2012 Is the End of the Beginning: SEO, Social, Search, Copywriting, Et All

So, did everyone have a good brouhaha good time for New Year’s? Are you ready to delve into 2012’s planning, marketing and magic? I don’t know about you, but around the office here, we’re ready to do more with less. We’ve taken a step back – but not a backwards step. – And if that isn’t enough double speak, I don’t know what is.

2012 Happy New Year

It’s 2012 – Are You Ready?

This is our 4th post of 2012. As far as the Mayans are concerned, this is the end. In the technology world, some people are predicting (rightly so) the year of the Mobile. Others have embraced QR codes as the second coming. Times are changing, my friends.

We even *gasp* went so far as to DARE not send out a blog post for one day (whether it will affect our readership or not remains to be seen). However, after a busy year, it was time to refuel the energy levels and decide how, what stories, which lessons and so on make sense for 2012.

Transitioning into the New Year

If you have a small company or a Fortune 500 and have yet to grasp that social has to be a part of your compass, brand, energy, purpose and (yes) daily language, you’ve been sleeping under a rock. We deal in a world of language and communication. Like it or not, text and keywords are how you, we, the world, formulate important concepts.

Yet, those concepts change, simply because life changes. We then have to formulate new words, new key terms and new text to define those changes.

For this particular blog post, we’re going to look back over the years at our most popular posts and what they’ve offered our readers. What concepts have changed? Experience leads to innovation and change of thought; do we think differently at the end of the year than we did at the beginning?

Are Social Media Tools Relevant to SEO?

Written in 2009, we covered a topic that was cropping up all over the place: social media and SEO. The end conclusion of the article was, “While social media in and of itself isn’t that helpful with SEO, the resulting links are.”

We’ve seen incredible results from a mixed campaign of SEO and social. Social seems to act as a magnifier of marketing efforts, due to the inherent viral nature of sharing. After the past two years in search, algo changes, G+ in Google, Facebook in Bing and so on, the picture is becoming much clearer.

In short, SEO and social media need to have seamless integration. It’s no longer about “the resulting links”. Individuals without websites are showing up in the results pages because of a Google Plus or Facebook profile. Some business owners have made one network or the other their home base, as it were.

Seamless Integration

The takeaway for you: If you’re using social media and have a website presence, make sure you connect the dots. The lines are fading between social media and SEO; having those connections ensures that you don’t lose out on your marketing efforts.

Merging Keyword Strategies and Effective Copywriting

No matter how you slice it, you need keywords, and this article does a fairly good job of explaining that. However, a lot of things have changed since we started the SEO Article Archive – patents, signals, Panda, copyright issues, citations… Because of this, the understanding of how keywords work needs to be clearer. (Read: Semantics and Relevance: Even Keywords Need Support Sometimes)

Key words and phrases work much like marketing words do in advertising. The next ad you listen to on the radio, pay attention to how many times they say certain words, and which words they repeat. The repetition of these words send signals to your brain, much like using keywords sends signals to the search engines.

The takeaway for you: We’ve written several articles since this time about how to effectively merge keywords into your site, copy and campaigns. Again, they connect the dots between your topic and those searching. Make sure that the terms you’re using are actually relevant to what you’re trying to convey and accomplish with your site.

Morphing Facebook

When we wrote this, Facebook had made an attempt to take over Twitter’s traffic (say that three times fast). They’d changed a lot in order to do this. Obviously, it failed. Odd, then, that they’re doing the same thing now that G+ is out.

How much have they changed over the past few years? We can’t even count the ways: ticker on the side, FB timeline, sharing abilities, lists… it goes on (and on, and on).

They’re the number one social platform. They have a larger user base than most countries have people. People use them for business and personal, fun and work. Why can’t they be happy with that? Ah, c’est la vie. Facebook will always be Facebook…

Always Another Platform

The takeaway for you: There’s always going to be another social platform; there’s always going to be the next best thing and the next shiny tool. Unless you have many clones, there’s no way you can keep up with all of them. Don’t try; pick the ones you can build a community on, and stick with them… unless they turn into MySpace (in which case, run).

You’ve already established your community and your story… why would you stop and start all over again.  Don’t be a foolish; learn how to listen and grow your audience.

“Big Brother” Google Step’s on SEOs

Before you ask, no – we don’t feel any different. We’ve seen example after example over the past few years that show us how Google feels about our profession. So what’s another year without fear in the SEO community?

Google isn’t all cherries and ice cream. There are enough lawsuits targeting them around the world that they should be enough to give you a taste of reality.

The latest includes things like moving search to https. Oh, sure, they call it a privacy issue; yet, we know they’re still tracking the key terms. They’re just being selective about to whom they’re giving that data to: i.e. the advertisers. As well, they’re testing PPC now, giving people the ability to fill out a “request a call” form from the SERPS. In other words, they’re trying to make it so no one ever leaves the search results pages.

The takeaway for you:Google is in business for Google. Before you put every cent, and every effort, into marketing with Google, remember that. Also, remember that they have control over your account; if you do something against their terms (whether you do it knowingly or not), they can shut your account down. Be very careful to observe the rules.

Google Is Always Watching You

How to Write an SEO Article

This is a good old stand by and, although we’ve written several updated and in depth versions, it’s still one of those good “foundational” articles. Having said that, however, it’s written from the article submission frame of mind… and that, friends, professional SEO specialists, and readers, has changed drastically.

For one, many article submission sites were hit by the Panda update, which pointed to a dearth of quality content. As well, many have lost their appeal to the visitor, lessening the impact that article submission once had.

Today, we look more towards content marketing (in truth, it’s a lot like article submission… but… not). With content marketing, your articles are written with an actual site and that site’s audience in mind (for example, guest posting for our blog). Rather than submit the same article to umpteen different directories, like many have done in the past, content marketing is a single, well written – nay, crafted – piece of art that you hang up in another person’s gallery.

The takeaway for you: Content marketing is more involved than article marketing, but can also bring better returns in terms of traffic, authority, publicity and, yes, ranking. Pay close attention to the sites you visit in your industry. If they offer guest article spots, give your site a marketing and publicity boost; offer a crafted piece of art!

Cutting It Short, Because Time is of the Essence

We were going to cover our top 10 posts of all time. We stopped at five because 1) we’re long winded and we’ve hit our self-imposed maximum word count and 2) because your time is of the essence.

We can’t do with you what we normally do with clients. With clients, we sit down and talk about their project – and then we shut up and listen. Since we can’t do that, we share with you what we do, and give you a starting point. Therefore, it’s time for your homework assignment – and since you’re busy running a company, you’re going to need all the time you can grab to complete it.

Create Your Masterpiece

Look at your top posts, landing pages and guest blogs and compare them with the “you” you are today. Were you able to tell your story? Can people say three things about you just by following you and reading? Have you branded yourself?

What are some of the things you can take away from them? What are some of the lessons you can share with your readers? What has changed since those top posts were written? This is good practice for you, in terms of paying attention to the content you’re putting out; you’ll be surprised at the amount of information and ideas that occur to you.

Our 2012 predictions, by the way, since everyone who’s anyone is giving them…

The world is not going to end. SOPA will have forced some underground groups to get a nice network. The housing market will still suck, and the 1% will still ignore reality. We, however, will keep steadfast and continue to shoot with both barrels while taking names along the way!!

About Level 343

This account is where everyone involved with Level343 content marketing efforts show up. You can say there is no "I" in this team. Sometimes we will chat about a certain topic with a variation of ideas, suggestions, even opinions. Then one of us will start writing the post, hand it over to someone else who will continue the diatribe. Eventually it ends up on our editors desk who either chops the hell out of it, or you're reading it right now.

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for your positive and swift response. I would do regularly check your RSS fee from more information and honestly speaking I’m really interested on your blog posts as I learned a lot of useful things as I read them. Again many thanks!

  2. We’re almost tempted to get a Mobile app. Just not sure which direction we should go. But, it’s on the back burner. :) Thanks for dropping by Dave

  3. I must we must have positive prospects for this coming year much better than the previous one. Mobiles widgets are the one making their names popular but the thing is the excitement is left on how it will certainly influence the world of technology on its maximum capacity. Can’t wait to see those incoming changes!

  4. Hi, Ruth – It may be easier to look at article directories as a marketing strategy that’s outlived its maximum usage, rather than wasted efforts. If it worked, it worked, and therefore, the time and effort wasn’t wasted. With online marketing, try and remember that you’re in a constantly changing medium; when it changes, you change with it. -And remember, even t.v. ads outlive their usefulness eventually. ;)

    As for content marketing, if you’ve written quality articles for submission to directories, you can do the same for guest posting. You have a niche market with those products of yours, and have a lot of room for sharing your views of data analysis, delivery, displays and so on.

    Thanks for stopping by, and good luck with your content marketing!

  5. Hi, Jenny – thanks for the comment! To tell you the truth, we’re excited about the upcoming year. Can’t wait to see how it all plays out, especially since we’re still seeing post-Panda fallout and the results of other search engine updates. It’s probably a foregone conclusion that the “old SEO tricks” will just get a face lift, but we can hope. Thanks again for stopping by!

  6. lol We heart you, Mike “It’s still all about good content…” Yes, yes it is. Well, actually, it’s even more about good content. The flavor of back links has changed and crap content is slowly disappearing. Either that, or we’ve just managed to weed it out of our personal results. ;)

    Thanks for the comment!

  7. Hi, Max – Thanks for taking the time to comment. -And it’s a good question. Unfortunately, it’s one we can’t fully answer in respect to specific programs. For example, many social sites, such as Twitter, are “no-follow”. Depending on the program, no follow links may not be considered a link back. In short, there really are a lot of reasons why this may not be so.

    However, to clarify “a little mo bettah”. By your question, you may be considering “links” to mean “SEO” and vice versa. Links aren’t the end all and be all of SEO, traffic or (especially) sales. Links are a means to an end. As well, you have Bing, who has integrated FB into their search results, and Google, who has integrated Google + and +1 into their results.

    Because of its huge amount of use and standing, a person or company can very well rank above their own company site – this shouldn’t happen, but it does. What this says is that social is very powerful. Whereas a company site may not rank well, a Twitter profile – at least for the person – can.

    In analytics programs, social links (if followed) are counted as referrers. Active social users can often watch their traffic rise as a direct result (based on referral numbers) of that use.

    Then, there’s the knowledge that the search engines pay attention to social signals. A citation – someone mentioning your site – can also have a positive affect on your site’s standings.

    Yet, where the real benefit comes from, and how social really ties in, is publicity. For example, a properly optimized, well written, interesting article is sent out over social media. Individuals read it and also send it out over social media. This increases your publicity exponentially and, in turn, allows a greater possibility of the article being talked about on other sites – with relevant links coming back your way. You’ve increased your reach, built more authority, gained links and relevance in one swoop.

    As the lines blur more between the search results and social activities, we definitely see a greater necessity of social media being integrated into any inbound marketing campaign.

    Hope this answers your question, and thanks again for commenting!

  8. I think that SEO games haven’t changed much despite the fact that Google becomes more and more social and people in general more uses social networks than ever before and this trend keeps to emerge. It still a game to get more and better backlinks but now it’s changes to Google +’es, likes, tweets and things that I can’t even imagine.

    In short: It still all about good content so people can link to or like it, + it and tweet it.

  9. It has only begun. I don’t think the world will end in 2012 though. I’m glad there are new things happening during this time. A refreshing break from all old SEO tricks.

  10. It is disappointing that a lot of article submission directories are not attractive anymore. I had submitted a lot of articles in many directories and I feel my efforts are put to waste. Content marketing is new to me. I have seen a lot of sites that offer guest posting but haven’t really tried. I will make sure to learn more about it, considering it is the alternative to articles submission.

  11. I have a question about SEO and social media. If Social links can be so important to SEO, they why don’t they show up as backlinks with the backlink checking programs like SEO Power suite and others? They only backlinks I ever see are from other non-social sites.

  12. Hey Brian, meh Google has been trying working towards world domination for quite sometime now. *evil laugh* :) lolol All kidding aside, all this hoopla going on between Facebook, Twitter, Google, Bing, etc. is exhausting. I read an article over at Outspoken Media that hit the nail on the head. When Search & Social Act Like Children, Users Lose At this point I don’t give a rats ass why Google thinks I’m interested in what my friends & their friends do. When I want to find those things out I can do that without their help. I can go on and on, but I’ll save it for a post… I feel one coming on. Thanks for the inspiration.

  13. Hello Ivin, I’m proud to boast (shameless plug) Google changes have made us look better. That’s not to say we haven’t seen havoc when Panda started hitting. I’m glad to say we weren’t touched by any of the updates. You see, we have always believed and used Organic SEO in our approach. The only down side is, it’s time consuming. Most clients wanted immediate results. That happened when using PPC or black hat, with oodles of crazy link building cloaking, and spamming etc.

    In regards to redoing your site, why would you have to? As long as you have great content, clean tags (title, description, images) within a content centric approach SEO it will always be a win. Add a campaign within that content by using keywords, your Google analytics data, great landing pages with CTA that actually convert then you are a super star. Thanks for your input, and enjoy your weekend!

  14. Dang! SEO is SO time-consuming, and one never knows what to do at a certain point. What confuses me, is when the game changes, one has to redo ones site completely. That’s not really how it’s supposed to work is it? I never really liked what Google is doping, but they have the monopoly (for now).

  15. I read an interesting article a few days ago about Google Search Plus Your World. Which revolutionizes (and seems to be an attempt to own) search. Word is they’re not including Facebook anymore (well, not in Your World anyway). That’s bad for me, as I thought keyword in search would leverage Facebook to rank. They change the game all the time, one can never keep up! Well, you can, if you read blogs on the subject ;)

  16. Glad to know that this year its going to the year of mobiles. You’ve already started posting some great eye catching posts. 2011 had some very interesting developments technologically and can’t wait to find out what all is in store for the customers. I can understand the different approaches with us your readers and your clients with whom you deal live. Do keep us updated.

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