Search engine optimization (SEO) is the place to start when it comes to content strategy ROI. It’s the art of making your content findable. However, many marketers still do not understand the basics of search, nor do they know how to create an SEO strategy designed to achieve their business goals.
Content without SEO is like a car without wheels or gasoline. If your content and events exist anywhere, then people expect to find them online. Moreover, a solid SEO strategy is a roadmap for solid content from an audience perspective. Writing for Google and your audience is one and the same today.
SEO is also the data side of today’s writing and media production. The market now demands that business prose is structured for a process that involves multiple people. You have to gear-mesh the 24×7 experience your customers have with the resources and schedule your company can reasonably sustain.
SEO scoring is important, regardless of the tool you use. What counts in the long term is your ability to build and grow an audience. Tools help us scale and provide a feedback loop.
How to Achieve Impactful (Content Strategy ROI) SEO
Forty-nine percent of marketing executives said they either don’t have a content strategy, or they have trouble developing or adjusting their strategy. That’s from the Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs’ 2017 B2B Content Marketing Trends—North America. Sound familiar?
Customer relationships are created online, and most of your customers are digital natives. The truly successful brands understand this, and they use SEO to meet customers where they are. They also understand that the foundational pillars of SEO that lead to Content Strategy ROI are backend technical factors, backlinking strategies, front-end opportunities, and competitor differentiation.
Assess and highlight back-end factors such as hosting indexing. Worst case scenario if you don’t? The search engines drop your links to the bottom of their results, and your customers see your competitor’s links first.
When search engine bots crawl your website, they organize your content in a database. In SEO terms, that’s known as indexing. Your pages are also ranked. For instance, if you search for Thai restaurants in Westport, Connecticut, your indexed page is evaluated against the terms in the search query, and the search results will ignore Thai restaurants in Boston as well as local pizza joints. Indexing and ranking are how search engines know who to include on their results pages.
Rate the quality of internal and external link references that impact your relevance and authority rankings. Search engines put a high value on backlinks — hyperlinks on other webpages that reference your website. Search engines consider backlinks a sign that your content is authoritative and credible; that leads to an improved SEO rank. Your key takeaway: Create content that other people will want to link to from their sites. That’s the simplest definition of backlinking, and a perfect lead-in to front-end opportunities.
Keywords, metadata and content are the core of your SEO strategy. The words you use on your web pages have the biggest impact on your search engine rankings. You must understand how these words can present opportunities for growth. You can guess which keywords your target audience uses, but keyword research will give you a list of those words. Once you have those keywords and phrases, use them in your headlines, title pages, metadata and title tags. Now is also a good time to audit your existing content and determine areas for improvement.
Now that you understand your own SEO performance, how well do you differentiate yourself from your competitors? Not some AI-generated list of competitors, but the companies that you come up against in the market.
What alternatives are there? Who else competes for these words in your market? If you are a manufacturer, compare your efforts to other manufacturers, but also perhaps distributors if you sometimes compete with them, or they sell in other segments of the market.
Research what your competition does as well, and where they fall short. Begin with their search rankings, but don’t stop there. A traffic analytics tool allows you to understand where your competitors’ websites get their traffic, such as direct, referral, paid, social, and search. You’ll also see how many visitors — and unique visitors — visit their site. What is their tech stack?
When you combine SEO information with other market and competitive research your path becomes clear as you create your content strategy.
Keyword analysis shows the keywords that rank high with your competitors, which may indicate an area that you can exploit as you plan your content calendar.
SEO That Meets Customers’ Needs and Delivers Content Strategy ROI
Search engines organize information that satisfies your customers’ needs. Knowing this, your SEO should allow you to create a content strategy that meets your customers where they’re at. And that is why SEO is vitally important to Content Strategy ROI.
SEO is like a tennis coach that hammers the message home, “Keep your eye on the ball and follow through.” Whenever the ball goes into the next court, they will yell out “Keep your eye on the ball and follow through!” And everybody in the complex looks over at you providing an incentive to focus on the basics. If you know your subject matter and focus on the fundamentals of SEO, you will land your message not only on Google but with your target audience.
Whatever you publish, and however you sell, be sure that your SEO strategy is putting you on top with both humans and search engines. And if it isn’t, you know where to find us.