When marketers think of SEO, they tend to think of it as its own channel with its own team. While that isn't untrue, the process of search engine optimization is something that can also happen in your everyday marketing activities.
Why? Because by making your site better for your audience and gaining brand exposure, you're naturally optimizing for search engines.
Let's take a look at a few ways your company is already doing SEO:
Tradeshows and events
Whether you're speaking, sponsoring, or attending a show, there's likely an SEO benefit.
When speaking at an event, you are often given a bio page that includes a link to your site and links to your social profiles. On top of that, promos from the show and recap posts from attendees are likely to include links to your site as well.
Tip: Be sure to put the slides from your presentation on your site ahead of time or immediately after your presentation so when you present, you can direct people to your site for information.
Sponsorships come with all sorts of perks: banners, conference shout-outs, promotional goods, and of course a link from the event site.
Tip: Some sponsorship packages state if a link is included. If the event site doesn't immediately offer a link, be sure to ask for it.
Attending events can be just as beneficial as being a sponsor in terms of SEO (and a whole lot cheaper). Many events ask you for a URL at sign up and use that link in their attendee list:
Once you're at the show, use what you've learned to help others who aren't at the show or weren't able to attend that session. Live blogs and session recaps are often picked up and linked to by other bloggers and the event site itself.
Tip: Don't feel like live blogging? Use a platform like Storify to capture the top tweets from a session, add commentary, and post it to your blog.
Over the past year, we've seen a large number of SEO's talking about the overlap of SEO and PR. The reason: If your company is doing any sort of press outreach, you're helping your search efforts in a big way.
Link building has shifted from "get as many links as possible" to "focus on high quality links from authority sites." The sites public relations professionals tend to target (think NYTimes, Washington Post) are high quality and high authority.
On that same note, large sites tend to rank well in search engines, giving your brand another opportunity to show up in the results.
Tip: While brand mentions are great, make sure your PR team focuses on obtaining links to your site when possible. Sometimes it's as simple as asking.
Many companies have built relationships and partnerships with outside businesses that provide complementary services. For example, SEOMoz has created a "Pro Perks" page featuring member discounts for other web-based tools and services, while Unbounce has an entire partners section.
What's the SEO benefit of being listed on these types of partner pages? You get qualified traffic, a trusted company is endorsing you, and the pages contain a link to your site.
Partnerships can also result in guest posts, social mentions, and an overall increase in brand awareness. This is all extremely positive for search.
Tip: Many companies will build partnerships, send out a press release, and forget about it. Don't be that company. Engage your partners. Offer them guest posts on your site or promote them to your customers through email. Don't be afraid to ask for the same in return. It is a partnership after all.
Social media profiles and sharing
We know that every company out there is not actively involved in social media, but even if you simply set up profiles across Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you've already helped with SEO.
Social media profiles are taking a prominent role in branded search results. A search for my company name results in our main site immediately followed by LinkedIn, Facebook, SlideShare, Twitter, and Google+:
Even though we aren't super active on SlideShare, it ranks higher than Twitter or Google+ where we are very active. However, just by having that SlideShare profile, we gain an extra branded search spot preventing our competitors from sneaking in. Please note: I recommend you actually use the profiles you set up.
Social can be even more powerful to your search efforts if you are actively engaging with people and using the channels properly. Social shares can result in brand awareness, new customers, and a link or two.
Tip: Make sure your social profiles are complete with company details, logos, and any other important information. The more people and search engines can find out about you, the better. I also highly suggest you read on human engagement and its effect on rankings.
All good marketers must take the time to research and understand their market in order to make successful (and sustainable) marketing decisions. Market research provides insights into your audience, competition, and the overall industry. It also helps you create your brand messaging and site content.
By creating content that resonates with your audience and answers the questions that are important to them, you are optimizing your site for search engines. Quality content is at the core of every SEO strategy.
Market research also incorporates keyword research as you often learn what your audience wants and how they describe your product or service.
Tip: Pay attention to how customers and press talk about your product. How you describe your product or service may not be how others do.
For marketers out there who don't have an SEO team leading their strategy, think about these things the next time you're planning to attend an event, working with your PR team, or talking to a potential partner. Search engine optimization is involved in everything you are doing. You just have to pay attention.
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"On behalf of the spring green icon" image via Shutterstock.