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Most people think web marketing is Google Ads, promoted tweets, and sponsored stories. That’s, after all, where tens of billions of dollars are being spent. But to Rand Fishkin, that’s the stupid money.

“Being an ad-buyer does not make you a marketer,” Fishkin said today in his talk at GROW 2012. “There are two huge problems with this.”

The first is click distribution: Only 10 percent of clicks on Google go to ads, while 90 percent are on organic results. And the second is cost: Search engine optimization, or SEO, is much cheaper. The average cost of customer acquisition through online advertising is $500, according to Fishkin, but the same customer can be found through great web content for just $100.

Above: Sources of inbound content

Image Credit: Rand Fishkin

Great content makes companies and products more visible in search, gives them great reach in social media channels, and even improves email marketing and PR or news efforts, says Fishkin.

Put together, they’re even more powerful.

Fishkin’s top 10 tips for generating inbound content:

  1. Build a content strategy, not just a blog.
  2. Be willing to fail repeatedly before you find what works.
  3. Content doesn’t just mean blog posts, articles, and info graphics — be willing to get creative.
  4. Put all your content on one domain, under one brand (no subdomains!).
  5. Experiment with lots of potential networks.
  6. Combine keyword research and tweetable titles.
  7. Build relationships with the right influencers using three tools: Google Reader search, FollowerWonk, and findpeopleonplus.com.
  8. Time things right by using tools to determine when your community is online such as tweriod.com and Google Insights for search.
  9. Use del-author from Google and post to Google+ … that puts a picture by the search result for your content on Google, and as Fishkin says, users think “picture = good, me click picture”
  10. Don’t ignore advertising … SEOmoz uses retargeting because social ads get more effective the bigger your inbound brand grows.
  11. Combine all these for the biggest impact.

Fishkin is particularly hot on retargeting, saying that “if you come to SEOmoz, we will follow your ass around the web like a lost dog.”

A final tidbit: Post your content to Google+, because anything posted to Google+ is instantly indexed, says Fishkin.

“Google+ is the new Google Submit URL box.”

Above: Inbound marketing tips

Image Credit: Rand Fishkin

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