Content is king. In the world of SEO this sentence is directly related to Matt Cutts, the Head of Google’s Webspam team, but he wasn’t the first one. In fact, Bill Gates had already stated this back in 1996 when webmasters were spamming their way up to the top of Google. Gates also appreciated that the concept of content is very wide. For far too long, links have gained too much popularity and whilst the concept is correct and still an important part of Google’s algorithm, it should now be links through content.
These days, with Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird, content is king again – and this is how it should be. It puts content marketers in the spotlight as they are often seen as the savior for ranking positions and SEO traffic. I sympathise with content creators and marketers but also envy the huge opportunity they have to turn content into something bigger that helps brands to communicate and engage with their customers, excites them and give them reasons to be loyal – and to drive their SEO.
But how to best address the SEO needs when creating content?
1) Analyse your audience. Who will consume the content and who do you need to consume the content? If you are writing for a big brand, this information will be available internally.
2) What does your audience search for? Google’s keyword tool provides you with a good overview what keywords that are searched. It’s important to not only focus on head terms but also to consider all long term searches, the important “what”, “how” etc questions that will be listed as well.
3) What content works well? Get into the habit of collecting content in your industry that you liked and shared. Depending how reactive or proactive the brand is, you can use these examples on a daily to monthly basis to identify which content pieces hit certain KPIs.
4) Partner up – If you fear that your content won’t get the best pick up, why not partnering with an influencer of your industry? They usually have a great social following and will help you distribute the content.
5) Think out of the box. The main hurdle is often to convince the business that content is not only written content on your website. It’s actually everything you can create and which can in full or partly be hosted on your website or blog. Even offline activity that has a landing page becomes beneficial online content.
6) Maintain the SEO principles such as titles, descriptions, headings, image title and alt tags, video meta data, including your content in sitemaps and interlinking everything with your main pages or products or services you need to push.
7) Content is social and you achieve best results if your leverage your social channels to distribute your content and also engage with your audience how they perceive it. To be clear: social signals aren’t an official ranking factor but you’ll get a lot more traction (and links) from your content this way.
8) Collaborate whenever possible. This is key and one of the most frequent mistakes. Whenever you can, engage with your existing or your target audience and ask them what they want to see from you, how often and through which channel they discover and share content. Again, use social to ask the right questions at the right time.
By Britt Soeder, Head of Owned Media at iProspect UK.
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