I’ve been thinking a lot about all the SEO changes and tactics I mentioned in last weeks newsletter. In particular, how difficult it is to rank, even if you’re making “highly valuable content”.
For ages, the recommendation from digital marketing experts has been: 1. Create valuable content 2. Make that content shareable 3. Target your keywords and structure your data
However, if hundreds of sites with thousands of great digital marketers are all creating awesome content, how do you break through? The obvious answer is you can’t. So, you decide to focus your customer type and finely tune your content to a very, very, very small community of avid fans of a niche market. But lets face it. There’s almost no such thing as a niche market anymore. Between the quantity of new entrepreneurs and large markets diversifying, niche has lost all meaning. The only niche markets are the ones that have low investment in marketing and have no plans to change (think industrial fabrication, for example).
If you come into a new job and the owner or C-Suite asks what your plans are, you’re probably going to say – audit content, optimize it for personas, review and update SEO, create a community of social media. Yup. You and literally thousands of digital marketers and every company in your industry. But yours will be different, right? It will be on brand. It will be innovative. It will connect with the customers and dramatically increase SERP performance. Then it doesn’t perform and we start throwing vanity metrics like impressions and pageviews into data reports.
I know I’m being grumpy and probably overly condescending. But, this is what’s been going on in my head all week. How do we cut through the noise? No one follows brands on social except the people who work for that brand, people who want to work for that brand, former employees who want to watch it burn, and bots. We’re making content for ourselves. Its one big closed system. We make content so that other people in marketing think its good.
Organic is dead.
So, what are we going to do about it? For one thing, I think we need to stop advising people the way we’ve done in the past. Those three recommendations at the top, stop telling people that. Here’s what I think the new recommendations should be: 1. Create content your current customers need and give it to them however they want it. 2. Set a social media advertising budget from the beginning. Awareness costs money. 3. Stop targeting keywords for organic. In fact, stop targeting keywords. Instead, talk directly to your customers.
The key to all of this is to talk directly to the customers who are using or buying your product/service.
Rant over. On to this weeks newsletter:
– A case study of Canva (or how they started talking directly to their customers and what they wanted).
– Working small.
– An awesome tweet thread from the one and only Rand Fishkin in the Hot Links.
– How to respond to hard situations in this Get Better Friday.
The intent behind Canva
This was a great read. I’m not particularly fond of reading about successful companies and trying to mimic them. Typically I take the opposite approach. I try to find companies that did poorly and attempt to do the opposite of that. But this one is worth keeping a highlighter handy for what to do with content, linking, and landing pages.
My biggest takeaway was the emphasis on creating landing pages targeted at a very specific keyword, on a topic that is topical and urgent for the searcher. We’re way past the basics at this point in the internet and in digital marketing. Creating guides for the basics is necessary, but isn’t going to convert. Hyper focus, highly specialized and extremely topical. That’s the future of ranking and the way you’ll be finding customers in 2021.
Zest for local
If you’re reading this, then you know I am overly aggressive about the importance of local marketing and local SEO. Everyone wants to compete on the big stage, but the real winners work small. There are more than a dozen platforms that we try to deliver hundreds of messages hoping to cut through the noise. But, if you focus… Really focus on very small areas and tiny audiences, you’ll start some momentum.
When I say small, I mean tiny. Three keywords, in one city, on one platform. Can you do that?
This is well worth a listen. The time to focus on this is right now, no more wasting time.
- How search is changing – a Twitter thread
This has been rattling around in my head all week. How do you rank if everyone in your industry is creating “highly valuable, deep content”? How does Google know which to surface? 2020 is forcing a lot of changes on individuals, companies and entire industries and Marketing will be no exception. The world moves at an incredible pace. Having the best guide in your segment won’t guarantee you clicks any more. Personally, I think the more time you spend on delighting your existing customers, you will be rewarded. Ranking and driving high volume of traffic is the old way. Get with the times.
- Peruse ridiculously good text marketing. – Really Good Texts
- Tips For Being a Successful Remote Marketer | The Marketing Careers Podcast
- Stock Photography Impact on SEO – Search Engine Journal
Three responses to hard situations | Get Better Friday
Last time I focused on telling the truth and how letting the truth be free can also set you free. In that message, I mentioned I had to overcome a personal realization and stop blaming myself for being laid off. This week, more info on how I did that and helped overcome that feeling that somehow being laid off was my fault.
For me this came down to 3 ways to respond to high stress situations. These are choices we make and our response is totally in our control. Its how we choose to respond that will determine our output. We have three choices:
- Remain the victim.
- Look for new perspectives.
- Find the opportunity for change. Learn from the past, take care of the present, prepare for the future.
Would love to hear from you on this topic!
These blogs are just the tip of the iceberg. To go deeper and hear more stories around the tech and life around these journals, check out the DC Tech Talks Podcast.
Need even more?
Check out my sister podcast Go With The Heat. We just relaunched the show after going through all of the 80’s goodness that was Miami Vice. The updated show is now going deeper into the greatest era of action movies, 1975 – 1995.
Digital marketing professional
Into digital marketing? Get a newsletter all about the best stuff in digital marketing over the last week plus deep-dives into this industry.