When upping your SEO game, content may not immediately come to mind. The multifaceted approach required to improve your business’ SEO will likely have you prioritizing social media, brand building, and developing your website. While these other factors are important, content is not to be overlooked.
The reality is: content is king in SEO. Beyond allowing you to develop and share you or your brand’s voice and vision, content can help you target keywords relevant to your business, reach your audience directly, and contribute to conversations in your industry. Producing regular content can also give you or your business something to share on your social channels or in newsletters, and keep users on your page longer. What’s more, quality content can improve your website’s ranking in search results – the value of which is undeniable, when organic search accounts for 53.3% of online traffic.
But good content takes work. High quality content is not just preferred, but necessary – lower quality content can actually negatively impact your SEO efforts. Content that is repetitive, fluffy, full of grammatical errors, or low in word count can penalize your website, thus harming your ranking in search results. While the #1 Google result is obviously the most coveted spot, securing 31.7% of all clicks, maintaining any page one ranking is vital, as visits to your website plummet after spot #10.
If users do still find your site, low quality content can deter them from engaging with your website or business online, and increase bounce rate, reducing the amount of time spent on your website.
Because producing quality content can be time consuming, it’s vital to get the most out of each piece of content. Learning how to use one piece of content to its full advantage can help you save time and resources, while improving your online presence. To help you understand the function of content for SEO, identify quality content, and get the most out of one piece of content, we sat down with our Director of Strategy, Anglyn Aviles Solodar to teach you about SEO content strategy and provide some content marketing tips.
How did you get into SEO?
I got into marketing and SEO specifically because it required both creative and logical thinking – you get to use both sides of your brain. Marketing requires you to stay up on trends and keeps you on your toes, so you’re always learning. I started my career doing B2B marketing for software sellers (handling email design/list management, newsletter production, and website development). Later, I worked with attorneys handling website design, on/off page SEO and local marketing, before ending up at Status Labs. Working with both businesses and individuals helped me understand the value of content marketing and the importance of getting the most out of your strategy.
How can content help a business or individual online? What is the purpose?
Content can help significantly with all aspects of SEO, from targeting keywords to improving your website’s ranking. Businesses, especially small businesses, often struggle finding the time to produce enough content to promote themselves and have an effect on their SEO, but the time put in is worth the reward.
If you take the time to put out quality content, you will see returns with both your SEO and your audience. It’s critical to produce pieces that both resonate with the audience and provide a return on investment. Engaging content helps you build trust with readers, making it easier to generate leads and close sales.
How can you get the most out of a single piece of content?
You can easily repurpose, repackage, or expand every single piece of content that you produce to get the most out of your initial investment. You can identify high ranking articles and turn them into a video, dive deeper into a popular topic and publish a follow up article, update old posts with the latest news or statistics for a quick SEO boost, and reuse seasonal content by promoting it on social media.
Consider how you can present the same material in different ways, and get creative with different forms of media. Was someone on your team featured in an on air interview or podcast? Transcribe the audio and post the interview to your blog, repurpose the audio into a video for your YouTube account, and use quotes from the interview in other marketing materials.
Repurposing content allows you to reach a new audience. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube – everyone has a preferred social media platform and seeks out information in various media. When you repurpose content, you expand your audience and more people will see your message, allowing you to work smarter, not harder.
What kind of content should businesses or individuals be looking to put out?
Website visitors are often seeking solutions to a pain point – a specific problem that potential customers of your business are experiencing – or more knowledge about a topic. It is your job to identify that issue and present your brand, thought leadership, or expert advice as the best solutions. While your content should be used to initially attract new visitors to your site, it should also be used to convince hesitant prospects to purchase, and encourage customer retention and long-term brand loyalty.
Instead of using your resources to write and publish smaller articles on a regular basis, focus on long form content that provides in-depth help. Not only is long form content preferred for SEO purposes, it is also the only way to fully answer a question and provide a solution.
Use media, such as images and videos, throughout the article to break up walls of text. When your content is interactive and engaging, it becomes a valuable source of information to your customers, which in turn supports your marketing strategy and brand’s message.
What constitutes quality content?
While there are some general guidelines to follow – higher word counts, headings, media and images throughout, etc. – quality content should be defined by how much you get out of it, not just how much time or money you put into it. A quality piece of content should provide information, generate traffic, keep a reader engaged while spending time on page, and should ultimately result in a conversion, whether that be a sale, a newsletter signup or a request for more information. If answering a question, the piece should do so fully, directly, and clearly.
What is duplicate content?
When repurposing and reusing content, it is important to remember the SEO pitfalls of duplicate content. Duplicate content can negatively affect your SEO results – since Google’s Panda update, duplicate content has become one of the top 5 SEO factors and can negatively impact your website.
How does Google define duplicate content?
“Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.”
Duplicate content may sound scary, but there are ways to reuse an article word-for-word if done correctly. There are websites that syndicate content to be published across different websites. For example, the Huffington Post and Fast Company both feature syndicated content. Publishing sites like Medium and Issuu allow you to import articles and blog posts directly from your website. These sites automatically add “rel canonical tags” in their source code so that the republished article links back to the original, providing digital credit to your website.
What are the benefits of sharing content on socials?
Content marketing doesn’t begin and end with producing high quality, useful content. You also have to drive traffic to any content you curate. Organic traffic from Google’s SERP is only one source of traffic. When you share your content on social media, it also provides your website with an additional source of traffic, giving your content more authority, which can improve your site’s overall SEO.
Promoting content on social media platforms remains the best way to reach audiences because it is an easy, inexpensive way to reach your target market. Just like Google, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter also incentivize content with high engagement. Social media algorithms favor content popularity so when people click, share and comment on your posts, your message will be spread to more feeds reaching a wider audience.
Do you have a particular piece of content you’re proud of? Most social media platforms offer ways to promote your content through paid placements and ads. Putting ad spend behind your content allows you to target a specific location, narrow down audience interests and helps generate traffic for a relatively low cost.
What are other avenues to share content?
In addition to your website and socials, there are several other options for repurposing and sharing your content:
- Email newsletters: email newsletters allow you to reach a wide audience, and newsletters that share quality content can send more engagement to those pieces.
- Publishing sites (like Medium): while duplicate content is a big no-no, sites like Medium allow you to import articles that exist elsewhere online. This not only allows you to publish content on multiple platforms, but can help you reach audiences on those particular platforms.
- Influencer marketing: using quotes from industry experts and leaders, or linking to them in your pieces, can put your content on their radar and encourage them to share or engage with your article.
- Video sites: video content has risen to be the #1 form of media in online media strategy, outranking written content. Converting your content into videos and placing them on sites like YouTube and Vimeo can help you reach an audience that your written content may not reach, and increase overall visibility.
- Turn content into a slide deck: similarly to converting written content to videos, reworking articles into a slide deck and sharing on platforms such as Slideshare can increase your overall audience reach.