Over the past month or so, SEO luminaries have been sharing their perspectives on the fast changing world of optimization on the HubSpot Blog.
In this brief interview with
, co-founder of the Web Analytics Association, prolific writer, author and an expert in all things online marketing, underscores the fundamental premise of inbound marketing -- great content that is desirable to your target prospects will drive great results.
How have you seen SEO as a practice change over the last few years?
I've been around the search marketing industry since the mid-to late 90s, when getting ranked was by manipulating the search engines by putting up ‘spammy' pages that only a search engine would like. When Google and it's PageRank algorithm came on the scene they
started to reward relevance
to the visitor over things like keyword repetition. Google has continued to evolve it's algorithm to continuously optimize the experience for their end user and your visitor. This combined with the fact that Google acquired an analytics firm called Urchin 5 years ago and shortly after started giving out
for free has
challenged the practice of SEO to deliver quality, relevant content and to be accountable for it.
Is search engine rank important? Why or Why not?
I've never met a
spider with a credit card! Would you prefer to have a number one ranking page that never converts any visitors or a page that ranks 129th but brings you 1 conversion a week? I'll take the conversion any time.
Rankings are for egos, conversions are for dollars!
How do you think localization and personalization have changed the relevance of search ranks?
Universal search has changed things so that
at least 1 out of every 5 searches is personalized
, and there are different rankings based on news, local, images, video, device, etc. Google will show you different number 1 results depending where you are, what you have searched for in the past, if you are on your desktop or mobile phone. Don't worry about rankings, focus on being relevant and the
search engines will reward you with traffic
What will be the impact of social media inclusion in search?
Social media will provide some
signal to the search engines
about real time interest in content and topics. It will also provide social proof to others as they do searches and they see other people like them searching and discussing the topics they are interested in. Also Google will begin adding product ratings and reviews into their search results, and even into their AdWords product offerings. Google is really serious about the voice of the customer and social media and businesses leveraging it as much as they can.
What is the most important thing an SMB can do to improve organic traffic?
Focus on regularly producing relevant, timely and engaging content that meets the buying needs of your target market. Spend time every day tweaking and continuously improving the visitor experience on your website.
If you build a reputation for quality and relevant content you will get the traffic and conversions you are after.
No need for a HubSpot wrap up - since Bryan's point is crystal clear. Why don't you tell us what you are doing to make sure you've got great content that is well targeted?