Identifying all of the elements necessary for effective SEO isn’t difficult. But for some reason, successful integration of these elements for consistently good SEO is less common than it should be. The tricky thing about producing world-class results every time is that three tactical elements of good SEO must be employed for an effective overall SEO strategy. Leave one of these tactics out—through ignorance or laziness—and your results will suffer every time.
Let’s face it. The phrase “Content is King” has become so over-used that it’s lost its punch. What began as a useful tool has become a worn-out cliché. But the idea behind it is as true today as it ever was. If you don’t have outstanding content to begin with, the other three tactics in your SEO toolbox can’t make up the difference.
Good content must be the foundation of any SEO strategy. Think of it as the necessary SEO skeleton over which you can later drape the muscles and connective tissues of well-placed links and amplification through social media.
What Constitutes Good Content?
All too often, what passes for good content is merely written material that is free from grievous grammatical errors and has at least a modicum of relevancy. That will no longer suffice for effective SEO, which brings to bear another overly used theme that is also in danger of entering cliché status. Good content today must have elements of thought leadership—a phrase that went from cool to over-used corporate-speak altogether too quickly.
But the idea behind it is essential for good SEO. There are a lot of ways to generate buzz. But there is no substitute for the buzz produced by thought-provoking original ideas contained in well-written and engaging content. You can’t sustain success with tired ideas and worn-out writing. Once you have good content, you can begin to add some punch to the SEO puzzle.
Nothing shouts spam like a clumsily dropped keyword that doesn’t fit neatly and logically into the context of your content. It practically shrieks amateur to the reader. You may encounter some success in slipping these kinds of poorly worked keywords through, but that’s only short-term success that is detrimental to your efforts over the long-term. The link should be integrated in a way that looks natural and could potentially serve the need of readers.
Good SEO should do two things: represent your client(s) well by producing content that reflects positively on their brand and provide meaningful, useful information for readers.
It doesn’t require great talent to push poorly written content containing misinformation into the blogosphere. But there’s too much of it, and SEO should not become the servant of undeserving ill-informed information. Good SEO needs to simultaneously serve two masters: the client and the end consumer of information.
Folks who want to become more sophisticated in SEO strategy need to quit thinking only about Google. We seem to have forgotten the human element. If you’re only doing SEO with the SERP’s in mind, you’re already behind in a rapidly evolving SEO landscape.
Use Social Media Intelligently
Using social media to project your message is both necessary and eminently useful. But it has its place in the hierarchy of SEO tactics. Assuming that you’ve covered your bases in terms of great content and good link integration, the amplification that social media can provide is the last step in the process. It’s common to see sub-standard content pushed heavily by incessant tweeting and artificial Facebook likes. But social media should be viewed primarily as a tool for message amplification, not as a substitute for good content.
Creating artificial buzz that then continues to cascade is great. But what’s better than that is getting great content on a heavy-hitting blog that is read by industry leaders. When your content is tweeted by well-regarded and heavily followed folks, you get organic and exponentially growing buzz that can’t be reproduced any other way. Consistent and effective SEO can’t be sustained with shortcuts, and shoddy work can’t be saved with a social media magic wand.
Aaron Carlson lives near Chicago. He divides his time among work, writing and family life. He writes on behalf of Colorado Technical University and has a keen interest in SEO blogging and social media. He also writes for www.professionalintern.com.