Updated: Feb 12, 2022
Today’s digital landscape is overflowing with content. Content is truly everywhere and it is the driving force behind most brands’ inbound and digital marketing efforts. In other words, content, content marketing, and search engine optimization (content-related) is an essential tool to leverage for your sales and marketing efforts, and for your business growth.
As you can see on this graphic from SEMrush, more businesses are investing in a content marketing strategy. That’s because Content is one of the most effective ways to attract and nurture the right prospects for your brand or business. Users are always consuming content on hundreds of different platforms and in different formats, and it’s your job to produce the right kind of content that meets your target users in the right place and at the right time.
The type of content that does that is content optimized for search engines and users, that is SEO content. With this article, I want to help you understand you can use and leverage content, content marketing, search engine optimization, and storytelling to help your brand and your business grow.
What is Content?
Content is everything you read, see, or hear online, and offline too. The social media platforms, websites, videos, etc., are only the media through which content is delivered to the end-user or consumer.
In other words, content is the information and experiences that are directed toward an end-user or audience and is expressed through some medium, as speech, writing, video, etc.
Content is the life of the internet.
What is SEO Content?
Content is everything you consume online, right? Then Search Engine Optimized content is content that is designed to rank better in search engines. To accomplish this, said content needs to satisfy certain technical SEO requirements for search engines but, more importantly, it needs to satisfy the needs and user intent of the end-user.
SEO content includes material served in whatever format available. This means SEO content can be a:
Social media post
Let’s explore a few expert tips to help you create SEO content that ranks and drives engagement. Before you jump into that, remember that search engines and you have the same focus: the user.
How to Create SEO Content
This section is not a how-to guide to create a specific type of content that will rank well in search engines. The goal of this section is to give you important principles and tactics that you can follow and apply whether you’re producing a blog article, a video, an infographic, or even a landing page, etc.
The basic guidelines to create SEO content are:
1. Find a proven and relevant topic
Try to find topics that have high traffic potential and are also highly relevant to your target audience. You should already have a pretty good idea of what broad topics your potential customers might be searching for. Now it’s time to narrow down those broad topics in order to find more relevant keyword ideas.
AHREFS, MOZ, Google Trends, or Google itself are great tools to find related keywords and keyword ideas that will help you create effective content. When doing your research for keywords and keyword ideas, remember to look at the metrics individually and as part of a larger picture. High search volume by itself can be deceiving, so make sure you also look at:
Keyword difficulty in order to understand if you have a chance to rank or not,
Cost per click and trends in order to gauge popularity, and
SERP features so that you can determine what types of multimedia your content needs to rank.
Use all the data provided by the tool you use to determine if a keyword or a set of keywords have the potential you need and also that you have the potential to rank for them
2. Analyze and determine search intent
Google and other search engines like Yahoo and Bing invest millions of dollars into researching and understanding the true user intent behind online searches. The goal behind this pursuit is to return the most relevant and accurate results to each query.
While crafting your SEO content, it’s crucial for you to make sure it is aligned with your target users’ search intent if you want to have a chance at ranking in search engine results pages (SERPS). To figure out user intent, take a deep look into the most popular search results for your focus keyword and analyze:
Type and format of content
Will you be competing against blog articles? Product pages? Videos? Something else? Plan your content to include the type of media and the style/format Google is already ranking high in search results. For blog posts this can mean listicles, how-to guides, long-form articles, etc., For other media, it might mean videos, infographics, etc.
Determining the content angle requires you to analyze the types of words being used in top search results for your specific keywords. This will help you understand if the content that ranks best on Google is for beginners or experts, or if it’s meant for users in different stages of the buying journey. Are they researching or ready to buy?
3. Write and Polish Your Idea
After performing the analysis described above, it’s time to put your idea on paper and produce the content itself. Doing this requires effort from your entire marketing team depending on what the final content product will be. However, it doesn’t matter if you’re creating a blog article, a video, or whatever, the concept behind the creation process is the same:
Make sure your final product is aligned with user intent and has a format that is conducive to rank in SERPs.
4. Make your content visually appealing
The internet may be text-based, but users are visual for the most part. Make sure your content is up-to-par with the competition regarding visuals. It’s highly important to catch your audience’s eye with visual content before your competition does it first. There’s no need to be flashy or over the top. Just keep your target audience in mind and give them something they want and like. Also, follow the platform’s best practices.
5. Optimize your content with compelling titles and descriptions
Google and other search engines analyze the content on your page as well as the metadata in the back. The two most important pieces of metadata or tags for search engines are titles and meta descriptions. Both of these appeared in search results and need to be optimized for your focus keyword and be catchy for readers as well.
Creating SEO content is not just a tactic to attract more traffic or rank better. In the end, search engine optimized content is a business tool that helps you boost meaningful interactions with your target audience in order to boost revenue down the line. Let’s now explore a few key concepts that can help you market that content better and appreciate how it is not just an extension of your brand or business, it is your brand/business.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the building and executing of strategies that are meant to create and distribute valuable content designed to attract potential customers.
Digital tools, technology, and better connectivity have made content marketing a very effective tool to help businesses grow their brand and their revenue. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ways content marketing can help your business:
1. Build an Audience and Your Brand
Regularly sharing content that is valuable, informative, and effective at answering your target audience’s questions and problems is key to building an audience that trusts your brand. This type of brand presence and trust is possible thanks to effective content marketing that is focused on the real needs and problems of your actual customers.
Like word of mouth, good content marketing can spread your brand’s name very rapidly if the content you share is valuable and solves real people’s needs.
2. Develop Your Brand Voice
Your brand has a distinctive voice and personality that must be present across all communications and content. This brand voice needs to be consistent because your audience will get to know your brand through it, including your brand’s values, principles, personality, and expertise.
3. Build Email Subscriber Lists
As traffic to your website grows and your audience continues to get bigger, try capturing the data from interested users through gated content or other tactics in order to start building email lists that you can use to continue to nurture relationships with your audience.
SEO Content Marketing Expert Tips
After covering some of the information above, it’s now time to share expert tips on how to get started with SEO content marketing. Remember that the main focus still is on creating content that is actionable and highly valuable.
Answer questions your readers are asking
To understand what your audience is asking and looking for, you can rely on different sources of data. Some of the most obvious include historical data available from the sales or marketing departments in your company, surveys, analytics data from your website, social media analytics, and competitor + industry research.
With all this data, you can effectively assess what questions and with what general intent your audience is asking. Also, by researching your competition and SERP for your target keywords, you will learn the type of content needed to rank and the intent of the queries your target audience is making.
Plan content for each stage of the buyer journey
Each stage of the marketing or sale funnel needs content that answers doubts and provides information specific to the intent connected to each stage. Each piece of content needs to be designed with this in mind so that together they can nurture your visitors along the way towards a possible purchase or business deal.
How to Distribute SEO Content
After creating optimized, valuable content, it’s time to put it in front of the people you want to target. To do this there are plenty of channels, including web pages, blogs, social media, email marketing, Pay-Per-Click advertising, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), display advertising, etc.
Not all platforms and channels of distribution are right for your brand’s content, but that’s ok because they are also not right for your target audience. In other words, select the channels where your audience is already looking for answers and meet them there with valuable content.
Create a content calendar and publishing schedule that helps you plan your content ahead of time so that you can be regularly distributing and promoting it. Remember that content marketing takes time and coordinated efforts in order to see a Return on Investment (ROI). However, it’s a strategy that can be highly effective without putting a huge dent in your wallet.
Why is SEO Content Important for Your Business?
The following are a few insightful reasons for the importance of content marketing and SEO content for business growth. In short, SEO content will help your business grow because it’s the most effective way to connect your brand, products, and services to an audience with a very high probability of conversion through search engines and other digital platforms.
1. Your Content Helps Your Customers
The job of a search engine is to make sure the content read by users is highly valuable but also accurate, safe, and helpful. That’s why your content needs to be aimed at helping and educating your target audience. This is the best way to grow your brand and boost your business.
2. Better SERP Rankings and Domain Authority
It might take time, but the effects of rich, helpful content, published regularly will be evident for a long time. As you continue to build trust and brand awareness with your target audience, Google and other search engines will continue to reward you with higher rankings and stronger domain authority.
3. Improve Your Conversion Rates
Conversion refers to visitors to your website becoming active clients, making purchases, signing up for newsletters, or achieving any of the goals you have for your site. First, you need to capture a reader’s attention with helpful information, then show how your product/service is the best choice to solve their problem.
4. Expand Your Information to New Audiences
Contributing valuable and informative content to your industry will inevitably make you an expert and an authority. This will provoke people to start using your content, linking to it, and inviting or accepting your content contributions for their websites and publications. Your brand trust and authority will expand to a new audience which also has the potential of expanding your business to clients you might have not considered before.
This entire article will help you create SEO content that helps you drive your business. But all the tips and tactics are nothing if you don’t pay close attention to the following section.
Storytelling for Your Brand and Business Growth
Storytelling is the art of embedding a compelling and emotional story into your content. Content marketing is built upon great keyword research, well-structured content and metadata, and a good distribution and promotion plan. None of that will be effective if your target audience is not hooked by the story in your content.
The story behind your brand and sawn into your content needs to incite emotions in the audience that are conducive to continue to consume more content and learn more about your brand, your services, your story, and how all that is relevant to their lives.
With great storytelling, your content can become even more powerful and incite your audience to not only become clients, but also brand ambassadors and fans. One of the best ways to make good brand storytelling is to make your target audience the protagonist in the story and your brand the hero or superpower that helps the protagonist overcome obstacles and solve their problems. Hint: you can leverage customer reviews, case studies, and other content created by your audience to tell a better story.
SEO Content Marketing Helps Your Business Grow
When you take your company through a well-planned and executed content marketing plan, you will see growth in your business. It’s a process that takes time and resources, but it will create a solid foundation for you to build upon and continue to grow and expand. Compared with the return on investment, however, SEO and content marketing have a lower investment than other initiatives.
The key to successful SEO content and content marketing, now and in the future of SEO, is to focus on adding value to the lives of your target audience, solving their problems or questions, and making sure your content helps them be the triumphant protagonist of the story.