Ready to ramp up your online marketing?
If your plan is to hire an SEO firm, or find someone with SEO experience to bring in-house, you’re off-point.
While SEO should be a considered piece of any website (get your on-site structure down pat, get the keywords right, build some links), what you really need is a journalist or media maven.
Believe me. I’ve been in SEO for a number of years and the effectiveness of a pure SEO campaign in the traditional sense is diminishing by the day.
The Transition to Being a Publisher
A few years ago, it started to become obvious to many SEO’s that with each round of Google changes, the tactics of old went out the door. Old link schemes no longer drove up search rankings. Anything and everything that was easy to scale or automate related to SEO seemed to disappear. Google matured.
It wasn’t even the same Google. Universal search brought in a whole new set of listings to the search results. Maps, local listings / “Places”, news results, social media results (Twitter for awhile, Google+), shopping results, Zagat reviews, Google “Comparison Ads” in different verticals like travel and finance . . . all of these have crept into the real estate of a search result in preceding months and years.
So the game is always changing, just like it was a few years ago. But why the journalist?
You need to hire a journalist (or the equivalent) to bring the expertise, credibility, and publishing skills into your business and website so you can stay ahead of your competition, and in step with Google.
Google has put the onus on us to become publishers in the purest sense of the word. Every website, whether it be a corporate behemoth or a consumer review portal, must stand up and take stock of who their audience on the web is, and write content that they will find interesting and share.
Can your SEO do that? Maybe. But I bet a journalist would be much better at it.
The Kind of Journalism Done by a Business in 2013
This isn’t the time or place to get into an ethical or categorical debate about what journalism is, or should be. As business owners or marketers, you can appreciate the convergence of what it means to be a website owner or publisher, and what it means to report and publish news.
By no means do I implore you to go out and turn your property management company into CNN. Instead, what has happened as a result of how people consume content and how easily they can connect to it and comment, is that your property management business can now create it’s own news hub that targets customers and potential customers.
If I’m one of your tenants, it makes sense to me to throw you in my Twitter stream and get fed a story about how property management companies are being regulated differently in my state in 2013. It might mean changes in services or fees for me.
If I’m moving to town and researching house rentals, it makes sense to me to look for customer stories you’ve published on your blog, that might rank in Google for “property management company customer reviews san diego”. Of course, I can’t find you if you didn’t publish those customer stories or reviews.
I also wouldn’t mind getting an email update listing recent blog posts you’ve published about events in and around our property, the 7 benefits of paying your rent with a credit card, or an interview of the owner of the company catering the clubhouse next week.
This is all “news” in some sense – it’s news to me, that I care about, as I’ve been identified as either a customer of a property management company or a potential interested party looking for somewhere cool to live where the management company isn’t a nightmare to deal with.
Journalists Know How to Write For People
You can tell from the above ideas that the content I might find from my property management company shouldn’t be incoherent drivel written by an outsourced firm in Cebu, stuffed with keywords. The worst of SEO’s would most definitely give you that type of content for your blog, or for link promotion.
A journalist would never let that fly. Google always says “write for people, not for search engines.” Well, journalists are trained to write for people. They don’t know any other way.
I think it’s much easier to take a journalist or a company that will publish real news for you, and ensure they are schooled on the basics of SEO than teach an SEO to write like a NY Times editor.
Also, take note of how Google has continued to jam the Google+ profile and author tags/rich snippets into the search results. You’d be hard pressed to do 3 consecutive Google searches and not see an article with someone’s face next to it. That’s credibility, and a hint at how Google is changing to rank content not just by where it’s published, but by who is doing the publishing.
Your new journalist hire or the persona a legit company can create for you? That’s instant credibility on everything you publish. Businesses can’t hide behind a “staff writer” or a fake name on articles the put out there any more. It’s counterproductive and simply odd to do so in the current climate.
Google’s hinting you should be more legit. What’s more legit than real news, from a trained source, working for your company? That’s how to play the game in 2013.