This week, several of the Digital State management team have been at SMX London to discuss the latest thinking and best practice in all spheres of Search Marketing – from content development strategy to paid search optimisation; from site development schema to social media to the growth of mobile SEO.
We’ve already produced a handful of overviews within our knowledge base that will give useful insight into how to improve your search marketing strategies – whether you’re an in-house team or an agency – and there are more to come that should add greater detail.
However, as always seems to be the case, there have been some themes that resonate throughout the conference and 2014 was no exception.
A common trope, as you would expect, was the need to elevate one’s link development strategies to greater levels of sophistication – one neatly illustrated this week when Matt Cutts expressed his enjoyment at Duane Forrester’s categorisation of good links as ones you weren’t aware you were going to get. Whilst not a definition, it does neatly underpinning their mutual argument that links should not be the aim for improving your site’s authority, they should be the consequence.
The irony, of course, is that working to get links that you aren’t aware you’re going to get is, if not paradoxical, then at least disingenuous when everyone is fully aware of the potential value of links. To pretend that everyone should stop actively seeking them and surrender to chance attraction is to ignore the realities of the commercial world.
Of course, the true (and more complex) advice is that links need to be sought but their value should be explicit without recourse to arguments about the link equity they may pass to a site. This is a more subtle point and one that is not served well by blanket homilies from Duane and Matt.
And, as we have detailed before, the key to ensuring that a link demonstrates this type of value is in preparing your search marketing strategy logically and with solid foundations. The key areas to be discussed, agreed upon and actioned in a co-ordinated manner are:
- Identifying your audience.
An area we will be looking at next week in more detail so stay tuned.
- Deconstructing the types of content that will interest them – be it advice/tips, research, promotions/offers, gossip, product reviews, etc.
This can be achieved in a number of ways but at its heart is mostly about engaging with them which, in some ways, sits at the crossroads of soliciting links, as concerned above (again, we will be looking at tools and processes to help in this work soon – watch this space).
In the meantime, here is a good insight into using the regular output from your industry to develop your targets.
- Providing this content in a compelling format.
To borrow a marketing cliché, one needs to consider the story you are telling.
- Promulgating it in the most efficient manner (that is, with the smallest impact on your resources and the greatest impact on its reach to the appropriate audience).
This is not immune to dangers as you must ensure you maintain relevant and authentic authorial voice.
Were you at the SMX London and have any questions that are burning you up? Or are you keen to get more detail on what we saw and heard?