Foundry 360 has a network of partners with specific subject matter expertise. The following article is written by one such partner, Bytes.co — a U.S.-based web development and digital marketing agency.
Search technology and algorithms change constantly. Here’s what all digital marketers need to know.
Digital marketing is characterized by constant and continuous change. But through it all, organic search engine optimization (SEO) remains among the most impactful components of any comprehensive online marketing strategy — despite greatly exaggerated rumors of the death of its importance.
Another SEO truism: Very few marketers have a strong grasp of how SEO works. To remedy that, here’s an SEO primer — along with advice on how (and why) to apply it to your content-marking programs.
What is SEO?
Moz, an SEO software provider, describes SEO this way:
SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is a set of practices designed to improve the appearance and positioning of web pages in organic search results. Because organic search is the most prominent way for people to discover and access online content, a good SEO strategy is essential for improving the quality and quantity of traffic to your website.
Put more simply, an effective SEO strategy will help Google search users (sorry, other search engines) discover content about your products or services, without your having to pay for ad clicks. Truth is, if you’re not being found online, you’re not being found at all. (In case you’re wondering about the Yellow Pages, that antiquated discovery tool stopped delivering significant results 15 years ago.)
Why Organic? Because It’s Where the Clicks Are.
It’s no secret that search engines prioritize placement of ads above organic/natural results. The reason: That’s how search engines make money. But time and time again, search user behavior analysis shows that the vast majority of people skip down to the organic results. This has remained true even a decade into the “mobile era” where the bulk of searches take place on a smartphone, which, because of its smaller screen, pushes organic results farther from view.
There’s no denying that Google and the other search engines make billions of dollars every year on search ads, and it’s certainly an appropriate strategy for buying visibility. But as long as the data tells us that most people scroll past the ads and click on organic results, SEO will remain a priority for serious online marketers.
Content = Search Engine Optimization
A lot has changed over the 30-year history of search marketing. But a quick summary is that as Google’s search ranking algorithm improved, the early 2000s saw a major shift to content. This meant investing in creating high-quality, audience-first content versus engaging in shady tactics like paid link farms, keyword-stuffed meta tags, and duplicate sites. As Google’s algorithm continues to evolve — and now increasingly relies on its own AI (artificial intelligence) — the emphasis has shifted even further toward original, quality content.
If you’re writing unique, useful content, you’ll likely be rewarded with quality traffic. If you’re not, you’ll quickly disappear into the abyss we call the “page two” search results page (or worse). “Content is king” has been cliché for more than a decade, but clichés persist for a reason — because they’re true! Simply put, one of the primary drivers of traffic to a website remains search engines — especially organic search results. If you don’t have the content to signal to search engines that you offer a product, a service, or knowledge on a topic, there’s little chance your site will be discovered when people perform a related search.
Randy Abair is a Senior Digital Marketing Specialist at Bytes.co. With nearly 2 decades experience developing and executing SEO, paid search and social media marketing campaigns, Randy brings exceptional expertise and goal oriented strategic thinking to Bytes.co.