It’s true. Content marketing has proven itself as a viable solution to help grow a company’s online presence. And by now, most startups and small businesses understand they need content as a means to garner awareness, have an online presence, and build an audience. However, having a content marketing strategy checklist helps your company stay relevant for more reasons than you may think.
Aside from your promotional channels, SEO is the vehicle that helps drive organic growth and traffic, whereas content is the fuel.
Like the cool side of the pillow, SEO-optimized content provides undiscovered potential that comfortably cushions your business if used with your content marketing strategy. For the most part, search engine marketing is content marketing. From keyword strategy to content quality, there is overlapping use of content as the primary driver in both content marketing and SEO – representing two sides of the same coin.
Why Should SEO Be Included In Your Content Checklist?
More than anything, people look to search engines for answers to their questions or queries. SEO is important in helping search engines decipher relevant content from your business so that it can be presented in front of the people when these queries are searched.
An opportunity opens as search engines intermediates what possibly may be the first experience a potential customer will have with your company. And unlike paid advertising, SEO is an investment towards sustainable, long-term growth. It is not a surprise that consumers still search for products on Google while shopping.
In fact, Google alone receives over 100 billion queries every month – driving high volumes of online and offline economic activity. More importantly, 71% of B2B researchers start their research with a generic search. Therefore, it only makes sense for businesses to capitalize on this. This is further supported by the marketing community. According to Hubspot, 61% of marketers state their top inbound marketing priority is to improve SEO and grow their organic presence.
Visibility on search engine result pages (SERPs) implies greater validity and brand presence. In direct relation to this, the top five search results on SERP receive 75% of all clicks. Best of all, having good on site SEO practices is inherent to a good user experience. By killing two birds with one stone, every optimized page is a step towards your larger marketing goals: increasing revenue, lowering costs per lead, and/or gaining more marketing qualified leads (MQLs). That’s why it is critical to include SEO into your business’ content marketing strategy checklist. With close rates over 14%, strategic SEO is a tried-and-tested method in converting visitors into leads at the top of the sales funnel.
Implementing SEO Best Practices Into Your Content Marketing Strategy Checklist
In between your company’s content strategy and the more granular, content marketing, lies your content marketing strategy – outlining aspects such as your objective, brand tone, vision, voice and style, target audience, promotion and distribution. It is here where SEO aligns with content.
In order to implement an overarching marketing approach such as SEO, it must be employed strategically throughout all content practices. Ultimately, a strong indicator of your SEO success comes from your website’s domain authority and keyword rankings. Your domain authority is a calculation of how well your website would rank on SERPs. The score, created by Moz, ranges from 1 to 100. The higher you score, the greater authority your website has to rank among the top results. This is because it has shown relevant value to Google that matches well with particular thematic queries.
Similarly, keyword ranking illustrates where your site ranks in search engines for a keyword or keyword phrase. On the other hand, if your content lacks proper optimization, it will become buried in search results beyond a searcher’s attention span and credibility will be at a minimal.
2. Audience Research
In both SEO and content marketing, strategy derives from your customer’s buyer personas; fictionalized versions of your ideal customer that you would want to conduct business with. This alludes to your customer’s purchasing behaviors, the way they think and their preferences. As a result, most marketing decisions including content, messaging, and promotion should defer to and be be tailored to these customers.
In the realm of SEO, the insights gathered from your buyer personas accrue to knowing how they search for your product or service. This means we have to choose language — and specifically, thematically relevant keywords — that customers would use during their research process. Several helpful tools include Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends. Not only will this help you reach the right customers, but it will also help you predict their search patterns.
3. Voice and Style
Once you have selected the appropriate keywords, they can be integrated into your content marketing strategy and employed throughout your content. For example, we recommend using contextually relevant keywords in your content title, body text, and alt-attribute descriptions for images embedded on your website or blog.
It goes without saying that when introducing SEO into content marketing strategy checklist, the content should be made for your customers rather than for the search engines. Audience research provides context to what content would actually resonate with your customers. Recall, a good user experience makes for good SEO. Allow your content to be easily comprehended and readable – this means shorter paragraphs, listed bullet points, and images to break up your content.
Keep in mind, Google also accounts for time spent on your page and where they click to next. Along with great content, it may be a good opportunity for you to link internally to your website so that you are able to pass authority to other pages in a resourceful way.
Frequency plays a major role in maintaining a strong SEO standing. With the velocity in which content is now produced, fresh content serves as a signal to search engines the continued value of a website and is indexed immediately. Older content can then be considered less relevant over time and downgraded to lower search results, especially if it’s receiving less clicks. Therefore, we recommend creating an outlined schedule to publish SEO-optimized content on a consistent basis, with the aim to produce at least four content pieces per month.
5. Promotion and Distribution
When creating content, it is pertinent to work with your network to establish a promotional funnel. Syndicated content and guest posts that backlink to your website acts as a vote of popularity to search engines. The more votes that you receive, the more authoritative your website becomes. But it doesn’t stop there. Who, what, and how your content is promoted also matters. If a third party website chooses to syndicate your content, our SEO case studies show it is best if they:
- Have a domain authority 30 or higher
- Choose a relevant topic that pertains to their website
- Include a backlink in their first several body text paragraphs and with an anchor text relevant to your targeted keywords
Whether they are stakeholders involved in your article or relevant blogs, ask them to do so while providing a specific backlink to your page of choice when you provide content for others to share.
Lastly, the onus to distribute the content is still on you. And keeping in mind your buyer personas, it is important to understand where your audience lives. Unsurprisingly, mobile holds 50% of all web traffic with a 30% year-over-year increase. Without mobile responsive content, your business would be turning its back to half of your audience. As part of your greater overall content strategy, it would be worthwhile to work on an adaptive design to let your content shine through on mobile.
In addition, responsive content has greater SEO benefits than content that redirect users to a mobile-specific URL. Other than reducing bounce rates, it would allow you to aggregate authoritative value to a singular source. When it’s all said and done, there should not be a debate on whether to invest in content or in SEO, but to see how you can create a content marketing strategy checklist in which they can complement each other for increased growth. Whether this involves taking your content team through rigorous SEO training, bring in a consultant, or working directly with an SEO provider, it will only be a matter of time before you begin to see the difference.