Content Marketing – The New SEO

The idea that the more new and up to date posts you publish to improve your chances of being found through search engines is not a new one. The term “Content is King” has been flying around for several years now, becoming the basis of many people’s SEO strategy - even if they don’t realise it:

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This image and all others in this post are excerpts from the excellent ‘Content Marketing Explosion‘ infographic from the Content Marketing Institute. Click to see the full graphic.

The most popular tactic for marketers is currently article posting:

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However, this is distinctly different to ‘article marketing’. Our Content Marketing Training course teaches delegates not only have to create and maintain a blog (That figure of 65% should surely be higher!) but also how to build up a guest blogging strategy – writing posts for other blogs with links back to your site.

The following image shows that marketers are aware that content marketing is great for brand awareness, customer acquisition, lead generation and customer loyalty. However, it is surprising that link building does not feature!

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This marketing technique also works for SEO. Every post your write includes links to your sites. If you write great content for authority figures in your field then you receive powerful back-links in the process. As that content is then shared, the power of the content increases even more. This is why an effective social media strategy is also necessary (Social Media Training can help you out with that).

There are two benefits to using social media to market your content. As well as having access to an audience of billions, search engines such as Google are now using social signals to decide ranking. Google believes that if a lot of people are sharing a web page then it must be useful:

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Search is now personal and the opinion of real people matters. SEO is no longer about optimising for robots or creating rubbish content for links and freshness. That content must also be quality so that people want to digest it.

Google is becoming more intelligent and has developed its algorithm to spot low quality content. The main reason that so many websites lost rankings in early 2011 was the Panda update – designed to hit websites with thin content:

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SEO has changed dramatically over the past year and a lot of agencies have struggled to keep up. That is why a statistic that only 44% of marketers are happy with their primary agency:

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Agencies and in-house marketers alike must wake up and recognise the importance of content marketing as an all-in-one marketing strategy.

Content marketing does not just benefit traditional marketing campaigns but also SEO and Social Media marketing. Unfortunately a lot of companies still see these as separate entities. That is why we have created an all-in-one package of SEO Training, Social Media Training and Content Marketing Training. Read on to see how content marketing adds value to any marketing strategy and how to begin your content marketing efforts. Please call us on 01273 622272 to discuss your training requirements or for further information about the courses.

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SEO is Changing

SEO has become a multifaceted set of strategies and techniques which is no longer solely about optimising your pages for keywords and building a wide array of inbound links. When people are looking for information online they want to see something new, cutting edge and high quality. This is where Content Marketing comes in, creating new and intriguing content on a regular basis.

Creating this content will lead you to ask yourself what your audience or target market would want to read, share and comment on. Creating engaging content which includes information that can be used by the reader is important in order to gather interest and keep people coming back for more; once you have people coming back the higher your chances of converting them into sales.

Content Marketing is a very fluid marketing approach – always writing about the latest trends and keeping an eye on keywords and pages that need linking to. That is why we recommend an Agile approach to SEO.

Aside from using content marketing as a tool to increase sales, by creating high quality content you are improving your chances of it being shared around via social media. Not only is this great to achieve better brand recognition it also creates a new backlink to your website with every share it receives. This increase in backlinks works towards strengthening your search engine results rankings, through adding to or developing your link building strategy, helping you compete against rivals also focusing on the same keywords as yourself.

So to achieve these huge benefits for your site you need to make great content, but how should you go about creating it?

Creating Quality Content

While you may be running a Content Marketing strategy to improve your sales it doesn’t mean that the content you are creating has to be all about what you do, sell or provide. Think about what your audience wants to read about. They are far more likely to want to read articles on news, ideas or tips on your subject rather than just how great your products are. By opening your net through writing around your specialised subject you are able to increase your potential audience as well as appearing on a wider range of searches through search engines.

Further proof that Google is looking for quality is the latest major algorithm update – the ‘page layout algorithm‘. This update is designed to punish websites with excessive ‘above the fold’ advertising.

You should look at what search engines such as Google look for to deem a post as high quality. So what do they look for?

  • Fresh and regular content
  • Well put together, with no broken links or grammatical errors
  • Pages that keep the reader
  • Opportunities to read more and go to other pages on your site
  • Links to the articles from other sites
  • Active presence on social media sites – looking for shares
  • Does it answer a question? Does the URL and title contain the keywords of the question?

The frequency by which you upload new posts is important too. You don’t necessarily have to post vast quantities of new content each week, but a regular schedule, of at least one post per week, which you can keep to, is vital. Saying that, if you are confident you could get out more posts on a regular basis then that isn’t going to do you any harm at all; just don’t set yourself targets that you’ll never meet!

Once your readers have seen that you have been regularly updating your website or blog with quality content over time your reputation will improve amongst communities in your field. Content created by reputable sources are far more likely to shared and people are more forthcoming with questions and comments due to your enhanced expert status.

Variety is the Spice of Life

You don’t have to force yourself into creating one type of content. You can attract new users by varying content types, trying different styles of articles including news, lists (top 5’s etc) as well as offering tips. Mix these up with some video content and often popular items such as infographics and you will have a more diverse content strategy.

What to do with Your Content?

Once you have actually created your content you need to know what to do with it. People aren’t necessarily going to just find it; you need to make it available to them in the appropriate places. This can be done through a combination of social bookmarking on sites, such as Digg and StumbleUpon, and sharing which aims to make people within your target audience aware that new content that may be relevant to them is available.

Using your content to engage and spark debate amongst your readers is extremely important as well, using social media sites (and your own comments area) as the ideal area to directly interact with your readers, customers and audience.

You can now improve your search rankings in Google by taking advantage of their latest Search plus your World search facility, which favours content that is popular on Google’s social network, Google+.

Guest Blogging

myblogguestGuest blogging distribution sites such as My Blog Guest (excellently run by Ann Smarty - smarty by name, smarty by nature!) are a great resource for sourcing and distributing your own original content for others to publish to build brand and author awareness. As well as establishing yourself as a leading authority in your field, guest blogging also helps you build up your link building portfolio, aiming to get inbound links to your site on high page ranking (PR) websites to boost your website or blog’s authority.

If you can’t keep up with your own posting demands or you just want to diversify your content you might want to look into getting guest bloggers to create posts for your site. There is a thriving guest blogging community who are looking to write for other websites and blogs so in return they can include one or more of their own links.

Overall, content marketing is a great way of building brand awareness, asserting yourself as an expert in your field and making your web pages more visible and accessible, which all work together to help persuade users to buy you products or use your service. If you would like to learn more about how you could start your own content marketing strategy then why not book on to our brand new Content Marketing Training course, so you can learn to get the most out of your website or blog.

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Heather Buckley


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