Stop Chasing Algorithms

TattooThere’s a lot of chatter about the future of SEO and whether or not these SEO shops are going to be viable in the future. The bottom line is, strategies for gaming the system are almost always short-lived. Google may be playing Whac-A-Mole with SEO strategies, pounding out one just in time to see another one rear its ugly head, but in the long run Google will win the game. You don’t want to be the mole that gets its head whacked and sees its ad strategy pulverized because you tried to cheat the system. Algorithms aren’t the answer — real content is.

That doesn’t mean SEO is dead. It’s definitely alive. However, you can no longer rely solely on SEO as a standalone ad strategy, but it can be an excellent tool to help build your strategy. Once a site is properly set up, it’s all about content marketing and social connection. Content marketing is a game of quality, frequency and consistency.

Check out my cheat sheet of best SEO practices:

  • Create high-quality, useful content (including in-depth articles) to deliver meaningful value to your audience, which you can measure by how much time visitors spend on your landing page(s) as well as your site and what they share across the social web.
  • Create a website that provides a top-notch online experience in terms of design, speed and navigation.
  • Create a sterling, exciting reputation that people talk about in the press, on blogs, and on the social web.
  • Create thoughtful, original content that attracts and holds attention and encourages people to share across the social web.
  • Engage with your audience through comments, guest posting and social web interaction.
  • Establish and protect a credible, transparent and likeable identity that proves you are an authority.
  • Connect all of your online content through authorship markup.
  • Set and guide the online conversation with challenging, consistent content.

What do you talk about? Here’s my Cliff’s Notes of Content Ideas:

  1. Newsjacking: This is a marketer’s attempt to ride the wave of a news cycle to get a certain message seen. For example, a gaffe during a presidential debate or sporting event would represent an opportunity for marketers to newsjack. They would, however, have to respond and publish quickly to take advantage of the public’s interest in that news story.
  2. Pop Culture: Using popular culture in metaphorical and analogous ways can be a powerful tool to relate industry commentary or problem solving content to new groups of people. Some examples include: “What Hip-Hop Can Teach Us about Inbound Marketing” and “Top 10 Quotes — If Glengarry Glen Ross Were about Internet Marketing.”
  3. Humor: This approach is a personal favorite. People only go to the web for two reasons: to solve a problem or to be entertained. Never underestimate the power of entertainment. “Woman Updates Facebook Status while Giving Birth!” is an example of an absurd blog post title that works. “Smells Like Inbound Marketing – Tastes Like Chicken,” is a blog post title that uses humor to entertain and conveys industry prudence.
  4. Bold Statement/ Controversy: This title category is best demonstrated by the ever-popular “The Death of …” blog post. “The Case for a Four-Day Work Week” is an example of a bold title. These titles tend to be very attention-grabbing and can garner a lot of click-throughs.
  5. Ego Stroke: People like to be recognized for excellence. Whether it’s a list of awesome blogs, people on Twitter or thought leaders in an industry, ego stroking titles lend themselves to being evangelized by the people receiving the ego stroke. Some examples of titles include “Top 10 ‘Hidden Gem’ Internet Marketing Blogs You May Not Be Reading” and “25 Tweeple to Follow Who Will Make You a Better Inbound Marketer.”
  6. Breaking News: This type of title isn’t the same as newsjacking. Generally, a breaking news title should be industry-specific and announce something new. A marketing example might include catching a tweet from Google’s Matt Cutts announcing a new algorithm update. A breaking news title encapsulates the breaking news element of the post. An example would be “New Google Algorithm Update Just Announced — The EMD.”
  7. How-To: Not a lot of examples are necessary to communicate the nature of the how-to title. This title is exactly what it says — “How to do XYZ” — and is focused on solving problems.
  8. Top X List: These titles are generally called top 10 lists, but they don’t always have to be framed that way. Example titles could include: 5 Ways, 8 Features, 6 Tools or 9 Tips. Many consumers of online content are attracted to the apparent convenience of skimming a quick list.
  9. [Bracket] Title: These types of titles are popular to tweet. Generally, the title is followed by a phrase in brackets that highlights the content asset of the post. Some popular bracket title examples include [Infographic],[Video], [Data], [Webinar] or [Slides] at the end of the actual title.
  10. Thought Leadership: Titles in this category don’t necessarily solve a problem or entertain. Titles that convey thought leadership can communicate broad industry opinion on current trends. They can also provide a general commentary on the future of an industry, strategy or tactic. This type of content, if well-articulated and supported with facts, can position the author as an industry expert. Some examples include, “Agency Branding in 20XX & Beyond — Inbound Marketing or Something Else?” and “Tomorrow’s Casualties — Internet Marketing’s Kill-Zone is Expanding.”

The future involves incorporating SEO into your strategy without being dependent solely on it. Be smart about SEO and prioritize your content and your audience, then you’ll get the social shares you need to build your site.