, you’ve surely noticed several recent changes in search engine algorithms. You now realize we’re all facing new challenges in the SEO area. Like many of us, you may feel that the only unchanging truth about SEO is its always-changing nature.
And, you’re right.
SEO as we Know it
Traditional SEO refers to two main actions: creating and optimizing websites with specific keywords and content, that ensure their top spots on various search engines, and posting content on numerous websites and social media sites that links back to the author’s website. These tricks have been a valuable part of marketing for years. But, is it still the case? Actually, SEO alone may not be enough to stay on top in today’s constantly evolving digital world.
Don’t get this wrong, standard SEO is still important. But, because the demand and requirements are changing, it needs a makeover and requires some term-modifying and approach-broadening tactics.
Main Changes in SEO
Link Building is Still Alive, but it’s Getting Weaker
Some links lose their value and importance with time, especially if websites are rarely updated. Moreover, Google minds only how people’s links and content show that they’re significant, distinctive and influential on the Internet. So, if a profile doesn’t prove someone’s authority, Google may lose its interest or disregard what the person has to offer. Therefore, using guest bloggers, who link back to their content, may be risky and ineffective, especially if their websites are disorganized and hold no user-tailored content. In fact, some links can kill! Therefore, standard link building and investing in guest posts may not be worth your effort.
Content Marketing Becomes the new SEO
With social media’s development and increasing influence, companies emphasize the meaning of good story-telling content and its future. Marketing content and distributing it accordingly have become priority-driven investments. But, is content marketing the key to success? Yes, it can be, and some of the biggest brands can prove it. For example, American Express’ OpenForum.com stories brought in millions of small businesses; in one month, RedBull reached two million people with its magazine; and with more than 100 millions views, Dove’s ”Real Beauty Sketches” became the most popular advertisement in history. So, if you don’t get on the band wagon, you may miss out a lot.
SEO and PR Have Fused
The PR (Public Relations) industry knows the value of building meaningful relations and realizes social media’s influence in this aspect. PR has learned to adapt to working with the social part of its interactions and is able to promote its content and get that competitive edge. This practice intertwines PR with SEO. Certainly, both industries know that their combined forces can deliver engaging content and produce quality distribution. Thus, utilizing the mixture of these two approaches in your marketing strategy is important.
Why Content Quality and its Marketing are Vital
Content Length Affects SERP Rankings
The more words a specific text includes, the better chances it has for high rankings on Google. Moreover, longer writings bring more links and responses on social media sites, and they convert better. As a result, they may positively or, if done unskillfully, negatively influence your SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rankings.
Great Content Succeeds as a RTB or PPC Campaign Landing Page
The goal of landing pages and RTB (Real Time Bidding) or PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns is to optimize conversions and, ultimately, lead to a sale. Since people are more inclined to choose a service or product mentioned within some remarkable content, they can generate greater volume of direct response. That’s why, marketing with great texts is a vital strategy.
Valuable Content Diversifies Online Traffic Sources
Diversified traffic refers to natural, referral, social, and direct searches. Worthy content not only optimizes better, bringing natural search, but it’s quoted and publicized more, bringing backlinks and referrals. Moreover, social media shares, likes and pins help spread texts further, fast. Also, quality passages bring direct searches straight to a particular website. Clearly, great content can expand your online traffic.
Original, Engaging Content Always Wins
Well-written, informative and engaging stories and texts presented on various websites attract potential visitors. Infographics, photos, videos, surveys, and intriguing questions catch people’s eye. Interactive content also slows people down, making them look at a product, and it encourages them to engage in meaningful conversations. That’s how you can gain loyal customers.
Content Marketing Boosts Businesses on Many Levels
Marketing need- and interest-based content by presenting engaging multi-media techniques is good for building a brand and bringing more traffic. It’s helpful in SEO and brand reputation support, thanks to strengthening SEO and establishing expertise in a particular niche. Moreover, quality content marketing actions allow to inform people of that brand or product without being pushy about selling it. Content marketing can definitely increase your business’ growth.
OC/DC can Make a Difference
Optimizing content for discovery and conversion focuses on external (e.g. search engine, social media, and other sites) and on-site (e.g. loading times, information helpfulness, and adaptable web design) maximizing tactics. It relates to creating functional, instructive and conversion-optimizing websites. OC/DC not only redefines traditional SEO, but it expands the extent of content-creating and -marketing processes. If done smartly and correctly, it can improve any company’s outreach and outcome.
Ways to Improve Content Marketing, With OC/DC in Mind
Revamp Your Existing Website Content
After investigating what works and what doesn’t for your website’s content optimization, edit the sections that were created without a point. To start off, tweak your keywords and ensure their proper density and currency. You may also need to redo your headlines, check your links, expand or modify previously touched topics, or change the purpose of your concepts.
Make Word Count one of Your Priorities
When designing an editorial schedule, remember about the length of the writings you develop. It’s proven that longer texts have a better chance of landing on the first page of Google search. So, focus on content length and keep your word count at more than 500, at least, or even 1000-2000, whenever you can.
Become Discoverable and Noticeable on the Internet
To establish your local online presence and succeed in your community, try optimizing your exact position for Google and Bing. Also, be active and relevant on social media sites and connect with your followers. Engage in dialogs and offer special deals to create interest, boost conversions, and increase profit.
Write for People, not for Robots
By serving your customers well, you can build strong, trusting and professional relationships with them. So, create content that’s useful for your readers and offer your help when they need it. Also, after finding out your readers’ interests and needs through observation, polls and surveys, tailor your content to their expectations.
Tell Great Stories as a new Content Strategy
You should never waste your energy on choosing random, dry or uninteresting topics. To convey your stories skillfully in a compelling manner, you need a unique writing approach. You should also remember about engaging people’s minds and senses. Therefore, try incorporating appealing multi-media tools in your content strategy.
Improve Your Loading Time
Undeniably, slow websites deject visitors. Optimizing your website’s loading times will not only attract more users, but it’ll be helpful in maintaining your traffic. So, ensure that you test your websites regularly on different devices and aim for a 3-second loading time.
Promote Your Content Wisely
Having great texts on your website without a proper distribution or marketing strategy is useless. That’s why, after creating compelling stories, relevant content, and sales or offers, publicize them on social media sites. Also, include calls to action from your audience to spread your reach and drive engagement.
Invest Efforts in RWD
Without a doubt, the number of mobile device users and the popularity of multi-screening have increased. Thanks to RWD (responsive web design), you can fuse all elements of your website with one URL and, very importantly, provide a seamless viewing experience that your visitors will appreciate. Therefore, make sure your website’s design is able to identify and adjust to different devices’ resolutions.
Do you think the above OC/DC techniques are achievable for your business? Let’s hope so, because optimizing content for discovery and conversion is here to stay. But, if you’re unsure, simply challenge yourself and do it, one step at a time. Remember, however, that success doesn’t come just like that, or to those who want to rush through things. Good content marketing strategy takes time and work and isn’t a quick fix. So, be patient. With time, you’ll surely see the fruit of your efforts!
Bios of quoted professionals:
A former AudetteMedia founder and president, Adam Audette is the Chief Knowledge Officer at RKG, a performance digital agency focused on paid and organic marketing services. Active in the search marketing industry since 1996, Adam not only partnered with major brands - such as Amazon or Zappos - in the past, but he now also drives the strategic direction and initiative creation of RKG and is a regular blogger, columnist, and industry-event speaker.
Voted one of the Top SEO Women in 2011, Debra Mastaler is the President of Alliance-Link, an interactive marketing company providing custom consultations and link building training. Active since 2000, Debra - who has worked with various Fortune 500 companies and major SEO firms in USA, UK and Canada - is a guest blogger and speaker and a link-building moderator on industry forums.
A pioneer in digital marketing, Ann Handley is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, a company that offers education for marketers via training, research, best practices, and other content. Cited and recognized by Forbes, Ann co-founded ClickZ.com - one of the first sources of interactive marketing news and commentary - and she’s a keynote speaker, a monthly magazine contributor, and the co-author of a best-seller, Content Rules.
An entrepreneur with an eye for good design and advocate of simplicity. He brings a fresh strategy and approach to every project and plays an integral role in clients’ accomplishments through collaboration and close integration. Through his hands-on experience in technology and marketing, he ensures user experiences and technology are on the leading edge.