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Between Google and Bing, the Big 2 search engines are determining search relevance using a very similar set of criteria. That is fortunate for us marketers because we can, to a large extent, standardize our marketing strategies for the Web and not have to spend an enormous amount of energy managing multiple approaches for different search engines... at least for now.

The key to achieving high rankings in search and creating buzz in social media is solid content. Period. So as a producer of content, you are now a publisher. You need to start seeing yourself that way.

Free Marketing Data

Publishers need to make engaging content happen. If they don't—if you don't—you won't succeed. As the saying goes, publish or perish. That means you need to create engagement. You need to create relevance. In a sense, you need to learn to read the minds of the searchers in your market.

The good news, the really good news, is that the Web gives you free marketing data that can guide you toward creating relevant subject matter, giving you a sneak peek into the minds of your customers.

Market research is about identifying the needs and desires of the population—and, especially, what that population is willing to buy to fulfill those needs and desires.

To get information about what consumers were doing, market researchers had to find ways to understand what would appeal to consumers. Before the explosion of the Internet, the way to conduct that kind of research was to survey consumers and create focus groups. It would have been impossible to ask every person whether he or she was interested in a particular kind of product, so information was gathered via demographic research and samples within demographics.

The Internet has changed the game. Information about your customers is now at your fingertips.

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Arnie Kuenn is president of Vertical Measures, an agency specializing in providing strategic search, social, and content marketing services. He is the author of Accelerate! Moving Your Business Forward Through the Convergence of Search, Social & Content Marketing. You can find him on Twitter: @ArnieK.