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SEO For Dummies: Content Marketing

SEO For Dummies: Content Marketing

Understanding SEO is one of the most crucial parts of being an active player in the digital marketing world, and yet can be one of the most confusing. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the strategy of increasing online traffic and search engine rankings through various types of digital activity. And yes, you need it.

While there are many different schools of thought regarding how to increase both your website traffic and search engine rankings (some better than others), one of the most universally accepted important factors is content. Some call it content marketing, others call it SEO copywriting. Whatever you call it, the basic gist is that your website’s content really matters.

We’ll break down web content into three main components: keyword research, content strategy, and content quality.

Keep reading to learn the content basics for building a strong SEO foundation.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is essential to SEO. In practicing keyword research, marketers and SEOs are able to determine highly searched terms and popular phrases, their frequency, and where they appear most frequently (i.e., which other websites already rank for said keywords).

There are many keyword research tools available to help you effectively and efficiently determine your most valuable keywords and phrases. For example, if you type “NJ Wedding Venues” into a tool like Keyword Tool, the results will give you insights into the best wording to match relevant search queries, and help you narrow down exactly what keywords and phrases you want to include on your site.

This research enables you to properly choose your keywords, which will help you create the next component of great content:  content strategy.

Content Strategy

It’s difficult to fully express the importance of content strategy, but its fundamental goal is to positively impact your search engine rankings through relevant, consistent content publishing. Without it, your team has no direction in which to create content, which often results in a random array of useful, but highly disorganized information.

Content strategy starts with a list of potential content topics based on the keywords and phrases which surfaced during your keyword research. This list can also include FAQs about your product, service, or industry (pro tip: ask the sales team for FAQs!).

From there, you’ll want to break that list down further into sub-topics. For example, if “NJ wedding venue” is a valuable keyword phrase for your business, then you’ll want to create content which focuses on a more specific component within that same subject, for users at different parts of the buyer journey.

Sales funnel diagram

For example, a good topic for top-of-funnel searchers (read: people still in the “awareness” stage of the purchase journey; see above illustration) might be “NJ summer wedding ideas.”  That’s because the person who searches for something like “NJ summer wedding ideas” is in a much different mindset than the person who searches for “NJ wedding venues with overnight accommodations.” The latter is likely already in the “interest” or “decision” stage of the buying journey.

Understanding the specific purpose of your content and where exactly it fits within the larger content marketing strategy and sales funnel is important in accurately measuring the success of your efforts.

Content Quality

Content quality is another critical part of maintaining successful SEO efforts; it encompasses everything from the visuals on your page down to the uniqueness of your message. An easy way to know if your content is of good quality or not is to ask: “Am I answering a specific question?”

Additionally, if your page is concise and gives high quality answers to queries without a ton of fluff (keyword stuffing, repetitiveness, etc.), you’re in good shape.

Search engines like Google want your page to be high quality, which means creating compelling, well-written content which specifically answers highly searched questions as clearly and directly as possible, while engaging your audience.

Incorporating images, videos, graphics, and links to other useful information is also important in separating your content from the rest, because it shows that you’re invested in your audience. If your content is original, useful and interesting, it will stand out and keep users coming back for more.

So, Why Do You Need a Content Strategy for SEO?

Your digital content is likely to be a first point of contact with your audience and potential customers, so it’s extremely important.

SEO content helps determine whether or not users can find your website — especially if you don’t invest in paid efforts like Google Adwords or social media ads. If people can’t find your website, your product or service offerings will never reach anyone; it’s the digital equivalent of being off the grid.

So, should you invest the time to create well-researched, strategic, and well-written content? Absolutely. It’s the first step in growing your organic SEO. Once you have these three pillars of SEO content down, you’re ready to get started.