How To Use SEO, Social Media & Content Marketing For Increasing Profits – Scott Cowley

hello everyone welcome to another Stukent Expert Session my name is
Trevor Ericsson and I will be the webinar organizer today we are extremely lucky
and privileged to have Scott Cowley with us he comes to us from the sunny state of Arizona where he is a marketing strategy
instructor and PhD student at Arizona State
University he's researching social media and
digital strategy there before he moved down to Arizona he was the head of SEO at a industry-leading mobile accessories
company called zag you probably have a few of their products
on some your mobile devices and we're just excited to have him with
us and without any for their deal we will turn the time over to Scott
alright thanks Trevor so today I'll be covering SEO, social
media and content marketing trying to get all
three done in just half an hour or so I Trevor did on the introduction you can catch me on Twitter
at Scott Cowley or at my website Scott Cowley but
let's jump into it because we've got a lot to cover in a very short amount of
time I wanna make sure that we cover as
much as we can just to give you an overview of where we're gonna go today the objective is to make sure we cover SEO social media and
content marketing and specifically how those three items
relates to driving profits from a business
standpoint so we will give you a little bit of an overview of what the landscape is like now and how those three pieces fit into it and talk about some theoretical and tactical sides to executing those things well as a
business so if you wanna look at digital landscape as it
currently exists the website really sits at the centre of it I mean obviously
there are a few different business models that exist online e-commerce the generation advertising and
subscription or just four of the major business models but you
see that there are a lot of different channels distribution platforms that support and drive traffic to the website and
help businesses fulfill that center goal really I like to
break things out into owned media paid media and earned media
and really what we're covering today amazingly enough we talked about SEO and
organic search represents only one of the elements of earned media and yet it's a huge component and we will talk more about that later on as well content marketing really described
almost all owned media online and its social
media when you think about it can really
can be represented as owned media in terms of the
profiles the companies are creating for themselves but also as earned media as people share
information about the company's they spread word of mouth online about products and services so
you see that there's a lot out there that we're
not even gonna cover today but what we are going to cover
represents a very big portions of online traffic and
revenue generation so let's first start and talk
about search engine optimization some people have a lot more familiarity
with this that others and it's actually not that complicated but I think it's
helpful to understand first why is this an important industry what
is it about SEO that drives profit so we think about how people search you
and I search everyday for things online so those
searches are informational they are navigation we're trying to
get to a particular website or just trying to get to a page that has you know where then we can refine your search
once or or navigate summer once we get there but a lot of the search is that a place
or transactional and in a typical advertising model like you see simplified on the
left know a lot about advertising is designed
to promote awareness about companies and then move those
people from just being aware that the company
and products exists to actually considering them when
they're thinking about making purchase decisions to where ultimately they intend to and finally make purchases what happens with
searches it actually speeds up the process people are already aware what they want
in some general sense there much more crimes to wants to buy when they're performing
especially transactional searches trying to get what they need however
they don't always know where they're going to get it or who
they're going to purchase it from that's a lot of what drives the success of search engine
optimization having your website show up first or ok when you're the top when
somebody searches for something generic and they don't have a particular company
or website in mind ends up driving a lot of profit and I will show you what I am talking about so to the left to the far left there is what we
call a heat map so what you're looking at is a typical Google search result and
this is really representative of what usually happens if we are looking at all
the searches people perform you see the dark a red represents where people are focusing
most of their attention when doing these searches they're not looking down at
the web sites that show up at number
nine or number ten they're largely focused on what appears
at the very top of the search results and you can even see in the middle chart which talks about the amount of time people spend looking
at the individual results both are looking at some of the paid ads that show up on search results as well as the
organic listings which companies have a lot more
interest in because they don't have to pay for those listings and then on the right you'll notice that
this represents some metrics associated with how often
people actually click through to web sites depending upon the position they show up after they
perform a search so you will see that on average about almost 20 percent of the clicks on a search
engine result page are going to the company website that
shows up in the first position so naturally you can understand why
people would want to show up there they're going to get a lot higher consideration for people when
their looking at making purchases here's an example of one that I dealt with
personaly at ZAG one of the key words we were interested in showing up for and ranking well for is the term iPad accessories
because that can drive a lot traffic and revenue and so you can see how the SEO final
works from the standpoint so let's say we
start out where there are 27,000 monthly searches for that term iPad accessories now
we don't necessarily know what people are searching or they're interested in certain types of
products verses others but it represents a fairly commercial search intent behind that term so people
searching for iPad accessories are likely to be interested in looking
at specific products potential to purchase so let's say we
start out with 27,000 monthly searches let's assume that we're able to rank
number one for that keyword and you know
optimistically get a 20 percent click-through rates
only a 20 percent to those 27,000 click through to our website and then let's say on average a
typical e-commerce conversion rate could range anywhere
from half a percent to you know much higher could be even as
high as in the five to ten percent range but let's be
conservative and say we only convert one percent of those people into making a
purchase and then let's assume we are able to make forty dollars profit
every time we convert somebody well that eventually translates
into over two thousand dollars in a month for
showing at number one for that one single keyword and the great part
about search engine optimization SEO is that when you rank well for a competitive term like I-pad accessories is a high correlation with you having good rankings for other
related terms or longer terms we often call those
long tail keywords: so you can see how this could be very profitable if you are operating a website with really good search engine
optimization it is able to pull in a lot of different keywords it can result
in a lot of revenue down the line okay so let's now talk about what
exactly goes into determining who ranks in which position this is really the
core what SEO is and I like to describe it in two
parts and it's a lot more complicated that
the fact that is that Google looks at over two hundred different
factors for determining whether a page should rank above or below a different page for a particular
searcher but let's keep it simple and talk about
SEO in terms of two components we have on-page SEO so how relevant is the content on a web page and then off-page SEO which represents how popular is that page in general landscape of different web pages online and that's usually measured in at
least in Google's algorithms and other search engines by the number and the quality of the links that
are pointing from other web sites to your website now one thing I
do want to clarify is that a lot of people get confused
that Google ranks pages and not web sites as a whole so if you hear somebody say my website ranks number one in Google
what they really mean is that I have a page on my website that
ranks number one for a particular keyword so it's important
to make sure that we are talking about
pages because one page can be very relevant for a keyword while another page maybe completely irrelevant in both those
could be on the same site but Google basically crawls the web using technical spiders to create an index of all the pages that
it finds on the Internet and it does that by just
going from link to link following those links to creates a large index of pages there attributes algorithms you know Google's
algorithm basically matches up those pages with the search queries or the key words
that people are searching for so that some of these searches like
iPad accessories Google can easily quickly very quickly
crawl its index and say okay based on this person their previous search history where
they're located now we think that this particular page should show up number one this other page show up number two etc for that
particular search result but really it's those two parts that
determine who rates at which position the on-page SEO or the relevancy of the
content on the website and then the popularity of that webpage based on link factors so let's talk
first abouts on page and relevancy so a lot of SEO really has to do with
keywords right which keyword are you searching
for and does the website actually use those
keywords on those pages and if we can have a good match
there then that's a highly relevant webpage it was more likely to display it
but it does start with keywords and understanding who's actually
searching for which terms and you know if your a business you need
to figure out which keywords do we want to show up for
that are likely to be very relevant to our business so that
if somebody searches or something like iPad accessories
ninety percent of the time they're expecting to find a website
exactly like my website but you a lot of it starts with
understanding search volumes for particular keywords
and google has a free tool called the AdWords keyword planner that is used
primarily for their paid search but you can go to the URL at the
bottom actually enter different keywords in and see the average
monthly searches for particular terms you can see how I
put in a few different words here eg dog toys right dog
toys getting twelve thousand 100 monthly searches and then down the
line depending upon you know what people are
actually searching for but that's a great place to start
because then you can say okay I know that these are the most popular terms therefore I may want to optimize my pages
for these terms to show up and how do you exactly
optimize I think that's another critical component
understanding what makes a page optimized for a particular keyword
Google's looking at a bunch of factors like I said but some other core ones that you are looking for are right on the page itself they're looking at the URL of the page
looking at the page title know a lot of people are familiar with the fact that every web page has a title
and you can see up here in the corner the
browser here that's there's a page title
associated with this page so Google is looking to see if the keywords that someone searches
for actually found up in that page title they're also looking at the body content rights what's on what's in the body of the
page the h1 tag is almost like a header tag to describe what the page is about you'll see this commonly a lot web sites like this one says welcome to
PSI well unless somebody is searching for PSI that header tag isn't necessarily going
to be really relevance to a lot of other search terms an amended description is something that
Google's not taking into account when they are deciding which ages to
rank however that meta description does show
up in the search result and so people you can determine what the
pages about give a detailed description there and
people are more likely to click through to your website from a search results when they read
that meta description it's compelling and it prompts the, to click through K so I am as a result a the fact that on-page SEO is a critical piece and probably most critical in determining whether your site ranks best or worst no I do want to talk about and to show you
some of the other trends we're seeing lately in terms of search how people are
searching this is from Google Trends so one of the key trends that we're seeing
recently is that people want web sites to do the work for them
so no longer are they content with just searching for
headphones they want to know what the best
headphones are so they're more likely to search for terms and use superlatives like best biggest fastest in their search results
and so companies need to take advantage of these and incorporate
those type of terms into their content another example are dates
people realize now there's so much information
online and that a lot of that is no organized very well and Google may even
be showing old content that may be outdated or irrelevant people are modifying their searches
incorporating years is the most common modifier to read trying to contents more relevant so that's why in many
cases it's appropriate to incorporate year insists into some contact you have
that may change over time in terms of its relevancy so put in
2014 for example would make that more
relevant more likely to show up for these date specific terms and the other one I find potentially most fascinating as a people
we are now starting to type in full questions rather than shortens your general specifics here's one
example there a lot of other examples that demonstrate this but you look at the
trends over the last several years people searching
for oil change instructions verses a longer more specific self-referential term like how do I
change my oil now in terms of optimizing for these type of keywords it doesn't necessarily it may not make a lot of sense for you
to have some of your core product pages be phrased in a very long way like this
but thats one of the reasons why people are moving
heavily into things like blogging because it would make
much more sense and be very natural for a company to have
a corporate blog and create a post that has
one of these longer terms that's able to pull in some of that what we call long tail traffic and
then direct them more towards the businesses core products and services
that's a lot of what content marketing is about capturing different audiences at different intense a
different keywords and then once you capture that traffic
being able to integrate that with your products and
services to be able to sell things better so the other big
piece SEO is called off page SEO like I mentioned
were talking about how popular is your website or that
particular webpage how not how valuable are the links
that are pointing to it how many do you have what types of sites are you getting links from to your
website you know you can compare it to like a big voting game where every link to your web page counts as votes and Google's looking at
the votes to determine who should rank for which terms you can
use they can be helpful in determining where
you sit in relation to your links a true world ritual called open
Site Explorer or work and this is really good an easy
way to see how many links are pointing to my
website right now and terms of quality and quantity and you can also develop you figure out
how strong is my collection links compared to my
competitors let's say for example that you have
pages that are perfectly optimized from a content standpoints for
particular keywords you're going after and you're
still not raping very well for those well a lot of the
waco rankings is explained by how good your backlink portfolio is seems to like this to see
how am i compared to those the ranking ahead of
me what types that links to I need to try and acquire you can also use this to a identify
maybe some harmful links that could be damaging your ability to be seen as
reputable or popular okay if fact we go back to the landscape
though that we showed before there are a lot of different
sources for links you think about the fact that all these
types of web sites or content types could be
supplying links to your website's one of most common ones
would be news sites and those represent a source of really
popular and authoritative but there are a lot of different
link sources let's chat briefly about some other
frequent SEO mistakes I see on of the ones that's ends up impacting lot of sites is duplicate
content either because a lot of their pages have the exact same
content because really you should be targeting maybe two or three keywords
per page and not cannibalizing so not trying to have all your pages
going after the exact same keywords but really creating silos that are
targeting those keywords or if you have a lot of
content that was already existing on other
web sites across the web that can be a damaging aspect that they could hurt you
in your ability to rank not enough content I mean really any
page that you want to rank well have at least a hundred words of content in order to rank poor keyword
usages is the most common people just aren't using
the keywords on their pages that they're trying to show up for and
then like I already mentioned you may have great optimization from a content stand point but your site authority
and popularity has not been developed enough because you
don't have any of those links signals that Google's
looking for now there are other other signals that Google is also
looking into trouble are you are a real website or real
company you think about what would a normal
company have in its website that would indicate its legitimate seems like any fresh
content source a lot of web sites have like a press page where they are constantly
adding new information about what the company is doing a blog is another form of fresh content are people are people talking about
this online on social networks are they linking to us and linking to your content or sharing content from those places even
something like a privacy policy could indicate to google that yes this is a legitimate web presence and Google's trying to determine which
are the most relevant sites to rank what are
good web sites where we want to send traffic and and help people
out that way so but one things google is looking
at is social signals what we refer to in the SEO world it's the social signals is the same as social
media signals so are people talking about us online is
there online word of mouth are they linking to your web site or content from places
like Facebook or Twitter or Google+ especially now that Google is in
the game so let's talk about social media and how we link that profit so one of
the things that we know right now there's very little commerce
actually happening on social networks no you can't in most cases go to a Facebook page and buy something
directly onto on that page a lot of what happens on social
media centers around two main activities one
is building online communities around the brand and the other one is driving traffic social media is a traffic driver and
distribution channel for company content when were
talking about community building we already know there are a lot of
advantages to to building strong brand communities right having more loyal customers
retaining them at a higher rate getting them to spread positive word of
mouth about us even the fact that they are much more
likely to quickly adopt and purchase new products that we come out with represents a huge advantage and then as you can see customer
satisfaction also tends to be higher when they're
strong communities and even spending per transaction is shown
that people who are loyal to the company are likely to spend more so building an online community through
social media represents a great source of competitive advantage now the topic I want to focus on a little more heavily
on is the idea that social media is a content platform and distribution channel so
really you can't do anything on social media without having some content all those networks
represent a place where companies are posting content and driving traffic to content on the
website so it all starts with content and you can kind of understand
the link between content and revenue growth from the standpoint that as you work on
producing and finding content and distributing it
in a way that engages your community your community is likely to grow and become stronger and coalesce
around your brand as that happens you're going to drive
more traffic to your website increases and as you're able to drive more traffic then
you have that many more people who are being exposed to products and services and are more likely to convert and be a revenue source for you which
then you can use to develop even better content and to come to understand your
audiences better to get higher levels of engagment one of the things I encourage people
to do is to match up what resources they have in terms of
content with the available channels because really
not every business should be on every social media channel a lot of it
I think depends on what your resources are and where the
opportunities are if your business that has absolutely
nothing to do with good visual imagery well it may not make
sense to you have a presence on Instagram you are not likely
to be able to build a strong brand community if there's nothing about your business
that involves good photos for example so I think being able
to take an inventory of what we have in terms of people products
and services location organizational features what is about us that makes organization unique and
potentially other resources we can drawn to create content and then matching it up with the existing
channel options we have is a good way to go about determining where we should be and where we have the most opportunity to actually build really strong brand
communities so here is just one example of
what we did at Zag: on the left you can see what
types of content were actually promoting on social media very little of it is about our products and services you see only about eighty percent represents offers about Zag products the rest if it is about Zag news what we're doing as a company giveaways
represents a portion and a lot of what we do is sending traffic to our blog where we have multiple daily
blog post about issues news interesting how to and tutorials that would be relevant to
tech users people who are interested in technology are the same people who are likely to be
interested in our products and so by driving traffic to blog posts
then we are able to get people interested and introduced to zag and our product line up on of the
things that we did really successfully was we actually
gave away an iPad every hour on Black Friday which is right after Thanksgiving
so the great thing about that is that in order to be entered to win an iPad you had to first enter in your email
address and then if you want extra entries you could share
the contest on Facebook or Twitter well what this was designed to do was
really to build the grow of our email community because what we found is that email
represents a much more profitable traffic or not traffic
but community for us to be able to market to
our customers than trying to market to the same group on Facebook or Twitter so a lot of what our efforts were
involved in is driving people towards signing up for our email list so that we
could have much more control over the messaging and the frequency and that ended up being a
great prophet source for us okay but i wanna go back and i wanna
talk specifically about content marketing and why that's so important and how it works you see
that in 2013 it represents the highest
priority for in-house digital marketers they want information and they want to improve in how they're doing their content
marking but a lot of misunderstanding exists about what concept marketing even is you'll get a lot of
different ideas my personal feeling is that content represents a really great competitive
you know source of competitive advantage if it's used to grow and engage brand
communities that's a lot of what we see happening is people using content not necessarily
to immediately advertise their products but to build the communities that then they'll be able to advertise and market to later in more controlled situations there are a lot of benefits to it some studies
suggest that it's customers don't mind reading content that's created by brands that customers feel more positive about companies
when they read content so what makes it work well I
think there are actually a couple different mechanisms if we're talking about b2c content
marketing verses b2b content marketing so b2c you think if we are able to create good
content people like our content they are more likely
to like our brand and if they're engaging with that
content on our website then they're much more likely to
consider our brand in the case of Zag you'll notice over here
we got a blog post so somebody comes to Zack you're reading
this blog post and they like the content well there's a chance that they will see
this other information we have in the sidebar advertising our products and we actually did find is that's there's actually a strong
correlation between the number visits were able to drive to the Zag blog and the amount of revenue we were
getting from people who entered the blog
and read blog posts and so for us that's an interesting sign
that a lot of it really is in some respects a
numbers game our ability to create really interesting
engaging content that brought people to the website we know that a fraction of those people will
be interested in something like screen protectors or
iPhone cases it will naturally gravitate towards
investigating and considering and purchasing our products now b2b content marketing could be a little
bit different because just based on the nature of our
business model what we're trying to accomplish in the case of GE you'll notice they're doing a lot of content marketing through blogging they have one blog for
example called edison's desk it's all about innovation and the future of technology and what we see when we're talking about
b2b content marketing is some of it has to do with lead generation and driving people to the website and so
then they fill out the forms and are interested in purchasing our services in some respects but some of it is just about driving brand trust and certain brand perceptions we are trying
to cultivate in this case if people view GE as more
innovative the more innovative companies are likely to want to work with GE and so if we can consistently create good
content then we're going to be able to create
communities arounds you know that particular brands image that we're trying to present
and sometimes that results in subscriptions to the blog or to other things we have to capture those committee
members and sometimes people are gonna fill out
lead forms right on the spot but I think b2b content marketing may have a little bit longer cycle in
terms of developing trust and the revenue outcome that we are looking for you can see that some other examples of b2b content
marketing ExactTarget is email marketing company
and they do a lot of good quality content related to how to do email marketing better but you can see they've done a
really good job integrating channels to get people into their
consideration funnel once they've read this blog post and i
think thats one place or source of failure for a lot of
companies is that they invest in content and they
wanna show ROI from that content but they have not integrated the content with actual profit driving cycles
ExactTarget does a good job because they are integrating several different ways
that people get to know about ExactTarget and their products after viewing that content initially some other peripheral routes to revenue here a couple examples so Air bed and breakfast or air bnb they create guides about local cities and
neighborhoods with in cities the idea is that air BnB represents an
exchange market place online where they're trying to match up people who might be offering their rooms or apartment rooms for a cheaper rate
than hotels and trying to match those people up with
people who were traveling and looking for cheaper places to stay so people aren't actually trying to buy directly from air BnB
however they need to trust them enough to want to go through the site to set
up something like staying
overnight somewhere in a place they've never been before so one way air BnB does this is by creating these local community guides to show hey look we know about the communities and areas you are going to be staying at and and you can trust us and I think
that they do a really good job with that home depot is another example of a
company that does something very interesting so you see here's an example of video content they create how to replace or install a
toilet well the interesting thing is that obviously Home Depot sells a lot of products that would help you do this so
maybe by watching the video you say okay I feel good about doing this myself I'm
gonna be able to go by a bunch of Home Depot products to
help me but the other interesting thing
is that Home Depot actually also offers this type of
thing as a service so you could hire them to replace and install your your toilet but what
watching a video about how to do it yourself might do is tell you that you know you may not completely be up to
the job or you know it's a little bit more time and energy or a little more involved than you can handle and so you maybe
more likely to hire them so I think that's a great example or where they use content to potentially
drive product and service revenues now to wrap
up I want to make sure that we hit home on the point that content strategy and SEO and social media are all about
building advantage a lot of people have
strategies but those strategies don't necessarily drive profit don't necessarily make them
more competitive in the marketplace I like IBM's statement that quality content is
the cost of discovery they have done a really good job at
integrating search marketing with social media with content and from their point of view they are seeing a lot of success in generating search lift in their
rankings while they're creating engagement and
building communities and they're able to build their
brands in terms of their awareness and and how much people like
them and that all contributes to driving more profitability and
a stronger company for them so thanks with that we've got a few questions you are welcome to
chime in and chat some questions in and try and
answer what were able to in the time we've got so let's take a
look here one question asks can you over optimize your on page SEO and is
that a bad thing well I think it used to be a lot
more common you'd see web sites that would put all kind of keywords in a very unnatural way on the same page
just because they want to try and rank for every possible keyword it is possible to over optimized that's usually why I
tell people to stick to maybe one keyword per 100 words content try not to replicate the same
word more than more than once or twice in 100 words so that explains why you need both the
right keywords but also enough content to support going after multiple
keywords so that would be a good way to avoid over optimizing I got another question if I'm a online
marketing manager for a brand should I be spending equal time growing and optimizing SEO and social media and
content marketing or is one more important than the rest I
think that's a great question it's also not not an easy question to answer because
depending upon your business the nature of your products and services
you may find that certain channels are likely to drive
much more success much more quickly then others one key example would
be I work for a startup company who I was in the education space and had developed some educational
products that were kind of new and unique and innovative
there wasn't necessarily existing demands for them in terms of
search which you know from that stand point because it is a
brand new website it takes a little longer to actually get
the site authority needed to support rankings so if they had gone after SEO to begin
with and put a lot of resources into that they
probably would have seen pretty low returns compared to driving traffic and interest through content
marketing or even social media but they're
definitely considerations to be made about what type of company you
operate what type of goals you have for your
website and how can we best match those up with what our audience wants both are current customers and potential
customers that's a good question alright I think I think that's all the questions we have
right Scott yeah that's all I am seeing perfect well I'm sure everyone here can agree with me
I mean I have a a notepad full of takeaways and some awesome actionable items that I can start implementing right away
with Stukent as a brand and also with some of my
own things I have going on on the side if our students and professors wanna learn
more about you and follow what you got going on
some of the exciting things that you'll be doing now and in the future what's the best way for them to do that
I know you briefly mentioned a few areas in the beginning but remind us one more time yeah I'm always
happy to answer questions i try and make myself early available and
respond to people quickly so you can either catch me on twitter just @scottcowley
my name or you can message me through my web site
Scott Cowley dot com trying to keep it nice and simple good awesome i right there you have it next week same
time same place we will have Benjamin back who is a very energetic online marketer he is the
founder of local stampede and we're excited to have
him on board with us as well and once again thank Scott for
everything today

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