The world -wide web is a big place. Millions of websites, thousands of options, it can often feel like we’re looking for a needle in a haystack. As marketers, our job is to help our audience discover our brand, get them to interact with our brand, and ultimately buy from our brand. One of the best ways to do that is through SEO and content marketing.
Whether you’re a new brand, an old brand, a refreshed brand, or just a brand that needs a little boost, here are some ideas to get your SEO and content marketing strategies moving in 2018.
The backbone of any SEO or content marketing plan has to be keyword research. It’s the roadmap that guides the rest of your efforts and strategic initiatives. If you already have a priority keyword list, try putting it aside and starting the process with fresh eyes. The search landscape is dynamic (and so is the real world), so allow new ideas – and new ways of talking about topics – to surface in your research.
Check out Search Analytics in Google Search Console to see what keywords are already driving organic traffic to your site. Find out what’s working well and identify keywords that could use some attention. Write these keywords down and start expanding your keyword list. Categorize them and think about long-tail keywords. Use the many free keyword research tools out there to help expand your list.
However, the most important part of the process is narrowing your keyword list. Make it manageable. Circulate it and begin to zero in on your content needs, addressing any keyword gaps and building expertise via content around your keyword targets.
Content marketing is an integral part of achieving marketing and sales objectives. Create content that not only aligns with your keyword strategy, but also appeals to your audience at different points in the sales funnel. Use different mediums (whitepaper, blogs, landing pages, educational resources, etc.) to appeal to different visitors.
Make SEO a part of each and every content asset by developing a template that incorporates key SEO elements (HTML title, meta description, keyword focus, etc.). This helps all content creators keep SEO top of mind throughout the process. Instead of an afterthought during publication, SEO and keyword strategy is put at the forefront of the content creation.
Identify your top-performing pages and make them better. Take a look at what keywords they’re ranking for organically and what the other search results look like for that keyword. Tweak the on-page SEO elements and even the content to better align with what you’re seeing in the search results. However, proceed carefully and pay close attention to the keyword phrases currently generating traffic so that you don’t inadvertently de-optimize those.
These pages can represent a nice upside if you can find a new angle based on keyword research that can work. You can be a lot more aggressive on these pages since you are not putting traffic at risk, so consider completely reworking the HTML titles, H1 headers, and other key on-page content.
If you write an awesome piece of content and no one knows it exists … well, then, it’s not really an awesome piece of content for your business. Promotion needs to be a key element to any content marketing effort. Whether it’s by social, PR, or outreach, strategies should be in place to amplify whatever content you produce.
Unless you’re a brand-new business, it’s likely there are existing mentions of your brand out there on the web. However, they may not be linked to your website. Using a tool like BuzzSumo, which can identify backlinks and unlinked mentions, gives you a starting place for outreach.
Also, take a look at your social profiles and update any outdated information or images. Social media profiles often show up in Google results for your brand, so take the time to make sure they’re an accurate representation of your brand.
Keeping tabs on your competitors’ marketing strategy is essential. By analyzing their content, you can gain vital insight into their online marketing strategy, including PPC efforts, keyword strategy, and on-page SEO strategy. And then use that information to inform your own digital strategy.
Tools like SEMrush can track your priority keywords not only for your site, but your top competitors as well. For deeper monitoring, tools like SEOradar, can keep alert you tof any key SEO changes made to your competitors’ sites, as well as your own.
Leverage competitive analysis to add value to your own content strategy. Is there a keyword that a competitor is ranking for that your site could also target? Is there an existing page that could be tweaked, or do you need a new content asset? Do your competitors produce webinars or videos? Do they have a blog? To compete, you have to know where there are opportunities in your keyword space. That’s why competitive analysis is so important.
As your website grows and changes, there’s an increasing likelihood of something going wrong and impacting SEO. Changes to HTML titles, noindex tags, broken canonicals, broken redirects, 301 redirects morphing into 302s, and more can have devastating effects on SEO and, by extension, brand presence. Be proactive and talk to the teams involved about SEO and the impact these types of changes can have on the site as a whole.
Monitoring can be done manually by keeping an eye on drastic changes to organic traffic to key landing pages in Google Analytics or try a site monitoring service that alerts you to any changes that could impact SEO.
As the digital landscape becomes more and more competitive, amplifying your brand presence is more critical than ever. Through consistent and thoughtful SEO and content marketing efforts, brands can make strides toward reaching their audience and attracting ideal customers.