Optimizing Content for Discovery and Conversion is maybe not new, but understanding the concept lift the veil of the always obscure SEO - Search Engine Optimization. term vague that seems overly complicated (when it is really not).
Let's put that out of the way, the article is not from me, but from Sean Jackson on Copyblogger. I republish it here, because it has inspired me more than once, and I hope it will be useful to you as well.
Talk with any professional expert in SEO and you will quickly find they rarely just spend time optimizing a site for a search engine.
In fact, most people who started out as SEO experts have morphed their services over the years to encompass the full spectrum of content marketing activity.
Make no mistake: legitimate SEO tactics still matter today as part of any content marketing campaign.
The problem is that the terms themselves — SEO and search optimization — are used when discussing what is actually the broader strategy of content marketing.
What people really mean when they say “SEO” is the idea of optimizing content for discovery and conversion across a wide spectrum of the web … not just search engines.
Think about it: When you optimize your site, is it just so that it will rank in Google … or are your goals wider than that?
Absolutely, for many sites, traffic from Google is important. But sites get traffic from a variety of sources — social media, related blogs, and so forth.
Are search engines the only source of valuable traffic? Of course not. Yet we still call the tactics of optimizing for organic traffic “SEO.”
Silly isn’t it?
Optimizing Content for Discovery and Conversion, or “OC/DC” for short, encapsulates this idea of amplifying the overall reach and results of content creation.
OC/DC defines a new role for the former SEO activities, broadening the scope and applicability to what a professional online marketer actually does.
The real rock stars of search optimization have always known that it took a lot more than just getting the top result in Google to measure the success of their work.
Now is the time for OC/DC to replace SEO in the online marketing lexicon … and leave the spammers and link buyers in the dustbin of history.
OC/DC can be thought of as two distinct areas of focus:
External optimization refers to traffic generated to your site, and the research and refinement necessary to improve its quantity and quality.
The external part of OC/DC includes numerous traffic sources — search engines, social media sites, blogs, as well as aggregation sites like Slideshare.net and content syndication sources like Business Insider.
On-site optimization makes the most of these external efforts. This matters because improving the quantity and quality of your traffic only helps you if visitors take the action you want when they find your site.
Load times, usefulness of content, responsive design, and ease of conversion are all encompassed within the on-site portion of OC/DC.
Once you understand the breadth of what OC/DC entails, it is easy to see how it plays a crucial role in the execution of a smart content marketing strategy.
Armed with this new and better concept, how can we apply it to our online marketing?
Below are six tactics you can implement right now as part of your effort to optimize content discovery and conversion.
All pieces of content on your site should work seamlessly together.
If you have been active in creating content, this may be a good time to stop and re-edit your existing content.
For example …
Web traffic from mobile devices keeps growing.
If your site is not properly rendering for the myriad mobile devices out there, then you are severely limiting your OC/DC efforts.
Luckily, there are many pain-free ways to optimize a site for mobile devices.
OC/DC practitioners appreciate the fact that a site loading slowly equals the loss of business.
If you are using WordPress, consider a fast, secure, reliable managed hosting provider like our own Synthesis.
Of equal importance is the code that is running on the server.
Spend time reviewing the loading of your site using tools like WebPageTest.org and find ways to optimize your page loads.
One of my favorite sites to visit (besides Copyblogger) is Business Insider. A tactic they use is to republish existing content from other sites directly on the Business Insider site.
No, they are not stealing the content. And no, search engines do not penalize Business Insider or the original publisher for duplicate content.
What Business Insider is doing, as well as a lot of other sites, is reposting existing content from reputable sites and using the “rel=canonical” meta tag to link back to the original post (with permission of course).
If you look at the source code of the page, you will quickly see that the content originally appeared on the Buffer blog.
By syndicating its existing content to other sites, Buffer can increase its exposure online … while sites like Business Insider can serve more content to their visitors.
It’s a win-win strategy for all involved.
So if you have posts that have done well, don’t be afraid to find sites that would be willing to syndicate the content using the “rel=canonical” tag.
This is a simple tactic for optimizing content discovery if your site has authority.
Here is a unique idea to become a real rock star with OC/DC.
Most sites love to publish original research reports within their industry. In the past, creating a research report would take a lot of time and money.
The trick is how you publish the data.
Once you have your survey completed and some basic analysis done, you can repurpose that research in a variety of ways:
For an expenditure of a few hundred dollars, you have at least eight ways to generate content … from just one piece of research.
That is true optimization of content discovery.
I hope you will join me in my crusade to remove the scourge of online marketing — the term “SEO” — from our lexicon.
SEO not only has a negative connotation, it is too often used inaccurately to explain a wide breadth of services and tactics that have nothing to do with search engines.
Optimizing Content for Discovery and Conversion, OC/DC, is a more accurate term, describing exactly what a content marketing strategy must encompass to be successful.