Learn how to create good content that engages your target audience and wins on the search engine.
Creating quality content is a significant aspect of a successful marketing strategy; it requires thorough planning and research. This includes looking into who your target audience is, but also how they look for information on the internet.
With about 7.5 million blog posts published every day, it’s no longer enough for marketers to optimize for the search engine with keywords. It’s also equally important for them to focus on whether their target audience will read this content or not.
The vice versa holds true too.
Ranking in Google’s results is easier said than done because 90.63% of pages get no organic search traffic from the search engine as of today. No matter how good your content is or how loved the information is, chances of you driving traffic without SEO remain slim.
This is where the war between content marketing teams and SEO departments begins – what should you be focusing on?
According to statistics, only 19% of companies said their content marketing efforts are successful. Most of them struggle with either one of the two problems – content is not ranking for the right phrases, leading to low organic traffic or their content has a high bounce rate because it’s overly optimized for only the search engines.
But there’s a way out and at Contensify, we call it the sweet spot between content marketing and SEO.
In this blog, I’m going to share the status quo of this problem, why it is important to tackle it and how you can create content that is suited to both the search engine and your audience.
Status quo of content marketing, writing and SEO efforts
In the initial days, the content marketing SEO strategy helped climb Google’s rankings simply by using the right keywords and using them throughout your content as many times as possible.
But now, the Google helpful content update has shaken things up.
While SEO content creation is essential, your readers must always come first!
As Google’s algorithm advances, the best practices for ranking on Google and creating an excellent experience for your readers go hand in hand. The biggest challenge for content marketers now is to create a strategy and execute it in a way that caters to both the search crawlers and their target audience.
The result of these challenges is a very high bounce rate experienced by most industries. On average, businesses see a bounce rate of 41-55% – which is clearly half the traffic that marketers and SEO professionals spend time driving to the website in the first place.
Here’s why this number is so worrisome:
- It indicates that your content is not what they came seeking for from the search engine
- It indicates that your content is not informative or updated enough
- It indicates that your content does not match the intent of the keywords it is optimized for
- It indicates that your content may not be optimized for the right set of keywords
- It indicates that your content lacks understanding of your audience
- It indicates how your content hasn’t found its fit in the marketing funnel of your business
- It indicates your content is not engaging enough for the audience to remember you with or convert on
Simply put, you have just spent hours, weeks, months and years executing an organic marketing strategy that is not yielding results.
Worse? Your content marketing and SEO teams are working in silos, leading to more miscommunication and misalignment in terms of the overall goals and objectives of the content.
That’s a resource drain and if that does not worry your startup, I’m not sure what will!
Addressing the problem: Understanding the goals of content marketing and SEO
The very first step to addressing the problem above is to know what content marketing and SEO is actually meant to help your business achieve.
SEO and content marketing are integral aspects of successful digital marketing strategy for most brands that have transformed the digital marketing scenario.
Whether you are a blogger, or any business owner, big or small, you must comprehend the benefits of using content marketing and SEO as part of your digital marketing strategy. If you learn to use them both appropriately, chances are high that you will benefit greatly and succeed online.
The goal of Content Marketing
The ultimate aim of content marketing is to inspire customer actions that benefit the brand by subscribing to a service or buying a product.
Some typical goals of content marketing include boosting brand awareness, driving more traffic to the website, answering commonly asked questions of the target audience, ranking for the right keywords to help the brand be perceived in the right light, fuel the marketing and sales funnel with qualified leads, act as information to nurture the leads and eventually drive conversion with an education-first approach.
Read more about content marketing KPIs and setting goals here.
The goal of SEO (search engine optimization)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a crucial part of marketing that depends on website traffic and how internet users leverage the search engine capabilities on a day to day basis.
The primary goal of SEO is to enhance your online presence in relevant search results by optimizing your content for the right keywords based on the intent of your target audience. As a result of which, SEO eventually does help drive the goals of content marketing when aligned with a complete understanding of the funnel and the role of the search engine in it.
Read more about how to optimize content for SEO here.
Addressing the problem: Follow the EAT framework
One way to address the async functions of content marketing, content creation and search engine optimization, is to use the EAT framework in your strategy and execution.
EAT stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
These qualities are what Google looks for to ensure that your content is par excellence. They are also the only elements that make for the definition of good content, irrespective of the changes the search engine brings to its algorithms. The one thing that can stand the test of time!
Let’s look into each of these elements a little more in detail from the perspective of content marketing:
- Expertise: Ensure that the content strategy you create is focused on the expertise you hold and the value you can offer using the same to an audience that comes through the search engine seeking advice.
- Authoritativeness: Your expertise must show across all your content through not just words, but how you share the information. From the depth you add to the content to how confident you sound while writing, and the keywords you use for the content created at a particular stage, authority comes from knowing who you’re talking to, at what point and what part of your expertise holds value to them.
- Trustworthiness: With so many ‘experts’ and ‘influencers’ taking over the internet, it is important to also be able to reflect trustworthiness in your content. This comes from your ability to equip the content with social proof, statistics, insights, experiences and information that is not readily available otherwise. In short, you need to become a go-to source of information for your target audience.
Seems like a daunting task to align all the pieces and implement this framework, fret not. After having experienced the same challenges and experimenting with different approaches, we at Contensify have pinned down a few tips to please the search Gods and the human audience.
Tips to optimize content for the search engine and an human audience
While we’re still figuring out the new changes to Google’s algorithm and how it will impact the functions of SEO and content marketing teams, here are some tips that will always hold the highest value on the internet to keep your organic growth results from tipping to negative:
1. Research and include related entities
Every content piece is a collection of entities, where readers and Google can easily make the connection between many entities.
Suppose we are talking about Leonardo da Vinci and the Louvre Museum; we instantly connect to the famous Mona Lisa painting. While this entity connection is well-known and prominent, others can be subtler.
Creating relevant associations gives a better context to your topic, which is helpful for your readers and search engines. So, including several relevant entities within your content improves the readability of the overall piece.
It is beneficial for Google to get a more comprehensive reference and show your readers that you have meticulously researched a topic and provided them with valuable information.
TLDR; don’t just target the broader keyword. Make sure you are catering to the related searches around the same as well with as much depth.
2. Use images to improve understanding
Who doesn’t love colorful visuals? Appease your readers with vibrant visuals to optimize your content.
Given that 95% of B2B customers evaluate a company based on visual content, eye-catching visuals capture attention, can easily convey information quickly, and increase your search performance.
The key is to incorporate images that add value to your content as it can appear in image search, increase your real estate in SERPs and boost click-through rate when optimized with the right keywords.
Engaging content and traffic through image search results – a win-win for both the teams!
3. Add videos to improve the experience
With over 4.5 billion internet users worldwide consuming online videos, adding relevant videos will support and enhance your content.
Consider incorporating videos to optimize your content, as many prefer watching rather than reading.
Embed valuable video content or post an original one to get real search benefits as it improves the overall experience. This can result in secondary benefits like more shares and backlinks.
A prime example on using video in blog posts is the Hubspot’s “Our Story” video from their about page:
This particular tactic also helps reduce bounce rates once the visitor gets engaged in viewing the video added to the content. Additionally, videos account for rich media which gets you brownie points from the search crawlers too.
4. Add internal links
Ensure you use internal links to optimize your content if it links to other valuable internal resources or pages.
Internal linking lets the readers discover more about a topic of interest on your website. It is also helpful for SEO ranking with content discovery, significance, and topical connections.
Additionally, similar to how ecommerce websites lead you from one product to another, I do recommend adding content suggestions. This adds an element of UX that encourages content browsing, reducing drop offs from the page, which further appeal to SERP score.
Here’s an example of the same from the Contensify blog:
5. Add external links
Integrating external links to your content is a great way to optimize, provided they are checked regularly to ensure that you send your readers to relevant sources.
You can gain your readers’ trust if they find your content reliable if you back it up with statistics and quotes from a trustworthy external source.
Relevant sourcing shows expertise in your field, which both the search engine and your target audience values.
6. Give direct answers to the reader’s queries
Users don’t type out detailed questions in Google; they just add the main keywords of their query. Hence, you must provide a direct answer to a question in your content instead of beating around the bush.
People use search engines to find fast and definitive answers to their queries, so make sure you give the people what they want! You can achieve this by incorporating FAQs into your blogs. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes, and think about what kind of answers you’d like to see.
Here’s how Shopify does this; adding FAQs at the end of the blog:
Want to get more brownie points from the search engine? Use markdown to add the FAQs to your content.
Learn more about FAQ schema markup for SEO here.
7. Format your content properly
Format your online content in small chunks that is easy to follow.
Make use of headings, and subheadings, use a bullet point list, and back it up with attractive and original images wherever necessary to break the text monotony.
While the above takes care of the readability of the content, here are a few things you can do to make your formatting more search engine friendly:
- Use your primary keyword in the first paragraph
- Make sure your H1 includes the primary keyword
- Strategically plan your H2s’ and H3s’ to target long-tail keywords and related searches
- Ensure your headings and subheadings are informative and to the point
8. Match your content length with search intent
Yes, long form content works well – but not always.
Depending on who you’re targeting, what you’re addressing and the keywords you’re optimizing the content for, identify the stage in the funnel that it all addresses. Tailor your content length to match the same.
For example, someone who is just getting started with learning about a topic, an extensive guide on the topic works well. But if the same reader has all the basics in place, a shorter form how-to video or step by step article on getting started with something will work better.
Don’t just write to target a word length; write to give the right information in the right way to enable your audience to achieve their goals and objectives.
9. Use keywords naturally ‘only’
Here’s ending one debate – no matter what, ensure you’re not doing keyword stuffing.
Search engines advance by the day, and Google de-ranks the content with keywords stuffed into them. Incorporate the keywords most naturally and organically as possible so that the readability of your content does not get compromised.
Here are some tips for the same:
- Focus on one primary keyword and around two to five secondary keywords per content piece
- Write content focusing on information and education first
- Incorporate keywords naturally; some that you get brownie points for, include: page title, H11, subheadings, introduction, conclusion, relevant parts of the content body, meta description, image alt descriptions, featured snippets, FAQ markup
10. Keep your language simple
One big aspect of good content is keeping your language simple; complex vocabulary does not show you as an expert.
The ability to convey the point, part information and knowledge, in the simplest way, is what sets you apart. So ditch the industry jargon that can restrict the understanding of your content and thereby, its audience.
If you’re addressing different audiences with different technical know-how, address them with separate content.
PS. Also cut out the fluff; editing is your best friend!
Striking the right balance between boosting content for humans and Google is of utmost importance in today’s world. A perfect mix is a user-first approach with a solid grounding in SEO, where neither is ignored while optimizing content.
Ranking on Google is vital for driving readers to your content, but if your content is of poor quality with unnecessary keyword stuffing, they’ll never give it a second look. Nowadays, if the content is not right for the user, it’s not right for Google.
If you need assistance in creating quality content that ranks on Google, reach out to Contensify today and get expert guidance to supercharge your B2B Content Marketing efforts!