The first thing we do when we pitch or land a new client is an online audit of their organization.
We examine their social media presence of course. But what always surprises people is when we start talking about how their website fares in the search engines, and how they are not factoring mobile into their marketing.
You see — social media, content, search and mobile — they all work together. They’re not independent silos to pick and choose from when putting together an online strategy. Here at SocialProse, we talk often about how effective social media marketing essentially serves as the delivery system for relevant, high-quality content. But it’s just as true that websites require both content and social media in order to perform with the search engines; and all three types of marketing need to have a strong mobile strategy in our increasingly mobile-connected world.
The importance of social and content in search marketing
All too often in our audits, we find that organizations have an interesting chicken-and-egg business development dilemma: They can’t be found by search engines in their category. An interior designer we pitched some time back, for example, didn’t show up in even the first five pages of a Google search for interior designers in her county, meaning that potential clients already needed to know she existed in order to be found by search engines.
When you consider that most people use the Internet to research their considered purchase decisions, not being found on search engines is deadly.
But what are those businesses and organizations doing who rise up to the top of search engine results? In addition to optimizing their website with tags and keywords, they’re actively blogging and using social media — including, importantly, Yelp and Google+, key players in search. Yelp listings almost always rise to the top of search engines, and Google skews its algorithms to make sure that G+ links are ranked higher than any other social media site.
A blog serves as a new content hub. Social media sharing creates back links to blogs, boosting their websites in the search engines. In fact, research from HubSpot finds that companies that maintain an active blog welcome an average of 55% more visitors to their sites than companies that don’t. And they may generate 97% more external website links and 434% more indexed pages, both of which influence a company’s search rank.
As we declared recently, the tipping point of mobile has arrived. More and more people use connected devices, rather than PCs, to access the Internet. And as we’ve mentioned before, more people using the mobile web impacts how websites need to be built and optimized in order to be found and viewed.
Deloitte’s recent “State of the Media Democracy” survey classified more than a quarter of consumers as “digital omnivores,” meaning they move across digital devices seamlessly — with profound implications for anyone doing business in the digital world. These digital omnivores are often the people who share content and engage with brands online. As smartphones and tablets are primarily information consumption devices, it’s now do-or-die to make sure your website, blog and social media are mobile friendly.
In the end, you can’t separate SEO, social media, content and mobile tactics into independent silos. They all need to work in tandem to form a holistic online marketing strategy to make online marketing work for you.