Search: RKG Shifts To Building Character

by , Aug 5, 2013, 2:52 PM
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The advertising and marketing industry has begun to experience the influence of George Gallate's foray into search engine marketing. The former global chairman of Havas Worldwide Digital joined Rimm-Kaufman Group (RKG) as CEO in January. Now the search-focused agency has begun to accelerate its role related to creative thinking. Let me explain.

RKG on Monday released a process it calls Digital Visibility Strategies that was developed using processes and techniques focused on user experience. The company creates audience segments by determining character traits and aligns them with search engine best practices. 

Part of the strategy relies on moving away from link building to building better content and a focus on each client's key performance indicators (KPIs), treating links and social engagement as natural byproducts of developing audience personas, defining targets, and creating relevant and compelling content that consumers want to consume.

Adam Audette, RKG president, said the company began moving away from a focus on link-building about two years ago, but accelerated the transition this year. It meant building search personas and strategies, creating the type of content to which consumers naturally link, share, and talk about. "This strategic direction is a long time coming, but the company's recent acquisition of Nine By Blue and Vanessa Fox has created extra momentum," he said. "And yes, the addition of George Gallate reinforced the focus on the new path."

Traditional SEO link-building tactics are decreasing in value, primarily because they aren't built on a sustainable model, he explains. Rather than create a digital experience online for users, the focus of some SEO has been on creating signals for search engines in the form of links. While more links once meant better rankings and traffic, today that's not the case. In fact, Google's algorithm changes such as Panda and Penguin are specifically designed to penalize companies focusing on these older practices.

Audette believes that any strategy putting the focus on search engines rather than people is flawed.

The company describes "Persona Modeling and Development" as researching and modeling target audiences, identifying how the potential customer might react or interact with a brand based on specific content. RKG uses technology from its recent Nine By Blue acquisition to identify the queries that people use to interact with specific brands, placing the focus on keyword research based on a specific task. 

The strategy also requires "Keyword-Driven SERP Analysis," a technique to benchmark a target site against competitors by authority and trust, share of voice, and average rank. It then means developing compelling content to connect with the specific type of searcher.

Using tactics that meet search engine quality guidelines, RKG identifies consumers who's influence will likely prompt others to share and engaging with the content. It's acceptable for companies to reach a specific audience through news, promotions, offers and reviews, but the critical distinction with these distribution practices becomes correctly framing campaigns, according to the company.

"Lego Pyramid" photo from Shutterstock.

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