Regardless of what some people may say, SEO has always been about content.
Good SEO has never been about buying links and taking part in link schemes, about keyword stuffing and computer generated or thin content. And it’s not about hiding text and showing search bots one thing, while taking people to another page, either.
From the very beginning Google told everyone that great content is what they want to show to searchers, and great content is the main reason why they’ll rank a website high in SERPs. Webmasters who believed and invested in this view are the ones who’ve seen and are continuing to see a steady increase in their rankings and business.
How Do SEO and Content Marketing Work Together?
SEO is about showing up in search results, while content marketing is about giving your users valuable information. And while you want to show up prominently in the search results for the very keyword people search right before they make a purchase, e.g. “buy macbook air 256 gb,” it’s important to realize this is not your only shot at quality leads. This is not the only search they do before making up their mind, so you should expand your target.
To make the decision to complete a purchase, people go though this buyer’s process:
Giving your users as much of the resources they need throughout their journey is the right path to both ranking high in the search results and convincing your audience to choose your products over the competition. But in order to do this well, you need your SEO and Content Marketing efforts to synergize, i.e., creatively collaborate.
How SEO Helps Content Marketing:
- By researching keywords which people use for buying a product, e.g., “buy samsung gn9060,” you identify your money pages and start sending link juice to them from the other resource (traffic-generating) pages.
- By researching related keywords, you come up with ideas for content people search for before (or after) making a purchase, e.g., “compare 5 best selling 5′ smart phones,” and create & promote this content to engage your target audience.
- By researching your competitors, you see what content they rank for and what they identify as useful for their target audience; then you can analyze and improve upon their ideas to compete.
How Content Marketing Helps SEO:
- By researching what your targets do on various platforms, e.g., online forums, you can discover the precise wording they use to describe their problems and try to optimize your website for these keywords.
- Checking out how people talk about your product or similar products on social media and review websites will show you which benefits are most relevant to them; then, you can optimize your website for [product] + [benefits] longtail keyword phrases.
- Knowing which influencers your targets follow will help you create more in-depth buyer personas and may lead you to new ideas for link development tactics.
Important: Awareness Needs Content, Not SEO
Although content and SEO usually walk hand-in-hand, there’s one place where they part ways: the Awareness phase of the Buyer’s Cycle. At this first stage, during which the user is not aware of their needs, we cannot attract them through search. The reason is obvious — they don’t know what to search for. So, if we want to attract people who do not know yet that our product will satisfy their need, we need to engage them through other channels. Here, content is key.
Content Marketing and SEO Strategies
Let’s see how this works out in practice, both for Awareness and the other main buyer cycle stages.
|Example Business: Yoga Studio|
|Awareness||[none at this stage]||social media, ads, offline engagement||Blog posts: “How to deal with conflicts between kids”, “How to reduce stress levels”|
|Research & Comparison||“yoga sugar land Houston”||YouTube, local directories, Google search||Video representing the yoga studio, User reviews|
|Buying||“yoga classes prices”||Google search||Landing Page: “Yoga studio Ananda Prices | SugarLand, TX”|
|Example Business: Social Media Management Agency|
|Awareness||[none at this stage]||social media, ads||Blog Post or e-book: “Driving in more business through Facebook”|
|Research & Comparison||“social media tactics”||social media, Google search||Blog Post: “10 ways to convert you Facebook fans into customers”|
|Buying||“social media management prices”||Google search||Site page where you show different social media management plans|
|Example: Hotel Management Software|
|Awareness||[none at this stage]||social media, ads||Blog Post: “Independent hotels: 5 tips on improving customer satisfaction”|
|Research & Comparison||“the best PMS for hotels”||social media, Google search||Premium Content: “Top 5 property management solutions for small and mid-size hotels”|
|Buying||“cheap hotel property management software”||Google search||Test Trial: “Product Hotel Management Software – FREE version for 1-4 rooms”|
|Example: E-commerce — Notebook Reseller|
|Awareness||[none at this stage]||social media, ads, word-of-mouth||Create and publish a survey: “What notebooks do managers use during conferences?”|
|Research & Comparison||“notebooks under 2.5 pounds”||product reviews on Amazon, video product review||Text/video review: “Top 5 notebooks that weigh less than 2.5 pounds”|
|Buying||“buy Notebook model 256gb”||Google product search, Amazon||Site Page: “Notebook model 256 GB – FREE delivery + free mouse”|
If you’re currently focusing mainly on SEO, try to add a bit of Content Marketing into the mix. Content research and creation will help you achieve higher user satisfaction. That’s not surprising considering that UX is currently being hailed as “the next SEO.”
On the other hand, if you’re spending most of your resources on coming up with great articles, try to integrate some quality keyword research. This will increase your chances of having your blog post rank higher in search results. Not only will this attract an even larger audience, but it will boost your post long-term, well after your first promotional efforts are over. This way, your content will keep working for you indefinitely.
Is your business in a need of a good Content Marketing Strategy? Contact us today for a free consultation!