This is the second in a series of blogs on the next generation of search engine optimization. To read the first post in the series click here.
Audiences crave content, and search has evolved to reflect this demand and priority. Google’s search engine, which handles a whopping two-thirds  of all internet searches, previously located and ranked sites based on keywords and inbound link counts. It now weighs expertise, authority and trustworthiness of content as well.  Google and other providers will continue to move in this direction to ensure their searches deliver the most accurate, relevant and useful results possible.
This means old SEO tricks like overstuffing a website with keywords and or buying inbound links don’t work anymore. While keywords and inbound links still count, there’s no doubt that having quality content on your site is an ideal way to reach the top of the search results.
The search engine experts agree.
Search engine experts have seen this coming for years. Consider this 2010 statement from Google:
“Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website ranking more than any of the other factors discussed here. Users know good content when they see it and will likely want to direct other users to it. This could be through blog posts, social media services, email forums, or other means. Organic or word-of-mouth buzz is what helps build your site’s reputation with both users and Google, and it rarely comes without quality content.” 
Microsoft’s Bing is the world’s second-most popular search engine.  What tops Bing Principal Group Program Manager Rajesh Srivastava’s advice for achieving optimum rank for your site?
“Develop great original content (including well-implemented keywords) directed toward your intended audience.” 
Content + SEO = Continuous Growth
Imagine two retailers in the cookware business. Both list and sell products on their websites. But one site also features free content, including recipes, cooking blogs, how-to videos, menu planning, a wine and beer guide and a wedding and gift registry. Which site do you think will draw more traffic? Engage customers longer? Generate more social media word-of-mouth? Drive more sharing? Rank higher in search results? Sell more product?
Clearly, the website offering consumer-pleasing content has the edge. What’s more, once this site ranks high in search engine results, it will be found by more and more consumers, who will generate more social media sharing, which will further boost the site’s search rankings. That’s the power of content and context in the new era of search engine optimization.
Be the source they seek.
Creating engaging content is the cornerstone of content marketing, also known as “in-bound marketing.” In-bound marketing attracts consumers and draws them in throughout every step of the buying journey. This differs from “out-bound” marketing, including traditional advertising, which typically reaches out to grab a consumer’s attention in the final stages of the buying journey.
Of course, creating engaging content and using it to power SEO takes planning, time and resources. Like any other form of marketing, it’s a serious investment in the future of your business.
Looking for SEO Content Expertise?
If you’d like help creating content for your business, or want to learn more how next generation SEO, contact us online or call 888.573.4773.
1. Editorial Staff, July, 2016, “Top 15 Most Popular Search Engines,” eBizMBA.com, eBizMBA Inc.
2. “How Google Works: A Google Engineer’s Story,” Paul Haahr, SMX West 2016, March, 2016, San Jose, CA
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is more important to your business than ever before. This may come as a surprise, since SEO no longer grabs the kind of hot-topic headlines it did a few years ago. But like the internet itself, search engine technology has evolved at a remarkable rate.
Advances in SEO have been fueled in no small party by the pervasiveness of mobile technology and the always-on nature of today’s consumers. Search is oftentimes the first destination when researching a new product or solving an unexpected issue or finding more information to inform a purchase decision.
These factors combine to make the key benefit of SEO—the ability of potential customers to find and engage with your business quickly and easily on the web—absolutely essential. To get started, it’s important to know a little about where search has been … and why those tactics are no longer effective.
Once Upon a Time, Keywords were King
SEO covers a variety of techniques that can be used to make your business rank high in online search results on popular search engines like Google. Initial SEO models focused on a simple, if ambitious, goal: make your website rank #1 in search results by using specific keywords. This made sense, since search engines relied heavily on finding specific keywords and search engine results pages (or SERPs) displayed results as bare-bones lists of links. However, the focus on keywords meant some or many of a search’s results could be frustratingly irrelevant. Over time, other drawbacks of heavily keyword-oriented search and SEO became apparent.
Classic Search, Common Problems
Soon, businesses began overstuffing their sites with keywords, even though doing so lowered the quality of the content. Consumers were likely to visit multiple sites based on exact match queries, learning as much or more about the completion as they did your business. And because business’s reputation wasn’t considered part of the SEO process, consumers who discovered a business through search were likely to encounter negative information posted by angry individuals or unscrupulous competitors.
Other complications included conflicting online information regarding things as simple as a company’s location, business hours or phone number. Not surprisingly, consumers who searched for information online still relied upon friends and family members for recommendations on products, services and the best places to buy.
The Second Search Revolution
Eventually, Google, Bing, Yahoo! and other (minor) search providers began cracking down on SEO practices, like keyword stuffing, that were skewing results. Meanwhile, the ongoing refinement of search engine technology eliminated others. For instance, Google search’s indexing of the web previously focused on keywords and link counts. It now analyzes websites and web pages for relevance, and ranks expertise, authority and trustworthiness as well. 
This means a search you initiate today will deliver results that are far more heavily based on content and context than in the past. These results will more accurately reflect the actual intent of your search, and you are apt to be more pleased with them.
This advanced, content-and-context-driven approach to search is yet another reason why content is king. It also means that a fundamental step in the customer buying journey has changed forever. We’ll explore these changes and ways your company can benefit from them in more detail in the next post.
Need Guidance Navigating SEO?
Interested in learning more about putting the new approach to search engine optimization and the many benefits it offers your business? We’d love to talk to you about SEO and other tools to grow your company. For more information, contact us online or call 888.573.4773.
1. “How Google Works: A Google Engineer’s Story,” Paul Haahr, SMX West 2016, March, 2016, San Jose, CA
Small businesses need to constantly be looking for new ways to improve local SEO. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done. One great way for small businesses to boost their local SEO and appear higher in the search engine results is by claiming online business listings. According to Google, 163 million people used a map website or app to look up a business. By claiming your map listings, you can ensure that customers are able to find out more about your company while on the go.
Improving Local SEO with Map and Location Based Services
With the prevalence of mobile technology, many consumers are turning to location-based apps and sites like Yelp to get more information on brands in the moment. That is why it is essential for small businesses to claim map business listings if they want to remain visible in the local market. If you want to ensure that your listing is optimized, make sure that your business is properly categorized and includes optimized content, including high-quality photos. Online reviews can also help boost local SEO and encourage consumers to check out your brand.
Capture More Leads with Map Business Listings
Map business listings are an effective and cost-efficient way to reach customers across platforms and devices. Though it may be tempting to just focus on one channel, placing listings across map services can help you reach a larger and more diverse audience.
Each channel offers unique benefits for businesses who establish business listings:
Google My Business – If you want to distinguish your business from others on Google, it is important to claim your listing. In addition to the search rankings, your listing will appear on Google Maps and Google+.
Bing Places – Though many businesses spend less time optimizing for Bing, placing a listing on Bing Places with photos and videos can help you further increase visibility.
Apple Maps Connect – If you want to reach potential customers who use iOS devices, then this service helps you do just that by placing your listing on Apple’s Maps app.
Looking for ways to reach more customers? The team at TN Media in Nashville, TN can help you develop and implement a successful online marketing strategy. Contact us for more information.
Well you have come to the right place. TN Media offers SEO in Tennessee and really, we don’t care which state you live in. What matters is that TN Media can get your website found online through our SEO services. But, I wanted to take some time to explain why choosing local is good, why you need SEO, warning signs and what you should look for in an SEO company.
Why you need SEO.
Lets face it, when you need something, you go to Google and about 10-20 percent of you use Bing or Yahoo for reasons that I don’t understand. But that is different discussion. So when you need a plumber, dentist or an attorney, your search begins on the web. Heck if you are searching for “SEO in Tennessee,” we are writing this article for YOU! This very article is part of our content strategy that goes along with our SEO efforts and this is why you need it. To spell it out more plainly, YOU NEED TO PUT YOURSELF IN FRONT OF YOUR CUSTOMERS WHERE THEY ARE LOOKING. Sorry for yelling, but I have to get that point across.
When looking for SEO in Tennessee or any place in the country for that matter, you need to stay away from people and companies that tout amazing results. Claims like “We’ll get you on the first page of Google..,” or “See results in one month…” and “Our ranking software makes it automatic…” are frequent and bombarding. As small business owners, you know it is hard to sift through the weeds to find a company that offers a product that can really help. It’s not easy and Google likes it that way. Most times, these companies use tactics that don’t bring results. They may get your site ranking organically, but it won’t be with high-value keywords and you’ll have low search volumes.
What to look for.
This one is easy. You are buying services. You need to know what those services are offering you and ideally you have somewhere to log-in and see that progress.
Deliverables: What is the SEO company providing on a monthly basis? What links are being built?
Reporting: How often will you get reporting? Is there a dashboard to log-in at any time?
Keyword Strategy: Ideally you are targeting localized keywords that have high opportunities to produce results.
Consulting: You want a company that will work for you and with you. Need help with your strategy? Need content? Need someone to write blogs for your company? We can handle all of this for you.
Why choose local?
We all know having someone to sit down and talk to is much better than talking through email and over the phone. We want to bring a personal touch to your campaign. At TN Media, your local rep is your one point of contact for all of your online marketing and print solutions. Let us help you grow your business.
Seth Godin, one of my favorite authors, popularized the term permission marketing. This type of marketing is very different than traditional ways of targeting potential customers. Billboards, print and online display are types of marketing that are considered interruption marketing–where ads are placed in front of consumers when they are trying to do other things. Marketers are vying for consumers’ attention while they are driving, reading a magazine or newspaper or even browsing their favorite websites in hopes that they’ll remember their company when the time comes to purchase.
Permission marketing is putting yourself in front of potential customers when and where they are looking for you. Seth goes into more depth in his conversations on the subject, but for purposes of this article, I’ll use my loose definition. By looking for you, consumers are giving you permission to serve them highly relevant information (and ads).
Let’s dig a little deeper into permission marketing and how it works.
Organic vs. Paid Results
There are basically two main ways to display your targeted, relevant information (and ads) to consumers when they are searching online. These are organic search results and paid ads. Paid results/ads are better known as pay per click advertising, and when searching online, a majority of the time you will see both types of search results on your search engine results page or SERP. Below is an example of a local search for used car parts. The paid results (PPC ads) are displayed within the red boxes. The organic search results are displayed in the green box.
Companies that show up in the organic search results are optimizing their content and website through search engine optimization campaigns, also known as SEO. This is a long-term strategy that, more and more, relies heavily on creating new, fresh and relevant content online.
The other option is to advertise directly with Google through Google AdWords or Google Pay Per Click advertising (PPC). AdWord campaigns can also be ran on Bing/Yahoo through BingAds. This type of advertising can bring almost immediate results.
It is estimated that 90-100 percent of consumers search online to find information and 80-90 percent of consumers are researching products they intend to purchase online before buying. This research makes PPC and SEO important pieces to your online marketing strategy.
Are you putting yourself in front of your customers where they are looking for you?
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