Search engine optimization has changed drastically in the past few years, mostly due to Google’s constantly-changing algorithms. The process is being perfected to favor useful and well-written content, giving website owners greater room for a better quality of writing. This turn of events could have been expected since helpful content that reaches its target audience can provide greater long-term benefit for both businesses and customers than pages that have simply been manipulated to perform better in search engines. Hence, optimizing content for discovery and conversions provides greater value than SEO alone could ever give.
This doesn’t, by any means, mean that SEO is to be avoided, of course. The term itself has maybe gotten a little bit of a bad reputation in recent years, partly because the process has been widely abused and partly because the methods have switched from technical to creative. From calculating measures to push a site higher up the ranks, to more weight being given to well-written copy and organic linking, much has changed indeed.
Copyblogger, the blogging resource website, has come up with a new term to describe the ethical, long-term process of search marketing as Optimizing Content for Discovery and Conversion. This new phrase hits the spot. It fully describes what search engine optimization has become. In the past, optimizing content for search engines led to abuse, since it became the measure of failure or success, and companies that took it too far, scoring their work on increasing traffic instead of on increasing sales, paid severely later on. It is different today. Now, you are not necessarily optimizing for search engines, but discovery and conversion. Let’s dive a little deeper into the meaning of each term in this well-constructed phrase.
Optimizing Content for Discovery and Conversion
Up until now, optimizing meant counting the frequency of keywords and phrases and generating links from directories, amongst other techniques. Today, you first need to understand how your website visitors engage with your content and then optimize it to meet search engine guidelines. This is a long-term strategy that doesn’t need constant updating.
Creating valuable content is of utmost importance for your site to stand out in the crowded online space. Without awesome content, no amount of search engine optimization, social media streams, email marketing, or PR will help. There is no wand magical enough to drive engagement if there is nothing to engage with in the first place.
Whether from a search engine, or simply driven by their curious and explorative nature, your website visitors turn to you for a solution to problems they’re facing. If you know what they are looking for, you can create content that attracts them and meets their expectations, convincing them that they do not need to carry on seeking a solution.
This is the final piece in the puzzle and the main reason you have gone far and wide to give your visitors what they need. Once you have your prospect, you have to convert them into a customer. This could be done directly through online sales, or through inquiries, downloads, sign-ups, and many other campaign tactics.
The Change of Perspective
With all this being said, we would like to make one thing clear – Search Engine Optimization itself is not a thing of the past, though the actual term may have gotten a bad rep in recent times. Optimizing Content for Discovery and Conversion goes a bit deeper, describing what you should really be doing in your marketing efforts. You can see that optimization for the search rankings doesn’t drop off, but rather, the idea of “conversion” enters the picture, focusing the attention on quality, efficacy, and depth of content.
People realize more and more that the true mission of content marketing should be primarily about the content itself and how successfully it fulfills its purpose of converting visitors into leads. The focus has shifted to social media presence and continuous production of quality content. However, there are still some people that believe that ranking #1 on Google is the most important thing when it comes to marketing. Google traffic is a great thing to have, but there is so much more to marketing than meets the inexperienced eye. Just because a site ranks #1 or #2 on search engines like Google, doesn’t necessarily mean that it brings useful content to the table.
Furthermore, the success of an SEO specialist in ranking a site of hollow information can lower the credibility of a search engine. This is the main reason why the term “SEO” has been used so many times to describe activities that are not even remotely close to content marketing. This kind of behavior doesn’t help anyone in the long run. With the majority being so obsessed about rankings, most people have forgotten what SEO was originally about – content marketing. This new term brings us back to the original purpose and idea.
The main focus of optimizing content for discovery and conversions is having a fast and responsive site that is fully optimized and ready to convert visitors. People who find your content useful should be able to sign up with ease. You’d likely be better off with one website for all your visitors instead of separate ones for desktop and mobile, but here too, load times and optimizations must work perfectly on both platforms. People that find themselves on slow-moving websites usually leave in a matter of seconds. Think responsiveness, quality, and depth.
Of course, you should still focus on getting high-quality links to your site and be more strategic than ever about acquiring them. Besides high-quality sites that relate to your industry, you also want to include sites with high traffic to give you better conversion rates. Also, having great content won’t always land your site on page one of Google and other search engines. To give yourself the best chance, you have to focus on keywords AND context instead of just piling up random words in your articles.
Every experienced digital marketing company will tell you that another major part of content optimization is building a social media community around your content. Social interactions with your content build up trust and loyalty, which ultimately lead to better conversion rates. Also, syndicating your content is still a great strategy, as it improves your trustworthiness in your field, while also raising search engine rank authority.