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May 24, 2022

Everything you Need to Know About SEO and Content Marketing

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Michael Jenkins
Michael Jenkins

CEO - Shout Agency
[email protected]

The two most essential elements of digital marketing campaigns have to be SEO and content marketing. These two go hand in hand and, if combined judiciously, can work wonders for your business.

Search engine optimization and relevant content complement each other with a great blend of traffic and trust. As search results bring in new traffic from the content, the authority-building content itself verifies the trust users had in coming to the specific blog post.

Understanding the importance of these two steps is only a meager realization. The real deal is to figure out how to go about combining your content marketing strategies with search engine optimization to drive traffic onto your website and provide quality content to your users.

This article will provide you with everything you need to know and do to upscale your digital marketing campaigns. So, keep your notebooks ready, and give your undivided attention to what is coming ahead.

Improving SEO and Content Marketing Strategy

Let’s get straight to the point. How do you go about building your SEO and content marketing strategy to get better results for your business? What are some of the creative ideas and rules that you must keep in mind while approaching your digital marketing setup? Let’s try and find out.

Here are three steps to improve your SEO and content marketing strategy.

Step 1: Evaluate your Keywords.

We discussed numerous times on this blog how keyword research is vital to any search engine optimization campaign.

Fortunately, a number of tools exist to help you find the relevant keywords. We discuss many of them in 9 Essential Content Marketing Tools.

Two that we want to point out today are SEMrush and Google Search Console.

SEMrush shows you the best organic and paid results, so you can find the best keywords to use in your next content marketing piece.

You can also use SEMrush to compare other domains in your niche to see what keywords your competitors rank for on Google. You can either go after those keywords or look for alternative keywords to target.

This also helps you understand the difficulty level for each keyword. If a site, such as Wikipedia, ranks high for the keyword you want, it will be more difficult to rank than if your average Joe website ranks for the same keyword.

Consider your competition when you look at keywords for your next content piece. It could decide whether people read it or it gets relegated to the dustbins of low rankings.

The Google Search Console helps you evaluate what keywords work best currently on your website. When you understand what works right now, you can duplicate that success in the future.

Therefore, if you wrote the Complete Content Marketing Strategy Guide, you could also create follow-up articles on similar topics like SEO and content marketing.

Keep in mind when you look for keywords, you consider the following items to ensure you have the highest keyword rankings:

  • Target audience
  • Possible terms used
  • Competitor keywords and placement

Step 2: Find your target audience

Once you get the right keywords, it is time to find your ideal audience for your content. Whatever content you create, be it on social media platforms or publishing sites, it will not matter if you target your keywords for the wrong audience.

Furthermore, your audience will determine the other intangibles, like how long visitors stay on your website and how many pages they visit after arriving.

To do this, you need to identify targeted keywords at different buying stages to ensure you have the right content to move a prospect forward.

For example, an article or video works for a buyer who is doing initial research. However, those who are ready to make a decision might need a case study or data backing up your product or service.

Get in touch with your content marketing team to create a profile of your ideal client to determine what content they would interact with most at each stage. This can help you decide if you want to create more blog posts or add videos to your website. The more information you have, the more educated decision you make.

This, in turn, leads to greater engagement with the content marketing efforts and, by extension, improved search rankings

Step 3: Get links to your website

Valuable and relevant content not only gets the attention it also gets links back to your website. You receive this when other bloggers cite your information in their own blog posts and link back to your website.

The better your content, the more links you get to your website, and the more you’ll be able to attract your target audience. This will, in turn, help you improve your lead generation.

You can also do some outreach to get backlinks to your website. For example, you can create great content for another website. Creating guest posts on multiple high-quality websites with information relevant to your website encourages links to your website.

Therefore, quality content and search work together because the content you create on a third-party website leads to backlinks leading to higher search rankings. These rankings provide more traffic and a larger audience for the content you create on your own website. It is the circle of life for businesses looking to marry SEO and content marketing.

These are some of the practices that you can inculcate within your digital marketing strategy to get more traffic on your site. These steps will help you reach out to your target audience members efficiently and increase your brand’s reach.

Now, as we have discussed the things that we should do to rank higher in any search engine results, it is also essential to understand what exactly search engines want from a website.

The next segment of this article will answer questions like how does a search engine differentiate a quality website from a scam website? How does a search engine decide which website ranks higher on the search results?

What Does Google Look For in Your Content?

Google is the most common search engine around the world. So, let’s look at what all google crawlers look for in your content to decide its rankings on the SERP page.

Google's Ranking Factors in 2020 - Top SEO Ranking Factors 2020

Relevance

A web page’s content must be relevant to the user’s query if it’s to appear in the search results. So, for instance, if you have a web page focused on eye drops, it will never rank in Google queries related to athlete’s foot. 

Relevance is not just related to page content but also to backlinks. Google will not give much regard rank-wise to backlinks to your eye drops web page if they do not originate from sites relevant to your web page’s content.

Google expects that since backlinks are an endorsement of sorts, then the backlinks can only be considered as genuinely vouching for your web page if the originating site is a credible resource on the subject matter.

Expertise

Expertise is about demonstrable knowledge and skill in a subject area. Nevertheless, in the context of SEO content, possessing knowledge won’t automatically open the floodgates of traffic to your web page. Instead, you have to communicate this skill and knowledge to attract and engage your readers. To do that, you have to master who your audience is, what they want (i.e., not just what they are searching for but also their search intent), and what is the most effective way to reach out to them. 

You have to determine what their knowledge of the subject is. The wording you’d use for someone who’s a novice shouldn’t be as jargon-filled as you’d use when addressing someone who’s already profoundly versed in what you are talking about. You must find the right balance between detail and simplicity. 

You cannot cover everything on a web page, so provide internal and external links that people who want to delve deeper into the topic can refer to.

Authority

Expertise and authority aren’t synonymous. You start off as an expert in the hope of becoming an authority in your field. When influencers, leaders, industry publications, and other experts are referring to you and your web pages as a source of information, or when you and your brand become virtually synonymous with a subject, you are no longer just an expert but an authority. 

There are a number of techniques Google will use to establish your web page’s authority. First, and as we’ve already mentioned, backlinks to yours from recognized authoritative sites are a significant factor.

Second, mention of your name and brand (even without links) in the press, journals, and other reputable online publications. 

Third, having a Wikipedia page about you or your business is an indicator of notability (being notable is a prerequisite for you to have a Wikipedia page) and, therefore, a pointer to your authority.

Fourth, if a substantial number of queries are explicitly referring to your name or your business, you likely have a certain level of industry credibility.

Trustworthiness

While rising expertise and authority will see your web page’s ranking soar to the top of search results, a lack of trustworthiness is perhaps the fastest way to see your ranking fall dramatically. If you don’t quickly address negative reviews around your content, product, or business, Google will severely punish your pages.

Suppose your business is based in North America. In that case, you want to keep a close eye on your Better Business Bureau (BBB.org) reviews, as this is considered a significant source of consumer satisfaction by Google. 

Other than delivering a quality product, keeping your promises, and addressing negative reviews, you can improve your business’ online trustworthiness by having a straightforward way for users to contact you, an easily accessible T&Cs page, adopting SSL/TLS for your website, a clear return and refund policies, and providing comprehensive product documentation.

Fresh

Specific information will hardly ever change. For example, the sun rising in the east and setting in the west is something that has continued for as long as the earth and sun have been in existence and are unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.

However, humanity is continuously discovering new knowledge in all kinds of areas. And even when it isn’t new knowledge, there’s always an opportunity to provide new perspectives on existing knowledge. Therefore, it becomes necessary to create content that remains up to speed with the present world setup.

That’s why Google considers the freshness of your web page to be a factor in determining the content’s quality. It’s only logical—if your website or web page hasn’t been edited, revised, and updated for the last 5 years, then there’s a good chance that its information is woefully out of date and potentially misleading. Keeping your content fresh and evergreen is fundamental to a high search results ranking.

Shareability

Google believes that users will know good content when they see it. So a good indicator of quality is how shareable your content is. If people like what they’ve just seen and read, they’ll be excited and confident about sharing it with their social circle. 

Sharing it is effectively an endorsement of your content and will mean putting their name on the line. Few people would be willing to suffer embarrassment in front of their family, friends, and professional colleagues because they distributed inaccurate, incoherent, and poorly researched content.

If your web page is shared consistently and widely on social media, it’s a positive sign to search engines that your pages deserve to rank high up on search results.

Time Spent on the Internet

Appearing among the first search results isn’t easy, and it takes plenty of time, effort, and resources to do so. However, by paying attention to these quality indicators, you will substantially increase the odds of your web pages appearing high up in search results.

Page Loading Time

Google wants to deliver its users the best experience that is possible. In order to facilitate this, it only pushes the website traffic on those sites that have a short loading time. If your page takes too long to load, it will increase the bounce rate and will negatively affect your SERP rankings.

Therefore, it is imperative to check the loading time of your website with the help of Google PageSpeed Insights while auditing your website. This will help you improve any bugs in your site and rank better on Google and other search engines.

Mobile Friendliness

Sites operated by a business need to have seamless compatibility over both desktops and mobiles. The mobile-friendliness of the website becomes even more crucial for content marketers because Google uses mobile – indexing in its crawling process.

This means that the search engine prioritizes the mobile version of the website while determining its rankings. Therefore, even if you have the best desktop version of a site globally, your rankings can still take a hit if they are not optimized according to the mobile specifications.

URL Structuring

Content marketers must place immense stress on the structure of the URL while optimizing websites. An unstructured URL with random words and haphazard characters might distract the search engine crawlers from the core content of the website.

On the other hand, well-structured URLs made after thorough keyword research will help crawlers focus on the valuable content available on your website and push the site’s rankings to the top.

Image – alt Descriptions

Creating content on your website is not restricted to writing relevant and elaborate pieces. It also includes taking into consideration minute details like describing the images used in your write-ups.

Every image on google comes with an image-alt text that serves the following purposes.

  • Help visually impaired people to understand what the image is about.
  • Serves as a replacement for the image in case it fails to load.
  • Helps search engines understand the image better.

Properly optimized alt-texts can push your site’s images to the first page of image results. This, in turn, can improve the overall ranking of your website. 

Wrapping it Up

SEO and content marketing are almost the same thing. However, they provide different elements that work together to improve your digital marketing efforts. SEO brings high-quality traffic, and content marketing brings the trust and authority you need to close this traffic and bring in more traffic to your website.

The key is to keep both practices in sync and build a cohesive content marketing strategy on this ground. Suppose you create content that keeps all the google guidelines discussed above in mind and optimizes it as per the search engine’s algorithm. In that case, you are definitely bound to get more eyes on your business and convert more leads in the upcoming future.

Make sure to be relevant and consistent with your content. Get quality backlinks to your site, and stay away from spammy inbound links. Keep all these points in mind and your road to better SERP rankings shall be fruitful and rewarding.

Book a free 45 minute consultation today.

    Book a free 45 minute consultation today.

      Shout logo in grey

      As Founder and Director of Shout Web Strategy, Michael Jenkins is at the forefront of digital marketing. Since it’s inception in 2009, Shout has built a strong reputation as one of Australia’s leading strategic SEO agencies, assisting online businesses to formulate, implement and track successful marketing strategies. Michael is a respected thought leader and digital strategist, specialising in online strategy, corporate SEO, Google retargeting, email and conversion rate optimisation, and online reputation management. Follow Michael on Google+, connect with him through LinkedIn or visit the Shout Web Strategy website.

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