The benefits of SEO Content Marketing should not understated. When used with SEO and Inbound methodologies to maximize conversions and retention, it is the greatest SEO approach available. It is the primary vehicle for increasing your digital growth.
In fact Content Marketing is an SEO practice since we are looking to optimize for the search engines. For this we need, among many things, good quality links to our site. Actually instead of doing old fashioned Link Building, we now employ new up-to-date SEO Content Marketing Strategies.
Once you put all this together, along with social social media and AdWords, then we just need to implement our Inbound Methodologies to maximize your conversions.
In general the process is:
- Create great content
- Promote it effectively
- Optimize for conversions
I always like to say there is no right or wrong way to go about it, but there are levels of effectiveness. For example if you create great content but it is not promoted effectively, then it is a very ineffective way of going about content marketing.
Furthermore, it comes in all shapes and sizes and there is no one size fits all approach. However we do always need to start with the written content on the site, since that is the baseline for Google to be able to crawl and index the website effectively.
So I have developed a methodology which provides a guiding principle and a general strategic approach to help get the most for our content marketing, adaptable to whatever kind of plan we put in place for your business.
Always keeping in mind our primary goals for Content Marketing are to build our reputation and visibility online. This way we are focussing on the types of activities Google and other search engines want to see.
The Difference Between SEO and Content Marketing
At a very high level content marketing and SEO are a complimentary pair of interrelated strategies. However it also important to understand the boundaries of each of these strategies if we want to fully take advantage of what these two powerful disciplines offer.
The big idea for content marketing is to create valuable content which your audience with engage with. This content really needs to be valuable, engaging, entertaining, and above all useful to your target audience.
SEO (Search engine optimization) is a disciplined process for the purpose of increasing your websites visibility and rankings within search engine results.
History of Content Marketing
It also pays to learn and understand more about content marketing and a little bit more about the history of content marketing
Why links are so important
Google needs ways of know which pages out there on the internet are important. Moreover, it needs to know which pages are more relevant than others. One of the ways it judges importance and relevance is by the other web pages that link to your site.
This was originally done via the original PageRank algorithm. Explained in simple terms, it was a calculation of the number of links pointing to your site and a weighting factor that was dependant on the source of the link. In fact PageRank is a whole lot more complex than is required for our discussion here. Suffice to say many SEO practitioners made it their life’s mission to understand it.
Of course we know that Google has continuously refined the way it judges links and how it qualifies them. For the most part links should be considered as a form of endorsement, similar to the way an academic places a citation to give credit for their research document, for example. These kinds of links are understood and rewarded and your search engine rankings will likely improve as a result.
What kind of links
Natural links that have been earned or put their without your knowledge or influence. These can be created by website owners spontaneously, or they can be as a result of an interaction you had with the website owner.
You may publish an article on another’s website which includes a helpful link back to your site. You may be interviewed or quoted in an article on an influential and relevant website. Or a website owner may just decide to link to an awesome piece of content you have created.
The unhelpful links
Understanding the importance of links, some people try to game the system, by intentionally trying to acquire links by any means possible, often by purchasing them or through a manufacturing process.
Of course Google has been crawling and collecting link data on trillions of websites since 1998, and has a fair idea of what kinds of links are fair and reasonable. There are rewards and penalties for the kinds of links we have pointing to our website.
Google has their own Fair use policy or Webmaster Guidelines, which they urge every website owner to read and understand so they cannot plead ignorance in the face of any penalty they receive for breaking the rules.
How quality content attracts links
The key to successful content marketing is earned link building, so we need to create content that earns or attracts links.
3 main reasons people link to your site:
- Interesting & Engaging content.
- Valuable information and resources.
- Relationship with the reader.
The best kinds of links are the ones that we are surprised to get, and these usually come as the result of some great content marketing that we have been doing.
Appropriate content types
Content can be created in a great many varieties, and it is easy to get distracted wasting time creating stuff that your audience will never appreciate. So we again need to think strategically and do the analysis on who our target audience is. We need to understand the audience personas, and what kind of content they will ultimately respond to and engage with. In many cases we begin with Articles written for your Blog
Some types of content could include:
- Articles written for your Blog
- Articles on third party Blogs
- Interviews with people of interest
- Podcasts and or Vodcasts
- Slideshows and Presentations
- eBooks, reports & PDF files
- Case Studies & Whitepages
- Informational Videos
- Social Media posts & comments
- Research articles & data transformation
- Curated or Aggregated Content
- Reviews for products or services
- News Articles and Journalism
- Tools and Resources
- Templates, Plans & Guides
- Mobile Apps or Tablet Apps
- Infographics and Diagrams
- Artwork, Drawings or Illustrations
- Memes and Animated GIF’s
Content Promotion Strategies
Of course there are many ways to market and promote content so it reaches broader audiences. As always the development of a content promotion strategy is very important.
Promotion Strategies include:
- Email Lists
- Guest Posting
- Content Syndication
- Social Media
- Viral Content
- Targeted PPC
- Targeted Outreach
Content suited to your buyer personas
As stated earlier, it is important to spend time analysing your intended audience. This can be achieved through the use of developing buyer personas or client profiles. This is where we take note of all the characteristics of ideal audience.
Persona questions in general:
- Background – What are their daily activities, careers and hobbies?
- Learning – What are they seeking to be able to improve?
- Roles & Responsibilities – Are they business owners, or staff?
- Challenges – Do they lack of time, are they unorganized?
- Goals – What are their aspirations achievements?
Hubspot has a useful persona builder tool called Make my Persona
Link-worthy content to go viral
The idea is to come up with content that is so great, or link-worthy, that lots of people link to it. As already mentioned above these content types could be in a variety of forms. However, if it provides enough value then people will want to link to it from their site.
We also want content that creates a bit of a buzz, that is perhaps humorous or entertaining. This way people will spontaneously share it and link to it. It can be a great way to build your brand presence.
Outreach and Relationship building
It is also very important that our great link worthy content is seen by influential website owners who may have the ability to actually share your content and create a link to it. For this to happen we need to engage in some relationship building and outreach activity. Of course this is another very crucial endeavour.
If we get this wrong, we can blow our chances of growth, particularly if the influencer forms a low opinion of us. So if we just send them an email asking for a link to our site, then chances are it will end up in the trash and we may also get flagged for spamming.
So we obviously need to be respectful and build relationships with people, just like in the offline world. So with relationship building we are always thinking about how we can add value to that relationship. If the relationship is in good shape, and you offer enough value, then there is a good chance they will share and link.
We will need to build and maintain lists of these influencers, so we can maintain this relationship and grow the connections in our list.
Leveraging Social Media
The value of social media in today’s online world is self evident. We really can’t achieve a healthy online presence without it. There is a variety of ways to employ social media to enhance our content marketing. When done effectively, it can help the virality of our content, and extend the reach of our audience. It also helps to develop new relationships and discover new influencers in our complimentary industries.
A great tool that can assist your efforts is Buffer
Paying for promotion
It is also a very important part of the process, to extend our reach using PPC with Adwords, Facebook or Twitter. By targeting certain audiences, and demographics we get put our content in front of the appropriate people. We can use our personas, which we developed to help us get an understanding of our potential buyers to help better target the ads.
We can also specifically target our influencers using the tools provided by the ad creator. This can also be for Remarketing or Retargeting purposes, in order to help us really get a good reaction.
Optimising the Conversions
Once we start seeing the inbound traffic coming to our site as the result of our content marketing efforts, then it is most important not to waste any of that traffic. Once again your strategy here will vary depending on the nature of your business.
In any case however, it will be important that we make sure our site is optimized for conversions. In particular we will need to make sure of some very basic conversion mechanisms and calls to action. At the least we need a contact form on the site that is easy to find and fill out.
If your business relies on phone calls, and you like to talk with your customers to close the sale, then you phone number will need to be prominent on the site. Also on mobile so customers can just tap the number.
Nurture leads with Inbound methodologies
Another way we can make sure the potential buyer does not leave us without engaging is to make some kind of offer to them. This might be in the form a free sample of your product, or a free consultation, or similar. They fill out the form and give us their email address, which then allows us to nurture this lead by contacting them with appointment reminders, or follow up offers. Technically speaking this customer has now entered the top of the funnel.
From here on, we hope to engage with them through a series of scheduled email messages designed to introduce them to our products in subtle and unobtrusive way. This then moves them down through the inbound marketing funnel, until ultimately they become loyal customers.
Planning and Strategy
Spending the time planning your content and developing a strategy is essential. There are many moving parts involved in this kind of service, if not planned and executed properly, it will largely be a waste of time.
We need to consider the kinds of content we will create, the topics we want to cover, and the people we want to engage with. In most cases, it is important to start our content marketing by creating well written articles, which have been
The development of a calendar of content allows us to get the topics and the content prepared in advance. We aim to schedule at least 4 to 6 months worth of content. We will have plenty of time to make the most of our calendar and produce the best quality content possible.
Technical SEO Planning and Setup
During the first month or so of any campaign we will need to do a fair amount of technical SEO, planning and setup items. This include a large number of checklist items, and some of these items may include and number of the below checklists.
Research and Setup:
- Website Structure
- Keyword Research
- Keyword Grouping
- Keyword Mapping
- Keyword Cannibalization
- Broken Link Analysis
- Google Analytics Analysis
- Google Search Console
- Yoast SEO Plugin
- Establish monthly reporting metrics and goals
- Blog Creation on External WordPress
- Webpage Copywriting
- Title Tag Optimization
- Meta Description Optimization
- Meta Keyword Optimization
- H1 tag Optimization
- Domain Redirect Optimization
- xml Sitemap & Robots.txt Optimization
- URL Rewrites, nofollow & noindex
- Duplicates, Canonical & Taxonomies
- Menus and Navigation
- Structured Data & Rich Snippets
- AMP articles implementation
- Calls to action
- Mobile friendliness
- Social profiles optimization
- Email schedule setup
Planning and strategy:
- Develop Content Strategy & Publishing Calendar
- Research and establish content goals
- Identify Buyer Personas
- Develop contact lists for outreach
- Plan funnel lead nurturing steps
Content Marketing Execution
After we have been working on all the technical SEO, planning and setup items for at least the first month of our campaign, we then need to begin executing our content marketing. This is where we start putting the whole process into place.
There is a saying; “Execution is everything” and no matter how cliche this saying might be, it remains a very accurate analogy for success. The truth is many campaigns fall down at this stage. Consider it a challenge to consistently produce, publish and promote awesome content on a regular basis.
Execution items may include:
- Publish hand written 1000+ word articles monthly
- Create and Publish Serendipitous Content Type
- Develop and use contact lists for outreach
- Regular content strategy meetings
- Schedule email nurturing messages
- Calls to action and Landing Pages
- Posts content to Facebook and Twitter
- Paid promotions on Adwords, Facebook & Twitter
We keep executing on a consistent and regular basis, over and over again, until we look back and we have built a whole city of useful and engaging content.
Your SEO Content Marketing Experience
Like so many things in the universe of digital marketing, SEO content marketing success is based on a solid strategy and a consistent execution. We need to experience of SEO results first hand. How does it feel when your content is successful. When it begins gaining visibility in the search engines or starts attracting links. When this happens we are no longer dealing in theory, we are speaking from experience. So the best way to improve our content marketing is by increasing our experience of it.
What is your experience of SEO Content Marketing?