Well, as the year is set to turn in the next couple of weeks, it’s probably time for an update. Plus, we’ve been fielding a series of requests for “SEO assistance” and would also like to take this opportunity to clarify what SEO is and how it factors into the ever-changing field of Internet Marketing.
That being said, the following key points from the 2013 articles are still very relevant:
- Content is king
- Search engines are getting smarter
- SEO is and should be part of a broader Internet Marketing strategy that also includes things like blogs, social media, and email marketing.
What changed, specifically, is what will continue to change … search.
Google Search Updates
In a previous post this year, we told you about Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm – another game-changer for those that continue to try and game the system.
Additionally, Google started placing greater emphasis on what they call “authorship” – a tactic that benefits content contributors and brands that tie their posts to their Google+ profiles.
So the days of optimizing your website to attract search engines is over. In fact, the notion of trying to attract search engines is a misplaced.
SEO is now just one tactic of many that brands must employ if they want to stay relevant to their online customers. And it’s customer relevance that Google rewards – not search engine trickery.
So what does this mean?
Well for starters, here’s what we at Bicycle Theory consider to be the fundamentals of and SEO / Internet Marketing initiative in 2014.
(1) Content over Keywords
Rather than focusing on keywords, you need to focus on content and address the specific needs of your customers. Using the “right keywords” should be a secondary consideration.
(2) Strategy, strategy, strategy
The focus of your initial content strategy should help you answer the following questions:
- Relevant Content – What does your customer base look to you for? And what content gets the biggest response from them.
- Engagement Level – How do regularly should you publish and promote content without overwhelm your followers?
- Tools – What is the right combination of tools to publish and promote content, as well as engage with your customer base?
Now, with regards to tools, here are some related posts that we published over the last year or so:
(3) Get Social
Having a presence is no longer optional. Social media might not seem like a natural fit for all brands, but it does factor into search results. And it’s a great way to build a captive audience to help you spread the word. The trick is figuring out which platforms work best for your brand (see above).
(4) Go Mobile
The future is now. And content needs to be served up to audiences across smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers. So making sure your content can be easily accessed and digested regardless of device is kind of a big deal.
(5) Track and Monitor Response
Obviously, you have to gauge response to figure out what works. Fortunately, most social media platforms include some form of metrics – like Facebook “Insights” for example. But the big dog in Web stats tracking is and will continue to be Google Analytics.
Blah blah blah … prove it
So how do we know that this works? Well, we’ve done it for our clients and ourselves.
Example 1: Bicycle Theory
In 2013 we saw our overall traffic more than double, simply by posting regular blog articles (mainly around topics relevant to our clients and brand), promoting them using social media, and then sending a monthly e-newsletter summarizing our posts each month and linking back to the blog or website. And of course, we made it a point to respond to user comments, as well as share content about or clients and friends. And in the process our following on Facebook and Twitter grew.
Example 2: MPLS Bike Love
We acquired MPLS Bike Love in the fall of 2010 knowing that popularity of forum-based websites was already waning. But in the approximately 2.5 years since, we’ve made a dedicated effort to keep the brand relevant by making the website easier to use and maintain, while also shifting our focus to social media. And as of this month, we have now over 2,500 likes on Facebook and over 2,500 followers on Twitter. And that’s in addition to a spanky new website that is now one-part forum, one-part private social network.
What are you waiting for?
The first step is always the hardest, but the key is to start small and teach yourself to walk before you try to run. And in the process you can monitor progress, make adjustments based on your results, and begin fine-tuning your efforts.
And of course, you can always call on Bicycle Theory to help if you’re looking for a little expert guidance.
And last but not least, check out some of these other helpful articles.
- 11 Places to Find Awesome Content Marketing Ideas
- Content Marketing and SEO: Proceed with Caution
- Eating My Keywords
- The Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors
- Google’s 200 Ranking Factors
- What Google ‘Hummingbird’ Means for Your SEO Strategy
Bicycle Theory is a brand marketing company located in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, MN. Bicycle Theory provides strategic and tactical brand marketing services, including Web design and development, Internet marketing, brand strategy, and identity building.