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SEO is not a strategy – it is a way of life

SEO is not a strategy. Rather it’s a mindset focused on making it as easy as possible for your visitors to find what they need. You can stop reading now if you want.

There is no dark magic, voodoo or black hat. Google is too smart for that.

If you are useful – on and off your site – the Google gods will reward you. If you are useful, you will bathe in the blood of your competitors and you will hear the lamentations of their women.

When it comes to an SEO strategy, what is best in life? To crush your enemies. See them driven before you. And to hear the lamentations of their women.

SEO optimization is about being useful. It sounds simple because it is simple.

Sadly, for some, it takes a long time to arrive at this simple truth. There is no SEO strategy template. There is no SEO bible.

There is no single SEO strategy that works all the time.
For that reason, we’ve outlined our top content marketing+SEO learnings.

Traditional SEO as a service should not exist anymore.

Okay, that is a stretch. Perhaps it is safer to say that SEO implemented without regard to the rest of your content marketing efforts should not exist. Or perhaps, you shouldn’t hire a company that does just SEO. Our reason?  Google cares about what’s best for the user— that is, they want to connect the searcher with the information they want. They don’t care that you want to drive more website traffic. They don’t care about increasing your organic traffic. All they care about is connecting the searcher to the right information. Thus, the topic of interest that produces the best (read: simple, effective) experience and is the most helpful is the page that will be delivered to the searcher.

Now – don’t get me wrong, content marketing can be improved by utilizing SEO tactics.  When blended properly, great things happen.

To start, search engines, for all their powerful juju, need clues to understand search intent. For that reason, they rely on indicators such as keywords, headlines, alt text and more to serve up relevant search results. By default, quality content natively uses relevant keywords – and – as a result, bounce rates drop and rank improves.

Good content marketing practices are also good SEO practices.

New, high-quality content published on a regular basis is a mandatory practice. Next, quality backlinks matter and guest posts are a fantastic source of high-quality backlinks.

Finally, technical SEO helps you identify performance issues with your site that may be hindering the user experience. There are many great tools out there – SEMRush, SpyFu, and others that can help you monitor your website for many issues.  Ahrefs is great for analyzing competitor websites. When creating quality content, SEO and content marketing are essentially the same thing. Used properly, they improve your traffic, rankings and conversion rates.

SEO strategy is overwhelming.

Yep. That’s why you shouldn’t do SEO strategy. Again, just be useful.

While earning links is indeed a more challenging endeavor than trying to optimize for keywords or publishing new content, it can be attained by simply creating value in your content that Google will better recognize. But that doesn’t mean you should change a title in an article and call it a day. There are many ‘quick win’ SEO best practices that help Google recognize good content.  For example, a study conducted by Google found that four out of five consumers conduct local searches on search engines. You could begin by making sure your listing descriptions on search engines (not just Google!) contain contextual variants of keywords related to your product or service. You could switch to a faster hosting company so that it loads faster for mobile users. You could simply fix broken backlinks and add redirects, the single most important SEO ranking factor according to Google.

My content is good. Why is Google ignoring it?

There is no shortage of good content. If you are creating the same content as everyone else, it’s no wonder it is ignored. You can do everything right but if your content isn’t good, it will get ignored. Does your content showcase your expertise? Does it highlight a unique trend in the industry? Is it something people care about? If not, why do it?

SEO is not a good use of time

The more you obsess over SEO, the more you lose. Google doesn’t shy away from the fact that their goal is to give searchers the best possible and relevant search experience to mirror their search intent. Stop thinking about SEO best practices of old — link farming, using hidden text and keyword stuffing. Instead, return the best quality content relevant to what is searched for. In most cases, all it takes is simply taking a step back and reflecting over where your content strategy went wrong. If you were trying to optimize for the most important keywords, it’s likely you’re fighting an uphill battle. Your competitors are better financed than you are.

A Good Content Strategy is Sustainable

If you focus on creating good content, Google will reward you. Be Useful and Different. One of the best approaches to accomplish the mission is to take a foundational approach to content development that’s rooted in a more strategic and people-first marketing plan. If you apply this strategy to your content marketing efforts, you’ll essentially begin to build pillars around creating things that people want.

SEO is a tactic

SEO is not a strategy. Creating great content is. Want to create great content? Start listening to your customers. Go to conferences. Talk to your customers. Find pain that others have not found. Start to learn what your audience is searching for. It helps to work with domain experts who understand the nuances, influencers, and subject matter of segments within industries.

Stop thinking about your SEO strategy

It is everything and nothing at the same time. You must explore different ways to differentiate yourself over time, and only from there can you make discoveries along the way that allow you to hone on a message that matters.