SEO Content Marketing as a Concept
Content marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are arguably two of the most important channels in today’s digital marketing. When combined together, SEO content marketing creates what we call inbound marketing: we put our content out there and attract people inwards via SEO.
The main idea here is that SEO is the most effective way to promote your content. On the other hand, one of the most important prerequisites of SEO success is the quality of your content. So, having an SEO content marketing strategy as an integrated marketing strategy is very important if you want to achieve success in increasing organic traffic, generating more leads, and ultimately grow your revenue.
Why is SEO content marketing important?
Nowadays, many businesses rely on email marketing and social media promotions, including influencer marketing, to promote their content.
Although these can be effective and can generate amazing results, they are designed to ‘push’ the content outwards, and so might disrupt what the target audience is currently doing. Also, it’s more difficult to find the target audience at the right time with email and social media.
With SEO, on the other hand, the audience is the one proactively searching for the content, and so timing won’t be an issue. By optimizing our content to hone in on the search queries our target audience is searching for online, we can improve the content’s visibility to reach the best possible audience. When a potential prospect searches for information related to your brand, they will find your content.
So, although content marketing and SEO are two different things, if we ensure that they are working together properly, we can exponentially improve their results.
Here are five key steps to implement SEO content marketing:
1. Keyword Research
If we want to optimize our content for SEO, then each piece of content must be based on a specific target keyword.
We need to find out what keywords our audience is searching for. The starting point for this is to define our target audience and try to understand their behaviors, pain points, and needs. Ways to do this include conducting market research and developing buyer personas.
There are three main principles in finding our target keywords:
- The keyword must be relevant and valuable to the target audience. Mainly signified by a high enough search volume.
- The keyword must be valuable for your brand/business according to your business objective.
- Depending on your budget and timeline, the competition for the target keyword must be manageable.
Make a list of your target keywords, and topic/content ideas for each one. Then, we can move on to the next step.
2. Figure out the searcher intent
Content that is optimized for SEO must be developed to satisfy a specific searcher intent. So, understanding the search intent behind any target keyword is very important.
If you don't know exactly what your target audience means when they submit a query you might provide the wrong type of content and so fail to satisfy their actual intent.
There are three main types of search intent:
- Informational: queries where people are looking for answers for specific questions or looking for solutions.
- Navigational: search queries where people are looking for a specific website URL (e.g. amazon.com).
- Transactional: queries where people are looking to purchase something.
So, how can we figure out the search intent for a specific keyword?
Here are some common approaches to try:
- Google the target keyword and check the SERP. What’s featured in the SERP can give us a clue about the common search intent for the keyword. Besides the organic results, you should also check ad placements, rich/featured snippets, and knowledge graph results.
- Use Google’s Keyword Planner to check the placements on Google Ads. This can reveal a lot about the searcher intent for this keyword
- If you already have existing content for a keyword, you can check your Analytics and analyze your bounce rate. The lower your bounce rate, the better the content matches the search intent.
3. Develop SEO-optimized content
Once you’ve developed a list of target keywords and figured out the search intent behind these keywords, you can use the information to generate content ideas.
There are various approaches you can use in generating topic ideas, but a simple method is to search the target keywords on Google and check the top results. If you can, analyze all the pages featured on the first page of Google SERPs, but at a minimum check the top 3.
Your job is to either:
- Create a better, more in-depth, better-researched piece of content than these competitors, OR
- Be different, approach the topic from a unique angle and develop something different from your competitors.
SEO content marketing is not about stuffing your content with the target keywords. In fact, Google would penalize you for keyword stuffing. Use the keywords naturally and focus on delivering valuable content for your target audience.
Check for grammar and spelling issues, and optimize the content’s structure and format for readability. Use short paragraphs and bullet points, and focus on making your content easier to read.
4. Build your authority
Google has for some time been emphasising E-A-T (expertise, authority, trust) as a metric used to judge page quality. While it’s not a directly measurable, explicit ranking factor, the component parts are measured and contribute to ranking scores.
E-A-T applies to both the content and the author of the content, and both need to be up to scratch. If the content is judged high quality but the creator or wider website is not, that will have a detrimental effect.
Not all E-A-T factors will be relevant for all sites/authors, so it’s worth researching to make sure your particular type of content meets the requirements for good E-A-T scores.
5. Be consistent
You can’t expect to just publish one viral piece of content and then rest on your laurels. To achieve SEO and content marketing success, consistency is key.
Develop a content calendar where you list:
- The target keyword
- Topic idea and/or title
- Meta tags, meta description, and categories
- When to publish it
- Where to publish it
- How you will promote the content
- Outreach for backlinks
- Working status (work in progress, published, etc.)
Ideally, you should have a year’s worth in your content calendar, but you can start with 6 or even 3-months’ worth of content.
SEO content marketing can be an effective, cost-efficient channel to generate highly targeted organic traffic. Following the steps above will help your content perform well, generate leads, and ultimately, grow your revenue.