Contribute Genuine Knowledge, Reap Rewards

A while back, I was attending a reception to announce semi-finalists for a nonprofit clean technology start-up accelerator. The start-up companies compete for the chance to get mentoring and capital investment. I only tell you this to illustrate that I was in a room full of very sharp, tech-savvy and forward thinking people.

I struck up a conversation with a young man whose company has figured out a process to make dairy production greener and healthier. He was very passionate about his company and the contribution he believes it will make to society. He asked me about marketing, then revealed that, despite being a very sharp guy, he suffered from a popular misconception about search engine optimization or SEO that’s left over from the early days of Dogpile, WebCrawler, Altavista and the like.


Trick for Treat?

“I know you trick the search engines to put your site at the top,” he said, dropping his voice like we were planning a heist.

I smiled in what I hope was a benevolent way.

“I don’t think it was ever about tricking some algorithm. It may seem that way because you definitely have to make sure you include key search words and phrases in your site,” I said. “That’s today’s equivalent of a high-school diploma in digital marketing. It’s a basic requirement, but it doesn’t guarantee anything. It’s just a start.”

“If that’s just the start, what’s the secret?” he asked.


Take the High Road … to Higher Revenue

“Search engines and social media reward people and organizations who contribute to human knowledge,” I said, standing up straight and trying to look heroic … or at least like I knew what I was talking about.

He looked askance, so I elaborated.

Social media and the digital marketplace have empowered consumers like never before. So they expect and find more value than ever, largely in the form of information. The business model for search engines relies upon traffic volume. Fresh, valuable and entertaining content generates traffic. So search engines reward websites that consistently publish valuable content.

Are there more technical details behind the SEO scenes? Sure. But nothing trumps content for driving SEO and digital marketing. We’ve seen this born out in practice again and again.

Think of it this way. If you’re a customer seeking, say, auto service, and you land on a site loaded with tips and expert advice on auto maintenance, your thought process might go something like this:

“If these folks are willing to give me this valuable knowledge, then the service they sell must be very good.”

At this point, all you have to do is make sure the service you sell is very good, and you have won a loyal customer who will refer more business.

The Ultimate 1-2 Punch: Content-driven SEO and Pay-per-click

Pay-per-click, properly managed, is a powerful tool to support your digital marketing program. Analytical metrics reflect adjustments that you make over time. Better yet, contact and sales data provides insights about all of your digital marketing efforts.

Pay-per-click precisely tracks traffic directly generated by ads, so most or all of any increase in traffic over and above pay-per-click is attributable to your global digital marketing program. That program should include ongoing original content publication. If it does, your site traffic will increase sharply and steadily. And your business will grow.