This is a featured post by Michelle Peterman, a site supporter who will be contributing to the blog on a regular basis.
The definition of SEO has changed. If you haven’t heard that at least once a year, you haven’t read enough about SEO. The fact is that the concept is so far beyond search and search engines that SEO is almost a full-service marketing institution.
SEOs — referring to search engine optimizers, aka the people who actually DO the SEO (the abbreviations in this area can be a bit repetitive at times) — are now concerned with rankings outside of Google, and are becoming responsible for increasing company reach and ultimately converting more visitors into buyers. If you’re looking to hire an SEO firm, or you want to be ambitious and practice in-house, you’ll be facing a variety of fronts.
Social Media Marketing
An SEO firm is now responsible for managing and updating social media accounts. Like a PR company, the SEO firm may be asked for input on how to interact with customers or increase engagement. Social media largely depends on being genuine and starting conversations. Using tools like Klout, measure who the major influencers are in your social circle, then try reaching out to them. Go directly to the source and email a pitch to the editors. Guest blogging and social media go hand in hand, and they are both great outreach tools if you want to reach a new audience quickly.
Businesses are becoming increasingly concerned with the ability to market to customers close to them. Google has localization in mind and allows web masters to claim a “Places” page that identifies a business in Google Maps. Places now pull data from sites like Zagat and Google +, so be sure to monitor the reviews you receive and thank people for posting positively or negatively.
Just remember that sites like Yelp discourage you from incentivizing reviews. There is nothing wrong with asking users to review your website, but incentivizing reviews may lead to dishonest feedback that won’t help you change for the better.
After Panda and Hummingbird, Google cracked down on content mills pretty hard. The old concept of aggressive content marketing with generic articles is mostly over. These pages do carry some value, but in competitive fields of SEO, content has become a kind of elevated art form. You must focus more on researching original facts and presenting concepts and ideas in ways readers have not seen before.
SEO companies have always had their sights set on the search engine results page, but the landscape has changed greatly over the years. Today, Google searches are instantaneous, so SEOs must make a site valid to predictive search. In addition, SEOs may find themselves working against words like “scam” that can tarnish a brand name.
In the age of predictive search, the SEO must work even harder to make a website intuitive. That means an increasing role in the design and implementation of new features.
SEOs have a natural knack for keyword research, and that analysis makes them perfect candidates to manage a paid campaign. They can also help test and implement new concepts that will help increase conversions as they are released, as they are more likely to stay on top of those trends while you focus on your business. For example, an SEO firm might be able to help you effectively use site extensions. These links allow you to bring a user directly to the content he wants to see instead of a catch-all landing page. Very useful for real-estate agents.
The role of the SEO also includes, by nature, the ability to research one’s competitors. Although an SEO is looking through a different lens. To an SEO, competition is summed up by marketing tactics and link profiles. Knowing what your competition does to stay in the number one spot can help you target their audience, selling to a similar group of customers. Just be prepared when you see those same tactics used against you. Competition is the life blood of business. Innovate or die.
Michelle is a former communications associate who transitioned into building her own freelance business. She enjoys sharing the knowledge she accumulated from her journey with the business community.
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies.
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