Lauren Kaye

Up until now, it’s been widely accepted within the search engine marketing world that Google should be at the center of any well-advised SEO strategy. Consistently accounting for 67 percent of search queries in comScore’s monthly search engine rankings, it made sense for brands to hedge their bets on the platform. But with constant algorithm updates and increasing reports of social traffic conversions, more webmasters are looking for ways to diversify their digital marketing strategies. Speakers at this week’s SMX East Expo highlighted how companies are (wisely) breaking their Google dependency to drive success online.

Although it’s unlikely a Google-falling-from-grace scenario is in the near future, Ted Ives, Principal of Coconut Headphones; Matt Ballek, Director of Strategic Distribution Services for Magnet Media and Brandon Hassler, Senior Account Manager for 97th Floor have already seen brands increase content creation to support cross-web campaigns.

Repurpose and share content

Most brands know they need content for SEO, but they are missing the bigger picture if they don’t see how it fuels other goals as well.

  • White papers and eBooks can help companies or individuals become thought leaders.
  • Smart social media marketing drives brand awareness and web traffic.
  • Email newsletters generate and nurture leads.

During the event, Ives pointed out that companies don’t necessarily need to have a host of industry experts and authoritative writers in house to create fodder for an ambitious cross-channel content marketing campaign. They can tap a few influencers for, say, a presentation or case study and then repurpose the material for blogs, news articles, press releases and webinars.

Cast a wider social media net

Companies are overlooking social networks that support their goals for content distribution, according to Hassler. Most businesses use major networks like Twitter or Facebook, but he encouraged attendees to be more creative.

Referral traffic coming from SlideShare tends to stay on pages longer than visitors from mainstream social networks. 

He recommended sharing content on SlideShare, a network that hosts presentations, to direct viewers back to company websites. In Hassler’s experience, referral traffic coming from SlideShare tends to stay on pages longer than visitors from mainstream social networks, effectively driving up dwell time and lowering bounce rates.

Earn viewers with video

Video marketing is another way companies keep their brand content in front of target audiences. Brafton recently reported that 87 percent of Americans now watch online and YouTube reports it attracts 1 billion unique users every month. With an immense stockpile of content on its channels, YouTube has grown to be not only the second-largest search engine, but also the second-largest social network.

Marketers must look beyond the most obvious metrics to accurately measure the ROI of video. 

Marketers can tap into this stockpile to reach wide audiences, but they must look beyond the most obvious metrics to accurately measure the ROI of their efforts. According to Ballek, the number of views a clip receives does not dictate its success or failure.

Deeper engagement metrics are better metrics to gauge success. When using YouTube (owned by Google, but still separate from search!) he advised marketers to monitor:

  • Social shares
  • Comments
  • Subscriber counts
Organic still No. 1 for now

It’s smart to invest in a range of strategies that drive business goals together, however, organic search is still seen as a reliable way to drive leads and conversions. The experts agree: Regardless of the approach or medium, internet marketing success will always depend on brands’ ability to create content that engages viewers and compels them to take further action.