S Is for Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Choose Your Keywords Wisely

Search Engine Optimization SEO Inbound Marketing Definition

Who out there knows that search engine optimization (SEO) is important to inbound marketing but can’t say why? Or maybe you know SEO is what gets organic traffic to a website, but you don’t know how to optimize a site for search? Hey, that’s okay. SEO has evolved, and continues to evolve, over the years. Let’s see if we can clear some things up about it.

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Google and other major search engines display primary search results, where content is shown and ranked based on what the search engine deems most relevant to users. Because organic traffic is king in the ultra-competitive world that is the internet, sites do what they can to get on those first few pages of the search results.

That’s where SEO comes in. Rather than leave rankings to chance, people try to optimize their websites for search engines. How? By targeting content people search for, including that content on your website, and getting other sites to vouch for your stuff to Google et al. via links.

Why SEO is important to marketers

As I write this, there are over 1,275,473,000 websites on the internet. And that number increases every second. What makes you think your site is going to stand out from the pack? It’s like that awful truth of high school—there’s always going to be someone better looking, funnier, or smarter than you are.

You’ve got be clever.

Have a blog? Awesome. Now make it work for you. Your blog should be an SEO tool. Don’t write whatever blog posts float into your brain, be strategic about how you write. Create buyer personas to identify who you’re writing for. Then, map out content campaigns for these personas in advance, building each piece of content (blog posts, offers, calls-to-action) around specific search keywords.

By creating content that’s valuable to readers you’re investing in your own relevance and authority.

Isn’t Google trying to kill SEO?

Yeah, I read that Entrepreneur article too. And I can admit there was some scary language involved:

“Under Google’s definition [of search engine manipulation], any website owner that attempts to cause its website to rank higher, in any manner, could be guilty of ‘pure spam’ and blocked from Google’s search results, without explanation or redress.”

Yes, SEO abuse and search engine manipulation is a real thing. Too many people tried packing blog posts with keywords to earn better rankings and we ended up with crappy stuff like this: “10 Ways SEO is Possible if You Do SEO the Right Way by the Right SEO Standards.”

Google’s recent effort to devalue such tactics and raise up the intent behind searches isn’t a bad thing. If marketers stay clever, they can avoid manipulation and achieve optimization.

My colleague Dave Choate describes how SEO is now about finding balance in combining keywords with concepts. Start with a concept and focus in on a long-tail keyword rather than the other way around. That way, your readers will be happy and Google will be happy.

If you skimmed this post…

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an activity that is done in the name of improving search engine rankings.

Want to learn more awesome inbound marketing terms? Check out our Inbound Marketing Definitions page.

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