Friday, March 24, 2023

In the world of digital marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential tool for businesses to attract and retain customers. SEO is a set of techniques that are used to improve the visibility of a website in search engine results pages (SERPs). While there are many factors that contribute to a successful SEO strategy, one of the most important, in my opinion, is content.

Content is the backbone of any successful SEO strategy. It is what search engines use to determine the relevance and usefulness of a website to users. The more relevant and useful your content is, the higher your website will rank in SERPs. This is why it is essential for businesses to create high-quality, informative, and engaging content that aligns with their target audience's needs and interests.

One of the most significant benefits of creating high-quality content is that it attracts and retains website visitors. People are always searching for information online, and if your website has the answers they are looking for, they are more likely to stay on your site longer and return in the future. This increased engagement can lead to more conversions, which ultimately results in more revenue for your business.

Moreover, search engines like Google prioritize high-quality content when determining search rankings. These search engines use sophisticated algorithms that evaluate websites based on a wide range of factors, including the quality and relevance of their content. By creating high-quality content that is optimized for search engines, you can improve your website's visibility and attract more organic traffic.
In addition to attracting organic traffic, high-quality content can also help businesses establish themselves as thought-leaders in their industry. In turn, this can have additional positive impacts in being involved in mainstream media such as tv, radio, podcast and print.

While I still believe Link Building to be an important part of the process, I also find it having several challenges that most businesses are not prepared to accept.

First, the definition of a link has changed over the years. Back when I got started in digital marketing in the early 2000's it was ok to keyword stuff words on your site, to do link exchanges with other sites and to "acquire" links that offered little to no benefit to the site.

Secondly, most primary keywords in most industries have been solidified by sites that have been at SEO a long time, government sites, educational sites and even directory sites. The opportunities are slim and require a lot of time to hopefully make it to page 1. Any link building strategy will take a long time, will be costly and will not come with any guarantee you'll reach your goal.

This is where the alternative of focusing on content can be a fruitful opportunity to focus on. Since Google is ranking the content of a page rather than a specific keyword we now have the ability to create detailed content that can focus on secondary, tertiary and related keywords to that "core" keyword we (probably) won't rank for. Meaning we can drive meaningful and quality traffic based on several keywords rather than one that may not even work out if the content doesn't align!

Now go a step further and take that content you've created and divvy it up into several social pieces of content. Not only are you building shareable content for social media, we also know that there are social cues when it comes to rankings.

In my opinion content will be the key factor moving forward when improving the SEO of your site and overall business.

About the Author: Patrick Herman is President of pH Dgital Marketing that offers paid ads, SEO and Social media services.  
Friday, March 24, 2023

For 25 yearsI worked as a print magazine editor specializing in association and regulator publications. For the last eight of those years, I was the managing editor of a regulator’s magazine that was mailed to 250,000 members.

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, we lost 30 percent of our advertisers that month as the world began to shut down. In November 2021, the magazine stopped publishing entirely and I found myself unemployed, along with two of my colleagues. The decision to shut down the magazine was not unexpected. The decline of print media had only accelerated during Covid-19, and our publication was no exception. 

I saw this as an opportunity to recalibrate, to try something different, something new. A friend had just launched a digital real estate platform called Wahi. The company was in its early stages and he was embarking on a large content project as part of a long-term Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. He needed someone to manage the content and to come armed with a plan. 

I wanted to try something different, but I wasn’t sure I was the right person for the role. My first thought was, I know very little about real estate and even less about technology. Next, I thought, I know nothing about SEO, let alone online content. Print was all I knew -— or, at least, so I thought. I had a bad case of imposter syndrome. 

As I pondered the opportunity before me, I recalled the words of marketing guru Seth Godin: “If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.” At the time, I had failed to recognize how transferable the skills I had honed as a print magazine editor were to the digital world. Nine months later, I am amazed at how much I have learned from working with a diverse team of product leads, data scientists, software developers, SEO and digital marketing experts.

For anyone in publishing looking to make the leap from print to digital, here are some tips (based on my experience) for a successful transition: 

Seven Tips for a Successful Transition from Print to Digital Content.

Create a content plan. It’s essentially no different than an annual editorial calendar for a magazine. Whether it is print or digital, content is still king. 

If you don’t have SEO expertise, partner with an SEO expert to help optimize your website for greater search visibility. SEO is a marketing strategy that will help people find your website and increase brand awareness. A combination of strategies including publishing high-quality content (and lots of it -— see #3) and building backlinks from high-ranking websites will help boost your Google ranking. 

Get used to More is More (at least in the beginning). I used to think that writing for the web was all about short form. Well, in the world of SEO it can be the exact opposite — especially when you are a new domain and want to drive organic traffic to your website. Often it’s pages with longer form articles (think 1,500 - 5,000) that rank better on Google, which can help increase organic search visibility when keyword searches are conducted for that topic. So, be prepared for VOLUME.

Consider a multi-platform approach. People today digest content through many different platforms, so you need to meet them where they are. Consider social media, video, and other channels to broaden your reach. 

Invest in the right tools. Find a content management system that is flexible and allows you to do all the things you need it to do — publish content to multiple platforms, schedule content, track audience engagement and more. 

Measure it. There’s a classic adage used in business, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” This rings true for your digital content big time. Metrics are your best buds and can help paint a picture of how well your content is performing and what’s resonating — or not —  with your audience. 

Manage your expectations — particularly if the website is new. SEO is a long-term strategy that can build brand awareness and establish that brand as an authority on a particular topic. But it doesn’t happen overnight; it can take months to reach the top of page one for certain keywords. For several months now, Wahi has been continuously publishing over 50,000 words (approximately 25 articles) per month through our SEO-optimized Real Estate 101 articles, which provide homebuyers and sellers with valuable real estate advice.

We are now starting to see our efforts pay off. Traffic from organic searches is growing, the number of pages we are ranking for on Google is up, as are impressions and clicks. We still have a long way to go, but building a brand takes time and, more importantly, a diverse team that believes in the product and understands the goals. 

About the Author: Kristin Doucet is the former managing editor of Professionally Speaking magazine and is currently the director of content at Wahi, a real estate website for buyers and sellers. 
About Me
Guest Blogger
This is a guest column for the COPA judges so they can share some of their wisdom with the industry. The COPA Judges are the who's who of the publishing industry in Canada.  COPA Judging Panel Link 
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