Thrive Creative Labs

What You Should Know About SEO and SEM Today

January 2, 2018

The terms “SEO” (Search Engine Optimization) and “SEM” (Search Engine Marketing) have shifted over the past few years. What used to be a game of stuffing keywords into pages like “Orlando fishing skiff boat retail manufacturer” – awkward as that may be – has turned into a strategy of providing useful content. A move for the betterment of the web, if I do say so myself.

When we talk about SEO and SEM now, it’s all about creating fresh content that truly resonates with your audience. Search engines (yes, there are more than one) have gotten really good at combing millions of sites and determining the relevance and quality of content for a person’s particular search query. Your job as a content producer – and I’ll get into why I didn’t say writer in just a bit – is to attract new audiences, engage with them, solidify your expertise, and offer solutions. It’s what we do and how we can help you do the same.

Before I move on though, I just want to also take a moment to define “today” to scope the SEO/SEM conversation in this article. While the internet as we know it has been around since the ’90s (thanks, Al Gore ?), search marketing has significantly changed in the last several years. That being said, it’s poised to continue on this trajectory for the foreseeable future. That’s to say, this isn’t a rollercoaster of “stuff keywords”-“write meaningful content”-“stuff keywords”-repeat. Search algorithms care about relevant, fresh, carefully crafted, valuable content…. and that’s not going away.

Push vs Pull Marketing

As we continue, I think it’s important that I define a couple of important terms: “push marketing” and “pull marketing”. Think of it as the door-to-door salesman (or saleswoman) vs the convenience store.

A salesperson – the “push” marketer in this scenario – approaches a potential customer when they want to sell something. They want to make some money, provide a product (that may or may not be needed by the customer), and they want to do it now. That can work, but the odds are so stacked against the salesperson, that it almost always results in rejection and wasted time. Customers don’t want to be sold something they don’t need, at a time when they don’t have the money.

And then there’s the convenience store – the “pull” marketing engine. A customer can approach their store of choice (based on brand awareness and perceived quality of products/service) when they are ready to buy a product. The store simply has to make you aware that it exists, has the product(s) you need, and is the best place to buy the product. It’s a guaranteed (read: qualified) sale.

At this point, I have to assume that you’re sold on the value of “pull” marketing. It’s far less expensive and far more effective than the alternative. Let a steady stream of qualified traffic find you instead of firing away into the darkness! (And you know it works because it got you to this article on our website!)

So, you want traffic and that’s something we can get together. Let’s take a look at what it takes to get that traffic.

What’s Required for Pull Marketing

Pull Marketing relies heavily on just three things – though it takes many forms – and that is content, content & content. Okay, I know that’s just one thing repeated three times, but I felt like it was important enough to repeat.

“Content is King.”

Yea, it feels gross to say for the millionth time, but it’s true. The good news is that content feeds content that feeds content. What does that mean? It means that when you write a blog article, it gives you a message to share on social media and send out to a mailing list via email. It also gives you a topic to dive deeper into in the form of a white paper or webinar. They don’t write/record themselves, obviously, but once you get the ball rolling, it gets up a head of steam that makes content generation a bit easier.

The important takeaway is that, although it requires commitment, diversity, focus, and organization, content generation is crucial and approachable.

And speaking of content generation (not necessarily writing), let’s take a look at some of the ways this content strategy can take form.

Content In Many Forms

I’ve been very cautious to not use the descriptor “writer” in this article… and for good reason. Content generation is the heartbeat of a modern marketing ecosystem (more on that soon), but it doesn’t all come in the form of physical writing. Mediums like video and audio can generate more words (by means of transcription) than any single blog article!

Here are just a few of the ways that content can be generated without lifting a pen/pencil (I know, no one actually uses those anymore):

  • Video presentation
  • Photoshoot with audio/video interview
  • Audio podcast
  • Live or pre-recorded webinar

Some of the best content generators online create far more content in the form of Instagram/YouTube videos, webinars, and audio podcasts than spend any time at all behind a typewriter (yep, not used anymore either, but you know what I mean).

No sense in creating all this content and not telling anyone about it! Let’s look at how to share it with the world.

Getting the Word Out

Content delivery is almost (I say, almost) as important as generating the content itself. While there is a potential multitude of ways to deliver content, there are three that cover most of the bases:

  • Your website
  • Email campaigns/newsletters
  • Social media

Since the list is pretty self-explanatory, I won’t go into great detail. I will say though, that these aren’t so much a list of choices as a bare minimum requirement. Your content absolutely needs to be posted on your website and email campaigns should go out, at least, once a month with a summary of recent articles.

On the social media side, the channels will vary by company, but a baseline of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is a safe bet.

At Thrive, we give you all the tools you need to post content to your website and send out email campaigns. While we don’t actually post to social media for you (no one knows the ins-n-outs of your daily business like you do), we come alongside you to develop a social strategy that works.

The Future of SEO/SEM

As mentioned in the opening paragraphs, the future is now. Content marketing is a long game and now is the time to start generating it. As search engines and social media get smarter and smarter about how relevant, quality content is presented, it’s more and more important to get started with your content marketing strategy sooner than later.

Not sure exactly where to start? We can help. Let us jump start your content marketing with a new website, marketing strategy, and the tools to successfully pull in new customers!

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