Search Engine Optimization:

Developing Online Content To
Attract More Qualified Leads and Sales

Link building? Content optimization? SERPs? Sometimes the technical jargon of SEO obscures the real thing marketing managers need to know. What is the path from Page Rank to payoff? It has to make dollars to make sense.

Web-savvy companies who've figured it out are already using natural SEO tactics to generate more leads and sales-- while simultaneously improving their search engine rankings. Here's what they understand...

The Relationship of Page Rank and SERPs

Of all the factors that help determine search engine ranking positions (SERPs), there’s one the “Big 3” search engines agree on: A most influential factor in the search engine ranking of a web page is the quality of its inbound links (IBLs). That is, the links that point to it from the pages of other websites (also called "back links").

When a web page with high Page Strength --what Google refers to as Page Rank-- links to another website, search engines view it as a “vote of confidence” from a credible source. Because of this, the recipient website gets a portion of the strength of the linking page. Of course, there are other factors involved in calculating SERP rankings, but the key factor isn't your page rank as much as the page strength of the pages that link to yours.

Since search engines consider the quality of inbound links as an indication of the importance of a page, a well planned, well-executed link building strategy is the backbone of (off site) search engine optimization.

Why Do Websites Link To Others? Why Should They Link To Yours?

The primary (unpaid) reason a website links to another is because of the value the other site’s content can provide to its own visitors. The link attraction process, then, depends heavily on the creation and distribution of valuable information. Linking partners, however, are not just selected for the page strength they can offer.

Strategic linking relationships should also be cultivated with sites that attract the visitors you'd most like to reach. Links from those partners are sources of well-targeted referral traffic.

Remember, too, that nothing is static on the Web. A site with a low Page Rank today can have much higher rankings in the future (and vice versa!).

Quality Content Attracts Quality Referral Traffic

Referral clients come with the shortest sales cycles, the highest entry point orders, and have a greater lifetime value than clients who come through advertising channels. When they become satisfied customers, they tend to make additional referrals at much higher rates than any other customer segment.

Referred traffic coming from carefully selected IBLs can often be your most readily convertible visitors. Since referred visitors are coming from what they perceive to be a credible and trusted source, you inherit a measure of trust and credibility from the start.

A well-designed linking strategy can result in hundreds of links from targeted traffic sources-- irrespective of the recipient company’s search engine status. Referred traffic can begin as soon as a linking partner installs the link. This is why a variety of branding and traffic opportunities often begin to emerge before substantial gains in search engine visibility. It's the high value content, however, that makes the strategy work.

An effective content optimization strategy delivers unforeseen benefits because it takes advantage of the viral nature of the Web. Articles and white papers, for instance, can be picked up, circulated, and linked to by far more sources than could have ever been found independently.

Use Content Optimization For A Competitive Edge

Quality content creation provides an opportunity to build brand recognition while attracting long-term strategic traffic. It also “brands” a website with the search engines as one with high “thematic relevance”. (A good thing.)

The strategic distribution of knowledge resources will strengthen a firm’s reputation as an expert, thought leader, or authority. For professional service providers and other knowledge vendors, this is a powerful competitive edge.

Since this same marketing collateral can be repurposed and used across a variety of media, both on- and offline, it's a good way to leverage scarce marketing dollars. And, by the way, the expert implementation of your content optimization and linking strategy will improve your search engine rankings as a result.

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