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Want to Attract Customers for Free? It’s All About Content According to Rand Fishkin.

Rand Fishkin is on a mis­sion. He’s an SEO expert that believes spon­sored sto­ries and tweets, as well as Google Ads, are a waste of mon­ey, and he wants us to know why.

Rand began dab­bling in the World Wide Web 20 years ago and since then he’s built up a suc­cess­ful career as a search mar­keter; recent­ly reveal­ing his secrets to snag­ging cus­tomers with­out an enor­mous out­lay. Those in media jobs should sit up and take notice.

Buy­ing Ads Does Not a Mar­keter Make

Fishkin, who’s a grad­u­ate of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton and pre­vi­ous­ly worked for Out­lines North­West, firm­ly believes that spend­ing pots of cash on ads does not make you a mar­keter. A fact he says, is borne out by the figures.

“Only 10 per­cent of clicks on Google go to ads, while 90 per­cent are on organ­ic results. Search engine opti­miza­tion, or SEO, is much cheap­er. The aver­age cost of cus­tomer acqui­si­tion through online adver­tis­ing is $500,” accord­ing to Fishkin. “But the same cus­tomer can be found through great web con­tent for just $100.”

Great con­tent, he says, is the key to suc­cess­ful online marketing.

“Great con­tent makes com­pa­nies and prod­ucts more vis­i­ble in search, gives them great reach in social media chan­nels, and even improves email mar­ket­ing and PR or news efforts,” says Fishkin.

He even goes as far as to say that opti­miza­tion is the worst pos­si­ble way to think about SEO. He feels that it should form an impor­tant part of the over­all mar­ket­ing mix; a part that requires dili­gence and con­sis­tent mon­i­tor­ing, as well as robust mea­sure­ment, to see what’s work­ing and what isn’t. Rand cer­tain­ly sees the future of SEO as less Silo-shaped and more integrated.

“User expe­ri­ence, search, social, con­tent, links, and brand­ing are all con­nect­ed,” he said. “The engines are con­stant­ly work­ing to make their algo­rithms reward those who build gen­uine inter­est and val­ue across these chan­nels and deval­ue those who exploit any indi­vid­ual signal.”

His tips for search mar­ket­ing success?

  • Devel­op a con­tent strat­e­gy. A blog just won’t cut it
  • Be pre­pared to fail once or twice
  • Get cre­ative – blog posts, arti­cles and info­graph­ics are great, but is there some­thing more you could be doing?
  • All con­tent should be on one domain, under one brand
  • Use del-author and post to Google+. This handy tool put an image by your posts and attracts clicks
  • Com­bine key­words with ‘tweet­able’ titles
  • Iden­ti­fy key influ­encers using online tools
  • Don’t ignore adver­tis­ing – retar­get­ing works as social media ads get more effect­ing the big­ger your inbound brand gets

Why Should We Listen?

Although he’s been active on the web since 1993, Fishkin start­ed to devel­op a seri­ous inter­est in SEO in 2002, when he began stalk­ing the first expo­nents of search mar­ket­ing; post­ing ques­tions and join­ing in dis­cus­sions on online forums. By 2004, he was post­ing reports, data and tools on a site that even­tu­al­ly became SEO­moz, the site he now runs, which has become one of biggest, most pop­u­lar – and most vis­i­ble – search mar­ket­ing com­pa­nies in the world.

Fishkin is also a best-sell­ing author, hav­ing writ­ten ‘Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Opti­miza­tion’ and co-writ­ten ‘the Art of SEO’. He’s a sought-after pub­lic speak­er hav­ing deliv­ered pre­sen­ta­tions to the Unit­ed Nations, YCombi­na­tor, Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty and Hack­ers & Founders.

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