4 SEO Strategies For Every Content Marketer
Many content marketers come from a journalism background, so when clients ask how to optimize content for SEO and how to rank higher in Google searches, content marketers often are at a loss for how to advise them. They also might not want to make SEO a priority since marketing metrics are increasingly overshadowing the creative art. But with the right tactics, SEO doesn’t have to be a creativity killer. It’s simply a way to get your content in front of the right people and make it easier to discover.
Content marketers aren’t trained in SEO, but they’re increasingly expected to know how to write quality content that increases the search visibility of a brand or website. Since most of us don’t have time to take SEO courses and truly master the art of optimization, Barry Feldman, a digital marketing specialist who’s been consulting clients for 20 years, boiled down the basics of SEO in his book SEO Simplified for Short Attention Spans. I recently attended a talk by Barry in which he shared four helpful tricks that every content marketer should keep in his back pocket:
1. Create quality content
Search engines rank largely based on the popularity of the content. In an ideal world, relevant content that has valuable information from reputable sources will be the most popular. Distinguishing a reputable online source is a skill that every writer should master. When referencing metrics and reports, it’s important to make sure the analyst or brand is seen as an industry leader. Also consider the sample size and survey participants which can inform the results.
It’s always better to get information and examples straight from the source, rather than from a third-party source, to make sure you have the most accurate, up-to-date information. When you write articles, infographics, case studies, whatever it may be, putting quality above quantity should be integral to your content marketing strategy.
2. Add external links
Link popularity accounts for 40 percent of how search rankings work, Barry shared. Not only should you share valuable content, linking to other authoritative sites will boost your search ranking. Linking to other sites is part of being a good content steward and is good for building reciprocal relationships. Similar to keywords, beware of link stuffing (aka including links for the sake of including links) which will distract readers.
3. Pinpoint smart keywords to target
When trying to increase your ranking on search result pages, it’s important to target the keywords that will help potential target readers easily find you. Say you’re writing a blog post about companies with exemplary employee volunteer programs, you might consider the keywords “social good,” “corporate social responsibility” and “corporate volunteer program.” To identify whether these are smart keywords for you to target, Barry suggests asking yourself these three questions:
- Do people search for these keywords?
- Do I have a chance to rank for them?
- Can I make the best page on the Internet for this topic?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you should make sure your keywords are long tail, meaning there’s lower volume and competition for them. Long-tail searches account for 70 percent of the search demand, Barry says. They often include natural language phrases and end up in higher conversion rates since people are very specific and have high intent with these searches. Google Adwords Keyword Planner is a great tool for seeing the average monthly search volume and competition for keywords.
4. Put keywords in the right place — without keyword stuffing
Once you’ve identified keywords, search engines look in for the keywords in a variety of places. Here are five places to put keywords:
- Title and headings
- Alternate text (<alt> text) for images
- Internal links on your site
- Page content
For example, “content marketing” is the focus keyword used in the title, URL, alternate text and page content for this blog post.
These are but a few SEO tips that every content diva should take into account to balance the metrics and creativity of content marketing. What are your best practices for baking SEO into the content process? Share below!