Search Engine Strategies: SEO Shouldn’t be all about SEO

You might think this is an odd title. It was meant to be. Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, people needlessly limit the definition of search engine optimization when they build their search engine strategies. SEO should be about optimizing your marketing for search not just for your position in a search engine.

My proposal is this. SEO has traditionally defined be expanded to include other ‘organic’ search related activities that are part of a broader search engine strategy.

Search Engine Strategies: Why a broader definition for SEO?

Where do you get off...? I know, I know. But hear me out. When you think about it, your search engine strategy ought to be about optimizing the value of search and SEO activities to your company. And if you think about it that way, it can’t just be limited to achieving a number one rank in Google for a limited set of keywords.

Even if it were, think about all the activities that go into achieving that coveted number one spot in Google.

Now focus on link building.

Link building as part of the SEO process presents a great opportunity to enhance your search engine strategies above and beyond SEO. Peppering links without thinking through the value that each link offers is a crime.

To me, SEO link building provides a few additional marketing opportunities.

  • Branding
  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media

SEO link building really shouldn’t be limited to a part of your SEO strategy. There’s opportunity in those links.

Search Engine Strategies: Branding, Content, Social and SEO

To me, these concepts can’t be uncoupled. Your SEO strategy needs to be a broader and take full advantage of what’s possible.

Here are some ideas on how you can integrate your SEO link building strategy and your broader search engine strategies.

Branding: Something ‘out there’ to most metric driven online marketers. What’s it really worth? On its own its hard to determine. But incorporate it into your SEO link building strategy and you’ve got something. Each inbound link provides an opportunity to maximize your brand. Using anchor text you can create links that include keywords as well as brand association.

Here’s an example SEO Magnifier. A brand reference right along with the keywords for this page. If the link doesn’t lead to a direct click, the name might stick with the person reading it and make for a direct hit later.

Social Media: Feel like you never have enough time to participate in social media on behalf of your business? Well, social media is a great place to build links - particularly on blogs (via commenting), forums, social bookmarking sites, etc. What about the dreaded ‘no follow’ tag? Fortunately many social media outlets are going back to ‘do follow’. And interestingly enough, I have heard some recent rumblings that Google may be trying to take into account ‘no follow’ links in its algorithm - interesting...

The bottom line? SEO, particularly SEO link building, should be thought about as part of your broader search engines strategies.

Search Engine Strategies: More on the integration with Social

I’d feel remiss if I didn’t make this point one more time. You can use social media to build links for SEO accomplishing two objectives at one. It creates presence in the right places (where your customers talk) and highly relevant, contextually related links. Don’t dismiss this point.

One additional thought: The way people search is also expanding. Its not just about search engines. People conduct searches (a small but growing number) on social media sites ranging from Delicious to Digg, Facebook to Linkedin. So beyond links, you are also positioning yourself to capitalize on those ‘searches’ as well.

If you can’t tell, I am passionate about the intersection between search engine strategy, search engine optimization and social media.

Content: If you have something valuable to say, point the link back to some content and valuable resources something like paraphrasing tool in Spanish for the Spanish users. Focus on the visitors what they are actually looking for. It will still help your site’s search rank and may result in a click or two (or more). SEO and content marketing in one.

In conclusion: Expand your thinking. SEO is broader than SEO as most people define it. Don’t put it in a box. Leverage the work you do to optimize your site and business for search across as many marketing channels as possible.

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