Creating great content is the cornerstone of growing your business. Blogs, social media posts, longer articles and other written content help boost brand awareness and drive sales.
Content Marketing is a vital part of effective Search Engine Optimization – but the two aren’t the same.
When Content Marketing and SEO work together, you’ll not only see an increase in your SERP, but also an increase in reader engagement.
Here are four tips to keep in mind:
1. Context Matters
SEO used to be more about keywords than actual content. You could shove a long list of target keywords and phrases into your content, and their very presence would be enough to power your way up the search results.
This led to high ranking pages which didn’t contain a lot of actual information. Obviously, people didn’t really like these results.
Google took two major steps. They introduced the Panda algorithm and the Hummingbird update. This marked a major change in how Google ranked content.
Content is now rated by context. The exact use of specific keywords is no longer the primary factor. Instead, you want to provide the information your audience is seeking.
Here’s an example:
- A search for “Pizza” implies the user wants food near their current location, so Google will show map and mobile results.
- A search for “the best Pizza” implies the user is looking for information about pizza in general, so Google would return articles on world-famous pizza places, highly rated pizzas and so on.
Keywords are still important. Only now you want to use those keywords in a natural, conversational style. Use long-tail keywords when you can, too. They reveal more about a user’s intent than individual keywords.
Base your content around the idea behind the keywords. Don’t try to insert keywords just to attract the search engines. Instead, create content which reflects the entire topic being discussed.
2. Utilize Keyword Data
Even though we’re creating content which reads more conversational in tone, keyword research is still important. Only now you’re not looking for keywords in order to attract the search engines. Instead, you’re looking for the exact phrases used by your target audience.
Keyword research is market research. When you find the keyword phrases your potential customers use, you’ll know how to speak their language. This will help your brand appear trustworthy and relatable.
3. Find the Best Content Format
Content doesn’t always have to be written. There are plenty of other options such as creating a video, a podcast, infographic and more.
There’s no one right answer. In fact, many people stick to one type of primary content but add different formats on occasion. The best type of content is whatever your audience responds to.
Here’s what I look for:
- Existing content with the target keyword. What’s already working? The general audience in your industry might prefer a specific format.
- Previous content I’ve created which has performed well.
4. Analyze Historical Data
This leads to the next point, which is analyzing historical data.
I use Buzzsumo for this. Simply put your site into the search field and Buzzsumo will show your most popular articles.
What do these articles have in common? Similar topic? Similar format?
Take a broader view of most popular topics. Aside from the subject, is there a specific type of post readers respond to? Do they want step-by-step instructions, general guides or something else?
You should publish new topics based on what’s worked in the past. I’ve also found success taking existing content and re-working it in a different format. An example would be taking a blog post and turning it into an infographic. Re-formatting helps a popular topic find new life with readers who would rather view a video, listen to a podcast, etc.
Search Engine Optimization and Content Marketing are closely related fields, but they are different. Understanding how they work together is the key to creating engaging content while also increasing your SERP.
Check out the most popular types of content in your industry, and use that to determine the format and subject matter of your own content.
How do you create content which appeals to both readers and search engines? Share your tips in the comments below!