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With the approaching loss of easy-to-access keyword research driven by Google’s march to squash SEO and move more clients into Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, you may be wondering what your options are for driving more search engine traffic?

Well, first of all, most of the keyword referral data is available within Google Webmaster Tools.   Again, excuse me from being skeptical about Google’s “privacy” claims when the data has simply been moved from within the free keyword tool to another tool more closely aligned with the PPC product (so what happened to that privacy issue?).  But note that the Google Webmaster Tool’s data will only give you data for the last 90 days, not infinity, like the old keyword tool used to offer.  Here are 10 other ways to see your own keyword data as well as 11 Actionable Posts on how to view your keyword data.  So pick your poison, because non of these methods are as good or as easy as what was available before with Google Analytics.  But with a bit of work around it can be done (Prediction:  how long before Google offers a premium (i.e. paid) version of Google Analytics with the keyword data back inside?)

But, no use crying over spilled milk, right?

The point of this post is to share with you some SEO tactics that are still working for our clients and the programs that are working to drive traffic and generate inbound marketing buzz. And as we’ve discussed in past posts, social media activity in and out of your website is one of the key SEO drivers.

CONTENT MARKETING

Our main approach to generating search engine traffic for our clients and improving SEO rankings is by establishing a consistent content generation system.

As business owners, you are now “content generators,” like it or not.

Content marketing consists of the following elements:

  • Keyword research to determine your most valuable keyword phrases
  • A flexible website that allows easy updates and content publishing
  • Adding all proper META data to each new content page
  • A website with an RSS feed
  • Automation tools such as Hootsuite (affiliate link) or Twitterfeed
  • Social media accounts on one or more of the following outlets:  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube
  • Set up Google authorship
  • Google analytics and Webmaster accounts

The plan is to establish your important, relevant keyword phrases and then generate ongoing content that features those keyword topics that can be posted on your website and then distributed daily throughout your social media properties using the various automation and reporting tools listed above.

By identifying your important keywords and then generating good, quality, relevant content about those keyword phrases and that include those keyword phrases, you will go a long way to gaining solid positioning (hopefully page 1) within the search engines, with a primary emphasis on Google.

TYPES OF CONTENT

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One of the biggest struggles and concerns of businesses that are interested in content marketing is what to write about.  Well, it’s really about creating a mix of content, both in formats and topics.  For instance, some content ideas can be no more than a photo and caption while others may be a fully-produced video.  And in regards to topics, make sure you follow all your industry trade publications and follow related businesses and even competitors on Twitter and Google+ to see what industry hot topics people are talking about.  Write about those same topics adding your own unique spin or opinion.

And for social media content, just sharing a link to a headline story in an industry trade or even a mainstream publication like the New York Times is enough.  The goal is to provide a mix of about 70-30, 30% being info about your company and products specifically and the other 70% about related topics of interest.  Using my own company as an example, we write blog posts like the one you’re reading now as well as link to recognized, authoritative posts from sites like Search Engine Land or Social Media Examiner.

DISTRIBUTING THE CONTENT

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And once the content is created, distributing it via social media is the icing on the cake, with all posts and Tweets including links back to your own site.  Repurposing your blog content for your email marketing efforts is also another way to get more mileage out of your content marketing efforts.  In fact, we go out of our way to advise our clients not to create original newsletter content unless it’s a timely event of some kind.  The best recipe is to use your email marketing as a monthly roundup of your blog posts with daily social media activity as the glue in between.