In the elusive search for successful SEO efforts, the spotlight has been turning increasingly toward content marketing efforts. While some sources claim that content marketing has replaced SEO, this misunderstanding of the dynamic between the two areas accounts for many failed attempts at reining in the potential benefits of both content marketing and SEO.
The development of Google’s algorithm, with the overhauls of Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird updates, has forced SEO experts and strategists to re-examine how we approach marketing efforts across the internet. Gone are the days of keyword emphasis and word order above all other practices. As Google turns more firmly to providing content for searchers that is relevant to their topic, rather than simply their keyword, marketing teams must drive their efforts toward producing truly worthwhile content.
As technology accelerates at breakneck speeds to support mobile devices, faster internet speeds, and the ability to connect with audiences more quickly, content has also expanded to more than just text. Although blog posts and articles are undeniably important aspects of content, images, infographics, videos, and other types of content are steadily becoming more important players. These can all be used to gain a wealth of SEO benefits and a greater audience for your future content.
Give Google The Content it Wants
Elevating your rankings through SEO efforts still involves special management of your keywords. A successful SEO effort will include a plan focusing on the keywords that you want your business to rank for.
When a person searches for that keyword, Google demands relevant content to deliver to them. You must provide that content. As you become the source of results for more and more topics and ideas related to your keyword, Google will reward you with higher rankings for your entire website.
This strategy of targeting keywords isn’t anything new, but content marketing must be a part of this, as you have to have relevant blog posts, videos, and images to offer as a possible search result. By regularly providing content that meets the needs of the industry you’re looking to dominate, you’ll see your website rise as a result.
Google also wants to provide results that are referenced by others as being relevant and high quality. This is the concept behind the well-known value of backlinks. While there are many strategies to gaining backlinks, from the Skyscraper technique to guest blogging, the most crucial part of any of these is creating quality content. You must have a great piece of content that others will want to link to and talk about. These don’t have to be just blog posts; case studies, infographics, videos, and other media. In fact, creating a variety of content will be more effective in reaching a range of customers and providing different SEO benefits. For instance, taking advantage of the ways to optimize a video for SEO can create new links for you than just written content. No matter the format, though, taking time to create new, dynamic items that people want to read is the crux of driving attention to your business, which leads to the importance of your content being shared.
Give Your Audience The Content they Want
Of course, creating all the content in the world won’t help you if you’re not meeting a need for your customers and giving them what they’re looking for. Producing content that truly engages your audience and either answers or anticipates their needs is the difference between successful SEO and a waste of resources. Moz provides an excellent and thorough account of how to Know What Your Audience Wants Before Investing in Content Creation and Marketing.
There are many ways to determine what people want to read about, and researching what content would provide benefit for your SEO efforts can be as easy as a few searches.
Areas to look for great content ideas include:
- Your competitors blogs
- Google keywords related to your industry and see what articles are popular and what questions are being asked
- Use Topsy to find out who is featuring your competitors blogs on topics in your industry, and offer them content to feature as well
- Ask on your social media for questions from your followers and topics they’re struggling with
- Look on Ask.com, Yahoo!Answers and other question sites for questions that are frequently asked in your industry
If you know that a need exists for the information provided in your blog post or other content, you’re sure to find an audience that’s interested in your topic. With a piece of content that’s meeting a need, you can apply your best SEO practices to it, put it in front of your audience, and reap the SEO benefits from the traffic it receives.
Effective content takes many forms, but it always provides useful information or a unique idea. It’s no secret that social media marketing is ingrained in any significant business growth, and your audience wants to see content from you. While social media attention may have a less direct impact on your website than backlinks or other visible results, the long-term benefits can be equally powerful, if not greater. Delivering content that people will want to share encourages brand recognition, trust in your company, and even customer loyalty. As your posts are shared, retweeted, and followed, you’ll gain a bigger audience, leading to more traffic to your posts, leading to better rankings.
Quality Content will Keep You From Being Left Behind
To be convinced of the effects of content marketing on SEO, one only has to look at trends in other businesses. According to Contently, U.S. companies will spend more than 50 billion dollars on content marketing along in 2015. They also report that about 25% of marketers are devoting over half their budgets to content, with 57% of organizations employing two or more people who are dedicated solely to content marketing. The results of content marketing are speaking for themselves and more and more businesses are turning to it as the most valuable source of SEO benefits.
As seen here, marketers are focusing more and more of their efforts on content creation, as the potential benefits become more apparent.
Use The Available Content Resources to Your Benefit
With so many great SEO blogs online, you have some competition, but you also have an abundance of available resources. SEO leaders are sharing their insight on using content marketing to its fullest potential and boosting your rankings, with topics everywhere from adding images to your content to using Pinterest for your content marketing. Take advantage of this wealth of information to steer your content marketing in the right direction.
If you’re ready to take your SEO further with content marketing, we highly recommend Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute. Our staff gained valuable insight from it, and it thoroughly covers the importance of content marketing and how to effectively tailor your content creation efforts.
Moz also provides a full SEO resource area to learn everything about SEO and internet marketing. This includes beginner’s guides to SEO, Link Building, and Social Media, plus a ton of other useful articles and links. This is a great place to start for those entering the field and anyone looking to brush up on the basics. The Whiteboard Friday video series is also an excellent way to keep your team up to date on SEO practices and ideas.
Quicksprout’s 9-part Advanced Guide to SEO is a thorough explanation of the many aspects of SEO. As it’s an advanced guide, though, this may not be the best place to start for newcomers.
Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide, however, is a great place to begin, with everything from creating titles to interlinking. At around 30 pages it’s a big lengthy, but it thoroughly covers the basic areas of the field.