SEO is no longer purely a technical issue. There is a very significant marketing aspect to SEO. SEO is becoming more content centric. Brands that learn how to evolve their approach to SEO and content put themselves in a winning position. SEO is about technology and human behavior. Content marketing and content management systems play a large part in this relationship.
Last week BrightEdge had the opportunity to catch up with Robin Francis, Senior Manager of Search at Autodesk. Robin is a panelist on the “Aligning Content and SEO” session and is going to talk about how web content strategy is critical in order to scale SEO. Below are some extracts and comments from our interview with Robin:
BrightEdge: Welcome to Share13 Robin. This is your 2nd year at the event and we would love to know more about your thoughts on Share12 and how you are looking forward to Share13. It is great to be part of such an awesome event once more! Search performs best in the gray areas of digital marketing. The nice thing about Share 12 was that those areas could be hashed out on subject matter from experts - at scale. I’m really looking forward to Share13 to focus on the future and how we can take advantage of content and social opportunity today and, most importantly, how to tie our hard work to ROI and revenue.
Q: What are your thoughts on the impact of not provided on search marketing?
Not provided was scary at first - even though it was less than 5% of results. Now that is has ballooned to at least 40% of keyword data, I’m not sure that it has ruined my life like I thought it would. I treat the data as directional and make informed decisions based on my other invaluable tools, the most important being the actual SERP itself. You can learn a lot from what Google is and isn’t telling you. But hey, that’s how we all got our start isn’t it? Watching search engines from a million miles away and trying to reverse engineer their signals is fun.
Q: How has content evolved to be the focus of search and digital marketing?
Content has always been the focus of search and digital marketing. We care about the entire user experience from when they land on the page including the words and messages delivered to them and the links that take them elsewhere. That has not changed on the ground. However, companies themselves are now starting to realize that their search marketers aren’t just working to appease the search engines. There are actual people behind those searches and ‘every move they make’ is being evaluated, by search engines, in order to make their product better. Some countries won’t even entertain your product unless you “speak their language” in your content. Without great content you can’t get to personalization, effective responsive design, and many other cool tactics. All search engines have done is reinforce this behavior through the forcing function of Panda, Penguin, and so on.
Q: What is your approach to publishing content and measuring performance across channels like site, social, search?
There are three things you must take a good hard look at to succeed across channels.
1. On-page SEO factors. If you focus on the basics, it’s scalable and has far reaching benefits. However, you can’t do it alone. You must understand business and visitor needs and work together with your peers to deliver great content that meets both. Keep collaborating to get these factors prioritized until it’s second nature. Show them lots of data on how it is working FOR THEM and you will win hearts and minds to get more work done.
2. Focus on the words. Are you delivering on the user intent first, marketing descriptions second? If not, then you’ve got a problem. Run A/B, usability, or even SEM or creative social tests. This will show folks quickly if the words are resonating or just plain confusing. Then you can make the case to give users what they want in the copy. This is added data to show your peers in the previous step on how it is working FOR THEM.
3. Help me help you. PR, social media and other parts of the business that has great content but no marketing love, or groups or initiatives with aggressive goals are great places to build alliances.
Call them up. Find out what they need and show them how content and/or search can help specifically. No one cares about the best practices. They care about making their goals. Run a pilot and dig up the data on how it is performing across channels FOR THEM. This will help pave the way to bigger and better content programs that move the needle.
Q: How important is mobile search in 2013?
It is very important. Google has said, in no uncertain terms, that sites delivering a poor mobile experience will be dealt with. Even if your mobile traffic is low you have to ask if that is because the experience is currently not good enough. You’ve got a bit of time to clean it up, but not a lot!. The last thing you want is to explain how the “Cheetah” update whittled your mobile traffic down to nothing because you thought you had more time.
About Robin Francis
Robin Francis currently works as the Senior Manager of Search & Web Content at Autodesk. Francis specializes in search strategy, search analytics, SEO copywriting, SEO for content, technical SEO, linking, training, site audits, at-scale SEO tool creation, and managing teams, vendors and freelancers.