Content Marketing is the most effective SEO tactic
That’s what 57% of marketing executives say.
And you know what? It is probably one of the easiest things you can do without having any formal training in Search Engine Optimizing and Digital Marketing.
First, I will list several benefits you can expect from creating original content to share with family, friends, colleagues, your specialized sector, and potential clients. Then, I will offer a list of types of content that you can choose from – (hint: it’s not all about blogging!) Finally, I will give you a few pointers on how to construct your content so that it gets noticed by the right people (or search engine.)
Search Engine Marketing can be…
pretty tricky and overwhelm you with a ton of options, some more expensive and time-intensive than others. However, probably the cheapest thing you can do for the good of your business and increasing client base (lead generation) is contemplating content marketing. For the minimum effort that it takes – content marketing promises an ROI that even paid ads can’t match. The gains are multiple. Below I have a list of just the most prominent benefits, but this is a shortlist.
- Improve brand reputation
- Gain client trust
- Generate traffic, conversions, & leads
- Build SERP rankings
- Establish industry authority
How do we define content marketing?
“… create and distribue valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract … a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
There is always the obvious choice, blogging. Blogging is defined as writing, photography, and other media that’s self-published online. Sometimes it seems like everyone, and their dog, blogs – and it has its good points BUT it is not for everyone.
Articles are at the end of the spectrum, where blogging is more like an op-ed (so more opinion-based). Articles are normally classified as more factual and theory-based.
Video – LOVE IT!! Not everyone feels comfortable in front of the camera … but what fun to be another Audrey Hepburn in the making? “Consumers like it because it’s easy to digest, entertaining and engaging”
Podcasting – this format is exploding and for those who are camera-shy, this is a very possible alternative. “Since they can be easily downloaded on apps like Spotify, podcast episodes are a convenient on-the-go option, perfect for the busy schedules of student listeners. ”
Infographics – easy to read (but from my experience not as easy to make!) There are many tools out there that you can use to create these colorful and communicative forms of content (Canva) “The popularity of infographics should be credited to the fact that we process visual content much faster than the text and numbers.”
Email and Newsletters – lots of things have changed over the years but the value of a database with qualified email addresses remains one of the most lucrative resources that a business can have, and if used properly can produce your best leads. Emails feel personal since they arrive directly in the potential client’s mailbox. In addition, by using a database of addresses that you have collected, you are not cold-calling – but reaching out to people you already have a relationship with.
Visual content – including photos, drawings, and computer-generated designs attracts attention. Y’know what they say … A picture is worth a thousand words.
A Bit of Structure Goes a Long Way
There are a few things you can try to incorporate into your written content that will help boost visibility in the search engine results (SERPs). And for those of you that are asking … SERP means Search Engine Result Position.
And I bet that doesn’t help much so, in layman’s terms a SERP refers to the order in which your name and/or website appear in the results when you do a search on any search engine (Google, Yahoo, Ecosia …)
Be aware of what it is you want to talk about – don’t be generic. Never talk about a tree; talk about a Red Sunset Maple Trees in fall near the Vermont border.
There is no need to exaggerate the number of times you use the word(s) in the content. Keyword density is no longer used as a distinguishing factor. (Unless you are Martin Luther King — then it kind of works… “I have a dream…”) TIP: make a list of the synonyms that you can think of and find ways to incorporate them into the text.
Your content should be divided into digestible sections separated by clarifying titles. It might not be your technique to add titles, but they are not only about making the search engines happy with keyword flags in prominent positions. Titles are also easy on the eye by creating white space; they help the reader grasp the main concepts of the article — and tease them into reading it all. And … (of course, there is an “and”) as the Italians would say – the eyes need to be satisfied – and well-placed titles can pull the eye further along in the article.
Did you know that jpegs and pngs (images) in your written content add more than color and pizazz?
Did you know that 62% of Gen Z and Millennial consumers are motivated by visual search more than any other new technology? Translated, that means, you have a better chance of being found in search engine results when you add images (properly) into your content. “Properly” means name your image with keywords, no spaces, and all small letters otherwise search engines will ignore them. -> example: seo-content-marketing-donna-scharnagl.jpg
As women, we all know, size matters 😂! OK, maybe that’s not true in all cases but when we are talking about content for search engines, it most definitely is true!
Search Engine Journal, for instance, cites a 2016 study that found the average word count for top ranking results is around 1,900 words. I use 1,500-2,000 words as a good rule of thumb. (quote from tributemedia.com)
But length only makes sense if your content offers value – so if you are just writing to “take up space” – stop! and keep it short and sweet – even if the search engine will pass it by.
Just one last tip
This article really just touches the tip of the (proverbial) iceberg when talking about content marketing. My parting words of advice: Content marketing is definitely NOT a one-size-fits-all. So, know what it is you want to accomplish with the content, and then think about what kind of content is most likely to produce these results. If you want “clickbait” then use images, if you want conversions, use written content, if you want to assert your “know-how” in a subject then use a tutorial video.