SEO Strategy for Marketing

for me welcome to the wonderful world of racing to position number one except in this race we are not the cars nor are we the drivers we are the race track and we’re competing to be the best race track and the first choice race track of every race car on it last month on our show we talked about the libraries and how we marketers are the modern day equivalent of callimicus one of the most famous librarians of the great library of alexandria calemicus introduced what would be the first topical catalog of the library’s holdings each of these panox as they were called were organized by 10 subject classes into scrolls and each contained bibliographical and condensed information about the information and of course a reference to its location in the library it was the ancient world’s version of a search engine and we talked about how we are now charged with organizing and optimizing our content in a similar way making it easy to find scalable to manage and optimized for both humans and machines to consume but this month well this month we’re going to move out of our libraries and try to optimize all the different ways for people to get access to that content inside the library in other words we’re going to build new roads new race tracks the thing is all the other librarians well they’re building race tracks too so you might say the content race is the roads to search and it’s transformed everything we do from the way that we market our products and services to the way that we buy products and services to even the way that we consume content and even the content itself search engines and our need to deal with them both as a user and creator have become such an integrated part of our life it’s hard to even know how we would get along without them they are quite literally the engines that power our ability to acquire helpful information and that’s why we’re devoting this episode as part two of optimizing content of marketing makers to the race and the engines that run them it’s the optimization of search engines [Music] [Applause] [Music]

welcome to episode 7 of marketing makers the series for those that make marketing work i’m robert rose and i’m your host whether you’re an independent consultant a director at a fortune 100 a newly appointed cmo well we’re all marketing makers and this month we’re talking about the process of optimizing our content for search engines it’s a follow-up to last month’s episode about optimizing our content making our content more contextual findable and well the perfect answer that can be understood both by people and the machines that will present that answer in a word tuning the search engines welcome to marketing makers [Music] [Music] oh hi hi everybody welcome to the marketing makers lab it’s here that we explore in depth the background behind some of marketing’s historical concepts and how they’ve evolved into some of today’s most modern of marketing approaches and today well today i’ve been playing around with the wayback machine and some of the ways that we used to find content in the pre-search engine days you see in digital marketing the invention of search engines really changed more than we’re mostly even aware of and we’re not just talking google and web search either search engines for just about everything have really changed everything about our expectation of how we get the information we want quickly it’s hard to imagine now a world without search engines of all kinds but kids it really did exist there was a world before we could search online for things as a consumer of information if you wanted to know what was available for example on your family’s entertainment schedule let’s say television well there was this printed magazine called the tv guide it was a magazine that you could either purchase or it would come for free in your daily newspaper and what it would give you would be the availability at a certain date and a certain time all the shows that you might want to watch one of the fun things to do as a kid was to pull the tv guide from the sunday newspaper and browse through all of the things what movies might be playing on tv that week what were the descriptions of the various episodes that we might be following there were no spoiler alerts in there because there was no binge watching you just watched it when it was on yeah you could record it if you you know if you’re not going to be available or something and that’s is if you could figure out that fancy vcr machine that you had sitting up on your bookshelf there but it was still a one-way street there was no searching for alternate times or when the repeat would play or even when you were looking for new content there was no ability to filter by genre like comedy or drama or movies with idris elba in them and there’s a surprising number of those by the way for whatever it’s worth if you were going to go shopping and you were walking into a store and searching for the best spaghetti sauce for keywords like organic or gluten-free or anything like that that wasn’t available to you you browsed the aisles and looked at every single jar if you knew beforehand it was only because you stumbled upon some magazine article that gave you the brand name and gave you the fact that it was gluten-free or those kinds of things and let’s be honest we weren’t looking for gluten-free back then either if you were searching for a solution for your b2b organization well you kind of didn’t you learned about new ways to operate or new technologies or equipment from sales people who would call on you or by going to a trade show or watching a film yeah believe it or not companies used to make trade films for buying groups and you might actually get a catalog or trade magazine and the snail mail that’s right with what advertisements and yeah that’s where we marketers come in in the pre-search engine world when we wanted to reach audiences with our marketing message our content our main job was to go out and find something that kind of looked like the content that we wanted to get in front of those audiences or at least was attracting the same audience that we wanted to reach and then our job was to somehow get our message integrated into that content so people would see it put the ad next to the article put the ad into the show put the ad into something that looked like something that might be interesting but then then things changed and it all started with a guy named archie doing is a point and a click you see back in the early 1990s the internet was actually kind of a pretty big deal millions of computers all over the world tied together by phone lines it’s sending a signal to south africa thousands and thousands of miles away you can get to south africa or anywhere else by going through a series of menus or typing an address for some reason that failed let’s try it again but it better be correct i made a typo it didn’t like that just no room for error so now we’re in south africa now in those days you were probably accessing the internet through one of the big consumer gateways like america online or prodigy or compuserve and for a lot of people that was the internet it was basically you’ve got mail and looking at some online encyclopedia or playing a game or chatting in some online forum but to be clear you didn’t search for those things you browsed your way around and you found what you wanted to watch it was a lot like television with a lot more channels and once you found something that you liked well you might be able to contribute by chatting but that was kind of it but there was a lot more to the internet than just these services in the early days you could also look for content that people had stored on their servers and that they made available to the public now in order to for search for those things you could use a program called archie now i don’t mean the comic book character archie i mean a program it was invented by a guy by the name of alan emtaj in 1990 who was a student then at the mcgill university in canada archie allowed you to search for a word that would be contained in the file of something stored on one of those public ftp file transfer protocol servers meaning a server that served up files and in the early days of the internet that’s what you might be after it might be music files documents pictures you know picture files i’m not judging you by any stretch just you know files that you might want to download anyway understand that it didn’t interpret language this archie search engine it was literally looking at the letters that you typed in so if you typed in fun well you’d get files that had the word funds or fundamental or funny think about that versus your last search on google and the language processing and intelligence you expect these days and you can start to see that this was really the pre you know pre-pre-pre days of everything but it was an amazing thing no longer did i have to look on a one-way street if i was looking for information for research i could search thousands of servers for that information and it would find it for me and i could download it directly to my machine now you might be saying well really this kind of search changed everything wasn’t there database searches and computer technology that allowed us to search those databases of earlier available than that and the answer is yeah there definitely was but there was one critical difference both in the technology and the power of this new type of search that this was powering you see in database search the entire idea of that kind of application is to minimize the returns to exactly the record or records that you’re trying to retrieve so databases are architected and the searches of them are more like a filter they try and provide enough uniqueness per record to limit your results to exactly what you’re looking for if i search a contact database for example and all i know is the person’s name and state that they live in what i want is as few results as possible because i’m looking for a very particular answer likewise if i’m searching a database of books for a book by a particular author i want only those books authored by that person what archie was giving us in both its limitations and what would eventually evolve out of it was not to minimize the return but to maximize the returns it was more like a net than a filter the modern search engine was indexing and providing a level of interpretation on the content itself this is very different than a database search because it gives the searcher the ability to simply describe what they want and the search engine then offers multiple interpretations of what it thinks you might be searching for now you see when i search for an author’s name using this kind of search engine i not only see books that were authored by that person

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but i see articles written about that person or biographies written about that author or reviews of their books it’s a different value delivered to the person that doesn’t know exactly what they really need the most but know that they want some level of information to discover information this subtle but very important difference changed the world for how we as consumers would have access to the world’s information entertainment education shopping and pretty much all manner of things we wanted to consume when it comes to content and that’s what brought us the modern search engine and marketers trying to optimize for them as we talked about last month in content optimization today’s modern search engines they’re not really search engines they’re probably better described as optimized answer engines and we don’t really tune the engine as much we wish we could but we don’t really have access to that as much as we tune our content to be the best fit with those engines it’s like that race we talked about at the top of the show seo is a little like trying to win a car race by competing to build the best race track against all the other track builders for that one race car that you’re trying to optimize for you study the car its engine the tires the shocks the driver the steering all of that to try and compete against the other racetrack builders to optimize yours to be the fastest and best and remember is not just one race car or one race track any longer so yeah when we talked about content optimization last month we do recognize that google is still the king of all the race cars when we’re looking for answers we as consumers jump in that car and go to google to find it in fact google commands 62 percent of the share of web searches but we’re increasingly looking for different answers from different places research shows for example if we’re looking for specific products we’re much more likely to start that with amazon these days rather than google if you’re looking for images you do go to google images but if you’re looking for video well you go to youtube or while google still commands the largest share of direction to a place apple has recently begun to eat into that market share for searching for what directions on how to get to some place or or if we’re looking for what people have actually said about a product or things we see that facebook now has actually surpassed more than two billion searches per day putting it ahead of microsoft bing almost in all of searches or if we’re searching for a travel destination for example one in 10 internet users start that journey with tripadvisor and there are more than 40 million searches on linkedin for jobs every single week so all this begs the question of we marketers how do we think about optimizing all those roads our content for all of these questions well it comes down to what we now know as search engine optimization so what is seo and its purpose well it’s truly become both an art and a science think about this for a moment google’s search product has become so important to business that there’s an 80 billion dollar industry that has been created to deciphering and tuning our roads to comply with the google race car and their complex and ever-changing algorithm of how they process language-based searches but at its core this is a mysterious process and one that because we don’t actually control how companies build or change their search engines we’re not most companies meaning we are not really great at optimizing our content for search in fact there was one study done and it was found that only 35 percent of small and medium-sized businesses even have an seo strategy and even when there is one the strategy will typically consist of really smart people focusing on three activities one we create a list of important keywords and the ones you know that we think are important for our customers and that they’re searching for and we work diligently to retrofit our existing content on our website to create that content to fit these new keywords two we try to get other sites to link to us these are called backlinks that highlight those same keywords that we’re trying to optimize for so that search engines see other people talk about us in the same way that we talk about us and third well we try and make our content as structured and tight

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and compartmentalized as we can so that the search engine can chew through it as efficiently as possible and sees us as a friendly road no bumps no potholes so we make our site perform fast and ensure we have the right tags associated with our pages and the right ways that we construct content on our site making it really flat making sure there are no errors that the engine might find the team will work on those things incessantly for nine months or a year and then well rinse and repeat all over again why well because the algorithm changed and google changed something up and we have to start all over again or guess what we have new keywords in other words the race car changed and we have to re-optimize for it or we decided to build a completely new road with new keywords or unfortunately in most cases both of those things happened it’s a never-ending cycle i’ve seen companies that quite literally have had to start completely over every two years is it any wonder that some of the leading tools in the marketplace treat the google search algorithm like a natural phenomenon there is actually something called the google algorithm weather report and this doesn’t even begin to address the addition of new search engines that are now beginning to come into our sphere that we have to optimize for new race cars coming onto the track but remember this is the biggest lesson of all going all the way back to my use of archie over there the wonderful files across the early file servers of the internet remember the purpose of why consumers are searching in most cases we are not searching for a record of something in other words unlike searching for that one exact answer consumers will not most of the time know the answer that will immediately be recognizable to them the rep i mean there are some exceptions to that rule obviously but in most cases the search engine answer we want is presented against a number of answers of which ours might be the best answer and it might even be something that they don’t even know that they have a question about this brings us to a new level of search engine optimization the future of tuning search engines [Music] [Music] you know that seo is important to create high ranking content but you don’t know where to start get the need to know seo basics just for content marketers with conductors seo 101 ebook guide download it now at cndr.co seo to learn how to create optimized content that ranks higher and gets found faster hey everybody welcome back to the lab so where do we go for the future of search engine optimization it’s not trying to solve the puzzle of guessing the exact correct answer that they need to provide for any searcher well if it’s not that then what is it well as it turns out before we can nudge search in the right direction we might want to look at where google thinks things are going but let’s be clear we’re not talking about new technologies such as voice search or mobile search or video or image search all those are definite challenges but we need to think bigger than that we need to ask where does google think our search really is headed in the long term i did a little research with a really good friend and colleague liam carnahan on this and we actually did some writing on this very topic for content marketing institute but generally speaking if we look at google we can see that google doesn’t just want to be the place where you end up for a quick answer fun fact only eight percent of google searches are now questions that’s incredibly important and quite honestly it’s as important and as fundamental as a change of when i was searching archie and could only get that one word process fun fundamental funny you see there’s no doubt that people will still turn to search engines to find out a celebrity’s age or get a fact like how many ounces are in a cup a more traditional database type search if you will but rather google and smarter search engines want to take the next step on what you’re really looking for so for example instead of just helping you find out how old idris elba is and let’s just be honest at this point it seems like i’m a little obsessed with idris elba the modern search engines want you to be waiting there for the inevitable guidance about why you’re asking that question in other words you asked about idris elba’s age but here’s the answer to that more important question here are the next five movies he’s going to star in yeah there are eight ounces in a cup but here’s the next best recipe that you’re likely to need that information for now let’s not kid ourselves this means that your search result feed is going to differ greatly from mine and this makes figuring out search engine strategies for mass groups audiences really difficult in other words if i’m on amazon and i search for a product like a camping tent and it gives me how to’s on related products such as a portable cook stove or a sleeping bag it might give you how to’s on hunting equipment or rock climbing gear all based on your personal search preferences and what it thinks you might want next this makes thinking about search engine optimization a very tricky practice indeed if we have to start building race tracks for every individual race car and not only that all of those race tracks might be really interchangeable at any one moment based on preference man is that hard to do we must realize that it is both becoming more complex from a content perspective but it’s also becoming more complex from the perspective of how many search engines are evolving the internet is simply becoming too big and too deep for any one search engine

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it’s very possible and probable by the way that we’re going to see more and more vertical search engines based on what we’re actually searching for not the exact answers to a question but the best answers to the best path on a journey one last thing this is the revival of the serendipitous push of content remember the old tv guides in the beginning of this episode i talked about how before search engines the way we used to know what ingredients to get or what was on tv was based on content that we happened to be pushed into our laps well that didn’t go away and in 2021 content sometimes moves a lot faster than we can even ask about for example more than half of young people now get their news from a social media site more than any other source often today’s news is served directly to audiences and social media users well before any news media site gets its hand on it and before the search engines would then have the answer to that question as technology gets more and more advanced it may not be long before content is served to a questioner before they even have the question technology may start to know you well enough to anticipate your questions so that you need to search for the answers less so what do we do about that well if we’re to be the best search engine optimizers that marketers can be we have to realize that it’s not about a battle for the best longest or even the most keyword rich answer to a frequently asked question we must present connected content experiences that not only the answered the question but present and enable an entire solution to why the question was asked our role as content practitioners is to present an enabling solution to all the challenges that are relevant to our business and our audiences solutions and journeys not just answers to questions for example the query for an enterprise software search

may evolve from what is the best crm system to show me a demonstration of what a great crm system can do or if we’re a restaurant it won’t be what are the best mexican restaurants near me it will be tell me availability at the best mex mexican restaurants for two on monday night the aim of future content driven experiences will not be answers to questions it will be to provide solutions to challenges that aren’t even asked yet and don’t take that just for me google co-founder sergey brin affirmed this seven years ago when he said my vision was that information would come to you as you need it you wouldn’t have to have a search query at all put simply the future of search will be removing the need for search as i said in last month’s episode it’s all about understanding our audiences and what they’re really looking for if we can do that we can optimize our content for findability and once they find us if we create in-depth valuable informative engaging content with authority we can truly bring out the best meaning in our content and drive better anticipations of the questions they’ll have next then we’re not trying to simply understand how people search for content and are served at via search engine but rather how people are finding and experiencing the solutions to challenges they may not even know they have put another way we stop looking at the engineering of the car to develop better roads and instead we look to the driver and build the roads that lead to where they want to go until i see you next month it’s your story to tell tell it well [Music] for me [Music]

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