While it may seem like SEO and content marketing are two different animals, they’re actually very closely connected. Without keyword optimization, for example, your content would remain invisible. On the other hand, high-quality content helps you implement your search phrases organically. Above all, they have the same goal – to increase your site’s exposure in the overcrowded digital landscape and help you rank higher.
Many smaller businesses, however, shy away from utilizing this tactic. That’s because most examples of great content marketing practices come from major brands who wave plenty of resources for producing high-quality content. But this doesn’t mean that small businesses can’t benefit from content marketing as well. Sure, your budget might be limited, but even if you decide to completely outsource your content marketing, it will still cost a lot less than any other form of advertising.
According to statistics, content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing while generating more than three times as many leads. Because of its effectiveness and cost-saving properties, content marketing is a great way for small businesses to boost their SEO rankings. Here are four tips to help you make the most out of your content strategy.
1. Optimize Content for the Right Keywords
Keyword research has changed. Google now uses RankBrain, a machine-learning algorithm. Apart from observing your keywords, it also analyzes the quality and relevance of your content. It understands the intent behind a searcher’s query and strives to provide them with relevant results.
Therefore, if you want your small business to rank high, you need to integrate intent-based keyword research into your content marketing strategy.
For starters, this means that you need to understand search intent. Does a searcher want to buy a product, compare different brands, or are they just looking for information? Your goal is to classify your keywords based on searcher intent and position in a sales funnel and, in this way, show up high in the SERPs as a relevant result.
You should also give some thought to the keywords you’re targeting. Exact-match phrases don’t work anymore. We’re living in the era of mobile and voice-powered technologies, where people use natural language and even complete sentences when performing searches. For example, instead of googling “book stores in LA,” mobile searchers would look for something like “book stores near me” or “book stores near me that are open now.”
The following tools can help you understand what search phrases your audience uses:
- Social media monitoring tools track customer discussions and let you learn more about the common problems they face.
- Use social media analytics tools to see what content works for your audience best. Observing shares and likes is not enough. These are vanity metrics that don’t tell you a lot about users’ engagement. Simply put, 2500 likes per post mean nothing if your click-through rate is poor. Pay attention to KPIs that offer better insights, such as share of voice, applause rate, conversion rate, amplification rate, CTR, etc.
- Answer the Public uses Google and Bing’s databases to predict users’ questions.
- Google Trends tells you about the most searched keywords.
- Buzzsumo provides you with a list of the hottest topics related to your keyword.
By optimizing your content for the phrases your customers are really searching for, you will tell RankBrain that you’re a relevant resource and get Google to rank you higher.
2. Revamp Old Content to Maximize Its Reach
Forrester’s research says that 50% of enterprise content goes unused. One of the most effective ways to address this issue is content repurposing.
For example, HubSpot performed a historical optimization of their blog posts. They doubled the number of monthly leads generated by old content and boosted monthly organic search views by 106%.
Refresh your old content. For example, if it contains data that is outdated, replace it with fresher information. This is where content research tools like Buzzsumo can help. Additionally, use broken link checkers to identify any faulty links in your articles and find a decent replacement to them.
Change the format of content:
- Bundle topically-related articles up into a comprehensive guide.
- Break up your long-form article or guide into a series of newsletters.
- Turn an article into an infographic.
- Convert the recent in-house research into a podcast episode.
- Create an ultimate guide out of your webinar.
Once you revamp your old content, you want it to get noticed by wider audiences. Make sure you promote it extensively via your social media accounts, email marketing, guest posts, and content promotion platforms like Medium, Growth Hackers, or Inbound.
3. Use Valuable Content to Generate Leads
By capturing your target audience’s email addresses, you get a chance to build stronger relationships with them and get them to come back to your site and convert. Once Google sees that they visit your site regularly, spend time on it, and convert, it will consider you valuable enough to rank higher.
This is where content marketing can also help.
You can use your content pieces as lead magnets. To access your exclusive guides or ebooks, for instance, you can first have people subscribe to your email list.
Some of these content types include:
- Ebooks and free reports that educate a reader.
- Comprehensive guides that provide actionable steps, helping readers solve a specific problem.
- Webinars, which have a high perceived value.
- Extensive market research and whitepapers that help you put lots of reputable industry names on your newsletter list.
- Checklists that combine key industry tips or resources in an easy-to-follow way.
- Podcasts, because they are highly engaging and can be consumed on the go.
Using content marketing for lead nurturing is especially important if you’re a small business as it enables you to build a valuable relationship with your customers and earn their trust, which in turn can help increase your conversions.
4. Produce Link-Worthy Content
Backlinks remain one of Google’s most significant ranking signals, but the way we build them has changed. Spammy anchor text and leaving comments on popular blogs don’t work anymore. Google is striving to provide relevant user experiences by weeding out spammy links from quality ones.
This is why many content marketers switch from link building to link earning.
When building links, you need to use tactics like blogger outreach, broken link building, registering on local business directories, etc.
Link earning, on the other hand, relies on creating insightful, data-backed and authentic content that helps you position yourself as an authoritative online resource. This is an amazing opportunity to get yourself noticed by reputable people in your niche. If they consider your content valuable for their audiences, they will gladly link back to it on their blogs and give you lots of free promotion.
Take a look at Backlinko, which is famous for creating super-helpful, data-backed guides that gain lots of traction. As Ahrefs shows, their recent guide on ecommerce SEO earned over 1950 backlinks from high-quality sites like Neil Patel, Moz, and BigCommerce.
SEO and content marketing go hand in hand. Just because your business is small and still growing doesn’t have to mean that you can’t combine those two strategies and use them to their full potential.
Use content marketing to build and nurture strong relationships with your audiences. By bringing value to them through quality content, you will inspire them to come back to your site and share your links consistently. Above all, you will generate high-quality leads and earn valuable backlinks.
These are all important factors Google assesses when ranking your small business website.
** This article was submitted by our friends over at Bizzmark Blog
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