As the content marketing world takes a step back from search engine optimization and focuses instead on user experience, the atmosphere is abuzz with conflicting and often confusing chatter about what was once the name of the game. “Is SEO dead?” “My company uses SEO--should we stop?” “If I’m still using SEO techniques, will Google penalize my site?” I can’t tell you how many times my colleagues and I have heard these questions--in fact, many of our brand friends are still asking them. To put it in simple terms, search engine optimization is not dying, it’s simply undergoing a significant metamorphosis. This situation reminds me of a good friend of mine named Mercury, who was a junior member of the X-Men. When she first encountered her mutant powers--namely, the ability to transform into a fluid metallic substance--she could initially do nothing more than lay in a puddle on the ground. Her parents were frightened, and no one quite knew how to accept or work with her until she joined the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning.
No, Google’s newest penalty won’t turn you into a puddle of mercury. What I’m trying to say is that extreme change can be a difficult and somewhat frightening time for all business leaders and content marketers. Rather than fighting the change, however, try to embrace these key points for your ultimate success:
• Write for your audience. The Contentinators have embraced this policy since the foundation of the Blogging Bastion, and now Google is favoring it heavily. Keyword stuffing and poorly-written content are long gone. Write naturally about topics your audience would appreciate.
• Prioritize user experience with your web design. This means taking a focus on clean layouts, mobile responsiveness, and quick load times. While the user of five years ago didn’t have as much insight as to good design elements, today’s consumer has become increasingly discerning.
• Make your content shareable whether it comes in text form or as a video, picture, or even an infographic. The days of completely text-based sites have been cast aside for vibrant, engaging content arenas.
• Demonstrate that you’re real by interacting with fans on social channels and responding promptly and engagingly to any comments. Auto-responding is no longer acceptable and is sure to cause you to lose a few followers.
Overall, making Google happy has taken a decidedly more human approach--a fact that should make business owners rejoice, as their customers are their first priority. Embrace this new form of optimization, as Mercury embraced her new form, and you’ll wind up with some powerful and creative results.