When discussing digital marketing strategy, still so often I hear talk about how to acquire fans and views for the cheapest amount.  I tend to find that a misplaced, old-fashioned discourse that will likely create accidents online and even bigger headaches down the road.  It’s just no longer acceptable!  For many, under those expectations, the opportunity for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) will be muzzled by impatience and insatisfaction for not having started with a legitimate, well-constructed digital marketing strategy in the first place (much less a fully integrated marketing strategy).  I believe that one of the most under-utilized and undervalued tools today is to have observation sessions of consumers surfing the web.  Pure players are used to that, but big brands and, especially older executives in large corporations, are probably many light years from understanding the consumer experience online.  As a result, they struggle to adopt the correct digital marketing mindset.

Digital marketing strategy – first stop: content

Digital Marketing Strategy - cogs teamwork at the Myndset Brand Strategy

As opposed to preoccupying oneself with the number of eyeballs, fans and followers, the key issue is coming up with the value-added content that one is going to provide to the intended audience.  If the content is perceived as valuable, genuine and timely, there is a good chance that the eyeballs will follow with a higher level of interactivity, engagement and, ultimately, impact.  That content needs to provided in the right format, across the right platforms and with due consideration for the intended audience.

Strategic SEO means great content

Only once the editorial line of that content has been well and truly considered — and bought into throughout the organization — then SEO takes all its power.  When constructing a digital marketing strategy, the relationship to eyeballs and views is, of course, important.  But, the race for numbers cannot overshadow the content marketing strategy and the accompanying search engine optimization.  Is there an ideal mix between search engine marketing and search engine optimization?  Yes, but it depends on each brand and context!  In other words, there is no magic number. {Tweet this} As the pressure mounts to “perform” over the short-term, the risk is to overweight and over-rely on the short cut that Google CPC adwords and Facebook ads represent.

Going against the flow

There is an inexorable feeling to the way that the giants of the Internet search world (Google, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter) will gain evermore ad revenues from brands grasping for numbers.  These are typically the brands that have not transformed into a social digital marketing mindset.  At this point in time, 94% of people will not click on anything beyond the first page.  I wonder how many people reading this post know that Google has craftily, without much fanfare, changed its landing page such that certain search terms come up with only seven results on the top page?  {See below}  If the natural results on the first page are now just 7 deep instead of 10 items, the real estate on that first page is getting ever more expensive.  If you haven’t noticed, try it yourself — you can observe the front page below for “themyndset.”  According to Compete.com (via Search Engine Watch), note that the first natural result gets 53% of the traffic.

Digital Marketing Strategy SEO, The Myndset Brand Strategy

Strategic SEO = Socially Earned Online

The other element that continues to gain weight is the social media “enhanced” results.  A post I wrote recently was first listed — on the front page in position #3 — in Google as part of Google+ post.  It was only 12 or so hours later that the post was listed in its own right.  The importance of social love and/or social proof about a post’s interest and integrity relative to a search term means that, even when we programme, incite or otherwise are retweeted, the way people write about you is super important.

As the search engines continue to ferret out the “gamers,” link farmers and otherwise empty brands, the role of SEO will take a formal and pivotal role in structuring a proper digital marketing strategy.  In this approach, SEO is optimizing true content that is relevant to the audience, adding value and, in many cases, time sensitive.  That is what I mean when I refer to strategic SEO.

The fundamental issue is that this is a long-term strategy that must be confronted with short-term results.  It is important to find the right mix for your business between SEM and SEO.  Ultimately, the right mindset means giving before you expect in return. {Click to Tweet}  If you want to get the right digital marketing strategy, start with giving good quality and value.  The numbers should over the long haul flow thereafter.

Your thoughts and reactions are welcome!

Here is some good follow-on reading on the topic of Strategic SEO:

  • Gavin Llewellyn: Good SEO is about quality not quantity
  • Soshable: If you don’t think social signals aren’t important…

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