There are many debates raging in the SEO community around several different topics. We’ve written about a lot of them here on the Kuno blog. However, most of the folks doing the debating subscribe to the idea that being successful in SEO requires ranking a website as high as possible for certain chosen keyword phrases, groups or families of keywords. This group think in the industry has permeated its way through the Enterprise, SMB and individual people around the world. The only problem with this is that being No. 1 on Google is not the only way to have a successful search engine optimization campaign.
Let’s look at the definition of search engine optimization according to Wikipedia.
"Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines' "natural," or un-paid ("organic" or "algorithmic"), search results."
Not many would argue with the definition above. It makes perfect sense, right? Now let’s look at the part that says, “the process of improving the visibility of a website.” Is there any other way to improve the visibility of a website via search engines besides ranking high?
The answer is yes. Douglas Karr of the MarketingTechBlog put it best when he posed the question, “Does Your Organic Rank Matter?” In the post he shows that even though his blog ranks very high for many keyword phrases, a full 72% of all of his organic traffic comes from words not ranked on the first page. Only 28% of his traffic was garnered through the first page of a search engine.
How could this be? We all know that people NEVER go to the second page of Google or beyond, right? Many factors can affect this. Just because a website is on the first page for one person doesn’t necessarily mean it will be on the first page for another. Factors like geography, SPYW, whether or not someone is logged into a Google product, mobile, previous searches, etc. all have an effect on what a search engine user sees and where links fall in the SERPs.
Doug was able to get large volumes of search traffic to his website not by trying to game the attributes of Google’s algorithm, but by creating a lot of quality content. He publishes two to five time per day. Every page of content published on a website represents another opportunity to drive traffic organically regardless of where it ranks.
If where a website ranks doesn’t matter then how can you measure success? Aside from the obvious (conversions, leads, opportunities and customers), SEOs can look at the number of keyword phrases that drive traffic. This is a critical metric for content marketers to track their SEO success. Growing this metric month to month will also consistently increase the number of unique visitors to a website every month.
The resources required to game Google’s algorithm through technical SEO have far surpassed the resources required to create lots of great, helpful and/or entertaining content. Also, there are many secondary and tertiary effects to publishing a lot of content for SEO.
Content marketing has a positive effect on social media, brand sentiment, referral traffic, email marketing and direct traffic, too. Building backlinks and sculpting on-page factors mostly only benefit organic search.
This approach to search engine optimization is not mainstream yet because many of the mathematicians in SEO won't let it. If they do, they'll be out of a job. However, the writing is clearly on the wall. It's time to drop the calculators and pick up a pen and paper. To learn more about content marketing, download our free ebook, “The Content Marketing Manifesto.“
Join us for an exciting new webinar on Wednesday, July 11 at 12PM EDT, 9AM PDT. Backed with real data, we'll prove that content marketing in an invaluable business tool and is the foundation of successful Internet marketing. We'll also discuss how content marketing affects organic, referral, social media and direct traffic to a website.