In this article, I will make the case for why content marketing should be the foundation of your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.
I know from experience that Google considers content and backlinks among the two most important ranking signals. Of these two you have the most control over the content.
So if your goal is to improve your SEO results, then you need a strategy for giving Google the content it so desires.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the practice of publishing engaging information – i.e. content – that proves you are a master of your business and/or industry.
There are many ways to deliver content. The most popular forms are blog articles, web pages, white papers, videos, social media posts, FAQs, podcasts, and more.
Why does content marketing matter?
Trust is an issue in today’s online world. Content marketing can help you build trust with your customers and prospects.
Content marketing is not advertising, rather it is relationship building. Building a relationship is one way to build trust.
Marketing experts predict content marketing will replace traditional advertising. This is because content marketing both promotes your business and gives you a way to build a relationship that builds trust with your prospects and customers.
From an SEO perspective content marketing matters because the content on your website is how you communicate to Google what you do and why you should rank higher than the other guys.
Google loves fresh content on a website. Google favors websites that publish new content regularly.
The bottom line is the content must support your business goals. Most times, the specific goal of content marketing is to enable searchers to both find you and get to know, like and trust you.
How does content marketing work?
Most local businesses carry out content marketing in the form of blogging. Here are just a few reasons why blogging is so popular for content marketing:
- Blogs are easy to set up and update
- The public has become accustomed to reading blogs
- Many searchers expect a business to blog
- Blogs allow visitor engagement
- Blog posts are naturally well-suited for sharing
- When creating a blog for content marketing the articles must give value to the reader.
People are usually searching for specific information, so keep each blog article focused on a single main idea.
Blog articles between 600 – 1,200 words will produce measurable improvement in search engine ranking.
One common result I seek with blogging is to “impress” the reader. I do this with content that is educational, how-to, answers a specific question, provides a tip, offers a list of resources, checklists, reviews, interviews, or tells a story that creates a connection with the website owner.
Don’t fall into the trap of crappy blogging. Don’t bore people with blog updates on “discounts and sale prices” or your “newest home listing” or your “superior products” or any other salesy promotional content. This style of blogging is for amateurs, not for you.
If you’re going to blog you’ve got to take the time to do it right. Please don’t waste your time with low quality, short and/or generic content. You want to invest the time and resources in quality content.
Six reasons content marketing should be the foundation of your SEO strategy
Now that you know what content marketing is and that blogging is a great way to do it, here are six reasons why you should use content marketing for SEO in the coming year.
1. Content marketing improves your ranking in Google
Posting quality content is great for SEO. Content is how you give your keywords to Google. Google loves websites that post informative content on specific topics on a regular basis.
The frequency of blogging will have a big impact on improving ranking. The more the better.
How often you should publish new content depends on the level of competition for ranking for your keywords.
As you probably know, there is fierce competition for many local keywords (i.e. real estate, attorneys, plumbers, etc.) and SEO for these industries may require an aggressive blogging strategy.
For most local businesses I find that posting once or twice a month suffices to improve ranking and get your phone ringing or people walking in your door.
2. Content marketing builds credibility and trust
As I mentioned earlier, filling your website with high-quality content allows you to make a good impression on your visitors. High-quality content conveys that you are an authority in your industry.
There is an old marketing saying that applies to business owners goes…
“Of all the providers in your market, are you the obvious choice?”
When people go online and search for products and services and find your business, they always ask themselves two important questions:
- Is this business an authority on what I need?
- Can I trust this business?
Content marketing helps you answer these questions for your website visitors. Content marketing is how you become “the obvious choice.”
3. Content marketing can give you a competitive edge
Ever notice how the larger companies in Colorado Springs have the top rankings in the search engines results.
Their high visibility in search is because the larger companies have an edge in building backlinks. Remember, I mentioned earlier that backlinks are one of the two most important ranking signals.
Larger companies get better backlinks because their partners, suppliers and commercial customers often link to them. Smaller businesses just don’t have a deep list of associates to help them build backlinks.
Content marketing can level the playing field for the smaller Colorado Springs businesses.
You don’t have to be a huge company to use content marketing to stand out in the search results. You just have to publish a better blog than your competitors.
Many larger companies don’t focus on content marketing. The larger companies depend on old-school direct marketing (mail, TV/Radio, signage, phone, etc.) and ignore more aggressive SEO tactics such as content marketing.
Check for yourself. Search on the main keywords for your industry and visit your larger competitors. Go to their blog and see if they are publishing regular quality content.
If your competitors are not consistently blogging or publishing other information, you may be able to out-rank them using blogging.
4. Content marketing improves search user experience
Did you know one of the top 5 ranking factors in Search User Experience? Two of the top SEO blogs – SearchEngineLand.com and moz.com – proclaim User Experience (UX) as a top SEO priority for 2018.
This is a huge topic but in a nutshell, Search User Experience is the science of providing visitors to your website with a great experience. The features of a website with a great UX are fast page load speed, easy to find the desired information, and delivering actionable high-quality content related to the search query.
Google tracks what people do after they find you on Google. If searchers bounce right back to the search page from your website, then Google considers this a poor search user experience.
Cram packing your website with great content is a proven way to increase the visit time of searchers while on your website. When searchers spend a long time on your website, Google considers the visit to be a positive search user experience.
Giving Google searchers a good UX on your website makes Google happy. You want to make Google happy. When Google is happy everyone is happy.
5. Content marketing is excellent for natural backlink building
As I mentioned in the first sentence of this article, content and backlinks are two of the most important ranking signals.
Backlink building is time-consuming, expensive and difficult. You can’t spend your way to good backlinks either, Google frowns upon paid backlink building. Don’t do it.
Luckily, when you implement a quality content marketing strategy, you are simultaneously implementing a powerful backlinks building strategy.
While Google hates paid or other unnatural backlink building, Google loves “natural backlinks” to your content. Natural backlinks are links to your content earned because of the merits of the content.
But for natural backlinks to happen, you first need content that is worthy of a link.
How then does a natural backlink happen? They are created when an owner of a website finds and loves your content, and decides to link to it from their websites as part of their content marketing strategy.
Sharing your content on social media is one way to encourage people to both re-share and link to your content.
Bonus tip: Google likes it when you give valuable backlinks to other websites because it shows you are providing value to your visitors. For this reason, I always include a link or three to an authoritative website is each piece of content you produce. Notice the half-dozen backlinks in this article to authoritative content marketing websites.
6. Content marketing is cost-effective
Content marketing is not cheap. Creating a continuous stream of high-quality, engaging and actionable content requires skills, time and effort.
But, over the long term, content marketing via blogging is one of the most cost-effective SEO tactics available to small business owners.
So, what is the cost of blogging?
The staff at Pagecafe needs between 6-10 hours to publish one piece of content – i.e. one blog article – for a typical local business.
You might be thinking, wow! – That is a lot of time and money for one article.
The fact is good blogging takes time. We need that much time for topic research, keyword research, reviewing keyword ranking, managing the content calendar, working with the writer to research/create the article, editing and revising, adding on-page SEO, performing internal link building, finding a photo, client review/approval, publishing on the website and announcing to Google and social media.
As I stated above, it is in the long-term that content marketing is cost-effective. A quality piece of content can improve rank, increase visitors, and nurture leads and new customers for years to come.
Summary – Content Marketing is good SEO
In this article, I shared my opinion that the two most important ranking signals for Google are content and backlinks. Of these two you have the most control over your content.
If SEO is important to your business, then you need to consider content marketing and blogging to improve your ranking and traffic in the coming year.
Improving SEO is not the only virtue of content marketing. Consistent blogging can allow your prospects that find you in the search engines to get to know, like and trust you. People do business with people they know, trust and like. Content marketing helps you make this happen when people find your business via search.