We live, breathe, eat and sleep content marketing. It’s our jam. But you know why we’re so obsessed with creating stellar content?
It’s because we like success.
In short, we thrive on smashing our clients’ SEO goals out of the park. And great content marketing (content marketing that combines all three of the SEO success elements we talk about below) just works.
To be honest with you though, we really DON’T love a lot of the narrative around SEO and content marketing. That’s because too many articles talk about these two concepts as if they’re separate. And they aren’t – or more importantly, they shouldn’t be.
Content marketing and SEO are two sides of the same coin. And if your content marketing strategy is separate to your SEO strategy, it’s time to rethink both of them.
Our philosophy at Content Copywriting is – and has always been – that we write for humans first, and bots second. It’s what has put us so far ahead of the game.
And, as the Google bots have become more sophisticated, we’ve noticed other agencies scrambling to catch up.
Meanwhile, we’re just sitting here, saying, “Yeah, we know. We’re already all over that!”
That’s why our clients reported such huge ranking increases with the latest Google update in May 2020. It’s because we’ve never looked at SEO and content marketing as two separate things.
Instead, we look at great content as one of those three elements of SEO we mentioned above. Yes, it’s the most crucial part… but we also know it can’t exist without a solid support network around it.
So how do the three elements work together? Let us break it down for you.
Although the way we analyse our clients’ needs, structure our approach and action our strategy is complex, our starting point is simple. There are three clear elements to SEO, and we incorporate all of them into our clients’ content strategies. Those elements are:
1. Technical Website Health
2. Domain Authority
3. Quality Content.
(And if that sounds a bit technojargon-y, don’t worry: we’ll explain each element below. Yes, breaking it all down for you is kind of like giving away the secret sauce recipe. But we’re in a generous mood, so let’s go!)
The technical side of SEO can either be the most difficult or the easiest element to get right. It depends on where your site is now, and what tech resources you have on hand.
To see how your website performs on a technical level, ask:
- Does your site load quickly? Google doesn’t like slow-loading sites (and neither do your clients!) So if your site isn’t snappy, fix it – ASAP.
- What’s your site navigation like? If your site map doesn’t work well, Google can’t crawl it properly. Also, your visitors will get frustrated, so jump on that issue too.
- Have you optimised everything for the search robots? Tags, metadata, image names… you need to make sure that every component of your site is working towards your SEO goals.
The term ‘backlink’ simply refers to another site linking directly to your website.
Imagine that you publish a fantastic recipe on your website. Then imagine that a food blogger sees your recipe and wants to tell theirreaders about it. So they write a blog post about the things they’re loving this month, and then link back to your website for your recipe.
That’s a backlink.
Handy hint: Google loves quality backlinks! If your recipe is so incredible that a whole bunch of food bloggers link to it, Google will take notice. The more links from relevant sources it has, the more important Google knows this recipe (and your site) is.
‘Domain Authority’ is a measure of how many quality backlinks your site has (among other things). The more links there are around the web from relevant sites that point to yours, the higher your Domain Authority.
What do we mean by ‘quality’ there? Well, just to make things even more complicated, if that blogger has high Domain Authority, their link to you will boost your Domain Authority more. Make sense?
This is why some agencies buy backlinks as part of their SEO strategy. It’s not necessarily a bad strategy… at least, not if the links are relevant ones. However, it’s not the most ethical way of doing things. You’re better off earning your backlinks with great content and considered outreach.
(And let us tell you right now that if your SEO agency only pitches technical fixes and backlinks in their strategy, they’re not looking at the whole story.
Why? Because – as you’ll read below – unless you have great content on your website when readers get there, they’re not going to hang around. So all that time and effort you put into the first two elements won’t pay off!)
Remember how we said we write for humans first, and Google second? Yeah, that!
The term ‘content’ refers to all the things you have on your site: articles, images, videos, etc. Although this is probably the most fun part of SEO (not that we’re biased!), it’s also the most complex.
And… if we’re being honest, it’s also the part that most people don’t really know how to do.
That’s why huge SEO agencies regularly refer clients to us. They know content is important, but they aren’t set up to do it well.
However… while content is the most important element, it has to come after you’ve created a detailed SEO Content Strategy that includes the elements above. And you really want to work with someone who can identify and strategically map all of the keyword phrases your company should be aiming to rate highly for. Once you have those keywords, you can create a content plan based on that.
Because there’s another thing. It’s actually not just content that matters. It’s quality content.
Here’s what we mean by ‘quality’…
Quality content is content that:
- meets your audience’s needs – it reflects what your readers are searching for online, using the same terms they do
- meets your business needs – it also reflects what your business does and wants to say about itself
- offers unique value – it adds value that’s unique to your business, perhaps through your unique perspective or tone of voice
- fits your resources and capabilities – it’s content that you have the resources and the internal skills to create, and that your website is technically healthy enough to house properly.
Meeting – and optimising for – your audience’s needs is as simple as finding out what they’re actively searching for, and then figuring out what they call it.
For example, it’s all well and good to create and market a product that you call ‘face coverings’. But if everyone who wants to cover their face is Googling the term ‘face masks’, that’s what you need to call your product.
Otherwise, nobody will find it when they search on Google.
You’ve obviously got business needs. You need people to buy your face coverings – sorry, ‘face masks’ – so you can make sales. That’s your business need.
And that means you need to make sure what you write about is serving a business need.
Promoting new products, reaching for relevant SEO key phrases etc.
Next, you need to offer some kind of unique value in your content. Even though it can sometimes seem like there’s no new content out there anymore, you don’t want to sound like everybody else. But why is content so important?
You can offer unique value in your content by including:
– a unique perspective
– a unique tone of voice
– unique expertise
– a unique understanding of your audience.
Clue: You’ll probably already have this unique value sitting in the brain’s of your own team.
Lastly, ask yourself whether you have the resources to create and deliver this content. There’s no point in developing an SEO Content Strategy that you can’t put into action.
It’s great to know what your audience wants, what your business needs and how you can achieve both of those things in a uniquely valuable way. But if you don’t have the resources to make it happen at scale, there’s just no point.
Basically, don’t try to bite off more than you (or your website) can chew.
And if you suspect you don’t have the resources, skills or capability in-house, do the smart thing and reach out to the experts for support (like us!).
P.S. We absolutely love using this framework (originally created by Matt Fenwick of True North Content) as it provides such a solid grounding for our Content Strategies.
So now you understand why content marketing is the most important part of an SEO Content Strategy. But it only works if you’re offering quality content that’s backed with a strategy that considers the other two SEO elements as well.
After all, if your site is fast and easy to navigate, your readers will click through to other pages from the content they start on. And when you focus on creating awesome content, other website owners will notice… so the backlinks will automatically come. Win, win, win!
Good strategy is about aligning ALL of these bits and pieces. And when that happens, you’ll climb the Google ranks naturally. Because satisfying Google and satisfying humans aren’t as different as you may have been led to believe.
And if you need help – either creating your strategy, implementing it or both – we’d love to support you.