By Karl Young, special to Overdrive
Search engine optimization and its importance in business is growing every year. Defined as “a multidisciplinary activity that seeks to generate productive organic traffic from search engines via technically sound and connected sites by matching query intent with relevance and value,” search engine marketing activities are becoming ever more popular and crucial in a global competitive online market.
Organisations of all shapes and sizes want to ensure that their customers and audiences can access their website when searching for a product or service. This can be done using one of the many search engines on the web; each one has a different algorithm, which determines how and why a company’s website should be positioned on that search engine. For example, it is estimated that Google takes almost 200 signals into account when determining a website’s position. Quality content and high-quality “back link” profiles are two of the best ways a business can help itself move up the search engine rankings.
Great content + quality links = Search Engine success!
Achieving online success is not easy, however, as search marketing has evolved and become more complex. Businesses can no longer buy back links and spin content, as recent updates have stopped businesses from buying “quick wins” and investing their way to the top of search engines. Instead, building relationships has become the foundation of any good SEO campaign, as Google’s shift has changed toward quality SEO (ruling out directories and article-submission sites). SEO has now become an area from which marketing executives can learn and lend a helping hand.
So what can they do, exactly? The role of your everyday marketing executive is a diverse one, with most roles including some form of planning, advertising, public relations, event organizing, product development, distribution, sponsorship and research. The work an executive does is often constantly evolving, challenging, varied and exciting, enabling them to build relationships and contact customers and businesses of great value to their organisation via an SEO campaign. How else can a marketing executive help a business perform better online?
Google and other search engines love regular, new, quality content. Having a blog on a website can significantly help improve rankings and boost traffic through content created around unique topics.The space can be used to put together great content that customers, influencers and audiences can use and read on a regular basis. Content should be created to attract the right audience toward a site; however, increasing traffic does not guarantee increased sales.
Marketing executives should consider “link bait” ideas to encourage organic links to be built to the content. Link bait has been defined in a variety of ways, but the basic definition is “any content or feature, within a website, designed specifically to gain attention or encourage others to link to the website.” Putting together and implementing link bait can be a challenging process; it can come in many forms: articles, videos, images, info-graphics, widgets, competitions, interviews, podcasts, tools and much more.
Allowing suppliers, customers and other businesses to contribute articles for publication on a business blog is a great way to build strong relationships and gain quality content for free. Marketing executives should consider asking contacts for posting opportunities on their sites; this will create an opportuntiy to discuss topics relevant to your profession. This is basically a free advertisement enabling an executive to ask the recipient to add a hyperlink to the article. The more people have articles on relevant sites with hyperlinks, the stronger their backlink profile will grow.
Small- to medium-size businesses rely on marketing executives to create and push out press releases. Business news provides the chance to get quality hyperlinks onto highly authoritative and quality websites. One of the best and quickest ways a marketing executive could help their SEO efforts is to request a hyperlink to be added to every press release they distribute online.
If a local or national media source is talking about a business within an article, then there is a good chance that they would be happy to add a hyperlink into that article as a reference for the reader. Chasing up these links can be difficult and time consuming, but if followed, can offer business links that are often hard to come by for small- to medium-size businesses.
Contacts and Opportunities
The nature of the role enables marketing executives to meet and acquire many contacts. One of the great advantages of having a large contact book is that a contact could be called upon when needed. A contact book can be a great benefit for SEO activities, as well; contacts can be asked for hyperlinks to be added to resources pages or even asked to create a guest post.
If a business goes to an exhibition, a spokesperson speaks at an event or a board sponsors a charity, an executive would probably be involved at some stage. These opportunities offer other chances to gain quality links on some fantastic websites. Once an executive is aware of the SEO benefits, they can actively look for linking opportunities from events and sponsorships.
So why should executives make the effort? Making the effort can make all the difference to a business, and being more visible online can bring rewards to the company and the ones responsible for making it happen. Businesses invest time, resources and money into SEO, and with the help of marketing executives and link builders, it becomes a lot easier.
Karl Young is a recent marketing and advertising graduate with a background in SEO. He is currently employeed at Search Laboratory.