With Google continuously changing the search game, there is a jaw-dropping amount of misinformation about SEO. Maybe you read something on the Internet, or heard something in the media, or maybe you got contacted by unethical SEO firms or SEO consultants in the past. Maybe you heard debates about link building vs. content marketing and claims that SEO is dead. Well, is it?
All of this misinformation is confusing and disheartening. SEO is still here, but the game has changed once again. Let’s look at what has changed and what will work in 2015, in simple terms.
15-Second History of SEO
Prior to Google’s recent algorithm updates that shook up the world of SEO — and, frankly, put a lot of businesses and SEO firms out of business — link building was king. Quantity mattered as much as quality. Where the links came from didn’t matter as much. What you did on your website (on-site or on-page optimization) mattered less than what you did outside of your website (how many links you had).
What Will Work In 2015
Link building is still king, but nowadays, quality matters more than quantity. It matters where your links come from: they must be from industry-related sources. What you do on your website (on-site or on-page optimization) matters quite a bit. You won’t get top rankings without implementing proper on-page tasks. For example, ensuring your pages load fast, removing duplicate content, adding a sitemap and robots.txt file, optimizing keyword density and text-to-HTML ratio, and others.
Link Building Vs. Content Marketing
There are all kinds of terms being thrown around: link building, SEO, content marketing, inbound marketing, and so on. What does it all mean? The simplest way to look at the SEO world today is that there are two strategies to getting more visitors to your website:
Get into the very top rankings on Google (and/or other search engines) over time to get a significant increase in visitors to your website. This is where link building and on-site optimization comes in, and links are still a large portion of the search engines’ algorithms. This strategy is putting all of your eggs into one basket because you rely on getting all of your traffic from one source — Google — but it is one darn large basket!
This is an effective strategy because it allows you to capture people who search for your products or services online and convert them into paying customers. It is easy to track results: every month, you track your rankings going up, down, or staying the same. As you get into the top rankings, you track an increase in traffic and conversions via an analytics tool such as Google Analytics.
Create or repurpose content that you think your potential customers are interested in, such as articles, videos, webinars, free tools, and white papers. Next, post content in various places where your potential customers might discover it, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, or email. Then repeat the process, over and over again. This strategy is putting your eggs into many baskets, sitting back and waiting for the links to hopefully roll in.
This is an effective strategy because you are producing valuable content that positions you as an expert in your industry, gains you more followers, spreads the word, and grows your community. This strategy takes time and effort, and you track overall traffic over time.
Which Strategy Should You Use?
It depends on your time and resources. It depends on whether your potential customers consume a lot of content (they may not). It also depends on how fast you would like to see results. If you can’t do both, maybe you’ll move from one to the other and back, depending on your business goals.
The Good News
The good news is that SEO isn’t dead, but it will surely change again. We’ll continue to stay on top of trends and be your source for clear and simple information.