It seems like every time I visit Inbound.org (which you should definitely check out if you haven’t already), someone is up in arms about the demise of SEO or the 11 SEO mistakes I’m absolutely, positively making.
“Everyone needs to calm the &*#! down about SEO” was overheard at the Onboardly office last week. And we mean it. Not because SEO is dying or because everyone is doing it perfectly, but because when we think about SEO, we think about all of the wrong things. We miss the big picture, the interconnectivity of inbound marketing and the real impact of SEO.
Stop Counting Links and Keywords
Put your calculator down and step away from the blog post! Counting the number of links and keywords in your blog post is more or less a complete waste of time.
As Rand Fishkin, CEO of Moz, said in a recent interview, “Part of the problem is that clients have a perception that SEO is about links, keywords, higher rankings and subsequent traffic. SEO is something that businesses know they should care about, and these metrics are something managers can move the needle on.”
When asked which ranking signals SEOs worry about too much, Matt Cutts said “keyword density”. When asked what the ideal keyword density for a page is, he said “there isn’t one”. And that old rule about 100 links or fewer per page? Well, it’s just that… old. In 2011, Cutts confirmed that it’s not a guideline anymore.
“We need to take a step back and look at what clients are really trying to achieve. For most, this means more customers. The reality is that ranking in search isn’t going to drive immediate and measurable conversions,” said Rand.
Great Content Equals Great SEO
The reality is that unless you’re filling EzineArticles with SEO junk or crafting the world’s most self-promotional blog post, you can afford to calm the &*#! down about SEO a little. Why? Because great content tends to equal great SEO. After all, Google’s algorithm is designed to reward high quality content and penalize subpar content.
In her post, Content Marketing is the “Escort” of Online Marketing, Rae Hoffman argues that content marketing is just an iteration of SEO.
“Because content marketing isn’t a new strategy, it’s merely a new word. On site content marketing is part of a good conversion strategy and a good link building strategy. But ‘link building’ as a term has become dirty. So, we feel the need to ‘rebrand’ it every few years with new terms,” she wrote.
While content marketing has other benefits, Rae has a point. Of course, content marketing helps build brand reputation and thought leadership. But it’s also a great way to build links (inbound and outbound), rank for keywords and drive traffic.
At the end of the day, creating great content is a fantastic SEO strategy. It’s one that Google favours more and more with every algorithm update. Yet we still see marketers trying to game the system by counting keywords and publishing low quality content to any website they can find (no matter how little SEO authority those websites may have).
It’s All Part of the Inbound Puzzle
Content marketing and SEO are so closely related that the experts are debating whether they’re the same thing. They go hand-in-hand with one another. Going forward, Neil Patel suggests you won’t be able to have one without the other.
Instead of focusing so closely on each individual puzzle piece, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. If you want to rank higher for a keyword, make it a blog category and consistently write high quality content on that topic. If you want to build more links, create a guest blogging strategy and start networking.
The day we all calm the &*#! down about SEO and realize that it’s just one part of the inbound marketing puzzle is the day we really start to understand the power of SEO. It’s more important than ever, but the way we’re looking at it now is outdated.
We’re too busy looking at the puzzle pieces to see the bigger picture, the big impact that SEO delivers.
“For clients the question is, in light of this, do they have the sophistication to measure the full effect of SEO on the bottom line. Currently they can measure traditional metrics, show traffic increasing, but as it’s difficult to measure the full impact using last touch attribution, conversion rates will appear low,” said Rand.
It’s time to take a step back from the nitty-gritty, outdated SEO rules and start focusing on a cohesive, interconnected inbound marketing strategy.
Having trouble seeing the bigger picture? We use Moz Analytics to keep search, social, link, content and brand data all in one place. We’ve teamed up with Moz to give Onboardly readers an extended 45 day free trial of Moz Pro! Just click here to try it out (and be sure to let us know what you think).