You already recognize the value of using content to attract new prospects and retain loyal customers. And, like most of us, you’ve probably built your content strategy on the guiding principles of search engine optimization (SEO).
But, in today’s hyper-competitive content marketing environment, perfecting your content purely from an SEO standpoint is no longer enough to reach your target audience and generate valuable leads. If you want to keep attention on your brand, it’s essential to reevaluate your content strategy to deliver value that goes beyond keywords and social media snippets.
In this article, you’ll learn why savvy marketers need to avoid focusing solely on SEO. You’ll also discover ways to kickstart your content marketing strategy so it caters to your customers’ true content preferences.
Keep reading to learn how to develop a data-driven content strategy that will keep you ahead of your competition.
- A successful marketing strategy combines the power of SEO and content.
- Content marketing that utilizes data will attract, engage, and convert your target audience even more.
- To drive more impact, your content needs to be easily shareable and searchable.
According to recent data, 68% of trackable website traffic begins with a search. SEO is a strategy that focuses on optimizing the content published on your website so it ranks higher on organic search engine results pages (SERPs) and helps build your brand’s domain authority.
In theory, the higher your content ranks on a SERP, the more likely new prospects will click on the links that lead to your website, where they can convert as customers. But as search algorithms are constantly evolving, you’re forced to continually update your SEO strategy to ensure it meets Google’s latest criteria. This means building your content strategy around SEO considerations alone will never be the most practical or cost-effective long-term solution.
On the other side, content marketing focuses on developing quality content that engages your target audiences and provides them with valuable information about your brand, your products or services, and other relevant topics they care about. With a successful content strategy, you can establish trust and build credible authority in your industry. Of course, if prospects can’t find your content when they’re searching, your creative development efforts are going to waste.
To ensure the SEO and content marketing strategies you’re building will complement each other, here are a few steps you’ll need to take:
- Understand your audience: Researching your ideal prospect’s challenges, needs, and interests ensures that your content will appear to the right people when they do a search.
- Conduct keyword research: Finding the right keywords to use in your content will help you rank higher in search results and reach more of the people you’re targeting.
- Develop more-informative content: Creating relevant content for your customers will improve your engagement, rankings, and overall authority. Even more importantly, it can help you stand out from your competitors.
Remember – it’s not about choosing content marketing over SEO. Instead of viewing the tactics as separate, the key is to take a holistic approach where SEO and content can work together in parallel, thus driving more engagement and conversions.
Yes, SEO does have a vital role to play in content success. But when it comes to your overall marketing strategy, the old saying, “content is king” rings true. Industry research supports this. For example, 82% of marketers in HubSpot’s 2021 industry report say they actively use content marketing. However, simply creating content isn’t enough to ensure that you’ll achieve strong returns on your content investment.
One key to becoming more successful with your content development strategy is to use data to understand your audience’s preferences – both within your industry and across the greater content landscape.
Today, there are advanced platforms and tools that utilize AI and machine learning to analyze data that go beyond SEO results. Contrend, for example, is a SaaS content marketing platform that looks at more than 20 different data sources to learn and recommend the best tones, styles, images, and formats of content that your target audience wants to consume.
With these deeper, concentrated data insights, you can develop a content strategy that will lead you to create content that converts more reliably and delivers the best possible ROI. For example, videos, blogs, and e-books continue to rise in popularity due to their digestible nature. But your target audience may actually prefer engaging with another form of content – something you’ll only know if you have the right data on hand.
Some types of content may be more popular, but will they perform better than others? (Via HubSpot)
Now, this doesn’t mean you should kick your SEO strategy to the curb and just concentrate on creating content. You need to focus on making content marketing work alongside SEO. Here are a few reasons why:
Valuable content answers questions and solves problems
First off, technical SEO aspects like headlines, alt attributes, and URL structure are essential to maintaining an optimized and crawlable website. However, whether you rank number one or number 21 in search results, technical SEO won’t keep someone engaged once they reach your website. In fact, it could lead to a higher bounce rate if your content isn’t meeting your visitors’ expectations.
Within your content, use your list of targeted keywords and similar relevant search terms naturally to signal to search engines that your website is a good match for the original search intent.
While “quality” content isn’t a new concept for marketers, it goes well-beyond keywords when it comes to meeting your customers’ needs:
- The content needs to be completely original and offer unique information that only your brand can share, which is an excellent opportunity to leverage thought leadership.
- Typically, a user lands on your content because they’re looking for an answer to their question. Make sure you include actionable tips and insights throughout your content to help them solve their original inquiry.
- For your content to reach “royal status,” it needs to stand alone as an evergreen resource.
The more you develop customer-centric content and build credibility, the more backlinks and industry authority you’ll earn. It’s a win-win!
Sharable content on social media helps your brand rank
Your audience uses the internet and social media to find answers, build relationships, and share content. Even if SEO gets you in front of your audience, it doesn’t guarantee that they will like you or want to share your content with others in their digital social circles. While social shares don’t directly impact your Google ranking, social profiles typically appear high in search results, letting search engines and potential customers know that you provide engaging content that’s worthy of a click.
Developing blogs is a top priority for 53% of marketers, likely because this content is highly shareable and optimizable. To create more shareable content and get your social profiles to rank higher in search results, your content should:
- Elicit an emotional response from readers
- Allow prospects to see themselves in your material
- Relate to trending topics in your industry to stay relevant
- Provide helpful advice, solutions, and answers
- Present information in visually appealing formats, like infographics
Some types of content are more shareable than others. (Via OptinMonster)
Structure content to drive engagement and conversions
With the right SEO strategy, you have the potential to drive virtually limitless amounts of traffic to your website. However, all those website visitors contribute nothing to your bottom line if they aren’t converting into customers.
It’s essential to consider how your SEO and content marketing will impact your sales funnel. To fill your pipeline with qualified leads, structure content with these three components in mind:
- Utilize on and off-page SEO to enable your target audience to find you in search results.
- Build trust among your prospects through high-quality, high-value content that positions your brand as a clear thought leader.
- Drive conversions by helping leads feel more connected to your brand.
While SEO helps you reach the first step, you also need impactful content marketing that will engage your audience and drive them farther down your funnel towards conversion.
Instead of relying on traditional content marketing metrics like SEO and social listening, your content strategy should be built from data that delivers a complete picture of your audience’s content preferences. Applying the right data in the right way to attract, engage, and convert your target audiences not only complements your SEO strategy and goals, but it also increases your ROI.
While you’ll never control the search engine’s ranking factors, Contrend will help you build a content marketing strategy that enables you to build meaningful relationships with your target audience and increase your industry credibility.
Contrend is a scalable, affordable SaaS solution that harnesses the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to recommend the topics, styles, formats, tones, and images that will convert your audience.
How? Contrend harvests data from numerous content sources, not just from SEO and social-listening metrics. In addition to top search engines, our data partners include YouTube, Alexa, Semrush, Meltwater, podcast platforms, and dozens more.
Tried and trusted by businesses around the world, including KPMG, Hilton, and Standard Chartered, Contrend can operate in any industry and market, requires limited integration, and can be rapidly deployed to help you revolutionize your content strategies, production, and reporting today.
Leverage deep data insights and predictive content recommendations to cut through the noise and create content your audience actually wants.
Ready to revolutionize your content strategy? Get started with Contrend today!