Content marketing is bigger than ever – almost half of marketers now publish more than once a week. And the other half are probably wishing they did.
After all, studies show that content marketing generates around three times more leads than traditional marketing, and costs 62% less.
But creating the content is only half the story. Because if nobody can find it, what’s the point?
Over 90% of all online experiences start with a search engine. So SEO and content marketing must work hand in hand. One in four organisations devotes 50% or more of their budget to content. But unless a significant proportion of this is allocated to the search engine marketing, you’re wasting a precious opportunity.
So how do you integrate SEO and content marketing? Here, we reveal five expert tactics:
1. Focus on user intent
Creating content using SEO doesn’t mean stuffing your blogs full of keywords and keeping your fingers crossed for a page one ranking. You need to integrate search from the very beginning.
Every piece of content you create should answer a need, problem or challenge for your target audience. So before you start producing a piece of content, ask what your target audience is looking for. (First you need to understand your target audience – learn more in our article on 8 content market tactics to get you ahead of the competition.)
Say they want to know how to make the best cheesecake really quickly. Rather than focusing on individual keywords (like “cheesecake ingredients” or “delicious cheesecake”), think about the semantic phrases your target audience will be searching. In this case, it might be "fast and easy cheesecake recipes" or "how do I make an easy cheesecake?"
Google is incredibly sophisticated when it comes to knowing the meaning and intent of search queries, and will return content that best matches the user’s intent, rather than a page stuffed with the right keywords.
2. Create mobile-friendly content
We don’t need to tell you that mobile should be a critical part of your content marketing strategy – you can read all about why mobile marketing is more important than ever in this post.
The rise of mobile has huge implications for content marketing. As of April this year, Google now ranks mobile-optimised sites higher than non-optimised sites. So it’s not just best practice for your content to be mobile-friendly, it's actually required if you want to rank highly in search.
Here’s a quick three–point check for your content:
Is your content clear, concise and easy to digest?
Is your content top heavy? Is there a short, snappy title and introduction to reel them in?
Is your content compelling and easy to share on social media?
3. Optimise on-page content
Despite what we said in our first point, the SEO basics of keywords and phrases are still important. But again, that doesn’t mean packing your content pages with keywords.
Incorporate relevant keywords and search phrases into the URL, title tag, headlines, image tags and captions, and within the content itself. But be careful not to over optimise, unless you want to deal with the wrath of Panda, Google's newest search algorithm.
4. Pursue high-quality links
Link building has long been a great way to promote your content. But it’s no longer as easy as simply submitting your blog to a few good directories (sorry). Now marketers should be looking to build strong, long-term relationships with relevant sites and blogs. There are two reasons for this.
Firstly, if a relevant site links to your content, Google recognises this as a sign that you are a source of authority and trust, and will rank your content higher as a result.
Secondly, if the link is on a site that’s popular with your target audience, the chances are higher that people will see it, share it and do something about it.
There are a number of ways you can build links:
Offer guest posts to high quality, relevant sites. For example, we often write posts for Marketing Mag and B&T magazine.
Syndicate your content on popular sites for your industry.
Implement a blogger outreach strategy.
Create exceptional content that will attract inbound links and social sharing.
The last one is by far the most powerful. Focus on creating killer content and you will naturally gain link backs.
5. Never underestimate the importance of your content marketing strategy
With all content, you need to focus on creating value for your audience. So the more time you spend upfront understanding what your audience wants and planning the right content, the more traffic you can expect.
If you create truly engaging, compelling and useful content, you will naturally earn more inbound links and social sharing, and, therefore, boost organic search rankings.
If there are two lessons you should take away from article, here they are:
1. Original, engaging content always wins
Content marketing success means providing value to your target audience and driving them to a profitable action. The number one way to achieve this is to produce high quality, useful and original content. Get this right and the search rankings will follow.
2. Without SEO, your content marketing will fail
We're not suggesting that search engines are the only way to distribute your content. Far from it – a great content marketing strategy relies on a rich mix of distribution tactics. But search is critical to its success. Never treat search marketing as an afterthought in your content strategy – they should go hand in hand from the start.
Looking for more tips on content marketing? Check out our two-part series to get started.
Learn more about Salmat's digital marketing offering here or call us on 1300 725 628.