SEO can be considered a strategy all on its own. There are certain website structures you’ll have to include, like robots.txt files and structured data microformatting, that only exist to help your search visibility. Similarly, things like page titles and meta descriptions don’t do much beside improve your ranks and appeal in SERPs, and while link building can net you referral traffic, its main purpose is increasing your domain authority.
When you list these items out, however, there’s a shockingly small number of them. The truth is that successful SEO is complex, multifaceted, and dependent on a number of peripheral marketing strategies to show its true potential.
Take these five marketing strategies, for example—without them, you’ll have a hard time seeing meaningful results in SEO:
Branding is all about who you are as a brand. It’s responsible for your logo, colors, and tagline, but more importantly, it determines your voice, your target market, and how you present yourself. All this information is important in establishing your ongoing content and social strategies (which you’ll find later on in this list). Even more importantly, it’s responsible for distinguishing you among the competition. No company exists in a vacuum; there are probably several companies out there like yours. It’s possible to beat another company in rank by doing what they do on a more massive scale, but it’s far easier and more effective to find your own niche, your own distinctive personality, and your own unique angle. A proper branding strategy will give that to you, and add fuel to the other marketing strategies on this list.
A modern SEO campaign simply can’t exist without a content marketing strategy. However, content marketing can’t be considered a part of SEO directly because it’s useful in its own way—it’s responsible for promoting your brand’s authority, enticing returning traffic, and even optimizing for conversions so you earn more revenue from your incoming traffic. But taking a step back from that, content aids your SEO strategy by increasing the amount of web “real estate” that Google can index, increasing your overall relevance and authority, and helping your brand become associated with the niche terms and phrases you’d like to be known for. Content serves a number of roles, but no matter what your primary intention is, your main goal should be the same—producing the most helpful, interesting, detailed, original content you can, as often as you can without sacrificing its quality.
Guest posting is an extension of content marketing, as it’s basically just a form of content marketing that exists on outside platforms. Manual link building can still be effective if done tactfully, but you’re better off including links in the body of valuable guest posts, which have the added benefit of earning you more direct visibility (and possibly some referral traffic besides). Even a brand mention, without a link, can increase your domain authority, so take advantage of any guest post opportunities you can. When you first start out, you’ll be limited to lower-authority sites and niche publications, but as you grow in presence and authority, you can work your way up to much higher-profile, higher-authority sites. The higher up you go, the more visibility you’ll get, and the more authority you’ll get for your domain.
Social media marketing is a great tool for syndicating your content, making new connections, and growing a following for your brand, but it’s also useful for SEO. Some forms of social content, like tweets, are indexed by Google, giving you a slight search visibility advantage on their own. Beyond that, social media doesn’t do much to directly influence your ranks. Instead, this influence is indirect—social media can help you build a larger audience of readers, get your content seen by more people, and ultimately increase your reputation online. This, in turn, will help you get more social shares from your site and more links pointing back to yours from external sources. These actions pass authority to your site, netting you higher ranks (and of course, you’ll benefit from all the social-originated traffic, as well).
First, let me say that email has no direct influence on SEO whatsoever. Google can’t see, index, or consider the emails you send to your customers. However, your email marketing campaign can increase traffic to your site and improve reader relationships with your ongoing content. Create a regular email newsletter that shows off your best content, inviting users to come to your site and read more. If done properly, you’ll get higher numbers of returning traffic, and more shares (which in turn, lead to more links and authority). Email can also improve your social media audiences by keeping your followers more invested in your brand and drawing new followers in.
Ideally, your SEO campaign will be complemented by all five of these marketing strategies. While only some of them influence your ranks directly, all of them indirectly influence your ranks by earning more attention and engagement for your brand. The best course of action for any marketer is to treat these strategies both as independent campaigns and as parts of an overall “whole” in online marketing—that way you can get the best of both worlds and keep your entire operation running smoothly. As you proceed, you’ll learn that some of these are more valuable for your brand than others—emphasize those, but always have the others running in the background for support.