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Great content helps you earn links that increase domain authority, improving your search rankings. It also helps you earn familiarity with your audience, building trust and connections. SEO gets your content noticed so that it can work on your behalf. Let’s take a look at how to get the most from content marketing and SEO by doing both at the same time.
Analyse your audience
If you haven’t put together buyer personas for your business, do it now. Buyer personas take into account both demographic and psychographic characteristics of your typical customer, creating profiles describing the people who make purchases from your company. Google Analytics can provide great insights into the demographics and interests of people who already engage with your content.
Once you’ve identified your customers, map out their online behaviors. Which social networks do they use most? Do they use mostly mobile devices or desktop browsers? Which publications do they read? Who influences their thinking? Answering these questions helps you understand two important things: which types of content to create and how to amplify it once you’ve created it.
Brainstorm content ideas
Classic SEO starts with keyword research — discovering which keywords work for customers in your industry, which keywords are most and least competitive, and which keywords you have a shot at ranking for if you optimize your content. Keywords still matter, but it’s a better SEO strategy to start with the user and work back to the keyword. The right blend of SEO and content marketing starts by putting the user first.
Generate ideas for sharable content
Brainstorm some ideas for content built around reasons why people share content:
- To inspire a sense of community
- To reinforce an existing belief
- To refute an opposing argument that conflicts with an existing belief
- To start or renew a discussion
- To improve their own financial, promotional, or relationship prospects
- To make the sharer look smart
- To feel emotions like awe, empathy, amusement, and anger
Scope out your competitors
After you’ve created a list, take a look at the content created by your competitors. Take note of:
- Content that’s similar that they did really well
- Content that’s similar — but you know you could do it better
- Places they’ve missed where you can create and publish fresh content
- Who promotes their content and where they publish it
- Keywords for which their content ranks well
Come up with a credible story
It’s important to clearly explain who you are, using similar phrases, or keywords, in both your on-page and off-page assets. Keywords are the “how you say it” component of your content, and they’re important for helping search engines understand your unique selling proposition. Get keyword ideas from:
- AdWords keyword tool
- Google’s suggested searches
- Google autocomplete
- Google Trends
- Google Webmaster tools
- Long tail tools like Übersuggest
Once you’ve assembled a library of potential keywords, research which sites rank for them and how competitive each keyword phrase is. Then, as you create content, use the most promising keywords from your library.
Roll out your content
If you create content pointing back to a mediocre, poorly optimized website, your customers won’t be convinced once they land on your pages. Optimize your website for your new keywords, and make each of your Web pages attractive, fast to load, and easy to navigate. To increase search traffic, optimize your titles, meta descriptions, and URLs not only for keywords but also for increased click-throughs.
Boost off-page SEO factors
Go back to your buyer personas and their digital behaviors, and put content where your audience will find it and link back to it:
- Social media: If you don’t have a social presence on your customers’ preferred networks, establish one.
- Sites that interest your customers: Publish your work not only on your own website but also where your audience will read and engage with it.
- Influencer outreach: Use tools like Followerwonk to find influencers to amplify your content.
Test and gather data
Always review your progress related to SEO and content marketing. Repeat and fine-tune what works, including keyword usage, social network strategies, and publications that refer traffic to your website. As shares and backlinks build your domain authority, and keyword optimization creates a consistent story about your business, your search rankings will start to rise. You’ll become better at digital marketing — while doing less work — by using content marketing to improve SEO and using SEO to get content to the right people.