A Search Engine Optimization Strategy for Content Marketing Success

drmarkcamilleri
Mark Camilleri Researcher, Educator, Independent Writer, Speaker and a Business Consultant, Substantia Mea

Posted on May 28th 2014

A Search Engine Optimization Strategy for Content Marketing Success

search engine optimization 101Search engines are continuously collecting data from every web page so that they can better serve their online users.  It may appear that they act like librarians who try to find the right book to satisfy their patrons. Evidently, the search engines’ systems are capable of taking a lot of information before they split up the best results for their users. Every search engine has a secret recipe which is called an algorithm. The algorithm turns all the information into useful search results. It goes without saying that the web pages which appear in the first page of search results are placed in a better position than other sites which feature in the latter pages of the same search query. Therefore, certain web sites are ranked higher in search results. Some sites are more popular than others as they are easier located on the web.

Search Engine Optimization (or simply SEO) is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” listings on search engines. All the major search engines including Google, Yahoo and Bing present search results along with links to web pages and other content including videos or local listings. Such content is displayed and ranked according to what the search engine considers the most relevant to its users. Of course, the sites’ content cannot lack proper visibility. Websites cannot afford to become buried in search results. A recent saying among millennials goes;“The best place to hide a dead body is page two of Google’s search results.”

There are several key ingredients that site administrators ought to consider as they develop their quality content. Ideally, the content strategy of web sites should resonate with the individual internet users in the following ways:

1.      Keywords Based on Search Intent

Search results will feature pages with information containing the few words which were inserted by internet browsers in their search query. Therefore, keywords maintain their vital role in optimization. They determine page rank as they drive relevant search traffic. Keywords are still the primary entry method to the search process, whether initiated by conversational or exact match searches. It is very advisable to integrate keywords in URLs, titles, body texts and internal links to align meta-information of content with the search intent.

Recently, the release of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm has expanded rank requirements beyond keywords. Although greater emphasis is now placed on conversational search, Hummingbird did not eliminate the need for keyword targeting. Interestingly, this week Google announced its latest update, namely; Panda 4.0. Google maintained that it wants to prevent sites with poor quality content from working their way into its top search results.  In other words, Google strives to remain relevant, as it is assuring its users that they will get the answers they are looking for.

2.      Quality Inbound Links for Authority and Discoverability

Quality inbound linksbetween websites matter. The webpages which link to other sites will often strengthen their URL link for search engines. Quality content will naturally gain quality links. Yet, link-building strategies should never be disregarded. Inbound links continue to influence search rank and visibility. Search engines will always evaluate the authority of inherent, linked content. Therefore, links are one of the best indicators of relevance and credibility. That’s why savvy site developers often keep focusing their attention on gaining quality links through organic, white-hat methods such as reciprocal linking.

3.      Responsive Design for the Mobile User Experience

As the mobiles’ share of digital traffic continue to rise, content should be optimized for an enhanced mobile users’ experience. Mobile internet has already surpassed desktop traffic. According to a recent comScore survey, mobile devices accounted to no less than 55 percent of all digital site traffic in January 2014. In addition,  comScore maintained that 89.4 percent of mobile media users had accessed Google sites via smartphones in January 2014. Consequently, marketers need to optimize their content for mobile search. Key mobile considerations that factor into responsive design may include page load time, content length, voice search behavior, image and video processing as well as formatting and structure. Mobile consumption habits and responsive elements can be at the forefront of web site administrators. It is in their best interest to ensure a fluid content consumption experience across all devices.

4.      Social Sharing Functionality to Enhance Social Signals

When relevant content is widely shared across different social networks, search engines may respond by identifying and incorporating all social signals in their search results. Strong social engagement often signifies content quality and resonance. Therefore, site developers ought to place social sharing buttons to facilitate their content promotion for further dissemination - through other digital media. The frequency of user updates may also attribute rank value to dynamic data. It is very likely that in the foreseeable future, social actions will gain greater influence. Google’s algorithms are increasingly becoming more sophisticated as they continue to expand to include broader web and social connections.

5.      Authorship Mark-ups for Rank Influence

Apparently, both Google’s and Bing-Klout’s Authorships have incorporated their users’ social influence and digital presence in their rankings so as to improve the quality of their search results. In a sense, there is an opportunity for web site administrators to pursue engagements with influencers. Previously, the credentials to display author information may have included web signals such as authorship mark-ups and email verifications. The new qualifications now include relevance and engagement levels of content. This latest development reaffirms the tie between high quality content and SEO. 

In conclusion, this contribution suggests that the recipe for a good SEO is changing all the time. Content strategists and marketers who care about their e-reputation realize that they have to come up with fresh, engaging content with a growing number of quality links. They have to make sure that their websites offer great content for different search engines. A SEO strategy demands consistent high quality content which is meaningful and purposeful for target audiences.

drmarkcamilleri

Mark Camilleri

Researcher, Educator, Independent Writer, Speaker and a Business Consultant, Substantia Mea

Dr Mark Anthony Camilleri is a researcher, educator, independent writer, speaker and a business consultant. He specialises in project management, marketing strategy, evaluation and research. Mark's significant experience spans from marketing information systems, analytics and customer relationship management to public relations, marketing communications, branding exercises and reputation management (using both conventional tools and contemporary digital marketing tactics).

Mark is a frequent speaker at conferences, leading events and executive gatherings. His short contributions are often featured in popular press outlets such as the Times of Malta, Business2Community, Triple Pundit and the Shared Value Initiative.

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