SEO is inseparable from content marketing. If you’re not getting content marketing done right, or ignoring the quality of the content, you may have lacklustre results in SEO even with the fastest loading SSL-encrypted website.
With where Google is heading, you can no longer afford to treat SEO and content marketing as separate entities. In this guide, we’ll show you how to create an effective SEO content strategy.
Content marketing can be loosely defined as an effort to create, publish and deliver content that is helpful and relevant to the target audience. It is done to ultimately generate profitable activities from the audience.
However, content marketing should never be confused with forceful promotional activities that shove products and services to the users.
You ought to think of content marketing as helping the users to solve problems, by publishing content that is genuinely helpful.
Content marketing is inseparable from Google SEO. Google has made it clear that its search algorithm attempts to deliver the most relevant results that satisfy the users’ search intent.
Your attempts to create relevant content shouldn’t be about a create, publish and forget cycle. Relevancy also means content freshness, which means you’ll need to revise and update published content consistently.
Before you start a content marketing campaign, you’ll need a plan to ensure its success. First of all, you’ll need to understand your audience.
In terms of SEO content, it means finding out the queries and understanding the search intent of the users. You’ll also need to think about the goal of each piece of content.
Do you need the users to sign up to your mailing list? Or visit a specific product on your e-commerce store?
Considering that you’re putting considerable investment in researching and producing the content, you’ll want to repurpose them on various platforms too. Not doing that is a common content marketing mistake.
Optimising the content for SEO is also important if you want to drive high-quality traffic from Google. This brings us the next section.
As the name implies, an SEO-optimised content is one that is created and structured in a way that boosts search engine ranking. The idea behind SEO content optimisation is creating a piece of content around a keyword, and structure it for clarity and readability.
It’s a misconception to think SEO-optimisation on content is a dull and static process. Far from it, creating an SEO optimised content means putting the users in mind and creating the best possible content that answers their query.
Often, pieces of content that do well on SEO are also highly-shareable on social media. That’s because an SEO-optimised content offers value to the users, which is an important criterion for Google SEO.
There isn't any keyword-stuffing on a properly-optimised content, which would otherwise be a turnoff for the readers.
A good content in terms of SEO is one that addresses a topic thoroughly. It is well-written, engaging and highly-relatable to users on social media. Readers tend to connect with content that is written for them, which is what part of SEO is all about.
Meanwhile, content that fails to impress users on social media isn’t likely to do well on Google either.
When you’re optimising content, you’re taking a targeted approach in delivering the content to the intended users. It makes content marketing more efficient on a search engine.
For better clarity, here’s a piece of content that’s optimised for ‘how to choose a bicycle’.
While the article does not have an exact-matching keyword on the intro, it has shaped the structure of the content to provide answers that satisfy the user’s query.
It also uses keywords like ‘bike buying process’, ‘get a bike’ and ‘find and buy the right bike’ to tell Google what the article is all about.
The article is broken into small parts and formatted with subheadings and bold texts, which makes it easy to read.
By the end of the article, users would have possibly every single question on their mind answered, without visiting another webpage.
Now, let’s take a look at an article that isn’t optimised for SEO.
The above article carries the title dishwashing tips and tricks. However, it is more of a review of a particular dishwasher than offering in-depth tips for readers.
Here’s the only information that’s actually related to dishwashing tips.
As far as Google is concerned, the article doesn’t satisfy the query and is unlikely to rank for the keyword.
The article has about 300 words, which is considered thin content and bad for SEO.
Non-optimised content can be a good read and entertaining, but they are less likely to rank on Google for profitable keywords.
Creating SEO-optimised content is a combination of science and creativity. Here are the key steps.
Performing keyword research helps you to understand the phrases that users are using to search for information. Having a list of keywords aids you in creating content that has a higher chance to rank and satisfy the user’s search intent.
It works better for SEO if you’re able to create a group of content based on a cluster of keywords.
For example, you can create a cornerstone content on ‘pet training tips’, and build supporting articles with long-tail keywords like
When you’re building SEO-optimised content, ensure that the URL is also user-friendly. According to Backlinko, shorter URLs are more likely to rank higher than longer ones.
Avoid making these mistakes with URLs:
Instead, you’ll want to take note of these best practices when optimising URL.
Here’s an excellent example of an SEO-optimised URL.
The title tag is a HTML element that appears in the search result and social media. It should be optimised for the targeted keyword and kept interesting.
Ensure that the title tag is limited to 60 characters as that’s the viewable limit on Google search results.
Here’s an example of a good title tag by HubSpot for the keyword ‘digital marketing tips’. It’s interesting and tells the users what the content is all about.
Like the title tag, the meta description is part of the HTML header, which provides a synopsis of the content to search engines.
You have up to 140 characters to work on when writing the meta description. It should contain the keyword, gives a brief idea of the article and entices the readers into reading more.
While Google has grown intelligent to pick and replace the meta description with snippets of the content body, it is still important to optimise the description.
A part of the meta description is still shown when the content is shared on social media.
The H1 tag is usually used for the title of the content.
It can be similar or different from the meta title. Usually, the meta-title shares the same text with the H1 tag.
However, there are occasions where having a different H1 tag will be beneficial for the readers. The H1 tag is visible only after the reader clicks into the content.
Include the targeted keyword and be more descriptive with the H1 tag.
The updated timestamp is shown on the search results.
You can’t trick Google into believing that you have the latest content by just changing the updated timestamp.
However, after making real changes to the content, you want to ensure that the timestamp is updated accordingly.
If you’re using WordPress, the modified date is automatically whenever you update an article. The published date will remain as it is, unless you manually changed it.
Users are more likely to click on content that appears to be the most up-to-date, and the timestamp is a visible indicator.
Keyword stuffing is a frowned-upon practise that only works in the past. Today, any attempts at gaming Google’s algorithm with keyword stuffing will get your site penalised.
Does this mean that the keyword is no longer important in the content?
No. It’s just that you’ll want to place more importance on being natural than trying to sprinkle the keyword all over the content.
Just use the target keyword in the first paragraph, preferably within the first 100 words. Then, write naturally to create the best content for your readers.
Here’s a good example.
A page full of text can be hard to read. It is a good practice to structure your content with H2 tags.
H2 tags allow users to quickly glance through the important points of the articles and help them to digest the content in pieces.
It’s easy to lose focus with a piece of text-only content. Therefore, use related images and video to break the monotonous text.
An image can be placed every 200 words or in every section to keep the readers engaged. Stock images, with minor modifications, can work wonders for an article.
An article can be converted to a video, and embedded into the content. It can be informational or created to capture the emotions of the readers.
The proper use of images and video with text can lead to higher engagement, which in turn, boosts SEO.
Semantically-related keywords are different words that imply the same user intention.
For example, your main keyword is “guitar buying guide”.
Readers may also use the following phrases:
You can find semantically-related keywords by checking out the “people also ask” section of Google search.
Once you have a list of semantic keywords, use them naturally in the content.
User experience is crucial to a successful content marketing strategy. With 51% of users browsing the internet on smartphones, you’ll want to ensure that your website is optimised for mobile devices.
Here’s a website that’s yet to be optimised for mobile. The fonts are too small, and the navigational links are too close to each other.
Meanwhile, our mobile-optimised site looks starkly different.
Here are some useful tips to optimise for mobile.
If your content isn’t mobile-friendly, it isn’t heading anywhere on Google.
Don’t be afraid to add a few outbound links for fear of losing traffic. Content marketing is being helpful and if you’re citing examples, facts or quotes from others, be sure to link to the sources.
Including outbound links to trustworthy or authoritative sources in your content increases your site’s own authoritativeness amongst users.
Also, linking to helpful sources may have a slight positive effect on SEO.
We’ve mentioned about creating a cluster of related keywords and build content around them. The next step is to enable users to find them easily by linking the articles together.
Place internal links to related articles in your content to ensure that users are able to find what they need without leaving your site.
Internal links also help to improve SEO ranking by helping Google to understand the topical authority of your site.
After all the efforts in creating a piece of high-quality content, hitting publish is not enough. You’ll want to share it on social media and allow others to easily share it as well.
This means installing social share buttons on your website.
Consider getting social sharing buttons that keep tracks of the share counts. People are more likely to share when there’s an indication that others are sharing the content too.
Your SEO content strategy should have clearly-defined goals. List down what you intend to achieve after you’ve got users to engage with the content.
It’s also helpful to create every piece of content with a selected audience persona in mind rather than writing for a broad demographic.
Be consistent in your publishing schedule. It doesn’t matter if you’re publishing a new article daily or weekly. What’s important is to stick with the schedule to meet your audience’s expectations. You’ll find that creating an editorial calendar helps.
Content marketing is about trial and improvisation. A strategy that works for your competitor may not work for you. Therefore, be daring and test out a few strategies and observe what works for your audience.
You’ll need to tweak the editorial calendar to include more of the type of content that resonates with the audience.
While you’re brainstorming for future content, don’t forget to revisit and optimise older SEO content. At the very least, you’ll want to keep old content ‘fresh’.
Besides, some older content may be performing better for other keywords than the one it’s targeting. In such cases, it pays to re-optimize them for the new keywords.
If you want to boost your SEO campaign with content marketing, you’ll want to try a combination of two or more content types. Often, different content types tend to complement each other and deliver good results.
This article is a text-based content. It refers to information delivered in readable text. Text-based content is vital in SEO strategy, as you can’t rank a website with very little to no such content.
There are a few types of text-based content that could help you in your content marketing effort.
Text-based content is easily accessible by various types of audience. Besides, they are also easier to load and scan through.
Considering that search engines index websites based on text, it remains an important form of content in your marketing strategy.
You can make text-based content more appealing by including elements of visuals into it. For example, a review article can be complemented with a video highlighting the features of the product.
Long-form content can be turned into an infographic and blogs accentuated by visually-appealing images.
When you’re creating text-based content, remember that humans are easily distracted, particularly when reading.
Therefore, you’ll want to make the content scannable by using subheadings and writing in short sentences and paragraphs.
Avoid large chunks of text or using industrial jargons that may confuse the audience.
Images are useful in capturing the audience’s attention, and one of the most popular types of image-based content is infographic.
An infographic is detailed and conveys the important points of the content vividly. It leaves a strong impression amongst the audience and tends to get shared around on social media.
Infographics can be used alongside blog articles as it makes the content more attractive.
Despite the benefits of adding in an infographic, creating one is not easy. You’ll need to engage graphic designers to create a good one.
If you include the infographic in your website, there’s a concern that it may slow down the loading speed.
There are a few ways to optimise image-based content for speed. Compress the image or save it in nextgen formats like JPEG2000 or WebP.
Use a lazy-load plugin to avoid latency from loading the image.
To create an engaging infographic, you’ll want to keep it simple and resonates with the audience. Avoid cluttering and leave plenty of white space around the elements.
Here's an example of an image based content we did to help readers improve on their stock photo images.
Audio-based content appeals to the audience who prefer an alternative to text and videos. In recent years, podcasts have proven to be the most popularly audio-based content.
Podcasts allow an exclusive method of marketing that showcases the marketer’s personality with the narration. It’s an effective content strategy to build personal connections and grow a community.
Podcasting goes hand-in-hand with a website. The audio attracts the audience by providing pieces of helpful information and funnels the traffic to the website.
The greatest challenge in producing podcasts is that there’s a tremendous effort involved. You’ll need to sacrifice time, money and the actual process of recording itself.
When you’re creating podcasts, it will be helpful to determine the format and structure of the content. Follow a schedule to ensure that your users are not left hanging for the next episode.
Video is arguably the most engaging content that promises high engagement. Here are some of the popular types of visual-based content:
There are many incentives to include videos as part of your content marketing effort. Videos are highly-engaging, and it’s known to have a high conversion rate.
Videos would do well on their own, but they are also an effective marketing magnet to channel visitors to web pages. It’s also a good practice to embed related videos on blog articles.
Despite being a social media powerhouse, creating videos isn’t easy. It can be quite costly and requires a considerable duration for production.
To make video marketing more effective, you’ll want to have a goal in mind for every video created. As users tend to skim through videos, it needs to invoke the interests of users within the first few seconds.
You’ll want to take advantage of YouTube and optimise the video for organic visibility. To do so, use the targeted keyword on the title and the description. Tag the video with related keywords to help YouTube understand what it’s all about.
Avoid sending unnecessary messages on the video and keep the intro short. Plan the content and stick with it.
Checklist type of content is highly popular amongst marketers. It is typically designed as an article that highlights the key points of a topic or as simple as a single-page worksheet.
Here’s an example from our checklist for picking the best digital marketing agency.
A checklist-type article is easy to build, and the appeal lies in its easily-scannable format. It also tends to attract high social engagements, particularly if it’s very comprehensive.
You can also repurpose a checklist into infographic or video, and combine them in your content marketing strategy.
If you’re creating a checklist, you’ll want to make use of subheadings to outline the topic. Use easy-to-read sentences and go straight to the point.
The key to an effective SEO content marketing campaign isn’t about choosing the best type of content. Instead, it’s about recognizing the strengths in each and choose the ones that are suitable for the audience and purpose.
Text-based content is easily-scannable and is the driving force of SEO. Infographic is a highly-sharable asset with visual appeals.
Podcasts highlight the personality of the brand and help sustain interests in a topic. Videos are effective marketing tools for conversion, while checklists are an economical way to engage with the audience.
The choice depends on your marketing goal and the topic involved. Content on yoga techniques works best when shown on video while cooking recipes are best delivered in a combination of text and image content.
If you’re focusing on SEO, you’ll want to leverage on text, infographic and video. Text-based content is vital in building up the SEO value of your website. Infographic can be a good marketing asset to generate natural backlinks to your site.
You can also publish the infographics on Pinterest and optimise it for SEO. The same strategy is applicable for video as YouTube is a search engine by itself. Besides that, Google also displays results directly from Pinterest and YouTube.
As far as SEO content marketing is concerned, certain types of content are worth optimising while others are not. Therefore, you’ll want to be selective when optimising the content.
When you’re optimising content like blogs, videos and infographics, stand to gain in the long term. These content will continue to generate organic traffic for years after they are optimised. It means you’ll save on advertising fee and yet getting targeted traffic.
However, content optimisation for SEO isn’t a skill that can be picked up overnight. You’ll need to spend weeks of absorbing new knowledge and go through trials and errors before getting it right.
Besides, you’ll need to monitor how the content fares against competitors and update your strategy to keep up with changing trends.
If you have a business to run, performing content optimisation on your own can take up most of your time.
Often, it will be more efficient and economical to let SEO professionals do optimisation. SEO professionals like Heroes of Digital are trained in the latest tips and tricks. Our team is also armed with the SEO tools needed to optimise, track and measure the performance. Contact us today!
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