For the past 8 years I’ve been a big fan of using content as a marketing vehicle to acquire new customers. In fact, during our agency’s 10 year history, we’ve never had a sales person and have engaged in very little outbound marketing (long before the notion of “inbound marketing” became popular).
The growing popularity of content marketing within the SEO world has evolved from white hat SEOs that would proclaim “content is king” to recent declarations that Google’s Panda updates have now validated the need for quality content. But if Panda is the primary reason your SEO efforts are focusing on best practices content marketing, then you’ll still be at a disadvantage.
This post will outline a critical element of Content Marketing adoption for SEO practitioners who want to maximize the value of their content investments for both improved search visibility and customer acquisition.
Traditionally, SEO has focused on identifying the most popular and relevant keywords representative of a company’s product/services mix. Web pages would be optimized with those keywords and links acquired as signals search engines would reward with improved search visibility.
Web page links are giving way to links from other sources like social streams and sharing. Consumers expect, not only to find what they’re looking for, but to interact with and share what they find in search results. Content that is solely optimized for search keywords doesn’t account for the importance of content that will inspire sharing.
There are multiple objectives with consumer interaction with content. Of course, converting prospects to customers is paramount. But it’s also important to publish content that is topically interesting and relevant for sharing to inspire links in social streams.
Not everyone is ready to buy and if our content is thoughtful about consumer information discovery, consumption and sharing preferences, it may inspire links and shares that result in better visibility on both search engines and within social networks where the links are shared.
Optimizing for search keywords will always be a best practice. Optimizing for social topics will help content creators include subjects that can inspire readers to share. That means researching social media keyword research. What are the most often discussed topics (on the social web) related to your target keywords? Producing a list of search keywords as well as well as social topics will help optimize content that is findable in search and more sharable in social.
Content Marketing and SEO are a powerful combination. By optimizing for customers, vs. just keywords, search engine optimization professionals can gain the benefit of top rankings in search results as well as more relevant interaction with the content they click through to read.
Learn more about Content Marketing & SEO! I’ll be drilling down into the details of Content Marketing & Optimization on Thursday, August 18th at 9am during the SES San Francisco conference.
- If you’re in a content production role, this will be a great way to understand the real value of SEO to boost visibility of your customer-centric content without compromising quality and creativity.
- If you’re a SEO practitioner or if you have SEO as part of your responsibilities, then this session will provide you with a roadmap to elevating quality content that’s optimized for keywords as well as the customers you’re trying to attract.
Attendees of the Content Marketing Optimization session will also get a copy of our TopRank Guide to Content Marketing to download. Hope to see you there! Of course, if you really want to drill down into Optimize for Search, Share and many other aspects of Online Marketing, be sure to check out “Optimize” (Wiley).