The following is a guest post by Sahil Kakkar. Sahil is the CEO and Founder of RankWatch – a platform that helps companies and brands stay ahead with their SEO efforts in the ever-growing internet landscape.Sahil likes making creative products that help in the automation of mundane tasks and he can spend endless nights implementing new technologies and ideas. You can connect with him and the Rankwatch team on Facebook or Twitter.
Content marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are essential tools in the arsenal of any digital marketer who aspires to a successful digital marketing strategy.
Typically these two aspects of digital marketing have existed in silos and are thought of as different entities. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The truth is, content marketing and SEO have a symbiotic relationship. A good content marketing strategy is required for an effective SEO strategy and vice versa. They go together, overlap and complement each other.
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Image Source: Kissmetrics
There are subtle differences between SEO and content marketing, while SEO is narrow, specific, and more technical, content marketing is broader and more holistic. The ways in which these two converge are
- Good content can be immensely helpful in applying SEO in a broader way and to channel its specific technical endeavors (More Keywords, backlinks etc)
- Vice versa, the only way to ensure the success of content is to apply SEO techniques in its creation and implementation.
Another way of looking at it is to picture SEO as demand generation and content marketing as demand fulfillment. Think of it as a dialogue between two people.
Image Source: Kissmetrics
While SEO uses things like keyword optimization and more backlinks to improve the search engine ranking of a website, it looks towards content marketing to actually fulfill these requirements. Good content is the key to attract website traffic and search engines rank websites and blogs with good content higher than their peers.
Let us examine in detail as to how a good content strategy complements an effective SEO strategy.
1. SEO demands good quality content
SEO cannot exist without content. It needs words, articles, substance, keywords, verbiage. Substantial amounts of quality content improve your search ranking and Google prefers content-rich sites.
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According to an analysis by serpIQ, that included the top ten search results for over 20,000 keywords, the average content length for a webpage that shows up in the top ten results for any keyword on Google has at least 2000 words. Higher up go, the more content each page has. Apart from providing genuine and useful information, good quality content also receives more backlinks which in turn improves the search engine ranking of the associated page/site. Moz did an analysis to find out whether word count has a direct correlation with the number of backlinks and found out that there is a direct and positive correlation between word count and the number of backlinks. That is why it is important to write in-depth and detailed content.
2. SEO demands keywords, content marketing supplies those keywords
Content written with keywords in mind attracts more traffic than something that is written arbitrarily. Search engines don’t perceive like you and I do. We see a website with pictures of smartphones and understand that it’s an ecommerce site selling smartphones and accessories; Google has no way of knowing what a website’s purpose is unless it is written in words somewhere. Content marketing allows you to go beyond your homepage and through the use of articles, blog posts etc you can use more keywords relevant to the purpose of your website — and what the people are searching for on Google.
With reports from Google Analytics, you can figure out what keywords are driving the most traffic to your website.
Another useful to obtain keywords for writing content are websites like semrush or keyword.io. With this tactic, the key to obtaining a large amount of traffic is to cross-reference the keywords on which you are writing content with the trending topics from Google Trends.
If you write on trending topics provided those topics are relevant for your business and target audience, you will get a big boost in traffic. This may not be the case with less trending topics. It is also important to focus on indirect conversions.
If you only focus your SEO efforts on driving traffic from keywords that convert, you’ll find yourself limiting the amount of traffic that you can get. Content marketing is about adding value to your customers by providing them with authentic and useful content.
By focusing on assisting your target customers with their problems through your blog, you are bound to get search traffic from keywords related to your industry which doesn’t convert right away but will convert eventually.
3. SEO demands backlinks, content marketing introduces link backs
Search engines rank articles/pages with more backlinks higher than other pages. Having more backlinks increases the authenticity of your website/blog and that is why SEO!
One of the best tactics is to link back to Wikipedia. Wikipedia is one of the best sources of relevant traffic and is one of the most popular websites on the web.
The easiest way of building backlinks from Wikipedia is through its broken link building. Wikipedia notes when links are dead and that gives SEO specialists and content marketers an opportunity to replace those links. First, you have to find the related Wikipedia entries and search for dead links.
You can then take that dead URL, put it into Archive.org. Next step would be to create a similar page on your site, assuming it is relevant to your business and target customers.Once you have created a similar page, you can go back to the Wikipedia entry and click the “edit” button on the top right and submit your URL. Another effective tactic is to cross-link all your content. Whatever content you write should contain link backs to content you have written earlier wherever it is relevant.
To figure out why visitors are not converting into customers, you can include a set of questions that aim at finding out the objections of these visitors. The questions can be in the below format
- What else would you like to see?
- What concerns do you have with the product or service?
Once you have enough data on these concerns you can create an FAQ(Frequently Asked Questions) section that addresses these concerns. While this may not drive up the volume of traffic, it will ensure that whatever traffic you get is highly relevant traffic that will convert.
Another good tactic to drive traffic is to guest post on industry blogs. The higher number of links you have the higher will be your rankings. By targeting industry-related blogs, you will build relevant links that drive relevant traffic. A few tips to keep in mind while doing this.
- Guest-post on websites relevant to your business.
- Never try to manipulate search engines by linking to your site. Only link to your site when it is relevant to the readers
- Try not to use rich anchor text.
Unified content marketing and SEO strategy
Content marketing and SEO don’t work in silos, they amplify each other and work together to drive traffic. While a good content strategy has to take SEO elements into account in order to be successful, it will do wonders for your SEO efforts and will serve as a foundation upon which your current and future SEO strategy rests.
Remark from Susanna Gebauer:
I often talk to entrepreneurs who get content marketing and SEO totally confused. While content marketing is absolutely possible without any SEO at all – just think of content marketing without Internet – SEO without content becomes really tough.
As an online entrepreneur SEO might not be your first and fastest choice for traffic generation but NOT doing SEO when you work with content also means you are missing out on a huge opportunity for free and targeted traffic.
If you need a guide to get you started with basic SEO on your blog, check out Jonathan’s article that will take you through all the necessary steps to set up your blog for SEO.
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