If you dabble at all in SEO today, you’re also dabbling in content marketing.
Regardless of whether or not you’ve ever heard the term before, content marketing is the basis of modern SEO and, ever since the near-complete death of outbound marketing in recent years, content marketing has all but taken over the online marketing scene.
Here’s what you need to know about the connection between content marketing and SEO.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the online marketing practice in which businesses and individuals use content – from blog posts to images and videos – to improve their organic search traffic and generate more leads for their businesses. Unlike outbound marketing, which utilized things like cold calling and email blasts, content marketing focuses on creating content, providing value, and allowing customers to come to a company rather than vice versa.
For an example of a company that does content marketing well, consider Airbnb. The company uses its blog to post user-friendly articles about everything from the emerging Zika virus to how to feel at home in Hawaii. While this content may not seem like it’s directly related to Airbnb’s services, that’s precisely the point. By providing valuable parallel content their readers will enjoy, Airbnb stands a good chance to secure more customers and business through organic search results and positioning itself as a leader in the industry.
Why Does Content Marketing Matter?
In today’s marketing environment, there is nothing more important than creating content with the customer in mind. Content is the foundation from which springs sales, traffic, leads, and reviews and, because of this, the popularity of content marketing is exploding.
According to a 2015 Kapost article, more than ¼ of marketers reported spending upwards of 50% of their marketing budgets on content each year. Additionally, 98% of B2B marketers reported that content marketing was the single most important aspect of their marketing strategy.
SEO and Content Marketing
While many people may be tempted to think of SEO and content marketing as two different practices, any business that wants to succeed today needs to learn how to combine the two things. While SEO certainly isn’t the only piece of the puzzle when it comes to creating a healthy flow of web traffic for your company, it can easily be seen as the foundation from which everything else springs. The reason for this is that impacts SEO virtually everything on today’s Internet. Consider the following:
- SEO and Social Media: While certain measurements (like the number of Facebook friends you have, for example) don’t affect SEO, there are many aspects of social media that do. Since Google put its Hummingbird algorithm update into place in 2013, signals from social media have had a huge effect on SEO. Today, things like social shares, mentions, and links from social media platforms all impact SEO, which means that brands that maintain an active social presence and use social media platforms to share content have the potential to boost their company’s overall SEO rankings.
- Keywords and SEO: While there have been some murmurs about whether or not keyword density is a dying measurement, it’s clear that the inclusion of keywords in your content still matters. Brands that use content to target the long-tail keywords they want to rank for are more likely to secure prominent spots in Google’s SERPs, which can help users find a brand and engage with its content.
- SEO and Email Marketing: In 2014, email marketing was deemed the single most effective form of digital marketing available, but it’s much more effective when people subscribe to your email list rather than being blasted by unsolicited spam. Great SEO is one of the best ways to draw people to your site and content is one of the best ways to provide them with enough value that they feel compelled to give you their personal information. In light of this, it’s clear that the combination of SEO and content marketing is pivotal in achieving email marketing success.
Combining Your SEO and Content Marketing Strategy: Four Important Elements
In order to make the most of your business’s online presence, it’s important to combine the forces of SEO and content marketing. Here are four key elements for doing just that:
- Know your audience
Content marketing relies on content that is created for the people – but how are you supposed to do this if you have no idea who the people are? Before you focus on boosting your content marketing strategy through blog content, images, or social media, it’s important to spend some time considering who exactly you’re writing to. Creating a target persona is a great way to do this. Knowing who your audience is, what they want, which social media platforms and companies they frequent, and what the best way to reach them will be can save you from wasting your marketing budget on inefficient content. It can also help you produce larger conversions and make the most out of your content marketing and SEO.
- Offer value
One of the great things about content marketing is that it gives you a way to offer your customers immediate value. For example, if a customer finds your site through organic search, what’s going to entice them to sign up for your email list? The answer is great content. Consider offering a free, niche-specific eBook or white paper to customers who convert. This can help you draw more customers to your site and spread the word about your services through valuable content.
- Don’t be afraid to evolve
While content marketing isn’t going away any time soon, the form that “content” takes changes all the time. In light of this, it’s important to be fluid in terms of your content marketing. Don’t be afraid to try new content forms (the average marketer uses between 12-14) like podcasts, videos, infographics, or memes and do your best to stay up to date on the newest platforms for content distribution. 2015 saw an explosion in businesses using video services like Periscope and Snapchat for marketing prowess, so who knows what this year will bring?
- Focus on relationships first
There is nothing about content marketing that is click-focused. Instead, it focuses on building quality relationships with readers. In an age of authentic content, this is by far the best way to attract new customers to your business. By focusing on providing value, answering questions, and being relatable, you can ensure that your content marketing is as effective as possible.
The world of SEO and content marketing is expansive but, when used correctly, the combination of these two things can turn even the smallest of businesses into an industry leader. To learn more about SEO or for help developing your content marketing strategy, contact Strider SEO today!