Skip to main content

SEO and Content Marketing with Wizard of Moz Rand Fishkin

SEO and Content Marketing with Wizard of Moz Rand Fishkin
Search engine optimization (SEO) has come a long way since the days of stuffing keywords and hoping for the best. Back then, it was too often used to bolster weak writing, to trick people into reading something that wasn’t worth their time.
Now, good SEO makes great content even better. We use the keywords people search for to make sure what we offer will have value—which, in turn, makes the content naturally keyword rich. Good SEO practices help people find valuable content. As such, SEO is an essential part of content marketing strategy.
Few marketers know more about the mysterious inner workings of search engine algorithms than Rand Fishkin. Rand and the team at Moz have been helping clients improve their inbound marketing for over a decade. In addition to serving clients, Rand shares his expertise with the marketing community on the Moz blog, particularly in his Whiteboard Friday series.
As Arthur C. Clarke said (sort of), “Sufficiently advanced SEO is indistinguishable from magic.” So it makes sense that Rand’s official job title is “The Wizard of Moz.”
As part of the The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Content Marketing, we asked Rand to share his thoughts on SEO’s role in content marketing strategy. Read on to learn which SEO skills all marketers should have, which opportunities marketers should capitalize on within the coming year, and more.

Ask the Expert with Wizard of Moz Rand Fishkin

LinkedIn: If you were starting a content marketing program from scratch, where would you begin?

Rand Fishkin: I'd work hard on getting to know my audience, studying my competition, and formulating a strategy around what would resonate before I ever took to the content creation itself. But, from that point, everything would be experimentation and evolution based on what I learn. Every audience and every platform are different. I suspect that, depending on how unique the new audience I was going after was from my current audience (of mostly marketers and tech folks), it might take me some serious time to get good at finding a sweet spot.

LinkedIn: In your eyes, what is the biggest difference between content marketing five years ago and content marketing today?

Rand: A lot has changed, but I think, more than anything else, the last five years have reduced loyalty and attention to almost unrecognizable levels. No one subscribes to just a few feeds or just a few accounts on social media. No one's messages have a shot at reaching 60 or 70% of their audience—even the audience that's opted in and said "I want to see what you're sharing." All of the social networks have substantially reduced reach. Email deliver-ability and open rates continue to shrink. RSS readers are barely alive anymore. Earning your audience's attention five years ago was relatively easy (or at least, much easier) if they'd already connected themselves to you. Today, that advantage is gone—a subscriber doesn't mean what it used to, and I doubt it ever will again.
Every new message you want to send will have to pierce the cacophony of noise that overwhelms us in the digital age.

LinkedIn: If you were tasked with hiring a content marketer, what is the #1 attribute you would be looking for?

Rand: Empathy. Great marketers have immense empathy for their audience. They can put themselves in their shoes, live their lives, feel what they feel, go where they go, and respond how they'd respond. That empathy comes out in content that resonates with your audience.

LinkedIn: In your opinion, what is the baseline of SEO skills content marketers need to have?

Rand: I think a content marketer actually needs more SEO skills than marketers in nearly any other position (with the obvious exception of SEO specialists themselves). That means understanding keyword research and how to do keyword targeting, how search engines generally rank pages, some of the technical aspects of SEO around indexation and crawling, how content on the same domain can boost that site's authority and ranking potential, etc. Given that content marketing isn't just about producing content, but about earning traffic to it as well, SEO should be a cornerstone of any content marketer's repertoire.

LinkedIn: What current SEO opportunities will content marketers be glad they acted upon two years from now?

Rand: First, better content > more content. This is one that's tough because A) many teams and managers and clients still want a certain number of pieces rather than aiming for fewer pieces of higher quality and B) quantity is how content marketers get their reps in—it's how we practice our art and get better at it.
The reason this matters so much is that engines are starting to learn which domains people prefer, to put those domains in front of them more and more. If you fall behind this curve, and a substantive portion of your content doesn't interest, excite, or engage visitors, you could quickly find yourself in a negative spiral of a feedback loop that lowers your aggregate rankings long term.
Second, schema and rich snippets. This one's obvious because it not only drives up clickthrough rates today, but is likely to have more and more influence and opportunity over time. If you get good at it now, you can expect a string of returns.
Finally, link outreach and link-earning content. Many of us keep hearing how link building is dead, and it's something I've said myself. But the need for links is not dead, and it doesn't even appear that links are getting less correlated with high rankings. So links are still something we need, but classic, old-school, manipulative and low-quality link building is diminished if not gone. Thus, we need to produce content that naturally earns links, and content that's likely to earn links once we do the right kinds of outreach. Then we need to do that outreach!
The best part is that if you get good at link earning and link outreach now, you'll rank and earn visibility and those links will compound and earn you more and more rankings over time.
Thanks to Rand for carving out time to talk with us. You can follow him @randfish and find more of his always awesome content on the Moz blog.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Best Online SEO Tools for Links, Keywords and Rank Tracking

We’re always on the lookout for great tools and with a $5 billion industry, SEO is one market that has a ton of tools to help you. Whether you’re researching you or your competitors’ backlinks, trying to identify keywords and cocurrence terms, or simply trying to monitor how your site is ranking, here are the most popular SEO tools and platforms on the market.
Some key features of search engine optimization platformsMonitoring Keyword Rankings – the ability to enter keywords and then monitor their ranking over time is a core feature of most of the platforms. Given that search results are mostly personalized, this ability is largely used for overall trending analysis to see whether the efforts you’re making are improving your ranking on keywords or not.Local Keyword Rank Monitoring – since the location of the search user and your business can play a huge role, many of the keyword monitoring platforms provide a means to track your ranking by geographic location.Keyword Discovery – whil…

8 Tools to Schedule Social Media Posts

Maintaining a constant social media presence can be difficult, especially for busy Blogger, Solopreneur, Freelancer and Small Business Owner looking to stay in touch with their circles. Luckily, there are plenty of free tools out there to help ease the burden. One of the most useful functionalities for this tool is the ability to schedule your future posts.

No matter who you are and what you do, you should be taking advantage of these tools. Here is a list of 8 best free Multi-Platform Apps for Scheduling your next Social Media Updates.

8. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is the most widely used platform for managing social media, created by Ryan Holmes in 2008. Hootsuite Free plan is perfect for individuals who want to start managing multiple networks. Manage multiple networks, schedule posts, and engage your audience, all in one place for Free.

Hootsuite Also has a broad range of apps, including their web-based original, mobile apps (iPhone and Android), desktop apps (Windows, Mac and Linux) an…

What are the Best Keyword Rank Checker Today?

Keyword Rank Tracking is an Essential part of every Online Marketing Campaign. It's especially important to all SEO Professional who work on Search Engine Optimization Project. Rank Tracker retrieves search engine rankings for pages and keywords, Some tools also track selected rankings over time to see which efforts are making the most impact on your SEO Campaign and show you the ranking changes.

Now, there are  a lot of free and paid rank checker out there that help SEO Professionals to track keyword rankings. Some tools that work great at certain tasks but terrible at others. Before Writing this post, I did a lot of Research to bring you the Best Keyword Rank Checker for your SEO Project.

Moz Pro In the Moz Pro plan, you can run up to five different campaigns at the same time. Because Moz limits the number of keywords you can track per campaign to 60, that totals 300 keywords you can track overall five campaigns, which can be limiting if you're running campaigns with differ…