Content marketing is a marketing strategy used to attract, engage, and retain an audience by creating and sharing relevant articles, videos, podcasts, and other media. This approach establishes expertise, promotes brand awareness, and keeps your business top of mind when it’s time to buy what you sell.
What is Content in Digital Marketing?
As Bill Gates once said: “Content is king,” and that is still true.
What does that mean for you in terms of search engine optimization? The better the content, the higher positions in SERP you will claim. But what differentiates poor content from great? We’ll get into that in this section, but before we do — let’s talk about some key focus areas of content.
Meta Titles & Meta Descriptions
These areas of a page determine, in many cases, what Google shows its users in the search results.
An accurate meta title that describes clearly what the content of the page offers to the user is significant — it’s the reason they click on your result or not.
Meta titles and meta descriptions are essentially sales copy that pulls the user in and help Google better understand the content and purpose of each page. Be sure to include the primary keyword within your meta description, as it’s helpful for both users and search engines.
The title the user sees when they land on your page is a critical signal to Google. Like the meta title, it needs to be unambiguous and include the terms the user searched for. Again, this is an important signal to Google and is reassuring for the user.
Keep your writing simple, straightforward, and focused. Keep sentences short, break the content into logical chunks, and stay on topic. This helps readers get right to the solution to their problem. Organize your content so that the value it provides is easy to identify, understand, and engage with.
Include rich content such as audio, video, and illustrative images whenever possible. Keep in mind, though, that Google cannot understand the content of images or videos.
So, when you do include these richer formats, accompany them with the appropriate meta tags to help Google and those with visual impairments understand what the content is about. You could also include a written version to make it easier for users who prefer written content.
Outbound links — or links to external sites — lead to sources that confirm the accuracy of your content and validate your credibility and the author’s credibility.
Identify the author explicitly where appropriate. If they are authoritative, this will bring credibility to the content.
But keep in mind that your content does not live in isolation. It is vital to see each piece of content as part of an overall, coherent content strategy. As soon as you do that, you are thinking in terms of content marketing.
Types of Content
Different types of content are appropriate for different stages in the funnel and different users. A good content strategy will contain a mix of various formats, including:
- Lists: Both people and Google love lists. They are easy to skim and easy to engage with.
- How-to guides: These are perfect for providing a step-by-step approach to a search query. Target long-tail keywords where the user is asking a specific question.
- Long-form guides: These may involve a lot of work, but this type of content can help your audience understand a specific or a broader topic in depth.
- Tables: Tables of data or information on your pages are easy for Google to understand. They are also helpful to your audience when they need to process data concerning a topic.
- Graphics: These can be images, photos, or illustrations. Google is including these in the SERPs more and more, especially on mobile. Plus, images — when appropriately used and tagged — can drive visits from Google’s image search, which is particularly popular with some industries and types of queries (i.e., fashion or travel).
- Infographics: Infographics are images that contain information (usually illustrations and text) that makes them standalone content. They are great content to push out to your audience via social media to generate engagement. And, they are also a great way to build links.
- Videos: Google is including more and more videos in search results. This is particularly true of how-to videos.
- Podcasts: Podcasts are on the rise lately, especially within specific niches. Like with videos and images, Google shows them in the standard search results.
- Webinars: A webinar is a live online meeting or presentation open to the public. Webinars are not only effective at engaging and building your audience, but they also provide great longer-term content. This is because, after the live event, you can post it to YouTube as a video people can watch at any time.
- Ebooks: Ebooks are downloadable books, usually in a PDF format, that brands often give away for free. They are perfect for in-depth content that is too long for an article and can be used to acquire more information about your audiences.
Pro Tip: If you post your videos to YouTube, then you benefit from greater brand visibility and referrals on that platform. YouTube is the second most visited website on the planet.
Tips for Creating Better SEO Content
- It’s always a great idea to start with some in-depth competitor research. What are your direct competitors saying in their blog? What keywords are they targeting? You’ll want to identify opportunities to talk about those subjects in more detail and depth, and you’ll also want to identify content gaps where you can stand out from the competition.
- Length isn’t the end-all-be-all. Notice that blogs targeting a particular keyword are shorter? If you think longer content will serve your readers better, use however many words necessary to get your point across. But remember — many readers spend less and less time reading online articles.
- Keep accessibility in mind when you write. You can use tools like the SEO Writing Assistant to help you identify the tone and readability of your content.