For a lot of marketers, when they hear the term search engine optimization (or SEO) they think its some super technical skill set that’s regulated to some tech nerds stuck in some dark basement coding all day. There is some truth to that but SEO has evolved over the years, especially after those tech nerds engaged in spammy tactics to try to game the system. Since then, Google has updated their algorithm and ranking factors. The spammy tactics are known as black-hat and the best practice method for SEO is known as white-hat. As a marketer, it is important to know the difference so you don’t actually do something online that is considered black-hat or is outside what is considered best practices for SEO.
Since this change, content has become center stage for SEO. But not just any content – quality content with relevancy and authority. At the end of the day that’s what’s going to get your content some love from Google. And hopefully for many days after that. A good piece of content can be the gift that keeps on giving.
The techy part comes into play when researching the topic your content is centered around. You want to do some keyword research and initial discovery before developing your overall content strategy for SEO. Really it’s marketing research, just for SEO!
After looking at your current content bank, conducing some competitor analysis, and researching common search trends, you are now ready to come up with your topics and plan your overall content strategy. The type of existing content you’ve produced and/or your bandwidth for creating content will determine what types of content you will be producing.
Now that you’ve done your research, you’ve decided to do some educational pieces to gain more leads for your business. Combine your research with some old school, creative marketing tactics that add a level of engagement to your content by producing informative, funny, or compelling pieces. Putting together the research with creativity is where good content becomes great content. Great content is more often than not shared and linked to and that is how you will gain more authority in Google’s algorithm.
Here’s a list of the different types of content you can produce with your “How-to” topics you’ve decided to focus on:
- Web Content
- White Papers
This includes any type of content that is creative and informative that people will want to share and link to or comment on. The above are all examples of great content types that you can build off of.
Each piece of content is a tactic for your overall SEO strategy. For this particular lesson, let’s just focus on blogging for SEO. When you blog on your site, you write a blog post and add another page for Google to index. It’s better to cast a wider net and have more pages in Google’s index. But once again, you want to do your research and make sure that people are looking for the content that you are producing. The days of producing content just for the bots are over. Make sure that you’re producing content for your audience.
Public Relations And Outreach
Public relations and outreach are off-page SEO tactics, while blogging on your site is considered an on-page SEO tactic. While guest blogging was once considered one of those spammy tactics that was widely abused in the past, it’s still widely used today. The problem was that in the past, people were guest blogging just to get a link back to their site. This practice was being abused and considered “black-hat”. People were creating blog networks and link farms and all kinds of crazy stuff. Then Google put an end to that with yet another update.
But if you write an article for another blog site and it is high quality, and you’re not just doing it for a link (even though you really want one, let’s be honest), it won’t be seen as a black-hat tactic. Guest blogging is a great way to build thought leadership within a niche industry. If people really like your article and want to know more about you and what you do, they’ll look you up. This is great exposure to a new audience and will get people searching for you and your business.
This is a departure from traditional public relations. But there is still an element of relationship building to secure an article on a popular website. PR promotes your content beyond the immediate channels such as social and email. A good PR person knows how to write the perfect pitch to earn the interest of an editor. They help place your content on high authoritative sites and give your content an extra lift in traffic as well as the extra attention it deserves.
When you get a lift in traffic to a particular page, your site’s overall ranking will increase as well. Keeping your content relevant and fresh to industry trends helps your PR manager attract interest to your company. Having a good PR person to help promote the release of your new podcast or eBook is essential for increasing traffic to your site.
Content Marketing + Online PR/Outreach = SEO
Now you can see how content, SEO, and PR are all related. Whether it’s an on-page or off-page SEO strategy, it’s good to do some research and analysis – some good old fashioned marketing research but with a twist! Do marketing research with SEO white-hat tactics in mind, like researching trends and topics and keywords so you can craft relevant content that people are looking for and create value for your audience.
You want to create a quality content marketing campaign by developing topics based on your research and developing those topics based on the type of content that would add the most value to your audience and internal goals. By developing this quality content, you may earn an article on a high domain authority site that will bring fresh eyes to your content and hopefully lead them back to your site, or at least get them searching for your name and/or your company.
Guest posting on blogs is a great way to potentially earn some external links back to your site as well as gain referral traffic. It’s a great way to expand on your overall SEO campaign and increase traffic from a variety of channels. All these tactics work together to build relevancy and authority to your site. Make sure each tactic is aligned with the other and you will increase the overall success of your SEO and content marketing strategy.