Early in my career I had the hubris of youth thinking that I “knew it all”. So you can imagine my reaction when the SEO guy came up to me and told me I had to add keywords into my content, I truly thought he was just trying to make more work for me. I would think to myself: Didn’t he know how much I needed to do? Is this going to really matter? Won’t randomly dropping SEO keywords into my content seem forced and weird?
I’ve learned a lot since then. The answers to those questions are:
- No, and he didn’t care (and it wasn’t his problem).
- Yes, that is, if you like traffic to your website.
- Yes, that’s why we don’t do that. We create copy that explores topics thoroughly to answer user questions.
Working closely with Sean Van Guilder, Point It Director of Search Engine Optimization, has given me a deeper understanding of not only how the search engines work from a user query perspective. Gosh, that sounds fancy. But it’s not. As we built the refreshed Point It website (Hooray for a new site launch!), he infused just the right amount of SEO knowledge into my education to make me a smarter marketer. This means my content works harder for me than it ever has. And thus, our recent webinar, SEO + Content Marketing: Two Sides of the Same Coin (we’ll share the link shortly) was born!
Here are a few highlights from today’s webinar:
Do SEO and Content Marketing have common goals?
Despite my early inclinations, SEO and marketing are aligned far more than most people think. The purpose of SEO is drive traffic to websites by removing online barriers from searchers. This way they can answer their questions by being served content from your website and ultimately convert!
Content marketing’s purpose is to drive prospects to our websites by answering critical business questions. By becoming a publisher, we’re able to create content in a variety of formats that help us drive prospects through our funnel and ultimately convert!
The big take away here is: SEO and Content Marketing both need to drive traffic, answer prospect questions and convert prospects into customers.
What is SEO-Optimized Content?
SEO-Optimized content is valuable, relevant, consistent, question-driven, user-friendly, and designed to have the customer take action.
The thing that gets sticky for so many content marketers is building all of these elements into our content. Being a creative can be so tricky and adding a list of parameters to writing content can make it seem like there are even more hoops to jump through to create high-quality content. The nice part about today’s high quality SEO is that it takes all of those content best practices and adds structure to them. For instance:
- Publish on a regular schedule
- Create content people are actually looking for
- Make sure your content answers a critical business question
- Make sure your site is easy to use.
- Always have a Call to Action.
It’s the simple best practices that so many content writers put into place that ALSO adhere to SEO best practices.
What is the difference between a core keyword phrase and a user question?
I’m sure you remember the days when it seemed like “keyword phrases” were all the SEO industry experts could talk about. With the shift towards natural language, search engines are focused on delivering answers to user questions. Let’s set the stage: you’re in your car and hungry. You ask Siri, Cortana, or Google now “Where is the best Chinese restaurant near me?” Google answers by combining geographically relevant information. This could include a knowledge card on a restaurant and Yelp reviews.
So, core keyword phrases are still a thing, we just need to remember they should be part of a question that gets answered. For instance:
You ask: “What are SEO best practices for content marketing?”
Core Keyword Phrase: “SEO Best Practices Content Marketing”
Long tail keywords (phrases with words between 5 and 7 words) tend to be the way most searchers look for information. Make sure you have keyword information across your content, social media promotion and landing pages to get best results!
SEO-Friendly Content Marketing Topic Generation
To generate ideas for your content and keyword research, you’ll find a wealth of resources at the following sites:
Wrapping it Up
Bottom Line: You don’t have to be an SEO expert to get outstanding SEO results from your content.
Check out Sean Van Guilder’s holiday SEO guide, “SEO for the Holidays”. Although it’s geared toward retailers, it includes best practices that can be applied before any big release or campaign.