Why thought leadership – not SEO – will boost your Google results

I believe that thought leadership – and subsequently the high-quality content produced from it – is at the heart of successful SEO model.

There’s a continued discussion amongst business owners about the role of SEO today. As the founder, director and lead strategist of end-to-end thought leadership Acquired Audience, I am constantly surprised by how many business owners invest countless dollars into SEO and then say things like ‘SEO doesn’t work’ and ‘we have invested so much with no real return’.

The truth is, the more we practice SEO, the simpler the reality actually is.

SEO has long been presented as some sort of dark, complex art that not everyone can understand or implement – but I call bullshit on that. I believe the reality is that regardless of the changes to Google Algorithms, how many keywords you have on your website, white hat, black hat etc. etc., SEO is a much more organic process than we are told.

Too many marketers and agencies obsess over Google PageRank believing it to be the route to rising in Google’s search results, when in fact it’s just one of many factors. People look at Wikipedia or Amazon and think they rank so highly and so often because of PageRank, or perhaps it’s due to sites like these hosting billions of links, but there is another powerful element they have overlooked…

Authority – at least what Google defines as ‘authority’ – which is led by what we call ‘thought leadership’.

Once relevance, links, and keywords are taken into account, true search engine success is based on the ‘trust’ and ‘authority’ you have built with your site visitors, followers and customers. Simply put, ‘authority’ means people trust you to supply expert insight. Essentially, authorities trusted by humans, are also trusted by Google.

The basis of this is illustrated in this infographic, tailored to better reflect SEO in relation to thought leadership.

Thought leadership

I believe thought leadership – and subsequently the high-quality content produced from it – is at the heart of successful SEO model. This success is fuelled by three key factors: products or services – the what, knowledge – the why, and solutions – the how. This in turn organically attracts the SEO benefits of referral links that drive traffic, search engine authority and direct and social engagement.

So the simple truth is it’s not SEO that you need to focus on. It’s being an expert in your field, online and offline, which will in turn lead to Google authority and your audience to view you as a thought leader.

Jackie Attard, Founder, Acquired Audience

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