Can SEO Be Your Business Advantage?

With Google having a bad case of frequent hiccups, websites are see-sawing up and down in their search rankings. Business owners, caught between a rock and a hard place, are asking themselves whether SEO really can be a winning strategy in these difficult economic times.

By analyzing the process, the methodology and the sequence of involving SEO in business development, I hope to showcase the role that search engine optimization has, even in the context of frequent algorithm changes at Google and other engines, proving there will always be financial justification for SEO.

A Quick Look At Recent Shifts

It’s very likely that 2012 is the year many SEOs will look back upon as the Dark Days of their specialty. Online ecosystems changed dramatically. Reputations plummeted; shenanigans were exposed and punished; and worse, even perfectly white-hat techniques and tactics seemed to get penalized at random.

No one could understand what was happening or why.

This trend looks all set to continue (even accelerating) in the years to come. And so, it has become important to try and predict where Google is most likely to be in 2015. Quick fixes are doomed. Sure, they will help you scramble back up briefly. But in the long run, that simply won’t be enough.

It has never been more important to gaze into your crystal ball and visualize the future! There are still many good reasons to invest in SEO.

The Coming Humanness Of Technology

Google’s brilliant engineers are looking for ways to make their algorithms “think like people.” And that’s why any SEO strategy that looks to the past for learning lessons is destined to fail miserably.

The changes that are coming are irreversible, and transformational.

But this doesn’t mean we can ignore the past completely. Historical search volumes and trends continue to tell us a lot about demand. Human beings are creatures of habit. People have been consistent in their behavior, attitudes and desires — for decades, even centuries. By observing trends since 2004 in evergreen niches, you can reliably predict what’s coming… ahead of time.

And that will guide your content marketing strategy.

SEO Data Is Powerful

The role of content marketing isn’t merely to publish more content, but to attract real business to your company through it. A content production calendar that serves the predictable demand of your market will have an impact for many years to come. And that’s where tying in technology to human nature creates explosive results.

But, many business owners underestimate the value of SEO data and fail to analyze it thoroughly. SEO is no longer a cost — it is an investment. There’s a fountain of knowledge hidden within search data that can help you uncover lucrative niches and tap into areas of high demand. When you map the needs of your market and target whatever your audience already wants, you will be able to:

  • Seize new opportunities
  • Run effective campaigns
  • Spot rich niches with high-profit potential
  • Launch new products or services successfully

The data can also help limit your risk while entering new markets and segments by identifying areas of low demand, or extremely high competition.

How Can SEO Give Your Business An Edge?

SEO in Business DevelopmentThe trouble, however, is that business owners carry a very different perception about SEO. Many believe in the myth and misinformation about SEO being only about consultants selling first-page rankings, building large collections of links, or fixing title tags and inserting the right keywords into their content.

That’s not what SEO is any longer. It has evolved. So what will the future look like?

I predict that audience building and Author Rank will become important elements of an SEO campaign.

Content marketing that ensures a larger reach (more readers), deeper impact (solving problems by matching visitor intent), and greater longevity (your business remains evergreen) can only be rooted in a better understanding of SEO data.

Small businesses are well-positioned to turn around quickly and incorporate changes swiftly. This speed can help new players reach market domination overnight, even with limited budgets.

A week invested in writing a great article after first researching and analyzing search volumes, trends and competition, going through Web analytics to find the best keywords that convert well, and running Adwords tests to compare conversion rates among different keywords, will practically guarantee incredible results from your content marketing.

When that article is also informative (without being a sales pitch), adopts the right tone of voice for your specific readers, offers solutions to their biggest problems (through correctly anticipating visitor intent), and delivers value while simultaneously ranking well on an authority domain in your niche, it will:

  • Attract your ideal prospects in droves
  • Get you more followers on social networks like Twitter and Google+
  • Brand you as the go-to-guy for their needs

That’s how smart SEO can become your biggest business planning advantage in the shaky, uncertain Google-universe of 2013 and beyond — a scary, nerve-wracking environment where the tactically-minded SEO consultant of yesteryear will fade away, leaving only strategic, future-oriented experts as The Last Man Standing!

Image credits: Crestock.com

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: All Things SEO Column | Channel: SEO

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About The Author: is Head Of SEO at MediaCom Norway. He has over 10 years of experience specializing in digital strategy, e-commerce and SEO. Trond is the author of the books "Importance of SEO for Your Online Business" and "Power Social Media Marketing". He can be found on Twitter @TrondLyngbo.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



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  • http://steveplunkett.com @steveplunkett

    dude.. these are the “best days” of my career, so far at least… will be 20 years since AOL bulletin optimization… we have teams doing content strategies for conversion in search and social.

  • williampatton

    I agree with this entire article basically. I’ve been telling my 2 understudies the very same things only to be met with sceptical stares but there’s no denying that we are now seeing the benefits of the work we done earlier in the year due to our research and hedging our bets on some of these changes – particularly with the author ranking. Attaching a real person to a particular piece of content has worked wonders for reader engagement and the bounce rate has dropped from 80% to below 60% with no content modification other than adding the author markup on our 2 test cases and 1 of our clients told us that since April their conversion rate from content to purchase has increased around 300% for him.

  • http://twitter.com/CompoundEyeLtd Compound Eye Ltd

    Thanks Trond – This a great article and I agree wholeheartedly, and one I will be sharing with clients. I’m still not entirely sure how to use SEO data to identify missed opportunities on a scale large enough for content marketing programs though (beyond the occasional nugget). We only have data for searches into the client’s site, not all the searchers that went elsewhere. Any advice?

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.agostoni.5 Lisa Agostoni

    Always love your POV, Trond.

  • williampatton

    For me Social Media Marketing is part of a SEO package. I don’t know about others but it’s one of the biggest tools in my SEO arsenal.

 

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