If You Don’t Measure Your Success, How Will You Know You Were Successful?

Read the original post on iCrossing’s Great Finds blog, published on February 11, 2013.

You cannot track success of that which you fail to measure. This reality is as true for all marketing and certainly for search engine optimization (SEO). Yet, too many marketers don’t understand the importance of detailed SEO reporting. They may be distracted by their bottom line, they may only care about one SEO metric, or they may never have set up their own reports in the past. Whatever the case, SEO reporting is a key factor to the success of every single one of my projects. And since SEO can touch every aspect of online and offline marketing these days, it’s more important than ever to understand the successes of your SEO campaigns.

Here are a few helpful tips to ensure you’re getting the most from your SEO reports.

Identify Your Reporting Needs

If you fall into the category of people who don’t know what your SEO reporting needs are, start asking yourself a few important questions. What are your global business key performance indicators (KPIs)? How does SEO help achieve your goals? What do you consider a successful SEO engagement? Your SEO reporting team can help point you in the right direction as to which reports will help you the most. But be ready to share your thoughts and requirements in order to ensure your reports benefit everyone who looks at them.

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How SEO Can Improve Your Writing

Please read the original post, published on iCrossing’s The Content Lab on January 10, 2013.

We all know that search engine optimization (SEO) hampers good writing, right? Wrong. Applying search can make your copy more relevant by helping you choose topics wisely and develop copy that resonates with your audience. What’s more, injecting search practices will ensure that your writing most effectively supports your brand.

SEO Informs What You Choose to Write

SEO can improve your effectiveness long before you actually write any copy by helping you choose topics that make your writing more relevant to your audience. Doing in-depth keyword research into your industry and brand provides a quality keyword universe that you can use to write creative, engaging copy.

If you begin the creative process by looking into search trends and performing in-depth keyword research, you may see certain opportunities for content creation. For example, if you’re business sells auto and home insurance, you will most likely want to create content around those specific products and what they offer. However, because of the economic climate over the last couple years, you may have seen an increase in demand for reduced insurance rates, or people looking to compare insurance quotes to find the best insurance coverage for the right price.

In fact, the following chart illustrates the relationship between search and the insurance industry. From 2009 to today, you can see that overall search volume for the phrases “compare insurance rates,” “best car insurance rates,” and “best auto insurance rates” has increased. Armed with this research, you can make your copy more relevant by creating engaging content around comparing and contrasting auto insurance rates and coverage, tips for car insurance shoppers, and finding the best auto insurance rates to fit searchers’ needs. And you can optimize each of these content topics for keywords to attract people searching for this specific content.

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Search and the Connected Brand

Please read the original post published on iCrossing’s Great Finds blog on October 8, 2012.

When iCrossing started as a search-based agency, the search industry was still in its early days, and consumers were still working to understand the exact benefits they could receive from search engines. Since then, we’ve seen the search industry evolve faster than expected, with consumers’ expectations changing right along with it. iCrossing has evolved, as well, into a full-services digital agency that builds connected brands for CMOs. In coming weeks, my iCrossing colleagues are going to discuss on Great Finds the many ways that search has evolved from a utility to an important component in building a connected brand, or a close relationship between the brand and its audience.

Search is more than a way for consumers find essential information about the price of the new James Bond Blu-ray box set or the location of your closest Banana Republic. People are combining search and social media to share ideas and connect with brands and each other.

For example, Expressionery is leveraging the power of blogging and social plugins for customers to easily share visual, engaging content with their peers and other target consumers. By creating blog posts around popular products, common questions, and industry trends, Expressionery answers questions from searchers and receives higher search rankings based on their site authority. Those posts, and the benefits they provide, are then shared via the brand’s social networks to engage with fans directly.

In addition, Expressionery fans can share their favorite products on Pinterest, showcase their creations on Facebook, and connect with the blogging community through detailed, thoughtful commentary. Each tactic improves the popularity of the brand and the relevancy of its products through search.

Throughout the course of our blog series, you’ll read about how search plays an integral part in today’s online media consumption, including social, mobile, creative, and content-based tactics, both on a local and a global scale.

Stay tuned for more from the iCrossing blogging team as we review just how important search is to our goal of building connected brands.