A Sane Person’s Guide to Inbound Marketing
So you’ve just got used to the concept of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and now you’re marketing agency/department, webmaster or ‘techy’ is starting to go on about inbound marketing and how everything is changing and it’s making your head spin!
Don’t worry. I’m here to explain in simple terms what it is and what you need to know about it.
What on Earth is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is the process of attracting customers by producing quality content aligned to their interests. This content can then be distributed via social media and used to earn links which will help your site to rank better in search engines.
For example if you are an accountant you could write a comprehensive article explaining the benefits and drawbacks of various bookkeeping software for small businesses.
Internet users find this content through search engines and social media sites and then you turn them into customers.
Other website owners and bloggers also find this content, share it across social media sites and link to it.
Sound familiar? That’s probably because it is. Producing good quality content is a major part of SEO, and so too is using this content to generate links to your website.
So What’s the Difference?
‘Traditional’ SEO consists of 2 key areas:
- On page SEO: Optimising your webpages for target keywords
- Off page SEO: Building links to your website to improve authority
The key word here is ‘Building’. Building is an artificial process where links are the primary goal and the method used to attain them is a secondary concern.
Inbound marketing is concerned with earning editorial links to your content based on merit. In other words people link to it naturally because they find it remarkable or genuinely beneficial.
Modern SEO incorporates inbound marketing and other legitimate methods to attain links to website.
Why Should this all Concern Me?
Google prefer editorial links to what they consider ‘artificial’ links. This is because editorial links are genuine votes of confidence from third parties as opposed to efforts by the website owner to rank higher.
Google is constantly updating it’s ranking algorithm to wean out what it considers artificial link building methods. As Google become more sophisticated, these methods become less effective. This is why you should check if inbound marketing is part of your SEO strategy.
Panic. No, only joking. Inbound marketing can be a very effective tactic when done properly. So can other more traditional SEO techniques such as on-page optimisation and link building using directories, guest blogging and other methods. The thing to be concerned about is if your link building methods are against Google’s webmaster guidelines.
A lot will depend on the nature of your business and your competition. We usually recommend to our clients (Irish SMEs) that they blog regularly themselves and are as active as possible on at least one social media platform. This does not mean that other, more traditional SEO methods are defunct and it’s usually a case of finding the sweet spot for your particular business.
Have an opinion on inbound marketing and SEO? Think I’m talking nonsense? Let me know by commenting below!