A few weeks ago we were invited to talk about SEO at the Dallas-Fort Worth American Marketing Association and we took the opportunity to “de-muddle” the search and content landscape. We focused our presentation on how Search Engine Optimization is evolving into what we are calling CSO or Content Search Optimization. The concept behind CSO is that with the growth of user-generated content on social media and web 2.0 sites, along with the proliferation of blogs and their integration into search results, off-page SEO is set to become more and more relevant when optimizing for search engines results.
Search Engine Optimization has been a cat & mouse game since its inception, marketer and web masters spent their time figuring out how to game search engine algorithms to only find out that these sites kept evolving and coming up with new criteria. The beauty of this game has been that it has evolved in the direction of making results more and more like what you would find on an offline search for a product or service. The difference though is that looking for an accountant offline could take you days or weeks to find a good one. You would probably look for one on the yellow pages, then ask your friends if they knew one, then interview several, than ask for references, to end up probably working with one that worked with someone you trust. However, online you can do this in a matter of minutes or seconds. Product or service searches on Google (using their filters, social search features and Google buzz) or searches on Facebook (which can also be filtered for friends) will, if not already, complete the entire search and selection process.
So, the questions are: How do you optimize your web presence? How do you embrace word of mouth and user-generated content around your brand? How do you grow a network built on trust and reputation? In a few words, and you can watch the presentation below to get more details, the answer is three-fold.
First, you want to establish an editorial calendar because it will help you increase content quantity, quality and your will get more subscribers. Do simple math, more content + better quality = better search engine ranking. Add a little of smart marketing and you will get more readership and that will drive more subscribers (or potential customers)
Second, become a publishing warehouse as it will help you get your target audience in the format and timing that they prefer the most. Take the topic for the day, week, month, whatever your reality is and put in your “content development process” to create blog posts, articles, presentations, tweets, white papers, questions, videos, podcasts, etc. or whatever your target audience respond best.
Third, leverage personal branding to distribute content to networks built on trust and reputation. Employees can become a great channel to distribute your content.