SEO and content marketing are like PB&J.
You need to target niche keywords and pay attention to technical SEO to get readers in your landing pages. At the same time, you need valuable content to attract customers and make them stay.
In fact, Ascend2 found that 57% of marketers believed that relevant content creation was the most effective SEO tactic. Additionally, Content Marketing Institute believes that the most effective SEO technique is content creation. Websites with blog content end up with 434% more search engine-indexed pages than other business sites that don’t publish content.
Here are a few tips to create content in order to improve your SEO:
1. Conduct research
The first step is to consider user intent and semantic search when crafting your content strategy.
i. User intent
What do customers like about your website? What will they want to read more about? User intent determines how people interact with your landing pages.
It can be identified through metrics like:
- Page views
- Bounce rate
- Average time on page
Are readers leaving your websites after a few seconds? Or are they reading other posts on your website too? Bounce rates can be misleading because high-quality content doesn’t always guarantee a lower bounce rate.
If you want to control your bounce rates, look at the content of competitors ranking for the same keywords. This gives you an idea of the information you’ll need to rank higher than your competitors.
ii. Semantic search
Semantics literally means “the study of meanings.” In the online realm, Google’s semantic search uses algorithms to predict what users mean when they type certain keywords.
For example, when you search “What is content marketing?” Google shows a dictionary section and a graphic beside it.
If your keywords have a typo, Google automatically asks if you intended to search for another word instead.
Google’s semantic search technology isn’t something new.
The content that gets on top is usually the ones most relevant to the context of the users. But semantic search also means that keyword stuffing and spammed articles won’t get you ahead.
Instead, you have to think about what readers want to know when they type certain keywords. Follow Neil Patel’s example, use short paragraphs and maintain a conversational tone to improve readability.
Another tip is to pay attention to grammar, spelling mistakes and link quality. Take time to brainstorm attention-grabbing headlines and get an editor to proofread your site’s content.
If you publish relevant content consistently, you’ll get more readers and improve your site’s traffic.
2. Establish goals for each piece of content
Establish goals for each piece of content that you plan to create.
Think of the different pieces of content on your calendar, and identify the goals or objectives of each. These can include:
- Increasing traffic to your landing pages
- Ranking high for keywords based on user intent
- Updating content with semantic search standards in mind
- Increasing awareness on your products or services
- Increasing conversions on your website
- Establishing authority in your niche
- Engaging with your subscribers
Some marketers create content based on each stage of the buying process.
Here’s an infographic from Powered By Search:
Determine the results of your goals by monitoring your metrics on every month or quarter.
3. Update old content to improve SEO rankings
Historical optimization is the process of updating old content.
Brian Dean, the founder of Backlinko, found that updating old posts helped him get 260.7% more organic traffic in 14 days. Hubspot also revealed that when they updated and re-published old blog posts, they got a 106% increase in organic traffic. And when we updated and relaunched an old blog post, we increased our organic traffic by 290.76% in 3 weeks.
If you want to achieve the same results, update old posts with timely and relevant information.
More importantly, add internal links to improve the flow of link value and improve site structure. If you have a new product or service, link it to posts associated with your products and services.
4. Build relationships to improve content distribution
Your content strategy should also consider plans for content distribution.
In fact, a study found that search alone makes up only 1/3 of a site’s overall traffic, while social media takes up a significant share. Content Marketing Institute found that 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn as part of their content strategy, followed by Twitter (87%), Facebook (84%), YouTube (74%), and Google+ (62%).
While you can improve content distribution by managing your own social media pages, it’s equally important to collaborate with bloggers, experts, and business partners.
5. Conduct competitive analyses
You’ve often heard that to create content that gets read, you have to think about your readers.
…but another way you can get ahead is by conducting competitive analysis.
You can use tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs to determine how your competitors are engaging with their readers. This way, you’ll find out which topics are popular, and which ones aren’t.
Here are some metrics that you should keep in mind:
- Search traffic
- Social media mentions
- Content with a high number of backlinks
- On-page changes
- Customer complaints
- Customer questions
- PPC advertising
Another tip is to determine the types of content that are trending. You can monitor publications in your industry, competitor sites, or use Google Trends and Buzzsumo.
Google Trends determines the most popular search queries, interest over time and related topics based on a particular keyword. Similarly, BuzzSumo lets users analyze the content that performs best for any topic or competitor.
Ready to boost your content and SEO results?
SEO goes hand-in-hand with content marketing.
To get to the first page of Google, you need to create content that puts the readers first. Understand semantic search and user intent, then create goals for everything you plan to publish.
Don’t forget to update old content with inbound links and relevant information. Content distribution is also key to a successful strategy, so reach out to influencers and experts to improve content distribution.
How do you use content marketing to improve SEO? Let us know in the comments below.
(Thanks Sudheesh Chandran for the feature illustration)