Content marketing is undoubtedly one of the most important factors of a solid SEO strategy. At the turn of the year, it’s a great business goal to revisit your content marketing strategy to prepare. In fact, you’d be doing yourself a disservice not to – the focus on content has drastically increased over the years, and this is due primarily to the sophistication of Google’s algorithm.
How Do Search Engines Influence Content?
Over the years, Google (and other search engines like Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo) have changed in order to serve the “best” results possible. This means not only do they want to serve the correct answer in response to a query, but also from the most authoritative and relevant sources. A key part of digital marketing is making your brand known as a trustworthy source on your industry. What’s the best way to prove this? Content. By consistently producing content relevant to your niche, search engines read those signals and recognize you as the best result for queries. This is not a secret – one of the most repeated recommendations after each algorithm update is to focus on content generation.
Methods of Producing Content
There are many ways to create content that can help your SEO strategy as well as boost your businesses’ reputation as an authoritative voice in your niche. A few types of content include:
Adding Content to Products or Services Pages
eBooks & White Papers
Videos & Podcasts
Templates or Worksheets
Blog posts are one of the preferred ways of consuming information nowadays – easily accessible on desktop, mobile and tablet, consumers use blog posts to get information about almost every industry out there. Blog posts should be informative, formatted in an SEO-forward and reader-friendly way, and posted to your website on a consistent basis. The more interesting and helpful your blog post is, the more comments, shares, and contact form submissions you will receive.
Adding Content to Products or Services Pages
If your business offers products or services, you want to ensure you are fully informing potential customers about what you offer. Not only that, but you want to also cater to Googlebots who will crawl your page in order to determine whether you are truly an authority on that specific area. Recommendations for length of content has slowly increased over time as competition similarly grew; the ideal length is between 1,000 and 1,500 words (similar to a blog post) – but formatting is crucial in order to maintain readability for your site visitors.
Email marketing is a great way to connect with your audience – and also a fantastic method of repurposing and furthering your content efforts. Utilize email marketing to blast your blog posts or other newly-created content to keep your audience informed. To make the best use of your content, segment your email lists into groups, such as “Current Customers,” “Potential Customers,” “Past Customers,” etc, and send out content that specifically caters to those groups. Include relevant CTAs that can incentivize first-time purchases, return discounts, or to keep engagement going.
eBooks & White Papers
There may be a specific topic relevant to your business that is more important to just dedicate to one blog post. Take that piece of content and expand it to a long-form eBook or White Paper. For example, a foundation repair company put some effort into creating a robust eBook regarding a popularly-asked question. This eBook now makes up about 45% of the monthly traffic for the site – and as it contains well-placed CTAs and opportunities to acquire email addresses, it’s a great generator for potential leads:
Identify Your Target Audience
A crucial step to your content strategy process should be identifying your target audience. A good exercise is to write down characteristics and demographics of a “typical” customer, or someone who would be interested in the information you write about. From there, you can pursue other popular blogs and websites that your target demographic visits to get ideas and inspiration.
Create a Content Marketing Editorial Calendar
To keep your efforts streamlined, it’s important to create an editorial calendar to plan out your content creation. This is also a great tactic to ensure you are cross-promoting your marketing efforts across many channels, so that you get the most value and exposure.
Brainstorm Content Topics
You may already have some great topic ideas floating around in your head – write them down before you forget! You can never have too many topics, and can always tweak them or save them for later if needed. Put yourself in the shoes of someone interested in your niche – first as a novice, and then an expert. What kind of questions would you have? Be sure they range from easy to advanced topics so that you don’t alienate anyone, and are able to contribute a large variety of information without limiting yourself to one level of understanding. Once you have a few questions in mind, go to Google and type it in. From there, you’ll notice a “People Also Ask” section which details some equally-popular questions that can easily be turned into additional content prompts: There are also many online SEO tools that you can utilize to help you with content generation efforts:
SEMrush Content Toolkit
SEMrush is a great resource for brainstorming content topics. Their “Topic Research” section allows you to search for a topic and receive multiple variations of that topic, questions related to that topic, as well as a look into the competitive landscape for that specific query as well.
Ahrefs Top Pages
If you have a few competitors you are going head-to-head with, you can usurp their content efforts by building a more robust strategy surrounding a target topic. To do this, access Ahrefs’ “Top Pages” feature, and input your competitor’s URL. You will then see a list of their top pages, the top keyword associated with that page, and a lot of other helpful information. In the screenshot below, I have circled the numbers in the “RD” section – this pertains to the number of backlinks that specific page has acquired. If you write a well-formatted, long-form and informative content piece targeting one of those keywords and obtain more backlinks than your competitor, you should be able to outrank them: Based on the information above, it would definitely be worth considering incorporating topics into your editorial calendar targeting migraine massage, carpal tunnel massage, and frozen shoulder massage.
Repurpose Your Content
One of the biggest mistakes you can make with your content marketing strategy is to ignore previously-created content. Great content that has the added benefit of an increased length of time on your site (such as a well-performing, long-form blog post) has the potential to bring in traffic and leads for years to come. Avoid erasing existing content, and instead add additional updates that are pertinent to that topic. If you must remove verbiage from a blog post, strike it out instead to preserve any rankings that may be tied to that specific phrase. In perfect timing for the new year, there’s not a better time than now to update your content for 2020. Google (and its users) love fresh content, and by keeping your articles up-to-date, you can preserve their usability and retain them as valuable lead generators.