Here’s Some Important Things You Need To Know About SEO and Content Marketing
In 2014, Google reported that they received more than 4 million search queries per minute. That’s not all. In the same time, Instagram users post more than 220,000 new photos, there are 300,000 new tweets, 50,000 new Apple Store apps downloaded and 2.5 million pieces of content shared on Facebook. All of that happened every minute.
While you’re processing that, remember that there are now more than 7 billion people on the planet and less than half have access to the internet. As the number of people who have access to the internet increases so, too, does the content that they produce. It’s growing. Fast.
Why Content Marketing and SEO Matter
With all of this new content being produced every minute, what you create has got to stand out. You might be wondering how you’d ever get noticed in a sea of new content, but the good news is there’s likely an audience for what you’re creating, the tricky part is helping them find you.
That’s why search engine optimisation (SEO) and best practise content marketing are so important. SEO is the process of adapting the visibility of a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results. These unpaid results aren’t promoted by businesses and appear naturally by people’s searches and what the market is looking for. If you’re reading this because of our title, then you’re already taking the right step towards creating outstanding quality content that connects you with your audience.
Google is looking for original content because it’s looking for answers to questions that people haven’t even asked yet. Remember that less than half of the world’s population are online, so taking the right steps will ensure that as the online market increases, so does the likelihood that they’ll find your content.
Why Good Content Works
Only a few years ago, poor practise digital marketers could simply create content that instantly appealed to Google’s web crawlers, but their approach was unethical. Their techniques included writing various keywords throughout a website in white so that they blended in with the background and users couldn’t read them, but search engine crawlers could. Thus, this would bump up their search ranking and make it easier for users to find their site.
Today, these techniques are likely to get you seriously penalised by search engines and have caused them to change their strategies so that gaining that first page search engine results page (SERP) a little bit more difficult.
Today content writing is about appealing to a person and not just a crawler who trawls the internet looking for relevant content. With that in mind, you’ve got to always remember who you’re writing to and ask yourself whether or not what you’re putting out there actually provides any value to your readers. If you’re writing just for the sake of it, stop.
Write With Intent – Think in Keywords
So, who are you writing for? Who’s going to read your content?
If you’ve got all of this down think about which words you should use within certain topics. Say you’re writing a blog for your eCommerce business and you’re talking about the benefits of buying online, certain keywords might work better over others.
Check out our example below, we’ve picked two words that are synonyms for each other: courier and shipping. Shipping, highlighted in red, appears twice as much as courier so to appeal to the widest audience, you’d best be using shipping a few times in your body copy and headline if that’s what your content is about.
They say 8 in 10 people will read your headline and, depending on the headline you’ve chosen, 2 out of those 8 will actually click through to your content. The stakes are high. Just remember that you’ve always got the opportunity to get 10 out of those 10 people to both read and click on your article based on your headline, so let that be your aim.
Headlines that work are those which answer a question or ask a question that the reader wants answered. Adding numbers or simple tips / tricks / steps makes the title more reader-friendly because that promises the reader that they can immediately garner value from the content.
It’s been found that the best blog headlines for search engines are up to 70 characters in length. That’s half a tweet and should be just enough for you to grab people’s attention. Limits spur creativity as we’ve got to do more with less, so take this as an opportunity to make an impression and make them click.
For example, the headline we chose for this article is only 68 characters long. It tells you exactly what the reader needs to know (in this case, SEO and content marketing) and its aim is to increase click through rates from search engine results. It’s likely how you found us.
Measure Everything, Then Improve
There’s no point doing the same thing over and over again without any intent or purpose. Knowing what works and what doesn’t is a key aspect of ensuring that you’re reaching people, that they’re engaging with your content, and that you’re not creating things just for the sake of it.
Things like traffic to your website or blog are incredibly important because they can justify your work and tell you what’s working and what isn’t. Through services like Google’s Webmaster tools you can see how long readers spent on a particular page as well as how many people immediately left it (which is commonly referred to as ‘bouncing’ and is expressed in a percentage rate).
Better still, you want to create content that people want to continue to read. Make your work easy to understand by writing short sentences. Break up your paragraphs into easily digestible blocks and use imagery that supports your writing. Adding images because they look pretty is okay, but it’s only passable. You want to provide your readers with more and more because, it gives them a reason to return.
Evergreen Content Is Ever So Important
Because it has longevity. Take the above graph for example, you can see the spike in content that is time critical and how it eventually peters off into obscurity as it becomes less and less relevant. Evergreen, on the other hand, is consistently up and done attracting readers to some capacity no matter what time of year.
You want to have created thoughtful content that will always have an audience, so this means avoiding creating posts that are specific to a particular event, time, or season. A little bit is okay, as is everything in moderation, but writing about pumpkin spice lattes in the middle of Summer probably isn’t going to garner much attention or search engine queries.
When you’re writing your content, continually think about who’s going to search for it, what time of year are they going to search for it, and whether or not it’s something that will always have an audience.
Writing from this perspective will help you keep your content strategy in check – it’s okay to write some seasonal content (i.e. for Christmas) but keep your focus on the long-term.
Write and Write Well
Evergreen content definitely has its benefits, but there is still a plus to having seasonal or time specific posts as well. Say you’ve written a post about the 2013 Australian Federal Election, that content may only last as long as the next election after which time it ‘expires’, but that content could become more valuable again as future news sources or bloggers / columnists may refer back to that content to inform their discussion. Just be wary of what sort of content you’re creating and how often.
One thing’s for sure: there are readers out there, hungry for what you have to tell them. Your task is to make it as easy as possible for it to find them. You have everything you need to make this happen. Think about how you’re going to approach your content strategy, what you’re going to produce, and how frequently you’ll post this type of content whether it’s evergreen or time critical.
Know your audience and provide for them. Do this consistently and you’ll develop a following who are committed to your thought leadership.
What do you think? How might evergreen content work for your brand or industry? If you’re not sure, why not get in touch with one our content marketing specialists who’d be more than happy to help: http://contevo.com.au/contact/