You thought it would be simple. Content marketing should be straight ahead, right? I’ll write some great blog posts, make sure I’ve got all the right keywords and boom, right? No so fast. As Facebook likes to put it, if you are developing a content marketing strategy for SEO – it’s complicated.
There are two questions you need to answer when developing your content marketing strategy for SEO. The first is to define the objective of the content. Content intended to move leads through your sales funnel is not necessarily the same type of content that will get you the most SEO pop. Once you’ve defined the objective, then you need to look at optimizing whatever content type you’ve chosen to get the best SEO results. Sounds simple. But it isn’t as straight forward as you might imagine.
In a recent article on Inc.com, Michelle Manafy gets down to brass tacks about the subtleties of how Google evaluates your content when it is trying to rank pages. Many of the observations in Michelle’s article are backstopped by interesting work done by Clutch, a B2B, ratings, and reviews firm. Both Michelle’s article and the Clutch guide have a lot of insight to add to the conversation and you’ll find links to them.
Picking the Right Content for Your Strategy
An important distinction that Michelle makes in her article is the difference between types of content and their appropriateness for specific marketing objectives. I couldn’t agree more. Choosing between infographics, videos product reviews, whitepapers, case studies and blog posts is as much a function of your marketing priorities as anything else. Infographics and videos may work best for brand awareness. Case studies and product reviews may be preferable for moving prospective buyers through your sales funnels. And long-form blog posts and original research may be best for straight-up SEO ranking impact.
When you are making your format choices, make sure you balance your objectives against SEO considerations. Search engines aren’t your clients they are just the gateway to your clients. Ultimately it’s the quality and appropriateness of your content and not the search engine that will make the sale.
Developing a Content Marketing Strategy for SEO – Three Things Google Cares About
When you are developing content for your content marketing initiatives there are three main aspects Google is interested in:
1. Quality matters as much, if not more, than quantity. Producing a lot of content is not enough. It has to be high-quality content that meets users needs. How does Google know what meets user needs? Now, that is complicated
2. Not all content is created equal. The secret here is that for pure SEO you need to focus on content that earns links. Typically that is content like long-form think pieces and original research.
3. Your content must be comprehensive. The one is a toughy because it seems so arbitrary. But here is how Michelle breaks it down: Audience Intent + Context + So What Factor = Comprehensive Content.
Still not entirely clear you? You are not alone. A lot of ink has been spilled trying to decipher the Google content ranking scheme. The truth is it’s always evolving, but the key is to write with audience utility in mind.
Get the Balance Right
Getting a great SEO ranking and getting your message across to key audiences are not mutually incompatible objectives. But it’s important to remember that they aren’t synonymous. When you are developing a content marketing strategy for SEO. choosing the right type of content to accomplish your objective and making sure that content will have an impact on your audience is just as important as making sure your content SEO game is on point. If you only have one or two pieces of the equation dialed in you won’t hit that marketing sweet spot. To get maximum results you’ve got to get the balance right.
For a better understanding of the complexities of content marketing and SEO you can read Michelle’s article here . And, if you want to take a deeper dive into the topic, try Clutch’s Complete Guide to Content Marketing for SEO.