Where my SEO Mind Will be at Inbound 2017

Jen Saunders

This week I’m headed to Boston for Inbound 2017. My bags may not be packed yet, but my mind is already crammed with ideas, questions, and predictions when it comes to SEO’s shifting importance in the world of digital marketing where inbound is all the talk of our industry, and the dominant service going into 2108 and beyond.

Note: I will be updating this article with a full report of my daily experience at Inbound 2017 covering every session, and the takeaways I receive. You can follow the WEBITMD blog hereto read my reports, discover the latest questions being asked by our industry’s experts, and what the panels have to say…and much more.

seo services

SEO Mindset Preparations

First and foremost I am a digital marketing strategist with roots in SEO. I use search optimization strategies not just to rank clients, but help them achieve their business goals. One of the largest obstacles I face is navigating potential clients around the idea that SEO is an expense and not an investment (I believe inbound can solve this dilemma).Why do businesses have this mentality? While SEO may be able to track user engagement metrics, there is no way to actually trace where revenue comes from when dealing with organic search. Also, there are far more mediocre SEOs out there than there are good ones, so dealing with businesses who have been burned is commonplace.

As an SEO Director for an inbound marketing agency, one of my primary goals will be to learn how to leverage SEO via multiple aspects of the inbound marketing methodology. Because inbound allows marketers to pinpoint revenue origins, clients will see greater value. And when using inbound to better understand your customers, you can rank for the right search terms with content that will translate to sales. That said, here is a glance at my partial seminar calendar and my thoughts related to contextual SEO.

inbound content

Content With a Purpose

For years web content has been all about appeasing Google for the sake or organic ranking. But when we think with an inbound-driven mindset, it becomes clear that if the content isn’t reaching the right people, it’s organic rank is worthless. There are a few sessions at Inbound 2017 that caught my curiosity.

‘Content is Crap. Marketing is Crap. Let’s Talk About Relationships’ boasts a title that is a clear cry for getting personal with our buyers. Then there is ‘Better Way to Build Content’ that addresses the importance of being found online with tips on how to best achieve organic ranking in a world ofadvanced SEO tactics, high competition, and complicated keyword strategies.

These things are all good and true, but if you are the guy who keeps up with the latest in digital marketing news, and you run ongoing user engagement, ranking and conversion experiments then you are already ahead of most. My hope is there will be some comprehensive strategy considerations on how to actually drive content that ranks, using high-search volume keywords with niche keywords to give purposeful content high organic placement in the SERPs.

keyword research

Keyword Strategies that Focus on Topics

Keywords matter. They matter for organic ranking, increasing click-through rates, and converting leads into buyers. Keywords still play a significant role in SEO and the inbound marketing methodology because without them, content wouldn’t rank nor would it reach nearly as many customers in the various stages of the buyer’s journey.

With Google RankBrain having been in full swing for more than a year now, the search engine’s algorithm doesn’t simply crawl content looking for keywords used in detailed, educational text; topical content is better for SEO because the AI and machine learning components to RankBrain look for content that matches emotional triggers behind search queries and user intent. This means keywords that are topic-focused will garner higher ranking, and when multiple varieties are used in topic clusters, marketers can rank their client’s content for traffic that has higher conversion rates (buyers with specific problems looking for the best solutions). The two-part session ‘Topic Clusters Over Keywords’ appears to address this. It will be interesting to see if the speaker has any insights on off-site and technical SEO’s relationship with content cluster enriched web pages. Either way, I will be running a number of experiments when I return to Los Angeles.

Want to Learn more About Inbound?

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Jen Saunders is the Director of SEO for WEBITMD bringing more than 15 years of search marketing experience. She spent 13 years in Europe earning her PhD while looking at lots of old neat stuff. Jen enjoys simple things, like trees, sunrises, and the delicate lull of a 16th century harpsichord. Jen enjoys meditating and studies Buddhism. She is a certified master scuba diver, dolls make her nervous, and she enjoys craft beer. Jen has two cats, Chairman Thaddeus Whiskers and Lord Joffrey Gaius Pitty-Paws. They are her heirs.