SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION AND 2014
There is on the web today a constant stream of statements, all saying the same thing; ‘SEO is Dead’ often then adding ‘and here’s why’. Many then go on to say how their software or methods are the ones to use / follow.
To me, I have to ask what they think has taken the place of traditional Search Engine Optimisation?
The answer to this is in most instances ‘Content Marketing’
So what is ‘Content Marketing’?
The explanation in Wikipedia is:-
“Content marketing is any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers. This information can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, etc.
Content marketing is focused not on selling, but on simply communicating with customers and prospects. The idea is to inspire business and loyalty from buyers by delivering ‘consistent, ongoing valuable information’ .”
It is not new either, the same Wikipedia page stating that it all started in 1895 when John Deere launched a magazine which was aimed at making farmers more profitable.
The explanation says it all really, but does not cover the important area (one heavily pushed by some Content Marketeers), this being that this same content, and the comments it generates influences the Search Engines (especially Google) when they are making decisions about what sites to rank for a particular search term.
In my view this ‘influencing’ action is just SEO in another form, but it [Content Marketing] is not the only weapon that must be used.
The Parts of SEO in 2014
As with SEO in the past, there are three areas that need addressing:-
- On Page optimisation (the words on the page)
- Off Page optimisation (the links to a site)
- Social Media optimisation (people talking about a site / brand)
It is obvious that Content Marketing is concentrating on (3), however the shared content, which is at the heart of the process, will, without doubt, create many links to the site being promoted. Thus, especially when the content is posted on relevant or high profile sites, Content Marketing will also produce the ‘old style’ SEO effect of an improved linking structure, something that the Search Engines still, I feel at least, take positively into account.
However, just posting content around the web will not in many cases be enough, steps must be taken to ‘light the fuse’ in order to ensure that people find it and can thus comment on it, this creating the Social Buzz that is the main reason for Content Marketing, at least in its purest form.
The above is carried out by the placement of ‘pointers’ to the content, both by old fashioned linking and also by Social Media commenting on profiles owned by the site being promoted (although this fact may in many cases be hidden), as well as where possible as comments on other peoples Social Media accounts.
All of the above, whilst not being carried out solely to influence Google, is in my view SEO and hence I feel quite confident in saying that Content Marketing is still SEO, it just goes about it in a different way.
The Old Fashioned Areas Must Not Be Forgotten
That is not to say that the old areas of SEO can be ignored. In my view links are still useful in the rankings war, just that they cannot be relied upon as was the case not too long ago.
On Page SEO has however been subject to a great deal of change in 2013. No longer do the page areas of Titles, Header tags and Keyword Density hold the key to success, at least not in my view as there is a new kid in town, and that is called ‘Semantics’.
Semantic Coding – The New Meta Keyword?
As stated on http://www.business2community.com/seo/semantic-markup-adding-context-seo-0648559#!pZYlC Semantic coding ‘is a collection of shared vocabularies webmasters can use to mark up their pages in ways that can be understood by the major search engines: Google, Microsoft, Yandex and Yahoo!’
This allows site owners to add information to the HTML content on the pages, which enables the site to better ‘explain’ what it is all about, it, in my view being the new (much improved) version of the old, now useless Meta Keyword area.
The example below (also included in the page above) shows how a page’s code can be improved from:-
The above code, by the use of ‘itemscopes’ and ‘itemprops’ gives a lot more information, telling the visiting Search Engine that the page is about a movie called ‘Avatar’ that is of the Science Fiction genre, and was directed by James Cameron (it even gives his birthday).
All of this is very useful indeed, as today Google ‘understands’ that such things are interconnected and thus when you re-enforce this fact there is a better possibility of getting a rank, it is all as simple as that. All you have to do is to provide the information.
Semantic Markup can also be used to cover Testimonials, Offers and People (not Authors), there is even a way you can include a section known as a Recipes that directly (or at least as directly as you can) influence the Search Engine Ranking Positions.
SEO 2014 a Combination of the Old and the New.
SEO in 2014 (whatever it is called) will therefore be a combination of the old areas of ‘On Page Optimisation’ (with changes to include Semantic coding) and Linking which will include getting links from postings of Content Marketing.
These two will be combined with Content Marketing of course, which is basically the creation of useful (unique) content that is then posted in various formats on a large number of sites. This content, as previously mentioned then being ‘mentioned’ in order to ensure that is found and commented on, this producing the required Social Media buzz and in some cases links.