10 Tips for Combining SEO and Content Marketing (Via Entrepreneur)Claude Harrington 10.15.2015
“Gone are the days when search engine optimization was enough to land your website onto Google’s good graces. Now you must to add content marketing to your arsenal of digital marketing tool if you want to gain search engines’ approval…”
And so begins a great article from earlier this week on Entrepreneur.com. The piece, by James E. Hein, is called 10 Tips for Combining SEO and Content Marketing. And, in doing so, it covers a broad spectrum of suggestions, while also providing nice nuggets of specific advice. “Given the important role content marketing now plays in the success of online business,” Hein explains, “it’s time that SEO ties the knot with content marketing.” And that, in a nutshell, is what this article is all about; more than just a list of hints and tricks, but a brief primer that aims to tie together these two digital marketing tools. So to make the most out of this cross-section of wisdom, let’s take a closer look at each tip and see how it can be applied to the entrepreneurial inclined…
1. Set common goals.
This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but the key to this tip is that middle word right there: common. The premise of this article is that two important functions that used to be quite different have now reached a point of moving rather parallel. And so, in a situation like this, not only is there an inherent risk of redundancy, but also a danger of the opposite: an assumption that someone else is tending to overlapping concerns.
So while setting goals will always be critical to the sustained success of a company, there should also be a heavy emphasis at this juncture towards creating a clear framework that efficiently maximizes resources.
2. Establish key performance indicators.
One good thing about the quickly evolving digital landscape is that real-time analytics are more available than ever before. So whether you choose to focus on “shares,” “links to content,” “conversion rates” or some other measure of criteria, try to make sure that that criteria is measurable and that you’re equipped yourself with the best strategy to track and analyze what you’re quantifying.
3. Understand your target audience.
Whereas number two trumpets the power of that which is now quantifiable, the concept of audience targeting veers a little bit more into guesswork. But just because you can’t predict exactly who your potential clients and consumers will be, that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth ignoring the “work” in guesswork. So ask yourself: who have your customers been and what do they have in common? Ages? Locations? Corporate Philosophies? Create personas for this target audience and then take it a step further. What is it about this demographic that makes them like what we are doing? Can we be doing more? Is this sustainable? How can we continue to serve this clientele while also targeting a slightly different audience? And for the sake of efficiency, what type of audience might have some kind of built-in overlap? Try to answer questions like these to and, along the way, looks for patterns and connections that will help you better understand your potential consumers.
4. Create SEO-optimized content.
Wait, before you look up some buzzwords and get your Edit/Paste ready, don’t forget that search engines have become increasingly better at spotting superficial content. And also remember that this is a good thing! We want quality to out-duel quantity; it’s best for all of us in the long run.
That said, you should still look for ways to increase the relevancy of your content. This can be accomplished, as Hein points out, by incorporating high-impression keywords that don’t detract from your material. Sometimes it can be a fine line to walk, but it’s worth it.
5. Research high-impression and relevant keywords.
Almost like a prequel to number four, this tip reminds us about the importance of the how. How do we find out what high-impression keywords are relevant and effective? How do we strike a balance with how frequently these are used?
“Each keyword that you select,” Hein says, “should be researched properly using online tools such as Google Planner, Google Trend, Word Stream and other similar tools.”
6. Attract online consumers through link building.
This was the only point that I felt could have really benefitted from a more thorough explanation. Because the concept is makes sense—everyone knows and has heard that link-building is good—but it’s also something that (as alluded to in Number 4) search engines have become more sophisticated with evaluating.
As Hein suggests, you can get more information from an SEO professional (he lists TIS India, SE Media Online and Anpee Media), which is certainly a route worth exploring. But in the meantime, perhaps the best way to take value from his tip is by thinking about who your digital content might well partner with. What websites have a similar audience? That question could very well be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
7. Focus on internal link building.
This time Hein returns with that specificity we were craving!
“Internal link building works wonders in increasing your website’s ranking along with your published content,” he explains. “Moreover, creating internal links will also result in improved user experience due to easy navigation around the site. Internal link building is simple to implement, and should be part of your digital marketing arsenal. This will help to improve your ranking and guide users with the content that is relevant to them.”
8. Optimize your website content’s title and headings.
Would a rose by another smell just as sweet? Not if that rose were a heading and sweetness is measured by your SEO ranking. When crafting titles for your content, it’s important to ask yourself the following:
- Does my content actually deliver on what the title promises?
- Is it catchy? Should it be? How playful or professional should it be?
- Perhaps most importantly (though should be generally be asked last): Does my title use keywords or phrases to optimize its SEO opportunity?
9. Measure your results.
Always. Always, always, Always.
10.Keep your efforts going.
This is the most important lesson of all, and often the one that’s hardest to follow-through with. Especially in this constantly evolving digital landscape where what’s true today very well might not be tomorrow.
But here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Results take time. Try not to be discouraged by the time it takes to crack through that wall. That’s why quantifiable data is so important; it can demonstrate proof of concept (and often provide a much-needed pat on the back).
- If success arrives early, do NOT take your foot off the pedal. There are many reasons why things work (and don’t work), so don’t fall for the mirage of success. If you want to see long-term change, you need to put in the long-term work. If anything, try to us that initial success to inspire you.
- Remember why you’re doing all this. Yes, there are some tricks and tips (as well as professionals-for-hire) who can help boost your visibility. Sometimes it can feel like a puzzle and increasingly distant from you core business. But your core business is what this is all about; spreading the word and growing your business. That’s the key and these are just tips to accomplish that. Use what helps you and what you believe it, but don’t lose sight of what this is all about.
If you would like more information about content marketing and SEO-optimization, you may enjoy these archived posts:
- In the News: The Intersection of Content Marketing and SEO
- The State of Marketing Analytics
- The Power of Video (By The Numbers)
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