While we’ve come a long way with search engine optimization, the field is constantly advancing. Search engines have been implementing changes to their search algorithms at rapid paces in order to deliver the most valuable matches for users’ search queries. The more search engines base their decisions off consumer wants, the more we should all be aligning our businesses with this mantra, too. What can you do to optimize your online presence so it better benefits the searcher? Keeping that question top of mind in all of your marketing – particularly your SEO – will help you be an organic search expert just like the folks featured below!

“SEO is not about optimizing for search, it’s about optimizing for humans.”Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot CTO
What this means for marketers: Think about what your target audience is searching for when laying out your keyword strategy. You might find quick and meaningful success with long-tail keyword phrases (keywords that are more than two words in length) particularly if they’re problem-oriented. For instance, someone looking for HubSpot’s inbound marketing software might be searching for a solution to a problem like “how to get more qualified leads”. That’s a very specific keyword phrase that addresses a human’sproblem, not something generic like “leads” that might have a huge search volume, but not actually address the problems people are facing in your industry.

“It’s not enough to rank on the first page. Marketers need to earn their clicks.”Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz CEO
What this means for marketers: If you rank on the first page, it won’t mean much if it wasn’t earned. Not only because it doesn’t translate into leads and customers, but also because it doesn’t do anything to help you retain that top position… or your site visitor’s attention. It’s incumbent on you to create truly helpful content that keeps people coming back for more, staying on your site longer, and sharing and subscribing to your content. This is how Google knows that you’re a valuable resource – the people that find your content perform actions that indicate they’re really happy to have found you in the SERPs. That’s the kind of sentiment you can only earn through consistent efforts to publish valuable content.

“Modern link building focuses on high-quality, original content that provides value.”Stephanie Chang, Distilled SEO Consultant
What this means for marketers: Inbound links are the currency of the Internet. And no one wants to buy a piece of junk. If you want your search rankings to improve, your content has to improve first. Plain and simple. There are no shortcuts to acquiring high-quality inbound links.

“Think about the value you want to provide, and which keywords match that value.”Greg Shuey, SEO.com VP of Client Sales
What this means for marketers: Your keyword strategy should align with your business goals. Useclosed-loop reporting to ensure the keywords you’re driving traffic from are actually driving qualified traffic. Not every site visitor will become a lead and/or customer, and that’s alright, because you want your content to reach tons of people so you can help expand your brand’s reach. But a portion of that traffic should also be bringing in traffic that converts on lead generating calls-to-action on your site. If you’re not seeing that happen, it might be worth your while to refine your keyword strategy, and select keywords that more closely align with your target audience’s needs.

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