Repost from Business 2 Community
by Sahail Ashraf
What does SEO have to do with content marketing? It’s a question that you may find a client asking you. At first glance, it’s a perfectly reasonable question too. SEO has long been seen as part of what brands do to reach the top of Google. And it worked really well for a number of years, in that brands were obsessed with making SEO a huge part of what they do.
It still is, but with overexposure to SEO, and Google becoming quite sick of people ‘gaming’ the search engine, it has changed somewhat. Now, SEO is all about marrying up the SEO work with solid content marketing. For that reason, it needs to be part of any content marketing strategy. The two of them, hand in hand, combine to create organic traffic that reaches high quality content. And it’s a marriage made in heaven.
Getting that marriage right is a serious job though. Take a look at the points in this post, and you’ll see how you can make SEO work alongside high quality content marketing. All of this together will bring a more complete and effective service to clients.
And, if you’re wondering, SEO is still a huge and vital part of any marketing strategy. Consumers (in B2C and B2B) always head for the first five search results. They will rarely look beyond those first five. And that’s the way it is. So making SEO a priority is always going to be a concern.
The first big thing
SEO had always been based on knowing customer profiles. You can’t develop a high quality campaign with keywords if you don’t have any idea of what your customers search for online. And since search is dependent on words being typed (or spoken) into an interface, you can’t get away from the fact that some research is vital.
Keyword research is the bread and butter of anyone who works with SEO. However, it is not always an easy link to content marketing. The fact is that content marketing, whether it’s blog posts, infographics or white papers, has to include that knowledge that keyword research brought to the table. You will know which keywords searchers are using because that’s what keyword research entails. But you then need to make sure that the content they find through search is hitting these keywords too.
The content that searchers reach has to use those keywords. Back in the day, when keywords were used for stuffing posts rather than educating people, it became a rather silly state of affairs. In those dark days, you would literally search, and then find a blog post that made no sense, but had paragraph after paragraph of the keywords used again and again.
These days, the keywords that customers use should naturally take them to a page that is helpful. It will address the issues thrown up by the keywords, and the content should include those topics and concepts naturally.
Let SEO work inform your content and you have a highly effective content marketing system.
But let’s go deeper
There is now an accepted number of places in a blog post, for example, where keywords should be included. Make the following information part of any approach to SEO with written content. Seriously, this is the important stuff.
It is now more vital than ever to include those high quality researched keywords in your article title. By doing this you are achieving good SEO, and also telling the audience that they have come to the right place. Make sure this is carefully done, and seems natural, and you will have an article that is on the way to being effective when it comes to SEO.
Then sprinkle (and that’s the operative word) the keywords throughout the body text. This is where you could be dangerously close to 1990s practice if you are not careful. Don’t saturate the content with the keywords, but ensure that they are naturally included.
While all of this is going on, make sure that you are looking at your data. By focusing on SEO in the written content you create, you should see a corresponding result in your data. Watch for the spikes and see where the traffic is really going. This should inform every single meeting you have about SEO from now on.
Note that, at no point in those last three paragraphs, the words ‘keyword stuffing’ were used. Keep it natural and you’ll be relevant.
And the final, common sense part
Keeping things regular is the final part of the puzzle. SEO and content marketing are great bedfellows, and they are both ruled by the common sense idea of refreshing the stuff you put out there.
High quality, SEO-informed content should be published on a regular basis. Not every day necessarily, but a regular basis. This means that you are supplying helpful, targeted content to your audience reliably. And that is how SEO really works. Fresh content, with keywords, is fine for search engines, and it shows that the brand is legitimately aiming at relevance.
This is how brands and their content stay at the top of search. It is a combination of good keyword usage and regular content. Brands cannot ignore SEO anymore, and they should be tying it into great content (that is informed by SEO). This way, it produces results.