Why SEOs are Finding Themselves Reporting to Content Marketing

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Why SEOs are Finding Themselves Reporting to Content Marketing


Some SEO practitioners are having a hard time adjusting to the many new changes in Google’s ranking algorithm, indexing system, and Google’s plunge into social media. On the other hand, content marketers are thriving in the SERPs. These changes have benefited the prolific content producers while hurting the traditional mathematician-type SEO’s ability to maximize organic web visibility. The old days of massive SEO audits, building lots of grey backlinks and page sculpting have been replaced with highly valuable problem solving content that is evangelized and shared throughout social media.

Google’s Sweet Spot

Two years ago Google’s sweet spot was easy to identify – Sculpt on-page factors, build lots of backlinks, have clean search-friendly code and make sure website architecture is flat. Content played a roll, but with enough backlinks it didn’t matter. Those days were dominated by the traditional introverted SEO practitioner who was considered a hero when they landed number one on Google. They told the writers what keyword phrases needed to be in their content, where and how many while doing the appropriate programming work, link building and tracking.

SEO vs Content Marketing

With Google’s recent updates this has changed. In fact, at Eloqua SEOs actually report to content marketing now. This is obviously in response to Google Panda, the Caffeine update “Freshness” and the elimination of 10 – 30% of the keyword reporting capability of Google. These changes have pushed content to the forefront while shrinking the importance of the technical SEO tactics mentioned above. Without lots of good quality content it’s much harder to maximize organic search visibility. With Google’s new SSL rules it’s impossible to calculate the ROI for traditional SEO tactics too.

Redefining Maximum Organic Search Visibility

In order to achieve maximum organic search visibility it requires ranking well for the greatest number of relevant and highly searched keywords or phrases right? Not necessarily. . .

Actually, it requires traffic from the greatest number of relevant keywords regardless of where they rank. SERP results are not what they used to be. Just because you get certain results doesn’t mean your neighbor will.

If someone is using Chrome, logged into a Google app or they’re located in a different location it is very likely that their search results will be very different than yours.

The point is that by ignoring where you rank on a keyword phrase and focusing on how many keyword phrases drive traffic you can see large growth in organic search visibility. This is accomplished with an aggressive content marketing deployment.

Kuno has seen a 556% increase in organic traffic by taking this approach and almost a half-point increase in the organic visit to lead ratio. The MarketingTechBlog.com credits 72% of their organic traffic from phrases which appear on the second page or beyond. Since we can’t track up to 30% of our keywords isn’t it about time to stop worrying about where they rank and focus on how many there are and how much traffic they drive?

Search engine optimization has drastically changed. If companies refuse to commit to content marketing and social media they will eventually see their search visibility suffer. This makes now the best time to start. Especially if no one else in your industry is doing it. If that’s the case, it represents an opportunity to create a competitive advantage. Don't forget, when your campaign is off the ground make sure SEO reports to content marketing and you'll be well on your way to maximum organic search visibility.

Image: @DanielUlichney

Inbound Marketing is the New SEOInbound Marketing is the New SEO – Facts, Figures & Data

Join us for an exciting new webinar on Tuesday, January 31st at 12PM EST, 9 AM PST where we’ll discuss the reasons why traditional SEO campaigns aren't as important as they once were for web visibility and why they are quickly being replaced by inbound marketing.


Good post. Still up in the air about the whole shift from "SEO" to "inbound marketing" following a pretty good debate on it last week from some big names.  
Agree that content marketing + social is going to = success moving forward. Not that it's a big prediction but I posted about this in a guest post here ---> http://www.business2community.com/marketing/4-digital-marketing-predictions-for-2012-0113386 (hope you don't mind the link).  
I am still a firm believer that the data gurus are a must or else you are going to be pumping out semi-worthless content. Need to know who you are writing for right?
Posted @ Monday, January 16, 2012 11:57 AM by Craig Kilgore
Thanks for the positive feedback. I was involved in one of those debates myself over on Google+ last week w/ some of those industry gurus.  
The argument seems to be that true SEO is the same as inbound marketing and because of this there's no reason to call it inbound marketing. 
While I agree that good true SEO is inbound marketing - I disagree with just calling it SEO. For the average consumer of said services the phrase inbound marketing sets a different expectation than the word SEO and better clarifies some of the tactics involved in the process. 
BTW, no issues w/ the link - It certainly adds value to the conversation and I'm glad you left it. 
I'm going to stick w/ Dan Zarrella's SEO advice,"If you're not selling pills, poker or porn hire a writer in lieu of an SEO." :) 
Posted @ Monday, January 16, 2012 12:40 PM by Chad H. Pollitt
Yes, I think I did see you taking part in that convo now that I think about it. Good argument either way. I am also leaning more towards "inbound marketing" and see where the value comes in to play when portraying your services to consumers.
Posted @ Monday, January 16, 2012 12:55 PM by Craig Kilgore
If you have the time to attend you should check out our webinar "Inbound Marketing is the New SEO - Facts, Figures & Data." I'm going to layout a detailed argument with real numbers and think you might find it valuable. 
Hope to see you there! 
Posted @ Monday, January 16, 2012 1:01 PM by Chad H. Pollitt
Def, I registered for it last week!
Posted @ Monday, January 16, 2012 1:49 PM by Craig Kilgore
Good stuff, Chad. Thanks. 
I always go back to the evolution of radio and television. Initially, it was all about the tech and techies. It wasn't long before it became about content and content providers. We're always going to see that with new platforms, I believe. I'm not surprised to see that SEO reports to content marketing. Ultimately, the goal of any system of communication is to reach people. When the robots take over the Earth, then the reverse will make sense. 
@Craig @Chad: I prefer the term "findability" over SEO because it's a larger concept incorporating SEO, social media, and content that's relevant to the author's area of expertise/audience. IMHO, findability is a vital element serving the purposes of inbound marketing. 
Posted @ Thursday, January 19, 2012 7:22 PM by Phil Donaldson
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