Jun 21, 2013

Insights from SES Toronto: Content Marketing & Link Building

I learned so much from SES Toronto that I really don’t know if I can share it all in just one blog post!  The Search Engine Strategies conference is always extremely beneficial.  Thought leaders are there discussing trends and experts are there speaking about results they’ve experienced.

I attended numerous sessions and had the honor of participating at the experts roundtable in Content Marketing.  During my session I shared my expertise about the value of creating good solid content.  Answering questions such as: why does a blog post need to be at least 300 characters? And why writing a sales pitch is not a good content marketing strategy? And helping conference attendees understand that good content can be a blog post all on its own. My post-conference blog will focus on what I learned and how the search marketing industry is in constant flux and what marketing professionals can do about it.

There were two overall themes that came out of SES Toronto: link building and content marketing.

Jon Ball spoke about link building and by far it was probably my favorite session at SES Toronto.  I actually took two pages of notes, instead of scribbling a few solid takeaways.  Jon discussed why link building isn’t dead even as Google’s Penguin 2.0 update grips the SEO community.

The best element of his session came when he discussed how you get links that matter.  In other words, you can work on building links, but will Google count them in their algorithm?  Here are four things you DON’T do:

  • Don’t count on links counting when you push out a press release and get 20 sites to post it.  Duplicate content will invalidate the link.
  • Don’t post on spammy sites.  If you get a link from a low quality site, the link is going to be low quality.  Don’t bother, the link will most likely not count.
  • Make sure the content isn’t garbage.  If you get a link from an article that is garbage, the link will have little value.
  • Make sure the site linking to you is not irrelevant to the keyword.  If you have a website about food, why would it matter if a computer blog links to you.  It won’t be totally discounted, but it is much better to have a relevant food site linking to you. 

Another overall theme of SES was content marketing.  While content marketing has recently become the buzz word in the world of online and digital marketing , it is nothing new, just ask the hundreds of thousands of bloggers that create content daily.  They market themselves daily through their content and while they don’t generally sell products, they have a large audience.  This model should be emulated by brands and businesses.  One of the hardest things I tell a brand is to not talk about yourself.  Company blogs should not be a sales pitch, in the form of a blog.  Who actually reads that? The answer is NO ONE.  By getting creative and adding value to your customers, your brand will be elevated through the content you produce.  The very idea of content marketing is foreign to many traditional marketers.  But when you stop talking about yourself or your brand, and talk about your industry or relevant topics around your brand, you add value to the conversation. 

Overall SES was an excellent experience.  If you have the opportunity to attend, do it!  You will learn so much!


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