Is Social the new SEO? The diminishing line between SEO and content…
This blog post published by Forbes last week has generated a tonne of debate in the digital marketing world, looking at whether SEO will stay dominant, or if the name of the game is ‘quality content’ now instead. As most of us will know, Google has made no attempts to hide its love of high-quality content for websites. The last few algorithm updates and the subsequent penalties which have been dished-out have reinforced the need for content to be a VERY important part of your SEO strategies.
Quality content as defined by Google and by many webmasters around world has two basic characteristics:
- It should provide complete and comprehensive coverage of the topic.
- It should be something readers would want to share and recommend.
Such content is a great way for improving your online branding, helping to establish trust for your brand in readers’ mind. Of course great brand ‘power’ can result in a lot traffic – often much more than what SEO can get in isolation – but if you have a competitor with similar brand awareness and great content on their site, you will not only fight for rankings but can face a loss of market share.
Being a digital marketer myself, I believe it is impossible to achieve good rankings through either SEO or content/branding alone. Great content and social ‘reputation’ can be superb for your brand, but it’s certainly not enough – no matter how much the Forbes article and it’s source would like you to think so. There has to be integration between the two.
In an ideal world, the great content you have should be well optimised, should link to relevant pages and should be present at the right places where readers can read it. You can have great content about any given topic on your site, but search engines will only reward that content with good rankings if the subject matter is backed-up by a consistent topic or topics on the rest of the site.
Of course when it comes to external content, you’ll receive no tangible benefit (other than ‘increased awareness’) from it unless it’s properly optimised and linking back to your website.
Good content, well versed with your targeted keywords and optimized for the relevant pages will not only improve your search engine rankings, but will also increase the likelihood of quality links from other sites. I strongly recommend regular keyword research and mapping at the beginning of any content writing for your website or for external sources. Research your subjects and find out what words and phrases your intended readers are using for searching websites and then create content for each topic.
As you can tell from the general stance I’ve taken, I clearly don’t agree with the argument that ‘SEO is dead’ – let’s face it, people have been trying to push that old chestnut for almost as long as SEO has been around! What we need now is more integrated strategies that involve content teams and social teams working with SEO teams to generate high quality, highly engaging and well optimised content.
The secret of new SEO world is not ‘Quality Content’, it is ‘Integration‘. Just remember – united we stand, divided we fall.