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With the continual shifting of digital power, it can be a challenge to pinpoint the definition of current search engine optimization. Algorithms change, social mediums are swapped in and out, and data describes internal changes within audience segments.
Defining the science of search is essentially like trying to hold onto sand—the tighter you grip, the faster sand seeps out. Instead, the recent San Diego Online Marketing Summit described a formula that helps hold on to the search sand without gripping too tight—a formula that can be strategized, adjusted, tweaked, and substituted in order to bring in top rankings.
SEO has long been thought of as a technical act involving link building—however, more and more, it’s turning into a blending of several aspects of a brand. Andrew Delamarter, from HUGE, said, “Search, social, and content have merged into a single process.” This couldn’t be more true, as the advent of social strategies have seeped into search practices. Katherine Ong confirms this point; in her OMS session, she said, “Adding Facebook like, Google +1, and Twitter buttons to a webpage will help search engines index the page.” Clearly, SEO now needs to include the social piece of the puzzle in order to weave in all needed aspects to rank high on search engine results pages.
Arguably the largest component to new-age SEO tactics is content development. Every marketer has heard the saying, “Content is King”—however, the key to harnessing content is to develop content that not only drives traffic, it helps improve relevancy and therefore search engine ranking.
During a session with SlingShot SEO, it was stated that content needs to serve one of three needs: it needs to entertain, educate, or solve a problem. Visual content was discussed often within sessions—in a session with MamboMedia, they said “Search volume for the term ‘Infographics’ has increased 800% within the last year.” Brands, take note—looks like you’ll be tapped to produce content that will drive not only referral traffic, but organic as well.
Last, but definitely not least, is analytics. Data might not be the sexiest aspect of marketing, but it plays a pivotal role in strategy and decision-making. However, it can be difficult to weed through all the data—let alone get down to information pertaining to search trends. Heidi Melin, of Eloqua, discussed data within OMS’ keynote. “Don't track everything—instead, focus on the most important pieces of information in order to make your business successful on a regular basis.” The key is to keep it simple—don’t overthink the data, but instead narrow it down to a handful of KPIs to continuously measure. These handful of important ideas will lead to optimized decisions, and thus a better search campaign.
Overall, OMS was a worthwhile experience that offered plenty of substantial educational marketing ideas, featuring speakers who made the experience fun and entertaining. Cementing the convergence of search, social, content and data was the icing on the cake, as the sessions provided plenty of insight into industry trends.