So you may be thinking, “Seriously, another article on content development, content marketing and SEO?”… but in the overall scope of SEO, the conversation about content development and SEO are not really anything new. Creating rich, sustainable content and SEO have been a staple in the industry for as long as I’ve been in business (9 years!).
So ok, what’s different?
Starting with the Google Panda update, more algorithmic relevance was given to the quality, freshness, and even the positioning of content on a website. And with the algorithmic change in Google Hummingbird, the search engine is providing results that (ideally) reflect what would be more human – interacting with the user queries to provide answers.
What does that mean for SEO, Content Development & Content Marketing?
The fact is, content development and marketing fall under the umbrella of SEO. The mistake SO many companies make is just randomly adding content to their website and social media channels with no purpose, intent or goal. And developing content (and trying to use it for marketing) without a strategy, purpose or goal will probably be pointless (and stupid) for SEO and/or any marketing effort.
The process of Content Development & Content Marketing not only requires strategy, goal and purpose, but must speak to the USER. The user must obtain benefit and value from your content – and answer their questions. Here are five ‘nut-shell’ SEO goals for content development and content marketing:
#1 Create Keyword Targeted Content – But Know Your Target Audience
Don’t write a blog post or create website content on a random whim. Yeah, so ok, while your content can’t be written solely for the search engines, it’s important to include all the on-page elements of SEO in your content development and marketing strategy – starting with the targeted keyword research. Structure your content around phraseology that will ultimately attract your target audience.
Use your Keyword Targeted Content strategically to engage desired interaction with your audience that aligns with your business goals.
#2 Optimize for Semantic Search – But Know Your Target Audience
What is ‘semantic search”? With Hummingbird, Google has expanded its algorithm to try and understand the searcher's intent and the contextual meaning of terms they type into search - ideally, to provide a more interactive, conversational or dialogue-based search result.
The beauty of optimizing for semantic search is the benefit of not only the additional traffic you may not have expected, but when used strategically, optimized semantic content development can (and should) engage the USER!
#3 Make Your Website the HOMEBASE for Your Content Marketing
Whether B2C, E-Commerce or B2B, it’s a big element of SEO (in today’s search space) to have a website that is fresh, evolves, and grows with new content. When developing your SEO goals for content development and content marketing, consider where the content will “live”. For B2C, E-Commerce or B2B businesses, probably the easiest place for ongoing new content creation is implementing a blog on your site. That said, be sure to upload the blog onto your site server as oppose to setting up a sub-domain.
Using a blog and blog optimization for your SEO goal content development and marketing strategies, provides the following advantages and benefits:
- Can provide the ‘home base’ of connecting all Social Media channels
- Can provide the core constituent for multiple Social Media strategies
- Provides search engine ‘love’ (optimized content about product/service with embedded links) which brings SE ‘spiders’ to site more frequently
- Provides opportunity to optimize for semantic search and/or long tail keyword phraseology which can potentially increase overall site traffic
- Potentially increases referred traffic (referred traffic tends to convert higher)
- Potentially provides ‘link baiting’ (content that encourages linking from other niche / industry sites)
- Provides a natural, holistic way for potential inbound link acquisitions
Be sure to include cross linking within your content pieces for a robust internal link structure for the search engines to easily crawl your site and index the growing number of pages. That said, however, be careful not to use excessive keyword anchor text links in your internal linking structure. That could adversely affect your SEO effort.
#4 Engage Your Audience with Strategic Content Development & Marketing
So, even though everyone is doing content development/marketing or inbound marketing, how do you stand above the rest, how do you develop and market your content to engage your audience, and (ultimately) how do you encourage a desired action or goal?
Here are some ideas for you to consider:
- Create conversational Q&A content that invites your user to ask their own questions…e.g. in a blog format, encourage readers to post their questions and then interact with user with answers/comments
- Align content with your business goals. But be careful not to make it sound like you’re always “pitching” to your users! User loyalty is (and must be) earned. ALWAYS provide your user with beneficial, informative, valuable take-aways that will, over time, earn brand authority, trust, and user-confidence.
- Provide reward and/or incentive. If you’ve earned a loyal audience with your valuable content, pay it forward with loyalty discounts, friend referrals, free ebooks, BOGO offers, free information, etc.
#5 Use Social Media for Content Marketing
Since your business website is your ‘homebase’ for ongoing content creation and development, using your targeted social channels to ‘market’ and interact with your audience should be part of your online marketing strategy. Social media is a place for audience reach, conversation and interaction. When you provide beneficial, informative, resourceful content to your social audience, you will earn brand trust and authority with your audience. Also using social media to link to your relevant internal pages of content will help earn your site SEO trust and authority.
Content development, content marketing, and SEO go hand-in-hand. They partner and collaborate for the best end result. Content development and marketing that aligns with business goals, attracts (and directs) your target audience to your website, AND engages with an interactive user will always be a ‘win’.