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What is SEO in digital marketing and why it is important?

SEO in Digital Marketing | SEO Digital Marketing

Summary: SEO in digital marketing is when you plan your content for a better page rank. It’s doing search term research and creating content around those search terms.

When I am talking with people, Search Engine Optimization or SEO will inevitably come up. The question usually is, “how do I get to the top of the page in Google?” My answer is that SEO should be one of your digital marketing strategies but just optimizing for a set of search terms is not the only approach for driving traffic with SEO.

The right approach with SEO in digital marketing is planning your content marketing campaign around getting a better page rank for your articles. This plan includes:

    • Search phrase research
    • Determining which of those search phrases best identify with your business
    • Creating content around those search phrases
  • Optimizing those pages for search

Search Phrase Research

In my article, How To Do Content Marketing Research, I talk about getting started and writing down your services list. From there, you begin researching in Google for phrases that come up based on those services. In my research, longer search phrases have less competition. If you target your SEO digital marketing strategy around the longer search phrases, the odds you rank high are definitely in your favor. Keep in mind that nearly one-third of all searches are more than four words.

Another option for researching search terms is to look at Google Trends. Using this tool will give you up to date information on whether or not the keywords you are researching have any trending value. Meaning are people searching for that term, and additional searches tied to that initial term. 

Determine Which Search Phrases Best Identify With Your Business

More importantly, determine which of those phrases you can create the best and most valuable content. Just writing without creating content that is valuable to your reader is a waste of time. Additionally, you may see a term or terms that are trending related to your business, and seeing the popularity of those terms may tempt you to create content around those search terms. However, if you can’t speak intelligently on that subject or speak at length on the subject, it will immediately hurt your credibility—approach that subject with caution.

Another thing to consider is how many articles others have already written on the subject. If you want to write about “what is SEO,” which is a rather popular search term, you better blow people out of the water with your content, or it will end up on page four. A better approach might be talking about a strategy for SEO in a particular vertical. The competitiveness for those search terms will be less and your content more targeted.

Creating Content Around Those Search Phrases

Content comes in many different forms. However, it is usually the written content that ranks higher for search engine optimization. That doesn’t mean the content has to be in only one format. For example, you can use written content as the basis of a video on that same content. Sometimes I will use excerpts as a social media post or create a graphic highlighting the post’s key points.

It also helps if you can answer a specific question or problem. Eric Serdar wrote on the Moz.com blog an article about a great writing content strategy to answer questions. That is called the featured snippet. It’s a good article on the process.

The way it works is if you post an answer to a question, and Google decides it appropriately answers the question, your answer snippet will appear at the top of the search engine results page with an attribution link back to your site. Meanwhile, the actual page where the answer came from will appear lower on the page. Getting a featured snippet lends a ton of credibility to your post. It is the best possible scenario for search engine results. 

Optimizing Pages for Search

Just writing an article and ignoring the SEO aspects of the page is counterproductive. To get the most out of SEO, you have to create content with SEO in mind but not written strictly for SEO. That would make for very dull and unreadable content. 

Here are some things to consider when writing with SEO in mind:

  • Is the article over 300 words? Three hundred words are the bare minimum for Google to recognize your content for search. The more text, the better. Google recommends that content be around 1,500 words. 
  • Is the search phrase you are optimizing for in the title and the URL? Having the search phase may not seem like much, but it is a signaling factor that Google uses to measure the validity of the content. NOTE: If you change a URL after you post a page, you will need to make sure that the old page links redirect to the new page URL. 
  • Are there relevant outbound links (links to other sites) and inbound links (links to other pages on your website)? Backlinks are essential, but they have to be quality links from quality sites. Google knows the difference, so there is no use trying to outsmart them. 
  • Does your search phrase appear in the first paragraph? It’s a small adjustment, but it establishes that the content matches the headline. Some shifty people try to fake out the reader by saying one thing in the headline, but the page content is a different topic entirely.
  • Is your search phrase distributed evenly throughout the article, including subheadings? I’m not talking about keyword stuffing. The reason for this goes back to the previous tip. Google wants to know that the content is consistent and that you aren’t pulling a bait and switch with the page content.

These are just a few things to keep in mind. A great plugin to get if you are using WordPress is Yoast. It is a plugin that will review your website’s page’s SEO quality based on your search phrase. If you opt for the premium version, it will suggest other articles to which you can link. I use it all the time and highly recommend it.

Using SEO in Digital Marketing

You use SEO in your digital marketing plan as a way to drive traffic to your website without paying for it. As I mentioned before, SEO, like any other strategy, needs to be planned out. SEO, like similar digital marketing strategies, has to be monitored and reviewed periodically. 

Another SEO digital marketing strategy is to update the content on a page. You can enhance it with additional relevant content. Update links to other pages on your site and link content you have created before and after the updated page. You can also change the posted date to give a stale page a boost. 

SEO is just one piece of the digital marketing puzzle. However, it is one of the least expensive methods you can use to drive traffic. I have mentioned that nearly half of the traffic to my site comes from search queries in other articles. It is not by coincidence that it is happening. For every piece I write, including this one, the topic is chosen with search queries in mind.

Nothing Succeeds Without a Planning

No matter what you want to accomplish with your digital marketing, there has to be a plan. These plans are fluid sometimes, but they are still templates to follow. SEO in digital marketing is no different. 

Taking guesses on what will work or just writing for the sake of writing is a huge time waster. Your efforts need to be laser-focused. Strategically researching content, planning what content you will create, and optimizing your content for relevant search terms is a plan for success.

Making an effort to create SEO friendly content is a cost-effective way to drive traffic to your site. Unlike paid placements, having an article come up when someone searches lend itself to your credibility. 

Another benefit is that it establishes you as someone knowledgeable in your field. Your content will provide valuable content to your customers and potential customers. Think about it this way. Google thought enough of your piece to place it on the search results page. 

Key Takeaways

Approach your SEO strategy not as adding many search terms to your page but rather as a holistic content strategy to drive traffic through many different avenues. Like any strategy, the effort needs to have a plan and, even though it may evolve, it still needs to be followed. If you take time away from your business or your family time to create content, it needs to be worth the effort.

Follow the four steps in this plan; search phrase research, determining which of those search phrases best identify with your business, creating content around those search phrases, and optimizing those pages for search. By doing this, your SEO digital marketing plan will not only boost the traffic to your site but increase the amount of qualified traffic to your website.

When someone asks me, “how do I get to the top of the page in Google?” I answer them that you need a strategy for creating SEO friendly content that will be valuable to your audience and drive them to your site for the answer. It’s not much more straightforward than that.

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