In a World Where Content Is King, Where Does SEO Fit?
Web Content without SEO is noise. Marketing should convey a signal, not noise. It must focus on a target market. To those individuals, it should provide rational, actionable, and practical information.
SEO also prevents noise that both humans and search engines resent: spam! SEO is no longer about tricking the index to consider your content more popular than it really is. SEO is about marketing data, and understanding the terms the market uses to frame questions and discussions about your products and services. SEO is getting inside the hearts and minds of your readers, just what a writer wants to do!
How SEO Works
When SEO is well-executed, your content (and its message and offer) is presented by search engines. Thus, SEO guides your content to enjoy the most effective, efficient form of online marketing: search!
SEO essentially precedes content creation. Content created randomly, without a strategic plan, is ‘noisy’. Such content may be invisible in search and will lack the ability to trigger transactions.
Marketing writers must have a profound understanding about matching their semantics to search data. SEO offers some control over the potential audience size or number of market impressions. That control is based on knowledge of how frequently a particular term (keyword, keyphrase, long-tail term) is ‘queried’.
Keyword data is priceless because of the predictability it lends to reaching one’s readership, or market. The value can be applied to both natural search marketing and paid advertising. Competitive intelligence can offer incredible advantages to those using content to market.
The Link Between SEO and Content
Content Marketers know that content and SEO are intrinsically linked. Users search the Internet for the right content to answer their interests and needs. Effective SEO helps your gold content to stand out from the noise in reaching your reader. Readers credit good content with helping them make purchasing decisions.
Creating Targeted Content for Lead Nurturing
According to research firm MarketingSherpa:
- 82% of prospects say content targeted to their specific industry is more valuable
- 67% say content targeted to their job function is more valuable
The value of using SEO to guide content grows over time. Optimal content brings more visitors who are looking for just what you offer. That success, in turn, attracts still more readers thanks to signals such as social sharing, mentions and traffic.
Increasing Market Share
Continue to deliver valuable online content and you’ll build awareness and market share. The targeted, motivated readers you attract will become customers and then your quality message will spread to other observers and experts. The more valuable your content, the better the potential return on investment. Content really is king!
Focusing useful content effectively to the right topic by using the right keywords makes the most sense, when you consider that methods of optimization applied after-the-fact—interlinking, some metadata, link-building and so on—are not only less effective, but also are more likely to trigger Google penalties.
Start With SEO
Don’t be afraid to start your content planning with SEO. Do your keyword research. Try using some free Google tools (Google Trends, AdWords Keyword planner, etc.) or conduct some research of your own, using Consumer Barometer, Five Second Test or SurveyMonkey.
Post by Michael Stricker, SEMrush US Marketing Director
SEO graphic by serkorkin