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SEO Cheat Sheet for Better Content Marketing

Posted on Jun 16th, 2016
Written by TopRank Marketing
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    It is our job as marketers to provide our customers with quality experiences. One way we can provide a quality experience is by implementing a customer focused content marketing program. Content marketing comes in all shapes and sizes, including blog posts, infographics, email, podcasts, and many other content types. Every online channel provides a unique way for us to reach our audience. With that idea in mind, we need to optimize each content asset to make it easier for people to find.

    Competition for your audience’s attention has never been higher and many marketers are finding it challenging to get their content in front of the right audience. This challenge will continue to become more difficult with about 91% of B2B marketers claiming that they are already using content marketing. Although that number is high, many have the opportunity to better optimize the content that is already being created.

    In this post we’ll cover basic SEO tactics that content marketers can deploy to make content assets easier for your audience to find via search engines.

    [Insert keyword here]

    The first basic step for writing web content is choosing the right keywords to target. Conducting keyword research has never been more important for the optimization process. A great tactic for better optimization is to identify a group of selective keywords that are all related. That way, the keywords are semantically related, or in other words, share similar interest to your audience. By choosing a semantic group of keywords to target, we can broaden our reach by ranking for multiple keywords instead of just one main keyword. Google and other search engines are getting more advanced at determining what keywords are related.

    To help explain semantic keywords, a small keyword glossary would include the following terms for “marketing book reviews:”

    • Marketing book comparison
    • Marketing plan book
    • Marketing strategy book
    • Reviews for marketing books
    • Best marketing book
    • Marketing books to read

    Since we don’t need to rely on one keyword, we want to find keywords that in aggregate contain more search volume than the one keyword. Your semantic keyword group should contain some long-tail keywords that are less competitive. Long-tail keywords are much easier to rank for and can bring in the majority of your organic search traffic.

    Another advantage of using a semantic group of keywords is the ability to sprinkle keywords naturally throughout your content. The keywords being used throughout the content asset will be more natural than using one or two main keywords multiple times. You will build relevance for the overall topic by sprinkling the keywords throughout the content.

    TopRank Marketing tip: Utilize Google Search Console to find keywords that you may be ranking for on page three or four that are receiving a high amount of impressions. Focus on updating pages related to the keywords or consider developing a new content asset. If you are somewhat nerdy like me, then take use of the Google Search Console API to pull massive lists of keywords instead of being blocked at 1,000 keywords in the Google Search Console platform.

    Houston we have a content structure problem.

    When creating your content, make sure you plan the structure. Content should be presented in a way that provides a solution for the issue that your audience is searching for. Whether that means answering a question, finding a product, killing boredom or anything else, writing good content that solves a problem will gather audience interest and potential viral visibility via social shares and links. Your engagement rate will be better, which will send positive signals to Google and other search engines.

    Creating structure for your content can be challenging. To create structure, create an outline of how you want the content to be viewed, with the most important information near the top of the page. If your post gets long, use anchor links to push people to the content more efficiently. Another tactic is to use heading tags (<h1>, <h2>, etc.) to break content up to allow users to skim and scan the content. Avoid using long blocks of content, and if content is becoming long, use the following tactics to visually break it up:

    • Images
    • Videos
    • Infographics
    • Testimonials
    • Bulleted list

    When appropriate, you may find breaking up your content into multiple pages will provide a better experience instead of overwhelming users with one larger page. For example, the Minnesota Twins do a great job trying to sell season tickets. The Minnesota Twins season ticket site takes users on an experience instead of just trying to sell the season tickets aggressively. Unfortunately, there is actually a small amount of crawlable content on each page, but the site focuses on the audience’s interest which helps it still perform well.

    Creating a fluid structure for your content will help improve your audience engagement metrics by making the user experience friendly. The structure of the content should be taken into account at the beginning of the optimization process.

    TopRank Marketing tip: Once you write your amazing piece of content, put a small amount of paid promotion behind it to test how your audience interacts with it. You will be able to quickly see how the content performs for engagements or conversions prior to the page ranking for all your keywords.

    Build a map to your content.

    After writing an optimized piece of content, the next step is to build backlinks to your content. Backlinks will help people and search engines crawl and find your content more efficiently. Backlinks can be related to three areas including internal, external, and social links.

    Building backlinks can be related to a map. For example, let’s say you have the most amazing beach that you would like to charge admission for. You’ve put in a lot of work to make your beach the best in a 300 mile radius and you know people would love to visit. The first problem is that no one knows how to find it. So you build walkways and paths to make it easier for people to get to the white sandy beach (internal links). Next you make signs to place near your beach to attract some local visibility (social shares). Now, people start coming to your beach and they love it so much they go out and tell their friends (external links). Before you know if, your beach is filled with happy and paying customers.

    The moral of the hypothetical scenario is to optimize your content by building links to your content. Links are still important to receive organic and overall traffic. The easiest way to get some links to your asset is to build internal links strategically with correct anchor text. Use keyword variations and long-tail keywords as your anchor text to not over optimize the content asset, which in return sends better relevance signals to the search engines.

    Share your post on social media with a promotion plan to gain more visibility via referrals. Increasing your social shares for your content sends more positive signals to search engines about how popular it is.

    Lastly, focus of earning backlinks from credible sources on other websites. The reach out to influencers that might be interested your content so they can either share socially, or even better, on their website. Also, reach out to websites that are linking to the pages that are ranking for the keyword topic to see if they will link to your better piece of content too. Hopefully, your amazing piece of content goes viral, which helps earn backlinks naturally and easily.

    TopRank Marketing tip: I suggest posting on every major social media channel but especially Twitter and Google+. Both of those platforms will help your content asset get indexed much faster than organically crawling the site.

    Let’s write more optimized content!

    Writing optimized content can be challenging. As content marketers we have the opportunity to optimize each asset so our audiences can find it easily over our competitors. Optimized content will lead to more organic traffic and ultimately lead to potentially higher conversions/ROI. We don’t need more content in general, but rather we need more optimized content that helps solve the audience’s problem.