‘Content’ has been the marketing buzzword of the past few years.
As consumers tire of traditional advertising techniques, content marketing has been recognised as a valuable method for communicating subtle brand messages, naturally.
Through content marketing, businesses are able to connect with prospects and customers in a way traditional media has struggled.
More and more businesses have effectively transformed into online publishers, using company websites to publish engaging, branded content for prospective and current consumers. With the SEO benefits of online blogs coming to light, many brands jumped on board the content bandwagon, saturating the internet with branded content.
However, although content is important for SEO, content for content’s sake has little impact on your business. Many brands are simply missing an opportunity to capitalise on their content marketing for search benefits. After all, the content of your website is what brings visitors to your site and makes your brand worthy of a search result.
As search engines look to serve users with the relevant results for their search query, how well your content fulfils user search objectives becomes infinitely more important. As such, it is essential that the content you generate is centred on supporting the user’s quest for knowledge. Content can have great SEO benefits, but without a strategy, your efforts could fall flat.
Here’s how to rethink your content marketing strategy to succeed in search:
• Define your audience – Who is it you are trying to target? Once you have a clear idea of exactly who your audience are, it is much easier to produce the content that they are searching for.
Running an audit of your current content and comparing it to that of your competitors is a good starting point for assessing whether or not your content is reaching the right audiences.
• Set your objectives – What are you trying to achieve with your content marketing? Producing original, engaging and shareable content is a great way to build brand awareness. But if your objective is to achieve greater visibility, then you need to produce content that will affect what you’re looking to push online. To achieve this, there needs to be a clear search strategy supporting your content efforts.
• Answer questions – User searches are evolving to become more conversational. Search engines have recognised this and adapted their algorithms accordingly. Through the Hummingbird algorithm change, Google aims to contextualise searches, ranking relevant pages of content. This should be a key consideration for your content strategy – ensure that your brand is visible for longer tail, question-based search queries by creating content that answers the questions that your target market are asking about your industry or products.
• Don’t just focus on conversions Users search at all stages of the purchase funnel, so your content should target them at each stage of awareness, consideration and conversion. Focusing purely on conversion content could mean missing out on a wealth of relevant traffic.
• Keep it relevant – Relevancy is key when aligning your content strategy. Is your content what users are expecting from both their search and your brand? Become an authority in your niche and stick to what you know best, rather than trying to draw high volumes of unrelated traffic to your website. Irrelevant traffic can contribute to high bounce rates and low session durations; signals to search engines that your content is poor or irrelevant.
• Use trends data – In digital marketing, we have a wealth of data available to us, through trends, traffic or revenue data. Use this data to spot seasonal search and industry trends – plan ahead to ensure your content is well established in time for any peaks in search.
• Optimise for search – Help your audience find your content organically by optimising it for SEO. Basic optimisation will help search engines understand what your content is about and contribute to higher SERPs performance.
• Don’t write for search engines – Always create content for your human audience. If you produce the right kind of content that supplies a demand, you will naturally rank higher for a wider range of relevant search terms.
If you’re having trouble making your content work with SEO, or want help aligning your content and search strategies, 4Ps can help.
Kelly Green, senior digital content executive, 4Ps Marketing
Tel: 0207 607 5650