Put simply, content fulfills the requirements of search engine optimisation (SEO). Herein lies the underlying reason why content is king in the SEO world.
That is the reality that online marketers must realise, leaving the equation very simple:
There is no content of value without SEO and there is no SEO of value without content.
Those operations that manage to create, update and publish cutting edge content that keeps their readers, viewers or followers informed are ticking the right boxes. They are upholding a practice that has been mastered by the best in the business.
So many enterprises fall into bad habits when it comes to their internal SEO campaign. There is a strong desire to micromanage their affairs and study the keywords and establish an aesthetic that fits their brand. Beyond that, there is little priority placed on content.
Any figure of note in the online marketing industry will be adamant – the benefits of a well-crafted content strategy are long lasting. This is a consensus that has evolved over the years as new platforms opened up new pathways to build a community of consumers.
The only issue that organisations face is maintaining that effort over the course of days, weeks, months and years. A fact that can turn off companies that just strive for short-term gains.
What content manages to do is overlap a number of key categories all at once. Rather than divide the elements of optimising search engine performance, a well-regulated article, video or piece of content can accelerate the amount of traffic that filters to a domain. The effects are residual and allow brands to showcase what they know and what they provide.
Here are the reasons why content is king in SEO:
The habits of online consumers are monitored by businesses who need an in-depth understanding of their marketplace. By tailoring their content to those same people, new visitors emerge and should they be engaged, they will quickly transition into regulars.
Any data that is informative, helpful or entertaining will see the numbers rise because quality content can be hard to access. This is true across all niches as it can be difficult for online users to decipher the insightful from the mundane. Whether it be farming, printing, schooling or hospitality, web hits will fall in sync with sites that can suit a need.
The best way to think about content is feeding your consumer’s collective appetite. There will be a far greater incentive for those visitors to return if they know they can receive up to the minute updates on news, opinions and delivered in a friendly format.
Search engines respond to those sites that score greater traffic, creating a positive snowball effect where more views equals a higher ranking.
SEO respond directly to those keywords that are spread across a piece of content. They will involve those broad terms that point to the niche in question. Likewise, the more defined the keyword, the easier it becomes to narrow down a domain and build a unique following. This can be thought of as a sub-niche or sorts, such as vinyl buyers within the music business.
Keywords will be located mainly in written content, but they can also relate strongly to anything else that require a description such as an image or video. They can be sourced via:
- Blog body
- Headlines (H1, H2, H3)
Search engines require content to formulate their rankings and the tool that sites like Google, Yahoo and Bing source is keywords. Google’s Keyword Planner is one of the most common software applications that give the user a chance to design and strategise their keywords carefully.
To those unaccustomed to SEO practices, it is not as simple flooding content with peak terms. This is considered a black-hat SEO strategy, something that will hurt a domain’s performance in the long-term.
By keeping up a steady stream of content integration that is diverse and up to date, the keyword usage will then correlate to SEO performance.
Backlinks are held in the highest regard in the SEO field because it directly relates to authority. Including links to sites that have their own content with domains that are highly regarded on search engines only helps your cause.
The smartest strategy when it comes to backlinks within content is spreading the joy. When this practice was introduced in the early stages of online marketing, many creators would stick a list of backlinks at the foot of their blog.
Now it is helpful to allocate backlinks throughout various webpages and across written paragraph. They should be inclusive of a grander keyword strategy, but the only way to score big in SEO is to have the content there to showcase your backlinks.
Check the health and status of your backlink profile through these software applications:
- Monitor Backlinks
If backlinks are a brilliant method of aligning a niche with other similar figures in the marketplace, then social media has become a Mecca of inbound marketing. This is an effective method of bypassing those intricacies to combine social media’s popularity with content.
The numbers do not lie when it comes to the importance of a domain like Facebook. According to SocialMediaNews as of July 2017, 7 out of 10 Australians use that platform with 50% of the entire population logging on daily.
The figures are also in the millions of monthly users for sites like YouTube (15,500,00), WordPress (5,500,000), Instagram (5,000,000), LinkedIn (4,200,000), Twitter (3,000,000), Yelp (1,500,000) and Blogspot (1,300,000).
Content and social media therefore have a simpatico relationship. Articles, videos or anything that generates traffic can be leveraged off a substantial social media following. This is an environment where shares are commonplace and search engines feed off this frenzy.
SEO needs to source material that is garnering attention and content that goes viral on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ is a prime candidate to build a profile of value.
The great facet about content is that it can arrive in many different forms. The overwhelming majority of companies barely touch the surface as to the medium they can deliver on content.
Consider the following:
Depending on the niche and the target market, content can be geared to newcomers or those established with the organisation. Is it about generating new awareness or driving towards a sale?
What all of these unique pieces of content categories have in common is building brand awareness. This is a buzzword that circulates around online marketers, but there is legitimacy to this intangible quality.
For example, a gym franchise such as Plus Fitness 24/7 have a number of outlets spread across the Eastern seaboard of Australia. While they might be lost against a myriad of other gym operations in the market, a weekly podcast that pushes their brand on iTunes and Soundcloud can attract an entirely new collection of potential gym junkies.
By giving their top fitness professionals a voice, Plus Fitness 24/7 can engage in meaningful dialogue with their clientele to illustrate their message – all the while promoting themselves in the process.
Brand awareness can arrive in many forms but content creation is a perfect method to put your enterprise’s name up in lights against the competition.
Search engine optimisation works to rank business profiles and translate real world popularity to the online world. Yet this process works in reverse, so engineering content to develop brand awareness will have a knock-on effect for SEO performance.
Take any company across any niche in the business world and identify the one quality you want as a consumer. More than most will return with one response: expertise.
So long as the product, good or service is affordable, available and of the right quality, customers must have the insurance of knowing they are buying from a respected brand.
This all revolves around the notion of expertise. If the end user is of the opinion you are selling a copy or are disingenuous about your pedigree, the word will spread. Here is where content comes into play.
Issuing a newsletter, producing a podcast or giving consumers a weekly video blog directly communicates your knowledge to those individuals.
It illustrates clearly that your organisation is not designed simply with the notion of making maximum dollar. There is a community at play here, wanting to source their content from a trusted party who is interested in their opinion and feedback.
Enterprises can only be transparent to a point before they give away information that is too sensitive. By issuing content that is garnered to particular user habits, they control the message but involve the customer. Undersell well-crafted content at your peril. There is no substitute.
It is forgivable and to a degree understandable that content marketers in the business world study rankings religiously. There is a desire to push the brand and the message to the wider audience and that requires digging into the minutia of online strategy.
Yet content is a tool that allows an operation to manage and grow all at the same time. Those who are knowledgeable and passionate about what they do have an open channel to broadcast their expertise. There is no filter or limit to content, only the capacity to which the user invests with time, financial commitment and effort.
What are your thoughts on content and its relationship to SEO? Have you experienced a growth in both departments or has there been a breakdown between one area in particular? Let us know in the comments section below to continue the conversation.
Lucas is the Managing Director and the Head of SEO Strategy at SEO Shark. He has over 15 years of experience in achieving SEO results for small and medium businesses as well as multinational and ASX-listed brands. He is also an author of multiple publications about digital marketing.