Two very good articles on emerging SEO strategy recently ran on iMedia Connection by Nathan Joynt (@nathanjoynt). Check them out here and here. The bottom line is that context and content are the key to search and inbound success. Today, it is less about keyword density and other tricks and more about creating high quality content that can’t be found anywhere else. Cheap, shallow content full of repeating keywords will not get it done. While some of the details are a little technical, it’s important to understand how content strategy and the consumer decision process/journey effects search ranking.
A smart content strategy can take advantage of long tail search terms and semantic/natural language search. Creating useful content that builds trust and affinity by attracting your target customer is always the right strategy. And the content needs to be engaging enough that people want to share it with other like-minded customers.
Here is an excerpt from one of the articles and sums it up well.
“If you take a step back and look at the picture Google is painting here, one thing is clear: The value of an SEO strategy set on tactics involving direct manipulation of search results is becoming less effective. At the rate Google is churning out updates, a year from now these practices may be completely ineffective and obsolete. This is exactly what Google wants. They want inbound marketers and business owners to shift their primary focus away from Google and manipulative link and content schemes and concentrate this energy on each business' target market and to create the best products, services, and content possible.
These websites will eventually rise to the top of Google organic search results while poorer quality websites and brands will become less competitive. The primary reason is because people naturally will link to and share socially useful content and products they truly love. The average web user is not going to link to, buy from, and/or promote a brand they don't trust or don't use.
This shows Google's commitment to the semantic web and their desire to truly understand content and conversations in the same way people understand one another, communicate with one another, and share things online naturally.”