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SEO for content marketing: beyond what’s on the page

Great SEO work is about more than just the content on the pages of your website. Other parts of the marketing universe factor in as well. Here are a few of the areas that matter and that will have an impact on the success of your SEO efforts.

Social Matters
Social media matters not just because it can and should be a direct driver of traffic, but because the search engines include social media in their results. The more prolific and popular your social media efforts, the more search results will reward you and the more return you’ll see on your SEO investment.

Mobile Matters
Mobile still skews young and B2C, but even in the stodgiest of industries, mobile is growing. In most industries, the pace of growth is even accelerating. So make sure that your website is responsive; it has to look good and be easy to use on the most popular smart phone models and most popular tablet sizes. That means buttons you can tap with a (fat) finger instead of a precise cursor, larger text relative to the overall design, and scrolling in just one direction. (Up and down, not side to side unless you’re a real contrarian.)

Security Matters
It’s been about a year since Google announced that it would use secure hosting as a factor in its ranking algorithm. That means installing an SSL certificate, which changes your website from, say, http://www.andigo.com/ to https://www.andigo.com/. (Notice the extra “s” with the “http”). This used to be the province of ecommerce sites and other sites with highly sensitive data, but with the growing menace of hacking globally, Google is leading the charge toward a more secure web.

Note that Google’s original announcement said that fewer than 1% of queries would be affected to start, so this isn’t something I would recommend you undertake as a stand-alone project if your site is a small, simple, non-transactional site. But when you consider your next major revision to the site, the cost of an SSL Certificate is well worthwhile. They’re usually less than $100.

There are other elements to security, like keeping your CMS up to date and locking down any known security holes in your particular CMS. (That default “admin” account for logging in to your site to make updates? Replace it with a different administrative user name and delete the default account. Why give hackers the advantage of already knowing half your ID/password combination?)

Summary
Gone are the days of SEO being an effort to “fool” the search engines into ranking your site higher. Much more weight is now put on the same factors that will please your actual human audience. Your human audience wants a site it feels it can trust (social proof), looks legitimate (well secured), and is easy to to use. (Mobile friendliness and user-friendliness in general).

It should go without saying you still need great content – relevant, useful information that addresses your audience’s needs and demonstrates your expertise. SEO is only useful if you can get them to stay once you’ve attracted them to your site.

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Andrew Schulkind

Since 1996, Andrew Schulkind has asked clients one simple question: what does digital marketing success look like, and how can marketing progress be measured? A veteran content marketer, web developer, and digital strategist, Andrew founded Andigo New Media to help firms find a more strategic and productive mix of tools that genuinely support online brand goals over time. With a passion for true collaboration and meaningful consensus, his work touches social media, search-engine optimization, and email marketing, among other components. He views is primary goal as encouraging engagement. Getting an audience involved in your story requires solid information architecture, a great user experience, and compelling content. A dash of common sense doesn’t hurt, either. Andrew has presented at Social Media Week NY and WordCampNYC, among other events, on content marketing and web-development topics. His technology writing appears on the Andigo blog, in a monthly column on Biznology.com, and for print and online publications like The New York Enterprise Report, Social Media Today, and GSG Worldwide’s publications LinkedIn & Business, Facebook & Business, and Tweeting & Business. Andrew graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He engages in a range of community volunteer work and is an avid fly fisherman and cyclist. He also loves collecting meaningless trivia. (Did you know the Lone Ranger made his mask from the cloth of his brother's vest after his brother was killed by "the bad guys?")

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