iMedia Connection

Why agility is vital to SEO

George Fischer

Digital marketers who drive sustained revenue and customer acquisition through organic search understand the value of being agile. Search engine optimization is one of the most volatile digital marketing channels, with Google changing its algorithm on 41 different occasions since July 2011. It was at this time that Response Mine Interactive published its first SEO tactics chart. Just over a year later, a new tactics chart has been released. Here are the changes:

More emphasis on content

The content spoke has been significantly enhanced. The new edition includes terms like "latent semantic index (LSI)," "editorial calendar," and "social sharing." High quality, relevant content has always been a staple of a solid on-site SEO strategy. However, this alone is no longer enough. Frequent and sharable content is required for sustained success.

The most beneficial on-site SEO investment a company can make is the creation and execution of a smart editorial calendar. Content that is tied to recent events and consumer interest will generate the most social activity. Ensure content is relatable to your brand and is used to support key landing pages that drive revenue or customer acquisition.

The introduction of the latent semantic index has increased opportunities for better on-site copy. Copywriters no longer have to write for search engines and humans, enabling them to focus on providing an optimal user experience. In addition, less SEO landing pages are required to rank for a wide variety of keywords. Let's say your company sells athletic gear and competes with Sports Authority and Dicks Sporting Goods. Historically, you would need to create separate landing pages for keywords such as "athletic gear," "athletic equipment," "athletic apparel," "sports apparel," and "sports clothing." With latent semantic indexing, this is no longer the case. 


 

Pay close attention to the bolded words in the query above. All these words are semantically related to "athletic gear."A more robust synonym index enables brands to focus on creating content based on user interest and relevance while not sacrificing organic search performance.

Importance of link diversity and social signals

On April 24, 2012, Google released "Penguin," its most impactful algorithm update in recent history, changing the SERPs for 3.1 percent of all English queries. This update was meant as a solution for sites ranking atop Google via unnatural means. Link type and anchor text diversity are two key factors Google uses to determine what's "natural."

SEO professionals historically built links on relevant and authoritative sites to achieve performance goals. Almost all of these links used the main keyword or a slight variation as the anchor text. The reason such tactics worked so well was Google's reliance on anchor text to determine relevance. Today's algorithms are significantly more complex -- as a result, smart digital marketers can build links with a wide variety of anchor text, driving sustained organic performance.

In addition to varying anchor text, link type diversity is required for a natural SEO campaign. Contextual links are still the single most influential link type you can acquire. However, obtaining a wide variety of link types will produce the best results. The challenge lies in the monitoring and identification of these different link types.

Response Mine Interactive utilizes an enterprise level SEO platform (BrightEdge) to competitively monitor link type distribution and identify new link opportunities of various types.

 

The left side illustrates the link type distribution for one of the largest lawn care providers. As you can see, this particular company leverages blogs, new articles, and press releases as its main sources of links. Technology to detect and classify link types is evolving, yet nearly 75 percent of links do not fall into a particular category and are still being classified as "other." Marketers can still classify link types manually by exploring competitive back links using other tools such as Majestic SEO, Open Site Explorer, and Ahrefs.

The right side lists links classified by link type. This is extremely helpful if you want to acquire competitor links of a certain type.

Summary

Agile companies have a significant advantage in organic search as algorithms continue to evolve. Proper resource allocation is the key to efficiently driving sustained performance. The frequent publication and social promotion of relevant, customer-centric content is the single most beneficial on-site investment a company can make. Always ensure this content is based on a solid keyword strategy and editorial calendar. Add high-quality links of various types and anchor text into the mix to achieve a level of sustained organic performance your competitors can only attempt to emulate.

George Fischer is the SEO director of Response Mine Interactive.

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