Even though we teach it, SEO isn’t everything for online marketing. I was reading an article in Inc. Magazine today, and the CEO of Fab.com, Jason Goldberg’s business goal is as follows, “If we make people smile, lots and lots of money will follow over time.” He recently told his employees that he didn’t care what the exact sales numbers were. Instead, “I care about the brand we’re building and the emotional bond we have with our customers.”

So many of us who do any type of online marketing, spend a lot of misguided time worrying about the “best” magic keyword phrase to put in our title tag, or finding the latest hot SEO technique to bring the masses in droves to our website.

I’m a huge fan of David Meerman Scott’s book, “The New Rules of Marketing and PR“. When you read his book, now in its third edition, you’ll quickly learn that title tags and trying to reverse engineer the Google Panda rules is completely pointless and a wasted effort.

Instead, if we focus on what Goldberg says is his business goal – to deliver what the customer wants and give them a smile in the process – people (our customers) will come to us without having to worry about “doing” SEO.

In reality, isn’t that what Google attempts to deliver to us? The programmers at Google spend a lot of effort (think Panda and Penguin here) to cut out the websites that have artificially inflated rankings, and instead deliver results that have true value to us.

Content Marketing Wins Every Time

So what exactly is content marketing, and what does that have to do with SEO and keyword research?

Just over three years ago, I had a student, Larry Waight, fly up from Belize in Central America and take my SEO workshop in California. He is the Marketing Manager for a Belize eco-resort called Chaa Creek. He had a little web experience, but not really much technical experience. The lesson he learned in the class (among many) is that he has to deliver what people are looking for when they’re searching the internet. By doing the keyword research first, finding out what his customers want, then delivering the content, is so much more powerful.

Larry went back to Belize with a copy of Scott’s book in hand, and spent the last three years building lots of content on his website that his potential customers want to learn about traveling in Belize. In his content, he’s talking about the area and all the wonderful attractions Belize has to offer, not just his resort. He understands that everyone wins if people are coming to Belize to spend money.

Recently, Larry was lucky enough to host David Meerman Scott in a marketing summit in Belize, and when Mr. Scott interviewed him (see video here), Larry said that a whopping 80% of their tourist business comes from the web, because they are delivering the content their customers want to consume. He gets the value to his company and the region, and has essentially stopped all “traditional” advertising efforts because it works so well.

Another company that I’ve worked with, Selling Timeshares, is a vacation timeshare resale business. I had seven of their employees in a private corporate SEO training class, and they’ve spent the last nine months building lots and lots of articles on their website. These articles are designed to draw their ideal customers to their site by giving them real value and information. Their SEO rankings and traffic have steadily increased month over month the more they have put effort into this.

Benefits of Content Marketing

Aside from all that I mention above, content marketing has so many benefits too:

  • The website will be found for many more keyword phrases than you optimize it for
  • It will attract many more natural links to the site, than trying to artificially “build” links
  • Customers will continue to refer to your website as a reference. This builds trust with them and when they are ready to buy, they will remember you

Guess what? We at the Search Engine Academy believe this philosophy to the core too. That’s why we have such an active blog with so many contributors.

Yes, we eat our own dog food too.