It’s no secret that every company wants results, and they want them NOW. It’s the same with internet marketing. Business is driven by profits, profits are driven by traffic, and traffic is driven by marketing (and in this instance, specifically SEO). So hearing the term “Long Term SEO” can be a bit of a buzz kill at first take. However, instead of focusing on the phrase “long term” and imagining your stress levels a few months into the future, let’s change it to “long-lasting” and focus on SEO as an investment.
“Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline.” Jim Collins – From Good to Great
Believe it or not, the single greatest factor in the success or failure of a website is…(drumroll please)…YOU! If you have the drive, the focus, and the wherewithal, you can succeed no matter what your beginning budget or resources are. Discipline in SEO really comes down to our core values. How do we respond to changes in the industry? Google is constantly sending out confusing updates:
Keywords don’t matter.
Well, they do, but just stop using them so damn much.
Guest blogging is dead.
Oh wait, no it’s not—not if you do it right. My bad.
And the list goes on and on. The truth of the matter is that SEO isn’t dead; it’s just evolving and growing. Every day, we are forced to make choices when it comes to our marketing campaigns. The wrong choice can result in a very costly mistake. For instance, choosing vanity goals (short term goals) without considering the big picture can compromise all that you’ve worked for.
Consider this: human behavior forces algorithm updates. Think about that for a second. If it wasn’t for people always trying to find the easy way to get to the top of the rankings, and abusing tactics that were once considered “white-hat,” then updates wouldn’t specifically target practices rather than just improve search. This is why we can’t have nice things!
Be sure to embrace the hippocratic oath as SEOs—while it’s important to evolve your tactics and change the way you do things, you should not hurt the brand you are working for. If you are absolutely convinced that a change needs to be made that will in fact hurt your brand, then make sure you weight all of the reasons why you think it should be done with every single stake holder on that brand’s board.
Do your research and make sure to invest in SEO strategy instead of tactics. Learn how to effectively market your business and communicate the risks with decision makers. To really become a savvy marketer, you should decide how to use the following marketing avenues and weight the risks of each one:
When it comes to rankings, Google favors all of the factors that go into being a brand. Big brands invest a lot of time and money in a well-rounded and diverse marketing plan. Rarely do big brands focus all their time and energy on just one marketing avenue, but rather have their hands in a variety of methods. Here are a few examples of what I mean:
Example: ModCloth — a clothing retailer for women. They understand women and love women of all different shapes and sizes.
Strategy: They recently implemented a program called “Be the Buyer.” In this initiative, they involve the audience in picking what they are actually going to sell. By engaging their community of customers, they were able to see the problems these women were having and then created categories of clothing around them. These diverse category offerings helped them build natural links. All they did was create content and products around the product offering. They did over 100 million dollars in sales in 2012 with a phenomenal growth rate.
Example: Complex — a lifestyle brand geared towards influential young males (16-40) that are ready to buy, collect and obsess.
Strategy: They built out a multi-media platform. They built out multi-domains and put a sizable investment into quality video. They also developed their own original programming. They currently have 90 million unique monthly visitors across all their brands. This is insane! They made a point to be different, and developed a brand out of it.
Example: Search Engine Land — An SEO News website with all the latest information on Social, SEO, SEM, Local, and more.
Strategy: They’ve become one of the best in the industry because they invest in journalists. They’ve also given us a sneak peek at the future of journalism—this involves explanatory journalism with an experienced team and trustworthy news that informs marketers on how to take action and ultimately succeed. Search Engine Land ranks extremely well for terms like “hummingbird” (third, actually). For this one keyword, they were able to organically create 548 backlinks and 266 referring domains. They invested in and cultivated talent in order to create that.
In a nutstell, learn to become an industry innovator by investing in long-term strategy and working to really make your brand stand out. Research your options, weight the risks, and then take a leap of faith. Stop thinking like a tactical SEO and start thinking more like a business owner.
(This blog was created from the presentation given at SMX West in San Jose by Rhea Drysdale — CEO of Outspoken)