SEO and content marketing are the two most important tools available to content marketers. However, you rarely hear both tactics talked about simultaneously. Having an SEO content marketing strategy could help you take your own content and marketing to the next level.
If you need to get better results from your digital marketing campaigns, you must develop an integrated content strategy. That means making marketing and SEO work together for your content projects to ensure better organic traffic.
Before you write content, it’s crucial to develop your strategy to include content marketing and SEO. That way, they work together to benefit you.
What’s Search Engine Optimization?
What Is SEO? Search engine optimization is a process to bring in organic traffic. This is free website traffic that comes directly from search engines. In a sense, you’re providing free articles to people who need the information you provide. From there, you bring them closer to your services and products.
All search engines feature a search engine results page. They deliver appropriate search results to the users based on the phrases and keywords they type into the search bar. From there, the results are ranked primarily based on the relevance to the search engine user.
With SEO, businesses try to rank their content for relevant keywords based on the target audience. If you optimize your content and site for search engines, this improves your company‘s online visibility.
Most consumers begin the buying process by researching topics on Google or other search engines. If you rank for particular keywords, you help those people find your brand when they need it most.
While content marketing does require you to have excellent information, that’s not the only factor that goes into the search engine ranking. There are many off- and on-site SEO factors that could impact your efforts. They include architecture and inbound links to the content on the site.
A crucial element of SEO is keyword research when it comes to creating content and marketing yourself efficiently. Your company must find the right phrases and keywords that the target audience uses to find companies on search engines. When you create content around those topics, you can rank for those keywords. The goal is to be on the first page of the SERPs.
When performing keyword research, go above and beyond the most obvious terms. Those often have high competition levels, so it’s harder for you to rank higher. Instead, go for long-tail keywords and phrases to bring in relevant traffic from each blog post.
With this idea for content marketing, you’ve created content that matches without having too many of the same keywords.
What’s Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the digital marketing tactic used to create valuable content that’s relevant to attract new leads. The content is focused on the target audience with the goal of driving customer action. While the ultimate objective is to make a sale, it depends on where the person is in their buying journey.
For example, you might drive customers to sign up for your newsletter, download an eBook guide, or request a consultation to move them through the marketing funnel.
Various content marketing options can work together to bring in new leads for your company. First, you need to create content that’s useful and relevant. Content marketing doesn’t have to focus solely on selling.
Sometimes, you want to entertain them and get more engagement or educate the audience. Either way, the information you post should add value.
You can’t just create content and be done. Once you’ve written a blog post, you must get it on the screen of your target audience. The second part of your content marketing efforts focuses on promoting the content you’ve created across various channels. If you can get the information to the right audience, it’s easier to establish a connection and gain leads.
The overall goal for content marketing is to build up relationships with customers and leads. This is done by demonstrating your expertise and experience level. With that, SEO copywriting provides valuable information to help consumers make smart buying decisions.
Therefore, you must think about your preferred audience and write things that appeal to buyers in different stages of their buyer journey. This includes people who are researching options and those who want to buy something today.
How SEO and Content Marketing Go Together
Most businesses rely on email and social media marketing to promote content. They are very powerful digital marketing channels to boost your strategy. However, you can’t guarantee that your content finds the consumer at the best time from these channels.
When someone has a question about services or products, they turn to search engines to get information. If your goal is to reach consumers when they need it, you must provide them with the content they should read or view at that time.
This is where SEO and content marketing are a team and work well together!
How Does Your Content Affect SEO?
Content marketing is an excellent way to improve search engine optimization. Creating content focused primarily on targeted keywords that the leads are already looking for ensures that you boost visibility on all search engines.
When someone searches for a topic relevant to your brand, they find your articles and blogs on Google. That helps you begin the process of building a connection to establish a customer relationship. When content ranks well in the search results, you get free exposure. This boosts brand awareness and drives relevant traffic to the website.
When you have more relevant traffic to your site, there are plenty of opportunities to convert. Though SEO and content marketing are different tactics, they shouldn’t be thought of as separate. Understanding how SEO affects content ensures that both work together to help each other.
While there are differences between the two, they aren’t completely separate either. SEO is more technical, with content marketing being broader. Still, they overlap each other, and one affects how the other is effective.
You can’t improve SEO without creating excellent content. However, you can’t find the right audience without using SEO. In a sense, SEO must be applied to each marketing task you perform. That’s the best way to ensure that your strategy is successful.
Step By Step Guide for Your Content Marketing Strategy
Now that you know how each works together, you must create an SEO content strategy that fits. There are plenty of SEO tools out there to help you optimize content. Then, you must focus on SEO copywriting to write the strategy and implement it for success:
Step 1: Define Your SEO Content Marketing Objectives
Before you do anything else, you must define the objectives for your SEO content marketing strategy. They should align with other marketing goals and your overall business objectives. It’s crucial to define the goals so you can build a strategic framework to help you pursue them.
The primary principles for your SEO strategy include being:
- Specific – Clear enough so that you can understand and implement it
- Realistic – It’s crucial to maintain the sense of achievement and morale for you and your team. Break down those large goals into smaller ones.
- Measurable – Make sure you assign KPIs and always evaluate key metrics to measure the performance of your marketing efforts according to the objectives lined out.
It’s not just about publishing content. Here are a few marketing objects to apply for your company:
- Establish trust and credibility – This is a common and obvious objective. Consistently publishing relevant content establishes your brand as the thought leader within the industry.
- Attract new prospects – Valuable and compelling content attracts new leads. This is done when you publish content that’s shared frequently on social media. Try to make it go viral!
- Educate customers and prospects – Inform your existing customers and leads about your service/product. It could also focus on solutions to the pain points from the audience.
- Persuade everyone to buy – Here, your content is focused on sales objections, so the content could talk about why the item is worth the price. You can also offer case studies on how your services save money in the long term.
- Tell a story – Your content should have a storytelling medium or feel to engage people and keep them on the page.
- Maximize loyalty and retention – Content marketing is an effective way to maximize retention. When you maintain the customers you already have, it’s cost-efficient and easier than finding new ones.
Step 2: Research Your Target Market
Now that you know what you want from the content, it’s crucial to focus your SEO content marketing strategy on reaching your target market.
You want your SEO and content marketing endeavors to be successful. Therefore, they must focus on reaching the right audience for your products and services.
This is where target market research is crucial. Consider creating buyer personas for the business. These fictionalized profiles or characters are your ideal buyers. The files should contain appropriate demographic information, such as location, gender, and age. However, it doesn’t end there. They also offer important information about buying behaviors and buyer’s interests.
This information helps you create better content with time.
The most important things to focus on for target audience research are what questions the audience has and their concerns when looking for a product that you offer.
When you understand their challenges, you’ve got a better idea of what topics they might research online. This is an excellent starting point for your keyword research and topic generation efforts. With that, you should think about technical SEO and how it pertains to everything. However, you can work more on that later once the content is generated and ready to publish.
Step 3: Keyword Research
Before starting your SEO copywriting endeavor, you need to think about the keywords and make sure they align with your audience and objective.
The idea is about finding keywords that your audience searches for. If you don’t know who that is, their pain points, and their needs, it’s all but impossible. You’ve created and developed your buyer personas, so this step should be a bit easier.
Now, you must find keywords based on the search intent of the audience and tie them in with your objective.
For example, if your primary goal is to find new prospects, you might look for targeted keywords that are related to providing information. You can use different keyword research tools to help with this process, such as Google Keyword Planner. It’s free and very beneficial. It might also be a good idea to buy affordable ones, such as SEMRush, Ahrefs, or KWFinder.
There are three primary principles for implement keyword research:
- The keywords must be relevant to the audience based on their intent. This is measured primarily through search volume.
- Your keywords must be valuable to the business and align with your object. Every phrase or keyword isn’t relevant, even if it has a high search volume attached to it. Remember, search engines rank based on relevancy and not keyword stuffing.
- It’s also crucial to look at the competition’s use for each keyword. It must be manageable based on your timeline and resources. Highly competitive keywords might rank well, but everyone uses them, so you’re listed lower on the SERPs.
Your content strategy should have specific keywords that you use on every page. However, you should also use LSI keywords on the same page, which are related to the primary keyword you’ve targeted.
Try using long-tail keywords more than shorter ones. There’s likely to be less competition for them, and it can boost your efforts for content marketing significantly.
Now, make a list of your potential keywords based on priority and think about any related metrics. This list is used in the upcoming steps.
Step 4: Topic Planning and Research
Your next step is about focusing on expanding those target keywords and putting them into topics and then content.
The best and easiest approach for that is to do a Google search or use your preferred search engine. Look at what’s already out there and performing well. These search queries give you more insight into what you should be doing with your target keywords.
- If there are featured snippets for the query, focus on this. Your goal is to get those featured snippets into your content.
- Check out the top three for ranking content. Analyze all of the featured snippets on the first page of the results.
- Now, you should be creating content that’s better than what already ranks. You could also take a more unique angle to create something entirely different.
- Most of the time, creating a unique piece is easier. If you try to create something similar but better, you have to be much better to even get noticed, and it’s still hard to do that with the keywords you choose.
- There are many tools to help you generate creative ideas. For example, BuzzSumo is a great choice. You can use other tools to help you find appropriate keywords and topics.
- While you should be creative as possible, the topic should align with the intent related to that keyword and where your customers are in their buying journey. For example, if the goal for your keyword is to offer information, the audience is using that term to find solutions. Your topic should be educational or informational instead of transactional.
- Sometimes, the topic is fairly obvious, and there could be limitations.
Be creative wherever you can. However, content marketing also requires you to think about your objectives for the piece and stick to them.
Step 5: Planning a Content and Editorial Calendar
SEO is primarily a long-term game. Therefore, you can’t create one piece of content, optimize it, and expect to rank high on the SERPs. While there are exceptions to this, they’re very rare. Instead, your SEO content marketing strategy must focus on consistency. This includes quality and quantity. Ensure that each blog post is high-quality, and then produce enough articles to establish yourself as the best.
This can take anywhere from six months to one year. Ultimately, it’s a good idea to create a content or editorial calendar. That way, you can keep track of your strategy and needs. Ideally, you want a full year of content for the calendar, but you can start with six months.
Your content calendar should include the following items:
- Target keyword
- Topic idea and a working title
- Meta description, title tags, meta tags, and categories to use
- CTA plan
- Who is in charge of the content (if there are multiple content writers)
- Type of content and the multiple platforms to post it (videos, podcasts, blogs, articles, etc.)
- When you’re publishing content
- Where to publish it (which channel)
- Promotion ideas
- Where to find backlinks
- Status (working, started, published, etc.)
It’s crucial to include as many details as possible in the content calendar. For example, some people forget to include meta descriptions, but these are crucial for Google and the user experience. When you put that in for each piece of content, it reminds you to include it in the finished product.
The idea here is to brainstorm topics, remind yourself what to do, and consider every aspect before you write anything. That way, the execution is seamless.
Step 6: Create Great Content
Once you’ve developed your list of keywords and figured out when/where/how to publish everything, you should use that information to generate content ideas. Don’t just think about creating the blog post from the topics.
You should also focus on how you could use the keywords to create more web pages or long-form content, such as white papers and eBooks.
It’s crucial to think about your content strategy for things other than blogs and written content. Video content is a great way to mix things up and give people other ways to enjoy your information.
While SEO copywriting is at the core of most content marketing solutions, it’s not the only thing.
Also, you should be aware that you can’t just add contents all throughout the content. If the goal is to get consumers to read it and take action, you need quality content. Plus, Google determines what is good and what isn’t. Therefore, it can penalize you if it feels that you have not produced excellent quality content.
With that, your SEO ranking is lower, and you might not be able to reach leads from the search engine.
Here are a few tips to focus on when developing your marketing tactics and focusing on SEO:
- Well-written content – Make sure you check for spelling and grammar issues. The readability and flow of your content are also crucial. Try not to use awkward phrases or long sentences. Plus, break up the paragraphs for more white space.
- Use relevant examples – When you discuss complex ideas or topics, it could be hard for readers to understand. Add some relevant examples so that the user connects better with your brand.
- Write for the audience – You should write in such a way that your audience understands and relates to you. Often, conversational styles are better for building relationships. Stay away from technical jargon or explain it thoroughly if you do use it.
- Easy to read – Whenever possible, use bullet points to effectively break up the content. You should also have single-sentence paragraphs so that readers can skim the article easily.
Step 7: Best Practices for SEO Content Marketing
Once you’ve executed your plan, you’re ready to develop the content. The process can vary between organizations and individuals, but here are the best practices for content marketing you need to know for your SEO content:
- Most of your content should be non-promotional. This doesn’t mean you can’t include “contact us for more information.” However, you shouldn’t write sales copy. Ultimately, you want to inform readers first.
- Have clear structures for your content (the introduction, their challenges and problems, the solutions available, and the conclusion). Most content follows this rule, but there are other structures. This can help to determine the tone/voice of the content.
- Ideally, you want text content that’s between 1,000 and 2,000 words. However, you should focus more on quality and engagement instead of length. If you write something in 300 words, and it contains everything the reader needs to know, you are golden. Readability is also key here, and make sure you’ve got plenty of subheadings.
- Ensure that you’re using widely understood or universal definitions and terms instead of those pertaining to a particular niche. For example, you shouldn’t write MQL or SQL. Instead, use the phrase “qualified leads.” Everyone knows what that means. If you must use unique or specific terms, make sure you explain them in the text or include links to define them sufficiently.
- Add social proof in the form of outbound links whenever mentioning data or claims. That establishes credibility and makes you look like you know what you’re saying and care about the reader.
- Implement structured data markups into the content. That way, a particular web page is eligible for rich/featured snippet and improves indexability.
- Focus on link-building tactics (inbound links). You can learn more about this in the next step.
The goal here is consistency in quantity and quality. Therefore, you must publish content (while generating backlinks, outbound, and internal links) and maintain the relevance and quality of the content.
Promoting your content is just as important as developing it. That’s why you should focus on your promotion strategy along with content marketing within the content calendar.
There are various channels to promote traffic, such as:
- Social media platforms – Your audience is on social media, so this is crucial. You can divide it into paid, influencer, and organic search traffic promotion.
- Email marketing – This is an effective channel and has a high ROI.
- Blog comments – This includes forum commenting. While it’s an older blog tactic, it’s effective if you do it right.
- Paid promotions – These can include different ads and content delivery networks.
The main goal here is to promote content that generates organic traffic and focuses on link-building. Each time you promote the content, you should try to get link-building backlinks from quality and relevant sources.
It’s also important to understand that the quality of the backlinks is crucial when compared to quantity. Getting low-quality backlinks in a specific time period could cause you to be penalized by Google or other search engines.
Generally, you want to shoot for two to four high-quality backlinks each month. Don’t be shy about asking relevant companies to link to your pages. It’s great for networking and benefits you both.
Step 9: Evaluation and Re-optimization for Search Engines with Content Leveraging
Content marketing is a long-term tactic that should focus on SEO and bring it to the forefront. Generally, it takes between two and six months for one page to slowly climb from the fifth page to the first one. That’s if you consistently implement the optimizations and steps talked about earlier. From there, it could be another six months before it jumps to the top third or first spot in search engine rankings.
Therefore, it’s crucial to constantly monitor your progress during that time. Here are some areas to evaluate:
- SERP rankings
- Organic traffic improvements
- Impressions and reach
- Dwell time and bounce rate (how much content they consume, when they leave the site)
- Other on-site metrics for engagement
- Conversion rates (if there’s a CTA)
- Technical factors (mobile responsiveness and page load speed)
- Backlink profiles
In short, you should evaluate the content based on the above steps. Then, you must monitor its progress with different metrics and KPIs, re-optimizing it as needed. You can update your content or change the tactics completely. It just depends on the situation.
Step 10: Update Content as Needed
SEO content marketing isn’t something you can do once and forget it. While one blog or page of your website could bring continuous visitors to the site for many years, most of your content must be updated to stay effective.
Here are a few ways to update your existing content to ensure that it’s effective:
- Produce content and archive the older items when needed.
- Optimize your content for new keywords.
- Update the meta description when you make any changes.
- Add content that offers more value to the reader.
- Avoid duplicate content by checking with a plagiarism tool so that you don’t get penalized by Google.
- Update your facts and statistics if they’re outdated.
- Refresh the language to make it appear more interesting.
Always make a habit of reviewing the content periodically. Make changes when necessary. You can even add that to your editorial calendar. That way, you remember when to do it!
If you’ve got content already, start updating those pieces. Check to find out which ones have brought more traffic to your site with time and begin with those. For example, you might have a blog you wrote over a year ago, but people still click on it and read it.
There are a few advanced concepts to understand. For example, having any duplicate content could get you penalized on search engines. You must make sure that you’re using original phrases and word structures. There are various tools to help you prevent plagiarism.
Site speed is something else to focus on. You don’t often go to your own website and read the content. However, if the page loads too slowly, people aren’t likely to stay and wait. They click off and find another article to read.
These things are called technical SEO concepts. Ultimately, these are the things that go on behind the scenes. You should make these technical SEO adjustments, and you might want to hire the services of an SEO agency for the best results.
Developing your SEO strategy can help you use both together for more lead generation, conversions, and sales. This is exactly what you hope to achieve. However, you don’t have to do it alone. Consider hiring an SEO agency for assistance to save time and ensure that everything is done right!