Majestic is a name synonymous with link tools that help the SEO community gain crucial insight. Continuing our series of interviews with Share 14 speakers is the latest with Majestic SEO's (soon to be simply, "Majestic") Dixon Jones, the company's marketing director. Dixon has been an active voice in the Web marketing space since the late '90s, and in this interview, he talks how branding and SEO go hand-in-hand.
BrightEdge is pleased to announce Majestic as a key partner and sponsor at Share14.
The SEO Landscape
AB: What’s your take on the changes to the SEO landscape over the past year?
Dixon Jones (DJ): Every year, the changes in SEO seem to be designed in part to surprise and upset, but I think companies with good business models and a healthy understanding of digital marketing are handling change better and better, whilst those that treat SEO as an afterthought, or (potentially worse), in isolation, are suffering more and more with every iteration in the industry.
Core business values: A great USP, barriers to entry, clear points of difference directly impact success in SEO. It is hard for a search engine to “get it wrong” when you have build up such a reputation that people type in your trademark when looking for a generic product!
The more they do that, the more you can align page performance with branding. That’s the real key to success for any mature (or maturely minded) business.
You don’t have to be “large” to achieve this. Being unique could be as simple as being the only locksmith in town. A barrier to entry could be as simple as choosing a location where zoning laws prevent other players from starting in competition next door.
Being online, as well as being unique, is a massive advantage. One challenge here, though, is the balance between giving your intellectual property up for crawling whilst preventing it from being used against you in a competitive manner.
This is the new, very real threat that is emerging now. It’s all very well to have the widest range of hotels and flight combinations on which to search, for example, but quite another is Google to collate all the information from you and your competition, and present results that never give the user a need to cross your virtual front door.
This is a very real danger. On one hand the mantra from Google has been “create great content” and on the other it has been “make it easy to index.” The natural endpoint of this is that in the process, you give a search engine “license” to almost treat your content as theirs.
To combat this, I really think you need to create brand ambassadors out of your own user base and get them talking about your brand, with your values.
Then you need to combine this with a “lock in” of your own. Give something that does not involve money on the part of the consumer, but make sure that the “information trade” is sticky in some way; some way that the search engines can never take away from you. Every business is different, but at Majestic, the mantra is moving from “content is king” to “functionality is the new content” (content is the new PR).
By this, I mean that what I used to put on our own (well respected) blog, I now give to someone else with the ear of my potential customers. I save the blog, (where I can) for new announcements about our functionality.
We then try and develop faster than our competitors, differently to our competitors and (ideally) in ways where our competition cannot follow.
The Content Marketing Shift: Optimization, Measurement, Performance
AB: How are you aligning your content and search optimization efforts?
DJ: Our big challenge in 2014 is a site migration. We are changing our brand name from Majestic SEO to Majestic after having secured the domain Majestic.com.
Any marketer will see immediately that this is a logical move to build a brand around a good name. In our case that previously involved a name that immediately invoked incorrect associations and preconceptions, which held us up when changing user perceptions about our product.
Marketers are less likely to see why changing our name is also a good long term strategy for SEO. I say this with some feeling, because at the time of writing, MajesticSEO.com ranks on the first page in most countries around the world for the phrase “SEO”!
This may not be the case when we migrate the site, so prima façade, this is a bad SEO strategy -- but returning to my previous point, I want to make Majestic synonymous with being a foundation stone for search and content marketing technologies like BrightEdge.
When users think about “link tools,” they think about our brand, they type in our brand. I bet Dyson still has the problem that everyone types in “Hoover” when they search for a Dyson!
That’s a problem I want my competitors to have – because that’s going to be the one that helps me beat my competitors on search. So we are continuing a successful content strategy to this point. We didn’t just create a “Quality Metric” for pages that emulated Page Rank; we created “Trust Flow,” and more recently, “Topical Trust Flow”.
These are words that are backed up with a massive USP … (Oh, and a trademark!) Now we find (as we planned), that users are starting to use Trust Flow as a benchmark on which to judge the quality of pages in bulk. It’s almost a tradable commodity in the world of domaining (the business of buying and selling domain names).
That bodes well for our “function is the new content” strategy.
About Your Session at Share 14
AB: Tell me more about your session at Share.
DJ: I am talking about content metrics that matter, including measurement, performance and value.
I want to show how we can measure the success of a piece of content based on the traction it gets in links, like how we can highlight when new links come into the content, and why tracking this is good to make sure you engage users with the content that is already interesting enough in your content to connect.
I am also really lucky to be introducing a case study from Epicor, which is almost three case studies in one … but I would hate to steal Epicor’s thunder on that one.
AB: Why Share – why do you attend?
DJ: Hey – every industry has an “inner circle.” This is it for SEO and Content Marketing.
AB: What advice can you give Share attendees to make the most out of their experience?
DJ: Look out for little Majestic Mascots for the chance to win a “Misfit Shine” activity watch.
Your Partnership with BrightEdge
AB: Tell us more about how you work with BrightEdge.
DJ: BrightEdge gives us the power to invest in our future. We develop fast, and that's not easy. BrightEdge looks after the world’s best brands doing SEO, and that helps to fund Majestic’s relentless product development.
BrightEdge does get special treatment from Majestic because they invest in our future, and I hope we return the favor tenfold, because that’s how we invest in the future of every BrightEdge client.
AB: What do you love about BrightEdge?
DJ: BrightEdge is serious about search and serious about partnerships