by Michela Ziady, g2m Solutions
Announced by Google in August this year, a record hit of 3 billion searches are being made per day – a notable increase since 2011 where figures were just above 1.5 billion. So what’s important about this?
Well, other than the growth in traffic equating to an increase in potential leads, more online conversation and buzz, and more traffic to your particular site, there’s a marked correlation between organic content and SEO. Thought you knew that already? Let’s take a look at the figures, and other insights provided by Rand Fishkin, (CEO SEOmoz) and Dharmesh Shah (CTO, HubSpot) in their webinar on The State of SEO and Internet Marketing…
Inbound marketing trumps paid ads
Of all clicks made on any given SERP, 75% of these clicks go to organic results and not paid ads. Ouch if you just bid for a fairly pricey ad. But, for many B2B inbound marketers, this validates an exciting truth: inbound drives the vast majority of traffic on the web. SEO is steamrolling paid search. And content drives SEO. This means that any inbound marketer needs to be creating hot content for the right kind of traffic and the best kind of leads.
Paid ads work like renting; they are temporary and they generate value that dissipates or ceases after investment. On the opposite side of the online search spectrum, organic link building for SEO gets better and better with time, especially when combined with strategic tactics like guest blogging. Using content to fuel SEO allows you to build an enduring B2B business asset.
That’s awesome if you’re cracking great content, but if you haven’t yet found your post-Panda-and-Penguin feet, it’s a little daunting. To add to this, an increasingly diverse amount of SERP (search engine results page) variations does not make it easy. Basically, online cred has to be earned – the honest, hard way.
So if you’re still using dodgy link-building techniques, it’s time to change. Yesterday.
Google loves content and social signals
This is something you should have heard before: social is the new search. And, what powers social? Content. Social media shares are increasingly influential, because inbound links naturally follow social signals. It makes sense; if your content is sharable, it’s the right kind of content for Google to push. And writing for Google really is about writing for humans.
SEOMoz’s data analysis of 4, 431 marketers from the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (taken March 21st 2012 – May 13th 2012) found that more than 60% invested in, or started, a blog. This points to a realisation that an investment in quality content is what’s needed to adapt to the changing landscape of online search.
For B2B marketers, this means it’s time to…
#1 Get on the Google+ bandwagon
The same survey found that 65% more marketers have a Google+ profile. This might be because of Google’s rel author update, which allows a blog author’s mug to be displayed in search results. Because visuals have a better chance of ranking, and web users want instant information (visible within the SERP and not hidden behind a click), rel author is a smart idea for inbound marketers. So get on Google+ and optimise your content with this tag to increase your chances of climbing Google’s SERP. The sooner the better.
#2 Think more about mobile
As mobile usage has increased dramatically over the last few years, it’s a good time to optimise your content for it. Make sure the formatting adjusts when accessed remotely, and get stuck into creating content that is instantly engaging in tiny chunks.
Users are increasingly bombarded with content, and an array of other publishers are competing for their atention, too. White space, sub-heads and bulletpoints are your best friends here – especially when discussing a complex topic.
#3 Revisit the topic of user experience
Web users are becoming more savvy in their assessment of the quality of online content. Again, in case you’re still struggling to connect the dots, this marks a direct correlation between the amount of thought and effort you put into producing your content andyour success in online search.
But success, as an inbound marketer, is not all about rankings. It’s also about your CTR. You’re aiming for high-quality leads. The chances of reeling them in are enhanced by fishing with high-quality content. Delight users with content that positions you as the outlier, says Rand. As online competition only becomes more fierce, you need to define yourself as thatsite/blogger/marketer/business that says something different.
Also, be aware of your brand signals. Several indicators which users favour are highlighted as:
– Websites that employ (and virtually promote) real people
– Brands that earn mentions in media (social sharing buttons will increase your chances)
– Detailed contact information (over evasive form fields)
– Organisations or businesses registered with official bodies (like a .edu or .org site)
– A steady flow of content over time (maintain momentum)
Gearing your web copy towards these brand signals will, naturally, please your potential leads, harvest traffic and continue to fuel your SEO strategy.
If you would like to learn more about the shift from search to social, download our complimentary eBook on the subject: