One of the questions I am most frequently asked is "if I want better visibility for my business and increased conversions from site traffic, which is better -- content marketing or traditional SEO (search engine optimization)? The short answer is both, but they involve very different processes and technology.
SEO is the channel that drives organic search traffic (not paid) via search engines. In order to be effective, SEO should include: Technical SEO to ensure your site is technically healthy and visible to search engines; On-Page Content that is relevant and resonates with your audience; and Keyword Research so you are aware of high search-volume keywords that are relevant to your business. Once these are in place you can turn to content marketing which drives topically relevant mentions and links to your Web site to help your brand and improve your search engine visibility.
You Are Who You Associate With
Content is an influential factor in your search rankings and in driving traffic to the site. Getting started, I always emphasize the importance of who's linking back to your Web site.
Essentially, who are your "friends"? Are they respected or unknown? They say that you are the sum of the people you associate with, and search engines take that to heart when they index your site.
If the search engines don't like "your friends" (low domain authority) they won't like you. In order for you to increase your domain's strength and SEO value, "your friends" need to have high domain strength and value.
The more high authority sites like HuffPo, Forbes or CNET, that link back to your site, the more you increase your own authority. The way you get those high authority sites to link to you is by creating awesome content.
While search strategists in the past would focus on gaining link traction in large quantities from low-quality sites, earning fewer, higher-quality mentions from high-domain authority sites is far more effective. In order to earn those high-quality links, you need to create consistent link-worthy content. The more viral, relevant, and compelling content you create, the more high domain authority sites will link to your site.
It boils down to a few key tips to keep in mind during content development:
1. Understand your audience and the keywords you want to optimize. Tools like Google Keyword Planner give you insight into the relevant search terms that your potential customers are seeking out.
2. Segment content into audience silos. Look at use cases for your products and services. Different customers have different needs, and your content should be tailored to speak to those specific groupings.
3. Market your content effectively.
The goal for strong product content should be, first and foremost, to inform your target audience. The key isn't to outright sell (although that's the end goal) but to provide answers to any questions that might crop up during your audience's decision making cycle.
Some marketers make the mistake of engineering content purely for the sake of its SEO value, but high-quality content is written for the reader, not the robot.
To best serve those readers, it's important to identify your target audience, segment your content marketing plan into groups, establish a content calendar, and then develop a plan for channel distribution.
While site optimization can work wonders for boosting search rankings, generating useful content is a huge boon in long term strategy. We're seeing a new level of sophistication from those who know that SEO is just one part of getting the rankings and exposure they need to drive business outcomes. Strong content that informs, educates, or simply entertains consumers can provide exposure on search results pages, generating greater leads and sales.