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Why SEO is Really About Content

SEO & Content Marketing

Everyone wants to improve their website’s SEO – and for good reason. Strong SEO improves site visibility, connecting you with relevant audiences and fueling your conversion funnel. But here’s the catch: You’re not going to see any major SEO improvements without putting more focus on your content marketing strategy.

But wait, aren’t content and SEO two different things? Two different departments, with two different roles?

Not exactly. While SEO was once a game of keyword stuffing and backlinking, Google caught on quickly and refined its algorithms. Now (and really, as always), the key to better SEO is better content.

What’s Content Got to Do with It?

The goal of the search engine is to connect audiences with the information they’re looking for. If you’re consistently creating quality content that speaks to the search intentions of your audiences, you’re in business.

“Over the past five years, there has been a debate on what Google’s #1 factor is when creating its results.  However, ask anyone who has been involved in marketing for at least a few years and most will put content on top – that pretty much tells you all you need to know.”

Will Reed, Digital Marketing Practice Lead

What Google Wants

Google’s number one priority is to give searchers the content they want. To do this, Google’s algorithms rate pages based on three key criteria:

  1. Expertise

    Is the source reputable? What credentials support their expertise? How much do they know on the subject? Create content that covers as much of the topic and in as much depth as possible. Cues like author bios, awards, and testimonials are great on-site content to demonstrate expertise. Off-site, brands can build expertise by creating and publishing high-quality content in a variety of locations.

  2. Authority

    Are you a known and trusted expert on the subject matter? Are other relevant sites linking to your content? Are people sharing your content on social? The best way to build authority is to consistently create valuable content on the subject. Go deeper and cover as much on the subject as possible – longer content pieces earn higher rankings and more social shares.

  3. Trustworthiness

    Is your website secure? Are you using data ethically and responsibly? Is your privacy policy and opt-in process transparent? Following marketing best practices – especially in the wake of GDPR – goes a long way here.

Methods for Improving Your SEO

Upping your SEO game is going to take some time. While there are a few quick SEO wins to improve your site’s rankings, the biggest impact will happen using these methods:

Start with an Audit

If you don’t know where your website currently stands, you won’t have a clear roadmap for improvements. Website SEO and content audits are a great place to start to give your SEO strategy some juice. A typical audit helps identify:

  • Current keyword rankings and opportunities for improvement
  • Site traffic and pages that earn the most on-site engagements
  • Conversion paths and conversion points on the website
  • Site performance factors like page speed and mobile optimization
  • Key content themes and content gaps
  • Opportunities for improved user-experience

Identify Content Gaps

Once the audit is complete, you’ll have an idea of how well your current content matches what people search for. For example, you may find that your website has a ton of great “research” content but ”awareness” searchers bounce off your website because you don’t have the type of content they’re looking for.

Digital Marketing for Decision Stage of Buyer's Journey

Digital tactics used throughout the digital buyer’s journey.

Insights from the audit like search behavior, traffic, and on-site engagement will give you an idea of what content is working well and what content may be missing from your website.

Develop a Well-Informed Content Marketing Strategy

With these content gaps in mind, you can put a well-informed content marketing strategy in place. Give your top-performing content a boost by putting some advertising behind it, and repurpose it into other valuable content pieces.

Then, tackle your content gaps. Develop a plan to create content that your website is currently missing based on search behaviors. And, consider building content around keywords with opportunity for improvement – you may have some good content already and just need to step it up a notch.

Ready to step up your SEO game with content marketing? Subscribe to our newsletter for more tips, and get in touch with our digital pros to see how we can help.