Creating useful online content is important for any company, whether they are a B2B, B2C or non-profit government organization. To get ahead in marketing, we are told to produce ever more content, in competition with the huge volume of content that is being generated online every minute. In our Q&A we will discuss with Nelson Fuhr, digital marketing consultant at Alvomedia, about the relevance of SEO for 2015 and how this can be integrated with content marketing.
Let’s Talk about SEO and Marketing for 2015 and beyond
Q: Is Content becoming more important than SEO?
A: We use SEO to find the content, so one cannot exist without the other. In recent years, marketers have become more focused on content because creating valuable content helps their customers. Customers want to be informed and guided along the sales transaction, hence the need for relevant, useful content. SEO is very important for that content to be found by the right customers. Without it, customers do not know just how good your content is.
Q: How is SEO still important for companies today?
A: SEO is really important for any integrated digital marketing plan. Everything ties in together-the SEO for great organic exposure and traffic, and the content to convert customers once they find your webpage. Organic ranking is crucial for getting traffic and more visitors to your website. The more people that visit your website, the higher the chance of conversions into paying customers. Without customers, there is no business essentially. Google algorithms for SEO take into account mobile responsiveness, loading time and relevant content nowadays. This is all to help make internet browsing better for the user. Every business would want their customers to have a better user experience on their website.
Q: What is black hat SEO?
A: Unethical SEO that will get you penalized by Google. This includes keyword stuffing, spam and purchased backlinks.
Q: What do you write for content, how much is enough?
A: Firstly, know what your brand is all about. What industry is it in and what problems does it solve for customers? You have to know about the mindset of your target audience: what do they want to know and how can you tell them the information to make them take notice. Content that helps, addresses a concern, give guidance, provide information are very good basis for content writing. How often you write depends on what you can schedule time for. Content writing eats up time quickly so you need to be disciplined and have a routine/set goals of how much to write a week.
Q: How does social media help SEO if at all?
A: Social media amplifies your SEO efforts. Tweets and shares on Facebook will improve your search engine rankings. For Google search engines, Google+ has an impact on page rankings. If you can only have one social media platform to leverage for rankings, choose Google+. Social media works because of the wide reach and engagement. I would recommend social media as a research tool for trending topics and concerns. Companies need to stay relevant and knowing what their customers are talking about is helpful. You can also uncover new keywords phrases and connect with influencers who can help with your brand awareness.
Q: What is your stance on link buying?
A: The money used on buying links can be used better elsewhere, such as writing a blog and creating valuable content. Link building is more expensive in the long run because of the maintenance costs in buying more. Google does not like backlinks that were bought, it could get your website penalized-too much risk.
Q: What takes the longest to do in SEO?
A: The most time consuming task in SEO is worth it in the long run. Link building
Q: When there are multiple versions of a page, have you seen a canonical link tag used successfully on the website?
A: Links suggested by the canonical tag do replace noncanonical links in a list. So canonical link element works fine in Google. Indexation decreases for noncanonical URLs and the canonical tags have an impact on Google sitelinks. This works for Google but not Yahoo or Bing at the moment. By using a canonical tag you are giving Google a hint which URLs should be indexed. In time, deindex your URL and redirect visitors using the 301 redirect.
Q: Things change so fast in the world of SEO. Is there a best way to do things?
A: The best way I can foresee for 2015 and beyond is to integrate SEO with what every other department is doing: content creation, social networking, front end design and UX. The reasoning behind this in my opinion is efficiency and effectiveness from collaboration. When SEO teams work in isolation, they do not know what is happening with content creation and website design. This was fine years ago, before Google rolled out new algorithms. In 2015, everyone has to take into account how responsive design and content works with SEO.
Q: Is SEO dead?
A: SEO will be around longer but not the way we know it. Google is changing algorithms constantly and for improved user experience. SEO professionals used to be technically competent but now they need to create high quality content to amplify the efforts. They also need to work with the website designers and bloggers so to speak.
Q: Does being first to the game give older online websites more advantage?
A: Older websites have many problems such as bugs and fixes. Their roadmaps require replatforming, taking up considerable time. In the meantime, new websites with search engine optimized pages can jump up the page rank pretty quickly. On the other hand, older websites have more inbound links built over the years. Whether those links work or not is another issue. Some of the linked websites may no longer exist; an SEO has to spend time cleaning it out.
Q: Are guest posts spam?
A: Many guest posts do not add value except for a link back to the poster’s website. Google sees some guest posting as spam and will penalize accordingly. There are high quality guest blogs that benefit the website where it is posted; it depends how the post is written.
Q: Is onsite SEO still relevant?
A: Onpage SEO is still important for meta titles, site architecture and menu navigation, internal linking, sitemaps and meta robot tags. It is there to help Google interpret the structure of the website. Creating onsite content involves pleasing the reader first and foremost.
Q: What tools for SEO would you recommend?
A: GetStat is a great ranking tool which allows you to monitor many terms for rankings. This is recommended for enterprise SEO where country level rankings and knowing the landscape of terms is important. The tagging feature for keywords lets you see where a drop in ranking is coming from. Screaming Frog is good for site crawling and Deep Crawl as well. Majestic SEO and SEMrush are great for off page analysis.
Q: What will Google do next?
A: Google will try to find the most relevant websites for their users. With the huge number of well optimized websites Google may overhaul their algorithms to rank the more authoritative ones higher. One of the changes I foresee happening is authorship. This means authoritative content from an online influencer. Becoming an online influencer takes time and authoritativeness is hard to manipulate. Links can carry heavier weight when coming from an authoritative author. Only time will tell!
Q: How can one stay on top of changes in SEO?
A: Subscribe to SEO industry website RSS feeds and join in the conversion on Twitter with other SEO experts. There’ll always be dissenting opinions about SEO and that’s good. Learn as you do SEO for your own website.