It’s time to drop the misconception that SEO and content marketing are two separate techniques. In reality, there’s a very strong relationship between content marketing and SEO.
While content is considered creative and SEO technical, they intertwine to create a successful SEO strategy.
What is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimisation, involves techniques that enable search engines to find and rank the most relevant and quality content and web pages for a particular search.
Ultimately, the goal of SEO is to get your content in front of relevant audiences. This includes targeting the right keywords, making technical changes across your site, and regularly monitoring your performance to continually improve.
Sites can’t be optimised without quality content driving them. Keywords must be well chosen and cleverly integrated into content and page structure to be effective.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing involves producing and distributing relevant and quality content that provides value for your audience. Good content needs to be at the core of your website.
Poor quality content can’t be masked by SEO techniques to rank high in Google. Your content needs to be well researched, serve a purpose, and relevant to your target audience.
This includes blogs, website content, landing pages, press releases, product descriptions, meta descriptions, images and video. Without content, SEO doesn’t have anything to complement.
Content marketing and SEO go hand in hand. Similar to the chicken and egg dilemma, you can’t have one without the other. SEO gives your quality content the visibility it needs to get in front of the right audience, and generate results.
With that being said, here are 5 ways to integrate content marketing and SEO to get better results.
1. Conduct keyword research
Keywords indicate to Google the topic areas of your content. Keywords help Google categorise your content so they know what it’s about and who it’s relevant for.
By conducting keyword research you can identify search terms and queries that users are searching for. You can also identify which keywords your competitors are ranking for, and whether you should also consider targeting the same search terms and keywords.
You can use keyword research tools, such as Moz, SEMRush and Google Trends, to generate topic areas and specific long-tail keywords. You can use search queries to guide blog posts, video content and articles. You can include specific keywords as headings, subheadings, and within body copy.
2. Develop content and SEO strategies
Developing a long-term campaign plan for both your SEO and content marketing will help you stay aligned and consistent. You can assign time to target certain keywords each month, know which SEO techniques you need to apply, and when to review performance to understand how effective your SEO efforts have been.
Your SEO team should conduct keyword research and put together a plan with the keywords and other relevant data you’re going to target. Your content team can then create a plan that incorporates those keywords, assign who will create the content, the due and publish dates, as well as optimised imagery, links and CTAs.
When the content has been published, your SEO team can track the target keywords and their position in the search engine results pages (SERP), as well as the SERP features that are available, and whether the content needs to be updated to stay relevant.
3. Structure your content effectively
The structure of your content acts as a guide for Google. It gives the search engine clues about the content that’s on the page, and helps identify which elements of the content are the most important for readers.
Content structure also helps improve readability for the user. It helps the reader determine which content sections are the most relevant to them, so they can skim read and get the information they need easily and efficiently.
Google prefers the use of H tags, so include them in your content to help Google categorise your content. Use bullet points, numbered lists and definitions to give your content a better chance at securing SERP features. SERP features change regularly, so review your keywords to see if any features have become available and whether your content can be optimised for them.
You should include internal and external links, only if they’re relevant to your content and provide value for the reader. Try not to include links for the sake of having them. Google will crawl your content and follow links to determine the relationship between the pages.
4. Be consistent in publishing content
You’ve heard it a million times, but consistency is key. Google favours fresh content over older content that could be outdated and no longer relevant to the audience. Google will crawl your website more often which can boost your rankings.
This isn’t to say the older content you published years ago isn’t relevant anymore. But Google assumes that new content will include up to date research, information, sources and statistics, therefore of more value to the reader.
Creating SEO and content plans will help you remain consistent with your content. It will help you align your website content with your social media content, so you know which content has been published and when it’s going out on social channels.
Consistency is for your audience too. If you post regularly, your audience will come to expect your quality content. They’ll start to establish you as a thought leader in the industry, and give them a reason to return to your website. Which will increase your organic traffic. It all comes full circle!
5. Track SEO and content metrics
How can you improve your content if you don’t know how it performed? Your overall goals will determine which SEO and content metrics you track. Use Google Analytics and SEO tools to analyse data and report on performance.
Some basic metrics to track include:
- Domain authority and page authority - this shows the authority of your website in relation to your competitors. Websites with a higher domain authority are more likely to rank in Google.
- Keyword rankings - this shows the ranking position for your target keywords. It includes SERP features that you can try to optimise your content to secure.
- Backlinks - this shows the number of websites linking to your website and the number of unique links. Try to look at the quality of the links rather than the number, that’s what really matters.
- Page visits - this shows how many views a particular page has had. You can compare blog posts for example to learn which topic areas are the most popular with readers.
There you have it. Content marketing and SEO naturally complement one another. SEO informs content with data so it can engage the target audience, drive website traffic, and generate better results. By following the steps outlined above, you will set yourself up for success with a robust content marketing and SEO strategy.
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