Struggling with ways to get more success in your digital marketing efforts? Don’t be disappointed. It is just possible that you may have been focussing too much on SEO without giving other important components enough attention.
Yes, SEO is great but is just not enough to get those visitors and rankings you are aiming for. The concept that is going to make or break your marketing game, is content. Content is the way you should go. Even Google says so. Whether you are a student or a professional, it is imperative to identify and evaluate great content. If you want to know why this is the case, check out the why, before you go onto the how.
Which comes first: content or SEO?
“SEO is essential to marketing”
“Content is much less important”
If you have heard this and are practising it, trust me, this is wrong.
SEO specialists may proclaim that they are the lynchpins of successful digital marketing. Content marketing experts, on the other hand, claim that it is great content which enables great SEO. Even though they may fight over this, what you need to understand is the fact that both SEO and great content are essential for successful digital marketing.
There was a time when SEO mattered more!
Search engine optimisation was initially considered to be necessary if you wanted your blogs/websites to be ranked high on search engine results. It was originally a set of rules, designed to ensure that the blog or website gets high ranks.
Besides this, using SEO also had other benefits, such as
- ensuring user friendliness of a website
- making it faster
- making it easier to navigate
- possibly providing high ROI, branding and visibility.
However, the set of rules ended up being misused, as unscrupulous marketers would end up passing plagiarized and poor content along, which would then get promoted by Google’s ranking system.
Rise of content – The turnaround
Things changed in 2013. What many of us did not know was that Google would make dramatic changes in its algorithm in 2013 by the introduction of three updates: Panda, Hummingbird and Penguin.
This ensured that there was a radical transformation in the way in which SEO was optimized. SEO optimization had revolved around optimizing keyword density, with the result that the focus was on the distribution of keywords, rather than good content. This led to spamming issues with the Google search engine.
With the changes in 2013, attention was now focused on content; more precisely, the creation of good quality content, which can attract links from other sites.
Google’s changes, which helped reduce the sizable spam bot and search spam, have not reduced the importance of SEO, though. Rather, they have made it necessary to focus on good SEO tactics along with great content for content marketing and the jettisoning of unsavory SEO tactics if you want success in your content marketing efforts.
With the changes, SEO has now become all about producing and creating great and original content which can then be promoted using SEO strategies in conjunction with great website design and landing pages.
So, for those of you who may think that SEO is dead, you are mistaken; it is just that the form and purpose of SEO may have changed from marketing to branding.
Not only is an optimized SEO web infrastructure deemed a vital part of companies’ web businesses, it is very likely that search engines will keep improving their algorithms over time and SEO optimization will be required to evolve alongside.
So, while the essentials of SEO may not have changed much, what has changed is the emphasis on content. Great SEO without great content is a recipe for marketing failure.
Now, great content is a necessity for great SEO
Coming to content, you may wonder about how we can create great content that can go places and is SEO friendly too.
The answer is through content optimization. What some experts say is that the term SEO is actually a misnomer; what people are actually doing when they use SEO is optimizing their content for search engines to pick up and not optimization of content itself.
In fact, they say that SEO and Content are complementary. You need great SEO techniques to highlight your content and you need great content to ensure that your SEO is effective.
In short, it is great content which makes Social Media Marketing and SEO successful. The more compelling the content, the more viewers you are going to attract and the more likely it will be shared and retweeted. It will go up in the Google ranks and give you better SERPS, as Google’s new algorithms give greater importance to high quality content.
So, great content helps ensure that you can use SEO in a clever and intelligent way to get that benefit. How do we create that GREAT content?
Here are some suggestions and tips, which are recommended by several experts and which will definitely help you shore up on generating that terrific content.
1. Be Original
As a content writer aiming to generate a market for your content, the one thing, which you should consider is ORIGINAL content.
Plagiarism is a no-go. With the increase in blogging, copy-and-pasting has also spread and become infectious.
Big Companies such as Google and Yahoo support the promotion of plagiarism-free content by ensuring that sites hosting such content receive a very low page ranking by the Google search engine.
2. Audience First
When you design content, you need to think of your audience first. That is the big thing. Creating content about what your target audience is interested in.
Present it in interesting ways. It needs to be interesting, engaging, natural, well crafted, catchy, and able to lure the audience in.
3. Attract Links
Your content should be of such a kind, that it is able to pull in external links in myriad ways in myriad contexts – whether it is through a facebook like, a tweet, a click on social bookmarking site or through video or podcast sharing.
The higher the quality of the content you produce, the greater the likelihood that it will be shared. Great content should capture the reader’s attention and engage his mind and heart.
If the content is unable to excite and intrigue the reader, then even the best optimization processes would fail. In this regard, Google has specifically mentioned that the content created should add value and not be created for the sake of creating back links.
4. Trustworthy Content
Great content should not only engage the audience but should also be factually correct. Using authentic sources for research, giving appropriate credit, proper use of language and demonstrating authority in the subject helps to raise the trust quotient for your content. So your content has to exude authority and expertise; has to be accurate and fact-checked.
When people read your content and realize the quality of the content – meticulously crafted, researched, accurate, factual and with minimal errors – they will develop trust in you- and they will look forward to reading your next published content.
That is the foundation of great content marketing; building relationships with customers on the basis of trust and reliability by delivering quality information.
5. Targeted and Focused Content
Effective content marketing also requires that your content is focused on the issue you want to highlight. It should contain clarity, clear aims and goals and display a call to action, where necessary. Vagueness and a lack of direction in the writing will only harm the quality of your content.
The content has to be crisp, clear and unambiguous. It should provide answers to all the relevant questions. Google’s new exacting standards require this level of excellence from content creators. Such content will be readily accepted and shared and will achieve higher rankings.
6. Content as Anchor
Create quality content for your website, which will serve as an anchor. These content pieces need to be about your company, business or organization or individual interests and the purpose of your website.
The rest of the content you create is crafted around this content. The anchor content would serve as the base for back links and will help ensure that the content reaches the top rankings of the search engines.
7. Use examples
To make your content engaging and stimulating, use plenty of interesting and relevant examples. These should appeal to the audience. You can make your content more interesting by incorporating mentions and links to events/objects/people that are currently in the spotlight.
This can help ensure that your content makes a lasting impact on the reader and can help draw in more attention. Stories have a terrific influence on the brain as they stimulate the imagination.
8. Be real!
The content should be real and vibrant; it should reflect the real you and what you want to say. The content should have a unique voice of its own: it should sound personal and real to the audience.
Choose an appropriate tone for your online voice, depending on the context and the purpose which the website aims to achieve.
For example, if your website is dedicated to promoting the business of selling humorous stuff, a funny voice would be appropriate. If the business focuses on a more serious subject, a formal tone would be appropriate.
9. Easy to understand
While it is important to write well and connect with the audience, it is also important to present the content in a meaningful and easily understandble way.
So, the content should be organized neatly into small paragraphs, rather than being unevenly distributed in small and large paragraphs. This will help your audience assimilate the content better.
The usage of diagrams, cartoons and interesting kind of typefaces can also help you sell your content to the world.
10. Great content requires great editing
Editing, re-editing and revision of the web content is vital for the success of the content marketing enterprise.
Revise, read, revise, edit, chop, fine-tune, substitute words, cut down excess words; all this and more should be a regular routine, before you hand over the content to the SEO writer for optimization and link building.
11. Use keywords effectively
Ensure that relevant keywords are used in such a way that it fits with the content in a meaningful way. The content should not appear to be stuffed with keywords. You may be penalized for this.
As you can see, creating great content is vital and essential to the success of your SEO and your website. Make use of my 11 tips and let your content marketing rise and shine!