On February 26, 2009, Google sent out its first-ever tweet to the world at large. Its content was both an in-joke to the service’s humble beginnings and an oddly prophetic message about the ways social media and search services would become interlinked in the coming years: “I’m feeling lucky.”
Since then, search engine optimization has become a leading force in the online marketing world. In fact, over 100 billion online searches are performed every month globally. That means if you’re not aiming to land high in the Google rankings, your site could be missing out on a potential flood of traffic.
But when pursuing SEO and other search marketing basics, it’s important to keep in mind what works and what falls flat. Somewhere around three-quarters of all Internet search users focus almost exclusively on organic results, or the links that appear naturally and not as the result of paid advertising. The goal of SEO marketing is produce high-quality content that will appear high in these rankings organically, so users can still discover you without feeling pulled in your direction by sponsored results.
SEO does more than simply influence customers’ opinions of your brand. Around 57 percent of business-to-business marketers report that SEO has the largest influence on their lead generation out of all the other recruitment techniques. This is likely because of how SEO lets potential clients come to you, meaning you have to rely less on your outbound efforts and more on your brand’s visibility in the Google rankings.
But as Google knew in 2009, SEO and social media are simply two sides of the same coin. Using platforms like Twitter and Facebook allows your brand more direct control over your message and more opportunities to engage with your audience. Users like to voice their opinions and they like to know they’re being heard. With social media, this kind of satisfaction is just a “like” or a “retweet” click away.
Landing at the top of the Google rankings pile is only half the battle. By 2014, mobile Internet use via smartphones and tablets is expected to surpass desktop browsing, which means you’ll need to start tailoring your message to the on-the-go user instead. This is just as much about compelling, responsive web design as it is about social media and SEO.
Though they might seem mutually exclusive, every little piece of an online marketing campaign adds up to a grand mosaic of brand visibility and awareness. It’s hard to stay on top of the Google rankings mound for long. Always know your audience and you’ll give yourself a safety net to fall back into. You know, just in case.