Ngia Vang is the senior digital marketing manager at Experian Consumer Direct. There, she leads SEO and content marketing for FreeCreditReport.com, FreeCreditScore.com, CreditReport.com and CreditScore.com.
Ngia and I caught up ahead of Share 14 to talk about Experian's approach to digital marketing in light of the changes we've seen in the past year. We also talked about how they're handling the convergence of content and SEO today.
Here is what she had to say:
The SEO Landscape
Ngia Vang (NV): The landscape has definitely changed with the number of algorithmic changes in the past year; however the overall goal of the search engines haven’t, which is optimizing for the user. The changes to the landscape are forcing organizations, including ours, to change the way we approach and manage our programs so we can 1) optimize accordingly to search engine guidelines and 2) provide the most relevant content for the search intent.
Creating and Optimizing Content
NV: The biggest impact is in the area of creating and optimizing content. In the past year, we’ve taken a step back and are looking at our business inside and out to determine how to best adapt and run our SEO program, how we want to represent our brand and how we solve for our consumers’ needs.
Our strategy is simple: understand who our users are, and optimize our site and content to tailor to them.
The Focus on The Consumer
NV: The space is always evolving; however there is one thing that never changes: the focus on the consumer. And for that reason, marketing’s focus doesn’t change.
We, as marketers, have to adapt to what is new to the “how and where” consumers interact with brands. What I mean by that is the tactics and technology, such as the ever-evolving social network platforms, how things are served, devices like mobile and so on.
What’s new to marketers is getting the right message to render for each device, platform and experience. Learn the technical part of this equation and it will help with how you create your marketing message and content.
Also, don’t forget the basic fundamentals of marketing; only put something out there if you as a consumer would engage with the content/message. If the content is relevant and engaging, we’re doing our job, and they will come.
Staying Ahead Of The Curve
NV: Know who your audience is and be proactively optimizing your site and content for your consumers. Also, always try to stay up-to-date with the Google guidelines; still as the SME of your industry, know the targets and what’s right for your brand.
Lastly, keep up with industry trends so you can get the most out of your content via social, mobile and video vehicles.
Measuring and Optimizing Page Performance
NV: First off, have good partnerships with people that can help you do this. We use BrightEdge. The capabilities it provides to track specific pages and track our target keywords for those pages allows us to optimize existing content, and create new content with the necessary KPIs to track performance.
We are looking at the performance of a specific page now as opposed to the performances of a keyword to help us better identify new content opportunities.
Measuring Content Performance
NV: Our content and SEO teams work hand-in-hand from website design, content layout, keyword planning and topical design to publishing release schedules and outreach programs with social. The two cannot act as silo teams as they may have in the past.
NV: Measurement of content is very important to us. It’s important for us to know which content types or topics are resonating and working for our consumers.
It’s a big win to get a user to a website. If we got them there, we want them to stay longer or come back. In order to do that, we need to understand the behavior and paths our consumers are taking so we have that opportunity. Without measurement, we would be in a black hole. Analytics is the truth to all, without it we can’t understand if what we’re producing is really making a positive or negative impact.
Even knowing that content isn’t working is better than not knowing anything.
The Convergence of Content and SEO.
NV: It’s a long and hard process, and difficult to measure the direct conversion impact you’re making, but worth it if you’re engaging and creating the most relevant content for your users.
In a large organization, it’s even harder to integrate as two separate teams, and there are definitely challenges. Some of the biggest challenges are fundamental things, such as which team is going to do what. Who is going to do the keyword research, write the Title tag and Meta description and create the workflow?
Also, teaching SEO to the content team can be challenging; however my advice is keeping SEO as basic as you can without getting technical. And let them run their show. SEO is a stakeholder to content, not the other way around.
Scaling In-House Session At Share 14
AB: Tell me more about your session.
NV: I will be speaking about: “Scaling In-House: Building the Best Enterprise SEO Operation.” One phrase to describe my presentation is “integrated SEO team.” And how to get there? Restructure, refine and re-launch.
AB: Why Share – Why do you attend?
NV: I really like how Share provides real examples and stories that anyone in this industry can either leverage or relate to. I’m looking forward to hearing what thought leaders of the industry have to share, being that this year is starting a little differently than last year. Also, this is a great conference with lots of networking opportunities with an elite group of SEOs that I’m also very interested in meeting.
AB: What advice can you give attendees to make the most out of their Share experience?
NV: Attend knowing what your objective of the conference is, whether it’s to understand how to measure content or integrate your SEO team. Whatever your purpose is for attending, pay attention and ask questions so you leave with a roadmap of your next steps to achieve your objective. Also, network. You never know how the person next to you can change your perspective.
The Value of the BrightEdge Partnership
AB: Tell us more about how you use BrightEdge.
NV: We leverage the platform for several reasons, first and foremost for tracking and reporting. However, very early on we saw the extensive value it brings with the added features to integrate our data into the tool, the recommendations, page-level reporting, task management, and now more than ever, keyword discovery tools. The Data Cube is the one of the best features BrightEdge has yet.
AB: What do you love about BrightEdge?
NV: I love the people. Without the right people to power a tool, it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. It’s a great tool with lots of valuable features, but the right people make it that much better. I have an extraordinary client services rep that is always on top of everything and very helpful.
And the integration teams we’ve worked with make it so simple to set up.