Congratulations! You're Head of Content Marketing.
“We’re going in a new direction.”
“We need to do better on Google.”
If the third quote provokes the most anxiety, you’re not alone. This blog is one of many that advise content development is key to SEO success. Fresh, relevant content will drive traffic to your site; compelling content will earn repeat traffic, and that traffic will result in conversions.
This post will explore the first of the three options at your disposal: write it yourself. Alternatively, you may hire a staff. Attribute others' work. In the case of copyrighted material, seek the author's permission before you publish his or her work.
Where to begin?
Identify the top 25 search terms that describe your product or service. You (or your boss) may want more, but I strongly suggest you limit yourself to 25. Those 25 are likely very competitive search terms, and your competitors have probably already earned the top rankings in Google search.
At first, your shiny new content has no hope of competing against those established sites. Think of content marketing like a forest: the trees start from seeds, push through obstacles and eventually ascend to great heights. Those 25 terms will be your seeds. Those keywords will gradually climb the rankings, drive traffic, and increase conversions.
Your secret weapon
Research is an indispensable part of your SEO strategy. Powerful tools such SEMRush; SpyFu; Moz; and Google Webmaster Tools are useful in identifying where your real strength lies: the long-tail search term.
For example, the search term “digital marketing” yields returns such as “What is digital marketing?” You decide to narrow the parameters to exclude irrelevant results. The search phrase “digital marketing Buffalo,” or “digital marketing New York,” is more precise and allows the user to find a marketing firm easily. Agencies will enjoy lower advertising costs or higher organic search rankings.
A good strategist will ascertain your success goals using your original 25 search terms. Next, the administrator will identify long-tail search terms with sufficient traffic volume to help you achieve these aims. (Popular phrases may be unaffordable.)
Those original 25 may lead to dozens of completely different search terms, but this strategy has the potential to move potential customers in your site’s direction - and with relative ease.
There is usually no strategy required to dominate branded search: users who type in your brand name have already heard of you and expect to find you. So, if your web site designer did his or her job properly, you should already be in the #1 spot.
The role of a content marketer is to create a dialogue with users who need your product or service but don’t know you yet.
The Coattail Effect
When long-tail search terms containing competitive keywords becomes dominant, this establishes relevancy for your content. Those high rankings in turn, ultimately lead to a comparable position in the more competitive keyword.
For instance, one of our customers sells an intestinal gas relief remedy. We used the coattail effect process of content marketing to make the site prominent on terms related to “foods that cause gas.” Next, we added relevant content, thereby driving a large volume of unique visits to the client’s site.
Two years later, they dominate their celebrity-endorsed competitor in organic search for the terms they wanted to be found by, including “gas bloating formula,” “gas prevention,” and “anti-gas products.”
Making the Choice
Do your research and you’ll find many other authoritative blogs on this same topic make the same recommendations I’ve made here.
Most importantly, you’ll have to accept that this will take time; at least several months with a content marketing only campaign. If you want immediate rankings on Google, you’ll need to pay for an AdWords campaign.
We usually recommend a two-pronged strategy of content development plus pay-per-click advertising. The dual approach delivers immediate results because you are buying your desired search position. You’ll need a smaller budget than that required by a stand-alone PPC strategy.
Success comes from being an educator
It’s important to understand that top-performing sites are those that educate or inform visitors without blatantly attempting to make a sale. Candidly: this is part of what’s happening here in this and every other blog post we make to ours and our clients’ websites.
Of course, we want you to do business with us. But we want you to work with us because we gave you some kernel of knowledge or some insight you didn’t have before you came to us.
When you do likewise for your site’s visitors, that experience stays with people and those people, in turn, become your advocates and your customers.