I recently attended INBOUND 2015 where thousands of inbound marketing agents gathered and caught a presentation by Chad Pollitt, the Co-Founder of Relevance and he said, “SEO is not something you do anymore, it’s what happens when you do everything else right.” Now, I’m not saying you don’t have to have a strong SEO strategy in place in addition to your content marketing strategy, but they are much more closely related than we used to think. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship between content marketing and SEO when both strategies are well researched and thought-out, then the better your results should be.
What is SEO
According to Wikipedia, SEO is defined as “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engines’ unpaid results – often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results. What is required to have a strong SEO strategy? According to Search Engine Land’s Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors:
Photo Credit: Search Engine Land
Okay, so first and foremost is content, so there you go. This blog is done. But, not really – let’s take a look at content marketing and see how it fits into the success of SEO.
This is categorized on on-the-page SEO, which means the content is ‘physically’ on your website. Content includes descriptions of products and/or services, blogs, about us sections, FAQs, etc… But, it must be quality content, well-researched and fresh. If your content has been the same for the past 10 years, then it may be time for a little upgrade.
As we stated above, your content strategy needs to be well researched and thought out. Your strategy has to include a few different sections:
- On-page content: this is what the periodic table is talking about, and what we mentioned above. It’s the descriptions of your products, locations, etc… It’s the content that describes your business and it’s the content that the search engine is looking for. This is some of the traditional SEO that you may be used to.
- Blogs: the saving grace for “fresh” content. A blog allows you to consistently add relevant content to your site that is up-to-date and fresh. Whether you post once a month, twice a day, or every other Thursday, having consistent, new content added to your site is crucial.
- Resources: This is where we cross the line between old-school SEO and new-school “content is king” SEO. Resources can be interactive experiences, whitepapers, SlideShare presentations, infographics or any content that is created by your content team to provide answers to your audience while earning links and promoting original content. It’s a beast of a strategy to take on, but it fits in so well with your SEO strategy. It’s this thing called inbound marketing and is a bit of a revolution.
So while content may be in the on-the-page SEO section of the periodic table, it definitely lends itself to the off-the-page SEO section very well, but we’ll discuss that later.
What does this mean? It means your site has everything set up properly for a good user experience. From site speed, to mobile-friendly and crawl-ability, you’ll want to have the right architecture in place for SEO success. Now, this applies to your content as well (once again, mutually beneficial relationship). Your content must be unique (no duplicate content), and it must be crawl-able. If the search engines came to your site to crawl it, can they read it and rank it properly? Your content game must be on-point.
Okay – we’re getting into the technical SEO stuff that used to rule the internet and search engine success. Here are your title tags, Meta descriptions, headlines, keywords, etc. Think about it, what are titles, descriptions, headlines, and keywords? CONTENT. You have to convey the messaging of a page in a few short sentences and sometimes in just a few short words. This content can help immensely and while it may not be the type of content marketing you think of it, in fact, is content.
Here is where we start our journey with off-the-page SEO and content really becomes the foundation of SEO success. Trust is built upon a few key factors, including authority, engagement, history, and ads. You build trust over time and with continuous quality content. This is where resources and blogs come into play. Your strategy for each of those should be to constantly add value to your current and potential customers. While on-page content is necessary, it’s really the blog and resources where you can venture out and create some really thought-provoking, quality and engaging content.
You resources are essential here because you can establish your business (or yourself) as a thought-leader in this area. Think outside of the box and show your authority on your industry. You work day in and day out in your industry, so show off your chops with some content. Remember, some of the above rules still apply to your content. Ensure that it is quality content, fresh, well-researched, and not duplicated. Your resources and blogs can eventually lead to…
Okay, so we are going to walk a fine line right here. We are not talking about the old-school type of links that you used to just build and rank #1 in a few days. Links don’t work that way and it hasn’t worked that way in years. So according to the Periodic Table, your links should be quality, text links, and not spam! It sounds like a perfect storm of stress and challenge. How can you create content that can gain you links and not be considered spam?
It’s this thing called influencer marketing and your content has to be great for people to want to share it. When creating content to earn links (that’s what you’re doing here), creating content that is so gosh darn great, that people WANT to share it, you’ve earned their trust and they want to show you off. Ensure that your content is high-quality, well-researched, well-written and designed in such a way that represents your brand properly. Your content is now on its way to a new audience of potential customers, so you want to make sure it shows your best side.
Sometimes you do have to pay to play here, and that’s okay. Follow the above steps and you’re on your way to earning high-quality links with your content and ultimately driving SEO success.
We live in an age where we want everything catered to us, personally. It’s the same for SEO success, the content that I’m reading or engaging with on your website (or off of your site) has to cater to me. The factors that the table talks about are: country, locality, history and social for success. While, I agree with all of those, I’m going to take it a level deeper.
As a customer, the content that I engage with the most is personalized content. Content that I believe was hand-picked and crafted just for me is what I want when I search the internet. Fortunately, there are clever tools out there that can help deliver just what I was looking for. From sponsored posts on Facebook and LinkedIn targeted towards people like me or related content suggested by tools like Outbrain and Taboola – I want the personalized content.
When considering your content strategy, do you have your customers in mind when coming up with ideas? Are you thinking about what they want or the information they need? When you’re answering questions and adding value with your content, then your content is bound to be helpful and eventually earning some links, social shares and leading to SEO success.
According to the table, social is defined by reputation and shares. While those are two very solid points to ensure your SEO success, I believe there is much more to consider. I think engagement is a huge indicator of success and while that falls in line with having a strong reputation and lots of social shares, it should be included on the chart.
Social, in its simplest form, is content. Words, images, words and images = content. The content that you create, your content strategy is what fuels your social growth, improves your reputation and allows you to reach your customers. Your social shares are going to be from the blogs you’ve created, from the resources you’ve crafted up, from all of the content that you have artfully crafted just for your audience.
So, now that we’ve walked through what ingredients lead to SEO success, you can clearly see that content is definitely a key component. It sets the foundation for all things SEO-related and together they are a match made in digital marketing heaven. A pair so perfect they fit like puzzle pieces, and it so happens we’re pretty great at 100000 piece puzzles. Let us help craft up a mutually beneficial SEO and content strategy for your business.