When it comes to using SEO in content marketing, it seems like everyone’s doing it.
But most content marketers are doing it wrong. In fact, I would wager that only about 10 percent of content marketers are effectively using SEO.
If SEO has been around for so long, why are so many marketers so terrible at it?
That’s a great question. I’m going to tell you why, and show you how to be part of the 10 percent that gets it right.
1. They Have No Strategy
Going into content marketing blind and just seeing what happens is not a strategy. Pilots don’t start the plane without a map and a travel plan. Teachers don’t show up for school without considering what they’ll be teaching or without mapping out the best methods for delivering that information.
Content marketers should be no different. However, I’m constantly surprised by how many businesses literally have no goal or strategy when they begin marketing. Without a clear end-game and a planned strategy, you’re just tossing word spaghetti at the wall and hoping something sticks.
This is worse than following a bad strategy. At least with a bad strategy, you have something to calibrate against. You can figure out what isn’t working and what you need to change. Have you ever seen a fish out of water, flopping around on the ground aimlessly? That’s you without a strategy: No direction and almost out of air.
Related Article: Why Content Creation Is Key to Good SEO and How to Execute
The first step to using SEO effectively and to getting more people viewing your content is to create a plan. By the way, deciding to publish content on a website or on a blog and get more viewers is not a strategy. Set out your key performance indicators (KPIs): page views, shares, traffic, conversions or whatever is most important to your company right now. Track these indicators religiously so you can identify content gaps and areas for improvement.
This becomes your goal, and your strategy will evolve from that. Don’t think that you can just make a strategy and never worry about it again. My own strategies may vary as often as every day to every couple of months. You have to keep changing as your audience evolves.
2. They Use Thin Content
Riddle me this: What is SEO?
- A. choosing some important keywords to use in content
- B. making sure that your keywords appear multiple times in one article
- C. all of the above
- D. none of the above.
- If you chose A, B or C, you’re wrong
Google has cracked down on sparse content and keyword stuffing, but many marketers are still talking about keyword density as if it’s relevant. Sometimes marketers write the content themselves quickly and with little effort, and sometimes they pay pennies to ghostwriters without experience to muddle their way through content that they don’t really understand.
These are both misguided practices. You need to write quality content with intentional language to really utilize the power of SEO. Austin Nichols reported seeing increased ranking and organic traffic when they started creating articles of between 1,200 and 1,500 words for their blog. Before that, they were creating small pieces of 500 words or fewer.
Google is interpreting meaning in addition to looking for those exact words. This is why quality content that reaches potential clients and provides actual information is much more important than the keyword-stuffing practices of the past.
Related Article: Keeping Up With Content: How SEO is Changing in 2016
3. They Are Anti-Social
The single biggest failure of content marketers in 2016 is a failure to embrace new social platforms. Google and other search engines are indexing posts on Instagram, Facebook and even Snapchat. Search for certain businesses, and you’ll likely find the companies’ official Facebook and Twitter presences in the top listings.
Social media is a conversation and one that is deeply revealing about your audience’s needs and wants. Further, search engines want to see people interacting with your website, and one of the first interactions is often a link from a social media site. Remember how I told you that longer articles perform better?
Easypath experimented with this in the second quarter of 2016 and the result was their users sharing these extended pieces on social media, linking to the articles with their own comments and putting them out for their friends to see. Boom! free exposure for their business. Are you doing that in your business? If not, you need to start. Today.
4. They Are Ignoring Mobile
Are you ignoring your mobile audience? That is potentially worse than ignoring calls from your best friend. Today’s audience is never in the same place all the time; people are looking at the internet on smartphones, tablets, and even phone watches, not just on computers or laptops.
If you don’t make your site mobile-friendly, you’re going to get left in the dust. Yikes. Google’s latest algorithm update included a serious ranking boost for mobile-friendly websites, so if you aren’t one of them, all of your other SEO work is basically worthless.
Make sure that absolutely every part of your site is functional on mobile platforms, including fonts, colors, content and even your logo design. Check the way links move and the formatting on screens of all sizes. The digital world is quickly moving to mobile phones and tablets. Ignore this trend and get left behind.
Related Article: How Content Marketing Campaigns Can Drive Huge SEO Impact
If you listen to just one thing from this entire article, it’s this: SEO should be the linchpin in your content marketing strategy. But don’t stop there. Make sure that your content plan includes social media and mobile marketing. Getting your content out in as many arenas as possible will help you enhance your brand name and increase your company’s influence, in addition to bumping increasing your organic web presence.
Focus on the needs and interest of your audience. Concentrate on creating good, quality content that offers fresh ideas and is shareable on those social media platforms. When your content addresses the needs of your audience, SEO becomes an afterthought.
How are you integrating SEO into your content strategy?