Hi! Lauren Kaye, here, with this week’s Content & Coffee with Brafton. Today I wanted to talk about what web marketing success looks like, and why some common tactics you think are working might actually be getting in the way of results. Click play to watch the full video, or read the text version below. 

Take the relationship between SEO and online content. Lots of marketers put SEO tactics at the top of their to-do lists when they should really focus on creating content for their websites.

I’m not saying SEO isn’t important. Webmasters need to stick to best practices like using title tags, including keywords in headlines and using structured data. However, those tactics shouldn’t get in the way of creating great content.

Google’s Search Engineer Matt Cutts has pointed out a few SEO tricks marketers use to try to boost their content that just don’t work. One is using certain text codes. Ever heard that using the “strong” tag is better than bolding text? This is a myth, according to Cutts. Crawlers consider them the same. The same goes for italics and the “emphasis” tag.

Another falsity? Bulking up a website to improve ranking signals. Cutts addressed this misconception in a recent Google Webmaster Help Channel video. He said sites with more pages don’t automatically outrank smaller domains. They certainly have more opportunities to build ranking signals because there are more pages to optimize for popular keywords and more content to attract inbound links.

While Google uses things like links, keywords and coding tags to identify what’s probably good content, it’s less interested in technical SEO and more concerned about giving users the answers they want. Strong web traffic, low bounce rates and lots of social shares are signals you’re providing useful information. And the search engine is more likely to give your site visibility if you’re producing helpful ideas than if your pages are perfectly optimized but uninteresting. So the next time you have to choose, put content first, and see if that moves the needle for search results.

Catch you next week, and happy content marketing!

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.