SEO has lately been a plethora of information about Linkbait, tricking engines, social marketing and such and I wanted to post something in my mind that really takes me back to what got me into SEO, using my creative side and copywriting for the search engines. After all, I still believe content truly is king.
These may or may not impact your overall SEO performance intentionally, but it will increase conversion and possibly indirectly affect your rankings in the SERP's. Here are a few factors that I have found to be HIGHLY important when writing good content or copy:
1. Talking to your customer: This really has the least desired significance from an SEO perspective, but is still highly critical. Your copy should really put your customer or reader in a situation where they feel like you are talking directly to them in a "1 on 1" style conversation.
2. Be Consistent: Maintaining a level of consistency with your page copy is going to lead you in the right direction. Maintain a consistent theme, ensure your crucial keywords and key phrases are being called out and stand out. You can throw a bold/italics/underline tag in there to make it stand out to the user and even the search engines.
3. Markup, Markup, Markup: As mentioned above, throw some tags in there to mix it up and have content that sticks out. Use custom CSS to create sexy header text and give the search engine's more visibility into key phrases. Be creative in the way that you do things, but, DO NOT SPAM! If you spam, you won't gain conversion, which goes back to being consistent and talking to your customer.
4. I said I wasn't going to talk about links, I can't help it!: Another way that you can be creative with your markup is not just by marking up your phrases, but also, linking to internal pages within your site. This will really give you an opportunity to really get some attention with SE's.
5. Having a Call to Action & Being Persuasive: So, you've talked to your customer, you've maintained consistency, you've got the SEO stuff out of the way, now how do I sell?! Well, maintaining all of the above will get you part way there, but having a really persuasive call to action will really help you convert customers and readers. Overall, that is your main goal, conversion, so ensure that you are really taking control here and throwing all your creative juices in this basket.
Some of this must be quite obvious to the seasoned folks, and even to myself, but it is very nice sometimes to remind yourself and bring yourself back to the basics. Especially since in my mind, when it comes to good marketing at all, Content is always king.
I was going through my recent newsletters and blogs today when I came across an article about the battle between the two. Personally, I do not think there is a debate and it is almost irrelevant to compare the two. It is like comparing apples and oranges. I mean, truthfully in the end one can aid the other, and depending on the funding that your organization has for marketing and advertising purposes, you should be doing both.
Granted, there are some points that you can use to determine which option that you should spend more time on when first starting out and what not. Generally though, I find there is no good reason to use one without the other.
An example of how to use SEO and PPC together is by using PPC in order to ramp up your SEO traffic though brand awareness. So, what do i mean by that and what does that mean in general? I have heard from customers and other contacts' customers using both PPC and SEO say they used the site because they saw them in both sponsored and "regular" (obviously organic in our eyes) results. Basically, this is just adding validity to your company. E.G. you are ranked highly for "home loans" in both sponsored and organic listings in the SERP results, people think of your brand as "The Home Loan Guys." Yes, this is a very casual approach no doubt, but still very true in many ways.
Finally, i've also witnessed high PPC listings as a way to help you start boosting and ramping up your SEO efforts through both link building, page views, etc. It is a trial and error process that does work for some and not for others, but there is no sense in putting no effort into it, you never know what you are missing out on until you give it a shot.
I keep hearing lately about what the "secret ingredient" or "secret sauce" is of SEO. It has kind of bothered me because for about 2 years now i've been in the industry and never heard of such terms coined. Having attended PubCon in 2004 and attending this year I am kind of excited to see the new things on the agenda. But, I'm still puzzled where all these ideas of "secrets" came up. I've carried a couple companies to the top of search rankings and never really knew anything of secret sauce, but mostly, consistent structure and relevance. Is this the "ohh so secret sauce" that people keeping talking about or is there something I should know about?! Let's get some good back and forth going for anyone interested in the topics?