SEO is About Being Bigger Than Yourself
Without a doubt, “content marketing” is the phrase of the year for the SEO community, in part because of updates like Penguin and Panda that have reduced the ability of low quality content to rank well in the search results. But while content can be a powerful part of your strategy, it never has been and never will be the only search marketing strategy.
A good ranking in the search results is about two things: relevance and authority. The goal of the search engines has always been to show people web pages that are relevant to their search, and that are hosted on noteworthy websites, assuming such a page exists.
The traditional metric to measure authority has been links, and this will stay true for quite some time. Social is playing a bigger part, and user metrics are being brought into the fold as well. In any case, the implication is the same. Being authoritative, or noteworthy, is about mattering to somebody other than yourself.
SEO only works when your site is bigger than yourself.
And content isn’t the only way for a site to matter to others. In fact, it’s not necessarily even the most important way for a site to matter. The future of your site’s authority rests on one word:
A link or a tweet is more than just a way to drive traffic or search engine authority. It is vote of confidence. It is a connection. A blogger or influencer who mentions your site does so because, on some level, they have a relationship with your site.
It can be as distant as you providing content or products that they enjoy, and them returning the favor with links and social mentions. Or it can be as close as two friends who met offline, have websites, and love promoting each other.
The true goal of SEO, and perhaps online marketing in general, has always been about finding ways to foster these kinds of relationships. It is, at it’s core, about give and take. And this is perhaps where most people who are new to the field are led astray, believing that such relationships are out of reach for them.
There are many ways to build relationships online:
– Produce great content
– Exchange emails with influencers
– Tweet people
– Collaborate on a project
– Work with business partners
– Create lists of top people in the industry
– Answer people’s questions
– Do favors
The individual strategies don’t matter so much as long as you realize what the end goal is. The web is bigger than you. Being important on the web means being bigger than you.