Content marketing is an exceptional sales tool. Through the creation of videos, blogs and social media posts whose function, rather than to directly and explicitly promote a product, is to stimulate interest in the types of products and services offered by the company in question.
While the creation of high quality content that fulfils consumer demand and deals with prominent questions surrounding goods and services is vital, without an effective strategy for distribution it will fail. Inarguably the most important mechanism for getting content out there and making it visible online is still via an effective SEO strategy.
This article sets out how to go about creating an approach that makes the most of both SEO and content marketing – in essence tackling the distribution problem for content marketing.
SEO can be seen as the battery that powers quality, targeted content, enabling it to reach its target – the consumer. As we all know, not all batteries are created equal and the same can be said of SEO strategies.
As with batteries, some SEO is has a short-lived, rather impotent effect, while quality, well-thought out SEO strategies deliver faster, more durable results. SEO has a huge competitive advantage over other methods of delivering content to an audience. By its very nature it is targeted. You are taking advantage of the fact that as you optimise your content for SEO you are working towards a sort of synergy with your target audience and what they are typing into Google.
Similarly, the very best SEO approach will involve forging a synergistic relationship between your content marketing and SEO.
SEO in content from the start
By creating high quality content that is well constructed, benefits from excellent grammar and good, solid sentences (avoiding bloated paragraphs) you will go some way to appealing to Google and especially to demonstrating mobile-friendliness, which is increasingly important.
SEO campaigns are, by and large centred on three key areas:
- On-page SEO – relating to content on the site, such as video, blogs and pictures. Keyword research should be done and then the site and pages optimised for those keywords.
- Off-page SEO – this involves focusing on links from elsewhere on the web. Obtaining a high number of legitimate and high quality backlinks forges trust with Google’s algorithms.
- Technical SEO – when it comes to technical SEO this involves non-content elements of a site including, but not restricted to mobile optimisation and speed of loading.
Not all content is created equal and the relationship between SEO and content is not entirely straightforward. When it comes to pinpointing the type of content that will most benefit from excellent SEO it is worth dividing your content into three types:
Elite content – viral level content that is so exceptional that SEO may not be quite so vital
Hub / everyday content – your ultimate guides, category pages or blog articles – SEO is important
Hygiene content – content that offers answers to specific questions about your products and services. This can be critical content for effective navigation of your website and typically aimed at boosting conversion. Here SEO is critical
SEO content strategy
In terms of SEO content strategy you need to be rigorous in terms of five key areas:
- Research – it is vital that you carry out topical and keyword research at an early stage. First, you should look into which topics and unique problems are popular and common in your particular field. Then it is important to carry out keyword research, enabling you to reach varied, but targeted audiences, before looking at building pages around some of the most important topics. Looking at what your competitors rank for is always a good place to start.
- Quality – there should be no watchword that carries more weight than this. SEO is moving more in the direction of user experience year on year and maintaining rigorous quality control in all of your content is vital.
- Scheduling – when it comes to carving out a successful blog much depends on consistency of scheduling. Readers need to learn when to expect fresh content and to be able to rely on it being released like clockwork.
- Link-building -the main crux of off-page SEO, this involves attracting backlinks (in-bound links) from other pages online. You could start with local businesses and also look to other blogs for potential guest blogging.
- Measurability – it is vital that you can measure the success or otherwise of each component of your plan. This is most commonly achieved via traffic monitoring using whichever web analytics tool you choose and software to track where you rank for the keywords you are optimising for. In addition you can look at conversions and ROI.
Once you’ve established and implemented the initial strategy it is important not to stagnate or become complacent. Consistent keyword research and the optimisation of historical content, both for fresh keywords and future-proofing are recommended and an ongoing monthly content strategy will be of paramount importance for ongoing success.