Better together: Content Marketing and SEO

If you find yourself asking whether you should focus more on search engine optimisation (SEO) or content marketing, I’ll help you out by saying the answer is both. While both have their fair share of  benefits, it doesn’t mean one should be cast aside in favour of the other. Instead, they should be considered as two different things that compliment each other to help your business stand out online.

But first, before we see how they can be integrated, let’s take a look at what they mean individually.  

SEO

SEO is a technique that uses keywords to help search engines find and rank your website higher in the search results.
It involves understanding the keywords your audience use in their search process, and placing them in your site to make it more relevant, hence pushing your site up higher in the search rankings.

Content marketing

Content marketing involves understanding what your target audience needs and coming up with content ideas they would be interested in reading. It’s essentially creating content that informs, educates and inspires readers, as opposed to a direct sales pitch.

For a better idea of things, think of content marketing aiming to engage the human reader, whereas SEO aims to “engage” the search engine indexes.

A beautiful blend

Having quality content but without the SEO groundwork can be a waste of your efforts. Unless you have a great content distribution strategy in place, it’s likely your pieces will get lost in the large digital jungle. Likewise, having good SEO but no quality content can result in little repeated visits. Using both tactics together results in optimised content that hooks more visitors and keep them coming back for more.

So how do you go about doing that?

  1. Research relatable keywords to your business
  2. Research the problems your target audience face
  3. Create original content of quality targeted for those problems.
  4. Insert your keywords

TIP: Remember to write for people first and then focus on search engines. Don’t go overboard with your keywords as readers will find it odd and your pieces will lack flow.

Tailor your content

You want your content to be detailed and provide actual solutions for your audience. For example, when you search for ‘best external hard drive’, the top results show reviews, guides and forums – not the actual product pages. Personally, I always like reading discussion sites to help me decide which brand to to buy, and Google is aware of this search behaviour, since it’s reflected in the results.

seo and content marketing

These days, people want information that solves their problem, and not just a sales-orientated product page. Use your keywords sporadically to benefit Google but also to engage your readers – this is key.

Implementing both SEO and content marketing strategies means you’ll be reaping the benefits, and easy-to-find found content that’s worth reading and sharing, keeps people coming back.

Drop us a note at [email protected] and we can help you structure your content marketing campaign.

Everything you need to know about copywriting and SEO

So, you’ve nailed down your content – now what? Maybe you’re struggling with content optimisation and how to get the most out of your copy. Perhaps the thought of keyword planning and SEO makes you nervous.

Very few of us actually understand the mechanics behind search engine optimisation (SEO). After all it is a beast, and Google’s search ranking algorithm doesn’t help the situation either. Unless you are an SEO specialist, leave this task to the experts – they are at the forefront of all the updates and latest tricks, and you should concentrate on producing quality content.

With that in mind, here’s what you need to know:

What exactly is content optimisation?

Content marketing should play a key role in any marketing plan. To optimise content simply means to a) make it search engine friendly and b) drive action that ultimately leads to a sale.

It combines a mix of your chosen keywords and an opportunity to build brand trust and authority. Brand trust and authority are not built through a pushy sales pitch, but instead a long-term series of informative and educational content pieces.

Ok, so where do I start?


If you have hired an SEO agency, make sure you work closely with the team to identify your top keywords that will help your content rank. Next, put together a content calendar of topics that are related to your business and be sure to run these past your agency to see how they fit with the overall plan.

If you don’t have an agency and are working alone, make use of the free Google Adwords Keyword Planner and work out which keywords you’d like to rank for, then plan your content accordingly.

Next, try and feed in the keywords into the title and body of your content piece, but don’t go overboard and use it five times in one sentence. Your content will not only read poorly, but there is no additional benefit for your SEO.

The trick is to distribute keywords sporadically across the piece and feed them in a few times, as and when its applicable to mention. Never compromise on the quality of your piece for the sake of SEO – find that happy balance.

Suggested Read: 3 steps to creating targeted content that sells

Your last content optimisation action should engage the reader with a call-to-action, or CTA. This is something that prompts action from the target audience, It can be in the form of a downloadable resource, a link to enter a competition, or whatever you feel is necessary to move that person further down the sales funnel.

TIP: Avoid actually selling. Give your reader an incentive to click and download, or contact you directly.


Add visual content

Images are just as important in your blog as the words themselves. We are a very visual generation and your content marketing plan should incorporate a healthy mix of written and visual content. Always make sure you have a great image to accompany your content, which should help drive click-throughs and engagement.

Remember that when you are uploading content online, your images should be titled with your keywords in mind – both Title and ALT tags. This will increase your chances of ranking higher on Google.

Making it all work

Make it a priority to write each piece of content with your target audience in mind, and then tie it in with your chosen keywords. You should never write anything without thinking about who it’s meant for, and why your content will help them. Be smart and kill two birds with one stone by mixing great content that is also search engine friendly and optimised for a sale.

Your content should give readers a sense of trust for your brand and have them coming back for more.

Get in touch with us if you need help in creating content that works for your business. Drop us a note at [email protected].

 

What is the meaning of content?

Ok, so I’ll be the first to admit words and phrases like ‘content’ and ‘content marketing’ are becoming overused. Every one claims to be doing it, but very few people really understand what all that fancy lingo means and, more importantly, how to use it properly to get the desired results.

I’m here to run you through some of the more common terms, from buyer personas to visual content.

Buyer Personas

Buyer personas are fictitious characters that represent an accurate snap shot of your target audience. Knowing your audience, and understanding their needs is key to the success of any content marketing campaign. Take the time to identify whom you are targeting and develop your content ideas from there.

Calls-to-Action

Remember this term, as this is a vital addition to your content marketing. This little button (or link, or whatever you choose to use) is the key to converting site traffic into leads. It’s generally displayed in the form of a “download now” or “click here” action button, but this little beauty doesn’t always need to be focused on lead generation. It can also be a link to social media, or an external link or an email. Whatever you choose, just make sure it’s relevant to the content piece.

E-books

What’s an e-book I hear you ask? Well, the best way to describe an e-book is an extended piece of content that explains a topic in more depth. The blog posts you write should be short snippets about different aspects of one topic. Think of your blog posts as individual chapters in a novel, and the e-book is the novel. It’s combining everything into one detailed piece of content that educates and inspires the reader.

Editorial Calendar

Every content strategy should be accompanied by en editorial calendar. This is your planner and the road map for all content creation. It will help you develop your ‘story’ and put together the topics you wish to cover – and of course which buyer personas the content is targeting.

Keywords

Basically a keyword is something a user types into a search engine to find information about a particular topic. Content marketers should understand which keywords their target audience favours, and front-load them across the content they produce. All this should also tie in with your SEO campaign to get the most bang for your buck.

Newsjacking

This is a tricky one that not many people really understand. Simply put, Newsjacking is a practice of making the most out of recent and highly popular news. I don’t’ mean report on the fact that Kim Kardashian broke the Internet with her nude photoshoot. No – that’s going to be covered a lot anyway, and really… who cares! I’m talking about putting your own spin on it. So, for example if you are a social media agency, talk about how this impacted Instagram or what that means for brands.

Remember that all your content should be useful to YOUR target audience. Oh and if you are quick enough to capitalise on popular news, Google will reward you and bump the ranking of your story.

Visual Content

With so many words and our limited attention span, visual content is fast becoming the cool kid on the block. Here, I’m referring to images, infographics and videos, which are crucial to capturing the attention of the time poor consumer, and really get them to engage with your brand.

I hope this was helpful and gave you a deeper insight into the powerful world of content marketing.

If you have more questions or need some compelling words, get in touch with us at [email protected]

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5 signs your business should invest in a content marketing agency

There are a multitude of large and small businesses that think they know best when it comes to content marketing. How hard can it be? A blog here, a social media post there and you’re done! Right?

I hate to break it to you, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Put simply, content marketing is a strategic marketing approach that relies on the regular creation and distribution of quality content to a specific audience. The aim is to ultimately turn prospects into customers. Read more about what content marketing means here.

An effective content marketing strategy takes time and commitment and everything needs to be written with purpose. It not only yields powerful results, but also becomes extremely cost effective.

There is no point in writing one blog, adding it to your website and then hoping it will automatically translate into sales. It sadly doesn’t work that way. How will people see your content?

With that being said, here are some early signs that should prompt you to consider using a content marketing agency to help you get organised and on track:

  • Lack of regular, quality content

Think about how often you produce content.
Is it once a month? Once a quarter? Or whenever you have a chance to?

Whilst it’s not necessary to create content every single day, a solid content strategy requires consistency and commitment. Creating regular content allows brands to build thought leadership in their area of expertise, create trust and promote engagement with their target audiences – which is more likely to lead to a sale.

  • No visible SEO results

Without relevant and regular content, your SEO efforts may be wasted. Google evaluates how often you update your website with fresh content. It also ranks the quality of the content as well as the length. You can read more about this here.

Another thing to consider is how well the content is tailored to your chosen keywords. Content creation isn’t just about putting some words on a page about a certain topic. You do need to write for your target audience but also for SEO. Fall too deep to one side and you will be penalised on the other, so it’s essential to strike a healthy balance between crafty and engaging content and writing for SEO.

  • Your conversions are suffering

 Writing relevant content that addresses your target audience and their needs is so important. Identify and create a buyer persona that would need your product or service. Who is this person? (i.e Marketing Mary, 35 years old) What is their role? (ie Marketing Manager for an SME) What do they wish to achieve? (Brand awareness, sales etc.) Then look at identifying their pain points and how you can help solve them.

A content marketing agency can be useful to help structure your strategy and make suggestions about why your efforts have not been successful. They will create new ideas and avenues for you to explore.

  • Little to no engagement across your social media

Social media can be an amazing avenue to promote your content and directly engage with your target audience. Using social media helps drive traffic to your website as you are providing your followers with a preview of what they can expect to see if they click a specific link.

If you are doing this already and it’s not working, think about the quality and relevance of the content that you are producing and posting. Always remember that one size doesn’t fit all on social media. Each platform has a different audience, and therefore the language, tone and delivery needs to be tailored every time.

A content marketing agency will pull together a strategic content and social media strategy and create relevant and engaging content that can be used across multiple platforms.

  • Your brand lacks credibility

If you are a new business, it’s so critical early on to establish credibility in the market. A solid content marketing strategy enables your brand to educate prospects and instill their trust in your brand.

According to Hubspot’s 2015 State of Inbound Marketing report, the top two priorities for companies, regardless of size, are to a) increase the number of contacts/leads, and b) to convert contacts/leads to customers.

A successful content marketing strategy can help you achieve this.

Need help with your content? Drop a message to [email protected] 

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If you’d like to speak to us about effective content marketing for your business, feel free to get in touch at [email protected].

 

How to spring clean your website and improve your search ranking

So, you want to come up first on Google?

That’s great! And it’s definitely possible. But first there is a lot of spring cleaning and forward planning that needs to be done.

Old social media pages

Remember that Bebo page? And your Myspace account? So does Google. But if you don’t want to associate with them any more, they need to go.

Let’s call these your social media ghosts. Any old social profiles, any spammy links you might have bulk-purchased back in the day when companies sold you links to boost your SEO, and any rogue URLs. Delete, delete, delete.

Google Webmaster has some great tools to determine the quality of your site and flag any duplicate content – sign yourself up and then use these to do a clean up. Do that now, and don’t come back to this blog post until you’re done.

For a free website audit with Mutant, click here!

Look and feel

Ok! Next step – UPDATE. Just as we update our wardrobe for a new season, we need to update our sites for search (and look and feel – get rid of any nasty 90s WordArt or strobe-like flashy ads while you’re at it).

Tags

It sounds technical but it’s really not. Ensure every page is pushed as much as it can – we call this optimisation – to boost your search rankings. You may have seen the fields in the back-end of your website – now’s the time to fill them in. The most important ones to keep in mind:

  • Title:
  • Meta description:
  • H1:
  • ALT Tag:
  • Content

Check the basics first – is your contact information, services page and client list up-to-date? Do you need to take some fresh pics of your team?

Now look at the copy on your pages, and your blog. You might have laid out your top predictions for 2013 – go back and evaluate those predictions. Were you on the mark or not? If your “latest trends” piece was published back in 2007, change the headline to something a little more retrospective, then write a new post bringing you into the new age of 2014.

Internal linking

Then set about creating internal links between your old blogs and the pages on your site. The more of a web you create, the more likely you are to keep readers on your site. So, if we go back to that Latest Trends piece, update your commentary to 2014, compare and link to your 2007 blog, and make sure you also create links throughout your site, perhaps to your Services, Contact, or home page.

You are likely to feel a wave of nostalgia as you read through your old blogs. Use it! This is your chance to use the #throwbackthursday #TBT hashtag on Twitter or Instagram and share it on Google+.

Next steps

Now, that you’ve had your website spring clean, it’s time to LEVERAGE all the tools and connections in your arsenal.

There are actually a lot of free tools out there that have a big impact on your searchability. You should have an updated profile on Google Places, your details should be correct in the Yellow Pages, and you should set yourselves up on business review site Yelp.

Having an active Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google + account will also boost you up the rankings – again, it goes back to building that rich web in which to trap searches.

You should also leverage existing relationships you have with clients, clubs, chambers of commerce and tradeshows.

Customer stories are excellent “social proof” of your quality. Ask your clients if they can write a testimonial for you to display on your site, and offer to do the same in return for a link. If anyone mentions your brand or displays your logo on their page, encourage them to link to your website, and if you can write something for them – like a guest blog – make sure it links back to your business.

Now you can set about LURING your audience in with exciting content that will entertain and enrich anyone who comes across. Remember, the ultimate goal is to get people to your site, and to keep them there.

Take some time to sit down with your team and map out your audience profile to determine who you are talking to, what they are looking for, and what content you can create that will attract and engage them. Then start blogging!

 

N.B: A point to note on guest blogging:

Guest blogging should not replicate text on your own blog as you can risk compete for authority, meaning, their site might trump yours in search, and Google might then punish you for “copying” their content. Also make sure the site you are submitting to is authoritative, relevant and trustworthy – you don’t want your guest blogging to be detrimental your brand.

To find out about Mutant Communications’ content marketing packages for businesses, drop us a line at [email protected]