The past year has seen a steady flow of thoughtful articles and blog posts dealing with topics like the changing world of SEO, the convergence of search and social, the growing importance of PR in website rankings, the critical role content marketing plays in online visibility, the need to coordinate the efforts of various types on digital marketing experts…in short, about web presence optimization (WPO)–even if most of the authors don’t actually use that term.
WPO is the overarching term and concept that these writers are searching for to describe the significant and undeniable changes that have taken place in the search landscape over the past 12-18 months. Backlinks still matter—but the quality of those links matters more than the quantity (indeed, sites can even be penalized for having too many spammy, low-quality backlinks pointing to them). PR, social media, and the production of fresh, high-quality content are vital for maximizing search engine visibility. Online advertising doesn’t directly affect organic search, but it is a vital component of online visibility and can support social and content marketing efforts.
Whether they use the WPO term or not, the authors here deal with a range of compelling questions related to optimizing visibility on the web today, such as: what is “influencer marketing” and why does it matter? How is the role of social media evolving in online visibility? How are agencies and brands successfully integrating owned, earned and paid media efforts? How can you best manage a team of digital marketing professionals to coordinate and optimize overall efforts?
You’ll find the answers to those questions and many more here in more than two dozen of the best WPO guides, tips, tactics and strategies of the past year.
Influencer Marketing – What it is, and Why YOU Need to be Doing it by The Daily SEO Blog
Eric Enge notes that while quality content is a vital component to maximizing online visibility, “superior content is not enough. Unless the world gets to know about it your superior content will get you nowhere. You have to have a way to get the word out. This is where ‘Influencer Marketing’ comes into play. By definition, influencers reach a lot of people (often more than you do), and they have the ability to influence people’s opinions.” He then explains, in richly illustrated detail, how to identify the influencers in your market and persuade them to amplify your content.
The Real Relationship between Social Media and SEO by SocialMouths
Writing that “Everybody knows social media and SEO are connected, but how?…Unfortunately, it’s hard to sort things out because the social-SEO relationship is becoming more intertwined (some would say, muddled) all the time,” (well, that’s why a sound WPO strategy is required, but anyway…) Brad Shorr first distinguishes between rankings (which are what your website gets) and overall display visibility (which includes ads, third party content about you, news, etc. and is much more important) then lists 10 action steps to focus “on social media activities that have SEO impact.”
Why the future of marketing relies on social by iMedia Connection
Curtis Hougland reports that “The average shopper in 2011 used an incredible 10.4 sources of information to make a decision. Simply, there is no epicenter to your marketing any more — not the advertising, not the website, not the store, not the social channel.” He then explains how this insight requires a change in behavior in terms of how marketing teams approach brand, awareness, structure and channels. (It’s also a driving factor behind the WPO framework.)
Brand Choreography Through Integrated Marketing Communications by Blue Focus Marketing
Observing that “the subject of Integrated Marketing Communications is hotter than ever It’s a source of competitive advantage. However, both planning and executing remain a challenge,” Mark Burgess outlines a strategy for what he terms “brand choreography,” essentially communicating a consistent brand message across multiple media channels. He concludes that “Marketers must explore new methods to leverage all elements of the communication mix—advertising, sales promotion, PR, direct marketing, search, Web, and social media—into a single, cohesive, holistic approach.” Which is WPO.
Marketing Research Chart: Does your organization have an inbound strategy? by MarketingSherpa
Kaci Bower reports on MarketingSherpa research showing that “while three quarters of organizations think integration of SEO and social is essential,” less than half of marketers are integrating these tactics (much less content optimization, PR and SEM). But they should be: “the integration of these complementary tactics improves conversion rates. Our research showed a 59% improvement in conversion rates from organic search traffic for marketers who integrated social media and SEO, over those who did not.”
SEM + SEO [PRESENTATION] by e-Strategy Trends
David Erickson shares a presentation from Performics detailing “the cumulative and powerful effect of combining search engine advertising and search engine optimization.” Among the findings presented: “Paid search ads increase clicks to your site, even if you have the #1 organic listing on the search results page,” and a unified web presence strategy will ultimately drive more traffic to a web site than doing organic or paid search alone—or, for that matter, with PR, social or industry marketing.
How to integrate your paid, owned, and earned media by iMedia Connection
Noting that while “agencies recognize the importance of integrating these three media channels for marketing effectiveness…agency revenue models, particularly media agency models, are potentially threatened by integrating paid, owned, and earned media,” the awesome Rebecca Lieb explains how to get it done, including ensuring that the agency understands the importance of (WPO) metrics.
Search in A World Of Converged Media by MediaPost Search Insider
Expanding a bit on Rebecca’s post (above), the brilliant Ryan DeShazer recommends that digital marketers take on the role of “orchestrators” of “all facets of digital and traditional marketing” (or in other words, web presence optimization), and that they use thought leadership as a marketing communications hub.
Search Critical in Brand-Building Strategies by eMarketer
“Search is where the audience can be found,” according to research from eMarketer, noting that 85% of U.S. internet users used search engines either daily or fairly often. Furthermore, “Brands need search—and not just paid ads and higher organic rankings—to help them achieve their overall marketing goals…(but) since search does not stand on its own, all brands should continually develop a broad range of destinations and content that take advantage of the keywords, key phrases and language the target audience uses.” In other words, WPO.
Why social media agencies are a farce by iMedia Connection
***** 5 STARS
Writing that “When I first saw social media agencies starting to pop up all over the place, I started to wonder if there were ever fax marketing agencies. Was there a rush of ambitious entrepreneurs setting up shop to offer fax marketing services when fax machines were brand spankin’ new just because they knew how to use one?,” David Waterman brilliantly drives home the point that social media needs to be integrated into overall online marketing efforts.
Though he doesn’t use the term WPO specifically, he does offer this succinct analysis in support of the WPO model: “For example, you can take any part of his statement, swap the order, and still be left with a valid statement:
– SEO is part social media, audience development, part advertising, and part PR.
– PR is part SEO, part audience development, part advertising, and part social media.
– Audience development is part SEO, part social media, part advertising, and part PR.
– Advertising is part SEO, part audience development, part social media, and part PR.”
Top Inbound Marketing Activities For SEO [CHART] by e-Strategy Trends
David Erickson (again) presents some interesting data on how SEO pros handle inbound marketing. Of the top 10 activities, only a few are “traditional SEO” tasks; the others are focused on social media, analytics, competitive analysis, and content development. As the lines between different specialties continue to blur, silos will have to be eliminated in favor of coordinated efforts.
The Search Power of Brand by SEO Book
Contending that “Having a clear identity (brand) makes you memorable. People will remember your site name. People will search for your site name. And when enough people do that, then there is little chance Google can ever drop you below number #1 for brand searches. If you get it right, Google will even rank you against relevant related keywords you aren’t targeting,” Peter Da Vanzo argues that building a strong brand online is as important for SEO (and web presence more broadly) as traditional generic keyword optimization techniques. He concludes that “SEO, and wider marketing and brand strategy, will all meld together,” which is a pretty good description of WPO strategy.
Why PR Should Not Own SEO (Nor Social Media or Content Marketing) by Social Marketing Forum
Observing that “Since Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, social interaction and relevant content have become more important for search engine optimization (SEO) than ever before. Social media, content marketing and search (SEO and SEA) must be integrated,” the insightful J-P De Clerck concludes that “No channel or tactic should be isolated and no department should own a tactic.” Indeed! The different disciplines need to be unified under a comprehensive approach to web presence.
Investing in SEO: Marketers Do More SEO than They Think by iMedia Connection
Krista LaRiviere, CEO of web presence optimization software vendor gShift Labs, offers some excellent guidance on creating a content marketing strategy that incorporates content development, SEO, social media, PR, video, email marketing and paid search in an integrated fashion. She also shares some slightly misleading numbers, claiming that “94% of searchers click through on organic search results, and that the top three positions in Google earn 61% of the clicks” while just 6% of clicks are on paid search results (ads). While this is true for the universe of all search results, for commercial searches (that is, those searches where a user is looking for information about a product or service in support of a buying decision), clicks on paid results are significantly higher.
Content Optimization Beyond Search [INFOGRAPHIC] by eStrategy Trends
David Erickson (yet again) presents a fascinating infographic on, as the title implies, the importance of optimizing content beyond search. While search is still vital, web users are increasing discovering content througn social networks and social sharing (and search engines are increasingly considering social signals in rankings), meaning that – content needs to be compelling and optimized (and promoted) in channels beyond search.
SEO, Social and Content Marketing in Top Demand by eMarketer
Research from eMarketer shows that nearly a quarter of marketers spend time on content marketing, social media and SEO on a daily basis, and that “over two-thirds of online marketers worldwide generated short-form content assets such as blog posts, social media updates, articles and guides—all of which are used in SEO, social media and content marketing.” We’d add that combining these tactics is even more effective when done by a team focusing on coordinated WPO objectives.
Five Ways to Maximize your Digital Marketing Team by Digital Marketing Suite
Jani Rayner offers tips to “get the best from digital teams,” such as encouraging “the Display, Social and Search teams to work closely together – you will be surprised (or perhaps not) how often this doesn’t happen,” and scheduling regular monthly report[http://wpoinc.com/wpo-metrics-dashboard/business-wpo-metrics-pricing/].
5 Killer SEO Insights from Analyzing a Billion Dollars in AdWords Spend by The Daily DEO Blog
***** 5 STARS
WordStream founder and CTO Larry Kim, slumming on an SEOmoz blog, presents five key insights gained from analyzing an enormous quantity of SEM data, including the average cost of keyword clicks by industry (in the b2b technology realm where we dwell, it ranges from $1.11 to $1.67), to the phenomenal growth in paid search clicks (driven by Google utilizing more screen real estate for these) to demonstrating how the Google display network is effective and complementary to organic SEO efforts. As with WPO, it all works together.
Go Alexa Pro and improve your SEO by WordPress Hosting SEO
Berrie Pelser showcases an infographic from Michelle Shaeffer detailing how she took her blog to a top 100K rank on Alexa using social media, guest blogging, article marketing, news releases…in other words (without quite using the words), through web presence optimization.
Search Marketing: Time To Re-engineer by MediaPost Marketing Daily
Contending that “Long the afterthought of the digital marketing tool kit, ‘search’ is emerging as a nexus between consumer behavior and real-time data. In fact…search must be viewed as a strategic imperative in today’s convergent marketplace…But in order for search to be truly effective, the way we approach it must evolve,” Sargi Mann outlines three key areas that must be addressed and warns against slipping into “turf wars” of disconnected areas of expertise.
6 Small Business Marketing Trends for 2013 by Masterful Marketing
The insightful Debra Murphy outlines six key trends that will affect small business online visibility in 2013, including content marketing, mobile support, and most importantly, “Web presence optimization is the future…(it) helps you consistently increase the digital footprint for your business. Expanding your presence onto the proper social media sites creates more visibility for your brand, enables you to network with people online in addition to offline, and attracts your ideal client through useful information and tools that help them solve a specific problem.”
SEO – Content | Confusion | Clarity by Search Engine Watch
Andy Betts writes that SEO professionals are no longer just tactical implementers, or strategic thinkers, or content marketers, but all of those plus being “holistic and integrated digital marketer(s).” He details the changes forced by Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, comments on the convergence of paid/earned/owned media, and muses about the importance of content production and distribution in this excellent post.
It’s Still the Wild West for Digital Marketers. Get Excited. by BuzzStream Blog
Dan Tynski discuss recent changes to the search markeing landscape and concludes that “If you consider yourself an just an SEO, it is probably time to shift your perspective. Ranking well in Google has become much much more than it was in years past where typical SEO tactics alone could lead you or your clients to success. This new era requires that you become a digital content and online PR expert.” Or perhaps a maestro of web presence optimization, coordinating the efforts of all of the different experts involved in online presence (PR, SEO, content development, social media, PPC) to maximize total online visibility for a company or brand.
Seven Principles to Building an Online Reputation by Spin Sucks
PR expert and author Gini Dietrich shares a presentation and guidance on building an online reputation. Among her key principles: create engaging and valuable content; build a community (“you don’t have a community until people begin talking to one another without the help of the blog’s author”); and comment on other content (her example proves that you never know where this may lead).
Breakdown Of A Person’s Google Results by The Backup List
Though WPO and online reputation management are commonly thought and written about in terms of companies and brands, the same principles apply to an individual’s online presence. Here, Mark Hayes shares an infographic detailing “how people look in Google,” from key points to know (such as that one billion individual names are searched on Google each day, but only half of people own the top result for their own name) to how to make your individual online presence more positive.