I’ve recently been following a conversation that started with a question about whether or not inbound links from social networks are of any value for SEO. I find it perplexing that there are still so many people in the SEO field that downplay the importance of social media when it comes to search engine optimization as part of an inbound marketing methodology.
Inbound marketing and SEO go hand in hand. Inbound marketing has really been around for a long time, people have been finding and visiting websites from organic search results and social media for years now. In my mind it’s just a new term to describe an approach to marketing that is focused on customer engagement through creating and distributing content that provides value to prospective customers at every stage of the purchase.
In addition to blogging there are many types of content that can and should be created as a part of an Inbound Marketing strategy.
Content Ideas For Inbound Marketing:
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- Blog Posts
- Case Studies
- White Papers
- Use Cases
- Product Tutorials
- Press Releases
- User Guides
The key is to create content that is relevant to your products and/or services and provides valuable information to your visitors. Resist the temptation to write about topics that are “interesting” but unrelated to your business and publish content on a regular basis to keep people interested and give them a reason to return.
You’ve got great ideas, you’ve written great content, and here’s where SEO comes into the picture. It’s not enough to just write good content that people want to read, you need to make sure that the search engines will find, index, and display it on a search results page.
The same basic steps apply to all types of content and there’s nothing magical about the fact that it was written as part of an Inbound Marketing Strategy.
How to Optimize Content for Search Engines:
- Keyword research:
- Find the terms that people are using in search and describe what you’re products or services are, aka what you are writing content about.
- Ask questions and think in terms of behavior – why are people searching with a particular keyword, what problems are they trying to solve, what stage of the purchase cycle are they in, etc.
- Incorporate your keyword into your content:
- Focus on one keyword phrase/topic per page – if you try and cover multiple keywords in a single piece of content, neither the search engines or your readers will be to decide whether or not what you’ve written is relevant
- Make sure the keyword phrase is used in context – don’t try and force a keyword into content if it doesn’t sound natural and make sense.
- Optimize all types of content – don’t forget about search engine optimization for images and videos.
- Distribute your content:
- Use Google and Bing Webmaster tools to make sure the pages on your site (including your blog) get indexed.
- Set up your Ping in WordPress – this notifies blog search engines that you’ve updated your blog.
- Promote your content on social networks such as Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter – be sure to use keywords in the message you use to introduce the content. (people search for content on social networks as well as on search engines)
- Engage with your visitors: If they leave a comment – respond, give thanks, and be genuine. ‘nuf said!
Social and search have converged and there’s a continuing shift away away from traditional outbound marketing. There’s no time like the present to fine tune your marketing strategy and embrace search engine optimization alongside inbound marketing.