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Getting the technical details of search engine-friendly web development correct is important, but once the basics are covered, you must also market your content. The engines by themselves have no formulas to gauge the quality of content on the web. Instead, search technology relies on the metrics of relevance and importance, metrics are measured by tracking what people do: what they discover, react, comment, and link to. So, you can’t just build a perfect website and write great content; you also have to get that content shared and talked about.
Content marketing creates signals across the web that build credibility and authority with your audience. In addition to the many SEO benefits of content marketing, it can be used as a means to connect with your targeted audience.
Search engines constantly strive to improve their performance by providing the best possible results. While "best" is subjective, the engines have a very good idea of the kinds of pages and sites that satisfy their searchers. Generally, these sites have four traits in common:
There are a limited number of variables that search engines can take into account directly, including keywords, links, and site structure. However, through linking patterns, user engagement metrics, and machine learning, the engines make a considerable number of intuitions about a given site. Usability and user experience are second order influences on search engine ranking success. They provide an indirect but measurable benefit to a site's external popularity, which the engines can then interpret as a signal of higher quality.
Crafting a thoughtful, empathetic user experience helps ensure that visitors to your site perceive it positively, encouraging sharing, bookmarking, return visits, and inbound links—all signals that trickle down to the search engines and contribute to high rankings.
When a search engine delivers a page of results to you, it can measure the success of the rankings by observing how you engage with those results. If you click the first link, then immediately hit the back button to try the second link, this indicates that you were not satisfied with the first result. Search engines seek the “long click” — where users click a result without immediately returning to the search page to try again. Taken in aggregate over millions and millions of queries each day, the engines build up a good pool of data to judge the quality of their results.
In 2011 Google introduced the Panda update to its ranking algorithm, significantly changing the way it judged websites for quality. Google started by using human evaluators to manually rate thousands of sites, searching for low-quality content. Google then incorporated machine learning to mimic the human evaluators. Once its computers could accurately predict what the humans would judge a low-quality site, the algorithm was introduced across millions of sites spanning the Internet. The end result was a seismic shift that rearranged over 20% of all of Google's search results.
Develop great content, may be the most oft-repeated suggestion in the SEO world. Despite its cliched status, though, this is sound advice. Appealing, useful content is crucial to search engine optimization. Every search performed at the engines' comes with an intent—to find, learn, solve, buy, fix, treat, or understand. Search engines place web pages in their results in order to satisfy that intent in the best possible way. Crafting fulfilling, content that addresses searchers' needs improves your chance to earn top rankings.
Creativity, high-quality writing, use of examples, and the inclusion of images and multimedia can all help in crafting content that perfectly matches a searcher's goals. Your reward is satisfied searchers who demonstrate their positive experience through engagement with your site or with links to it.