27/07/20 // Written by AmbaWilkes

SEO: Driving Your Content Marketing Strategy

Content and SEO go hand in hand. Without one, your efforts on the other are significantly reduced. That keyword research won’t do your business any good if it’s not used in your content, and your content won’t drive results if you don’t understand what your audience is searching for. To get the best results from your search marketing campaign, it’s important to take an integrated approach.

Through this blog we’ll cover how SEO can drive your content marketing, helping you create valuable and high-quality content that satisfies both your audience and the search engines.

The rise of content marketing

In recent years, content marketing has formed the basis of marketing plans for most businesses, no matter the industry. Businesses have been creating and sharing content for many years, but the focus on why content is produced has increased. What does the audience want out of this content? Why are they visiting your website? What do you want this content to do, both for them and for you?

Predominantly focused on demonstrating knowledge, educating your audience, and subtly positioning your products and services, content is still very much king. But measuring the success of your content can prove difficult. With so much time and resource invested in crafting high quality, valuable content, you really want to make sure it performs.

How has SEO changed over the years?

The world of SEO continues to evolve. Long gone are the days of keyword stuffing, spammy links and tweaking back-end code to achieve high rankings. Google’s ever-changing algorithm brought us a significant update in 2018, known as the E-A-T (standing for expertise, authority and trustworthiness) or Medic update.

Primarily affecting Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) industries, Google’s continues to refine algorithm, rewarding websites that best satisfy user search intent with high rankings in the SERPs. Today, those who experience organic success are those deemed to have good, relevant content and offer an improved user experience.

Better together

The evolution of SEO and the rise in content marketing very much fit hand in hand. Combining SEO techniques with well-written content can provide big organic wins. Not only can SEO driven content attract natural links, but it can also help achieve better longtail rankings and improve your conversion rate.

When done effectively, content can be used as another form of lead generation. Writing optimised content designed to rank highly in the SERPs will drive website traffic and encourage conversions. Through comprehensive keyword research, identifying competitive opportunities and applying SEO tactics, you can create a high performing content strategy to deliver a clear ROI.

Get to know your competition

When creating your content strategy, it’s important to consider the wider market. While you’ll likely have an idea of who your competitors are, our exclusive in-house analysis tool often reveals other key players online that might not be on your immediate radar.
Competitor analysis allows you to take stock of where you are versus where you want to be. 

The findings from our analysis form the building blocks for your strategy, understanding where content could drive the most value for your business, fuelling your content needs in order of priority to get you ahead of your competitors.

Not only does our analysis fuel recommendations for building a strong technical foundation, it also arms you with the data needed to make well-informed decisions on your content strategy. Through our competitor analysis, we review:  

  • Ranking and traffic performance in the UK versus potential competitors
  • Market position
  • Competitor gap analysis
  • Site structure, hierarchy and navigation
  • Technical optimisation
  • Audit of link profile and domain authority gap
  • Opportunities for further growth

Content Quality Score

Trying to quantify the quality of content can be tricky. Recognising this, we developed an exclusive Content Quality Score tool that unlocks insight into the quality and depth of your content, quantifying the quality of your content on a scale of one to 100. Even better, you can compare this score to your competitors. By using quantified scores, it’s possible to see where improvements can be made and also track progress as your content strategy is implemented. Our Content Quality Score can help you ascertain:

  • How good your content is
  • How good your competitors’ content is
  • The depth of your content

The insight gathered from your SEO competitor analysis, keyword research and content quality analysis can help you build a strategy around prioritised actions.

Keyword research

Once you have an awareness of both your competitors and content gaps, determine which keywords to target and how to write content that satisfies both your audience and search engines. By researching the words and phrases people search to create targeted content, you can drive traffic with high conversion potential to your website. What you want to rank for and what your audience searches are often two very different things.

Keyword research is core to SEO, but analysing search terms provides valuable insight into your target audience to inform your content strategy. With a better understanding of keyword search volumes, ranking difficulty and competitiveness, you can answer questions such as:

  • What are people searching for?
  • What is the search volume around this topic?
  • What do they want to know?

Keyword research isn’t just about search volume, however, it is also a great way to explore the use of language, research topics and gain insight into popular themes. This process can help you learn more about the needs of your audience, keeping up with the constantly changing search landscape.

Content pillars and formats

Insight gathered from your technical SEO, competitor analysis and keyword research should be used to inform your brand’s content pillars. While you will likely have topics you want to focus on, it’s important that these are married up with the data to produce the most valuable content based on your audience’s search intent. That’s where content pillars come in. Using content pillars within your content strategy helps you to:

  • Simplify your content planning process: Creating a content calendar can feel daunting, especially when you first embark on your content strategy. With SEO informed content pillars, you’re halfway there. Even better, you know these defined topics are ones that your target audience is searching for.
  • Write authoritative content: A key factor to writing E-A-T content especially, by building content around core themes, you can demonstrate to Google that you are a trusted authority, creating content that your audience wants to read.
  • Create consistent content: Consistency is important to your brand messaging. By creating content within specific themes, it ensures a consistent message from your brand to your readers.

Guided by SEO best practise and Google’s ambition to make it as easy as possible for users to find the information they need, the format of your content is equally important. When following an E-A-T structure, in many cases, you will end up with a Q&A style, answering the specific questions that your audience is seeking answers to.

A Q&A format will also increase your chances of reaching position zero, also known as featured snippets. Featured snippets are the top Google organic search result, aimed at directly answering a user’s search query. The content is usually displayed in either a paragraph, bulleted list, table or an image.

Optimised Content

Rank-worthy, valuable content also takes technical optimisation. No matter how well researched, structured, and written your content is, if you don’t get the SEO basics right, Google will struggle to crawl and rank your page. You need to write effective title tags, H1 tags, alt tags and ensure your content is properly optimised.

Title tags, meta descriptions, keyword optimisation and headers should all considered as part of your content strategy to increase your ranking potential. Combining technical SEO basics with high quality content that satisfies user search intent and Google’s algorithm, you have the opportunity to be the best resource possible for your audience.

With our guidance, you’ll be on your way to a high performing content strategy underpinned by expert SEO tactics. Marrying the art of content writing with the science of SEO, bringing these two tactics together can create engaging content with serious rank potential.

We have experience working with businesses across many industries, implementing SEO and content strategies that help drive qualified search traffic and brand awareness. Get in touch with our SEO experts to learn how an integrated approach to content and SEO could benefit your business.