the inbound-i blog: Inbound Marketing Information, Ideas & Intelligence

SEO Tips for 2014: Look Way Beyond Keyword Optimization

Posted by Ellie Becker on Sun, Jan 19, 2014 @ 12:01 PM

As we launch into 2014, the biggest opportunity we still see for companies seeking to build their businesses through inbound marketing is optimizing their websites and content assets. Why do we think this?

Every new client engagement we begin includes a competitive analysis. I have yet to compare how a client's competitors are optimizing their sites without discovering that my client has the potential to leapfrog the competition -- large and small -- by better optimizing their sites to improve their search engine rankings.SEO Tips for 2014

SEO according to best practices is still critical to attracting qualified Web traffic. However, what's changed in the past year is how you must go about doing that. Although search and SEO practices have been evolving continuously, prior to 2013 we still focused primarily on keyword research to determine what search terms were generating search volume, i.e. people actually searching for those terms, and which we had a chance to rank for.

We made sure that our chosen search term for a given page or piece of content appeared in certain places on the page and in the page source code in accordance with Google's stated preferences of the moment. That's about all it took to start ranking for a variety of search terms.

No longer is that true. In 2013, Google made a number of changes to both its search algorithms and its overall strategy. The end goal is its march towards contextual search, where the search engine better understands the user's needs and delivers ever more meaningful results.

I recently read an article from The Financial Post that gives a terrific wrap-up of the most significant of Google's changes. It's reprinted with permission at the end of this blog post. Please read it if you want a good understanding of the topic.

Here's the big take-away: SEO is no longer a stand-alone keyword and coding operation.

Search rankings now depend on:

  • A strong focus on content, i.e. creating content that is truly useful to your audience/s. It helps if your content is diverse -- blog posts, whitepapers, ebooks, related images with alt text, video (Google owns YouTube, remember), webinars.
  • Having social proof of your credibility as a thought leader and content creator, i.e. followers on social media, 'Likes' and '+1s' on your content

Although what a prospect types into a search field is still at the heart of online connection, today companies must move way beyond a keyword mentality. I believe that 2014 is the year that inbound marketing will come into its own. It's the year when companies are beginning to wake up from their tactical approach -- put up a Facebook page, write a blog targeted to who knows who, call in an SEO expert to 'solve their problems'.

Google -- rightfully so, in my evolving opinion -- is making changes that will force us to become more strategic and successful online marketers.

By the way, for those of us who suffer from a lack of time to focus on our content creation duties, the Financial Post article reprinted here is an example of a new tool for content creators. A client of mine iCopyright.com has launched a new service called repubHub where you can get free, fully licensed content to embed on your website like you would embed a YouTube video. Check it out for yourself at www.repubhub.com

Sharing this article is a way to provide you with great additional information, as part of this brief piece of original content that explains my take on the evolution of SEO. And you don't have to leave my blog to read it. It's a tool that I intend to use for myself and my clients to provide more content.

I would love to hear about your SEO and content strategies for 2014 in the comments. Of course, feel free to ask your questions, too.

Enjoy the article. BTW...It's ad supported. The ads being served are supposed to be relevant to the content, so please let me know if any ads are served that you find distracting or offensive and I'll feed the info back to my client. If you scroll down, you'll see that you also have the option to reprint the article on your own website.

Five biggest changes in search and digital marketing for entrepreneurs in 2013

Topics: Inbound Marketing, SEO, Content Marketing

A Content Marketing Lesson from Jazz and the Superbowl

Posted by Ellie Becker on Mon, Feb 04, 2013 @ 09:02 AM



This weekend I experienced two live performances that made me think about why the communication in our content marketing should be direct, useful and, above all, personal.

The first performance was a jazz concert at the Nyack Library in Nyack, New York featuring the wonderful Brazilian trumpeter Claudio Roditi and two masters of Brazilian guitar, Roni Ben-Hur and Paul Meyers. The setting was the library's charming and intimate Carnegie Room, which seats maybe 150.

The two sets that comprised the evening were as much conversation with the audience as concert. For example, during the introductions the emcee had a memory lapse concerning the many top performers Roditi has played and recorded with. Audience members began to help, shouting out favorite collaborations.

I contributed singer Mark Murphy to the list. Roditi played on a marvelous album called Night Mood, the music of Brazilian composer Ivan Lins. When the players took the stage, Roditi asked, "Who just mentioned Mark Murphy? Last week I listened to the album I made with him. Hadn't heard it for years and man it was a good session!" Listen to a cut here with a great Roditi solo. docs/02 - Madalena.mp3

That was only the beginning of the musicians' connection with the audience. The entire evening was a conversation on many levels. The music was incredible and included well-known standards, as well as original compositions.

We also heard behind-the-scenes stories about life on the road with other jazz greats. We learned about Roditi's musical influencers and interests. There was fun and humor. The audience was fully engaged. When the call to action came before the intermission to buy CDs, dozens of hands went for wallets.

On Sunday evening Jeff and I watched the Super Bowl, both for the football and Beyonce's half-time show. Even though it was happening live, the game had the trappings of a recording. By the third time the sound-enhanced graphic of the SuperBowl trophy whooshed onto the screen between plays, I wanted to run into the kitchen and make popcorn to escape. But at the heart of the game was a rivalry of cities and brothers and the drama of a power outage caused by human error. Salvation.

Beyonce's performance was electric and overly produced, but her singing was authentic – quashing the criticism that she sang to a pre-recorded track in her far more human and emotional performance at the presidential inauguration two weeks before. According to reviews, the most human moment – Beyonce’s reunion with the members of her original group Destiny’s Child – was the crowd favorite, trumping pyrotechnics and special effects.

Oh…and let’s not forget the Super Bowl commercials. According to USA Today’s Ad Meter, the top five ads as voted by almost 8,000 viewers all used humanity and gentle humor to engage.

  • Budweiser – The tale of a man and the Clydesdale he raised from birth and their subsequent emotional reunion. (Watch above if you haven't seen it yet. Get a tissue first.) By the way the YouTube version includes a call to action for further engagement - Name the Baby Clydesdale.
  • Tide – Gentle humor when a football fan finds a ‘miracle salsa stain’ of Joe Montana on his football jersey which his wife, a Baltimore Ravens fan, washes out with Tide – ending media fame and fortune.
  • Chrysler Ram Trucks – Paul Harvey’s ode to the American farmer reprised in magnificent photography from the heartland.
  • Doritos – In Fashionista Daddy a father and his burly football friends play princess dress-up with his daughters in exchange for Doritos. Silly and heartwarming fun.
  • Jeep – A tribute to our servicemen and women fighting overseas.

I think you get the message by now. The most engaging formula for creating successful content is to connect authentically and personally. Share your business knowledge and expertise, your products and services. But do it with humanity. That’s what makes people want to buy from you.

What are your favorite content marketing take-aways from the Super Bowl? Thanks for reading and sharing in the comments. Please take home some Lead Generation Tips while you're here.

Lead Generation Tips

Topics: Inbound Marketing, E.R. Becker Company, Content Strategy, Content Marketing, Claudio Roditi, Beyonce, Super Bowl 2013

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