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How SEO & Content Marketing Work Together

Apr 30, 2018
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Content marketing and SEO are often seen as separate tactics that are independent of one another. This couldn't be further from the truth. In order to execute content marketing strategy, you need to incorporate SEO. To do SEO well in today's landscape, you need quality content. In the video below, I share how we go about creating content marketing strategies that improves organic visibility. 

 

Video Transcript

Hey, what's up, and welcome to Hack My Growth. In this episode, we're going to be talking about how to build a content marketing strategy that will improve your search ranking and visibility. All right. Let's go.

When it comes to the internet, getting seen, visibility, growing your site online, you need content, and you need content that helps people take action, but more importantly, helps them engage and really builds trust with them. Now one of the big problems with investing too much into just content is you just write, and a lot of people focus on, "Hey if I just get a blog post out every week, that's all I need to write." Well, that's not actually true. Your content has to have purpose, your content has to have a goal attached to it, and it needs to be written in a way that's going to interact with your core users. So I want to talk through the components of a good content strategy, and how we can use content mapping to build a content marketing strategy that's going to drive people to our websites.

So, I'm going to use the whiteboard here, okay. Let's talk for a little bit. So we've got a topic here. Let's say that I want to rank for SEO. This is a core term, this is something that I know people are searching for and want to interact with my business. Now the problem is if I'm a smaller site or if I'm one of many fish in the pond, which I would be in the world of SEO, which I am, I'm going to have to get a little more creative because if I just keep writing about SEO, SEO, SEO, SEO, SEO, SEO, one, it's going to bore people because how are you going to just write on one single term all the time. And two, it lacks depth, and we want to make sure that our content has depth, that it has some insight, that it reveals things, maybe in a new way, it doesn't have to be new information, it just needs to be told in a different way, in a unique way.

So what we want to start doing is when we go to a content tool, or there are tons of keyword tools out there, and I think one of the problems is we often get overloaded by the information we see. But we want to look for terms that are related to this. So SEO, I could find terms like link building, that's part of SEO. I could have things like on page SEO. I could have local SEO. I could talk about SEO strategy. As you see, I'm starting to build a web of ideas for new content. And all of these are related, not just back to the core term, but they're also inter-related as well. Link building plays on on-page SEO, on-page SEO and link building can go together when you're talking about anchor text, internal linking, and things of that nature. So these all work together to help inform one another as well as this main topic here in the middle.

So again, the main topic is our goal. We want to be known for SEO, but what we need to do is to start really investigating all of these areas here on the outside. Now I say five to seven, no more than five to seven, and the reason why is, you just start to get too many ideas and you don't really have a channel or pathway to go down. So start with five to seven ideas and begin to just come up with something that is going to work for you, that you know that you can write about, that you have an expertise on, that you can add value in. I could do even something like this, WordPress SEO.

Now why these are important is, yeah, you want to look at (obviously) volume, which is the amount of people that search for this term. You want to look at the competitiveness, how many other people are trying to rank for these terms. But you don't want to look at those too much to the point that you're saying, "Well, that's too competitive, I'm not even going to try to go after that." I think a lot of people do that and they just take themselves out of the game. You may not need to rank for SEO nationally, but you may want to rank for your region or your specific area or on a specific part of the topic.

But Google's going to look for these other words because they're all related. We have something called the Knowledge Graph, and this is where Google's moving from what they used to call Strings, which are text and terms, into things, which realizing that these now are concepts and ideas, they're part of a bigger map of things. Which means no more do you just have to have the on-page SEO keyword used every time, you've probably read content like that which was written back in the keyword stuffing days of SEO. When you want to be better at on-page SEO, make sure that you do on-page SEO the right way. It makes content that's really junky and that doesn't really help anybody, it doesn't really add any value. But when you start to be able to tie this in and talk about how link building and on-page SEO start to work together and local SEO start to work together, you could really start to begin to build a mesh or a net or a web of ideas. Build your own knowledge graph that helps Google, but more importantly, helps your users understand what your expertise is. This is where the value is because it not only informs the search engines about your content and the context of that content, but it also informs the users about your depth of expertise.

So once you have these ideas and you understand how they work together, I would recommend this: Start out by building a core page on your site. For us, we're a marketing agency, and so we've got an SEO page. It talks about our services and it gives some in-depth ideas of why we do what we do and how we do it, and usually, there's some sort of call-to-action where we want them to talk to us or engage with us. Now when you're creating blog content, the reason we create blog content is for a lot of reasons. First, we want to have fresh content on our site. We want to be up to date, we want to be sharing new ideas, and our primary reason for blogging is to educate our user base. We want to provide valuable content to our users, each and every week, as much as we can, as much as we're able to do and do well.

So last week I was under the weather, I wasn't able to create a video, but guess what? It's okay because this week I am able to make a video and I'm going to make a video, and that's what you're watching right now. And so we build content to support what we do and we build content to educate people about what we do and how we do it and why we do it. That's the purpose of our blog, and there are also other purposes to that too, like Google likes fresh content. They also want to see that you're authoritative, have expertise in this area, that you are trustworthy. Your blog can help you do all of those things, but if you're blogging for the sake of ranking, then you're doing it for the wrong reasons. Blog for the sake of educating and building connections, the ranking will follow, the traffic will follow.

And so we build this main page on our site and we call this a Core Page. Some people call these Pillar Pages. We don't do it like a typical "Pillar Page" with all these links out. We just build a really solid page about what we do. It's a core page, it's a core service page, and there's a reason, this is a page that's going to drive business. And a lot of times we do search engine optimization because we want to drive business. We do content marketing because we want to drive business. But if we're only driving people to blog posts that never call them into action, then we're not going to drive business. So this is where we tie everything together.

Now what you would do to help boost this page and make sure that any of the links that you're driving from your blog go here, but also that you bring your bloggers here, is you're going to use this page as the anchor for all your blog content. And so you start to write some blog posts. So here's your local SEO blog, and here's your on-page blog, and here's your link building blog, and here is your strategy blog, and here's your WordPress blog. In each one of these blogs, you're going to start to link back to this page, and you're going to create this link relationship here. Now it needs to be natural, it needs to make sense, obviously, and it needs to provide value to the user. But what you're starting to do is, again, you're connecting topics, ideas, thoughts, from your blog, from your knowledge base, into your core services about what you do.

A couple of things. Somebody's reading through your blog and they're reading in that first paragraph, it's where I usually put this link, they're going to say, "SEO. I'd like to know more about that." And they'll click on it. "Oh, these guys offer SEO services. Oh, here's how I can connect with him." You've made a natural pathway to building that conversion, that connection. Now, what it also does is Google's looking and crawling up this content. It's seeing what you're writing about, what the context is, and then it's crawling the internal links of your page. And it's saying, "Yes, these guys do SEO. Yes, what they're talking about is good information. Yes, so they're talking about correlates and is ..." Because they're not just going to compare it against yourself, they're going to go compare it against the top sites on the web, other people that are ranking for this, to make sure that what you're talking about is making sense. And so what this is starting to do is show the search engines that you know what you're talking about, starting to show your users that you have valuable services to back up what you're talking about, and it's creating this connected website with content that provides value.

So what you want to start, again, start with your core topic. Find five to seven other related topics. LSI Graph is a good tool if you want to look there, there are going to be related topics. Just do some brainstorming. There's a number of tools online, serpstat, Google keyword Ad planner, any of those tools that can help you pull keywords. And start to think about the types of content you want to create. And then, what are the biggest ideas? People are like, "I don't know what type of content to create." Go and look at your competition, see what's working for them. See what they're ranking for, what's driving visibility to their site, and then make content that's better than that, but along the same lines because they're getting people to see. You don't have to fix or solve this amazing problem, you just need to model what's working and do it really well as well.

So once you build this content and you start to build content around it, you're starting to build the authority of this page. Any of these links that you would drive and you'd get like, say somebody Tweeted you or quoted you here in an article, that's going to help build link authority to this main SEO page, it's going to increase the visibility. Now, this isn't going to make you overnight number one on all the search results, but over time this is going to build sustainable traffic. Not just in organic, but it's also going to help you in your referral traffic, in your social traffic, and it's going to help your users as they get to your site, find content that they want to see, and then be able to engage with you and find your core page. Because again, blogs are great, having people read your blog is awesome, but if your ideas to get them, especially in the services industry or you're selling a product, move them from the content to a state of action. And we can do that by developing a complete content strategy that really covers all of our barriers and then makes sure that we're linking, internal linking, from our blog post to our core services pages or product pages to get people to take that action we want to.

So make sure that you, one, solve the problems for your clients and provide a ton of value with content. Two, really think about your strategy. How is everything connected? And then create content around those core areas and you keep building this out, building this out, building this out, so you have a ton of content and your website is an amazing resource for whatever that core service or that core topic you're really trying to be known for.

Hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions, please comment below. And if you liked our video, we would love to have you as part of our community, so please hit the subscribe button. And until next time, Happy Marketing.

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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