Joel Klettke is a Search Engine Optimization specialist at Vovia. Joel's also an experienced writer and local marketing expert.

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Want To Rank? Make People Care.

carebearWait, SEO = Marketing?

People seem to have divorced the concept of search engine optimization from the fundamentals of good marketing. Most people tend not to see SEO as a marketing function and see it as a technical pursuit – coding wizardry and careful analysis.

It started early. Instead of trying to engage their markets with their websites, business owners and SEO’s alike typically wondered, “How can we cheat the system to help force our market to find us?”. SEO became a race find the newest loophole and claw your way to the top.

But aren’t we forgetting something?

Ask any SEO specialist the biggest factors at the core of your rankings and they’ll usually tell you two things:

1. “You need content relevant to your targeted keywords.”
2. “You need to go get a lot of links.”

But what if your content was better than just relevant? What if your links came naturally? Wouldn’t that be something…

Yes, SEO = Marketing!

The goal of a marketing campaign is to get people talking about you so that they’ll buy from you. Essentially, you want your marketing campaigns to make people care you exist.

Ranking online should be no different. At bare minimum you need content relevant to your keywords. Then you need links – valuable links from reputable sources.

But webmasters want a compelling reason to link to you. They want you to offer them something valuable. Potential customers, brand advocates and industry players want to be swooned, won over, engaged and entertained.

It starts with great content – the kind that gets people talking and sharing. Where there’s conversations there are links, but starting conversations requires taking action.

Don’t Just Stand There – DO Something!

Low quality links are continually under the microscope and their effectiveness is eroding. Buying links is risky. As the web evolves, how do you build links in a natural way?

Ask yourself: “What are we doing online to make people care we exist?

Does your content entertain? Inform? Does it do anything other than ramble about your business or shout, “BUY FROM US!” ? Just being who you are won’t make people care. Coke still buys Superbowl ads.

What linkable content are you offering to your target market? Can you offer an industry-best resource or provide information nobody else is? Can you arrange information in a way nobody has before? Can you save your customers time or money?

What sorts of online initiatives might entice people to share your content with others? Contests, giveaways, sponsorships, scholarships, press releases?

Sustainable & Unique: Your New Favourite Link Building Buzzwords

Yes, there’s a lot of “free” links sitting out there: business directories, article submissions and so on. But if they’re easy for you to get, they’re easy to get for competitors.

Creative link building campaigns are hard work. There’s no guarantee of results. They take imagination to dream up and time to execute.

But they create links that your competitors can’t just copy and aren’t likely to get smacked down by an algorithm update. These are “sustainable” campaigns because you’re creating links the way Google intended: by engaging your market.

Tying It All Together

So you want to rank well? Make people care.

Now is the time to eek out your competition by seeing SEO and link building differently. Put the “marketing” back into online marketing and start taking some action!

  • Great content needs to go beyond just being relevant.
  • Ask: “How are we engaging our customers online?”
  • Avoid the path of least resistance – take some risks with creative campaigns!