How to refine your long-term SEO strategy

We previously covered the recent Google changes and how they affect your SEO strategy and business. With this knowledge, we now explore an SEO philosophy and strategy to stand the test of time and Google's ever-evolving ways

No inbound marketer or online business owner is going to turn his focus away from Google. It remains the number one destination to begin searches online. Almost 70 percent of all global searches happen on Google and people are using more Google products now than ever.

I would argue that these updates make the need for an SEO strategy that much more important -- SEO is more valuable now than it ever has been! It's the role of SEO that needs to be redefined. It is no longer the job of a single person -- or group of people. It has now become part of what websites and brands do. It becomes ingrained in the fabric of the organization, not just a marketing channel. Everyone working for the business optimizes content, design, products, and services for user experience and search experience. The whole process becomes unified with the same goal.

For e-commerce business owners, this is an opportunity to "humanize" a brand online. Yes, it's still about getting products visible through organic search and selling things online, but there is another opportunity to expand a brand's presence and expert knowledge of what they sell to create and market content that gets discovered through short-tail, long-tail, and informational-type searches (e.g., "What has better HDTV quality -- LCD or LED or plasma?")

As an e-commerce business owner, here is how I would approach this opportunity:

Problem: I sell HDTVs online and I'm struggling to keep pace organically (in terms of ranking in organic search results) with the big box stores for the ordinary business terms such as Samsung plasma HDTVs, Sony LED HDTVs, etc.

These short-tail, head terms are a valuable source of organic traffic, but I also recognize there is opportunity to gain visibility for long-tail searches and to catch users at different stages in the purchase funnel. Also there is generally less competition at this level.
 
Solution: I need a content management system (like a blog) to support my e-commerce business. I lack the resources to compete with big box brands in terms of advertising and I don't have enough authority yet to outrank these guys for my top business terms organically, but what I do have is expertise and intimate knowledge of my audience.

I'm going to focus on a content marketing strategy that showcases my 25 years of experience as a TV sales guy and develop content that answers questions about HDTVs and how to buy one. My attention will be on my audience and I will make sure I address all their questions and concerns online in the same way I would do it if they entered my store. Here's how:

  • I'm going to use a blog because it offers the necessary social functionality to promote my content and build a following and sense of community.
  • As my content expands, I'm going to promote my products and lead users back to my online store to make a purchase. They will feel compelled to purchase from me because I have built trust with them as a source of reliable content.
  • Over time I will accrue new links and grow my business organically and independent of Google algorithm changes because my customers will understand their value to me as customers and they will share their exceptional experience with family and friends.
  • Also, chances are very good I'll begin to increase my organic visibility because I will continue to incorporate SEO best practices.

Summary

Google has a mission to generate the best search results possible. It employs some of the brightest minds in the business and its engineers are working daily to detect and filter manipulative practices from the results. Google's goal is the same as that of any good brand -- create the best brand and user experience possible to earn more visits and have more opportunity to make more money. Google is focused on its target market first and foremost, and it behooves the online business owner to do the same. As the search engine evolves, Google will likely continue to reward websites and brands that have naturally earned the brand, social, and link signals needed to rank well.

To stay up-to-date with Google's ever-evolving ways, check out googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com.

Nathan Joynt is the in-house SEO manager with Volusion Inc.

On Twitter? Follow Joynt at @nathanjoynt. Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

 

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