The relationship between content and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is symbiotic: SEO is key to successful content marketing efforts that drive organic traffic. You have to make it possible for your target audience to find your content and, in order to do that, you need SEO. Applying the technical aspects of SEO to the implementation of a broader content marketing strategy will make both tactics more effective. Here’s how you can use data and research from your SEO efforts to inform content creation.
1. Create High-Value Content
For content to be successful, your creation and distribution strategy must be detailed, consistent, and unique to break through the constant stream of content that inundates your target audience every day. Most importantly, you must be consistently creating content that answers your readers’ questions. All of Google’s algorithms are geared toward surfacing the most expert, authoritative, cited, and trustworthy content.
If you stay focused on creating readable, high-quality content, your search rankings will naturally increase—slowly but surely. From there, businesses have to place that content in key areas (aside from just their own site or sites) to ensure that their content will be seen by their target audience.
That’s where keywords come in. Keywords, as it relates to search, help to align the content with the terms and phrases users are searching the internet to find answer for.
Of course, another fundamental component of SEO is keywords: researching them, using them, and tracking your ranking for each of them. And the only way you can use the keywords you find in your research is by employing them strategically throughout your content. However, your content still needs to be written for humans, not algorithms. This means that you aren’t keyword stuffing or over optimizing (to the point where your content is nearly unreadable—or suffers the over-optimization penalties).
Creating high-quality content that addresses your audience’s needs should remain your first priority, but strategic keyword research will help improve the chances your content will reach your target audience. Once you’ve identified your target keywords, you have to be sure that your content is optimized towards them.
3. Publish Content Consistently
Google’s search algorithms prioritize new, fresh content, depending on the industry and nature of a user’s search. If a user is searching for educational material on the constitution, well cited material is the result in most cases. However, if a user is searching for SaaS technology using machine learning, newer pages will populate the search engine result pages (SERPs). In general, newer content gets indexed quickly and registers higher in the SERPs than older low-value content. When this fresh content appears on a site with historic authority, you can be sure that it’s enters the SERP in a higher position—where Google and Bing’s algorithm will then monitor how users respond to this new resource.
Good SEO, like good content marketing, relies on the consistent production of content. Make sure that you have established an ongoing editorial calendar, informed by data and analytics gathered from your SEO efforts, and that you have a process in place to regularly produce and publish high-quality content.
4. Build Authority With Backlinks
Backlinks to your blog articles, especially from authoritative sites, are essential for improving your content's rank on SERPs. So how do you build backlinks? The first and most essential tactic is to have content worth linking to. Once you have a bank of resources, leverage content syndication and partnerships to tap into markets, industries, and audiences that your regular efforts don’t reach. Content syndication isn’t just copying your content to other websites or reciprocal backlinking (which are both bad for SEO), it’s genuine sharing of your content (or a synopsis that links to the original) that leads engaged readers to discovering you. Similarly, doing things like guest posts and contributing to others’ blogs and publications build backlinks that contribute to your overall SEO/SEM efforts.
5. Prioritize UX & On-Site Optimization
SEO is not just about content production and keywords. It also involves on-site optimization and technical tactics such as: optimizing the robots.txt, enhancing metadata, utilizing proper tags, and constructing a strategic sitemap.
This technical optimization is not simply a series of hoops you need to jump through. It is effective in improving the website’s crawlability, user experience, and effectively surface and promote your content — at the same time, it’s also essential for the user’s experience as they are reading and interacting with the content on your website.
Things such as a sitemap, meta data, content tags, and optimized robots.txt all make it easier for search engines to crawl your site so that people can find and access your content from search. This is yet another way that SEO and content feed into one another.
6. Use SEO Data to Inform Content Marketing Strategy
In addition to all of the other benefits of SEO, content marketers can also take advantage of the data inherent in SEO efforts. Tools such as Google Analytics offers up insights about your SEO efforts that can be used to analyze and improve content marketing efforts. This data can help you fine tune your content strategy in a way that makes sense based on data, traffic, and search analytics. You can apply your findings to improve your future content creation and distribution efforts and even use search data to build more specific and practical buyer personas.
As you can see, content marketing and SEO are inextricably tied. One cannot succeed without the other, so its important that you have a strategy that leverages both of these tactics. If you need help establishing and executing your SEO and content marketing strategy, let us know.