By Ken Wollins
When talking with clients about the role of content marketing in enhancing SEO, I’m reminded of John Lennon’s observation that “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans”. In the same way, good search performance is what happens when you’re busy executing a successful content strategy.
“Organic” or “natural” search performance is based on having fresh, relevant content that has strong viewership and engagement such as comments, likes and shares. And with the proven effectiveness – and growing importance – of content marketing as a function of search optimization, content marketing is becoming increasingly integrated with SEO initiatives. A recent article on Marketing Charts, “Almost 1 in 2 Marketers Say SEO and Content Marketing Efforts Highly Integrated,” points out that nearly half of content marketing efforts are integrated with SEO efforts, and about 90% is at least somewhat integrated.
Content marketing has become a critical component to effective SEO, but as much as the two marketing functions are complementary, content marketing can also be effective independently. A sustained content marketing program yields 2 powerful benefits:
- it helps maintain a presence in front of customers and prospects
- it makes it easier for a new audience to find you through the improved search performance it brings
So, content marketing is important because it achieves something that SEO alone cannot: it promotes sustained engagement.
Here’s why. Google’s latest algorithm, called Hummingbird, is creating challenges and opportunities for those responsible for SEO. Rather than simply rewarding good use of keywords, Google has enhanced its technology to more accurately decipher relevance and to accommodate voice activated searches on smartphones. Tactics like keyword density give way to strategies likes quality content marketing efforts. Providing a contextually intuitive experience to those conducting searches means being mindful of such factors as:
- conversational tones: having the content reflect how people actually speak
- how and where content is shared
- how fresh the content is and how frequently it is updated
- the time visitors spend experiencing your content
- articles that are informative: Google looks favorably on longer articles and use of bullet points that effectively convey ideas
There really aren’t any shortcuts to improving search ranking with a content marketing strategy; it’s a matter of making a commitment to continually distribute content that your audience responds to positively. Google recognizes that its true customers are those conducting a search rather than than the businesses who are paying for placement. Content marketing that brings results means staying in front of your existing audience by providing information that is timely and useful – your audience votes with its engagement. And the enhanced natural search ranking will draw new prospective customers as they conduct searches for your products and services. The types of content and which outlets that content is distributed to are important decisions. Put simply, improved natural SEO ranking is a byproduct of a well executed content strategy.
Ken Wollins is VP of Sales at ContentMX. He has more than 20 years of experience in driving new business, focused primarily in advertising, publishing, and high value legal and editorial services. Ken has generated first-time revenue and established new service lines for multiple startups. Like this article? Follow Ken Wollins on LinkedIn.