SEO and content marketing.
It often seems like two parts of a jigsaw puzzle. They fit together perfectly, but, more often than not, they can be confusing for the average online businessman.
The term “SEO” has been around the web for far too long — longer than I can remember. However, the term “content marketing” is a relatively newer phrase. It surfaced almost a decade ago, but it only got the reputation it now has a couple of years back.
To understand the rest of the topic, you will have to understand this evolution.
First of all, understand that the digital marketing world is getting crammed up by the second. Starting a website or a blog is now probably the easiest thing to do. Anybody can do that. Everyday, thousands of new blogs get started, and thousands of blogs die because of the lack of traffic and profits.
Amidst all of that “increased competition” in the digital marketing world, the search engines also got a lot smarter and intelligent. A decade and a half ago, it used to be very easy to trick the search engines with a few black-hat SEO techniques. You can’t do that anymore. With new algorithms like the Google Panda and Google Penguin updates, search engines will instantly penalize your website and demote its search engine rankings. You will lose traffic. You will lose your money.
So, something had to be done. The life of a digital marketer or that of an online entrepreneur was not getting any easier. That’s why some geniuses finally grasped the concept of “content marketing”.
Let me summarize this little introduction here before we dive further into our main topic.
SEO is not dead. It just evolved, as the search engines became smarter.
Content marketing is a relatively newer concept, and many online professionals are still figuring out the right way to approach it.
Most importantly, SEO and Content Marketing are two pieces of the puzzle that must work together in today’s online marketing world. Otherwise, you will fail.
You may disagree with me, but I’m going to prove my point.
Let’s assume that you are an average business owner trying to make your presence felt on the web. You need to rank higher on the search engines for
profitable keywords, so your potential buyers may find you and buy products from you.
How do you do that?
You hire an SEO agency to help you optimize your website for a group of certain keywords, right? How has that been working out for you?
Did you manage to reach the first position in Google for a product-based keyword? Do those product pages or keyword-rich product descriptions still work?
Here is an example for you.
Here is what I find — as a consumer — for the keyword “best headphones”.
I don’t see any single product-related web page on Google’s 1st SERP.
And it’s not just for the “best headphones” keyword. It’s with almost all of them.
Here is an example for a very different keyword “restaurants near Manhattan”. What do you see? Do you see a restaurant website listed in Google’s top results?
The top spots on Google’s SERPs are reviews, discussions, forums, review websites, and other helpful forms of content that can help the users decide.
You may like it or not, but that’s how search engines are evolving. This is the future of SEO.
If you are a searcher, you will always prefer it this way. Instead of some keyword-laden website shoving their products down your throats, you will like to read discussions, detailed reviews, in-depth comparisons, that will help you decide which headphone to buy or which restaurant you should visit tonight.
The bottom line?
Forget about optimizing your product pages for “profitable” keywords. You can’t do that now. And in the near-future, it’s only going to get worse.
So, what’s the solution?
Content marketing + SEO. That’s the only way out.
If Google and all the other search engines are reserving those top-spots for in-depth contents, you should create those pieces of contents. Educate your audience. Be useful. Help them make better decisions. That’s how you can be there for your audience when they search for keywords that are related to your business.
And in order to that successfully and effectively, SEO and content marketers will have to work together.
According to a research done by Conductor, 79% SEOs say they should be working more closely with content creators and marketers.
How Can You Do It More Effectively?
Here are a few tips for you that will help you combine the SEO and content creation efforts for better results.
Human readers as well as search engines now prefer in-depth, long-form content that provides them with actual solutions.
According to a recent study by SerpIQ, based on 20,000 different keywords, each of the top-ranked blog post on Google had at least 2,000 words in them.
The problem is that when SEO professionals and content marketers don’t work together in collaboration, they fail at this important front.
Content marketers provide SEOs with 400-word blog posts, and SEOs fail to optimize it against other high-quality content. As a result, none of that works.
If SEOs are working hard for optimizing a post or creating backlinks to it, it should be for a long-term plan.
Relevant backlinks are hard to get. And if you want to receive sustainable organic traffic years after years, then the content marketing team should be focusing on creating evergreen content that stays fresh for a longer period of time.
There are many blogs that have successfully created evergreen content. And now, even after 2-3 years, they are still receiving thousands of daily traffic visitors from those posts.
The above image highlights a post that is nearly 3 years old, but it is still ranked on Google’s #1 rank for a competitive keyword.
LSI and long-tail keywords often make the backbone of a highly optimized piece of content.
Content marketers may be good at creating useful and high-quality content, but not many of them are good at finding which LSI or long-tail keywords to target. That’s where the collaboration comes in handy.
SEOs and content creators should work together to find and target LSI and long-tail keywords. Your SEO team can find a list of these keywords, and the content creators can make sure they appear naturally within the text.
Here are a few keywords tools that may help you in this:
Headlines should be written for the web.
Viral headlines always work best, and therefore, you need to craft them for social media sharing as well.
However, among all that, you simply can’t ignore the search engine rules for headlines and title tags.
Search engines truncate a long headline that exceeds 55-60 characters.
Title tag optimization is another important factor that must be considered.
We all know that headlines with numbers perform particularly well, but it’s crucial to know if it is serving the SEO purposes well enough or not.
By collaborating, your SEO professionals and content creators can easily overcome these problems.
Search engines only have one goal, i.e., to provide their users with the best search experience. They will continue to evolve this way, increasing the importance of high-quality content.
And although SEOs and content marketing are two different fields with different skills, a collaborative environment is the need of the hour. It’s now getting harder and harder to rank the keyword-rich product pages on Google’s 1st pages. However, high-quality and truly useful content allows online businesses an opportunity to rank there. It’s only possible, however, when SEOs and content marketers work together.