You hear the term all the time: Content Marketing. But what does this generic sounding buzz word really mean? It’s an all encompassing phrase that tends to confuse people who read about it. But it can dramatically boost your company’s search engine ranking (SEO) and help your business surge past your competitors. Essentially, it involves creating a piece of content and sharing it with your online network. The ultimate goal is other people seeing a piece of content and sharing it amongst their networks.
This content-based, grass-roots marketing will improve your brand awareness, increase your customer base and boost your search engine rankings. The piece of content could be anything from blog posts to case studies to whitepapers, or even visual content like webinars, infographics or YouTube videos.
What makes the piece of content special in a marketing sense is the fact that it’s put it into a well-devised strategy to achieve all (or some of) the following goals:
- Brand awareness
- Lead conversions
- Customer conversions
- Quality customer service
- Retention and loyalty
- Passionate subscribers
It all sounds pretty simple when it’s outlined like that, but how can you personally use content marketing to boost your company’s SEO and online visibility?
Remember: Google is Still Powered by Keywords and Algorithms
It doesn’t matter whether you’re creating a blog post or a YouTube video, keywords matter. Not as much as they used to, but they still work to move the Google engine along. It’s one of the only ways the algorithms and web crawlers can recognize what your content is about, so it’s essential to utilize software like Google Keyword Planner (a tool within the Google Adword dashboard) to at least understand what your potential customers are searching for online.
For example, a gourmet pizza place should have a few instances of “gourmet pizza” in each blog post (especially in the titles and/or subtitles), while a YouTube video about fixing a toilet might include tags and words in the description about hardware, toilets and tools.
One thing to remember is that you should always create your content first, then figure out how to naturally sprinkle in a few keywords. Never build the content around your keywords or you risk keyword stuffing and making it sound unnatural.
Longform (or In-Depth Content) Breeds Shares
Multiple studies have been done on whether short blog posts or longer blog posts deliver the best results. As you may have assumed, there are plenty of conflicting results to show that the ingredient to focus on is quality. However, companies have seen that if you can keep the quality of the content high, while expanding the length of a blog post or article, it can become a lifelong resource that gets passed around in the industry for years. This style of timeless content is also referred to as evergreen content. Once Google notices the value and quality of your content, it becomes incredibly hard for competitors to beat out your search engine and online rankings.
Variety Introduces More Opportunity for Search Engine Bliss
We recommend taking on content marketing in stages. A small business is going to get burned out if it tries to sign up for five social media accounts, while also creating videos, blog posts, webinars and infographics.
Therefore, it’s best to start with one content outlet, then expand to a few others for the ability to reach out to other potential markets and customers. Why is this a good idea? Because some of your potential customers only go on YouTube, but they never check email newsletters. Others are more prone to spend all their time on Reddit as opposed to Facebook. The only way to connect with all of these people is with diversification.
Don’t Only Think About Content for Your Own Company
Posting videos on your blog sounds like a great plan, but how are users going to find that content? Your best bet is to make partnerships in your industry and arrange for guest posting gigs. This involves you creating some sort of guest content for another company that relates to your business.
A link is generally sent from that content to your website, which not only allows people to click through and learn more about you and your business, but it also indicates to Google that you have a quality backlink, boosting your SEO in the long run. Anytime another website links to content on your website, it increases your website’s content credibility in the eyes of search engines and web crawlers.
Create from the Heart, Design for the User
Creating your content should involve research into what people are searching for and what feedback customers have given you. However, once you’ve accumulated this information it’s prudent to sit back and generate the content for your own pleasure.
This instills more personality and passion in your posts, articles, videos, and images, and you’re bound to connect with customers on a deeper, more meaningful level this way. However, the design needs to be for your users. They are the ones consuming the content (they are also your potential customers), so a poorly-produced video is not going to get the traction that a content marketing strategy requires. The same goes for large, sloppy blog posts with huge paragraphs, no headers or images and hard-to-read text.
Don’t Forget About Analytics
No matter what strategy you put in place, you have to use analytics of some sort to see how your efforts are working. Even if your content marketing strategy is killer right out of the gate, it’s impossible to know what needs more attention, needs improvement, or needs to be scrapped altogether unless you have a system in place that shows you what works and what doesn’t. Google Analytics, Chartbeat, and other similar tools are easy to set up and provide a wealth of information to modify your marketing efforts for optimum effectiveness.
Now that you’ve had a chance to see how you can use content marketing to boost your SEO, give us some other examples that you have used in your own experience. Share your comments below to start a discussion.