According to the Custom Content Council, a whopping $43.9bn was spent on the production and distribution of custom content in the US last year. In fact, of the average marketing, advertising and communications budget, 39 per cent was allocated to content marketing alone.
Although research took all forms of media into account, including print, electronic and other, it is clear that this marketing approach is primary concern for brands and businesses wanting to increase online exposure and visibility.
However, other forms of online publicity and promotion tend to complement content marketing quite nicely. In the same study, 81 per cent of respondents said they were creating content explicitly for use on social media. But on the other hand, SEO is often seen as a rival to content marketing where only one of these tactics will reign supreme.
This is a big mistake, as they should work together in perfect harmony to stand the best chance of achieving success online. Think of it this way, you could create an amazing and enthralling piece of content, but without SEO nobody will be able to read or share it. But if you spend all your time on implementing technical SEO tactics, customers won’t have any trust or belief in the brand due to a distinct lack of content.
Create content with Wikipedia in mind
Type in any random keyword or search term on Google, Bing or Yahoo and there is bound to be a Wikipedia article about it. For many, this site is the first port of call for finding out all manner of facts and figures. But it also provides a great opportunity for content marketing and SEO.
Did you know that Comedy Central gets 100,000 unique monthly visitors to its website from Wikipedia references alone? Quite a staggering statistic I think you’d agree. But before heading over to Wikipedia and contributing to pages with links to your site, there are a few things to bear in mind.
You need to have a trusted account and make edits to other pages first, otherwise the real-life editors will realise you’re only interested in creating backlinks to your site. In terms of getting content accepted, only around 10 per cent of edits make the grade.
Therefore, you should concentrate on providing an alternative to existing broken links instead of trying to overhaul Wikipedia’s current content. Type site:wikipedia.org [keyword] “dead link” into Google and see what comes up.
Make use of search data
When coming up with a content marketing strategy, you’ll inevitably produce a list of keywords and phrases to target. But the research behind these terms is crucial, as there is a chance nobody will even be searching for the content you intend to produce.
Then again, it is important not to cram content full of keywords just to satisfy SEO requirements. Your audience won’t appreciate content that has purely been made to increase search engine visibility and neither will Google.
So find out what keywords and phrases your target audience are searching for and produce content accordingly. Useful, interesting and engaging content serves a purpose, gets shared on social media, increases website visitors and ultimately, leads to better SEO.
Trending and popular content is another way of finding out what customers and clients want to see online. From popular articles on Facebook and Twitter’s trending topics to interaction and engagement sites like NewsWhip and BuzzSumo, it is possible to discover what industry topics are gaining momentum.
Prioritise authorship rich snippets
Building brand awareness and managing your online reputation are crucial aspects of SEO and content marketing. But one of the ways you can achieve these objectives is by growing authorship and rich snippets on Google, otherwise known as your name and picture alongside a search result.
Not only do these search result characteristics build your influence and reputation as a trusted author, they have also been known to improve click-through rates. Google has technical, design and quality guidelines on how to enable or be eligible for rich snippets.
But Google has also said time and time again that Authorship does not directly affect rankings, so don’t think you’ll start ranking higher once it is enabled. However, by making use of this micro data, you can grab the audience’s attention, enhance exposure and increase the chances of getting content read.
Optimise promotion and distribution
Creating compelling and captivating content is all well and good, but it has to display some fundamental SEO characteristics. When it comes to combining the two, links and social media are two essential pieces of the puzzle.
Make sure there are lots of links going to it from old blog posts or other parts of your site. Also investigate the link profiles of competitors and see who is promoting their content. If they are industry influencers or authority figures, you might be able to receive additional promotion from them as well.
In order to increase your reach and engagement levels, social sharing buttons should always be present. Due to the personal and intimate nature of social networks, include your username or handle too.
Always inspect and analyse
Any campaign that combines content marketing and SEO could be rendered useless if you don’t analyse and assess its success. Even if you have taken a methodical and meticulous approach, there could still be room for improvement.
Measuring and examining the success of your content doesn’t have to be difficult, as you can use common analytics such as page views, bounce rates, and shares. From there, take a closer look at the effectiveness of your chosen keywords and see how much traffic has come from organic search.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to see how the preceding points can make a real difference and enhance future campaigns accordingly. Even though these two aspects of digital marketing have their own unique quirks and characteristics, they should not be viewed as individual components, as together content marketing and SEO can create a promotion and publicity tool to be reckoned with. SEO and content marketing married at the hip? Who’d have thought it likely – well ourselves of course!