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SEO in Content Marketing

6 Dec

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CoreyMorris

Guest Contributor:
Corey Morris, Director of Digital Strategy

Content marketing has exploded as a discipline and as a topic over the past several years. It impacts many of the more traditional marketing and digital marketing channels and is something that most of us admit we need to do more of or need to do it better.

I had the opportunity to attend Content Marketing World in Cleveland this September. During that conference, I was interviewed by Jeff Julian for an episode of the Enterprise Marketer podcast that was recently released. We had a great conversation about the evolution of search engine optimization (SEO) and how the discipline has been impacted by the rise of content marketing.

I see content as the unifying factor in most digital marketing efforts. I produced an integrated digital marketing approach diagram earlier this year to help visually demonstrate a structure that I often talk about in conversations regarding the role of content strategy, content marketing, and digital channels as vehicles for content.

There is a lot of talk and confusion about inbound and outbound marketing as well as earned, owned, and bought media. Regardless of how we classify it, it often comes back to content. Digital channels like SEO and social media work much better when they embrace content into the strategy, and everyone has a seat at the planning table.

There are a number of processes that become more efficient by working together. Integrating channel marketing efforts under the content umbrella improves strategy by utilizing unique research, insights, and analytics from the different digital channels. It is the sharing of intelligence that helps reach desired personas and ensure that we’re not operating too much in silos. Channel marketing should not dictate content; let content drive the bus.

I thoroughly enjoyed talking with Jeff and hope that you find the approach and role of search marketing in content marketing as insightful and fun as I do.

 

Link to podcast: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/enterprise-marketer-podcast/id1153750828

Link to web version: https://enterprisemarketer.com/podcasts/enterprise-marketer-podcast-conference/cmworld16-show-21-corey-morris/

Link to YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTgE2NzPJ5k

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Crowdsourcing: Three SEO Themes We Keep Hearing

11 Nov

CoreyMorris

Guest Contributor:

Corey Morris, Director of Digital Marketing

During the past few weeks, I’ve had the chance to speak at a couple of Kansas City search marketing events. The first was as a moderator of the “Better Ideas, Better Strategies” session at the SEMPO Cities KC Search Marketing Conference on Oct. 27. In addition, I spoke about “The Impact of Social on Search Rankings” at the Social Media Club of Kansas City breakfast on Nov. 4.

A few SEO themes kept bubbling up at the Q & A sessions and event follow-up discussions.

First, it’s abundantly clear that the industry must be nimbler when it comes to navigating changes from Google. The company is adjusting organic and paid search faster than most of us can remember.

Second, if you haven’t kept up with the mobile friendly movement, now is the time. “Mobile first” thinking has been a topic of conversation the past few years. The initiative is now on overdrive, with Google using the mobile index for even desktop searches.

One other theme that surfaced during the SMCKC presentation was how Google does or doesn’t weigh social media in ranking websites. There’s a lot of confusing and conflicting info about this topic. My advice? It’s more important to understand how search engines work and view social content through that lens.

The two most important factors of SEO success are relevance and authority. Relevance meaning how pertinent your content is to the subject. And authority being the importance others place on your content. In other words, are they linking to and sharing your stuff?

Finally, while not a theme from the events, I always advise clients that if they want more cues on what Google is and isn’t rewarding, they should pay attention to their target audiences and the competition. By continuously working to be better when compared to peers, you’ll win in search, social and digital marketing overall.

Read my earlier post on the SEMPO Cities KC event.

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Recap: KC Search Marketing Conference

8 Nov

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Guest Contributor,
Corey Morris, Director of Digital Marketing

I was recently part of the second annual Kansas City Search Marketing Conference at the Sprint Accelerator. The event was presented by the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (SEMPO) Cities program and Bing.

The conference theme was “Better.” There were 12 speakers from across the region, and four sessions that all tied to the theme of doing search marketing better. I was on the organizing committee — after leading last year’s event — and moderated the first session, “Better Ideas, Better Strategies.”

The session was a reminder that it’s no longer possible to do search marketing in a silo. We must have content for organic and paid search. It’s also critical to stay on top of Google’s changes, especially with the staggering number of shifts the company made in 2016.

Matt Lacuesta was part of the panel I moderated, and something he said struck me: “PR people are the OG of link builders.” He shared how all content contributes to SEO, and that it’s important to understand and harness it. Some content examples Matt shared:

  • Collateral and messaging that resonates with prospects
  • A list of common sales objections
  • Customer service pain points
  • Events, sponsorships and community involvement
  • Industry relationships

Craig Paddock is a regular speaker at national search conferences. His presentation was full of insights on understanding performance data and using it to make decisions.

One stat he shared caught my attention: Wordstream is seeing an unbelievable 50 percent click-through rate on the AdWords “click to message” extension, which will soon roll out.

A compelling aspect of his presentation was how data sample sizes factor into decision making. Craig showed data from coin tosses. When comparing the frequency of heads in 20 coin flips, there was a decent range of results. But when expanded to 400 coin flips, the numbers normalized and the data was much more consistent. The example was a strong reminder to ensure we’re not making decisions on too few impressions, clicks and conversions in AdWords. This is especially true when comparing one ad group to another.

Tylor Hermanson presented keyword research for SEO targeting. He believes the Moz Opportunity Score is important because it goes beyond the keyword and monthly search volume. The Moz score considers the opportunity you have to get traffic based on the layout of the search results for that term.

It’s common to do keyword research in a vacuum and not consider the perceived intent of the search engine or the results page beyond the 10 blue organic links.

Including maps, answer boxes, shopping ads, news articles and other content can push down organic listings and hinder opportunities to spark traffic. Users may not see the link, even if it ranks well, if it’s pushed down the page.

In the week leading up to the conference, there were several big updates from Google and Bing. These were good reminders that the pace of search marketing isn’t going to slow any time soon, and the industry as a whole — despite breaking out of silos — isn’t going away.

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Do Keywords Still Matter?

28 Sep

Make sure your SEO Practices are Current

Corey1Guest Contributor:
Corey Morris, Director of Digital Marketing

I’m always surprised to hear some consultants still advise clients to focus on up to 10 keywords as the foundation of their SEO campaigns.

It’s not my nature to react to the latest rumor or ranking signal in Google’s algorithm until it’s validated. But, it was clear to me when I entered the SEO industry a decade ago, that content was – and still is – the most important factor for SEO success, not keywords.

Content builds context and fosters engagement through inbound links, social media and web mentions. Without solid content, we’re forced to employ “old” SEO methods that work to varying degrees, such as creating single pages for every single keyword we want to rank.

Google continues to better understand context and meaning, and not rely solely on frequency and density of specific terms in page copy. Context of the website, the section and the page are all more important than a specific keyword.

To say Google’s algorithm has grown in recent years is an understatement. In fact, I heard Google Engineer, Paul Haahr, speak at SMX West and he shared that not a single person at Google knows the company’s full algorithm. This is important because it shows the company has enabled the algorithm to learn context on its own and get smarter in real-time.

The days of targeting a single term to a single page are in the past. That said, we can’t exactly ignore keywords in analytics. Keywords remain important progress indicators, and ways to ensure we understand and attract target audiences.

Clients and prospects are often taken by surprise when I say they can target as many keywords as they want. It’s fun educating them on the shift to content and context, and to see the sense of relief on their copywriter’s face!

Gone are the days of focusing on just 10 links, tracking their rankings and ultimately judging an SEO campaign’s impact based on their performance. What matters for SEO success is the development of relevant content that builds context and fosters ongoing audience engagement.

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Our Take From Cleveland: #CMWorld Day Two

9 Sep

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Corey and Kate spent two days at #CMWorld in Cleveland. This is the second of two posts sharing their quick takeaways from the event. If you haven’t seen the first, check it out

Our second and final day at #CMWorld. And, like day one, it was a whirlwind of fresh ideas, new friends and awesome swag. (No stress balls!)

Airborne to KC, we’re chatting about what stood out on our final day. Here’s what comes to mind.

First, a stat: For every $5 spent on content creation, marketers are spending just a buck on distribution.

Does that surprise you? It sure caught our eye. Seems like we should be investing more than four quarters to maximize ROI.

Day two gave Corey the opportunity to talk with Jeff Julian on the Enterprise Marketer podcast.

Jeff and Corey chatted about the efficiency of content being pushed through digital channels, rather than dictated by SEO. They also talked about Google updates and how the company continues to show it’s learning context, which is yielding better content as a whole.

We’ll be sure to share Corey’s interview once it’s live. So, stay tuned.

It’s easy to leave a conference like this brimming with new ideas but unsure where to start. Fortunately, Thursday’s opening panel gave some encouraging words on how to take your content strategy to the next level. Here’s a hint: start.

Stephanie Losee with Visa, fresh from Rio for the Olympics, said it just takes one piece of content to begin. Not a launch party. Not a seven-figure budget. Just one piece of content from one SME conversation.

In the same vein, Jenifer Walsh with GE reminded us that content strategy is a marathon, not a sprint. And, that it takes time to build content traction. So, take a deep breath. You don’t have to have a community of a thousand followers on day one.

Finally, Raj Munusamy with Schneider Electric, told us the mind digests visual content six times faster than text. Six times.

What we heard: Goodbye 10-page white papers. Helloooo visual content that wows! (Apparently we should be drawing you a picture, not writing this post.)

So there you have it. Our initial take on two days of all content all the time.

Would we go again? Absolutely. Would Corey remember Cleveland is hot and humid? No doubt. Would Kate pack less? For sure. (Okay, that’s a lie.)

Keep an eye out for future posts from us. In the coming weeks, we’ll share more in-depth learnings from the show.

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