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By Jonathan Maxim, app founder, growth marketer and yogi nerd working at K&J Growth Hackers, serving Xfinity, TikTok, U.S. Dept of State & more.
SEO is one of those things no one wants to do. It requires patience, a lot of money and unmatched creativity — all things that are tough to come by in today’s society. SEO is the smart person’s game. It’s a classic tortoise-and-hare story: Slow and steady wins the race. Part of that slow-and-steady game is knowing when the rules change and how to adapt accordingly.
1. Backlinks are out; dynamic content is in.
Google’s search team realized a lot of people were using shady SEO tactics and building tons of backlinks from huge websites, so it fought back. You’d think a backlink from Forbes, one of the most trafficked sites in the world, would shoot you to the top of the ranks, but it doesn’t. Google now ranks sites by category, and news outlets, among others, have lost a ton of SEO credibility and rankability.
Now Google’s algorithm focuses more on the richness of your content, much like Instagram. This means the worth, depth and differentiation of your content are more important than the sites that link to you. Things like the use of images with alt tags, visual aesthetics and depth of writing are all measured by the algorithm and can set you apart. So make sure to include keywords, along with images and video. Think of your new SEO-rich blog posts more like infographics and less like essays or articles.
2. SEO never goes away.
As ad platforms rise in cost, SEO continues to be the backbone. Don’t underrate the value of having an SEO presence. Ads go away as soon as you stop spending, but SEO lasts forever, and the longer you have your domain, the more your domain authority rises. Google rewards longevity, and once you rank for a top keyword in your niche, you’ll always have that content and footprint until you delete your site or remove the content. Google now shows more ads on the search results page than ever, but SEO still matters because some consumers still actively avoid ads, and those ads cost you more.
3. Find and leverage trending content.
The best way to develop SEO content is by using Google’s keyword tool to find high-volume, low-competition keywords and draft content around them, or by using the skyscraper technique. However, there are a couple of other tactics as well:
• Ego Bait Strategy. Content creation that includes information provided by your target audience can be extremely valuable, and if they have put in a little effort to be part of the article then there is a much higher chance they will share the article once it goes live. One way to improve your conversion numbers when reaching out to the people you would like to take part in the article is to let them know that a leading influencer in their industry is also taking part. That way they will be much more likely to want to take part themselves and more aggressively share the content with their audience.
• Evergreen Keyword Targets. When creating content for a website, you need to ensure that there is a primary keyword target that receives a reasonable amount of search each and every month or large spikes throughout particular times of the year, such as seasonal changes or on specific dates, such as Christmas. Targeting these terms will ensure you are creating content around topics people are genuinely interested in, and as long as they are in a closely related vertical, the organic traffic they bring to your site will help with your overall authority. This will provide the chance for on-site conversions and can also be used to build low-cost remarketing audiences.
That said, your content needs to be 100% original. Don’t even think about reposting someone else’s content. Google will find you and slap you on the wrist. After all, Google indexes every single website out there. However, you can repost content by giving credit to the originator using Google’s reposting tool.
Keep in mind that SEO fits into a larger strategy. You can’t just do SEO. It’ll take you years to become profitable. However, SEO in addition to brand recognition raises your overall conversion rate in ads, so the two complement each other. This is precisely why when you ask a marketer, “What should I be doing for marketing?” they will never give you a straight answer: They can’t without knowing your goals and current situation.
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