The digital marketing platform is currently dominated by the big three – social media, SEO and content. It’s not a secret that SEO has emerged as a strong force in the past few years, a development that is giving content marketers sleepless nights. Questions are now being raised as to whether content is still King or if it lost the spot to SEO. Today your content can only work with SEO if it adheres to the ever changing rules of the game that are set by SEO.
Indeed, the role of content as an inbound marketing tactic can never be underestimated. There is really no better way a business can deliver genuine information that meets the exact needs of its customers if not by content tactics.
Just to make sure we are on the same page – content marketing simply refers to the creation of valuable content or information to customers or potential customers with the aim of developing trust, brand awareness, and loyalty.
Content marketing is successful if it establishes you as an expert in the field and provides a basis for a long-term business relationship. In essence, the main objective of content marketing is to establish a business relationship.
Emerging Reality: Is SEO fighting Content?
SEO has changed significantly in the last three years. There has been a steady and sustained shift towards a more established marketing role by SEO.
If you remember very well awhile back, SEO was freely rewarding anyone who put in any extra effort to get more traffic. Content marketers could write any crappy content and splash it with key words and get it noticed by SEO. Things such as links were solely used to get a website on the first page of Google ranking, rather than creating a website that would be noticed and loved by visitors.
However, with the advent of post Google Panda and Penguin algorithm updates, content marketers were set to change the way they do business. Most manipulative practices are now detected and punished.
The current emphasis placed on SEO has somehow made content marketing to look like the weaker sibling. In fact, an intense rivalry between proponents of SEO and those of content marketing is slowly dying as SEO is eventually having its way.
Of course, the bitterness had everything to do with the unprecedented change in SEO rules that caught many content marketers napping. Now content marketers are called upon to submit to the new rules of engagement or perish. If anything, the new rules are only meant to weed out black hat techniques.
Therefore, if you are determined to succeed with content in the SEO driven world then it’s time you stopped worrying and adapt some measures that will help you go with the flow. Actually, if you look at abiding with the new SEO rules as a way of pleasing Google or any other search engine then you probably going to fail. The goal of SEO is to optimize the organic pathway that users need to find relevant and quality content on the web.
The best way to go about this is not to ignore SEO in favor of other marketing strategies, no. According to an article posted on morevisibility.com, Forrester Research reported that 54% of respondents in a research claimed to have found websites using organic means as opposed to other methods.
The only good thing to do is therefore to adopt strategies of creating SEO friendly content – friendly in the sense that it meets all the requirements put forth by the new SEO rules.
What does SEO demand from content marketers?
The answer to this question is simple, SEO demands quality and ethical practice. Content marketers were so accustomed to creating crappy content and splashing it with keywords and links to rank high with search engines.
Another unethical and shady practice is paying cash to generate back links.
Why pay dollars to black hat marketers when you can earn worthy links by creating content that is unique, of good quality, informative, and link worthy. If you can manage this then your content marketing efforts will be recognized by SEO.
How to beat SEO
From the above sections it’s very clear that even with the tightened SEO rules, the original focus of content marketing have not been affected. Writing web pages has never been done for search engines, it has always been done to attract the right audience and it still remains so.
Search engines just want quality for their customers, and this is basically what Google’s Panda and Penguin search algorithms are all about. Doing your part to produce quality content and learning a few tricks in SEO will save you from so much trouble. Fortunately, as shown earlier, any quality driven and honest content marketing techniques work with SEO as well.
If you concentrate on that, while at the same time not trying to make your content marketing tactics look pushy as shown in an article appearing on Snitchm.com, “Inbound and Permission Marketing – Marketing without Being Pushy”, the n you are likely to score big with SEO.
Here are the specifics of what you really need to do if you have to succeed:
Keep your content relevant – It’s only fair that you produce content that really communicates the objectives of your business or topic at hand. Search engines have more advanced tools nowadays and can easily catch you if you are trying to play games with them. This often leads to losing rank or be banned from their rankings.
Therefore, the simple initiative of producing relevant content will go a long way in creating a SEO friendly content marketing campaign.
Keyword Usage – Key word usage is another good way of succeeding with content. You must really think of what you are writing about and have a good number of your keywords at the beginning of your article or content. Another good strategy is to only use synonyms of the key word from the second paragraph onwards.
Use lists more – Lists are more SEO friendly than paragraphs. By using lists, areas that have repeats do not appear strange to Google or any other search engine.
Be creative with links – Links should be used sparingly and should direct one to the relevant content. Proper link usage is especially important if you some of your links are keyword phrases. You should not just say “click here”, always try to make sure that the particular keyword you are linking to is part of the words in the link.
Use subheadings that include keywords – The internal subheadings used within the article should have some keyword phrases. You can use heading tags for your subheadings if you want.
Proofread your content – Proofreading your content is very important for ascertaining that you have actually written what you intended to write. More importantly, you have to make sure that all your keywords are correctly spelt.
Focusing on quality – If you value your audience then you should not try to force poorly done content on them. Always try to write for your audience first, and then consider SEO later.
Other safeguards – You should always try to target your content using social media and other channels available to you. You can decide to develop an email list and dispatch monthly newsletters to keep your audience coming.
In a nutshell, succeeding with content marketing the SEO driven world requires you to focus on a few things: adding only content that is useful and valuable to your audience; targeting the content through good keyword usage and social media; and developing other safeguards, such as email marketing, to reduce reliance of SEO.