9 Oct 2017
Content continues to be king in the marketing sphere, with many businesses maximizing their online impact by consolidating their SEO efforts with content marketing.
Since Google updates their search algorithms two or three times a day, a long-term SEO-friendly content strategy is the silver bullet for businesses looking to draw relevant leads into their conversion funnel.
A comprehensive long-term strategy is perfect for establishing domain authority and increasing traffic, but it will take time and investment to achieve results. Here are eight ways to build a long-term, SEO-friendly, content strategy.
As search engines strive to achieve an ‘ever-more personal, pervasive and predictive ’ experience, according to Bing, your content should enrich the search experience by providing solutions and giving readers genuinely useful information that fulfills a need. Incorporate keywords naturally into your content, in context and in the right quantities, to avoid turning your audience off.
Outdated black hat SEO strategy focused energy on stuffing content with as many keywords as possible, but modern, customer-centric businesses know that content must appeal to people, not robots. Spend time researching keywords and topics that interest your target audience, and identify future trends that establish your brand as a thought leader. These will play an important role in shaping your content strategy and giving it longevity.
Do you know your audience? A simple question - the answer forms the foundation of your content strategy. Successful long-term content strategies keep their intended audience at the forefront of their activity – ultimately enhancing your online presence and driving more relevant traffic to your website. Understanding your audience’s needs, behaviors and pain points, as well as consulting your own data sources, builds a picture of your target audience.
Each piece of content should aim to answer questions or provide genuinely useful information, as well as providing a logical journey through your website. For example, a person reading about X may also be interested in Y or Z. Alternatively, someone searching for a generic keyword related directly to what you offer may wish to call you directly once they research their purchase.
An editorial calendar is a must for plotting your long-term content strategy. This will outline content types and a publishing schedule. It doesn’t need to be strict, in fact, building flexibility into your schedule allows you to adapt content to address trends in your space or respond to insights from your data.
Focus on lasting long-term content created around your keywords that will build domain authority and draw traffic over a long period. New content will supplement this activity, as content published on a regular basis is bound to give you a SERP boost.
Don’t forget, a successful content strategy doesn’t just consist of text-based blogs and articles. Consider incorporating product pages, lists, guides, whitepapers, eBooks, infographics and video into your content marketing mix. Repurposing popular content into new formats to improve longevity and reach audiences on new platforms is also important, for example, turning the takeaways of a whitepaper into an attractive infographic.
As marketers, we all know the value of an integrated marketing mix. Smart brands also know the value of taking an integrated approach to data to inform your content marketing, tapping into as many sources as possible for a holistic content strategy.
Utilizing social listening tools in developing your long-term content strategy provides greater insight into topics that interest your audience the most at any given time, allowing your content strategy to become more agile.
As David Rowles, CEO of Target Internet, explained at the recent BrightonSEO conference:
"Keyword tools show what people are already searching for, but by the time you have created something in response it's too late to have much influence. By monitoring key terms on social media and setting up alerts for them, you can see what new conversations are happening, and react early enough to rank on search engines."
Optimization is already a priority for many. User experience aside, search engines also appreciate optimized content, as this allows them to easily understand and rank your content. In fact, mobile optimization can improve SEO ranking by up to 88%1.
Optimal structure of your content helps too. Make use of headings and bullet points, as well as ensuring your titles, images, and metadata are all appropriately tagged with appropriate keywords. Strive to spend time on optimizing each piece of content for better SEO performance in the long-term.
Monitoring and evaluating the performance of campaigns is an integral part of any marketing role, the same applies to your long-term content strategy.
Attribution software such as Infinity informs your content strategy by tracking visitors to your website with unique IDs and gathering information such as location, time and date of visit, time spent on page, and page views.
This pinpoints which piece of content triggered a call to your team. Capitalize on that by promoting it more extensively on your own channels, putting PPC activity behind it, or simply producing more content like it to replicate this organic success on similar keywords. On the flip side, it also informs which keywords under perform, allowing you to regroup and focus your energies on high-value topics.
For a long time, link building was the bread and butter of many SEO strategies. While including relevant internal links to content and garnering external links from authoritative sources are both still important tasks, effective promotion of your long-term content is just as influential on your traffic.
Increase visibility on your long-term content by sharing it widely and regularly on your social platforms using relevant hashtags. Find new ways to draw attention to it, for example, by picking out a key takeaway and supplementing it with a visual representation in a post.
One of the upsides of a long-term SEO-friendly content strategy is that while short-term content requires aggressive promotion to perform well before expiration, long-term content garners clicks and shares over time, essentially promoting itself as momentum builds.
You might think once you hit publish, your content has flown the nest. A strong SEO-focused content strategy involves continuously revising and updating long-term content as appropriate to maximize ranking potential.
One example of this is to ensure that links are present and correct. Google’s Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst, said at this September’s BrightonSEO: “There is certainly value in fixing broken links on old pages. Whether you link internally or externally is irrelevant, but you must keep context in mind.”
Another reason to revise older content is to ensure content freshness – updating links in content, product or FAQ pages and lists helps search engines understand that your site continues its comment to being accurate and helpful.
The next step is knowing the quality of audience that your SEO traffic is driving. If you're a business that generates sales or provides support via the phone, start a conversation with us today to see how Infinity makes attribution clear, for transformative search strategies.
This piece is a guest blog written by Rachel Quin.
1) "The Best SEO Strategies for 2016 in One Awesome Infographic", WordStream, 2017
Product Marketing Manager
Andy has spent years obsessively analysing how businesses can unlock value from engagements with their audience. Outside his family, his main loves are Woking FC, his Xbox, and his National Trust membership.
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