This post will give you an overview of how content marketing and organic search can benefit your business. It’s based on a Twitter thread I did recently about how content marketing with some SEO can help drive traffic to your website.
The thread was designed for
- for business managers/owners with ‘extra time’ on their hands
- who want to update their website but are not sure what post
- and don’t want to used paid campaigns to generate traffic
- if you feel the stuff you publish on your blog is not really doing any good.
- if your organic search traffic is not contributing to the business goals.
This post should give you some content marketing direction and ideas.
Given the economic impact of COVID-19, social distancing, and self-isolation… running ads is pointless for some businesses. An organic search strategy is a cost-effective way of sourcing valuable traffic for your website.
What is organic search?
To get everyone on the same page…
- Organic search is traffic that comes to your website via search engines like Google
- Google Analytics measures this source of traffic for you
- The SERP = Search Engine Results Page
A report from Brightedge found that on average, 53% of traffic to business websites (incl. B2B) is sourced from organic search.
Search intent – we think, therefore we search
If you think about your own search engine behavior, you don’t bookmark every single webpage you read that you found interesting. It’s too easy to go to the address bar and type either a search query or some part of the URL. If autocomplete doesn’t sort you out, there’s a good chance you’ll find the webpage you’re looking for in the SERP.
Searching takes effort. If someone is going to the trouble of typing a search query, maybe a few words, they are motivated, searchers. The people that land on your website will engage if you’ve got good content that meets their search intent.
We’ll concentrate on the informational side of content marketing rather than transactional. By this I mean, content aimed at answering questions, solving problems and giving information about how the solutions your business offers rather than selling products. There are three reasons why this approach makes sense right now.
- maybe your business can’t sell right now because of COVID-19 social restriction policies
- this type of content builds trust with an audience of potential customers
- this type of content will reap benefits, not just in the short, but for as long as the content is relevant and accurate
Is informational content marketing worth it?
Informational content will help your business in the long term. If your content is good, great even, traffic to your website will be valuable.
Crap content = crap traffic
This case study by Eoghan Henn at Rebelytics proves the commercial value of informational content and some solid SEO.
Content marketing is a long play. When done correctly, your webpages will turn up in SERPs 24/7/365 when people come searching. Think of it as an always-on campaign that can make your company appear bigger, stronger and more present than the competition.
Types of content
Broadly speaking, there are 4 types of content you can create. Content…
- to rank in SERPs
- to educate potential customers
- to get backlinks from authoritative websites back to yours
- to distribute on social
If we take James’ world view of content and do a little analysis of what it takes to produce each type – the effort, the cost, the organic search benefit – we see where the focus should lie.
The table outlines what each content format requires using a RAG Status (Green – needs, Red – doesn’t need).
Based on the table above, the clear winners for driving organic search traffic are content to rank and to educate.
If we look at our current scenario presented by COVID-19, marketing budgets are being slashed, paid promotional campaigns are on hold, and people have time to create content in-house. Therefore, while you could spend budget on creating/outsourcing content to rank and to educate but I’m assuming it will all be done in-house.
Content to rank is
- an in-depth article (2,500+ words)
- with keyword research (broad search terms with good search volume)
- creative, nice to have not mission-critical
- no extra research required outside of the product and customer knowledge that exists within your company
Content for Education is
- a well-written article, (1,000+ words),
- with longtail keywords
- creative, nice to have not mission-critical
- no extra research required outside of the product and customer knowledge that exists within your company”
What type of content should you create?
When coming up with topics consider searcher intent, what’s in it for them. The key to unlocking organic search traffic is understanding what search terms people would use to find your product or service.
If you haven’t done keyword research before, this article is a good primer. As the name suggests, keyword research is trying to identify the words people use when Googling things relevant to your business. If you can rank for these, then organic search traffic should follow.
Start by googling your generic product name (shoes, database, digital marketing, coffee shop+location) or the keywords you think are relevant and see what comes up in the SERP. Your customers will see something similar when they search so, you want to make sure your webpages are coming up top of the SERP.
These are some of the free keyword research tools you can use.
When you begin to write, here are a few things to remember.
The longer the better
For content to rank, try to make the article/blog as long as possible. This will make it easier to include multiple keywords that have a lot of search volume. The number of words you use is not a ranking factor, meaning Google does not care how long the article is. However, the average length of webpages in position 1 is approximately 1,800 words. The longer the article, the more broad keywords you can fit without appearing to ‘keyword stuff’ the content. Ranking for multiple keywords is obviously beneficial.
Using longtail keywords
For content to educate, concentrate on longtail keywords. Longtail refers to keywords that have less search volume but drive a lot more traffic to websites. Highly motivated searchers who want specific info use longtail keywords.
Organic search, content marketing, and the funnel
If you want to think in terms of a marketing funnel…
- content to rank is about attraction/top of the funnel
- content to educate is about creating interest/middle of the funnel
- your product pages should be the sales content/bottom of the funnel
Internal linking – the rising tide…
You MUST use internal linking between your webpages. eg. from your content intended to rank, add hyperlinks to your educational content and also to your product pages where appropriate. Likewise, from your educational content link to your content for ranking and product pages. Linking your webpages helps search engines better understand what you are trying to rank for. As the page rank for the individual pages improves, the other pages will begin to pick up ranking places as well. A rising tide lifts all boats.
Once you have any content written you need to implement some on-page SEO. This involves including the keyword in some prominent places on the webpage. As a minimum you should aim to include it in.
- The URL slug
- The SEO title
- The meta description
- In H1,H2,H3… etc headings
- In the first paragraph
- In the alt text of any images on the page
- Aim for a keyword density of 2-3% – use it 2-3 times per 100 words. To avoid over use you can use similar keywords.
WordPress websites can use the Yoast plugin or similar SEO monitoring tools.
Here are a few final top tips.
- Resist the temptation to only publish perfection. You can always edit your content after it’s posted to your website. Don’t publish crap.
- Use external links to reference the leading websites, industry authorities or even competitors in your field. It will signal to the search engines what you want to rank for and build trust with your audience.
- Make sure your content will leave the reader a better, more informed version of themselves… closer to purchasing your product/service.
Thanks for reading. Hopefully some good ideas to help you grow your organic search traffic using quality #contentmarketing and a little #SEO