It wasn’t long ago that doomsayers were declaring search engine optimization to be a dead discipline. So even if you didn’t buy into the hyperbole, it’s entirely possible that, unless you’ve been keeping a very close eye on it over the years, you’ve written SEO off as a “solved” digital challenge with a predictable and easily manageable formula for success.
For a while that may have been believable —following the initial chaos in the aftermath of the first Panda and Penguin rollouts, SEO settled down somewhat and new, reliable tactics emerged. In the past year or so, however, the SEO world has been thrown back into uncertainty. Rising expectations and changes from Google are fundamentally shifting the search landscape, including:
- SSL certification requirements showing that your site is safe for browsing
- Mobile-friendly tags and standards
- The introduction of a learning AI that adjusts Google’s search algorithm in real time
The State of the SEO Staffing and SEO Job Market
After years of relative complacency, many businesses now find themselves alarmingly behind on SEO and in a scramble to catch up. But to catch up they need SEO expertise, which is now incredibly scarce since the discipline has suddenly become so complicated and sophisticated. And SEO agencies are becoming less and less attractive of a solution as SEO increasingly demands a level of speed and responsiveness that a traditional agency relationship just can’t provide.
That means up-to-date SEO talent is suddenly at a premium, and available experts of any kind are quickly being snapped up. If you’re looking for a great way to grow your digital marketing career, making your way back into SEO is ripe for advancement in pay and responsibilities.
Even if you have zero interest or intent in pursuing a career in SEO or participating as SEO staffing talent, it’s obvious that this discipline has reinforced itself as a critical pillar of any digital marketing strategy and that effective SEO is a team effort. You might be a digital advertiser, or social media manager, or active in creative marketing staffing first and foremost. But SEO is still your responsibility in some way, and should be considered a secondary role by any digital marketer.
If you haven’t taken a close look at SEO since the days of simple keyword optimization, you’re behind the times. And that could not only be effecting your current productivity, but also affect your future career opportunities. Here’s a quick refresher on some of the most critical pillars of modern SEO so you can better understand the complexities and start catching up.
Content has become a key component of nearly all aspects of digital marketing, and you’re probably no stranger to its value in attracting the attention and trust of customers. What you might not know is how important high-quality content has become for SEO, as well.
Modern search engines have become sophisticated enough to distinguish most kinds of highly relevant, unique content and are all too eager to put it on their SERPS. They also have a preference for rich content–images, videos, etc. Additionally, great content builds links from social and other sources, improves time-on-site, and improves click through rate–all critical ingredients in the SEO recipe.
If you’re making use of content in your digital marketing work (and if you’re not, you’re probably doing it wrong!), then you’re absolutely losing ROI if you’re not taking SEO into account when designing, developing and promoting it.
The technical infrastructure upon which a site is built is more important than ever. Sites must load quickly, perform well on all devices, and have a strong and logical internal linking structure and navigation to win on the SERPS. A messy code base or underperforming server is a rank killer.
Too many experienced marketers create digital assets and put them online with little thought to their impact on page performance or how they’re connected to the rest of the site. You don’t have to be a coding wizard or a web developer mastermind to optimize for SEO, but a basic understanding of each will carry you a long way.
Although links and mentions in social networks do not send direct signals about search rank to Google, social remains a valuable aspect of SEO nonetheless.
Even though tweets, posts and likes may not directly influence your search rankings, they can still be indexed and listed in the SERPS themselves. And Google has even started featuring recent posts by popular public figures and brands in search results.
A strong social strategy should also build a following that’s interested in what you have to say and will linger on your site when sent there. Keep this in mind if you’re in control of your company’s social accounts, participating in social media marketing staffing, or are working on a digital campaign that involves social.
Relevant inbound links from reputable sites have become critically important for SEO staffing talent, especially as search engines have gotten better at weeding out low-quality links and identifying (and punishing) cases of link-swapping.
That means links can be harder to come by, but good ones can have a huge impact. But getting the right ones is easier said than done, and often requires a lot of “digital shoe leather” and networking. Marketers that are able to build meaningful, mutually beneficial relationships with key influencers, publishers, authors and web masters have a huge leg up in the SEO world. A well-developed relationship building strategy, supported by great content and a well-built site (see above), puts you on the fast track for inbound linking success.