Content Marketing
Published July 12th, 2016 by

Content Marketing Tactics to Maximize SEO

Success with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) doesn’t happen without the ability to quickly adapt to changes in the industry. Re-evaluating and continuously adjusting SEO campaigns is a necessity but it can be difficult for marketing strategists who like to plan ahead. While SEO and content marketing have several points of differentiation, you cannot separate the two entirely. SEO is narrow and technical and content marketing is broad and holistic. Converging the two requires constant optimization, monitoring and teamwork. While people in marketing divisions may have separate roles or titles, there should still be some overlap or at the very minimum, everyone should have knowledge of baseline digital marketing strategies so that they can integrate and contribute to a common results-oriented goal.

SEO Without Content Doesn’t Exist

In the SEO industry, creating (or telling others the type of organic content to create) and practicing on and off-site SEO tactics are primary best practices. Keywords, articles, quality substance and verbiage make up good content and are constantly needed for the practical application of SEO. A fundamental component of SEO is researching and tracking useful keywords for your campaign. The only way to use those important keywords is to strategically place them throughout owned content. Of course over-optimizing—or using too many keywords in one piece of content—is generally frowned upon, but your content has to use those keywords that you’re targeting. When search marketers and content markers successfully communicate and work together, optimal SEO results are achieved.

Content Marketing & Link Building

The process of link building, or gaining links from external pages to your website, is one of the many tactics SEO professionals use to improve page rankings. If you want this important part of SEO to work, you have to implement a strong content marketing campaign that produces just that—strong content. If you’re consistently publishing killer content that people actually want to link to, link building is much easier. Content marketers or those who produce content and don’t have the fancy title, provide content that is pertinent in order for SEO tactics to be most effective.

Both Require Consistent Efforts

SEO and content marketing also require consistency. Fresh content registers higher on Google than older, low-value content and sites with historic authority that are publishing new content rank higher. Thus, smart SEO requires a steady stream of content output. Content marketing requires ongoing action. If you’re doing it right, content marketing doesn’t stop—you’re constantly researching, evolving and producing.

Research From SEOs Help Content Marketers

Your content is meaningless unless people search for it and find it. Google’s frequently changing ranking algorithm makes it even more critical to ensure every piece of content is fully optimized for SEO success. This requires persistent monitoring by search marketers who can alert content marketers of industry changes or keyword shifts. SEO professionals can help content marketers understand and or predict new Google ranking algorithms.

So What Does a Successful Strategy Look Like?

Most online consumers are savvy and it’s tough to attract their attention, let alone actually convert them into customers. Forbes reports that in 2016, 76 percent of B2C marketers use content marketing, but only 37 percent say their strategy is effective. There are several steps that should be taken in order to develop a strong content marketing strategy.

1. It Must Be Documented

The first step to any successful strategy is to document it. Companies who develop detailed documentation, with a core outline and actionable steps, are less likely to feel challenged by every aspect of content marketing and more likely to justify spending their budget on it. Start with an outline of channels you want to approach, content you want to produce and your end goals.

2. Listen to Your Customer First

Content marketing isn’t about what you want people to know, it’s about your audiences’ needs and interests. It should never be mistaken for advertising. Too often marketing specialists skip over what the market and their prospective buyers want and need, and create content without research and planning. The first step should be to know your audience and use tools and analytics to guide you. Google’s Keyword Planner is a good starting point for finding popular keywords and SEMRush helps you expand and broaden your approach. Content creation should be the end goal, after you gather specific information about searcher intent, sub-niches and competitors.

3. Audience Personas are Important

It’s essential to identify your target audience(s) across all channels where you plan to place your content. Take time to develop each persona for each audience member, including what their pain points are, their interests and behaviors. Personas are based on combining insights from primary research (interviews, first-hand information) and secondary market research. Once you figure out your audience personas, you can cater your content to your audience in a way they’ll find valuable. The information can also be useful across other divisions of your company, such as sales or product development.

4. Types of Content

The content creation process can be a major challenge for marketers. Stories and messages about your brand can be crafted into multiple different content formats, and then re-purposed later on. This is where the search marketers come into play and help the content marketers create. You need to publish content that contains keywords your audience is looking for. Types of content that can help tell your story include:

  • How-to articles;
  • Case Studies;
  • Testimonials;
  • Blogs;
  • Videos;
  • Quotes;
  • Demos;
  • Product Reviews;
  • Company News;
  • Ebooks;
  • Memes;
  • Emails.

5. Smart Content Matters

The key to content marketing is not selling, but helping, creating value for customers and meeting their needs—giving you a wider reach and impact and differentiating you from the crowd. A smart content marketing strategy pulls your target customers in effectively. A well-implemented strategy establishes trust and credibility within the target market. It’s researching and giving people what they want to see. If done correctly, it’s an excellent way to build relationships with customers. Organic search results (good SEO) help to attract a potential audience to a specific website (at no cost) and a smart content marketing strategy provides good organic search results.

6. Infographics

In the past five years, the use of infographics (IGs) has soared due to the aid they provide in effective, memorable communication. Forbes reports B2C marketers use IGs more than any other content strategy. Of the 62 percent who report using them, 63 percent from the group said they were effective. IGs help to tell a story by showing key statistics, facts and short-form text in a visual format. A custom design, with relevant keywords and content for your audience, is your best bet to stand out from competitors and other industry leaders. For example, Couponbox created a Real-time Spending IG based on hard data and thoroughly-vetted algorithm, which shows how much Americans spend by second. This type of content can be evergreen and used again in certain instances.

How Do IGs Help SEO?

When visual graphics are well researched and well designed with great content, they can be powerful for SEO. Receiving linkbacks to your great IG is easier when it contains hard data and captivating graphics. To make it easily shareable, organically embedded the link in the IG. Leveraging your relationship with journalists, bloggers or top-tier editors can help you with promoting your great IG—thus helping with your company’s SEO.

7. Find Success on the Right Channels

Once you determine exactly whom you’re targeting and the content you want to create, you have to match the best content pieces with the best channels. It takes some research to figure out which pieces of content do better on LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram. Lengthy articles or blog posts aren’t suitable for Instagram and IGs may not earn the most engagement on LinkedIn. Study what’s trending, industry influencers and what type of content earns the most engagement for each channel. Certain pieces of content can be cross-promoted if done strategically.

8. User Experience is Important

Without a solid user experience, your content cycle won’t lead to a sale. Creating high-quality content and leveraging it for SEO is only the first step. If your content or website isn’t optimized for friendly user experience—including on both mobile and desktop—your efforts will be dismissed. Do users know what to do once they get to your site? Optimize how fast your pages load and make sure your primary content is above the fold. It’s important to figure out where users linger most on your site and make sure calls to action can be easily filled out and quickly submitted. Marketers who are continuously monitoring user experience get the most return on investment out of their overall content marketing strategy.

How to Achieve Long-term Results

Throwing together mediocre content can be a temporary quick fix, but it isn’t enough to achieve long-term SEO results. In a world of content overload, it’s important to have a long-term plan, backed by research and analytics. SEO professionals can help spot opportunities, changing industry trends and how to differentiate you from your competitors. For content marketing to achieve long-term SEO results you must get involved, stay focused and stay consistent over time. Companies have to invest in both SEO and content marketing in order to be competitive in the digital marketing world.

Holly Rollins

President at 10x digital
Rollins is the President of 10x digital, a digital marketing, content and SEO firm. She is also Senior Editor for Carpe Daily, and is named one of the top content marketers globally by the Content Marketing Institute: 2014, 2015 and 2016.

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