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Inbound Marketing: A Cooperative Effort
By: terri
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    If you've done much reading about search engine optimization lately, you may have noticed the term “SEO” used less frequently than “inbound marketing.” This shift in terminology reflects the many changes the field has undergone over the years. But it's more than that.

    The fact of the matter is, the RATE of change in SEO has been accelerating since social media became a dominant force. SEO isn't just about ranking well on Google (or other search engines) anymore. It encompasses link building, on-page optimization, conversion optimization, keyword research, social media optimization, and much more. The term “inbound marketing” seems to be an attempt to include all of these tasks and techniques under one umbrella.

    Stoney deGeyter recognizes how much companies need an integrated approach to their online marketing today. He noted that “Businesses today need much more than an SEO agency. They need a web marketing firm that looks beyond rankings to help clients set online growth goals, develop strategies to achieve those goals and measure the success of those strategies along the way. Those goals are achieved through a variety of online marketing channels.”

    What does this mean to you? If you're working with an SEO company, you need to truly collaborate with them. This means they need full access to your website. They also need to work with your marketing department, your website developers, and your business managers. Everyone needs to be on the same page to make this work.

    “But wait!” I hear you say. “I just want to rank well on Google, and everything else will take care of itself!” It's not that simple. Google uses more than 200 ranking signals, and may use up to 200 different versions of its algorithm all at the same time. If that's not scary enough, deGeyter notes that “The weight of each of the search signals vary by industry, website and even the individual as locality, personalization, social networks, relevance, comprehensiveness, freshness and speed all factor in and even change on a daily basis.”

    You may think you're paying your SEO company to understand how all this applies to your website and your own field, so you don't have to spend the time figuring it out for yourself. But here's the issue: a number of those signals Google watches deal with how your site is put together, how easily visitors navigate through it, your company's visibility on social media, and more. You may not think of these areas as traditionally the domain of SEO, but they are now – and that's why the people at your company who deal with them, your marketers and website builders and business managers, need to interact with  your SEO company.

    If you decide to spend the time educating yourself about SEO so that you can do it for your own website – and plenty of small business owners do, and even find it rewarding – you'll understand why the term “inbound marketing” is now being used to cover so much ground. It's territory that we don't normally think of as belonging to SEO, but it's become nearly impossible to separate from it anymore, if SEO is to be done responsibly. It's not about gaming the algorithm so much as building a great website for the long haul – and just as building an awesome website takes input and cooperation from a lot of people, so does inbound marketing, properly done.

    As deGeyter puts it, “It's not about temporarily achieving top rankings because you've outsmarted the algorithm, but rather to build a site that deserves top rankings because your website is better than the competition and you've established the trust signals to prove it.” Whether you call it SEO or inbound marketing, it's become the most solid way to boost your company's online presence for the long haul. Good luck!

    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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