As this is the first SEO related post here at Ameva Digital then I thought I would write something that I am extremely passionate about, and have been for some years. As a premise I will tell you that RCS is all about doing real things for the real world rather than just to satisfy and in some respects manipulate the search engines.
So What Exactly Is RCS?
RCS is a phrase that was penned by the great Wil Reynolds of Seer Interactive from Philadelphia (and San Diego). I first heard Wil give a presentation about RCS in the 2012 MozCon. It simply stands for Real Company Sh*t. Ok there will always be some that get offended by that but its how I first heard it and it has stuck in my head ever since. I could change the wording to ‘Stuff’ but I am ex-forces and have a mouth like a sailor so I am afraid I will refer to it in all its original glory.
So lets get down to business and enlighten you to what RCS is, and how using it will change the way you think about digital marketing. It is exactly how we do business here and I believe that every digital marketing agency worth their salt should be doing RCS and after you have finished reading this then I think you will agree.
Lets Start At The Beginning
Back in the late nineties and well into the noughties digital marketing was, in the grand scheme of things in its infancy. Smaller companies were starting to venture out and take an online presence. However, real world marketing, such as adverts in newspapers, magazines, yellow pages, radio adverts and for the larger companies that could afford it TV advertising were the mainstay of marketing.
Back then search engine algorithms were easy to work out and by making a few changes to a website and employing certain link building techniques could in the grand scheme of things get you to the top of the results pages with relative ease.
This was a good and bad thing for SEO companies around the world. The good side of it was that companies were jumping on the digital bandwagon and SEO companies were doing very well helping customers get to the top of the search pages. The bad news was these methods were Fake Company Sh*t, which means they were done with the sole intention of manipulating the search engines, whether or not their website was really the best match for the search query.
Fast Forward To Today (2016)
Over the past years Google have been working to improve their algorithm to show far more relevant results than they would of done a decade ago. At the same time their webspam team have been working on detecting spammy methods and after the release of several big hitting algorithm updates (mainly Penguin & Panda) ultimately spammy methods of ranking websites either no longer work or hold no longevity at all.
This was the bad news for those SEO agencies that used those methods. Their clients sites simply got dropped from the Google index, this created a lot of bad press for SEO in the business world and sadly it also meant those of us who did things right still got tarred with the same brush. Link removal was an industry buzz word for a few years while many companies fought hard to repair their bad back link profiles.
Where We Are Now
What we fight for is to get people to understand that SEO is not about simply getting you to the No1 position but actually about getting you quantified traffic and help the company get a real financial ROI. Of course getting high rankings for well searched for keywords and phrases does bring in valuable traffic. However, what needs to be remembered is that ensuring websites have the correct title tags, keyword density inbound / outbound links is Fake Company Sh*t. Doing theses things will not bring you ROI.
As digital marketers we need to do RCS to add actual value to a brand.
Building Digital Assets
Digital Assets are what it’s all about. Think of them as the building blocks to a healthy digital presence. With digital assets you can showcase your business in a fantastic light. When you have these assets then you become admired by your peers and remembered by your potential customers.
But What Are Digital Assets
Digital Assets are something your brand owns that provides value to its audience. An asset can take the shape of almost anything. Whether it be the written word, a video, an infographic or even an interactive JQuery website.
As a search marketing company one would think that we would be wanting to build “link bait” which would be designed solely with the intention of getting backlinks to a website. While backlinks are still a major ranking factor they are not “Real”. By this, I mean we cannot gauge an ROI of a link. Being helpful to a visitor, giving them the answer they are looking for, fascinating them and impressing your brand on their mind is RCS with a digital flavour.
When we build an asset it is built with the audience in mind. If it gives the information that the viewer is looking for, in a memorable manner then that is what it is built for. Indeed backlinks do come from these which help the overall SEO strategy, however we don’t build things unless they are going to be of value to an audience and we certainly don’t build them with the sole intention of obtaining backlinks.
There are some fantastic examples of digital assets available. I will use Seers’ example which has been built as a proof of concept. The thought process behind it was to show people exactly how some of the worlds best known Tech startups make (or lose) money. You can view the RCS Example by following the link.
Now the just look at the impact that it has had. Below is a quick snapshot of some link metrics to the website.
There was a fault calling in Twitter and Google +1 metrics, however I would expect they are extremely high much like the Facebook shares. It is not nessasarily the amount of links, but it is who has picked up on it and referred to it in their publications. For instance just a quick glance and you can see the likes of Mashable, Wired and Lifehacker have all written about, embedded and linked back to Seer.
What this is proof of is that you can build something amazing (and actually the programming that goes into making something like that is quite incredible), people found it extremely useful (the whole idea) and at the same time Seer has had its brand name appear throughout some of the biggest online publications in the world and gained high authority backlinks back to their website.
As mentioned before, building links does not have to be the reason for building digital assets. What should be seen as important is helping out the target audience. What happens with links and mentions is simply a nice byproduct. But conversely, if it does not answer the question or is a terrible user experience then you can spend a lot of money and achieve very little. The gold is in the detail and fine tuning.
It is my belief that doing RCS is the future of digital marketing. While traditional methods work still, the potency of such methods is waning and Google will give credit to those building digital assets that provide answers and value to the audience will see a much higher ROI than those that don’t.
If you want to find out how we can help your business get a powerful foothold on the digital landscape then get in touch and we can have a chat over a coffee.